Paris Politics

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

That threatening noise I woke up to this morning was the sound of local news helicopters hovering over Paris Hilton’s West Hollywood home, waiting for any kind of break in her recent release from jail. What does this have to do with this website? Well, other than being every bit annoyed this morning at feeling a bit like Saigon, circa 1975, Hilton’s case has spilled over into the presidential race. Sen. John Edwards wisely didn’t take the bait when a reporter asked him about the case. From the New York Times’ Caucus blog:

Reporter: Senator you speak all the time about two Americas, can you
just tell us briefly, you know, what you think the message sends that Paris Hilton got out of jail after three days, when she was originally supposed to spend 45 days in jail?

Mr. Edwards: Um, I’m gonna stay out of the Paris Hilton story.

(laughing)

Although I saw it seems to be completely dominating the news, I had
the television on just before I came down. Uh, I still do believe,
without regard to Paris Hilton, that, uh, we have two Americas and I
think what’s important is, it’s obvious that the problem exists.

MSNBC’s First Read blog, however, does address the Paris issue as indicative of polling that shows the public has lost faith in American leaders and institutions, the press included. When local news — which I wrote off a long time ago — leads with Paris day after day, or, in a more recent trend, embeds ads in news stories, what is to be believed as to what is important? I’m saying this from the standpoint of Variety — entertainment and media are our lifeblood — but we don’t purport to cover something that we really do not.

McCain Shift: A key donor to John McCain is shifting support to Fred Thompson, reports the Washington Post. It begs the question as to whether some Hollywood Republicans will shift their alliances as well. A few high-profile donors are still on the fence, and others still seem locked in to Giuliani or the Arizona senator. But as the Post notes, if McCain’s campaign stumbles in this quarter’s fund-raising, you will probably see more flying the coup. McCain is due back in Los Angeles this month for a major event.

Affleck Answers: Ben Affleck told Chris Matthews on Thursday that he would “vote for McCain if I liked his policies a little more.” He thinks Giuliani is the “toughest” candidate, but says “I think the strongest and best Democratic candidate for  president is Barack Obama.”

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