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Hillary Clinton Picks Openly Gay Campaign Manager

Robby Mook, a Democratic strategist who ran Terry McAuliffe's successful 2013 campaign for governor of Virginia, has been chosen to take the helm of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, Mother Jones reports:

Mj_mookMook is widely known as Robby, not Robert, and at 35, he's still boyish—handsome and clean-shaven with close-cropped brown hair. His usual uniform consists of chinos and bland dress shirts rolled up to the elbows. He couldn't be more different from, say, James Carville, the loudmouth Ragin' Cajun who advised Bill Clinton's first presidential bid and now makes a living as a consultant and TV commentator. Mook rarely appears in news stories or on TV. He did not respond to repeated interview requests. He has no Facebook page. He has a Twitter account but never tweets and has forgotten the password...

...Mook's friends and colleagues struggle to identify any particular policy issue that drives him. Mark Penn-style theories about key demographic groups (remember Soccer Moms?) don't inspire him either. He's a political nerd who lives and dies by data and nuts-and-bolts organizing.

Mook will be the first openly gay manager of a major presidential campaign. Clinton's announcement is expected sometime today.

Read the full profile on Mook at Mother Jones...

(h/t jmg)


Hillary Clinton Makes Her Announcement...on SNL: VIDEO

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Kate McKinnon opened SNL by imagining the behind-the-scenes preparation for Hillary Clinton's expected 2016 announcement today. After coming off a little hard, she channels her inner, more humble Hillary.

With Hillary in charge, it will be a brand new White House.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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'90s Political Sex Farce 'Clinton the Musical' Opens Off Broadway: REVIEW

Clinton The Musical _13. Photos by Russ Rowland

BY NAVEEN KUMAR

Hillary may have just set up campaign digs in Brooklyn, but Bill’s two terms are getting a bawdy send-up across the river in Clinton the Musical, which opened Off Broadway at New World Stages last night. The loose-limbed romp down memory lane offers a Mad TV meets Cliff’s Notes-style recap of the scandals that rocked Mr. Clinton’s reign, from Whitewater to Lewinsky. But, it’s also an origin story for the Clinton on everyone’s lips, and in the brilliantly zany hands of Kerry Butler (whose turn as Olivia Newton John’s character in Xanadu is the stuff of Broadway musical legends), the likely nominee for 2016 is a comedic force to be reckoned with.

Clinton The Musical _10. Photos by Russ RowlandFirst presented stateside at the 2014 New York Musical Theatre Festival (and previously in Edinburgh), the musical by Peter and Michael Hodge has plenty to delight, not least of all the kooky and charming Ms. Butler. While these may not be the first descriptors the former First Lady calls to mind, the scribes take (many) liberties in their behind-the-scenes peek at a national sex farce in era of dial-up modems and monochrome pantsuits. While Butler’s two rousing solo numbers are worth all that comes between, this is a story about Bill—or, rather, two dueling sides of him.

Clinton The Musical _02. Photos by Russ Rowland“In my whole life, I have only ever loved two men—and they happen to be the same man.” With her opening line, Hillary introduces two versions of the former president: one, “William Jefferson” (Tom Galantich), is upstanding and trustworthy, while the other, “Billy” (Duke Lafoon), likes French fries, sex, and thumbing his sax. The two are often on stage at once, meant to be just one person (at first, only Hillary can actually see Billy). But trying to wrap your head around the stage logic of this simple, two-sides-to-every-coin metaphor proves to be more trouble than it’s worth.

Shoehorning a (relatively) high-concept stage gag into what is otherwise a low satire proves to be an awkward endeavor. Quarrels between the two Bills, presumably meant as inner dialogue, offer little insight on the man’s thinking, and Hillary debating them both makes for an odd political threesome. It’s Billy (the id among the three), of course, who meets Monica (Veronica J. Kuehn), who the Hodges have written as a scheming, blow-up-doll of a character that makes for easy laughs but feels uncomfortably misogynistic.

Clinton The Musical _09. Photos by Russ RowlandThe musical’s score has its ups and downs (the opening number, entitled “Awful-Awesome,” is inadvertently and mostly accurate), and director Dan Knechtges (Tail! Spin!, Lysistrata Jones) makes fun use of a rotating set and recurring sight gags (including a life-sized cutout of Al Gore and a singing portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt). The show’s juiciest laughs come from its super villains, Newt Gingrich (a rotund and petulant John Treacy Egan), first seen scarfing marshmallow goo from the jar in the sub-sub-basement of Congress, and Kenneth Starr (a gleefully maniacal Kevin Zak), whose pursuit of Bill is as awesomely perverse as it is sinister.

With the real political stage about to light up, a silly escape to root for our heroes and vilify our opponents may be just what the 24-hour pundits ordered. And, focusing on Hillary (and the idiocy of her family's rivals) while allowing Bill to fade into the background may be perfect practice, too.

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Possessed Puppet Comedy 'Hand to God' Opens on Broadway: REVIEW
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Helen Mirren Reigns on Broadway in ‘The Audience’: REVIEW
John Cameron Mitchell on Returning to 'Hedwig': INTERVIEW

Follow Naveen Kumar on Twitter: @Mr_NaveenKumar (photos: russ rowland)


Hillary Clinton to Make 2016 Announcement on Sunday Via Video Message: WATCH

Hillary Clinton will announce her intention to run for President this Sunday via video message, CNN reports:

H_clintonClinton has already filmed her campaign video, a person close to the campaign said, which outlines the central themes of her second bid for the White House. The message is intended to send a signal to Democrats that she intends to aggressively fight for the party's presidential nomination.

A new epilogue of her book, "Hard Choices," an excerpt of which was released Friday to the Huffington Post, offers a glimpse into why she is embarking on another presidential campaign. She writes about her new granddaughter, Charlotte, and calls for equal opportunity for her generation.

"Becoming a grandmother has made me think deeply about the responsibility we all share as stewards of the world we inherit and will one day pass on," Clinton, 68, writes in the epilogue. "Rather than make me want to slow down, it has spurred me to speed up."

Watch CNN's report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Hillary Clinton to Open 2016 Campaign Headquarters in Brooklyn: VIDEO

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1 Pierrepont Plaza in Brooklyn Heights will serve as Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign headquarters, Politico reports

The campaign will occupy two full floors of the office building, which is close to 12 subways lines and a dozen bus lines, and will be taking them as is – no buildout. On its website, the building markets it as “Modern Offices. Brooklyn Cool.”

Politico says to expect an official campaign confirmation announcement from Clinton within the next two weeks.

Watch MSNBC's Alex Seitz-Wald discuss the breaking news, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Equality California Becomes First LGBT Organization to Endorse Hillary Clinton for President in 2016

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Equality California has taken a preemptive step in the 2016 race for the White House and become the first LGBT organization to endorse Hillary Clinton for president, the group confirmed in a statement today:

"We want Hillary Clinton to run and are ready to mobilize our 800,000 members to help her win," said Equality California's Executive Director Rick Zbur. "We're enthusiastic about her candidacy because she has the best record of accomplishment on LGBT issues of any potential candidate. Equality California is ready for Hillary!"

As Secretary of State, Clinton championed the rights of LGBT people around the world, making LGBT rights and acceptance a global priority. In 2011, Sec. Clinton gave a historic speech on International Human Rights Day at the United Nations in Geneva, saying: "Gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights."

Under Sec. Clinton's leadership, the Department of State used its full range of diplomatic and development tools to combat violence and discrimination against LGBT people worldwide. Thanks to her efforts, LGBT rights became a core principle of U.S. foreign policy in an unprecedented way.

Throughout her career in public service, she has been a champion for LGBT equality and acceptance within the United States. In a video message, Sec. Clinton states "I believe America is at its best when we champion the freedom and dignity of every human being - that's who we are, it's in our DNA."

EQCA also included a two-page fact sheet on Clinton's record on LGBT issues, which Chris Johnson over at the Washington Blade notes does not mention the late timing of her endorsement of marriage equality in March 2013. Clinton was one of the last big name Democrats to do so. 


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