The debate was too long and too laborious, but it was by far the most surreal of the encounters so far, and may even promise to outdo the upcoming YouTube debate on Fox. CNN’s matchup with the Tea Party put the candidates’ raw rivalries on display like few other encounters, most prominently when Rick Perry stood general-like against incoming fire from his left and right. The headline is that he faces vulnerabilities not just on Social Security, but for his stances on immigration and HPV, ones that diverge from those of many Tea Party members. This morning, he tried to distance himself from the crass remarks from some in the audience, who shouted support at the idea of just letting the uninsured die. Coupled with today’s report that 46.2 million Americans live in poverty, the largest number since records began, you kind of wonder whether the heckles at the debate will inspire a new sense of restraint. But there is a long, long way to go.
Update: Michele Bachmann, whose most significant moment was her criticism of Perry over his support of an HPV vaccine program for girls, has turned her debate attack into a fund-raising pitch.
Huntsman’s Pop: Jon Huntsman’s attacks may have fallen flat to the tea Party crowd, but Nirvana’s bassist Tweeted apparent approval at the candidate’s shout-out to Kurt Cobain. “Can a man who loves Beefheart sit in the Whitehouse? Does the Pope love Jesus? Hallelujah!!!!” (Politico).
Iger and 9/11: The Los Angeles Times’ Jim Rainey wonders whether a Disney video promoting a $5 million the company made to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum is the forerunner of Disney CEO Robert Iger’s run for mayor of New York. The video is here.
Update: This is the first I have heard Iger’s name mentioned as a new York mayoral candidate, but Rainey’s right, it does have the feel of a campaign video, and of Iger as a 9/11 hero. Diane Sawyer even says she admires his “courage.” What is a bit baffling is that Iger’s persona is low key, at least compared to his predecessor, while this video segment is over the top. If he were to run, at least he’d have a good shot at a Bloomberg endorsement.
James Murdoch Recalled: James Murdoch is being asked to return to the British Parliamentary committee to testify on the phone hacking scandal after former News Intl. executives challenged his earlier statements.