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In campaigns, the worst wounds are often self-inflicted. Witness two A+ political operatives I know who made D- mistakes last week.

Julie White, who works for gubernatorial candidate Richard Moore, got caught using a state computer to request public-records info on Lt. Beverly Perdue. Plus, as the News & Observer’s Under the Dome has chronicled, she made the request under the name of a relative, Cliff Bennett.

The result was an unnecessary embarrassment to Moore – and to White. She could have boldly made the request under her own name.

Then it turns out she’s working part-time for Moore in the State Treasurer’s Office and part-time on the campaign. Uh-uh, that won’t work. Do one or the other.

The other operative is Matt Spence, who was working for John Edwards in New Hampshire. He bashed local politicians as “three losers and a lobbyist” in an internal email. Then Spence learned there is no such thing as an internal email. The emails were leaked – or hacked, the Edwards campaign says – and published. Spence had to resign.

White was in Dennis Wicker’s office when I worked with Wicker in 2000. Spence was in a class I taught at N.C. State. Both are extremely smart, highly dedicated and extraordinarily hard-working. Having made my share of mistakes as a hot-headed operative, it pains me to see them learn a painful lesson.

Here’s the lesson: There are no secrets in politics. Anything you do may be on the front page tomorrow – or in the Dome blog. Act accordingly. And, most of all, keep your head when all around you are losing theirs.

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