When Edwards Attacks

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

No candidate has been more aggressive in taking on the right- and mainstream- media than John Edwards, even as he doesn’t shy away from interviews or from that long-discussed haircut. The Politico’s Ben Smith notes that he’s taking on a tactic long deployed by Republican counterparts, who complained often of “liberal media coverage.” (Will anyone forget George Bush’s infamous “a-hole” comment about a New York Times reporter.) With speeches in which he says “they” are trying to silence him, Edwards is the “first major Democratic candidate for president to embrace the growing impulse within his party to follow that GOP model,” Smith writes. Hillary Clinton has followed, with her aide Ann Lewis citing a Washington Post story that examined her cleavage as an example of what a female candidate has to go through.

Can this work? Howard Dean used it to an extent in 2003, but by the time of the Iowa caucus his campaign was wiped out. The liberal blogosphere, however, has grown in strength since then, and the Edwards effort is much more of a direct confrontation. He’s dropped out of debates, his wife has taken on Ann Coulter and even his YouTube ad pokes fun at  the excessive coverage of his haircut.  He still leads in Iowa polls, which is where it counts. If he cites the phrase “nattering nabobs,” we’ll know that he’s confident the strategy is working.

Oprah Sold Out?: In contrast to many fund-raisers, where the idea is to blanket invites out to as many people as possible, Oprah Winfrey’s event on Sept. 9 looks to be far different. Not only is there more than enough demand, it looks to be sold out. Lynn Sweet, who has been covering the Obama campaign for the Chicago Sun-Times, writes that potential donors are now being put on waiting lists. What I have heard is that  tickets are first being distributed to members of Obama’s national finance committee, who get seven each,  and then  return the ones they do not need.  Then they go out to fill additional slots. So there has been a judicious process on who gets to go and who doesn’t.

More on Moore: In outlining his health care proposal yesterday, Rudy Giuliani once again attacked the Democratic field by lumping in Michael Moore among them. “Only Michael Moore, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards, I guess, would want to go to Cuba for health care,” he said.  As reported last week, Giuliani did the same thing in an interview with Rocky Mountain News reporter M.E. Sprengelmeyer. At Michaelmoore.com, the filmmakers seems pleased, as he has blasted the comments on the website with the phrase, “Weak Signal.”

“Passion of the Christ” Politics: Shades of 2004? Steve McEveety, one of the producers of “The Passion of the Christ,” will campaign with Sam Brownback at the candidate’s Iowa star poll booth next month.

Law & Order Letdown?: The New York Times notes that the $3 million that Fred Thompson reportedly raised in June is short of the $5 million that the campaign-in-waiting predicted. Some wonder if waiting too long to get in the race has cost him momentum. 

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