All About Fred

That, and other news, in today’s Political Panorama.


Is Fred Thompson lazy? A babe magnet? What’s with the frown? The press (ourselves included) and potential rivals are dissecting all things Thompson in the wake of his conference call earlier this week with potential contributors and with word leaking out that he’ll file initial papers to run for president on Monday. Jack Shafer of Slate writes that Thompson’s team has shown some savvy in timing, enough to earn front page stories in major media and loads of other coverage. His point is that the news this week is still non news. Thompson is not officially in the race, a status he’s been in for months. I even talked with a major Hollywood GOP politico who said that they’re still trying to figure how serious he really is.  What is untested is how Thompson will face the grind of a national campaign, as well as his rivals attacks that will feed into the stereotypes about him. On Wednesday, when news outlets were bursting with news about his candidacy, the Democratic National Committee released a press release designed to feed into the notion that he is “lazy.” It was a summary of Thompson’s accomplishments, and it was blank. Update: Thompson filed initial “testing the waters” papers today in Nashville.

The Spielberg Nod: In the wake of Hillary Clinton’s most recent swing through Hollywood, there’s some buzz that Steven Spielberg is poised to endorse her candidacy. His reps don’t say anything about it, but he would be a big “get” at least in terms of campaign momentum. Spielberg co-hosted the February event for Barack Obama at the Beverly Hilton with fellow Dreamworks partners Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen, both of whom are in the Obama camp. Spielberg, however, withheld a formal endorsement and promised to also raise money for Hillary, which he did to much success at the home of Peter Chernin. It’s been reported that earlier this year Spielberg was ready to go for Obama until Bill Clinton intervened and convinced him to withhold a formal nod. So an endorsement of Hillary would certainly represent a coup for her side.

Debate Primers:
Sunday is the second Democratic debate, this time in New Hampshire and covered by CNN. One of Hillary Clinton’s chief fund-raisers, Terry McAuliffe, will be in Los Angeles on Sunday to attend a debate watching party with her supporters. Meanwhile, the Creative Coalition will be hosting a post mortem in Manchester on Monday morning, moderated by Lawrence O’Donnell and featuring Arianna Huffington, Frank Luntz, Eric Alterman and Bill Schneider.

Human Touch: The Los Angeles Times’ Tina Daunt profiles Artists for Amnesty’s Bonne Abaunza.

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