There is a bear in the woods. But where, and how best to deal with him?
** HILLARY HEADS WEST. With the nature of the debate over the Terror War in flux and the first presidential forum of the season coming up on Wednesday in Nevada, Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Rodham Clinton heads West for a few days in the Golden and Silver States. She does so in the wake of non-binding votes of majorities in both houses of Congress against the latest Iraq policy, emerging concern about the situation in Afghanistan and the reconstitution of an effective Al Qaeda leadership infrastructure in a remote sector of Pakistan, growing Democratic moves to limit President Bush’s room to maneuver on Iraq and Iran, and the announcement of her latest position on Iraq. The former first lady-turned-U.S. senator says that America should cap the number of troops in Iraq and begin redeploying forces outside the strife-torn country in 90 days.
Meanwhile, Clinton has a new state campaign chairman in Nevada. He is Rory Reid, the chairman of the Clark County (Las Vegas) Commission and former chairman of the Nevada Democratic Party. Reid, 44, will also serve as a senior advisor on Western issues to the New York Senator. He’s the son of the former chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission. Who also happens to be the majority leader of the United States Senate.
** JOHN MCCAIN TO CALIFORNIA. With Rudy Giuliani having stolen something of a march with his successful tour of California, John McCain comes to the Golden State this week for a few days of campaigning, private meeting, and fundraising. He will appear on Tuesday in LA with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to discuss the threat of the greenhouse effect. McCain and his frequent ally in the Senate, independent Democrat Joe Lieberman, said last week that they believe that there will and should be new national regulations to begin combating climate change by the end of this two-year session.
** OBAMA TO CALIFORNIA. Barack Obama is in California. Late yesterday he had a fundraiser in San Diego. Tonight he appears at a fundraiser for Senator Barbara Boxer in San Francisco. Tomorrow he does a rally in Los Angeles prior to a Hollywood fundraiser at the Beverly Hilton and private dinner at the home of music/movie magnate David Geffen. The rally will be at the Rancho Cienega Sports Complex, 5001 Rodeo Road. Doors open to the public at 2 PM, ticketing free through barackobama.com.
** OBAMA WOWS VEGAS CROWD. Giving his now familiar speech on the politics of hope, Barack Obama wowed a crowd of some 3500 yesterday afternoon in a rally at the Clark County Government Center in downtown Las Vegas. Obama, citing a tightened schedule, did not take questions from the media before leaving. He will not participate in the first presidential forum of the campaign season, Wednesday in Carson City, Nevada.
EDWARDS IN LAS VEGAS. John Edwards campaigned in Las Vegas over the holiday weekend, appearing before a crowd of 300 at the electrical workers union headquarters Saturday in Las Vegas. Edwards, who is making a strong pitch to labor as part of his push in the second-in-the-nation Nevada caucuses, touted his plan for universal health care, expressed skepticism about Bush administration intelligence on the role of Iran in Iraq while not ruling out a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, and called for the immediate withdrawal of as many as 50,000 troops from Iraq. He’ll be one of the leading contenders participating in the Nevada presidential forum Wednesday in Carson City.
** BIDEN TO NEVADA. After campaigning yesterday for the Democratic presidential nomination in Iowa, Delaware Senator Joe Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will campaign in Northern Nevada today and tomorrow, concentrating on Reno and Carson City. On Wednesday, he joins all the Democratic presidential candidates other than Barack Obama in the first presidential forum of the season, the Nevada Democratic presidential forum in Carson City.
** GAVIN NEWSOM AGAIN. How’s San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom doing in the wake of that MSM/blogosphere firestorms a few weeks ago about his brief past affair with the wife of his former campaign manager? If a poll by a well-known San Francisco consulting firm — Barnes, Mosher, Whitehead, or something and other — is to be believed, just fine. Polling on other matters, they threw on a question about Newsom’s job approval in the wake of the scandal. Newsom came back with a whopping 70% favorable rating, pretty much the same as before.
** STUDIO 60‘S LAST CALL? No new TV series this season was more anticipated or, for that matter, ballyhooed than Aaron Sorkin’s Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip. The pilot generated great buzz from critics and from the many who saw most if not all of it on YouTube. The series about the behind-the-scenes trials and tribulations of a late night sketch comedy show boasted a star-studded cast and marked the return to television of the man created and principally wrote during its glory years one of the greatest shows ever, The West Wing, winner of the most Emmy Awards in history. (Despite its largely liberal politics, West Wing attracted a huge Republican audience, though not exactly a right-wing audience, perhaps because of the show’s witty dialogue and depiction of an idealized political universe in which things were largely done for the right reasons, if not the Right reasons.)
But Studio 60, after a promising beginning, swiftly became somewhat problematic. As on West Wing, the characters acted as though what they were doing had great import. But after all, they were doing a Saturday Night Live-type TV show, not running the White House, so it seemed more than a bit precious. There was a bit too much Sorkinesque liberal preaching, of which a little goes a long way. The show wasn’t actually funny, a problem for a show about a comedy show. Sharply written, yes. Funny, no. And the cast, while impressive, wasn’t all that appealing. Matthew Perry as the neurotic head writer was excellent. Amanda Peet as the network head was bright, though perhaps better cast as one of the comedians, since she actually is funny. Bradley Whitford, so good on West Wing as ace political operative Josh Lyman, started out as Josh moved to producing a sketch comedy show. Later he seemed written to be annoying. The people who played the star comedians were, for the most part, while fine actors, notably unfunny.
Then the show became very problematic. With the behind the scenes version of the show falling in the ratings, the show was pulled for awhile and retooled as a romantic comedy. But we didn’t really care about the people who were paired off, the ratings declined to a new low last week, and tonight is the last scheduled episode. There are six more episodes in the can and NBC says they will be shown sometime later. Perhaps. But it’s impossible to see this once most promising of shows renewed.
** WHO SAID THIS? “Peace is not the absence of conflict. It is the presence of justice.”
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