THE PRESS ROOM: Leak caught Torsella camp off guard
An occasional series of articles exploring how political campaigns are playing out in the media.
Joe Torsella’s campaign had everything planned to a tee. The Democratic Senate candidate would release a video Friday morning telling his supporters of his decision to exit the race, and reporters who had been hearing rumors would be simultaneously notified.
But then, as so often happens in politics, the news leaked.
Citing two “well-placed Democratic sources,” Politico broke the story a little after 5 p.m. on Thursday. By 5:30, campaign officials were receiving calls from reporters wondering what was up. Soon enough, the campaign was sending reporters transcript excerpts for the video it had hoped would speak for itself, and quotes that hadn’t yet seen the light of day were peppered throughout news reports.
“We had an organized, sensible way in which we wanted to make Joe’s announcement,” campaign spokesman Mark Nevins told pa2010.com over the weekend. “When it broke, the video wasn’t on the [campaign] Web site yet so we had to scramble.
“Joe felt like the right thing to do was call people who were involved or invested in this campaign and let them know he was getting out of the race,” Nevins added.
Though it remains unclear exactly where the leak came from, speculation inside the campaign saw it coming from Washington, not Pennsylvania.
“Unfortunately, there were some Democratic sources in Washington D.C. who chose to leak that info rather than let Joe get out of the race on his own timetable,” Nevins said, making no secret of the campaign’s frustration that its well-laid plans had been nixed. “When a guy is heading out the door, there’s no need to take a shot at him. It was gratuitous, a typical Washington D.C. move.”
May 18, 2009 at 5:35 am