The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Storm Center: J.D. Gordon Takes Charge as Herman Cain Communications Director

Posted on | October 6, 2011 | 16 Comments

Cmdr. J.D. Gordon (USN, Retired), former Pentagon spokesman, is now
communications director for Herman Cain’s presidential campaign.

Saturday, I was the first to report that former Pentagon spokesman J.D. Gordon was taking over as de facto press secretary in the wake of Ellen Carmichael’s resignation. Today, I had my first phone interview with Commander Gordon, USN (Retired) — a career Navy man, like my co-blogger Smitty — and was quite impressed.

Commander Gordon understands my “never burn a source” rule, so most of our conversation occurred somewhere in the range of “background,” “off-the-record,” and “don’t ever breathe a word of this to anyone.”

First things first: In reporting the story Saturday, I got some things wrong and must now clarify any misperceptions accidentally created.

Gordon joined the Cain campaign on Sept. 1 and his title is “Vice President, Communications; Senior Adviser, Foreign Policy & Security.” This reflects Gordon’s dual areas of expertise, as a career public affairs officer with extensive knowledge of national security. (You can read his biography here.)

Gordon’s first task was to help inform Cain on foreign policy and military issues — which many of Cain’s critics had seen as a weakness — but Gordon’s portfolio also included supervisory authority over communications, i.e., he became Ellen Carmichael’s boss.

Anyone with sufficient math skills to add 2+2 could see that the sum of this equation would be “trouble,” which is nobody’s fault: Not Ellen’s fault, not J.D.’s fault, not Herman’s fault.

“Growing pains,” just like Carmichael had told me when a couple of Cain’s Iowa staffers left the campaign in July.

For more than a year, Carmichael had reported directly to Herman Cain, and the insertion of Gordon in the chain of command changed that. As I say, this is simple mathematics, rather than any sort of “sources say” revelation. What I heard from Gordon confirmed what I’ve been told by Carmichael and, while both spoke to me in that nebulous shadow realm of background/off-the-record, it’s fair to say — and again, nothing “exclusive” here — that conflicts arose.

“Differences of opinion,” you might say.

Perhaps you can imagine what happens when a veteran naval officer and a 2009 LSU graduate suddenly become colleagues in the middle of a presidential campaign with a long-shot candidate who is suddenly becoming a contender.

Hell, I could pitch that story in Hollywood as a situation comedy.

A laugh riot. Madcap hijinks ensue. Twenty-six episodes for the first season with a three-year option. (Attention Charlie Sheen: Call me, OK?)

The Odd (Campaign) Couple has a spinoff called Amicable Parting of the Ways, but is anyone surprised? It’s nobody’s fault, nobody’s bitter, and everybody speaks well of each other, and a publisher would have to offer me a hefty book advance in order to get me to do the “insider tell-all” version of that story. But I digress . . .

This unfortunately necessary drama ended Friday. Ellen Carmichael’s now working on a state election campaign in her native Louisiana and when that’s over, she’s coming back to D.C., where she has several stellar offers as an editorial commentator and/or public-relations specialist. Her future’s so bright, she’s gotta wear special heavy-duty infra-red shades.

It’s a win-win, happy endings for everyone including J.D. Gordon and the surging Herman Cain campaign. Gordon’s professionalism has earned him the respect of influential Washington journalists, among them top network TV correspondents and producers, and Gordon has already been working hard to build relationships with the reporters covering the 2012 GOP campaign.

Now, the news: The candidate once known as “Herman Who?” has suddenly become the hottest “get” in media, and will appear Sunday on both CBS Face the Nation and Candy Crowley’s CNN show State of the Union. The Cain campaign is also getting ready to announce new staff hires, and has picked up several recent endorsements. Furthermore:

In addition, I’m not sure if this was “background” or not, but Gordon wished me a happy birthday (I’m 52 today), offered to buy me a beer if I make it to D.C. tomorrow, and said — this is a direct quote — “Your readers really ought to hit your freaking tip jar.”



Trust me. That’s in my notes.

Update (Smitty): linked by our CPAC friend Nice Deb.




16 Responses to “Storm Center: J.D. Gordon Takes Charge as Herman Cain Communications Director”

  1. Joe
    October 6th, 2011 @ 3:18 pm

    I am glad Herman has good people coming on board. 

    Because once was a puppy is now a dog,
    And once was a piglet is now a hog. 

    Which means in standard English:  Time is passing. 

  2. Ellen Carmichael Out, J.D. Gordon In as Cain Campaign Communications Chief : The Other McCain
    October 6th, 2011 @ 3:25 pm

    […] (typeof(addthis_share) == "undefined"){ addthis_share = [];}UPDATE (Oct. 6): “Storm Center: J.D. Gordon Takes Charge as Herman Cain Communications Director”** PREVIOUSLY (6:36 p.m. ET, Oct. 1) **I knew this last night but was sworn to secrecy, as it […]

  3. Anonymous
    October 6th, 2011 @ 4:44 pm

    Dogs and hogs: you sure you’re not talking about the ladies lounge at the 2012 Democrat convention in Charlotte? 

  4. steve benton
    October 6th, 2011 @ 5:13 pm

    When Obama gets up there and tells lie after lie, now why exactly are we 100% sure we’re going to have elections next year? When documents come out that Iran was contemplating moving their navy within the general range of the Wall Street riots, does that not unnerve a few of you? You sure you want to jump off a cliff with a man that, when asked a simple question about foreign policy concerning Israel and Palestinians couldn’t answer it? Ducked it? He’s running for president and is still “formulating” his foreign policy. Look, these “harmless’ little protests are  just the beginning. This is how they overthrow governments. The leaders of this group has been overthrowing countries for a good while now . They have been refining their craft. They come in, disrupt society, create food shortages, create chaos, and panic. Their American leader sits in the White House. Even if we manage an election, the results could resemble a 3rd world country. I want someone with a smattering of common sense, and if you are clueless over Israel/ Palestine, you’re not for me.

  5. Former Pentagon Spokeman Takes Charge as Herman Cain New Communications Director « Nice Deb
    October 6th, 2011 @ 5:25 pm

    […] Boy, RS. McCain has the scoop: Saturday, I was the first to report that former Pentagon spokesman J.D. Gordon was […]

  6. Zilla of the Resistance
    October 6th, 2011 @ 6:10 pm

    This is certainly encouraging news for people like me, who genuinely like Herman Cain but are concerned about his lack of knowledge regarding foreign policy. I had a feeling that he’d be smart enough to get decent advisers though, and he strikes me as a quick study. 
    I still prefer Rick Santorum, but I do, sadly, have to live in reality sometimes. If RS does not get his TOM predicted moment in the sun, I might be OK with hopping on the Cain Train because Herman has the one thing that Reagan had which endeared him to so many, a sunny disposition – and after the years of glooomendoom resulting from hopenchange, America truly needs someone who can lift her spirits up.
    Obama’s and his horrible wife’s sour personalities have really cast a cloud of yucky all over the place.

  7. Richard Mcenroe
    October 6th, 2011 @ 7:58 pm

    So Cain decided to get his stupid in early regarding VP invitations  before the grown-ups showed up?

  8. Donsurber
    October 6th, 2011 @ 8:13 pm

    Happy birthday kid. Don’t worry, when I have a conservative bloggers convention, I will invite you.

  9. Anonymous
    October 6th, 2011 @ 8:14 pm

    LOL….you obviously never liked Herman Cain nor are open minded enough to hear him out.

    Herman Cain is a good, decent man.  Just the type of person we need to run this country.

  10. Felipe Zapata
    October 6th, 2011 @ 8:39 pm

    Good report, and happy birthday. I wish I were still your age.

  11. Richard Mcenroe
    October 6th, 2011 @ 8:59 pm

    Dude, I was a fan of Cain’s back when he was just barely a gleam in Stacy’s eye.  Still am. But he’s made two flubs in the last week he could have avoided.

  12. William Quick
    October 6th, 2011 @ 9:01 pm

    Happy Birthday, Stacy!  Keep hitting them out of the park as only you can!

  13. FenelonSpoke
    October 7th, 2011 @ 7:37 am

    Happy Birthday, Stacy. Some of my favorite people are born on October 6th. My mother would have been 88 on that day.

    God bless you and your family!

  14. Susan Ally
    October 7th, 2011 @ 9:05 am

    The Ruling Class has selected Romney-he’s the only one they’ll allow in their VIP room.    On the bright side to  Romney, since he has no voter support his corrupt Big Donor friends will end up burning through a Billion just to lose to Obama.

    Have fun trying to get anyone else in that special VIP room , afterall isn’t this what playing games is all about.

  15. Sarah Rumpf
    October 7th, 2011 @ 1:01 pm

    Having spoken with both Ellen and JD several times during the past few weeks, I’ll affirm Stacy’s account here.  Both good people.

  16. Kyouri
    October 10th, 2011 @ 7:56 pm

    I read your earlier article the other day, and this one doesn’t change my mind. Heck, it almost confirms my thoughts. It just seems a bit odd that since Ellen left, the TeamCain site, and the forthcoming information (to keep us ‘informed, involved, and inspired’) has been lacking at best. Now I’m not directly blaming Gordon, but his ‘chain of command’ position seems to have that ‘buck stops here’ image and the supporters of Mr. Cain are being left in the dark. But that’s just my two cents worth.

    Great article… tweeted!