That, and other news, in today’s Roundup and Recap.
Tributes to Michael Jackson have highlighted his White House visits, in particular a famous ceremony in which Ronald and Nancy Reagan honored him for his work in warning against drunk driving. Overseas, leaders like Gordon Brown and Hugo Chavez have weighed in. There even have been some stories arguing that Jackson paved the way for President Obama.
Politico, however, noted that the president has yet to issue a statement on the King of Pop, and Josh Gerstein wrote, “While a short statement on the death of a notable figure in American
life is usually a straightforward matter, it becomes more complicated
in the case of a singer whose musical accomplishments were often
obscured by allegations of darker behavior.” Gerstein detailed the delicate balance that presidents have in commenting on famous figures with complicated lives.
Update: Congress paused for a moment of silence for Jackson today. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs on the president’s reaction, via Politico: “He said to me that obviously Michael Jackson was a spectacular performer, a music icon. I think everyone remembers hearing his songs…watching him moonwalk.” Gibbs added that some aspects of Jackson’s life were “sad” and “tragic.”
Gibbs’ full statement: “I talked to him about it this morning. Look, he said to me that obviously Michael Jackson was a spectacular performer and a music icon. I think everybody remembers hearing his songs, watching him moonwalk on television during Motown’s 25th anniversary. But the president also said, look, he had aspects of his life that were sad and tragic. And his condolences went out to the Jackson family and to the fans that mourned his loss.”
Kerry Film: The Federal Election Commission has yet to reach a decision on whether to allow John Kerry to use $300,000 in campaign funds for a film on injured Iraq war veterans.
Biden’s Words: At a fund-raiser aimed at the LGBT community on Thursday in D.C., Vice President Joseph Biden said he didn’t “blame you for your impatience” and pledged to “put some pace on the ball” on a host of issues including Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. About 50 people protested outside the event, but despite the boycott of some gay activists, it still raised $1 million, up from $750,000 last year.
Meanwhile Isaiah Washington has joined the ranks of celebrities featured in a new anti-Prop 8 campaign.
Antonio Fallout: The L.A. mayor’s decision not to run for governor has left an opening for Gavin Newsom and Jerry Brown to court Hollywood support, and is setting up a battle reminiscent of the Obama-Clinton rivalry, according to Tina Daunt of the Los Angeles Times.
Farrah and Ayn: There was an unlikely friendship between Farrah Fawcett and Ayn Rand, according to Amy Wallace in a Daily Beast essay.