You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

Dear Phil, I Accept!

Politics magazine (the former Campaigns and Elections) has a fascinating, if insider-y, post mortem on the Clinton press shop, focusing especially on former Clinton spokesman Phil Singer. As someone who dealt with Singer on a periodic basis, I was pretty stunned to read the following:

More than anyone else, Singer came to symbolize the underlying problem of Clinton’s ill-fated bid: a notion of inevitability, combined with hostility toward the media. Singer has been accused of everything from bringing NBC’s Andrea Mitchell to tears to spreading a false rumor that political reporter Anne Kornblut was fired from The New York Times. Singer now plainly admits his failings. “I yelled at more reporters than I ever dreamed I’d yell at,” he says. “Honestly, I deeply regret it because not only was it wrong, but it got in the way, it made me less effective.” [emphasis added.]
Singer and, to a lesser extent, his former boss Howard Wolfson take some real lumps in the piece. And, in Singer's case at least, they're often deserved. But despite having been on the receiving end of more than one Singer tirade, which unquestionably put me off, I have to say the guy was more or less a pro in certain respects. That is, he could rant and rave at you, and drip with sarcasm, but I found him to be pretty responsive and to basically level with me in the end (albeit grudgingly).
And that goes doubly for Wolfson, who, in the experience of a lot of people around this office, didn't even make you sit through the rant first. (That may be one reason we still have a good relationship with him.)
Via Ben Smith
--Noam Scheiber