Bimbo Banter

BIMBO Nominees for May 2012

  • Bimbo
  • May 1, 2012
  • by Spaeth Communications

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This month’s BIMBO is a variant on Robert Kennedy’s famous quote, “Forgive…but always remember.” Laugh, but learn from this month’s comments. The full BIMBO features John Sargent, CEO of Macmillan, New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis (who also contributed a number of comments to the “Wrong Things to Say” category), White House dinner crasher Tareq Salahi and former Twins player Reggie Williams (who also illustrates “Twitter jitters,” a category that exploded this month with Metta World Peace’s relapse.) We have “Wrong Thing To Say” examples from a regional EPA administrator, a marine who insulted the president on Facebook and paid what we think is an appropriate price, former Sen. Arlen Specter and, of course, Hilary Rosen. Coca-Cola releases a statement after the death of a young mother is blamed on drinking two gallons of Coke – a day. Sen. Rubio is a good example of using humor to cover a mishap, and we feature two “must read” quotes from Cisco CEO John Chambers.


“We’re not strippers, we’re maids,” said Melissa Borrett, founder of Lubbock, Texas-based Fantasy Maid Service, whose maids clean your house nude. “The nudity aspect of it isn’t, in and of itself, enough to qualify it as a sexually-oriented business,” she added. (Lubbock? Great city, but not the place to start a nude cleaning business.)

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, “Nude maid service not sexual, owner says,” April 10, 2012


“I’m the head of state, not a thug,” said Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner about the announcement to seize YPF, the country’s largest oil company and a subsidiary of Spain’s energy giant Repsol. (What made this interesting was the transparent political agenda advanced by President Kirchner who is also attempting to reduce a trade gap by restricting imports rather than encouraging local production. She is, of course, “a thug.” Thugs steal.)

Bloomberg Businessweek, “Argentina Goes Rogue Again,” April 23, 2012

“I never lie. I never say something that I know is untrue,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney at a scholarship lunch hosted by the White House Correspondents’ Association. (Carney also said the job of a White House Correspondent is very difficult. I agree with him, especially having witnessed the Press Corps and the Press Secretary from the much safer assignment of local and trade media while reporting directly to White House Chief of Staff Jim Baker. I’m also sure that Mr. Carney tries to find a way to do what President Carter’s Press Secretary Jody Powell did, “I tell the modified, limited version of the truth.” And it’s remarkable that such a sophisticated media person doesn’t know about BIMBO comments. Note that the comment made it into the headline.)

Politico, “I never lie,” April 27, 2012

“Macmillan did not act illegally. Macmillan did not collude,” said Macmillan CEO John Sargent. (The Department of Justice sued Apple and five publishers charging that they conspired to inflate the prices of e-books and limit retail competition. Predictably, Amazon loved the development. What Macmillan could and should have said was contained in a quote from Arun Sundararajan, professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business who explained that Amazon’s pricing threatened book publishing; “Who’s to say that $9.99 wouldn’t become $6.99 and then $4.99? Soon prices become so low that the business model for publishers becomes untenable.”)

MSNBC, “US says Apple, publishers conspired to fix prices,” April 25, 2012

“I don’t think the we are are unstable,” said Mickey Loomis, New Orleans Saints general manager, accused of using a listening device to overhear conversations of visiting coaches from 2002 to 2004. (Loomis made the comments during a live interview on the NFL Network. While the interview continued, the quote ran across the bottom of the screen. The comment and accusations add to the Saints’ problems after being caught on tape by a documentary filmmaker paying bounties for injuries to opposing teams’ players. Weeks after the NFL told the Saints that the bounties had become known and were being investigated and after the team’s owner, Tom Benson, says he told Loomis to quit offering the bonuses. “We’ve got to do everything in the world to make sure we kill Frank Gore’s head. We want him running sideways. We want his head sideways,” said former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams who was caught on tape and is now suspended from the league. Further developments illustrate the role Twitter now plays in controversy. Some players tweeted that Williams’s language was the norm while others, like Steelers James Harrison disagreed. The final lesson for all, especially high-profile athletes and other celebrities, is that virtually nothing is secret today and what you say in one venue is highly likely to find its way to another.)

The New York Times, “Tape Reveals Coach Specifying 49s for Injury,” April 6, 2012

USA Today, “Loomis Denies Charges, says Saints aren’t the ‘evil empire,’” April 26, 2012

“It’s not part of reality TV, it’s not a stunt,” said Tareq Salahi, about launching a campaign for Governor of Virginia. Salahi, of course, was one of the two people who got into a White House State dinner two years ago and gained access to the President without an invitation or background check. (After a spate of national attention, Salahi’s wife left him for a reality show and a rock singer and he was fined over improprieties in the charity he oversaw. Now, Virginia attorney general and gubernatorial hopeful Ken Cuccinelli sued him in connection with wine tours. “It” could certainly be a TV reality show.)

Washington Post, “Tareq Salahi says he’s running for Virginia Governor,” April 25, 2012

“I don’t hate anybody,” tweeted just-released Minnesota Twins player Reggie Williams, apologizing for tweeting “Why are there so many gay people these days?” and continuing ranting about “the bold act of gayness in public.”  (This is yet another example demonstrating the difference between saying something obnoxious a decade ago and the nature of today’s social media. It seems personal, but it’s potentially global. Notice, the comment made it into the headline.)

MSN, “MLB prospect goes on Twitter diatribe over ‘so many gays,’” April 25, 2012   

“There is no earmark committee being formed,” said Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner. (Did that word “earmarks” just send shivers up my spine? Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) suggested the return of earmarks in a closed door session with other Republicans. Not surprisingly, the freshman Tea Party Caucus Members went ballistic. Mr. Rogers and his staff then went into deep hiding, but the damage was already done. Many voters remember the GOP piggish days, which were only reluctantly given up in 2010. Have they learned their lesson? We hope they learn the mere mention of the term will leak out immediately.)

Washington Times, “Earmarks Eruption? Talk of pork tempts lawmakers on Hill,” April 9, 2012


“Take the first five guys they saw and crucify them,” said Al Armendariz, Region 6 Administrator of the EPA, describing the regulatory agency’s approach to deterrence. Armendariz cited the Roman’s strategy at a meeting in Dish, Texas in 2012. (The problem? Someone videotaped the comments. Although the event was two years ago, the video became a current news event. Armendariz apologized and tried to retract the comment, but numerous producers and trade association executives confirmed the strategy of “trial by press release,” and it certainly short circuits what is supposed to be a rigorous process based on objective, scientific findings. Note that the word “crucify” makes it into the headline.)

CBS Money Watch, “EPA official apologizes for use of word ‘crucify,’” April 27, 2012

“Cheat on your girlfriend, not your workout,” was the tagline for Reebok ads in Germany which went global, causing an outcry. (Another example of how much you can pay for bad advice. Where were the communications experts? The general counsel? Was there any adult supervision?)

MSN, “Reebok is sorry for telling you to cheat on your girlfriend,” April 25, 2012

“Screw Obama and I will not follow orders from him,” Marine Sgt. Gary Stein posted on Facebook. The 15 word rant earned him an other-than-honorable discharge from the Service. (We agree with the discharge. Stein later tried to say he meant unlawful orders, but one of the military prosecutors told reporters that Stein had been warned and persisted. Using a verb like “screw” and a blanket claim that he would not obey orders cannot be tolerated. President Obama deserves to be referred to with respect—he is the Commander in Chief. Soldiers wearing the uniform have made a choice to serve.)

Associated Press, “Marines discharge sergeant for Facebook posts,” April 25, 2012

“Ann Romney never worked a day in her life,” said Democratic operative and surrogate for the President’s re-election campaign Hilary Rosen. (Is there anyone who hasn’t heard about this? The comment triggered an outpouring of comments, almost all commenting that raising children is, indeed, work. Rosen backed away from the comments immediately and was just as quickly disavowed by the president and first lady.)

USA Today, “Hilary Rosen says Ann Romney never worked ‘day in her life,’” April 12, 2012

“I have one final comment, I gave you 10 minutes. You’ve been over every subject except for my book. I’ve listened to two rounds of your commercials. I think it’s insulting. I’ve been in a lot of interviews in the course of the past 30 years and you are absolutely insulting!” said former Sen. Arlen Specter to radio host Jason Lewis. (How can someone as sophisticated as Sen. Specter not understand how the media works? Particularly someone whose life has seen as many controversial twists as Sen. Specter’s, including his recent switch from Republican to Democrat when it became obvious he wouldn’t survive a primary challenge. He should expect that reporters are going to ask about all those things. What matters is what you, as the interviewee, want to talk about. If you wait for the reporter to ask the “right” question, you’re likely to wait a long time. Everyone who’s been through Spaeth courses – all together now: “Acknowledge honestly, and move to your headline.”), “Specter ‘Loses It’ on Radio Show,” April 2, 2012

Philadelphia Inquirer, “Regional Spotlight: Specter and the scars of a survivor,” April 3, 2012


A 30-year-old mother of eight in New Zealand died of a heart attack. News reports speculated that her habit of drinking two gallons of Coca-Cola a day were part of the cause. What do you say when that’s the story and the media wants a statement from you? Coke issued a statement saying that its product is safe, adding, “We concur with the information shared by the coroner’s office that the grossly excessive ingestion of any food product, including water, over a short period of time with the inadequate consumption of essential nutrients, and the failure to seek appropriate medical intervention when needed, can be dramatically symptomatic.” (This is probably about the best a company can do under these circumstances. We would be interested, however, in the discussion that decided the word “symptomatic” as opposed to “impact” or “effects” would be better.)

Associated Press, “Cola habit behind death of 30-year-old New Zealand woman?” April 25, 2012


When Oklahoma Thunder basketball player James Harden suffered a concussion after taking a hard elbow to the head from Lakers player Metta World Peace, columnists and others had a field day with his name. Mike Lopresti of USA Today referred to him as: “Metta World War, Metta World Suspension, Metta World Cheap Shot, Metta World Knucklehead, Metta World Same Old thing, and Metta World Selfish.” Twitter was the ideal medium for similar comments:

Tennis star Andy Roddick tweeted, “I think Metta World Peace should change his name to holy flying elbow;”

Sports humor writer D.J. Gallo tweeted, “Disillusioned Metta World Peace changes his name to Military Industrial Complex;”

The Daily columnist Dan Wolken tweeted, “If that’s what World Peace looks like, I’d hate to see what Metta Cold War is capable of”

Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAffee tweeted, “Metta World Peace got a bit Ron Artesty didn't he"

Former WWE star John Layfield, and writer for sports media blog Awful Announcing tweeted, “How could Metta World Peace have a crazy Ron Artest relapse on Earth Day of all days? Cmon man.”

USA Today, “World Peace: New name, same nasty streak,” April 24, 2012 


Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is this month’s example of how to use humor to defuse a situation. At a speech to the Brookings Institution he ascended the stage, launched into his speech and discovered that he had left the last page with a staff person. Rubio provided a case study in how to handle things that go wrong; he made a joke of it, retrieved the last page and explained he had a quote from British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, that he wanted to share and needed to get right.

“In some small corner of this vast country, out in Nevada or Idaho or these places I’ve never been to but always wanted to go, I know out there, there’s a guy getting on with his life, perfectly happily, minding his own business, saying to you, the political leaders of this country, “Why me, and why us, and why America?” and the only answer is because destiny put you in this place in history at this moment in time, and the task is yours to do.” British Prime Minister, Tony Blair

CNN, “Marco Rubio forgets last page of speech,” April 26, 2012


“Every device, five years from now, will be video. That’s how you’ll communicate with your kids, with work.”

“Companies that don’t change get left behind. Since I became CEO [in 1995], 87 percent of the companies in the Fortune 500 are off the list.”  - John Chambers, Cisco CEO

(The first quote responds to the question, “You just bought video software company NDS for $5 billion. How important is that to Cisco’s future?” The second quote responds to the question, “The tech industry is changing fast. How would describe what’s happening and what’s coming next?”)

Bloomberg Businessweek, “Charlie Rose talks to Cisco’s John Chambers,” April 23, 2012


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