Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Friday, July 19, 2013

Eliot Spitzer Hires Former Students First/Michelle Rhee Press Hack

Hari Sevugan just got hired to be Eliot Spitzer's press flack, but he used to work for Michelle Rhee's Students First political action committee.

At Students First, his job was to defend Michelle Rhee's right wing, pro-public school privatization agenda and pretend like it was a progressive agenda.

As you can imagine, he spent most of his days spewing lies and half-truths and making believe like they were truths brought down from the mount by Moses.

Diane Ravitch did a nice job countering some jive he spewed earlier this year when he was still working for Rhee here.

Now Sevugan has given up lying for Michelle Rhee for a living and taken on lying for Eliot Spitzer for a living.

But so far, Hari's not doing so well at his new job:

The battle between former Gov. Eliot Spitzer and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer is getting personal.

Campaign spokespersons on both sides of the divisive comptroller’s contest got into a Twitter flap this afternoon after Mr. Spitzer’s new communications flack, Hari Sevugan, shot off a passive-aggressive missive at Mr. Stringer’s long-time spokeswoman, Audrey Gelman.

“Congrats to @audreygelman for making Politico’s 50 to Watch List. She gets way better press than I do… Or her boss does, for that matter,” he tweeted earlier this afternoon, an obvious dig at Ms. Gelman’s many glossy magazine profiles and appearances on the hit show Girls.

Mr. Sevugan, apparently realizing his misstep quickly, apologized in a direct message to Ms. Gelman obtained by Politicker.

“Mr. Hey Audrey – hope I did’t go too far. I have a calibration problem, which isn’t the best quality in a flack. a sincere congratulations…,” he allegedly wrote, also offering his contact information in case she ever wanted to reach out.

Mr. Sevugan, who was also featured on Politico‘s “50 to Watch List” back in 2009, told Politicker he’d meant no harm and looked forward to sparring with Ms. Gelman through the campaign. “I was just have a little fun at her boss’ expense,” he said. “She deserves all the accolades she’s gotten.   She’s doing a tremendous job. And I look forward to going up against her in the papers every day.”
Nevertheless, Mr. Sevugan’s remark resulted in a barrage of criticism from Mr. Stringer’s not-so-secret allies.

The first came from Bloomberg spokeswoman Julie Wood, a close friend of Ms. Gelman. “@HariSevugan hi, who are you?” she asked.

“Welcome to NYC, this isnt how we do things here, dude,” added Risa Heller, who–in another layer of intrigue–is former Congressman Anthony Weiner’s former spokesman. Mr. Weiner, of course, hasn’t benefited from Mr. Spitzer’s jump into the race, which has dragged both of their infamous scandal back into the spotlight.

“Classless,” added Michael Morey, spokesman for City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and mayoral candidate–a vocal Stringer ally. Mr. Morey works at the same consulting firm, SKD Knickerbocker, as Ms. Gelman, as does the Washington-based Hilary Rosen, who also piled on.
“Spitzer – a classy guy with classy staff!!” agreed Dan Levitan, who reps fellow Stringer supporter and mayoral contender Bill de Blasio.

“Grabbing popcorn,” chimed Kamran Mumtaz, who works with Ms. Wood in Mayor Bloomberg’s press office.

Ms. Gelman herself declined to comment but re-tweeted a couple statements of support.
“Audrey is loving every minute of it. so are her twitter surrogates like julie wood. and so are her frenemies,” said one self-described “frenemy” of Ms. Gelman of the spat.

Now I know this is all inside baseball stuff and most people probably don't care much about this kind of thing.

But I want to point out two things here:

First, Spitzer hired a former Students First p.r. guy to work for him.

Second, that guy is an ass.

You know what, let me point out a third thing here:

Since Spitzer hired a former Students First p.r. guy to work for him, I will not be supporting him for comptroller.


  1. And in the gossip, gossip, gossip area: Hilary Rosen, Randi's ex.

  2. And there are reasons to support Stringer: Patrick Sullivan on PEP and Lisa Donlan on CEC1.