A couple of outtakes from my backstage view of the rally yesterday:
As Ted Kennedy was coming to the end of the ropeline where I was standing, his eyes lit on a ninetysomething man waiting there to shake his hand. Kennedy grabbed my arm and pulled me over to meet Mort Caplin: “He taught Bobby and me tax law at the University of Virginia law school!” Caplin confirmed it, and added, “He was a good student.” Backstage afterward, Kennedy was still savoring the unexpected encounter. As his brothers had been deciding who would hold key positions in the JFK Administration, they had been stumped as to who should run the IRS. Bobby, according to his Teddy, told JFK: “Well, Mort Caplin knows a lot about tax law…” This was one case, I guess, in which it was the professor who got an A.
Later, as Obama was getting ready to leave the event, I noticed a beatiful young woman with blonde hair off to the side angling for some face time. She looked vaguely familiar, I now realize, from the PEOPLE Magazines that show up in my mailbox here every Friday. But it wasn’t until I asked someone standing near me that I learned it was the actress Hayden Panettiere.
Obama, it turns out, is not quite as culturally clueless as I am. When he met her, he declared, “You’re the cheerleader!” He added that he had only seen half an episode of her show “Heroes,” as his current schedule doesn’t allow much time for television. Panettiere, however, wasn’t going to waste her brief encounter with a presidential candidate on idle chit-chat. She was in town, she told Obama, as part of her activism to save the whales, something for which there is an arrest warrant out for her in Japan. She then grilled Obama on his position on the issue, and he assured her he is committed to the cause. If this whole acting gig doesn’t work out, that girl may have a future as a lobbyist.
UPDATE: Something we should have known. Monday morning clacker at Greenmountainpolitics informs us that Mort Caplin is a former TIME cover boy.