Thursday | October 24, 2002
Alexander's "handshake incident" goes national
In one of this campaign season's most bizarre incidents, TN guv candidate Lamar Alexander crushed the hand of a Clement supporter that tried to pass off fake dollar bills bearing Alexander's picture and the inscription "Corporate Greed of America". Okay, "crushed" might be too strong a word, but who knows, since police had to break the two apart.
In the world of political coverage, the incident has become monumental. A Google news search confirms the incident was reported just about everywhere, making the incident truly national.
The Clement supporter originally planned to press charges against Alexander, but has now declined. Given the publicity the event has gotten, the question thus becomes whether it will give Clement a boost. Perhaps some of my Tennessee readers can chime in. I would guess that if people perceive Alexander has having lost his temper, it might hurt him. But if they assume it was all a publicity stunt by a Clement supporter, then the damage should be minimal or non-existent.
Incidentally, while this race had been written off by many, the DNC has started to rush money into the state. I questioned the tactic a few days ago, wondering if DNC internals were showing something that independent polls had missed. Apparently so -- the latest Survey USA poll on the race shows a statistical dead heat -- with Alexander leading 49-45.
A Survey USA poll on October 9 gave Alexander a 50-42 lead. While a September 25th poll had Alexander with a clear 52-41 lead.
Can any natives give some insight behind this surge?