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The Man Who Said “Yes”

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

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton voted “no” on the Iraq supplemental, joining fellow Sen. Chris Dodd in rejecting the funding bill because it contains no timelines for withdrawal. Former Sen. John Edwards and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said that hey were opposed to it. That leaves Joe Biden as the lone vote in favor of it, even if he viewed the measure as flawed. “As long as we have troops on the front lines, it is our shared
responsibility to give them the equipment and protection they need,” he said, according to the Associated Press.

What does this have to do with the entertainment industry? This vote could help him stand out in the field, as candidates look to distinguish themselves, particularly on the second tier, and particularly with donors. In an interview several weeks ago, Biden predicted that a compromise would be reached on the supplemental and that the President would get his funding, leaving September as the time for the next debate when the proposal comes up again.

“I don’t think much will happen in terms of policy changes until we move to the next big fight” he said. Biden’s vote certainly will not win any support from MoveOn, but the entertainment industry does have a sizable base of centrists, and many of them are undecided. More on this later.

Of Clinton and Obama, each are facing some heat this morning, with commentators suggesting that they would not have voted the way they did had they not been running for president. ABC’s The Note, “They both learned the John Kerry Memorial lesson last night: It’s no
fun to be in the Senate while running for president. They may have
helped themselves with primary voters, (MoveOn.org can save on its
advertising budget, at least for now) but voting against war funding
provides the GOP with ready ammunition for the general election.” Then again, they’d be under fire had they voted the other way as well.

Gore’s Game: It’s not politics, he tells the Los Angeles Times’ Tina Daunt, in a well-written story tied to his book “The Assault on Reason.” Daunt presses him on running, saying that Laurie David “will become your adopted child if you do.” “Well, when you put it that way, I haven’t completely ruled out the
possibility of thinking about it sometime in the future, but I don’t
expect to,” he says, obviously “spoofing all the answers he’s given on
the subject in recent weeks.”

He says of politics, “I’m not being falsely self-critical. I just find that I have less
patience and tolerance for the contrivances and artifices that seem to
succeed in the current political environment. The balance has shifted
in American politics to reward an emphasis on means rather than ends,
toward manipulation rather than reasoned discussion.”

Ratner’s Read: In a Variety follow to Thursday’s post, Brett Ratner talks about the upcoming Hillary Clinton fund-raiser at his place. He expects it to draw a crowd of political neophytes, and hopes that it exposes them to the process and gets them involved.  We reached him in late at night in Cannes, where he was on a yacht in the waning days of the fest.

Dem Dems: The news media focused on Democratic presidential candidates far more than GOP contenders in the first three months of this year, according to a new study. The Project for Excellence in Journalism says that even conservative radio hosts zeroed in on the Democratic contenders far more than their Republican counterparts, driven by the fascination with the showdown between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Newman for Nuke: Paul Newman weighed in on a controversy over a nuclear power facility in the New York suburbs, supporting the Indian Point facility as safe and as an alternative to energy plants that produce greenhouse gases.

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