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Jeanine Pirro's First Speech: The 32 Second Pause

Bump and Update: Crooks and Liars has some video from the speech contained in a new ad - "Jeanine Pirro's Positive Vision for New York - without a script, she is speechless."

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Original Post 8/10 3:15 pm

Jeanine Pirro officially announced her candidacy against Hillary Clinton today. John Nichols of the Nation, writing for CBS, says Hillary lucked out. But the most reported news of her speech at the Waldorf Astoria is that she couldn't find page 10 , causing a 32 second pause.

Michael McKeon, who provided the text and said later that she had been writing until the last minute and left that page in another room. Not unexpectedly, New York Democratic Party officials, who sent an aide to monitor Ms. Pirro's speech, seized upon that long pause as an excuse to tweak the Republican as minor league.

"Today's announcement speech of Jeanine Pirro shows she may not be able to take on her primary opponent, let alone Senator Hillary Clinton," Denny Farrell, chairman of the state Democratic Party, said in a statement. "The speech was long on attacks and literally silent on specifics for New Yorkers - 32 seconds of silence that spoke volumes."

The Times says Jeanine was poised during the pause. The Village Voice says the pause lasted minutes.

She stressed her 30-year career in office, and her moderate views. She laid out her positions on controversial issues ("I support making President Bush's tax cuts permanent. But I also support the right of a woman to choose. . . . I believe in immigration. . . . But I also believe in the Patriot Act.") Building momentum, she took aim at her opponent, someone who "has shortchanged New York" and who "hasn't delivered."

"But I am not Hillary Clinton," Pirro declared, pausing for effect. She segued flawlessly from the type of security she's fought for at home to the types she'll fight for on Capitol Hill - not just national security, but Social Security, medical security, economic security. "You will know where I stand on the issues," Pirro trumpeted, staring at a fixed spot in the back of the room.

"Hillary Clinton," she continued, and looked down at her notes. She then paused, mid-sentence, and said nothing. She shuffled through her notes, as seconds passed. Then minutes. Reporters shifted in their seats. Photographers flashed their cameras. Then, in a muffled voice, Pirro asked her staffers, "Do you have page 10?"

Welcome, Ms. Pirro, to prime time.

The Times says Jeanine was far less sure-footed in the q and a session that followed the speech.

But while Ms. Pirro kept her cool before reporters, she also seemed unprepared for some questions. There was nary a word from Ms. Pirro, at least voluntarily, about her husband, who looms like a specter over the campaign, and she sidestepped some questions about his role in her political future.

Mr. Pirro fathered a child with another woman in the 1990's, and in 2000 he was convicted of income tax fraud and spent 11 months in prison. Ms. Pirro had signed some of the tax returns in questions, but she never faced any charges in his case. This year, a reputed mobster said he had been given confidential information about one of Ms. Pirro's cases from Mr. Pirro, who has denied the allegation.

At the news conference this morning, Ms. Pirro ignored a question about whether she would take money from her husband, who is also a prominent Republican donor, or allow him to raise money for her. Some political candidates rebuff donors with criminal records. Instead, she repeated earlier comments that only her name, and not Mr. Pirro's, would be on the ballot, and that she only had to make the case for herself, and not him, to voters.

Other q and a stumpers: The federal deficit, Iraq troop withdrawal, abortion.

Jeanine is media-ready. She doesn't seem issue-ready yet. It's a pretty big leap from suburban District Attorney to U.S. Senator. It looks like she's going to find that out the hard way.

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  • Re: Jeanine Pirro's First Speech: The 32 Second Pa (none / 0) (#1)
    by BigTex on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:09 PM EST
    This just reinforces that thought that she isn't a serious contender, but rather a stepping stone for Cox. Media ready is nice, but issue ready is the key. A 32 second pause is unexcusable. SHe should know her speech well enough to at least gloss over page 10 and get to page 11.

    Re: Jeanine Pirro's First Speech: The 32 Second Pa (none / 0) (#2)
    by roy on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:09 PM EST
    Still a better speaker than Bush.

    Clinton v. Pirro, obstensibly a 800 lb gorilla v. a fruit fly, is worthy of its own distinct TL category? Wow. Clinton-Pirro I guess we should all prepare for a whole slew of all Pirro-bashing all the time. Although, to nit-pick, is the NY senate race crime-related politics? Anyway, BigTex, good to see your moniker again.

    Re: Jeanine Pirro's First Speech: The 32 Second Pa (none / 0) (#4)
    by scarshapedstar on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:09 PM EST
    Seriously, roy. A 32 second pause is what you hear after Bush pronounces a word with more than two syllables, while he smirks and winks and sticks his hand out in the air and the sycophants in the audience clap like seals. Anyway, it's a sad day when a Republican can't make up attacks on Hilary Clinton out of whole cloth. After all, they've been doing it for 14 years.

    Sarcastic, on my other website CrimeLynx, I chronicled Hillary's entire 2000 campaign for Senate. As to the politics of crime, you bet it is. Jeanine is pretty much a one-issue person: Lock 'em up (and by extension, pass more victims' rights bills.) Her book is titled "To Punish and Protect Against a System that Coddles Criminals." Hillary is no liberal on criminal justice issues, but she's fairer than Jeanine. Jeanine would be very dangerous as one of 100 Senators. Ask the New York State Association of Defense laywers who have filed a grievance against her. Read what I wrote about her on TalkLeft in 2003. Plus, how often does someone you've debated on tv for years run for the Senate? If you need another reason, I grew up in Westchester, where she is now DA. I'll be covering this one big-time, so if you are not interested, you know the drill....scroll on by.

    I agree that Hillary lucked out. Harry Truman said that a real Republican will beat a Dem posing as a Republican every time. The same holds true for Republicans posing as Democrats. Pirro doesn't stand a chance because people will see right through her.

    Re: Jeanine Pirro's First Speech: The 32 Second Pa (none / 0) (#7)
    by yudel on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:09 PM EST
    Anyone who thinks Clinton has a chance of losing should speak to folks Upstate in places like Rochester. The Upstaters feel that Hillary is really listening to them, and using her Senate seat on their behalf. From Rochester -- and I assume Buffalo and Platsburgh and Syracuse and Lake Placid -- Westchester is just a cushy suburb of New York City. And boy, do they despise New York City. So no, Pirro's "carpetbagger" tag can only backfire.

    Re: Jeanine Pirro's First Speech: The 32 Second Pa (none / 0) (#8)
    by BigTex on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:10 PM EST
    Anyway, BigTex, good to see your moniker again.
    Thanks. It's good to be back.

    Re: Jeanine Pirro's First Speech: The 32 Second Pa (none / 0) (#9)
    by BigTex on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:10 PM EST
    Dang, hit post rather than preview to see if the quote worked... TL... why are you so sure that Pirro is going to be the victor in the GOP primary?

    Re: Jeanine Pirro's First Speech: The 32 Second Pa (none / 0) (#10)
    by MikeDitto on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:10 PM EST
    If she can't wing it with a page of missing notes, it makes me wonder just how good a prosecutor she is.

    "Plus, how often does someone you've debated on tv for years run for the Senate?" Well, for me, never. Fair enough, JM, for you it's personal. Because Hillary seems like such an over-dog, I could not understand why you cared to spend so much time on the subject. Now I do. Party on!

    Re: Jeanine Pirro's First Speech: The 32 Second Pa (none / 0) (#12)
    by peacrevol on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:10 PM EST
    32 whole seconds? Maybe it was a commercial break. Was there a man dressed in all white standing next to her checking his watch? 32 whole seconds? Maybe it was a commercial break. Was there a man dressed in all white standing next to her checking his watch? <-- Football joke...Sorry I'm excited about this season getting all geared up. Anyway, how can she not come up with something. Anything. Is her mind glued to paper? If she just got through writing it, she should have some idea of what the subject was and should be able to speak reasonably intelligently about it. But I guess some people just cant think on the fly. Man...who would be left to vote for between this space cadet and Hillary Clinton? I feel for the people of NY state if the election comes down to those two.

    Hi, Newbie here. Just wanted to comment on fact that Pirro does not seem to be a threat to Hillary. It will be good to save donation money from this race, to send to Bill Nelson in FL against Harris, to Casey in PA against Santorrum, to Nick Lampson in TX against Delay, etc. But IF ONLY Hillary would quit leaning to the Right! Time to be proud of being a Liberal/Democrat.

    Re: Jeanine Pirro's First Speech: The 32 Second Pa (none / 0) (#14)
    by theologicus on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:12 PM EST
    As for the 32 seconds, I'm inclined to cut her some slack. Once in speaking at a conference, I had a page missing from my ms. I may have needed more than 32 seconds to figure out that, to my horror, it just wans't there. I finally had to say "Sorry, folks" and move on to the top of the next page. No one seemed to notice a hole in the argument (!).

    Re: Jeanine Pirro's First Speech: The 32 Second Pa (none / 0) (#15)
    by BigTex on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:12 PM EST
    Lampson is going to have all the support he needs. He used to represent my old home area. Even since redistricting he's been planning on moving to challenge Delay. He's nothing more than an opportunist. He didn't even have the decency to put up a big fight against Poe and act like he was still interested in serving the area. This is a campaign that has been scripted out by the dem's higher ups for at least 4 years now. If you're going to donate to someone, donate to a candidate who cares about the people he/she will represent, not to a party person.

    Michael McKeon provided the text? The guy from Spinal Tap? The guy from Laverne and Shirley?

    Re: Jeanine Pirro's First Speech: The 32 Second Pa (none / 0) (#17)
    by DawesFred60 on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:12 PM EST
    Hey its the land of freedom and its the land of the myth, oh yes also jails and many prisons. she must now understand what a free nation is right?

    Re: Jeanine Pirro's First Speech: The 32 Second Pa (none / 0) (#18)
    by peacrevol on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:13 PM EST
    Welcome Pam. How bout we save our donation money and drop it off to Badnarik in '08 if we can get him to run?