Rating the Smoothies in Oakland Mayoral Bid

Here’s an interesting take on the Oakland mayor’s race from Jon Eisenberg of Horvitz & Levy, who watched live from Zazoo’s Restaurant as the candidates sparred in front of a TV audience last Friday. Eisenberg has already declared Ron Dellums the winner — for best media training, that is. The retired U.S. congressman used no notes and showed skill with timed remarks in the hour-long debate sponsored by the Alameda County Democratic Lawyers Club.

“He’s a master at it,? Eisenberg said. “Obviously he’s gotten media training, but it doesn’t show,? Eisenberg said.

Judging by Friday’s performance, Eisenberg said West Oakland councilwoman Nancy Nadel hasn’t had media training. It seems City Council President Ignacio de la Fuente has, but apparently he could use some practice. “The bones of his media training were sticking out from the flesh of his presentation,? Eisenberg said. (Which, by the way, is the best quote we’ve heard this month …)

What exactly is media training, you ask? It’s where you’re taught “how to not answer questions, how to interrupt, how to shout over people and still look like a nice guy,? said Eisenberg, who earned his stripes under David Dreyer, a White House communications deputy in the Clinton administration who’s now a principal at a D.C. communications firm.

Eisenberg was told he needed media training for his work on the Terri Schiavo case, and one of the first things he learned there was he needed to trim his moustache and his eyebrows, he said. Eisenberg was also told to be a little more impertinent, which took some getting used to. “I’m an appellate lawyer. When the judge opens his mouth, you shut up, listen, and then answer,? he said.

Dellums’ media training left Eisenberg impressed, but will it pay off with the voters? You be the judge. Watch the mayoral candidates’ debate when it airs on KTOP Channel 10 on Tuesday at 6 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m. or Saturday at 10 a.m. Then come back and leave us a comment here …

— Matthew Hirsch

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