January 4, 2008

That Ain't A Cross Off His Shoulder This Time





The Huckster might crash and burn after New Hampshire, but he’s got one of the shrewdest PR instincts I’ve seen in a while.  If anyone thought there was anything innocent about the cross video, or the “potential mistake” of showing the pulled Romney ad, consider the background for his Iowa victory speech last night.

Enhancing the beauty of the moment, the campaign chose to flank Huckabee with Chuck Norris and his lovely wife, Gena (who spent an inordinate amount of time staring straight into the camera).  As a result, Huck’s wife was not only edged out of the picture — but she, and the camera, remained in place (that’s her light brown jacket at the far right edge of the screen) when the Governor introduced and thanked her.

What is also curious, by the way, is what happened once CNN switched its camera angle from straight-on to right-to-left.

At around 5:50 through the 10 minute and 20 second speech, Chuck and his wife shifted positions, and also switched places, flanking Huckabee again at the new angle.  Unfortunately, the Chuckster failed to shift over enough and was mostly blocked by Huck, but his wife reassumed prime line-of-sight on the right, between the family values candidate and his wife.  (This was also right after Huck introduced his children, two of whom seemed about to flank him, but instead greeted Chuck and Gena, then moved off.)

The switching around could be less the result of stage management than the fact that Gena O’Kelly, a former model who is 28 years Norris’s junior, has a trained eye for the spotlight.  Either way, however, its another instance where a supposedly bootstrap campaign has demonstrated an uncanny sense of what seduces the public and the media.

Huckabee Victory Speech (Video – CNN)

(screenshot: CNN)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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