Today in the Presidential Race: Race!Just as Hillary last week renewed the debate over whether her gender was a factor in the Democratic primary, this weekend she raised the same question over Barack Obama’s race. Her aggressive appearance on Meet the Press largely focused on remarks she had previously made about Barack Obama in comparison to Martin Luther King Jr. She tried to back up her idea (basically, that MLK is not like Obama because MLK worked for decades, and needed the help of elected officials, to get his goals achieved) and also accused the Obama camp of implying that there was a racial controversy buried in her words. Her tortuous explanation (much too convoluted to get into in a blog post), and the resulting interpretations, are still raising hackles this morning.
• Black Entertainment Television founder Robert L. Johnson, speaking yesterday, sparked a firestorm of debate after saying: “An African-American, I am frankly insulted that the Obama campaign would imply that we are so stupid that we would think Hillary and Bill Clinton, who have been deeply and emotionally involved in black issues since Barack Obama was doing something in the neighborhood — and I won’t say what he was doing, but he said it in the book — when they have been involved.” The Obama campaign reacted angrily, finding a reference to Obama’s admitted childhood drug use in Johnson’s words, an inference Johnson disputes. [The Caucus/NYT]
Spitzer Feels Good (Just Like He Knew That He Would, Yeah)Eliot Spitzer’s New Year’s Day inauguration will feature James Brown and Natalie Merchant but not Alan Hevesi. Yes, Beyoncé threw Jay-Z a big birthday party in St. Barts. No, they’re not getting married, at least according to Rush & Molloy. John Kerry threw a dinner party for Democratic donors at his Georgetown home, at which he may or may not have shilled for his party’s 2008 nomination. Paris Hilton may be engaged to “student” Stavros Niarchos. Tinsley Mortimer’s sister-in-law is getting married to the director of Syriana. The reigning Miss Universe, also Miss Puerto Rico, is dating a fellow Puerto Rican. Mandy Moore had dinner with former flame Wilmer Valderrama. The director of scary when-scuba-goes-bad flick Open Water is set to direct another movie about sharks. A lot of people went to go see Annie at Madison Square Garden, and not everyone got in on time. Celebs donate time, company to an auction run by Martin Luther King Jr.’s eldest son. Colin Firth is a picky eater. Lindsay Lohan’s former assistant, now Jessica Biel’s assistant, was the subject of much of Lohan’s vitriol in the rambling e-mail she wrote two days ago. Eddie Murphy and his ex–Spice Girl ex-girlfriend continue to disagree over whether Eddie is the father of her baby, according to “Page Six.” (The News has this Murphy-Spice “exclusive,” too, worded the exact same way.) Britney Spears bought expensive lingerie, Dakota Fanning bought a dog, and Courtney Love is moving to London. Liz Smith claims John Stamos will be on an upcoming season of Dancing With the Stars, based on his affinity for tango. Molly Sims got stung by a bee in Hawaii.