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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Obama comes out swinging

After a weekend of talk of a potential "dream" ticket, Barak Obama came out swinging on Monday, accusing the Clinton campaign of leaking the now infamous Somalia photo, and mocking the notion that 2007-10-31-BarackObamatalkintough.jpghe'd consider the  Veep slot. He also raised the serious question: How can Clinton consider him a credible Veep on the one hand, but then reject his readiness as commander in chief on the other hand. Clinton flack Howard Wolfson came up with this Clinton-esque beaut in response: "Senator Clinton will not choose any candidate who has not, at the time of the choosing, passed the national security threshold, period.  But we have a long way to go between now and Denver, and it's not something that she is prepared to rule out at this point. But certainly anyone who is chosen as a vice presidential candidate needs to be prepared to be commander-in-chief."  

First things first, however. Mississippi votes today, and Obama is likely to score an impressive victory. After that, it's six loooonngggg weeks until Pennsylvania, and who knows what twists and turns lay ahead.


Whoa ...

What else can you say to the Elliot Spitzer scandal, other than than .... whoa.   I was on
stories.spitzer.jpgFox Business Channel this evening, comparing the Spitzer scandal to sex scandals of yesteryear.  It's hard to comprehend how a public figure -- and a reforming crusader at that -- can behave so recklessly.  It certainly is going to breathe new life into the New York State Republican party, which had been on life support for a few years now.   It also puts the state Democrats in the odd position of distancing themselves from Spitzer the person while trying to salvage his reform agenda.   For those keeping score at home, the Tri-State area (NY, NJ, CT) has now seen two sex scandals and an imprisonment among its governors over the past five years.  Not exactly inspiring politics.



Next up: Mississippi

Wyoming had its moment in the sun, and now it is Mississippi’s turn to shape the nominating process: 33 of its 40 delegates are up for grabs Tuesday night, in what will be the last contest until Pennsylvania mississippi.jpgon April 22.

It’s expected that Obama will win handily, but both candidates have been campaigning aggressively in the state. Obama wants to run up the score and tally as many delegates as possible, while Hillary’s goal is to keep it respectable and maintain some semblance of momentum. The demographics certainly favor Obama: Mississippi has the largest population of African-Americans (37%) in the country, and the vast majority are registered Democrats. Since South Carolina, Obama has consistently won 80% of the black vote, and there is no evidence to suggest otherwise come Tuesday.


Clinton-Obama ticket? Uh, don't count on it ...

In the last 24 hours, both Clintons have hinted at the possibility of a Clinton-Obama ticket. “You’ve gotta make a choice," Hillary implored the crowd while campaigning in Mississippi.  "A lot of people wish they didn’t have HillaryObama.jpgto I’ve got people saying, ‘I wish I could vote for both of you.’ Well, that might be possible someday, but first I need your vote on Tuesday!" And today, Bill Clinton intimated likewise, noting that a Clinton-Obama ticket would be "unstoppable." 

While a Clinton-Obama/Obama-Clinton ticket would be very formidable, it's about as likely as Rosie O'Donnell and Donald Trump double dating.  It's no secret that there is bad blood between the two campaigns.  Just this week alone, Clinton Flack Howard Wolfson compared Obama to Kenneth Starr (he of Whitewater special prosecutor fame), and an Obama advisor referred to Hillary as a monster (she was subsequently fired). 

Truth be told, any chance of a ticket went out the window when Bill Clinton tried to minimize Obama's South Carolina win by comparing it to Jesse Jackson's 1984 and 1988 victories.  The Obama camp hasn't forgotten that slight, and neither have his African-American supporters.  There's just too much water under the bridge -- it's hard to put Humpty Dumpty together once he's splattered on the ground.


More book talk

I did an interview yesterday with John Fout of TheStreet.com TV to discuss my book, the election, and presidential mistresses, among other things.  Fout hit me with one unusual quesiton -- something I hadn't been asked before.  Check out the interview here.


Wyoming ... this is your life!

The state of Wyoming hasn't gotten this much attention since ... well, ever.   I'm not wyoming.gifeven sure where it is on the map (I'm assuming it's west of New Jersey and east of California).  With 12 delegates up for grabs this weekend, it's caucus actually matters.  No polling has been done, so it's mostly guesswork at this point, but the conventional wisdom points towards Obama picking up most of those delegates.  He's won every caucus state except Nevada, and has done very well in Red states.  Should Hillary somehow win Wyoming, it would reveal a major crack in the Obama coalition and be more than a minor setback.  Enjoy your moment in the sun Wyoming!

UPDATE: As expected, Obama took the Wyoming caucus easily, 59-41 percent.  It looks like he'll pick up 8 delegates to Clinton's 4. 


Bulldog Reporter Op-Ed

Bulldog Reporter, a PR trade publication, ran my op-ed about the power of speeches.  I wrote it at the height of the "solutions v. speeches" debate, and made the point that speeches are more than just a collection of policies and proposals.  I posited that some of our most famous speeches would seem a bit odd if larded up with policy prescriptions.


Whoopi-ing it up!

I was on Whoopi Goldberg's radio show this morning, promoting the book and talking about the election. Nick-Whoopi%201.JPG Not only is Whoopi extraordinarily gracious and funny, she's also a political junky and history nut.  We had a great conversation about various aspects of the office -- from embarrasing moments, to pets, to advisors and great speeches.  She asked me what job I'd like to have in the White House, and I said speechwriter.  What better way to shape the president's vision and message than through speeches.  It worked for Ted Sorenson (Kennedy) and Peggy Noonan (Reagan and Bush) -- seems like a fun job. 


And the race goes on ....

My crystal ball was a bit cloudier than usual last night.  The evening
mostly went as thought: McCain won big and Huckabee ended his campaign,
Obama won Vermont, and Hillary took Rhode Island and Ohio fairly
easily. obamavclinton.jpg

The big shocker, however, is Clinton's victory in Texas, and her
competitive showing in the Texas caucus.  As of right now, it looks like the caucus is a split decision -- something Obama's camp was expecting him to win big (and cushion his delegate lead).  Ill wait for Chuck Todd at NBC and others to tally up the delegate math, but my guess is that Hillary will somewhat cut into Obama's lead.

So Hillary has the momentum, and is within shouting distance on the delegate count.  What does it all mean? For starters, this race isn't ending anytime soon.  Pennsylvania is on April 22nd, so we'll see hand-to-hand combat until then.  The math is still difficult for Hillary Clinton to overcome without the super-delegates coming to her rescue,
but her argument will be that she's won all the big states and should be
the nominee.  Obama will counter that that he's won the popular vote, and
the super delegates should follow suit.

What's next: Wyoming holds its caucus on Saturday and Mississippi next
Tuesday.  Obama is expected to win both, and at this point he must win
them to slow her momentum.  As of right now, he's probably still the
favorite, but he had a chance to deliver a knockout blow last night and
came up short.

Obama will have another chance to put it away on April 22nd in
Pennsylvania.  It sounds like a broken record, but if he wins Penn, then
it's probably over.  But there's a long way to go before that, and John
McCain is one happy Republican this morning.


According to my crystal ball ..

I'm in Texas, and I have my magic crystal ball with me, so I'm going to
make a few election predictions.

The easy one first: McCain will win Texas and Ohio handily, and the
Huckabeezer will formally drop out during his concession speech once
Mccain has finally secured the required delegates (which will happen
about two minutes after the TX polls close).  And no, Huckabee will not
be McCain's running mate. 

As for the Democrats, there really are three potential scenarios (I'm
assuming RI will go to Hillary and Vermont to Obama):  Obama sweeps
both Texas and Ohio, and the primary is effectively over (whether
Hillary's campaign acknowledges it or not); Hillary sweeps both states
and steals the momentum, even if she still trails in the delegate count;
it's a split decision, with Obama winning Texas and Hillary Ohio. clinton-obama-tradeing-jabs.jpg

I'm predicting a split decision, with Obama actually securing more
delegates because of the unusual Texas "prima-caucus" system.  I boldly predicted on CNBC last week that the race would be over on March 5th, and I still stand by that call, though I'm not quite as confident as I was last Wednesday.

Why the slight back pedaling?  Well, Hillary has had a strong few
days:  her attacks on Obama seem to be sticking a little, and the Tony
Rezco trial has become a distraction.  It feels a little like New
Hampshire, where Hillary closed strongly and caught Obama off guard. If she manages to win Texas, even by a tiny margin, she might have enough momentum to take Pennsylvania in April, at which point all bets are off.

If it really is a split decision, as much as the Clinton camp will try
to soldier on, there will be growing calls from party elders for her to
bow out.  I don't see how she can stay in until Pennsylvania if Texas
goes to Obama. We'll see ...