While political watchers spent last week looking ahead to primaries in Ohio and Texas, the candidates engaged in a serious debate — over a photo of Barack Obama wearing Somali clothing. (An Obama staffer claimed Hillary Clinton had leaked the shot to make him look Islamic; Clinton’s campaign manager said no one had claimed the photo was “divisive” until Obama and his new friend at the Post played it up.) Latecomer Ralph Nader, unsafe at any speed as far as most liberals are concerned, moseyed into the presidential race. Connecticut senator Christopher Dodd backed Obama; Jersey governor Jon Corzine rushed to aid the Clintons in Cleveland.
Are things looking less rosy for Michael Mukasey, the man who was meant to finally give conservatives an orgasm? The seemingly spotless Bush nominee for U.S. Attorney General has run into a couple of hurdles in the last week during Senate confirmation hearings. The first one is torture: Mukasey told senators that he didn't know whether "waterboarding," the practice of simulating the act of drowning so that a prisoner will divulge information, was unlawful or not. "It turned away from an easy confirmation," a high-ranking Democrat told the Daily News. The second hurdle is presidential candidate Chris Dodd. The Connecticut senator has announced that he will vote against Mukasey's confirmation, largely because the former judge and prosecutor has said that the president might be above certain presidential statutes. "That is about as basic as it gets," Dodd later said. "You must obey the law. Everyone must." Marc Cooper at the Huffington Post points out that once Dodd turned against him, the other Democratic presidential candidates have been forced to turn their thumbs down, too. Torture, as the old saying goes, is not an easy issue to get behind. Mukasey, what happened? You were our hometown boy. Don't make us pull a Rudy and turn against our own kind!
Dodd Sets Pace on Dunking Mukasey [HuffPo]
Michael Mukasey's AG Confirmation in Doubt [NYDN]
Huffington Post's FundRace 2008 feature, which lets you track individual campaign contributions by name or address, continues to be a reliable source of stalkerish joy. Today we decided to check up on how 740 Park Avenue, with its plentiful dollar, votes. What we found might shock you.
Martha Stewart's driver was arrested for undisclosed reasons, and Stewart flipped out because he is Egyptian. Paula Abdul whines and moans a lot on her upcoming Bravo reality show, but it's good TV. Actors from the Lord of the Rings trilogy are suing New Line, claiming the studio owes them a cut of merchandising revenue. Jean-Georges Vongerichten is set to open an authentic Japanese eatery where 66 used to be in Tribeca. HBO co-president of programming Richard Plepler, ICM agent Esther Newberg, and Lorne Michaels all back Chris Dodd for president. Barbra Streisand may star in a one-woman show on Broadway after her European tour.
John McCain has RSVP'd for the Puerto Rican Day Parade, but Rudy Giuliani has not. Lorraine Bracco will be a onetime co-host of The View. Baird Jones will celebrate Dr. Kevorkian's release from prison tonight by exhibiting his paintings at Webster Hall. Kevin Costner ate at Michael's. John Travolta may be in denial about his son's autism because of Scientology. Paris Hilton plans to keep a diary when she's in prison, which she can later sell. Sharon Stone is set to star in mock political ads to be unveiled at the upcoming Venice Biennale. Charlie Palmer's Kitchen 22, on West 22nd Street, closed.