That, and other news, in today’s Political Panorama.
Crowds mobbed the Wilshire Theater on Tuesday night to listen and see Al Gore launch the tour for his book, “The Assault on Reason.” But his one-hour interview with Harry Shearer was interrupted at times by the audience chanting “run, run, run,” and some wore buttons that read “Gore 2008.”
Gore’s book, with a spartan cover that merely bears the words of its title, laments the lack of intelligent political discourse. Gore cites the media and Washington lawmakers’ lack of questioning of President Bush’s rationale for war in Iraq in the runup to the invasion.
“They were afraid of being branded unpatriotic. I’m troubled by the fact that we were so shockingly vulnerable to being manipulated,” Gore said, according to the Associated Press.
The media, in fact, take quite a bit of the blame, next to Bush.
“If there is a determined incuriosity, what that tells me is there is a belief that the way our country operates now, that there wasn’t much fear on his part that he be held accountable by the news media or by the people or by Congress for not paying attention,” Gore said.
Gore says he is not running for president and has no plans to run.
The event was organized by the group the Writers Bloc.
Arnold Opts Out: Arnold Schwarzenegger says that he will not participate in the next “Terminator” movie. “People ask me all the time about, ‘They just announced they’re going to do another Terminator movie, Terminator 4. Don’t you want to do that? Don’t you miss that?’ ” the governor said Tuesday, according to the Los Angeles Times. “And I always tell them no, I don’t miss it at all, never think about it. I love my job, I love serving the people of California, it is the greatest thing I’ve ever done.” He appears tonight on Jay Leno.
Glover Under Fire: Danny Glover is taking some heat on Capitol Hill for accepting $18 million from the Venezuelan government to make a movie passion project, about the leader of an 18th century slave rebellion that led to the founding of Haiti. Rep. Connie Mack of Florida said, “I was shocked and saddened when I heard the news that actor Danny Glover accepted approximately $18 million from Venezuela’s self-proclaimed Communist President Hugo Chavez to film two upcoming movies. … To turn to an avowed enemy of the United States — and someone who in his own right has snuffed out dissent and free speech — for movie financing smacks of radicalism and opportunism run amuck.” On the other side of the issue, actress Maria Conchita Alonso, a Venezuelan native who is working on an anti-Chavez project, appeared on “Hannity & Colmes” on Tuesday night.
Endorsement Watch: There’s been some buzz that Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is preparing to endorse Hillary Clinton, perhaps as soon as next week, when she’s scheduled to visit the City of Angels on Wednesday. According to the Los Angeles Times’ Political Muscle, Clinton has been hiring the mayor’s political staff.
Debate Stakes: Elizabeth Wilner of The Politico writes that CNN’s decision to make video freely available of its presidential candidates’ debates next month is destined to change the dynamics of how such forums are perceived. “Web editors will carve them up into the most interesting segments and sound bites, reinforcing the “gotcha” quality the 2008 discourse has taken. The snappy one-liner, the odd facial expression, the painful trip — all will live on the Web in perpetuity. But ideally, the footage also will be mashed up — i.e., broken down and reassembled — to allow side-by-side comparisons of candidates addressing the same issue.” The first ritual to fall by the wayside, she predicts, will be the post-debate spin rooms. Meanwhile, 26 members of the Congressional Black Caucus have signed letters urging Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to participate in the group’s planned debates on Fox News, the Hill reports. Democratic candidates have been boycotting Fox-sponsored debates for what they regard as unfair coverage.
Post Roast: The New York Observer examines the friendly coverage that the Clintons have received favorable treatment from the New York Post, leading with an anecdote about Page Six columnist Richard Johnson getting help securing a passport to fly to Saint-Tropez. But the real instigation for the story is a charge made in former writer Jared Paul Stern’s lawsuit against the paper. His lawyer obstained an unsworn affidavit from another writer, Ian Spiegelman, in which he says, “Politicians such as Hillary Clinton and others in a position to grant Murdoch and News Corp. valuable concessions and favors were … fellated in print.” And, later: “Page Six was ordered to kill unflattering stories about Hillary and Bill Clinton on numerous occasions.” Murdoch, meanwhile, denied another thread of the Post-Stern story, that he softened coverage of China in order to gain favorable treatment for his company’s businesses there.
Rosie’s Dustup: Rosie O’Donnell and Elizabeth Hasselbeck got in a political war of words on “The View” Wednesday. At issue: Rosie’s upset that Hasselbeck didn’t defend her when it was charged that O’Donnell called U.S. troops in Iraq “terrorists.” “What you did was not defend me. … I asked you if you believed what the Republican pundits were saying — you said nothing, and that’s cowardly,” O’Donnell said. Responded a stern Hasselbeck: “Do not call me a coward, because No. 1, I sit here every single day, open my heart and tell people what I believe.” O’Donnell was a bit upset that producers captured the tiff via split screen. On her blog, she wrote (in her signature script), “a split screen new heights or lows depending on who u ask.” She’s skipping Thursday’s show.