The Great — or Not So Great — Debaters


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

Believe it or not, today marks the final GOP debate before the voting starts, when the Des Moines Register sponsors a forum that will be carried by all the cable news networks and C-SPAN. The big question will be just how much the candidates go after Mike Huckabee after his leap to the top in the polls. And the debate may represent a final opportunity for a revival of Fred Thompson’s chances in the state, as he has all but disappeared from the top tier of candidates in Iowa and other early states. On that note, The Washington Post takes a look at Thompson’s first casting call, in which he played himself in the 1985 movie “Marie,” after makers found it made more sense to cast him in the part than anyone else. Director Roger Donaldson tells the Post, “If George C. Scott had been alive, maybe he would have been a candidate to play Fred.” If i”m reading this the right way, Donaldson can be forgiven a bit — hailing from Australia — as Scott was alive at the time. In fact, he still had a few roles left in him, like the role of the nation’s commander-in-chief in the long-forgotten Fox sitcom “Mr. President.”

More Stars on the Stump: Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne will once again join John Edwards on the campaign trail, with two days of touring through New Hampshire on Tuesday and Wednesday. Tim Robbins campaigns with Edwards today in Iowa, and Kevin Bacon gets on the campaign bus this weekend. Here’s Madeleine Stowe canvassing Iowa precincts last week. It’s gray and cold — but trust me, after a few ice storms, the weather is a lot more wintry now.

Nobel Concerts: Kylie Minogue, Alicia Keys, Annie Lennox and Melissa Etheridge were among the stars who performed at a concert honoring the newest Nobel laureates, including Al Gore, in Oslo on Tuesday. Kevin Spacey and Uma Thurman were co-hosts of the event.

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