Heading West

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

After debating to a stadium crowd last night in Chicago, the field of Democratic presidential contenders (sans Joe Biden and Chris Dodd) comes to California on Thursday for a much more staid forum but no less unique. They will participate in a Human Rights Campaign/Logo forum on gay rights. Preview here. While the event is being heralded as an historic moment, there are some doubts as to whether it is politically prudent. Pollster Peter A. Brown writes in The Politico today that in some key swing states, the endorsement from a gay rights group can hurt more than it can help. It’s likely that such findings will be challenged by other data suggesting that acceptance is on the rise.

Oprah and Iowa: The New York Observer’s Felix Gillette and Leon Neyfakh examine Oprah’s influence over the presidential race. Most interesting is that should help get out the vote in Iowa. Oprah would make “a gigantic difference,” said Gordon Fischer, who was chair of the Iowa Democratic Party from 2002 to 2004. 

“Typically
some of [her viewers] would [vote in a primary] and some of them
wouldn’t, and it sort of remains to be seen, but she’s the kind of
person who can reach lots and lots of people and tell them to go out
and vote.”

Roseanne’s Rants: Were Roseanne’s diatribes about President Bush written under the influence?

Of Note: Just one of the 08 candidates at last night’s labor debate is in the AFL-CIO: As he pointed out, Dennis Kucinich is a member of IATSE Local 600, the International Cinematographers Guild.

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