It Happens in Vegas

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

Tonight seven of the Democratic candidates take the stage for a CNN debate moderated by Wolf Blitzer (with assist from Campbell Brown, John Roberts and Susan Malveaux). While there will be the requisite boxing comparisons to the performance of the candidates, there also will be much attention to Blitzer’s questioning following a Drudge Report rumor that the Clinton camp warned him not to “pull a Russert” and focus the hard questions on the New York senator. CNN and Blitzer deny this, but he’d be under that scrutiny anyway, given the dynamics of the race.

Speaking of Control:
In the environment of planted questions, scripted appearances, etc., the Politico’s Roger Simon expresses frustration that “the culture of control in presidential campaigning has gotten completely out of control.”

Strike Gig: What is James L. Brooks doing during the strike? He’s creating print ads for Rep. Patrick Kennedy’s Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act, which seeks comparable insurance coverage for victims of mental illness and drug problems, reports the Politico’s Jeffrey  Ressner.

Cronkite’s Return:
The most trusted man in America, now 91, has a new gig with RetirementTV.

Humor Me:
Hillary Clinton’s campaign unveiled a new get-out-the-vote spot for Iowa caucus goers with  cameo appearances by Bill Clinton, the Vilsacks and, of course, Hillary. It makes you question their eating, dancing and singing. And the spot assures Iowans that they can caucus and get home “early enough to get back to your favorite TV show.” Apparently this was made pre-strike.

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