Sugar and Spice

Updated

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

With Mitt Romney welling up, Hillary Clinton humanized and candidates racing to get holiday messages out, suddenly the campaigns are softening as if to let the early state electorate not completely get turned off by the bitterness of the race.

In a web ad unveiled today, Rudy Giuliani is dressed in a red sweater vest, sitting before a Christmas tree, as he runs through a list of holiday wishes.

“I really hope that all of the presidential candidates can just get along,” he says.

Then, Santa appears and starts to chuckle. “I was with you up until that last one.”

Giuliani throws up his hands and says, “Can’t have everything!”

Then there is another ad unveiled today by the Obama campaign, a straight-out wish for a Merry Christmas where he sits before a tree with wife Michelle and his two daughters — sans any ironic references. “Merry Christmas!” says Malia Obama. “Happy holidays!” says Sasha Obama.

Then there’s this Ron Paul ad, with a choir singing “Deck the Halls.”

Coupled with yesterday’s Mike Huckabee holiday greeting, you’d think there was good cheer all around.

But by midday Tuesday, Huckabee was forced to answer questions about whether his overtly religious ad contained a secret floating cross. And Obama’s ad today already has drawn some nasty comments about Muslims in America — some were deleted from the campaign website — and whether the ad is an attempt to overcome veiled attacks on his background. (Bob Kerry: “Barack Hussein Obama”).
And it didn’t take too long, however, for a parody ad to appear — Ron Paul with Mike Huckabee’s voice attached.

It seems Santa — chuckling at the thought of some kind of a holiday truce — was right.

Clinton Double Standard: Howard Kurtz explores whether Hillary Clinton is getting a bum rap from the press.

He writes in the Washington Post, “Clinton’s senior advisers have grown convinced that the media deck is stacked against them, that their candidate is drawing far harsher scrutiny than Barack Obama. And at least some journalists agree.

“She’s just held to a different standard in every respect,” says Mark Halperin, Time’s editor at large. “The press rooted for Obama to go negative, and when he did he was applauded. When she does it, it’s treated as this huge violation of propriety.” While Clinton’s mistakes deserve full coverage, Halperin says, “the press’s flaws — wild swings, accentuating the negative — are magnified 50 times when it comes to her. It’s not a level playing field.”

Hillary Hit Job: “The first and last word in what the Clintons want America to forget!” Citzens United, the group headed by David Bossie, is getting ready to debut the anti-Hillary pic. 

Not Happy: Sidney Blumenthal is executive producer of Alex Gibney’s upcoming doc “Taxi to the Dark Side,” and chides the MPAA for banning the poster for the pic, which traces the pattern of torture practice from Afghanistan’s Bagram prison to Abu Ghraib to Guantanamo Bay. He writes, “This acclaimed film, which has already won numerous festival awards, including best documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival, and is shortlisted for the Academy Award, is the single most important movie of 2008, the campaign year.” As Variety’s Anne Thompson reports, the MPAA deemed the poster not suitable for children.

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