Clearing the Air

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


On the day after we reported on all the money that has gone toward presidential candidates comes the news that will put the Senate ’08 contenders in an interesting position: Broadcast indecency.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Senate committee is expected to pass a “zero tolerance” policy on the fleeting expletives  on airwaves, like the “f—” word that Bono once said on the Golden Globes and other no-nos uttered at the recent Live Earth concerts.

As Variety’s William Triplett has reported, it would give the FCC the power to make a “single word or image” indecent. That certainly runs in the face of the networks and studios, including many Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama donors, who have argued that such measures stifle free speech. That is why Esq_cvr113x159_2 they challenged the notion of fleeting expletives, and won in federal court.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.), who wrote the measure, hopes that it will come to a vote before the entire Senate before its summer recess.

Will any of the 2008 candidates from the Senate vote against it?

In the past, running against Hollywood excess has been a popular theme on both sides of the aisle, and Mitt Romney already has started running commercials attacking the coarsening of the culture.

Update: The Senate Commerce Committee met for less than five minutes and, facing no objections, let the bill go forward. A spokesman for an advocacy group founded by media companies says,  “Once again, government is ignoring parents and trying to control what families see on television — although a majority of parents, an overwhelming 92%, don’t want government making TV viewing decisions for them.”

Couture Culture: For a candidate perpetually asked about $400 haircuts, John Edwards isn’t running away from haute couture. Last month he was on the cover of Men’s Vogue; this month it is Esquire, right. GQ was taken: The cover goes to Matt Damon.

Frontpageadtoholdnormaccoun_2Debate Date: On Monday via conference call, Clinton backers Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen will rev up the troops who are hosting some 400 debate watching parties. The much heralded CNN/You Tube debate is Monday night.

Franken Ad: A new print ad in Minneapolis from Al Franken ties incumbent Norm Coleman to President Bush and Iraq, the Politico reports. “Responsible moderate Republican senators from Maine, Nebraska and Oregon put the interests of our country ahead of partisanship,” the ad reads. “They joined Democratic senators and voted to start bringing the troops home. Unfortunately, Senator Coleman once again refused to change course in Iraq.”

Thompson Tale: Fred Thompson didn’t get an Emmy nomination this morning — not that he expected to, but it would have tied in nicely if he is to announce in September. Is he waiting too long? Has the momentum peaked? These are the questions posed by Chuck Todd at MSNBC’s First Read. “He certainly is putting more pressure on himself to perform once he actually gets in. There will be no time to get the kinks out.” The negative stuff is filtering out, with a new York Times story today that cites records that Thompson did lobby for a family planning unit. And Mitt Romney signalled that his campaign’s strategy would be to infer that Thompson is a creature of Washington and a bit lazy.

To Clarify: In a story yesterday, I listed some of Bill Richardson’s big Hollywood fund-raisers in the second quarter. An event at the home of Sherry Lansing and William Friedkin was a meet-and-greet event. His big fund-raisers were one hosted by Mitch Kaplan and Erwin More and another by Alan and Cindy Horn. The change has been made in the online version.

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