It's not often you hear about the consultants or campaign operatives on the campaign trail, but since "Big Bad John" aired at the Republican convention, two names keep popping up on our radar-Karen Hughes and David Beckwith. Now there our rumors swirling about both Karen Hughes and David Beckwith.
Karen Hughes is a highly prominent Republican consultant and most recognize her from her work with the Governor and President Bush and as former Executive Director of the Republican Party of Texas. Hughes is a talented operative with a long track record of working on tough campaigns with other consultants like Karl Rove.
David Beckwith is probably a new name to most people. While he is a former Time reporter and staffer to both Vice President Dan Quale and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, he is best known for his flubs and firings than his successes.
Back in 2005, Beckwith left Hutchison's camp to go work for Junior Senator John Cornyn, a move that brought a few eyes with it.
Beckwith has been in the public eye frequently, but he has always stayed slightly under the radar. While good at what he does, he does have a tendency to make huge and erroneous errors. Back in 2005, our own Byron LaMasters saw Hutchison's hire of Beckwith as a signal she was gearing up for a run to be Governor in Texas. However, Beckwith's history of yap first, think second has absolutely gotten him in trouble.
In 2003, Kuff highlighted a series of huge blunders and bad quotes from Beckwith when he was working with Lt. Gov David Dewherst.
Senators said a spokesman for Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst made inappropriate comments in a published report by suggesting the Democrats consider themselves akin to Rosa Parks, whose refusal to yield her seat at the front of a bus in Montgomery, Alabama contributed to the civil rights movement.
The spokesman, David Beckwith, was quoted by Scripps Howard's Austin bureau today saying of the absent Democrats: "After they got" to New Mexico "thinking they were going to stay a few days and then declare victory or whatever they thought they were going to do, they got captured by the Democratic National Committee blowing smoke up their rears and telling them what great Americans they were. So now they've gone from making a statement to 'doing the right thing.' They think they are Rosa Parks II."
Sen. Rodney Ellis of Houston, who is African American, said he was "personally offended" by the comment and contended the comment reflected a history of similar lapses by Beckwith, who once worked for Vice President Dan Quayle.
"He owes the entire state of Texas an apology," Ellis said.
Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos of Austin said Beckwith deserves a kick in the rear.
"He's pulled the race card," Barrientos said. "He's dealt himself a very bad hand."
Sen. Royce West of Dallas said he started to give Beckwith "a sheet and a hood" but decided that was too reactive.
Beckwith, informed of the criticism, said today he was simply telling Scripps Howard that the Democratic flight was "not a historic event. I'm sorry if anybody is offended."
This of course, is the same Beckwith that said the 2002 statewide Democratic candidates are "based on a racial quota system" causing then candidate John Cornyn to totally disavow Beckwith and his racist language.
Now, it appears Beckwith is at it again. Rumors circulating within the campaign world are now saying Beckwith has been fired by long time co-worker Karen Hughes on the John Cornyn re-elect campaign.
Beckwith appears to be the genius behind, "Big Bad John" and as Cornyn has already said, "My staff convinced me it was a good idea. Maybe I need a new staff." It appears that is what he is doing. Hughes already has a track record of firing Beckwith, so this isn't the jump it originally appears to be.
Cornyn is at worst having a hard time cracking the 50% approval mark and Texas does look like the Democratic wave could hit it. Firing Beckwith now is less of a story than firing him in September, and it is absolutely clear that Beckwith is more of a liability than an asset. For now it seems like Cornyn is fulfilling his promise to get new staff before the staff completely sinks his re-elect chances.
Update: I actually called the Cornyn campaign today and they stand by the fact Karen Hughes does not work for the campaign. However, nobody is confirming David Beckwith still works for the campaign. Even if Karen Hughes is not a paid member of the campaign, the bigger story still seems to stand. More at noon.