That, and other news, in today’s Political Panorama.
Politicos, key Hollywood donors and top political journalists will be sitting in spots usually reserved for Oscar nominees tonight when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton take to the stage at the Kodak Theater for the final presidential debate before Super Tuesday. More than 500 journalists have been credentialed, so comparisons to Hollywood’s big Academy Award night are inevitable.
Both candidates and their surrogates are stumping in Los Angeles and the rest of California through the weekend, even if most polls still give Clinton a wide lead in the state.
After the forum, Obama will speak to supporters at a fund-raiser at Hollywood nightclub Avalon, while Clinton attends a gathering at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.
And You Thought…: This will be the last debate before Feb. 5, but not the last candidate forum. On Saturday, MySpace, MTV and the Associated Press are hosting what is being called “Closing Arguments: A Presidential Dialogue.” Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul will appear individually to answer unfiltered questions from a youth audience at MTV’s Times Square studios.
Stars on Stump: USA Today looks at the state of celebrities on the trail. The verdict: They are being deployed quite a bit more this year, perhaps because of the “Oprah effect.” She was willing to get involved in partisan politics, so why not they? There has been some fallout. James Denton, who campaigned with John Edwards, says, “I’ve gotten a surprising amount of mail from unhappy fans, some real conservatives who say that they’re disappointed in you and will never watch your show again. It’s been eye-opening.”
Where To Now?: With John Edwards dropping out, that leaves people like Susan Sarandon candidate-less. She, too, campaigned extensively for him. In an interview with Time.com (before Edwards dropped out), she wasn’t exactly gung-ho about Hillary.
“There’s absolutely no reason why a woman shouldn’t be in that office, but I am not sure about this woman. It’s insulting to assume that because you’re a woman or a person of color, you would automatically back any woman or person of color. It’s a little more complicated.”
Switching to Obama: David Mixner, a prominent Edwards supporter in the gay community, is going for Obama, my fellow blogger Karen Ocamb reports. Mixner told GayWired.com, “Like many of his devoted supporters, I feel a great sadness at the loss of this critical voice in the Presidential race. Edwards, alone at times, represented a powerful voice for the poor of America and for bringing our troops home from Iraq. His articulate and passionate advocacy on these issues kept them in the forefront of this campaign season. He was uncompromising in his determination to put our troops on planes and bring them home. He insisted that we face the issue of poverty in America and stop turning our backs on the plight of American poverty.”