Spitzer soaks up national attention, while Weiner does what Franken did
Eliot Spitzer will fly to Los Angeles today to be a guest on "The Tonight Show," one of the many late-night venues that's found easy fodder in his return into public life.
Spitzer hasn't been particularly shy or discriminating in his media strategy since announcing his candidacy on Sunday night.
In just a few days, he has already made several national television appearances, including an emotional interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," and a combative one on CNBC. On Sunday, he'll sit down with George Stephanopoulos on ABC's "This Week." He has also, in addition to his many appearances in New York City media outlets, done interviews with outlets upstate.
Spitzer seems happy to indulge his status as a national celebrity, in a way that Anthony Weiner, by comparison, hasn't seen fit to do.
Weiner, for all the press coverage he's generated, has yet to sit for a single national television interview since he entered the race in May.
He made the rounds to local stations when he first declared his candidacy, but there's been no "Morning Joe," no CNN, and certainly no "Tonight Show."
It's a media strategy that hews closely to the playbook crafted by candidates who weren't coming back from any scandals, but who by virtue of their celebrity felt they needed to demonstrate particular seriousness about their commitment to a local office: Hillary Clinton when she was a senator, for example, or Al Franken, a former cast member on "Saturday Night Live" still avoids the national press, four years after his election to the Senate.
The idea for these nationally known officials, of course, is to convey a single-minded devotion to the business at hand, and a narrow focus on the constituents who ultimately decide a candidates' fate. (See also: Cuomo, Andrew.)
For Weiner, whose national celebrity is unique in nature, it's an especially conspicuous contrast with the years before his scandal, when crafting a national persona seemed, at times, to be his primary purpose in Washington. He evolved his persona to become a hero of the MSNBC set, priding himself on sparring with the conservative commentators on Fox News. (For a refresher, see this argumentative interview with Megyn Kelly. Or this theatrical one.)
I'm not sure if there's a precedent exactly for Spitzer's all-of-the-above approach, but Mark Sanford, another scandal-felled former governor, did a Fox News Sunday interview during his congressional campaign earlier this year.
Also: Jesse Ventura sat down for an interview with Barbara Walters in 1999, during which he admitted, coincidentally, that he had hired prostitutes.