May 30th, 2008
11:17 AM ET

The Great Gig in the Sky

Candy Crowley
360° Contributor and CNN Senior Political Correspondent

Bloggees – Today's driving tip: Do not take the Kennedy Expressway from downtown Chicago to O'Hare in a driving rain at 6:45 a.m. on a Friday.

Should you ignore this advice, at least avoid the cabbie who drives like a bat out of hell with a fogged-up window, talking into his bluetooth while laughing uproariously at an irritatingly cheery radio program featuring rude conversation from people invited to share why they want to dump their significant other.  Now, I know what you're thinking:  "Somebody is grumplestiltskin today."          



Made it. Though my life flashed before me during the ride, got here intact and on time, more than I can say for the flight. Delayed 50 minutes.  I am taking it personally.


So here at gate B-9, awaiting my tin can to Washington, I am fielding the usual email inquiries from show producers and the etceteras wanting to know about my  piece this afternoon/night.  Generally it goes like this "Hey, Good Morning. What are you thinking about doing today? What's up?"

Here is the response screaming in my brain: "IT IS 7:30 IN THE MORNING. IT'S A MIRACLE I'M UP. YOUR SHOW IS NOT FOR 8/12/14 HOURS. LEAVE ME ALONE."

Here is what I say in the e-mail. "Good Morning. Not sure."
Thus begins the process of finding and/or figuring out a story. I will soon begin a round of calls/emails to campaign types and Washington types and some pollsters and some party types in upcoming primary states. And some superdelegates and a DNC rules committee guy/gal. And then click around to see what all the smart people are talking about. And then see what the candidates are saying on the stump. (Obama in Montana, Clinton in Puerto Rico, McCain in Wisc. and New York)  We shall see what we shall see.


I know, I know..  Father Michael Pfleger (20-year relationship with Obama. Went to Iowa for Obama for some kind of faith seminar. Used to be on a religious advisory board for campaign. Campaign says he's no longer on it.) Pfleger (who is white) basically said in Obama church that Hillary Clinton thought she was entitled to the nomination because she's white..and a lot of white people thought that, too. 

Obama campaign puts out a statement rejecting that. Pfleger says he's sorry, doesn't reflect Obama campaign values, apologizes to HRC.

Clinton campaign stirs the pot, saying Obama statement not strong enough.

Half of you have already emailed that this is big big big because Obama relationships shed  light on who he is.

The other half says it's ridiculous to hold Obama responsible for everything anybody who knows him says or everything that's said in his church, which so far as I can tell he hasn't attended in a long time, though he does sneak by us sometimes.

I think whatever it is, this is bad timing for Barack and he really needs to get out there more to define himself so people know what to think when his friends and acquaintances go off the rails.

And I think the question is: what do superdelegates think?


I am weary, bloggees (they may edit that out) but we trudge on. Plane now more than an hour delayed.

Should be over next week (the primary, hopefully not the flight).

Meantime, I remain yours, Grumplestiltskin.

Filed under: Barack Obama • Candy Crowley • Hillary Clinton • Raw Politics
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. Kate

    That was a great blog. I'm sorry about your near-death cab ride and flight being delayed... at least they make a good story. You're funny and smart and I love seeing you and David on AC360. Can't wait to hear what information you find out today! Thank you for all the hard work to get us political junkies our news.

    June 2, 2008 at 9:50 am |
  2. John Szpunae (shpoonare)

    Isn't any one going to mention that Phil Gramm, Mcbushes econ-
    imic guru is the one who helped bring the mortgage crises to
    This is a story waiting to explode

    June 2, 2008 at 9:47 am |
  3. Jl

    Candy, you're wonderful! I thoroughly resect you as a journalist. I always look forward to your comments on 360.

    Please point out that, yes, Hillary has over 17 million votes, but 'hello', Obama also has over 17 million votes. Besides, his popular vote will exceed hers after Tuesdays final primaries. Please, let's not forget the democrat party system of nominating their candidate: ie the one with the most delegates gets the nomination. Barack Obama is way ahead on that score!! Hillary is in deep denial. I suspect that she will be 'yelling' pick me, even as Barack is accepting the nomination on the convention stage.

    June 2, 2008 at 7:36 am |
  4. Pat Goin

    Candy, you are also a brilliant writer. When will you publish a book about this election as it is a rare bird. Thanks.

    June 1, 2008 at 6:45 am |
  5. Rick- San Francisco


    You are my hero! Best contributor on any news channel! I am a first time "blogger" here. Being from Chicago originally, I all to well understand cab rides on the Kennedy to O'Hare. Can we say "nightmare"?

    I am curious if you feel Congress (or another govt. agency) will delve deeper into the McClellan revelations and actually do something about it legally. Do you feel Pelosi will be to scared of being "divisive" in an election year? My thoughts are that she and the Dems won't do anything and she will lose more support from her base. This is why Congress has no popular support. They roll over on every major debacle of this administration. Pitiful!

    May 31, 2008 at 7:27 pm |
  6. Cindy Williams

    If they change the rules to change the outcome, I will never vote agian. I have voted since I was 18 years old, I am now 58.

    May 31, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  7. Celia, Jamaica

    So what if the priest said that? I's true isn't it? Doesn't Hillary claim she is not getting it because she is a woman? Doesn't she proudly claim the votes of white people who would rather die than vote for a black man? What really is the big deal here?

    May 31, 2008 at 12:14 am |
  8. Shirley

    This is written with the hope that I cast some light on what's wrong with Kansas.
    I am angry. I'm from Kansas. I believe everyone should get to vote. Kansas, Florida and Michigan included. I believe there is a huge power struggle with the Dems jockeying for positions, i.e., Sebelius for vp, Bill Richardson, vp; Kerry, Secretary of State; Nancy Pelosi and Oprah neither one want to give up their positions as the most powerful women in this country. Not to mention no matter what Hillary does, she gets hammered (or worse, just dismissed) for it and no matter what Obama does, he remains unscathed. I just want to vote. Apparently that's not possible for caucus states, but that needs to be changed. I don't care who Kathlene Sebelius is backing (besides herself) I want to vote.
    Thank you, Shirley Williams

    May 30, 2008 at 11:49 pm |
  9. Annie Kate


    You may be grumpy but your post sure left a smile on my face. I agree with you that Obama needs to define himself – too many people are popping up and adding a piece here and a piece there to the jig saw puzzle that is Obama. Until he defines himself he's going to continue to have to decry what some of his friends and supporters say. Really bad timing on this one for him – maybe good timing for clinton..

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    May 30, 2008 at 10:21 pm |
  10. Zo Owen

    More Clinton nonsense...she isn't losing cause somebody said not nice things about her – PULEASE – she ihas suggested Obama might be assasinated in June so she was holding on....DUH!
    Just get it over with and say- bye Mrs Clinton and President Clinton.....and all us older women will move on just fine....not to worry.

    May 30, 2008 at 7:54 pm |
  11. Charles

    I am tired of hearing about ministers, pastors and/or priests making these crazy statements. Now part of what he said may be true, that she felt the nomination was hers. But I think that was because she could not really see any competition, not that she was a white woman.

    I can relate to plane delays.....hope Anderson kowtows appropriately....good work by the way.

    May 30, 2008 at 7:42 pm |
  12. Claire

    You rock, Candy! I love your blog posts and your sense of humor. I also think you're one of the best that CNN has. Love watching you!


    May 30, 2008 at 6:41 pm |
  13. Carrie Pa

    Candy (the best),

    Glad to see that you made it back to DC.

    As a Catholic, I have never seen a priest act like this. This man is insane. In my church, I have a hard time not falling asleep. Humorous in a way! There is even some truth to it. But, how does this solve are problems? Who does it really help or hurt?

    How about the Separation of Church and State? This is a political campaign. I don't care about what Obama, Clintons or McCains preacher/church have to say. It doesn't show what kind of President, any of the candidates will be. It's not going to bring my brother home from Iraq, bring my mortgage rate down, pay my bills, give me lower interest rates for my daughters education, equal pay as my fellow male co-workers, affordable health insurance, etc. The real issues have taken a back seat to these petty issues.

    Democrats need to unite behind Obama. The Bush policies have hurt, even killed, the average American. McCain's policies will be no different.

    Tomorrow, enjoy your day off and the tasting!

    May 30, 2008 at 6:26 pm |
  14. Mischelle from Illinois

    You always crack me up! NEVER drive in or out of Chicago on a Friday unless it is before 6 am or after 8pm. You surely are aware now that roads in Illinois aren't top priority. You should see the car swollowing trenches along the Illinois State Hwy near my house, I tell my family, if I'm not home, I'm somewhere stuck in a pothole.

    Seriously, Candy, I've got one for you. Yesterday, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid decided to put it out there that they plan to 'personnaly step in and put an end to this...' – refering to Hillary Clinton's bid for the nomination. I find this not to be an act of leadership, but a blatant abuse of thier 'powers' and a haunting reminder of the way that then Secretary of the State of Florida, Katherine Harris, shut down the hand recounting of the ballots just hours before they were finished counting in the 2000 Presidential Election. That remains a stain on our democracy that will never, ever be forgoten.

    I wrote to Pelosi and Reid and asked them to take a step back and look at the bigest picture, the world audience and emerging democracies watching our "leaders" and forming their own governments and processes. Imagine Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakastan and other counries believing that this type of impediment to allowable processes is how they should form and execute thier governments. I am ashamed of our leaders, that they would put Party over Country and over democracy. This too will be a stain on our still nascent democracy.

    Good luck with DC traffic, it is only slightly better than Chicago.

    May 30, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  15. KAB

    Just yesterday we were asked by the Cohens "why we can't get over race issues."

    Michael Pfleger
    Pastor Wright
    Louis Farakan
    Rev. Sharpton

    What upsets me more than the comments made by Pfleger is the members of the congregation laughing and egging him on as he said these things. These were not misspoken words, he is not sorry for what he said. He is only sorry that it was YouTubed.

    May 30, 2008 at 6:09 pm |
  16. Linda, Boulder


    Your blogs are my favorite. Full of humor and information, How do you do it, and on so little sleep?

    I was more shocked by the congregation's response as much as I was by father Pfleger's sermon. People cheering at such hateful, mean-spiritedness. It is because of those followers/supporters of Obama, and how hateful they have been, that I cannot seriously consider voting for him. They have been so mean, on all the blogs, on the radio shows, etc. In this time in our country, in our world, when we need kindness more than other, there is no room for this kind of speech.

    Don't worry about full disclosure about Mr. Obama coming out now. There will be plenty of time in the next few months for the Republicans to dig up everything about him, and we can really find out who he is, what he's done, how he got elected in Chicago. Many are going to be disallusioned, and that's too bad. We all want change, but have been blinded by our hope, and have refused to investigate this person. He was trained by the Chicago machine to do whatever it takes to get elected, including using all the right words in his inspiring speeches, and making anti-war speeches to anti-war groups. And using the rules to keep any competition out of the race.

    May 30, 2008 at 5:34 pm |
  17. Kathy, Chicago

    Thanks for your honesty-no spin here! It really was an ugly morning. It is going to be a busy week-end, but it looks like things will be over next week. I hope the statements from this church are not being expressed in similar churches around the country. I really don't think that this is what God intended his church to be used for. Have a great week-end.

    May 30, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  18. carmen

    Candy, we have the same cabbie in my city, except here he speaks a foreign language and doesn't think ANY of the presidential candidates are any good. Hang in there, hopefully you will get a breather after next week before the rest of the fun continues. We need you to be our eyes and ears out there. Stay well.

    May 30, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
  19. Jennifer NC

    You are hilarious! At least CNN lets you sleep (or do they?) Hope you have a vacation or at least some time at home coming up soon.

    May 30, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  20. Carol B., Virginia

    You have every right to be grumpy. That sounds like the trip from hell. Some radio stations are in the crapper, just like our national discourse. Callers, many not authentic, love to call in to trash others, yet the cowards would die if it was done to them. I hate some of them. You do a good job of presenting the never-ending campaign issues. Bet you're looking forward to a nice, several days vacation. Burnout happens when we get sick of obnoxious people or troublemakers outside our friends or families we don't choose to be around but have to interact with. It's not difficult to be nice if you're dealing with real people but there's no headache remedy for the others. Sometimes grumpiness is a normal reaction to what's happening and to pretend otherwise is phony. Take care.

    May 30, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  21. Kayli, KY

    Candy, we viewers really appreciate all the loops you jump through to be where the political action is! When you were in Louisville covering the Clinton rally, I was seriously considering catching the bus downtown and thank you for coming here. Sadly, it was after 9, and apparently people get stabbed around here after 9. Plus? No bus fare.
    Next time!

    May 30, 2008 at 1:59 pm |
  22. Jennifer - Michigan

    Hi Candy,
    LOVE your email today, very insightful. You are so incredibly cool and funny! You have such a way with words to explain your experiences, good and bad. I would imagine that you are very weary, you work all the time. And delayed flights, what a bother! Don't worry we're with you in spirit. At least you can enjoy a couple days off this weekend, woohoo! Have a great day, and nice weekend.
    One of your fans,

    May 30, 2008 at 1:57 pm |
  23. Phebe

    Happy Friday to you Grumplestiltskin,
    Does anyone ever thank you for all the crap you put up with so that we can have the inside story? I'm sure that gigantic paycheck from CNN is some comfort, but let me add a personal thank you. For your reporting and for your fabulously funny blog posts.

    May 30, 2008 at 1:55 pm |
  24. Sharon

    I just saw the weather report for Chicago and if you didn't get out by now it's going to be quite a wait for the flying tin can.

    You pieces are always cogent and often quite humorous. I truly enjoy the insight.

    I don't care what some guy who knows Obama talks about in a church Obama pretty obviously no longer attends. Little fish, who exhale intolerence and pretend they're Christians, really shouldn't get any press. This election, which is dragging on really waaaay tooo long, needs to have focus on issues, issues, issues.

    Enough with the crazy ministers. They're just a stone's thow away from the asylum as far as I can see. If some religious whack job wants to make a stir, a name for himself and capture his undeserved fifteen minutes, it seems all he has to do is glom onto some candidate and he's got his very, very public hate spewing forum.

    I think you should ignore them all. I want to know about the war, and who's going to get us out of this mess, the GI Bill and military suicides, and who, for God's sake is going to finally confront the oil industry the was JFK did the steel industy. I'm dating myself with that last one, but I'm no spring chicken, so why pretend??

    Happy flying!! I hope you get some sleep soon. You looked really, really tired last night on AC 360.

    May 30, 2008 at 1:18 pm |
  25. Sophie


    I'm sorry you're having such a bad start to your day, but I've got to tell you...you just made mine a little better. I was laughing out loud reading this.

    Hang in there and keep up the good work.! Oh...and a piece of advice...don't let what you're screaming in your head accidentally make it the your fingertips. I'm sure you'd regret it tomorrow. Or maybe not!

    May 30, 2008 at 1:14 pm |
  26. Michael, NC

    Wow Candy, that post sounds like my mornings if I am up before 8 or so. I find it interesting to hear about how you search for stories on a daily basis. To think that you are throwing your ideas in a big melting pot and picking and choosing to put a segment together for the show...that's really cool. Well, hopefully the day will take a turn for the better, and you will put a great piece together as usual.

    May 30, 2008 at 1:14 pm |
  27. Kona

    As someone who also woke up just kind of angry today, this really made me laugh.

    May 30, 2008 at 1:07 pm |
  28. Andrew, Lafayette IN

    Candy you are soo funny.. thanks for the post.

    May 30, 2008 at 1:06 pm |
  29. Kristen

    Candy, just want to say you do a fantastic job. I always enjoy listening to your reports, keep up the good work. After they wrap things get wrapped up, take a vacation...you deserve it 🙂

    May 30, 2008 at 1:01 pm |
  30. Monika

    Oh, poor Candy, you're just the hardest working girl on television. Life just has this stupid habit of throwing curve balls at you, doesn't it? I feel for you, Candy. I don't know how you put up with all that traveling and related headaches. Thank God you have a great sense of humor. I think you really need that in the news business.

    As far as the primary is concerned, it seems like it's been going on forever, wearing out not only you reporters but us viewers as well. I wish it were over and done with already for the next 20 years.

    Hope you made it safely wherever it is you went. Maybe a good meal will cheer you up.

    May 30, 2008 at 12:54 pm |
  31. Gary Chandler in Canada

    actor play to the audience!
    The worst part of that tape is the congregation, applauding and shouting praise. What is the matter with those people? Who thinks it's a good idea to have a camera rolling to document the irreligious shenanigans they cater to?
    Maybe Pfleger is an agent in a Clinton conspiracy!? << (that's a joke folks)

    May 30, 2008 at 12:51 pm |
  32. caren from los angeles

    Candy, you are a total rockstar! I don't know how you keep your sense of humor and work like a maniac! I feel you pain, all the way over here in LA! I really hope you get your weekend off! Thanks for making us laugh at your pretty cruddy situation!

    And I agree with you that Obama needs to get out there more and define himself. It's time. It's past the time actually. We need to see the leader that he can and will be in the future.

    May 30, 2008 at 12:26 pm |
  33. Betty Ann, Nacogdoches,TX

    Dear Grumplestiltskin,
    Sounds like Monday on Friday! Or maybe you're haveing your Friday the 13th two weeks early?
    That cabbie has issues. I have ridden with cabbies like that before.
    When they drive and act wreckless like the one you were in, they are asking for a messed up back seat!
    Don't be weary Candy (glad they didn't edit that) and chin up!
    Have a GREAT week-end girlfriend and thanks for the blog.
    You are so funny!

    May 30, 2008 at 12:16 pm |
  34. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Sorry about your flight. Gee, flights are almost never late, what gives? How about a position in the middle on Obama's church. Of course he can't be held responsible for everything said in his church. He can and should be held responsible for the fact that he is still a member of his church, given what appears to be a pervasive attitude of racism and anti-Americanism there. The preacher comments are bad enough. The congregation's reaction (cheers and clapping) indicate that many if not most share the views being expressed. Does Obama? Who knows? What we do know is he's still a member. To many, Obama is an undefined entity. Given a relatively short public record, we certainly do need to look at his associations to help fill in the blanks. It seems the more datapoints that we obtain, the less 'hope and change' seems to really define who he is. Both Wright and Ffleger are long time associates and advisors, not someone he just cozied up to for a political endorsement. If you hang out with ducks, you just might be a duck. Candy, his friends may not be off the rails at all. They may just be on a different track than the rest of us...the racist express.

    May 30, 2008 at 12:15 pm |
  35. Don

    Hang in there Candy! It will soon be over – unless it is perpetuated by over-reaction to ridiculous and superfluous side issues over what someone other than the candidate said!

    May 30, 2008 at 12:07 pm |
  36. Lorie Ann, Buellton, California

    Hi Candy,
    What a great post for a Friday. The humor you bring to the topics of the day is always appreciated. Thanks. Life and politics. Some days are just more grumpy than others.

    Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif.

    May 30, 2008 at 12:03 pm |
  37. Michelle

    i think the Sups could care less . It is not as though
    HRC is baggage free. Candy thanks for keeping it real.
    Not only that I think there are many Sups who are pretty
    annoyed by the recent comments from BIll. Just talke
    a look at what Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid did this

    May 30, 2008 at 12:01 pm |
  38. missy

    Grumle: It is always good to hear from you and read read your blogs.

    May 30, 2008 at 12:01 pm |
  39. Laura

    I wanted to add that we all know that Barak is loved by most but I personally don't want to feel like we are being snowed because we can't find fault in him. It makes him look too favored and that things are hidden, that is supposed to fly in the face of why he initially inspired us all......

    May 30, 2008 at 11:48 am |
  40. marcy

    Candy as hard as you have worked on this presidential campaigned you deserve the right to be a grumplestiltskin! (nice word btw). That said did Anderson ever give you those flowers, I’ve noticed two times that you have come in on Vacation, he owes you big time! Hang in there maybe they will give you an extra bag of nuts, then again with your luck today you may be allergic.

    Mobile, AL

    May 30, 2008 at 11:48 am |
  41. Kim

    You made me smile, Grumplestiltskin 🙂 Hope you hit no more delays and have a nicer cabbie next time!

    May 30, 2008 at 11:48 am |
  42. Suzy

    While I lived in Chicagoland, and my mom would visit, we both hated riding in cabs downtown. We always felt like we might not get out of there alive!

    I agree that the company a person keeps can tell a lot about them, but I don't think that people need to be in such an uproar about every little thing that comes up either. No, Obama shouldn't be held accountable for everything that other people do and say. Neither should HIllary or McCain or anyone else.

    Why can't people stick to focusing on the actual issues?

    May 30, 2008 at 11:47 am |
  43. Cindy

    If I had to get up and deal with all of that so early in the morning I'd be right there with ya on being grumplestiltskin! So I'll give ya a pass on that one! LOL Hopefully your flight arrives sooner than later and all gets back on track for you.

    I think this Rev Pfleger thing is really big! It does matter because Obama has known this guy for a while and he even was working on his campaign! But isn't it SO funny that when these things come out Obama's answer is always that he doesn't agree with what was said and he has distanced himself from them and it all. Seems to me as much as he has said that he must be pretty lonely! LOL I'm just sayin...LOL

    I agree totally with Hillary that what Obama said about the issue was not enough at all. He needs to get to talking IMO!

    The longer this race goes the more we are seeing the "real" Obama emerge and it ain't pretty! If I was Hillary I'd stay in the race until the very end at the convention because the way things are starting to look the superdelegates are going to give her another serious look now!


    May 30, 2008 at 11:43 am |
  44. Laura

    Candy I really like Barak but I don't think we can ignore that this is obviously the culture in his church, we can tell that by the reaction of the congregation, they weren't shocked by it. How can Barak pretend he doesn't know where people he has known for years stand on issues and further to that invite them to be part of his campaign. Perhaps that is a judgement issue on his part, I just don't think we can sit and project onto him and ignore these possible errors in judgement.

    Having said that I think he will be a wonderful president.

    May 30, 2008 at 11:38 am |