‘Scandal’: Show based on a Paterson crisis consultant debuts, former aides cringe

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Kerry Washington as Smith. (Danny Feld via imdb.com)
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Don't call any former aides to ex-governor David Paterson at 10 p.m. tonight.

That's when ABC debuts its new show, "Scandal," based on crisis consultant Judy Smith.

Smith helped Monica Lewinsky, Michael Vick, Wesley Snipes and others deal with scandals. But in New York political circles, she's best remembered as the person who steered Paterson as his governorship took a precipitous turn for the worse.

"Her advice to him is what made him a laughingstock at the time," one former aide told me.

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The advice, the aide said, included "going on national television when he was still undecided about who he was selecting for the Senate ... He was trying to raise his national profile when he should have been hunkering down and making decisions for the state."

The other decision Smith made was to have a Paterson aide "completely trashing Caroline Kennedy" in the media after the governor did not select her to fill the remainder of Hillary Clinton's Senate term.

Liz Benjamin reported on Smith's role Paterson's demise on January 26, 2009.

Smith, the former aide recalled, left a strong impression.

"She would swan around the office in a full-length fur coat with these two little minions trailing behind her," the person said.

Many of Paterson's wounds were self-inflicted, and he had problems long before he ascended to the governorship, and well before Judy Smith arrived on the scene. (See Ben Smith's prescient story about him from back in 2006. )

But Paterson's former aides seem to reserve a special level of blame for Judy Smith.

"He made it very clear who he was listening to," the former aide said.

How?

"He would come up with these ideas that we had nothing to do with."

Some Links:

2012

Don't expect the general-election polls to gyrate like the primary polls. [John Harwood]

NY-06

Meng was endorsed by a number of Latino politicians and elected officials. [Celeste Katz]

A local gossip columnist said a source "swears he has heard that both Lancman and Crowley will be dropping out of the race in the next few weeks." [Dee Richards]

NY-13

Rangel's wife "wanted him to move the couch" according to Inez Dickens. [Hunter Walker]

A conservative website picks up on Clyde Williams' critique of Rangel's longevity. [Alexis Levinson]

Albany

One of Cuomo's top aides said allowing legislation to age for three days is "kind of an early warning system" for special-interest groups. [Nick Reisman]

Walmart was among the fastest-growing lobbying spenders, according to an analysis from NYPIRG. [Rick Karlin]

Police Pressure

"[M]ore stress is put on police officers by NYPD management than by criminals," says a new ad from the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association. [Al Baker]

Queens GOP

Stephen Graves, the first vice chairman of the Queens G.O.P., is accused of soliciting a $25,000 "finder's fee" from a company bidding for a $65 million contract with the city's Board of Elections. [David Seifman]

Queens Republican Councilman Eric Ulrich said it was wrong for the Queens G.O.P. chairman to defend Graves, since he didn't cooperate with investigators. [Liz Benjamin]

Local

Quinn said the paid detail at McDonalds on West 3rd Street and 6th Avenue is the first step in fixing crime in the area. [The Villager]

Art Imitating Life

Crisis consultant Judy Smith is the inspiration for the new show "Scandal." [Neely Tucker]

In the pilot, the Smith-inspired character has to deal with a client's alleged association to a D.C. madam. [Patrick Gavin]

"Not a lot of people know what I do," Smith said in an interview. [Rick Porter]

"She's always thinking five steps ahead of the client," said the actress playing Smith. [Jarett Wieselman]

Media

Times Albany reporter Thomas Kaplan is being reported to an editor. [Twitter]

Images

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Opening day at Citi Field. [Peter Vallone Jr.]

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Rangel aide Geoffrey Eaton and Rangel opponent Adriano Espaillat. [Flickr]

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With young constituents. [Ruben Diaz Sr.]