A precious moment from this year’s Pennsylvania Society weekend came Friday night when Mayor Nutter was chatting with reporters in the lobby of the Waldorf Astoria.
A young man none of us recognized leaned toward Nutter with a notebook and asked if he could ask him something.
“Who are you?” Nutter asked.
“I’m Keegan,” he replied, reminding me of the teenager in the movie Superbad who adopts the pseudonym McLovin.
He asked Nutter about a poll he’d heard of that showed retiring U.S. Senator Arlen Specter could beat Nutter in a hypothetical mayor’s race.
Nutter stared at McLovin, er, Keegan, like he was from another planet and said he had no idea what he was talking about.
A couple of mysteries unraveled:
The purported poll was from something called Apex Public Opinion Research, which doesn’t appear to exist outside of an e-mail sent to, among others, the editor of the Delaware County Daily Times, who posted a skeptical blog item on it.
I’ve since learned that e-mails about the poll came from Roger Stone, the veteran gonzo conservative political operative (If you aren’t familiar with Stone, check out his website, or this linked New Yorker piece, which includes a picture of the tattoo of Nixon’s head on his back).
One source told me there was no poll, that Stone peddled the tale because he loves Specter and wanted to make him feel better as he leaves office.
I also heard Stone, who has reputation for being flamboyant, showed up at a Pennsylvania Society reception late Friday night accompanied by a couple of eye-catching women in revealing dresses (Stone has a reputation as a swinger).
I e-mailed Stone about all of this, and haven’t heard back.
I caught up with Specter on Saturday. When I asked about the mayoral poll, he said, “I’ve already engaged in comedy once today, that’s enough.” (This was reference to a bawdy joke he’d told at a luncheon speech that I wish I could repeat).
When I asked if Roger Stone was behind it, he brushed me off with a terse, “no comment.”
Keegan, by the way, turns out to have a last name. He’s Keegan Gibson, the brand new managing editor of the website PoliticsPA. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more from him.
UPDATE: The day after I posted this item, I got the following e-mail reply from Roger Stone:
“Stone’s Rule- `Admit nothing, deny everything.’ Cordially, Roger Stone. PS- I do love Arlen Specter.