December 11, 2000 08:07am
Spin Doctor Haunted by Porn Past
(NICE, France) -- British Prime Minister Tony Blair (news - web sites)'s top spin doctor has batted off questions about the European Union (news - web sites)'s make-or-break summit with ease this weekend but a skeleton rattling in his cupboard raised a rare blush.
In his youth Alastair Campbell, Blair's imposing press secretary, spent a year in the south of France writing for soft porn publications.
At Sunday's briefing for a press pack driven to distraction by a summit that has dragged on into record overtime, one bored journalist decided to bring it up.
Campbell had already attacked the largely euroskeptic British media for having turned up in Nice ``salivating'' about the prospect of problems for the British government and ready to ``gorge'' on a feast of bad news stories.
Was he not referring to his own French past? the journalist inquired, bringing the house down and raising reddened cheeks and a rueful chuckle from the combative spin doctor.
Campbell composed himself to field questions about how long the summit, called to reform the way the EU works, would last.
``The last time I was here I stayed for a year and it was a lot more fun,'' he said.