This morning on Amtrak, Lanny Davis had a lot of feelings about 2016 and inadvertently decided to share them with the 6:55 a.m. train—which included two political reporters—as it zipped from D.C. to New York City.
The DC power lawyer and his traveling companions covered a lot of ground- whether Bernie Sanders is truly a Socialist (no), whether Joe Biden is a threat (he’s seen as a “buffoon”) whether Republican Carly Fiorina is nasty (yes)—as they chatted noisily and candidly about the ins and outs of the 2016 presidential race.
(Their chat also provided valuable insight for The Daily Beast and TownHall’s Guy Benson—who sat across the aisle from them.)
Benson, who first spotted Davis and his cohorts and caught the first part of their conversation noted Davis had sharp words for the Democratic-Socialist Senator from Vermont, calling him a “flip-flopper” on guns and a “nut.”
“There’s no way he can be nominated, ever,” said Davis, who sported a patterned tie and dapper pocket square for his morning train commute.
On Biden, Davis was confident the vice president would 1) enter the presidential race and 2) have no success. He cited Biden’s third-place status as evidence of that latter point, said Biden is seen as a “buffoon,” and said Clinton’s numbers were at “the bottom of the bottom.”
Davis also tore into Carly Fiorina, who is one of the most pointed critics of the former secretary of state. Davis called her “nasty,” but conceded that some of the criticism she’s faced has been sexist. Still, he said, she should tone it down about Clinton.
“There’s a difference between using a gender-specific word, which I resent…” then he trailed off. “When she talks about Hillary, she’s nasty.”
(Fiorina’s campaign responded to Davis comments by saying they proved “Hillary and the Democrats are obviously terrified of facing Carly in the general election. They should be.”)
It should come as little surprise that Davis is trashing Clinton’s foes.
The former special counsel for the Clinton White House is one of Clinton’s most dogged public defenders. When Clinton’s team turned down an April invite from Fox News Sunday to defend her from allegations in Peter Schweizer’s book Clinton Cash, Davis stepped up to the plate, unflinching in his devoted defense of his old boss and his old boss’s wife. He also took a co-starring role in the emails from her private server that the State Department has released, regularly offering obsequious praise and imploring her for favors.
It wasn’t all talk about the candidates though, Davis also took sometime to talk about himself and the nature of their work in the crisis communications field.
(“Wait ‘til you see my ending,” he said of a recently published op-ed. “My ending’s always good”)
“I want to watch Raymond Donovan, which everybody says I would love,” he said at one point, referring to Showtime’s Ray Donovan, which features a South Boston tough-turned-Hollywood-fixer.
His traveling companions oooohh’d in agreement.
“Oh yeah, it’s about a fixer,” replied one of his fellow travelers.
“It’s like us if we had guns and baseball bats,” added the second companion.
Reached for further comment on his early-A.M. opining, Davis was very apologetic and emphasized that he isn’t part of Clinton’s campaign team.
“I first of all have nothing but the highest respect for Bernie Sanders, affection and respect,” he said. “I do not recall ever using a word like nut, unless you’re certain that I used the word nut, but I don’t recall that.”
(Confirmed: He used the word “nut”)
“If I used those words, they were used loosely—not meant—and I apologize for them because I have nothing but respect and affection for Sen. Sanders.”
He added that he doesn’t have a personal relationship with the Vermonter, and only feels affection for him from afar. And he said he doesn’t think Sanders is a real socialist.
“I do not believe Bernie Sanders is a socialist, and I believe Bernie Sanders could be elected president,” he continued. “Socialism is defined as a society where there is no private property, where the government owns everything.”
He also said he doesn’t really think Sanders is a flip-flopper.
“Flip-flopper is not something that I meant to be taken literally,” he said. “He changed his position over a period of time, which I have no criticism of.”
It’s funny how people sometimes change their tune when they’re in a tight spot.