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


The AP has gotten to the bottom of the cryptic remarks that Hillary Clinton and John Edwards said to each other yesterday at the NAACP forum, apparently without knowing that their mikes were still on. "Our guys should talk," Clinton tells Edwards. The story lingered for much of the day yesterday, without either campaign publicly disclosing what they were talking about. But rather than something truly devious, it was the two of them griping that the endless number of debates lack substance because of the sheer number of contenders on stage. Perhaps they were tired of angry Mike Gravel,  as Edwards told Clinton, "We should have a more serious and smaller group."

They have a good point, as I have said here before. It’s next to impossible to really get any substance out of debates with so many candidates on the stage, often merely blurting out the same sound bytes that they say on the campaign trail. But why not pair up all eight candidates in twos, giving each one an equal shot at it? It’s doubtful any of the top contenders would go for it, for the mere fact that they’d be paired with Gravel, but it actually could deliver some debates with real substance. Remember, the most memorable line of the first face off, in April, was Joe Biden’s simple, "Yes."

Kucinich was the first sub-tier candidate out with a statement: Per ABC’s Political Punch, he said, "Candidates, no matter how important or influential they perceive themselves to be, do not have and should not have the power to determine who is allowed to speak to the American public and who is not. Imperial candidates are as repugnant to the American people and to our Democracy as an imperial President."

Speaking of Gravel: He responds again to his exclusion from next month’s gay issues debate, arguing that the Human Rights Campaign’s viability criteria is flawed.

Update: The HRC now says that after "enthusiastic community response," Gravel has been invited to participate, and the forum will be extended a half an hour to 90 minutes.

Defying Gravity:
Despite the conventional wisdom that Iraq-themed projects face both box office and ratings trouble — people get enough of it on the news — "Army Wives" is doing well for Lifetime.  James Poniewozik writes in Time, "Granted, Lifetime’s highest-rated series ever, which takes place on a Stateside base, never sets a dusty foot in the combat zone. It’s a guilty pleasure first, soapy and clichéd; there’s rarely an emotional moment without a big-eyed kid or a Jude Johnstone ballad to cue the waterworks. …But the show is also stark and up front about the cost of years of war–starker, in a way, because the focus is on the families left behind."

Star Pic: No one expected Live Earth to be the end of Hollywood’s enviro push, but less than a week after the event comes a new  Internet movie from the Center for American Progress, reports the Washington Examiner’s Yeas & Nays column. Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner are among the stars with parts in the shorts.

Thin Skin: Former heavyweight Mike Huckabee is obsessed with Michael Moore’s girth.

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