The Magazine

Rambunctious Rick

Lazio hits the ground running with a little help from the McCain team

Jun 12, 2000, Vol. 5, No. 37 • By TUCKER CARLSON
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McCain may be inspiring the Lazio campaign in other ways as well. The first stop on Lazio's bus tour is a small, family-owned dairy in down-town Syracuse. There are close to 100 reporters following Lazio. In a typical campaign only a few of them -- "the pool" -- would be allowed to follow him inside. The rest would wait in the parking lot for the speech afterwards. Lazio's staff invites everyone in. It's only 8:45 in the morning, but the inside of the dairy is sweltering. The floor is wet. The air smells like curdled milk. Lazio is standing next to an enormous vat of 2 percent, talking to a man in a hair net. The press horde is trying to cross the plant floor to get near him. The event is quickly approaching chaotic. The camera crews are working to thread their equipment around low-hanging pipes. Scores of reporters are scurrying over machinery, trying not to get their Rockports caught in the moving parts. An AP reporter plucks a couple of cartons of orange juice off a conveyor belt and sticks them in his coat. The whole scene is enough to send OSHA inspectors scrambling for their handcuffs. No one from the Lazio campaign seems to care.

In the end nothing terribly newsworthy happened. Except that the event -- an on-the-record political event in the famous New York Senate race -- was held without full choreography, without even tape marks on the floor, showing the candidate where to stand for the cameras. Which made it, in its way, a devastating attack on Hillary Clinton.

Tucker Carlson is a staff writer at THE WEEKLY STANDARD.