Romney backer Tim Pawlenty, for example, when asked about Romney’s “maybe” moment, said his candidate’s stated plans to release his tax returns far surpass those of any other: Gingrich has just released his returns for one year, Santorum gave a “non-answer,” and Paul doesn’t have any plan to release his.
And Pawlenty, no surprise, thought King’s opening question about Gingrich’s ex-wife’s comments was A-OK. “It was the lead story of the day,” he said.
When a reporter followed that up with, “How do you think Governor Romney did tonight?” I left and headed over to the Gingrich section. Gingrich’s press secretary, R.C. Hammond, was telling journalists how inappropriate King’s question was.
It’s probably worth considering how much value this sort of commentary adds, but in the moment, there’s not a lot of time for that. The spin room is a crush of people, and the best strategy is to quickly glob on to the scrum, thrust out your recorder, and push to the front. If the filing center is journalists in their pens, the spin room is reporters at the feeding trough. (Or, in the words of Scholastic Kid Reporter Zach Dalzell, the reporters were “swarming like bees at the smell of honey.”)
By 10:40, the spin room crowd had thinned out and reporters were returning to their places to file their stories. Being a writer for a bimonthly magazine, I did what seemed like the sensible thing—went home to get some sleep.