While certainly not a shake-up, the campaign is changing its media strategy. National press secretary David Swanson, who kept a grueling schedule as the campaign's main spokesperson but who oftentimes had a prickly relationship with the press, has given his two weeks notice.
Replacing him is author and journalist William Rivers Pitt. Pitt, who wrote "War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know" with former weapons inspector Scott Ritter and who currently edits the website TruthOut.org, was covering Kucinich last week in Iowa. He blended in so well that Kucinich offered him the position, and he will now travel full-time with the candidate. The campaign worries its relationship with the media has been damaged by its previously defensive attitude toward the mainstream press, something they hope Pitt can remedy. As Pitt told ABC News, "There's a new sheriff in town."
Iowa state coordinator Dave Rogers has now been dispatched to head up advance in upcoming contests, and heads to New Mexico tomorrow.
I wasn't able to get through to the media staffers tonight to confrim which ads were running where and what their titles are, but this is the latest info I have: there are two new Kucinich ads began airing Monday 1/26 and address issues of trade and health care. They are airing on Maine stations WGME (CBS), WCSH (NBC), WLBZ (NBC), WABI (CBS), Massachusetts station WHDH (NBC), Oklahoma stations KOTV (CBS), KTUL (ABC), KFOR (NBC), KWTV (CBS), CNN and MTV in Tulsa, CNN and MTV and USA in Oklahoma City, and New Mexico stations KOAT (ABC) and KOBTV (NBC).
Congressman Dennis Kucinich was the only candidate in the 2004 Iowa caucuses to actually come in exactly where he'd been expected to from the start: dead last. But unlike Rep. Gephardt and the other top-tier candidates who will inevitably drop out to save face after disappointing finishes, Kucinich tried to turn Monday night's defeat into a rallying cry for his die-hard following, pledging to take his anti-war campaign all the way to the convention.
Amid the wild cheers of a packed ballroom after the caucus results had come in, a hoarse and red-faced Kucinich employed that special brand of logic unique to him and his supporters - which he terms as optimistic but others might call delusional: "We started off one of nine candidates and were considered to be in ninth place. Because we came to Iowa…because we took this message to Iowa, over a period of 11 months we've moved up from ninth to fifth. We're gonna bring our troops home, we're gonna keep this campaign going, we're gonna go on to New Hampshire, South Carolina, New Mexico, Arizona, to the West, to the North, to the South…we will win at the convention!"
But despite Kucinich's seemingly endless enthusiasm, the Iowa staff couldn't help but seem deflated. The hefty amount of time Kucinich has spent in Iowa essentially rested on the shoulders of only two men, State Political Director John Friedrich and State Coordinator Dave Rogers. Exhausted after the last few days' breakneck pace, Friedrich tried to put a positive spin on the night, saying Kucinich had already outlasted Graham and now Gephardt so therefore could outlast everyone else. It's unclear what role state staffers will play in the continuing campaign.