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

 The PRV Report Card: This Week’s Winners & LosersPR WINNER OF THE WEEK: “A” (PR PERFECT) to Cory Booker, the charismatic Democratic mayor of Newark, NJ, who this week became the state’s first African American US senator. True, he was unlikely to lose; New Jersey hasn’t elected a Republican to the Senate in 40 years. Still, the media-savvy 44-year-old ran a carefully calibrated race. Early on, he laid low and campaigned via his Twitter feed and Instagram videos. He artfully handled shrill questions about sexuality and his communications with a West Coast stripper. When opponent Steve Lonegan turned up the heat, Booker came out swinging with an aggressive TV ad (but still spent less than $1 million on television). Booker’s next challenge will be navigating the US Senate where, as The New York Times put it, “show horses tend to stumble.”

 The PRV Report Card: This Week’s Winners & LosersPR LOSER OF THE WEEK: “F” (FULL FIASCO) to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the man behind the ban on large-sized sugary drinks and increasingly limited public smoking areas. While those “nanny state” actions could be called beneficial, this week the mayor directed NYC police to find and arrest the artist known as Banksy, who is currently “defacing” the buildings of Bloomie’s burg. Banksy’s art routinely sells for millions, and other cities have treated his graffiti-style work as valuable contributions. Nevertheless, in a town that has recently suffered a spate of violent attacks on gay men, cops are being ordered by Hizzonor to focus on apprehending this hooded painting bandit. That’s a Big Gulp of nerve.

bachmanncruz The PRV Report Card: This Week’s Winners & LosersTHE PRV “THERE’S NO ‘THERE’ THERE” AWARD TO any number of US Congressional Republicans, for statements during the 16-day government shutdown crisis that gave “spin” a bad name, even after the crisis ended. When it did, the meekly even-handed media coverage broke decidedly against the Republicans, but that didn’t end their attempts to save face and subvert reality. Thus we have statements like House Speaker John Boehner’s “We fought the good fight, we just didn’t win,” Sen. Ted Cruz’s “Washington is not listening to the people,” and Rep. Michele Bachmann’s “This was a fight worth having.” After setting out on an obviously dead-ending path, they followed to its natural conclusion and somehow kept going, perhaps walking their party right into the political wilderness.

Bachmann Video: What a Long, Strange Clip It’s Been

 Bachmann Video: What a Long, Strange Clip Its Been

THE PR VERDICT: “D” (PR Problematic) for Michele Bachmann.

US Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is a lot of things, but predictable isn’t one of them. The Minnesota Republican has once again made headlines, this time with the unexpected announcement that she won’t seek re-election in 2014.

The Tea Party darling’s reasons for stepping down are murky, and her announcement only made the waters more turbid. The first mistake was in dropping her bombshell via a YouTube video, an indication that she didn’t want to face questions about her decision or her future plans. Then there’s the video itself. Against an odd Chariots of Fire-style musical backdrop, Bachmann begins by rambling about term limits, then launches into a list of reasons she’s not retiring: certainly not because she faces a tough re-election campaign against a candidate she narrowly defeated last year, or because of a federal inquiry into possible misuse of her presidential campaign funds. In the remaining seven minutes of the video, she bashes the Obama administration, slams the “liberal media,” and rattles off a laundry list of issues she’ll continue to support or fight in her remaining 18 months in office.

Political swan song or groundlaying for another presidential bid? It’s impossible to tell. Bachmann says the country is on the wrong track and in the worst shape she’s ever seen, yet there is no opportunity, political or otherwise, that she won’t consider in the future. More than one copy editor must have smiled in appreciation at New York magazine’s headline, “Michele Bachmann Retires as President of Crazyland.”

THE PR VERDICT: “D” (PR Problematic) for Michele Bachmann. The Minnesota congresswoman befuddles, per usual.

THE PR TAKEAWAY: If you’re not going to say anything, say it as succinctly as possible. Bachmann announced her retirement, yet her constituents still have no clue why she’s leaving or what the future holds. It may well be that she doesn’t want to reveal all at this time, but a concisely worded press statement issued through her office would have accomplished the same goal without a move that only added to her already bizarre reputation.

To watch the video, click here.

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

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners and Losers

PR WINNER OF THE WEEK: “A” (PR PERFECT) to the latest online petition. We love the latest petition circulating on the White House’s own website, “We the People” which calls on Congressional lawmakers to prominently display their financial backers and monetary support from various lobbies. Yes, it will make Congressional members look like Nascar participants, but it just might focus their minds when it comes to voting on financial or healthcare reform. Members of Congress would be required to wear the names of their “sponsors” during all official duties, including voting. The size of a logo or name would vary with the amount of a donation. A brilliant idea, giving vested interests no place to hide.

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners and LosersPR LOSER OF THE WEEK: “F” (FULL FIASCO) to the European Central Bank (ECB) and its ham-fisted attempt to impose an unprecedented tax on the deposits of ordinary Cypriots without vetting the levy with lawmakers first. The tax, part of a proposal to bail out the small Mediterranean country of Cyprus, sparked demonstrations and forced the Cypriot Parliament to reject the bailout’s terms, causing angst in European, and ultimately world, financial markets. Nobody likes a tax, but the terms may have been easier to accept had the ECB secured the backing of key leaders first. Instead, Cyprus now teeters on the brink of economic collapse. The world watches – and waits to be affected by the consequences.

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners and LosersTHE PRV “THERE’S NO ‘THERE’ THERE” AWARD to Michele Bachmann. The Republican Representative for Minnesota is back, and she’s making less sense than ever. In this video, she says Obamacare will “literally kill” women and children. We understand what she meant, but a bill cannot literally kill anyone, unless it is used to inflict a fatal paper cut. Still, it would not be the health care bill itself, but the paper the bill was printed on. That’s more detail on that than Rep. Bachmann gave in her charge against Obamacare. And in her address at the Conservative Political Action Conference, she stated that the First Family lives ” a lifestyle that is one of excess.” Bill O’Reilly pointed out that President George W. Bush had a bigger White House budget. Let no mere fact stop the poor man’s Sarah Palin from making her point – whatever that might be.

Bachmann’s Accusations Backfire

 Bachmanns Accusations Backfire

The PR Verdict: “D” (PR Problematic) for Michele Bachmann.

Michele Bachmann, former Republican nominee, recently brought to the nation’s attention her concern that foreign agents are infiltrating the very highest levels of office in the US. This is her first major media moment since announcing application for dual citizenship (her husband is Swiss) and quickly retracting after embarrassingly negative outcry from her constituency. Signing a letter she made public, she claimed that the infiltration of the U.S. government by the Muslim Brotherhood was possibly underway and claimed that two prominent Muslims — Huma Abedin, the State Department aide to Hilary Clinton, and Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota — are tied to the organization.

Bachmann, who also sits on the House Intelligence Committee, has used her position there to lend gravitas to her allegations. But the “ouch” moment came when the committee’s chairman told USA Today, “That kind of assertion certainly doesn’t comport with the Intelligence Committee, and I can say that on the record.” Hmmm… What now, Michele?

Everybody ran for cover. Sen. John McCain denounced the accusation from the Senate floor and joined members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, shutting this news event down. Republican party officials hardly rushed to Bachmann’s defense, with her own state party Chairman “not available” for any elaboration. So far, Bachmann’s office has denied repeated followup media requests. Are they hoping this will simply go away?

The PR Verdict: “D” (PR Problematic) for a mess that still needs to be cleared up. Saying nothing won’t wipe the slate.

The PR Takeaway: As mommie used to say: Clean up your mess! With Bachmann’s accusations described as loony by the media and her congressional colleagues on both sides (who says the government can’t agree?), it is clear this PR missile is only gaining speed in the wrong direction. One voter was quoted in the coverage as saying Bachmann is the “Only one telling the truth” but then again he also claimed that President Obama goes to Martha’s Vineyard to observe Ramadan….. Before Bachmann positions herself as an unequivocal fringe outsider, it might be time to retract, apologize, and simply say this was a mistake. Until she does, the issue is unlikely to go away.

What can Michele Bachmann do to save political face now? Give us your PR Verdict!

Donald Trump: Anyone Coming To My Party?

donaldtrump Donald Trump: Anyone Coming To My Party? Donald Trump (left) announced recently that he would be chairing a televised debate with the leading GOP frontrunners. Invitations were sent.

John Huntsman was the first to decline. After that, Ron Paul and Mitt Romney sent their regrets. Michele Bachmann remains on the fence while only Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have accepted.

Ironically these very same candidates were previously beating a path to The Donald’s door, assuming his public endorsement would make the difference. That was before The Donald intimated that he might run as an independent himself.

The lesson learnt? Presidential candidates can’t shine when pandering to a celebrity whose trademark is opinionated bluster.

The PR Verdict: “A” to the candidates who have sent their regrets.  This was not the right PR vehicle.

The Donald has a habit of shouting down ideas and people he disagrees with. This has made him a media celebrity albeit without a high level of credibility or gravitas. By appearing in the debate,  a presidential candidate runs the risk of looking like he is pandering to a bully.  Not very presidential. Better to send a thank you note and regrets.