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Posts Tagged ‘Sam Feist’

Behind the Scenes on Election Night At CNN

We have a pretty good idea where you guys went to watch the election results come in. And while we desperately wanted to drink as well, we got an invite we just couldn’t refuse: the Crossfire Control Room at CNN.

Sam FeistUpon arriving at the First Street NE bureau we bumped into Sam Feist, DC Bureau Chief. He ushered us into his office where we peered over his shoulder at some early election results. “This is strictly off the record, of course.” Of course.  An excited Feist launched in to an explanation of how off year election coverage differs from a general election just as CNNPolitics.com editor Bryan Monroe walked in.  Monroe grabbed a handful of Jelly Bellies from a crystal bowl before assuring Feist that CNN.com’s election interactive was primed with the first round of voter data.

Soon we were off to the control room, where Crossfire Supervising Producer David Chalian was covering for EP Rebecca Kutler.  As we watched on what seemed like hundreds of screens, Van Jones and Newt Gingrich argued amicably, and the normally sedate Donna Brazile laced into the Tea Party with uncharacteristic zeal. Digital producer Eric Weisbrod sat quietly in the front, headset on, watching the screens intently. A nod to new CNN Chief Jeff Zucker’s digital focus?  controlroom

The show wrapped to light applause, and the crowded control room emptied quickly as people scrambled to get dinner –they all had to be back for an 11:30 post-election live hour with Newt and Van. The stars of the show were in a similar mindset. We caught up with them in the hallway as Van called out, “Hey Newt, isn’t there supposed to be free food around here?” Mr. Speaker shrugged, “I think it’s on floor 9?”

In the elevator ride down, Newt, with professorial ease, opined about the state of the California Republican party. Of a Crossfire guest who shall remain nameless he said, “I’m not sure _____ is too comfortable talking about that stuff.” Newt, of course, is comfortable talking about everything. Van was upbeat, even though he just came in from California, where he spends half his time overseeing four non-profits. So upbeat in fact, that he agreed to sit down with FishbowlDC for a quick chat –after his tacos of course. More on that convo to come…

Lucky Michael Douglas Bypasses Catherine Zeta Jones Q’s at U.S. Peace Institute

2013Planeteers

On Monday night the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington hosted the Ploughshares Fund Gala. Ploughshares Fund is a bi-partisan group aiming to put an end to the remnants of the nuclear proliferation age, and finally making the world a nuclear-free place for future generations. The gala featured prominent figures, such as Sec. of State John F. Kerry, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, former Sen. Richard Lugar, among other V.I.P.’s.

Notables:

Margaret Carlson, Bloomberg, Steve ClemonsThe Atlantic, Sally Quinn, Washington Post, Ben Ambruster, Think Progress/Center for American Progress, Ali Gharib, Open Zion/Daily Beast, Matt Duss, Think Progress/Center for American Progress, former Undersecretary of State Paula Dobriansky (she worked for George W. Bush), Tom Toles, WaPo (Cartoonist; and wife Gretchen Toles), Sam Feist, CNN, Andrew Morse, CNN, Moira Whelan, State Department, Sen. Ed Markey, Olga KhazanThe Atlantic, Josh Rogin, Daily Beast, Uri Friedman (moving this week from Foreign Policy to The Atlantic), Jean Francois-Boittin, Embassy of France, Anne Gearan, WaPo, Richard Wilhelm, Booz Allen, Jay Newton-Small, Time Magazine, Bruce Gottlieb, National Journal, Michael Powell, American Federation of Teachers, Dixon Osburn, Human Rights First, Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street, and Warren Bass, Wall Street Journal.

The Master of Ceremonies for the night was Emmy and Academy award winning actor Michael Douglas, who’s passion for complete global nuclear disarmament has put him in the same league as some of the most powerful people in the world who are not actor (beat that, Clooney).

Whose speech outshined the rest at this anti-nuke open-bar gala soiree?

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CNN “Crossfire” Party Packs a Punch

“It was terr i fy ying,” said CNN “Crossfire” host Van Jones, careful to enunciate every syllable when asked about his first night on the job.

At least at the Crossfire launch party held last night at the Carnegie Library he could finally let his hair down (so to speak) and enjoy a night with friends, colleagues, booze and a band.

His co-hosts popped in the crowd — Newt Gingrich with his big, shiny helmet of white hair, S.E. Cupp in a purple leather sleeveless dress and Stephanie Cutter in power red.

Meanwhile, others mingled: Newt’s wife, Callista held her own with her perfect, shiny, white-blond bob,  former “Crossfire” host Paul Begala wished the new hosts well, as Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) and fiancé, Maria Belen Chapur, attracted flashbulbs on the red carpet while a very thin Caroline Kennedy, President Obama’s nominee for Amb. to Japan, drew stares. Others spotted around the room: WJLA’s Rebecca Cooper, conservative radio host Laura Ingraham, The Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol (who is far shorter in person than we imagined), FNC’s Greta Van Susteren and husband, John Coale, WaPo‘s Jackie Kucinich, ex-TWT Editor Sam Dealey, TWT‘s senior opinion writer Emily Miller, The Daily Caller‘s Alex Pappas, Politico‘s Dylan Byers, The Hill‘s Emily Goodin, CQ Roll Call‘s Abby Livingston, Slate‘s Dave Weigel, TIME‘s Michael Crowley, MSNBC’s Karen Finney, lefty radio host Bill Press, Speaker John Boehner‘s spokesman Michael Steel and wife, Mary Kathryn Covert, lobbyist Jack Quinn and wife, Susanna, Americans for Tax Reform Prez Grover Norquist, NRSC’s fiery Brad Dayspring, and consultant Brian Walsh.

CNNer’s spotted in the crowd: CNN President Jeff Zucker, Washington Bureau Chief Sam Feist, Jessica Yellin, Dana Bash, Brianna Keilar, Wolf Blitzer, Gloria Borger, Candy Crowley (without a shred of makeup), Wendell Goler, Matt Dornic, and Edie Emery.

Asked about Cupp, his conservative co-host, Jones said, “S.E. is the most likeable person ever born. I think they created her in a lab. She hypnotizes you and then she goes in for the kill.”

Cupp also had a thing or two to say about Jones. Read more

Politico’s Mike Allen Sees Dead People

Tuesday night’s big party celebrating the return of “Crossfire” was held at the Carnegie Library. As expected, it was QUITE the affair. Newt Gingrich, Stephanie Cutter, S.E. Cupp and Van Jones were all in attendance and mingled with all the V.I.P. guests.

Naturally, Politico’s Mike Allen ran through some of the faces spotted in the crowd. Bill Burton, Dylan Byers, Laura Ingraham, Rep. Mark Sanford and his fiancé were there, according to Allen. One name that stuck out in his Tuesday morning Playbook was former “Crossfire” host Tom Braden and four of his children.

The only problem is… Braden is dead. Read more

CNN Hires Chief National Security Correspondent

CNN has hired Jim Sciutto to be their Chief National Security Correspondent. According to a release dispatched this morning, Sciutto “will report and provide analysis on all aspects of U.S. national security, including foreign policy, the military, terrorism, and the intelligence community.”

Washington Bureau Chief Sam Feist made the announcement this morning.

Sciutto was ABC’s senior foreign correspondent and was based in London. In that role, he traveled to and reported from some 50 countries. Most recently, he was chief of staff and senior advisor to the U.S. Ambassador to China, Gary Locke.

The Yale grad began his journalism career at PBS, where he was moderator and producer of a public affairs show.

CNN Announces Promotions in D.C. Bureau

CNN Washington Bureau Chief Sam Feist has announced that the network is promoting some of its Washington-based correspondents. Those impacted include Jessica Yellin, Brianna Keilar, Jim Acosta and Rene Marsh.

“With these changes, CNN’s Washington team of correspondents will be even better positioned to deliver on our core missions of breaking news and enterprise reporting,” said Feist in a morning release. “As CNN continues to grow its newsgathering capabilities, we are thrilled to have such an outstanding group of correspondents to move into these key roles.”

See the promotions…

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Cutter, Madden Join CNN

Jeff Zucker‘s CNN continues to evolve. Democratic strategist Stephanie Cutter and Republican strategist Kevin Madden are joining the network as political commentators. The news was was announced today by CNN Washington bureau chief and senior vice president Sam Feist.

Cutter is a partner at Precision Strategies, a strategic consulting firm that launched earlier this month.  Madden, an alum of The Hill‘s 50 Most Beautiful People List, is the executive vice president of public affairs at JDA Frontline.

“I’ve worked with CNN for many years in the White House, on campaigns and throughout government,” said Cutter in a statement. “They are the best in the business, and I’m thrilled to be joining the CNN team.”

“This is such an exciting time in the national conversation about the direction of our country, with so many Americans looking to CNN for an informed perspective of today’s political debates,” said Madden, also in a statement. “I’m looking forward to bringing my experience of working on national campaigns and Capitol Hill to CNN’s coverage of this national conversation.”

Weekend Wedding Bells For David Shuster

Current TV and We Act Radio’s David Shuster officially tied the knot this weekend in Manhattan with Kera Rennert, a freelance writer/producer for CBS News and Discovery Channel. The pair got engaged last summer and already has a baby on the way.

“Kera and I did not see one another on Saturday until we walked down the aisle,” Shuster told FishbowlDC in an email. “When Kera appeared and began walking down the aisle, we both cried. Who knew that your favorite cable news bad boy could be such a sap?”

They married at the Angel Orensanz Foundation for Contemporary Art, an ornate synagogue in New York City. Constructed in 1849, this gothic, cathedral-like space is the oldest surviving synagogue building in New York City. It’s the same place actress Sarah Jessica Parker and actor Matthew Broderick married in the late ’90s. “Kera looked magnificent in two Ines Di Santo gowns. One for ceremony, the other for the reception,” Shuster explained. “I wore a black tuxedo/white tie.”

As we mentioned, Rennert is… Read more

Morning Chatter

Quotes of the Day — State of the Union-Fugitive Edition

SOTU quotes that are fit for a Fishbowl: “I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully.” — brought to our attention by HuffPost‘s Sam Stein‘s Twitter feed. It’s an old quote from former President George W. Bush. And this: “At least there’s no smoked fish joke in this one.” — Mother JonesNick Baumann.

“The outside of the Dome on SOTU night.” Roll Call‘s Meredith Shiner with accompanying photograph.

Shut up SOTU clappers, journo wants his Zzzz’s

“Dear applauders: Please stop. I have a bedtime.” — WaPo‘s Chris Cillizza.

Importantish Q to Ponder: “So… Does Senator Menendez shake President Obama’s hand as he walks in? Awkward. #SOTU” — NRSC Strategist Brad Dayspring.

Important Q to Ponder: “So does CNN break away from the burning house to do the State of the Union.” — TPM‘s Josh Marshall.

Important Q to Ponder III: “What’s the over/under on the number of Nicorette patches John Boehner has plastered all over himself right now?” — Times of London‘s Matt Spence.

THE SPEAKER AND THE LOUDMOUTH: “Luke Russert shakes Speaker Boehner’s hand as he walks to the chamber for SOTU.” — NBC House of Representatives Producer Frank Thorp. Boehner affectionately (we think) refers to Russert as the “loudmouth.”

Rothenberg crushes the spirit of political reporters

“Political reporters always incredibly excited by SOTU. Real people not so much.” — Stu Rothenberg, who writes a column for Roll Call, a publication full of political reporters. And then, oddly, he writes, “My first SOTU inside the chamber? 1970 when I was Colby College intern in Ed Muskie’s office. AA gave me ticket.” Um, hey Stu, do real people give a sh-t about this?

Speaking of excitement…

“The hallway outside Sen. Durbin’s office smells overwhelmingly of barbecue.” — Roll Call‘s Shiner of the Illinois Democrat.

And again…

“Just spoke to Gabby Giffords for the first time since the day before she was shot. She looks amazing. Twinkle in her eye and broad smile.” — CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash.

“Senate page just said in Statuary Hall ‘Oh my God. Kelly Ayotte is rocking the mint-green!’ I am partial to Bader Ginsberg‘s red.” — Roll Call‘s Abby Livingston.

“McCain ribbing Kerry as he walks by.” — Politico‘s Manu Raju.

Rep. Terry Sewell is the most energetic greeter of the House! Urrybody gets a kiss and big laugh and a thousand watt smile.” — BuzzFeed Washington Bureau Chief John Stanton.

“Lots of schmoozing with former colleagues as Secy Kerry makes his way down the aisle.” — CBS White House radio correspondent Mark Knoller.

“Whoever said that politics is showbiz for ugly people was a master of understatement. Or just blind.” — Reason‘s Nick Gillespie.

“VP Biden has a scratched cornea, reports NBC, which is why he is wearing glasses.” — The Hill‘s Emily Goodin.

Politico Playbook Publish Time: 7:43 a.m.

The Jokester Caucus

  • “Press will now begin attacking Rubio for drinking problem.” — USA Today‘s Paul Singer.
  • “I’m sure I’m going to dislike this but at least Beyonce is performing.” — Logan Dobson, before the SOTU address began.
  • “When is halftime? Where is Beyonce?” — FNC’s Greg Gutfeld.
  • “Who’s the fat lump of shit next to Mrs Obama? #SOTU.” — Anthony Cumia from the Opie and Anthony radio show.
  • “Marco! Pollo! Marco! Pollo! Fish out of water!” [Insert Rubio Joke Here] #Rubioing.” — Syndicated columnist and Bullfight Strategies’ Karl Frisch.
  • “What’s the opposite of 5-Hour Energy? Boehner’s had two of them, at least.” — Bloomberg Business Week‘s Joshua Green.

The Critics

“Really pathetic and sad reflection on media-culture that taking a drink of water can overwhelm everything else.” — Christian Heinze, founder of Prez16.com. Seconded by NRSC Spokesman Brian Walsh, who said, “Exactly.”

Oh, but wait: “Jesus… the water sip blew the whole speech. Was on board until then but he blew it. Cue SNL.” — Jason Killian Meath, President, GOP Media Firm.

“The problem with this speech is a.) we already knew what was in it and b.) little of it is new.” — Politico‘s Ben White.

“I like Rubio’s remarks thus far, dislike the dry mouth. Get the man a water. Let’s hear some solutions.” — Conservative radio host Dana Loesch.

“Was leaning off camera to get water really better than obviously needing one?” — WCP Editor Mike Madden during the GOP response of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

“Rubio keeps grabbing at his face. What’s with that?” — Baron‘s D.C. Editor James McTague.

“Huh, Chris Matthews voted for George W. Bush. You can admit that on MSNBC and still have a job? #MSNBCAfterDark” — U.S. News & World Report‘s Robert Schlesinger at 12:19 a.m.

Gratitude is…

“SOMEBODY PLEASE GIF THAT AWKWARD WATER BOTTLE GRAB, RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!! wowowoowowowowoowowow” — WaPo Express’ Clinton Yates.

“Water grab! Thank God.” — ABC News’ Nico Hines.

“Rubio has serious case of drymouth. Thank god he just took a sip of water.” — Roll Call Senate Editor Emily Pierce.

Jeff Zucker, give this man a raise! 

“CNN has every story covered tonight. On CNN-US: SOTU coverage. On HLN, continuing live coverage of Calif. Manhunt.” — CNN Washington Bureau Chief Sam Feist.

Wardrobe Change

“I just changed into flats because it is SRO in the House press gallery. #SOTU” — TWT‘s Emily Miller.

The sharp-tongued observers… Read more

Bonjean Holiday Party Welcomes Erik Estrada and Partygoers Peeing on the Neighbors’ Lawns

By Betsy Rothstein, Eddie Scarry and Peter Ogburn

We don’t know how Communications Consultant Ron Bonjean and his wife, Sara, do it. But each year they manage to invite the most unexpected washed up D-lister imaginable to their holiday party. This year that was Erik Estrada, who played a cop on the late 70s series “CHIPS” and himself on “Sabrina, The Teenage Witch.” People once named him one of the “10 Sexiest Bachelors in the World.” Some other standout roles: In 2009 he appeared in the blockbuster Husband for Hire starring Mario Lopez; in that same year he began showing up in Burger King commercials. Other regular staples at the Bonjean party: A drunken, homeless elf who does balloon tricks, lasagna, a vodka-laced ice luge and some kind of animal — this year it was a giant bunny mingling among guests. The drink of the evening was the “Fiscal Cliff.” As Bonjean described it, “It starts out smooth and then you get smashed.” If anyone smelled an overabundance of Drakkar Noir cologne, that was not the mime trailing NRSC Spokesman Brian Walsh around the party. That was actually Walsh, who was being followed all night by the mime and a second partygoer assigned to spraying him with cologne. House Maj. Leader Eric Cantor‘s Dep. Chief of Staff Doug Heye, who was tasked with the picking Estrada up from the airport, wasn’t likely responsible.

Quoteables:

9:54 p.m. Undisclosed journo urinates in neighbor’s yard.

Hollywood on the Potomac blogger and publicist Janet Donovan spotted taking pictures of Estrada just inside the door. Party host Ron Bonjean, meanwhile, was decked out in a flamboyant purple blazer with large flowers that his wife had tailor made for him for the party.

10:18 p.m. Peter threatens that he and Eddie are going to rip some chunks out of the gingerbread house.

10:20 p.m. Partygoer: “Last time I saw this many ladies wearing sparkly clothes, I was at a strip club.”

10:25 p.m. Guy is seen wearing a sweater adorned with actual Christmas stockings. Peter: “Eddie has dared me to put a meatball in one. Challenge accepted.”

10:30 p.m. Partygoer Nick Massella is overheard discussing Sunday brunch. “The lemon pancakes are fucking amazing!”

10:30 p.m. CNN’s Washington Bureau Chief Sam Feist is here. So is NYT‘s Jeff Zeleny.

10:54 p.m. There are a lot of ugly festive frocks — we won’t lie. We ask one male partygoer in holiday pants, “What’s on your pants?” He snipped, “Santas.” Then when we asked where he purchased them, he snapped that he bought them online. Clearly he wanted someone to ask about his pants and when they do, he acts like a bitch.

11:15 p.m. A drunken elf with white foam in the right hand corner of his mouth gives Peter, Eddie and I a semi-private show involving balloon toys. Eddie makes an obligatory condom joke. A drunken guest walks by and mentions Sean Spicer, the RNC Spokesman who is at the party. The elf eventually slurs, “I was just running my mouth. Who is Sean Spicer?” We explain as best as we can.

11:32 p.m. Former Washington Examiner reporter J.P. Freire is here with his girlfriend, Cat. He tells us he’s now self-employed. “So I’m not eating cat food,” he jokes. “I mean, I’m eating Cat’s food.” Sounds vaguely naughty.

11:40 p.m.: Overheard. Male partygoer with dark hair and scrunched face asks, “Who’s that guy on CNN who has the show and wears the stupid Ascot?” Actually, that would be CNN Contributor Roland Martin, who actually doesn’t have his own show on CNN but hosts “Washington Watch.”

11:45 p.m. Guy with palpable Cheetos breath walks by.

11:50 p.m. Man with hair that a partygoer has dubbed “the penis hairdo” is chatting up Estrada in the foyer. We ask, “Where did you get your hairdo?” He replies, “Why, should I give it back?”

11:55 p.m. Male guest tells Estrada he once dressed up as him for Halloween. He notes, “I think he was a little skeeved out.”

Midnight: Eddie takes picture of a gaggle of women. Woman asks, “Do I look thin?”

FNC’s Doug McElway is floating around. He says he likes covering national politics for Fox News. “Beats covering buckling children into car seats,” he says. McElway was fired by the ABC affiliate, WJLA-TV for insubordination and misconduct in Sept. 2010. (We try not to upset him.)

12: 21 a.m. Guy in bright, eyesore salmon blazer says he purchased it in Las Vegas. He shows off his matching orange socks. Turns out he’s Chad Barth, a “political events evangelist” for Eventbrite. “I like to represent the company,” he says, explaining that the company color is salmon. “You’re not going to say I’m drunk are you?”

12:30 a.m. RNC aide Tim Miller, former spokesman to Jon Huntsman, seen stuffing a near-empty cigarette pack with free cigarettes by the door. By the way, we love Miller and more importantly, he LOVES FishbowlDC even though his friends can’t stand it.

12:45 a.m. A different undisclosed partygoer reveals that he urinated on a neighbor’s lawn.

(Pictured above: On left: CNN’s Matt Dornic embracing Estrada. Note his newly purchased holiday sweater from Urban Outfitters. At right: Bonjean in purple flower-bombed blazer.)

See who showed up to the party as well as our lunatic picture gallery…

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