Ed Rendell and His Bitches

Why is the most important Philadelphian of the past 25 years eating microwave dinners at home alone with his golden retrievers? Because a man’s life changes. That’s why

She is clearly frustrated about the rumors that have spread about her and the Governor over the past couple years—less, she says, because of the effect they have on her than because of how they impact her family, her boyfriend and her boyfriend’s family. “The people who really know me, I truly care what they think of me,” she says. “The people who don’t know me and want to throw me under the bus? I don’t care what they think of my reputation.” The rumors, alas, continue to swirl, and she continues to deny them.

Ed invited us back into his office for what was next on his agenda: a discussion of his Daily News column. The column—in which Ed is supposed to voice the feelings of the average Philly fan—launched in February, and it’s as good an example as any of how Team Rendell works. This week, for example, Jesse and Alex have done online research; Kaylan has coordinated information from some outside sources (in this case, Phillies exec Michael Stiles, Ed’s former classmate); and Kirstin is trying to whip the whole thing into publishable shape.

Oh, and this week it turns out one other­ person will be involved: me. It happens the next day in New York, following Ed’s appearance at the Bloomberg conference, when Dave pulls the car over on 53rd Street so Ed and Kirstin can go over the column on the phone. As Ed predicted, she has trouble reading much of what he wrote, so he reads it aloud, citing example after example of bad fan behavior in other towns.

“Where did you find all this?” Kirstin squawks over his cell phone.

“Online. Jesse and Alex found it for me,” Ed says.

“I was gonna say, I couldn’t imagine you sitting there on your iPad last night looking up all this stuff.”

“Don’t rub it in, don’t rub it in.”

They get to a spot where Ed references how many straight games the Phillies have sold out. He doesn’t know for sure, and neither does Kirstin, so Ed turns around and looks at me. “Do you know, Tom, by any chance?”

Here’s the funny thing: I’ve already started to Google it for him on my iPhone. Somehow, right there in the Crown Vic, I’ve gotten swept up in Ed World.

“123,” I say when I find it.

Five minutes later, the column is finished—­Ed asks Kirstin to e-mail Jesse a copy in Florida—and we’re back to driving around the streets of New York. At which point Ed says something unexpected: “Dave, take a quick left up here. I want to show Tom where I grew up.”

THAT ED WANTS me to see the apartment where he spent his childhood surprises me. Is it just that we’re in the neighborhood? Or that we have time to kill? Or is it the place he’s reached in his life? What’s funny is, some part of me always just presumed Ed arrived on the planet fully formed, hairy chested and with that gravelly voice, ready to dive into the nearest city pool. It’s never occurred to me that once upon a time, Ed Rendell (as opposed to Ed Rendell) was a little boy.

Ed is not really built for looking back, but as we drive he tells me about his father, who dropped out of high school as a sophomore to push a cart on Seventh Avenue and eventually became a converter—basically a middleman—in the textile industry. “He worked himself to death,” Ed says bluntly. “Died at 58, when I was 14. He also smoked four packs a day and drank a pint of liquor. Although, he was functional.”

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  • Amanda

    A story about Ed Rendell is usually not appealing to me. The title and first few sentences drew me in and I couldn’t stop reading. Although it’s not Shakespeare, I loved every word of it it…especially the title!

  • Diana

    That picture is the most disturbing thig I’ve ever seen.

  • Mandy May

    I loved reading this story. The writer managed to turn an article which would normally be boring into something funny and intriguing. After reading the story I have a new perspective on Ed Rendell…and his bitches!