So Ed Rendell has a Mt. Vesuvius moment with Lesli Stahl during an interview for 60 Minutes. A glimpse into the governor's capacity for anger may shock the nation (though, frankly, I doubt it) but it's the same-old-same-old for those of us who have covered Rendell for years.
In fact, his response to Stahl's questioning about the evils of casino gambling was mild compared to the Rendell of old. He just yelled at her. He didn't grab her wrist and squeeze it, or wrap his fingers around her pearl necklace and pull it. He didn't kick in a wall or bang his head against a wall.
No, he's much tamer today. As anyone who has witnesses a Rendell eruption, they know it passes like a summer storm. Sturm under drang one minute, sunshine the next.
So well known are Rendell's outbursts that I once suggested in a blog a book he might write that could make Oprah's book club. This make-believe book was called:
Seven Highly Effective Choke Holds For Reporters.
The personable Pennsylvania governor gives his unique take on media relations. "When words won't do, it's time to take action," Rendell writes, offering useful tips on how and where to grab reporters (Rule No.1 is "Never Below the Belt!"). Rendell also reveals his secret method for fending off hostile questions: "I turn beet red, break out in a sweat, and start grunting. They think I'm having a heart attack and back off." The governor also offers practical advice on what he calls "confrontation etiquette." One pointer: Never tug on the necklace of a female reporter, unless you are willing to pay to have it re-strung. Another pointer: if you grab a reporter's tape recorder, always return it once you are done removing the tape and tearing it apart with your teeth. A must-read guide for public officials.