Tag Archives: Hillary Clinton

Completing My Goofy Election Trilogy: ‘Dinosaur Primary’ Joins Prequels About Babies and Superheroes

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was one of many 2016 presidential candidates to participate in the "Dinosaur Primary," my ambitious quest to photograph the next President of the United States with my favorite childhood cartoon. Sadly, Sen. Rubio did not recognize Dino Flintstone.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was one of many 2016 presidential candidates to participate in the “Dinosaur Primary,” my ambitious quest to photograph the next President of the United States with my favorite childhood cartoon. Sadly, Sen. Rubio did not recognize Dino Flintstone.

After reading today’s “Dinosaur Primary” photo essay in The Atlantic, longtime friends will immediately recognize a pattern.

During the 2012 New Hampshire Primary, I chronicled my then 9-year-old son’s “Superhero Primary.” He asked all the candidates if they could be any superhero in the world, which one would they be and why.

During the 2012 Superhero Primary, Ari Garnick discussed the perils of kryptonite and the 9-9-9 economic plan with Republican Herman Cain.

During the 2012 Superhero Primary, Ari Garnick discussed the perils of kryptonite and the 9-9-9 economic plan with Republican Herman Cain.

During the 2008 New Hampshire Primary, I photographed my then 5-month-old daughter with candidates for the “Baby Primary.” Many people commented that they could tell a lot about each White House hopeful’s personality by how they held a baby.

Hillary Clinton participates in Dahlia Garnick's 2008 "Baby Primary."

Hillary Clinton participates in Dahlia Garnick’s 2008 “Baby Primary.”

So why have I abandoned my kids in favor of a lifeless stuffed animal this time around? Simple. I still try to broaden my kids’ horizons with new experiences – but Dino is far more patient when it comes to listening to speeches about social security reform.

And as you can see from the above mix of pics (remember Herman Cain?!), these photo projects are all bipartisan and apolitical.


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Filed under Election 2008, Election 2012, Election 2016, New Hampshire Primary, politics

Cuddling with Obama won’t score you Inauguration tix


Way back when Barack Obama was just a regular rock star, only filling high school gymnasiums instead of NFL stadiums, my daughter got to cuddle with him twice.

Nothing scandalous, mind you, Dahlia was a five-month-old baby at the time. But her combined 90 seconds with the future president made her a New York Daily News covergirl, inspired a bit in Jay Leno’s monologue and briefly inflated her importance to the same level as Angelina Jolie’s pregnancy.

In the ultimate baby scrapbook exercise, I chased down nearly every major presidential candidate for saliva-free photo ops during the New Hampshire Primary. Only Obama broke the no-kissing rule and the press photographers went nuts. The resulting photo essay, “The Baby Primary,” inspired worldwide speculation about the candidates’ body language.

Exactly a year after the media madness, I’m frequently asked two questions:

1. Did Dahlia ever get to snuggle up to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin or Vice President Joe Biden?

2. Will Dahlia be attending the Inauguration?

Caribou Barbie only came to NH once and I regrettably could not leave work that day. It would have been hilarious to introduce my baby as Tigger or Trigger or Tugg or Tagg (oops, that’s the name of Mitt Romney’s kid). I did try to meet Biden at a local community college, but his blathering oratory put my girl into an irreversibly cranky mood.

As for the shocked friends and relatives who cannot believe that Dahlia was not invited to Tuesday’s star-studded love-in, here’s a reality check: Barack Obama kisses babies in every city and town in America.

Do they even sell formal gowns at the Baby GAP?

Even though the Obamas’ so-called “Youth Ball” is for 18-year-olds, not 18-month-olds, I do have a lingering feeling that my daughter has been stood up at the prom. Seeking solidarity, I managed to track down political photo-op guru Andy Green, a junior history major at the University of Northern Iowa.

Green pulled off a major coup before the 2008 Iowa Caucuses, posing his Mr. Potato Head toy with Obama, McCain and the rest of the pack. The stoic Biden was the only luminary who refused the honor, explaining that he does “not take pictures with funny hats or funny toys.” But his wife, Jill, happily obliged.

It turns out that Green and his plastic spud, which once had its butt panel removed to satisfy Hillary Clinton’s Secret Service agents, were not invited to Washington either.

Green and I aren’t alone, of course. Scalped tickets to the Inauguration, which were originally distributed free through Congressional Districts, are fetching $500 on Craigslist.

Refusing to shell out that kind of moolah, I figured I had nothing to lose by pretending to play the DC Who-You-Know powergame. I contacted a close friend, who is the son-in-law of Someone Very Important, with hopes of scoring some “extra” tickets. He laughed at me, poking fun at his own lack of clout. Amazingly, his mother-in-law, a.k.a. the influential wife of Someone Very Important, has been turning away her own close friends. (As an aside, he noted that unclaimed 2004 Bush Inauguration tix were as plentiful as Skee-Ball prize tickets).

I now regret trying to play my weak Who-You-Know card. The magic of the New Hampshire Primary was that I had no special connections enabling us to mingle with the next President and the next Secretary of State. It was bad karma to try to force it.

However, I am convinced that Dahlia influenced at least a few votes for Obama during the earliest primaries, when he most desperately needed them. The blogosphere was buzzing with women cooing over his natural baby-handling skills, which are impossible to fake. My own wife, Stacy, fell into this camp. She told CNN that Barack won her vote just by “the way he’s looking at her so lovingly and so warmly.” (To be fair, Stacy also factors the economy, foreign policy and social values into the equation).

But Obama obviously owes my family nothing — except for stuff like defending the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

And the truth is that Dahlia will probably be much happier staying home on Inauguration Day. She has yet to ask for one of those designer Inaugural handbags or t-shirts by Diane Von Furstenberg or Donna Karan. She’s still far more impressed by Fisher Price.

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Filed under Barack Obama, Family, politics, The Baby Primary

What is proper journalistic etiquette for friendly castration banter?

Ah, another asinine comment from Jesse Jackson.

When he says that Obama is “talking down to blacks,” is he angry that the Democratic nominee doesn’t use enough rhymes or alliteration?


As for Jackson’s fantasy of snipping the Obama family jewels — which pretty much puts him in the same psychological camp as Hillary — well, you can forget about him sleeping over in the Lincoln bedroom if the Democrats win.

I’m fascinated by the wide gap between media outlets’ style guides.

The FOX Network (above) feels good about themselves by taking out the vowels, thus protecting the innocence of every child who has never played “Wheel of Fortune.” The Washington Post called Jackson’s remark “a base phrase to say what he wanted to do to the senator from Illinois.”

If a public figure says something crude on a subject of vital significance, then just report the damn quote!

Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., to his credit, has the balls to say that his father is nuts.


Filed under Election 2008, politics

Election 2008: How many Jewish best friends do you have?

Barack Obama once was tucked in at night by a Jewish camp counselor.

Hillary Clinton has a deceased Jewish aunt (not to be confused with Halle Barry’s Jewish cousin).

John McCain has a Jewish best friend — a real regular Joe.

My first Cub Scout Den Mother — who honestly deserved to be named Den Mother of the Year — was African-American. My favorite pizza place is run by Greek immigrants. Neither one of those facts qualifies me to be the keynote speaker for the NAACP or earns me automatic membership in the fraternity house of my choice.

The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart recently mocked the obsequious behavior of presidential candidates attending the national AIPAC conference, charging that they were all afraid to even remotely criticize Israel. The reality is that pandering is at the core of all politics.

Consider how much impact a few Spanish catch phrases had on the Hispanic vote for President Bush. Or how carefully John McCain chooses his words when talking about illegal immigration.

Personally, I recoiled at Stewart’s hokey Eastern European Jewish grandma accent, fearing the comedian might be morphing into the intolerable Jackie Mason.* But as I make the case on the Ha’Aretz Ed-Op page, The Daily Show does a stellar job in ridiculing the patronizing nature of ethnic politics in general.

After showing the audience a clip of Republican nominee John McCain not just bragging about visiting Jerusalem — but gallivanting around the Holy City with U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman — Stewart snaps: “When you go to Israel, you don’t need to bring your own Jew! There’s a wide variety of Jews there.”

He goes on to call Israel, a “Whitman’s Sampler of Jews.”

* Some mean people in the comments section of Ha’aretz said some very mean things about me. Including attacking me for the sin of not being famous — at least not famous enough to criticize Jon Stewart’s accent with any authority.

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Filed under Barack Obama, politics

Lowering the voting age … to infants?


News headlines don’t lie. Well, okay, sometimes they do.

But this one’s for real: The New Hampshire legislature is strongly considering lowering the presidential primary voting age to 17 — provided that the voter turns 18 by Election Day.

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if the slippery slope thing kicked in and we dropped the voting age limit altogether? That would allow Dahlia to vote in the 2012 NH Primary!

Heck, many of us already vote like infants anyway. I have a friend, an extremely intelligent friend, who confessed to me that her mother voted for President Bush for only one reason. She liked his mother, Barbara.


Moving on to the rest of the primary season, it is now time to somberly assess the true political impact of Baby Dahlia’s photo-ops with the presidential candidates.It is no coincidence that three out of the four most gentle “baby whisperers” are still in contention to win the White House: Clinton, Obama and McCain.

Being a natural nurturer did little for Dennis Kucinich, however.

February 8th UPDATE: NH Senate approves bill to give teens a vote in primary

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Filed under Barack Obama, Election 2008, politics, The Baby Primary

Baby Dahlia — The Drooling Political Pundit?


OK, so Dahlia has already proved that Kung Fu star Chuck Norris might be a better people person than any of the men and women running for president!

Seriously, what else is there in life to discover?

After being cuddled by every politician with a chance to become the most powerful human on earth, Dahlia is now branching out as a political pundit.

Given that these pictures have now been seen by MILLIONS of people, it’s fun to speculate what impact they may be having on the campaigns themselves.

We know that Dahlia didn’t offer much help to Dennis Kucinich, who projected warmth and humanity but just bailed out so he could focus on keeping his Ohio gig.

But Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, who both are getting rave reviews from the baby photo pundits, are still very much in the game.

Needless to say, I would love to hear from any campaign workers or volunteers with feedback about their candidate’s Dahlia photo-op.

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Filed under Election 2008, Family, politics, The Baby Primary