Elizabeth Warren: Champion of US’ Disappearing Middle Class

 Elizabeth Warren: Champion of US’ Disappearing Middle Class

THE PR VERDICT: “A” (PR Perfect) for Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

You know your PR is on the “stun” setting when the question about the presidential election goes from whether Hillary Clinton will run to whether you’ll run with her. Welcome to Elizabeth Warren’s new world.

Warren, the Democratic Senator of Massachusetts who chaired the government oversight panel on the 2008 bailout, released her latest book, A Fighting Chance, this week. The book is part memoir of her childhood in rural Oklahoma, part commentary on the plight of America’s middle class. (An article in The New York Times about America’s middle class no longer being the richest in the world could not be better timed.) Warren’s plainspoken indictments of political and corporate actions that led up to the financial collapse will likely be read raptly by many a disenchanted American.

Now Warren’s is one of the names being bandied about for 2016. She says she has no intention of running for president herself, nor has Hillary Clinton committed to a run. But Warren is already taking another step in her role as champion of America’s ailing middle class.

THE PR VERDICT: “A” (PR Perfect) for Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

THE PR TAKEAWAY: Check the weather and step out accordingly. Since the economic collapse that still has the US (and the world) reeling, Americans have grown mistrustful of politicians and banks. Enter Warren, daughter of a janitor and a minimum-wage earner who became a Harvard law professor, who seems to speak the same fed-up language that average people do, basher of big banks and crusader for the little guy. The 2016 election is a while away, but Elizabeth Warren’s message is right on time.

The PRV Report Card: This Week’s Winners & Losers

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners & LosersPR WINNER OF THE WEEK: “A” (PR PERFECT) to Valérie Trierweller, the French first lady who staged a PR coup by checking herself into hospital after a magazine revealed that French President François Hollande has been having an affair with actress Julie Gayet. The media reported that Trierweller is so weak she cannot stand and is suffering from “low morale.” Despite being so indisposed, she’s made it clear she has no intention of leaving her philandering companion. Might Hollande have used this opportunity to declare his allegiance to Gayet? We’ll never know, since Trierweller’s canny move ensures she is the sympathetic figure in this love triangle. Hollande is left to send chocolates and flowers, while Gayet has launched a lawsuit. Touché, madame.

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners & Losers

PR LOSER OF THE WEEK: “F” (FULL FIASCO) to Hillary Clinton. A bipartisan Senate report on the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the US Embassy in Benghazi found that the incident, which left four Americans dead, was preventable. Clinton, who was Secretary of State at the time, was not the only one blamed, but the findings are grave and cast a pall on talk of her possible bid for president in 2016.

randikaye The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners & LosersTHE PRV “THERE’S NO ‘THERE’ THERE” AWARD TO CNN’s Randi Kaye, who braved the confines of a pot smoke-filled stretch limo apparently for hours as part of her network’s coverage of Colorado’s newly-legalized marijuana industry – and appeared on camera visibly stoned as a result. Wrapping up her report on Anderson Cooper’s evening segment on Tuesday, Kaye giggled a lot and told the host that she’d had trouble remembering all the questions she wanted to ask during her reporting. Cooper asked but didn’t quite get the answer on whether Kaye’s Rocky Mountain high was passively or actively acquired. Pro tip for next time? Roll down a window.

The PRV Report Card: This Week’s Winners & Losers

cnn 150x150 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners & LosersPR WINNER OF THE WEEK: “A” (PR PERFECT) to CNN, for its measured but pointed response to political posturing by the Republican National Committee. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus threatened to bar both CNN and corporate sibling NBC News from the 2016 Presidential debate process, in response to a mini-series on Hillary Clinton being produced by CNN Films, another affiliate. Priebus said the program amounted to an “in-kind donation” for Clinton, a likely Presidential candidate, and her fellow Democrats. One can certainly debate the suitability of airing such a program, given the corprate connections and timing. But in a statement, CNN noted that the project is in its early stages, called on the RNC to reserve judgment, and noted, correctly, that the only people to be harmed by the RNC’s threat would be voters.

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners & LosersLOSER OF THE WEEK: “F” (FULL FIASCO) to summer blockbusters with bloated budgets. July may have been one of the hottest months on record  – but not at the box office. Movie studios are facing huge losses after a string of big budget releases tanked at the box office, including Pacific Rim, White House Down, After Earth, and, most notably, The Lone Ranger. Disney suffered a shellacking on that film, spending anywhere from $200 to $400 million when all the marketing was said and done, and taking in a relatively embarrassing $175 million. Star Johnny Depp blamed bad pre-release PR, Steven Spielberg prophesied the blockbuster implosion, and moviegoers merely stayed home and binge-viewed Orange Is the New Black on NetFlix. The upside? Maybe Hollywood is finally done with sequels to Transformers.

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners & LosersTHE PRV “THERE’S NO ‘THERE’ THERE” AWARD TO President Obama for canceling his planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the impetus for which clearly was Russia’s “disappointing” asylum-granting to Edward Snowden, the American secret-leaker. But to what end? A few weeks ago, Obama said he wouldn’t “scramble jets to get a 29-year-old hacker.” Now, he’s refusing to meet with world leaders over him. By canceling, the President himself has elevated The Snowden Affair to a whole new level. Instead of a tête-á-tête with the Russian president prior to the G20 summit, the White House announced, President Obama will head to that geopolitical hotspot, Sweden. Boy, Putin must be shaking in his fur-lined boots.

Barbara Bush’s PR Gift to Hilary?

 Barbara Bushs PR Gift to Hilary?

THE PR VERDICT: “B” for Barbara Bush and her off script comment.

Three generations of Bush women were interviewed last week on the Today Show to coincide with the launch of the Bush Presidential Library. When host Matt Lauer asked if Jeb Bush, son of George H.W., younger brother of George W., should run for president in 2016, one might almost think it was a rhetorical question. One might also nearly fall off one’s couch at the answer from Bush matriarch Barbara, Jeb’s mother: “There are other people out there that are very qualified, and we’ve had enough Bushes,” she said. Laura Bush, Dubya’s wife, and her daughters could only look a little startled.

The sound bite reverberated around newsrooms, and the headlines read NO MORE BUSHES, making Barbara Bush sound more like a protester than a former First Lady. Her reason for the nay say? While she described son Jeb as one of the best qualified men to do the job, she was concerned he would  “get half of our friends and all of our enemies” working against him.

Was this a PR gift to the Democrats? Not necessarily. Whatever damages the Bush camp sustained, the Hillary Clinton camp might have been equally vexed. Babs Bush went on to opine that the presidential field had to be opened up to other contenders. “I think it’s a great country, there are a lot of great families, and it’s not just four families or whatever.” What was looking like great fodder for those opposing Jeb Bush (even his mother says no!) now had a sting in the tail. Clinton’s PR gift had just as quickly been taken away.

THE PR VERDICT: “B” for Barbara Bush and her off script comment. Going off message was mitigated by also robbing her opponents, the Clintons, of the same.

THE PR TAKEAWAY: PR gifts are rarely free. With the rest of the family being supportive of Jeb’s possible run, Barbara Bush’s comments were presumably a spanner in the works. But Hillary Clinton and political strategists hoping to make capital will have been disappointed. Babs Bush’s comments could equally become the rallying cry for opponents to another Clinton presidency. This political gift might be one the Democrats may ultimately have to pass on.

 

Will She, Or Won’t She? Hillary Gets Coy

 Will She, Or Wont She? Hillary Gets Coy

THE PR VERDICT: “A” (PR Perfect) to Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Rodham Clinton was so determined to succeed in her run for president, there were doubts that cooperation between her and the man who would be President, Barack Obama, was even possible. Vice President was out; would she even accept Secretary of State, or would she pack up her toys and go home? Everyone knows the answer to that one, as this week Secretary of State Clinton leaves her post having logged more flight miles than any of her predecessors. Now that her consolation prize post is over, is she setting her laser-beam sights again on the big chair?

There are no indications coming from her directly, though there are enough indications swirling around her to give political pundits much to speculate about. First came a positively chummy interview Sunday past, with Hillary and President Obama on 60 Minutes. When asked if she was considering another run in 2016, Clinton replied, “I don’t think either [Obama] or I can make predictions about what’s going to happen tomorrow or next year.” The interview was seen by many as an endorsement, despite the president’s attempt to laugh that off.

Clinton was more direct during an interview with CNN yesterday, during which she said she had “absolutely no plans to run.” A forthcoming memoir may provide a few more interesting clues – or not. For now, the former First Lady and outgoing Secretary of State will keep everyone wondering whether she’ll try to add the ultimate title to her resume.

THE PR VERDICT: “A” (PR Perfect) to Hillary Clinton. Altogether more intriguing than any other politician.

THE PR TAKEAWAY: Keep people guessing, and you keep people thinking about you. Clinton knows when to give, as she did during her very real testimony on the attack on the American consulate in Libya. She also knows when to withhold, with a blithe smile, as she does whenever she’s asked about another attempt at the presidency. Hillary Rodham Clinton has become a master of giving and withholding information, ensuring that the public, love her or hate her, will snap to attention whenever she speaks. Give a little . . . but not too much, and you’ll get the lion’s share of attention.

The PRV Report Card: This Week’s Winners and Losers

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners and LosersPR WINNER OF THE WEEK: “A” (PR PERFECT) TO Hillary Clinton. For turning the tables in an argument, the prize must go to the now-former Secretary of State, who testified this week at a congressional hearing regarding the deaths of US personnel in Benghazi, Libya. The PR turning point? When Hilary fired off her exasperated question, “What difference does it make?” in response to one particularly long-winded question from a committee member. Rhetorically asked with a flash of obvious irritation, this was THE moment that captured the media. Bad news for the committee, but good news for Clinton; her question implied that the scandal critics and pundits were hoping for was a non-starter.  Ah! The power of a question to change the conversation.

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners and LosersPR LOSER OF THE WEEK: “F” (FULL FIASCO TO) Coca-Cola. In a reaction to never-ending statistics about the rise of metabolic syndrome – the name now given to the grouping of damaging physical conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension – Coke launched a new initiative called “Coming Together.” In the heartwarming commercial, Coke assures us that “all calories count, no matter where they come from, including Coca-Cola.” Translation: We’re blameless! Result? Critics pounced. The PR problem is that this tactic is akin to sharks saying they’re not dangerous unless you insert your leg in their mouths. Metabolic syndrome is a national conversation, but Coke must realize it’s one they cannot possibly be a part of without looking self protecting and insincere. Yes a calorie is a calorie but sugared sodas have never been the healthy eater’s friend.Have they?

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners and LosersTHE “THERE’S NO ‘THERE’ THERE” PR AWARD TO Beyoncé. After a rousing rendition of the national anthem at President Obama’s inauguration, rumors began to swirl: Was that performance live, or did Beyoncé lip-sync? Given the condemnation and amount of media attention this question was given, one would think lip-syncing was on a par with treason. The temperature on the mall hovered around 40 degrees; who could blame Beyoncé for not wanting to take chances with such a public performance? Much ado about nothing, and Beyoncé, whose megafame invites examination of her every move, would be wise to remain silent and keep them guessing.

Slaughter’s “Can’t Have It All” Doesn’t Include All

atlantic Slaughters Cant Have It All Doesnt Include All

The PR Verdict: “B” for The Atlantic and Anne-Marie Slaughter.

Has anyone NOT heard about this month’s cover story of The Atlantic? Anne-Marie Slaughter of Princeton University, former foreign policy adviser to Hilary Clinton, has written a lengthy cover story pessimistically entitled “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.”  The article has had over 1,000, 000 hits within a week and kick-started a blizzard of discussions on the morning shows and online.

Several “A” list women have been booked to opine on the article. CBS had Sallie Krawcheck talking about her role as one of Wall Street’s heavy hitters at Bank of America. MSNBC had Gillian Tett, U.S. editor of the Financial Times. Slaughter herself has done the rounds, talking about her time at the State department and her luck in having a husband who worked in academia and therefore had more flexibility when it came to sharing childcare duties.

Slaughter’s message includes a rethinking of work practices and work/life balance. It’s not a new message, but it has caught fire. The wrinkle in her PR push? This has been almost exclusively an “A list ” discussion among women with truly impressive careers. Slaughter better be ready for the follow-up conversation concerning women who work to make the rent, and who haven’t the luxury of loftier ideals.

The PR Verdict: “B” (Good Show) for Slaughter and her article that provoked huge media discussion. Sometimes an article taps into the zeitgeist; this seems to be one of them.

PR Takeaway: Head off a backlash early in the PR process. While Slaughter has captured the limelight in part due to her impressive career credentials, she misses out on a full mark as the conversation and PR positioning seem almost exclusively directed toward “A list” women. Slaughter might want to start preparing for the (inevitable) backlash. During the chat show rounds, vary the message by including women who don’t run the IMF or work at the State Department. Sometimes work is less about personal fulfillment and more about economic necessity.

Given the current economic situation, is Slaughter’s message on target or off-base? And should she prepare for a backlash after the initial blizzard of publicity? Give us your PR Verdict, below.

 

 

 

 

 

Is Hillary Having An Unofficial PR Makeover?

Hilaryclinton Is Hillary Having An Unofficial PR Makeover?

The PR Verdict: "B" for Hillary Clinton and her ongoing unofficial PR makeover.

What is going on with Hillary Clinton? Are we seeing a PR campaign by stealth? Over the last month Madam Secretary seems to have been working on, what can only be described,  as an unofficial PR makeover.  Something’s afoot.

It all started with the photo of Hillary Clinton texting while aboard a C-17 military plane.  It went viral and comics in cyber space had fun creating harmless spoof texts about to whom and what she was texting.  Was it Beyonce?  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?  Or Condi Rice? Then much to everyone’s surprise, Hillary started tweeting directly, followed up by an invitation to the creators of the spoof texts to meet with her at the State Department.  Cameras ready?   Hillary now on Twitter and Tumblr!

Next stop: An unofficial photo from Cartagena, Colombia, while there for the Latin America Summit.  Photos of good ol’Hillary  dancing with her office gal pals for a colleague’s birthday after hours.  It made all the papers and she was having fun.  Nice one!  And while we are there,  it temporarily pushed the scandal of secret service officers and prostitutes in hotel rooms, off the front page. Yay!

The PR Verdict: “B” for Hillary Clinton and her ongoing unofficial PR makeover.  From the Cruella de Vil of foreign policy to fun Ol’Hillary.  It’s amazing what a tweet and photo can do,  particularly for the female vote in an election year.

PR Takeaway:  A PR image can only exist in one dimension for so long.  Hillary is tough and clever -we all know that.  But this gets old fast.  Something was needed to change the pace.  Her recent forays into social media have moved the dial on her popularity and likeability.  Hillary has another side.  See?  Who knew?  Is all of this really just a coincidence?

To read more about Hillary texting click here.  To see Hillary partying in Columbia click here.

What’s your PR Verdict on Hillary’s ongoing PR makeover?

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