In Today's Observer: Ben Smith Edition

Jason Horowitz writes about the fallout from the publication of Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 game plan. Sunny Mindel tells him it was the result of a theft, and a major Giuliani supporter goes on the record speculating that it was the dirty work of one of the former mayor’s two main rivals. John McCain’s chief strategist, meanwhile, issues a response that includes the words “grassy knoll,” while several of McCain’s top financial supporters pile on. (I hope you’re happy, Ben.)

Azi Paybarah reports on Eliot Spitzer’s Rocky-like ascent and talks about what happens when the new governor’s honeymoon is imposed upon by grim political reality in Albany.

Steve Kornacki draws a parallel between the pre-primary incarnations of Hillary 2008 and Gore 2000.

Joe Conason says that the hurried, shabby execution of Saddam Hussein by the Iraqi government reflects poorly on America.

And a special note:

The aforementioned Ben Smith announced last night that he’s leaving the Daily News to go work for The Politico, a new Washington-based publication that has already assembled a heavyweight line-up of national political reporters.

As always, Ben’s timing is impeccable. Not only is he decamping to cover presidential politics amid the makings of two spectacularly entertaining primaries (I’ve yet to see a headline with the word “dwarves” in it — have you?) but he’s doing so on an exceedingly high note, leaving his current employer the parting gift of a “Rudy Loses Prez Plans” wood.

I could say more about his achievements – Ben started the Politicker, among other things – or I could wish him good luck in his latest endeavor. But I think all of that would be redundant at this point.

The guy’s a lock.

– Josh Benson