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

Were it not for the fact that the economy is on the verge of crisis and the markets are wildly volatile,  last night’s debate showdown would probably dominate the news cycle. It’s anyone’s guess what the fallout will be, but certainly it showed that neither campaign will give up any ground easily. The New York Times’ Brian Stelter asks CNN’s Wolf Blitzer if he was perhaps a bit too lenient, and let things get out of control.

Stelter writes, Blitzer “said he was deliberately very flexible during the first hour.

“The only time I really wanted to get involved was when they were just filibustering or starting into their stump speeches,” he said.”

While it made for compelling television, and will be picked to death in the coming days whatever the outcome in South Carolina, a CNN focus group was turned off by the theatrics, and  declared John Edwards the winner. Edwards certainly will have something more to say about it tonight when he guests on “Late Show with David Letterman.”

Clinton Drops Burkle Investments: The Wall Street Journal reports that Bill Clinton stands to reap $20 million as he ends his relationship with Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Cos., as part of an effort to protect his wife’s presidential campaign from potential conflicts of interest. Included are foreign funds with ties to Dubai concerns.

From the Journal, “Severing the tie to Dubai, a U.S. ally, will remove a potentially tricky problem for Mrs. Clinton. Questions raised about the activities of sovereign wealth funds — giant pools of money controlled by foreign governments — have become a campaign issue, as the funds have made a spate of multibillion-dollar investments in such corporate giants as Citigroup Inc. and Merrill Lynch & Co. In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Mrs. Clinton said such purchases are “a source of concern,” partly because the foreign funds “lack transparency” and could be used by foreign governments as “instruments of foreign policy.””

Oscar Nominations: “No End in Sight” and “Sicko” garnered Oscar nominations for best documentary, along with “Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience,” “Taxi to the Dark Side” and “War/Dance.”

On the Stump: Kerry Washington and Usher campaign this evening with Barack Obama at a rally in Orangeburg, S.C.

Strike-Shy?: That’s what the New York Post’s Page Six calls Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in taking action on the writers strike. Although they have released statements in support of the writers, some writers are charging that they fear alienating their well-heeled supporters. “They can’t stick their necks out for the writers in the middle of an election campaign because we are perceived to be an elite class, not blue collar workers,” Chris Jackson, who wrote “Rush Hour” and its sequel, tells the Post.

According to the Post, he says that he talked to a high-level adviser to the Clinton campaign who told him, “Bill Clinton was approached by someone close to the Guild to come in as the mediator to end this strike, but he was advised not to become part of the WGA strike, other than not crossing our picket line.”

Clinton, Obama and other Democratic candidates have not crossed picket lines to appear on talk shows like “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” or “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” And when there was the threat of a newswriters strike, the candidates vowed not to cross those pickets, forcing CBS to cancel that forum on Dec. 10. John Edwards did march with striking writers in Burbank and appeared at a rally in New York.