“Unconventional Wisdom”

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

Apologies for the light posting on Monday — I was down for the count with a flu bug…

As Denver approaches, M.E. Sprengelmeyer of the Rocky Mountain News has launched a two-week series recalling past conventions with leading figures from each event. Monday was Tom Hayden; today is George McGovern. He suggests that the switch of endorsements from Clinton to Obama was in part made over concerns that the race could fracture the party like his 1972 bid.

“You know, there’s nothing wrong with a long campaign, and this one I’m convinced has energized literally millions of people,” he says.

But, his experience made him think, “Maybe this long campaign has gone on long enough.”

He warns of anything that suggests disunity.

“That convention failed to do what a great national convention should do, which is to show the party and show the nominee for president in the best possible light, without a lot of distractions, without a lot of floor battles on television at the convention, without a lot of bitterness,” he says. “It should be a time of jubilation and celebration . . .”

Clooney’s Advice: Is George Clooney advising Obama on foreign policy? That’s what a new story from U.K.’s Daily Mail suggests.

“Sources say the actor has tried to hide the pair’s friendship for fear his Left-wing views and playboy image would hurt the Presidential hopeful’s bid for the White House.

“But Democratic Party insiders have revealed that Clooney and Obama regularly send texts and emails to each other and speak by phone at least twice a week.

“…George has been giving him advice on things such as presentation, public speaking and body language and he also emails him constantly about policy, especially the Middle East.”

“The Hills” in D.C.:
Yeas and Nays reports that Lifetime has plans in the works for a D.C. reality show in the same vein as MTV’s “The Hills.” It also gets a choice timeslot: following “Project Runway,” which moves to the cabler from Bravo this fall.

Penn on “Celeb”: Clinton pollster/adviser Mark Penn believes that McCain’s “Celeb” attack ad worked.

He writes, “Some negative ads crystallize voters’ opinions without presenting any new information. That’s what was behind John McCain’s recent ad equating Barack Obama’s celebrity status with that of Paris Hilton — that viewers would associate the Democrat’s leadership with mere celebrity, not substance. Fair or not, as advertising it did its job: It used humor, stuck viewers with memorable images and created a debate, just as Lyndon Johnson’s 1964 “Daisy” ad, Walter Mondale’s “Red Phone” spot 20 years later and Hillary Rodham Clinton’s “3 a.m.” commercial in 2008 did.

“The Paris Hilton ad also bore a Republican political trademark — attacking a candidate’s strengths rather than the candidate’s weaknesses. The spot attempted to portray Obama’s leadership for change as something fluffy and useless. Obama did not immediately hit back on the air.”

In other words, negative advertising works.

Nevertheless, he seems unimpressed by the spots so far.

“So far in the 2008 contest, neither candidate has connected with any ads that explosive. But fresh information about their past views in their own words could shake up the race.”

Another “Celeb” Spot: McCain’s camp unveiled another spot attacking Obama for his celebrity, this time riffing on Obama’s “fan club” and that he is “dreamy.” James Poniewozik of Time points out that “mocking the real-people testimonials is curious, to say the least. Isn’t the message: If you really like Obama, you’re stupid?”

And Finally: Following up on our report about Angelina Jolie’s announcement that she is “undecided” in the presidential race, here’s Keith Olbermann’s take from last night. 

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  1. Joe B. says:

    Sure I could imagine Angelina supporting McCain. I can also imagine $50 bills floating down to the earth from space.
    Doesn’t mean it’s gonna happen.
    And certainly Clooney has nothing to tell Barack that he doesn’t already know.
    The Daily Mail is anti-abortion, anti-EU and anti-immigration, making it not the paper I would go to in the UK for news on the Democratic US Presidential nominee.

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