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Saturday, June 21, 2008

How Peggy Noonan Won the Democratic Primary

By Jacob Bernstein

Peggy Noonan is apparently freaking out. Somewhere (probably in her Upper East Side apartment, probably chewing a piece of Nicorette) she is sitting in front of a computer screen, staring into cyberspace, thinking she has done something catastrophic. And really it's unfortunate, this dilemma she finds herself in, because she'd been on an uninterrupted tear of late.

This spring, her Wall Street Journal column, "Declarations," has generated more Internet traffic for Rupert Murdoch than any other regularly scheduled feature in the paper. At the end of April, NBC anchor Brian Williams wrote on his blog that Noonan deserved to win the Pulitzer Prize for her musings on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. The staff of The New York Times has been buzzing with speculation that she's about to get a column there.

And the attention is nice, even if the rumor might not be true, even if a recent lunch with Times' editorial page editor Andy Rosenthal was just that (lunch), and even if the job might not actually be in the offing. Certainly no one was talking about a Times column as a possibility for Noonan two years ago. Then, she was midheap in a pile of conservative pundits when patience with the breed was running thin among readers.

"This moment was made for her.­­"
— George Stephanopoulos
But now, right when things are looking up for her, Noonan claims to have made a mistake: She has given an interview. And for four weeks since the meeting, she has replayed each and every "silly" thing she said that day and wished she had declined the offer to be profiled.

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