NEW YORK -- Mark Leibovich has memorialized D.C. as This Town, but it turns out "this town"-type behavior extends all the way to New York, which has just discovered its very own Kurt Bardella-by-way-of-Zoe Barnes figure in the form of -- as a New York tabloid might put it -- a lissome blonde former intern for Anthony Weiner by the name of Olivia Nuzzi.
Nuzzi, 20, penned a series of columns for a gossipy website about her short time on Weiner's doomed campaign, which catapulted her onto the cover of the New York Daily News Tuesday. She earned instant internet notoriety after Weiner communications director Barbara Morgan unleashed a foul-mouthed tirade against Nuzzi in a conversation with Talking Points Memo Tuesday night.
Morgan later said she thought her epic rant was off the record. TPM says that was not the case, and either way the evening ended with Morgan apologizing to Nuzzi and Nuzzi using the political aide's words as her new Twitter bio: "Slutbag, twat and cunt. Writer for NSFWCORP." On Wednesday, she accepted Morgan's apology.
I happened to meet Nuzzi on a Sunday morning two weeks ago with Dave Weigel of Slate. We decided to go to brunch at the Breslin, and Nuzzi joined us there at Weigel's invitation. I was confused at first as to what her connection to Weigel was, since they appeared not to have met before, and she seemed very young (she's a junior at Fordham University). As it turns out, a former cable host she'd once sought to intern with suggested she get in touch with Weigel when he was in the city at some point.
Nuzzi was looking for advice on how to break into journalism, and, in particular, how to get a foothold in TV. All of her friends wanted to be TV pundits, she said. It's what they idolized.
Despite efforts to cast her as a "mercenary hobag" intern selling out her boss for 15 seconds of fame, Nuzzi's columns for the Daily News and NSFWCORP were not her first forays into political journalism, or even into writing about a politician who was her boss. She's also written for Alternet, the Huffington Post, and two small New Jersey publications, More Monmouth Musings and the triCityNews. There, she penned a series of columns about New Jersey politics, including some in 2011 about the District 11 Democratic campaign, for which she was also an intern.