Into the Thicket

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

Fred Thompson is being challenged to a one-on-one debate with Mike Huckabee. After Thompson said on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and on Fox News that a debate with just one other candidate would be more preferable than the entire field, Huckabee issued his challenge. “Senator, let’s lead by example and get the ball rolling,” he wrote in a letter to the former “Law & Order” star.

On Thursday, at one of Thompson’s kickoff events in Des Moines, he played his Hollywood experience to the hilt, running a video called “The Hunt for Red November,” a nod to his role in “The Hunt for Red October.” The pic was acutally a bio introducing him to the voters, and invoked Reaganesque themes and even shots of Thompson meeting with the Gipper.

As M.E. Sprengelmeyer of the Rocky Mountain News reported, “it was more Hollywood than heartland.”

“Thompson walked into the spotlight of a glitzy, column-flanked stage and delivered a dramatic message that seemed to hit the more conservative talking points of each of his Republican rivals. He talked tough on terrorism, tough on immigration, tough on government reform, tough on government bloat, etc.”

Sprengelmeyer (who shot the photo at right) says that some voters were turned off at the spectacle, perhaps because of the media throng that aced out any face time with the candidate.

Meanwhile, Thompson drew some heat from his GOP rivals when he noted the release of a new Osama bin Laden video and called the Al Queda leader “more symbolism than anything else.”

Rare Footage Revealed: For political junkies, there is CSPAN’s new show “Presidential Libraries: History Uncovered, which debuted today and features rare footage of presidents from Hoover to Clinton.

Obamamania, Part Two: The Obama camp has another big ticket event coming up later this month, this time a Broadway themed fund-raiser at the New Amsterday Theater on Sept. 24. The New York Times reports that hosts include Thomas Schumacher, the president of Disney Theatrical Productions (which owns the theater); Rocco Landesman, the president of the Jujamcyn chain of Broadway theaters; Scott Sanders, the lead producer of “The Color Purple”; Roger Berlind, the lead producer of “Curtains”; and Margo Lion, the lead producer of “Hairspray,” and Broadway’s most active supporter of the Obama campaign. George C. Wolfe will direct a short performance with Christine Ebersole, Marcia Gay Harden and Jeffrey Wright, then Obama will speak.

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