Nick Ragone is an author, attorney and public relations executive in New York City. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Rutgers University, and is a graduate of the Eagleton Institute of Political Science at Rutgers University (undergraduate) and the Georgetown University Law Center.

He is the author of three books: Essential American Government, Everything American Government, and President's Most Wanted. Nick is a regular contributor to the Fox News Channel and Fox Business, the PIX11 Morning Show, and has a weekly appearance on the popular Raph Bailey Radio Show.  He co-anchored PIX11's five-hour live inauguration coverage with Jim Watkins and Kaity Tong.

Nick is a contributor to Donklephant.com, one of the most influential political blogs on the web, and  has written for US News & World Report, The Star-Ledger, Real Simple Magazine and RealSimple.com.  Nick has been quoted in over two dozen stories on politics, the presidency, and public relations.  In December of 2007, Nick was named one of PR Week's 40 under 40 to watch, and in May of 2008 was featured in "Profiles of Success", a book about public relations. Nick lives in Jersey City, NJ, with his wife and two children, and spends what little free time he has obsessing on the Mets.

Nick can also be found on Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=740817853




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On to Denver!

If Democrats were hoping for a relatively quick resolution to the nomination process following the Pennyslvania primary on April 22nd, think again.  In an exclusive interview with Mark Halperin of Time Magazine, Hillary Clinton reveals that she intends to battle straight through to Denver.   If Obama still has a 100 delegate lead following the last contest on June 2nd, Democratic leaders will put an immense amount of pressure on her to drop out.   Should she soldier on to the convention, there's no telling what type of lead John McCain will have come labor day. But it will be substantial.


Hillary coming under fire .... from the media

In what's turning out to be more than just a "minor blip," the Clinton camp spent all day trying to contain the hillarybosnia_400.jpeggrowing controversy about Hillary embellishing her recollection of sniper fire during a 1996 trip to Bosnia.  Turns out that on four occasions she recounted coming under sniper fire at the airport in Bosnia when nothing of the sort ever occurred.   She downplayed the memory lapse(s) with reporters today, telling them to "lighten up."  She later went on to say "for the first time in 12 or so years I misspoke." 

Misspeaking on the campaign trail happens all the time -- President Bush practically elevated it to an art form.  But to consistently embellish -- in prepared speeches no less -- a very fact-checkable event so as to underscore her gravitas and experience is ... well ... stupid.  Or as Chuck Todd of NBC News put it, it's a "bone-head mistake."  With her window of opportunity narrowing every day, the Clinton camp can't afford any bonehead mistakes.


5% chance?

New Your Times columnist David Brooks opines that Hillary has about a 5% chance of winning the nomination Scary%20Hillary%20Clinton.jpgat this point.  His reasoning:  she's too far behind in pledged delegates to close the gap; the superdelegates seem poised to side with the pledged delegate leader come June 2nd; and the decision by Florida and Michigan not to have do-over means she can't win the popular vote.   And now the latest Hillary controversy:  did she embellish her foreign policy experience in Northern Ireland and Bosnia during the Clinton presidency.  She claims that she came under sniper fire during a visit to Bosnia in 1996, but  news accounts from that trip tell a different story.   The timing couldn't be worse -- it takes the heat off Obama and Reverend Wright for a newscycle and puts it on Clinton's veracity.  Not the best road to victory when you have a 5 percent chance.

Oops he did it again

Bill Clinton has proven -- time and again -- that he's incapable of keeping quiet and staying on the sidelines. His latest transgression: While speaking before a group of veterans in North Carolina,Bill%20clinton%202.jpg the former president seemingly impugned Barak Obama's patriotism. "I think it would be a great thing if we had an election year where you had two people who loved this country and were devoted to the interest of this country," said Clinton. "And people could actually ask themselves who is right on these issues, instead of all this other stuff that always seems to intrude itself on our politics." The clear inference: Obama -- as evidenced by his relationship with the hate spewing Reverend Wright -- doesn't love the country.   This has become a regular pattern with President Clinton, even though it's done nothing but antagonize Democratic faithful (and baffle the rest of us).  You have to believe that the Clinton camp simply can't control what comes out of his mouth, and they've stopped trying.  There's a whiff of desperation in all of this, and it'll only get smellier as the end draws nearer.


Is it over?

It would seem like an odd time to declare Obama the nominee, given that a new national poll shows Hillary ahead of Obama, but Politico.com has a fantastic piece stating just that.  Their thesis: so long as Obama leads in pledged delegates after the last primary ballot is cast on June 2nd, there is no wayamd_hilclinton.jpg the superdelegates will deny him the nomination. 

"The only way she wins is if Democratic superdelegates are ready to risk a backlash of historic proportions from the party’s most reliable constituency," posit the authors.  "She has only one scenario for victory. An African-American opponent and his backers would be told that, even though he won the contest with voters, the prize is going to someone else. People who think that scenario is even remotely likely are living on another planet."

Politico speaks the truth.  I've held all along that if Obama leads in states won, pledged delegates, and popular vote after June 2nd, then it's over.  Politico does me one better, essentially, in saying that even the popular vote won't matter if Obama leads in pledged delegates.  And why? Because the Democratic party won't risk splintering the party -- which it most certainly will -- by denying the primary winner a chance at becoming the first African-American president.  It's that simple.  And that's why this race is over, save a monumental misstep (and no Reverend Wright doesn't even come close to counting as a misstep, let alone a monumental one).

The only real question will be if Hillary wants to put the party -- and the Clinton legacy -- at risk by asking the superdelegate to overturn the will of the people by scaring them about Obama's electability.  That's her only road to victory at this point.    


Where would you like that knife, Hillary?

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, a former presidential aspirant, is expected to endorse Barak Obama sometime this morning, according to CNN

Since dropping out of the race following a dismal richardson01.jpgshowing in New Hampshire, Richardson has made it clear that he was torn between the two candidates.  While he's known the Clinton's much longer, and in fact is indebted to former President Clinton for putting him in the cabinet twice, he seemed to have bonded more with Obama while on the debate circuit.  We'll have to see what his official reason is for throwing his lot to Obama at this moment, but no doubt the Clinton camp will very disappointed.  If fact, they had been lobbying him so hard that President Clinton even watched the Super Bowl with Richardson at the Governor's mansion in New Mexico. 

For Obama, this endorsement comes at a perfect time: it's another super delegate in his column; it takes some of the attention off the Reverend Wright stuff; and is an important sign of "institutional credibility" from the Democratic leadership.  It will be interesting to see if the other uncommitted leaders like Nancy Pelsoi and Al Gore weigh in anytime soon, too. 


The race speech

Barak Obama gave his much anticipated speech on race in America yesterday, and theobama1.jpg early verdict is that it was one of the most powerful, eloquent and nuanced discussion of race
relations in recent political history.  I can't remember the last time a candidate gave such an honest dissertation on a difficult subject, and did it without pandering.  Will it stop the bleeding on the Reverend Jeremiah Wright firestorm? Probably.  It seems silly to keep discussing Wright's screeds in light of Obama's commentary, at least during the remainder of the primary.  Should he win the Democratic nomination, however, it'll almost certainly be discussed in the general election.


Supreme Court

The 2nd Amendment -- the right to bear arms -- may be slightly off topic for this blog, but today PH2007112002362.jpgthe Supreme Court today heard oral arguments in case challenging the District of Columbia's ban on hand guns, and seems poised to return some rights back to gunowners.  The reason I bring it up is that the lead attorney for the gunowners challenging the ban, Alan Gura, was a law school classmate of mine at Georgetown, and is one of the most brilliant Constitutional lawyers around.  Should the Supreme Court overturn the District's ban, it will be a historic win for gunowners everywhere.


Nick on radio

I was on the Ralphy Bailey radio show this weekend, and we covered everything from the current election, to Adlai Stevenson, Joe McCarthy, and the duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton.  Probably the most fun I've had doing an interview yet. Check it out here. Whoopi Goldberg also re-ran her interview with me from two weeks ago in her "best of" show.  My mom is very happy.


Nick on Fox Business News talking about political sex scandals