US DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE EDWARDS GESTURES DURING CAMPAIGN SPEECH
Rick Wilking  /  Reuters
Edwards is expected to lose by substantial margins in all "Super Tuesday" states.
By MSNBC contributor
updated 3/2/2004 11:58:35 AM ET 2004-03-02T16:58:35

By any chance do you have a burning need to define "chutzpah"?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary says the chummy Yiddish word means "supreme self-confidence; nerve; gall."

All of which defined Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf. Officially, during the war, he was the Iraqi information minister. But a better title was The World’s Best Spin Doctor of 2003. He’s the guy who steadfastly refused to admit that Baghdad was lost even as U.S. tanks could be seen reflected in his sunglasses. Call him the mother of all press secretaries.

In 2004, we have another someone who approaches Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf’s talent for spin and chutzpah. That man is John Edwards.

After losing the Wisconsin primary, the Edwards campaign sent out a press release that described "John Edwards' incredibly strong performance in Wisconsin."

"Incredibly strong performance." Keep in mind: Edwards lost Wisconsin. Lost. As in, didn’t win.

But the spin worked. The New York Times ran this report about the "Super Tuesday" primaries: "Mr. Kerry's advisers, while increasingly confident of victory, were startled by the extent to which Mr. Edwards managed to turn a six-point loss in Wisconsin into a platform for an unexpectedly well-publicized challenge."

How do you top Wisconsin?
What can Edwards do to top his Wisconsin spin effort? It’s a tough nut, but I urge him to hire the best talent around, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf himself. Sure he’s probably pricey, but he’s worth it. As the Super Tuesday results start rolling in, presumably all favoring John Kerry, al-Sahhaf can convince us what a glorious day Edwards is having beating back the Kerry delegate infidels.

Below are the states voting and delegates at stake. Next to each state is the spin I would expect Edwards press secretary al-Sahhaf to provide, explaining the losses. Think you’ve heard the lines before? You have. They’re all real, recited by al-Sahhaf himself during the Iraq war.

So let’s help John Edwards spin away Super Tuesday defeats, aided by the very able and multi-talented spin doctor Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf.

  • CALIFORNIA (370 delegates): "Today, the tide has turned, we are destroying them."
  • CONNECTICUT (49 delegates): "The battle is very fierce, and God made us victorious."
  • GEORGIA (86 delegates): "Their forces committed suicide by the hundreds."
  • MARYLAND (69 delegates): "We have drawn them into a quagmire, and they will never get out of it."
  • MASSACHUSETTS (93 delegates): "My feelings — as usual — we will slaughter them all."
  • MINNESOTA (72 delegates): "We're giving them a real lesson today. Heavy doesn't accurately describe the level of casualties we have inflicted."
  • NEW YORK (236 delegates): "No I am not scared, and neither should you be!"
  • OHIO (140 delegates): "We are surrounding them and pounding them. The whole trend has changed, and we are going to finalize this very soon.''
  • RHODE ISLAND (21 delegates): "We are in control. They are in a state of hysteria. Losers, they think that by killing civilians and trying to distort the feelings of the people they will win. I think they will not win, those bastards."

And then there are the 15 delegates at stake in Vermont — the state where Edwards doesn’t even appear on the ballot. Come on, did Edwards really fail to get on the ballot? Take it away, Mr. Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf: "Absolutely that’s not true. I can tell you that because I am here at the Ministry of Information."

Howard Mortman is a producer for "Hardball with Chris Matthews."

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