Nation: The Media Mesmerists

Rival experts tell how to win votes

In the fiercely contested New York Governor's race, it's Garth vs. Deardourff. In the clamorous gubernatorial election in Ohio, it's also Garth vs. Deardourff. Even in December's presidential election in Venezuela, it's Garth vs. Deardourff. David Garth and John Deardourff are this year's top media mesmerists, the wizards who tell candidates how to project a winning image.

Garth, 48, is a stocky, cigar-waving New Yorker who wages his campaigns like a war. He barks over the phone, at reporters and candidates alike, so gruffly that he has...

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