The Plank

Fred's Debut

I could only give this afternoon's Republican debate my partial attention, but here are some admittedly superficial thoughts about Fred Thompson's debut.

Honoring Favre

Bears fan Patrick O'Connor, apparently emboldened by Chicago's big win over the Packers on Sunday, is taking a strong stand against the impending House resolution honoring Brett Favre for breaking Dan Marino's record for career touchdown passes. There's precedent here: as O'Connor notes, Rep.

Best Debate-line Nominee

From Ron Paul, of course:

"If you want to help the economy, you have to study monetary theory..."

File it away under "possibly true, but not likely to rally the masses."

--Noam Scheiber

Gop Debate

Some reactions: Fred Thompson looked distracted, especially when answering questions about the economy. It was as if he were thinking of something else (his next movie or what he was going to order for dinner that night) and had to focus instead on some boring political question about social security or the disparity between the Dow and people's perception of the economy. Is he just rusty, or does he not really want to do this? Of the frontrunners, Romney had the clearest and most forthright answers. If you listen closely, you hear a moderate Republican beneath the rhetoric.

Not A Great Performance From Mccain

I agree with Mike about Thompson. I also thought McCain looked a little shaky. He lapsed into his "I'm reading from an imaginary teleprompter against my will" routine more often than usual today. And, even though he was perfectly lucid, he looked old and a little Stockdale-esque when he asked Maria Bartiromo to repeat a question, which happened more than once. (It may have been a technical issue having nothing to do with his hearing, but the atmospherics look the same either way.)

Armenian Genocide Watch

Back by not-so-popular demand! With the House Foreign Affairs Committee set to vote on the resolution tomorrow, some key events in the greatest political drama most people know nothing about:

1. Don't think the timing of the Turkish military's imminent threat to cross into northern Iraq and attack Kurdish rebels there is a coincidence.

The Clinton Taboo

How determined is the Obama campaign to avoid mentioning Hillary Clinton's name? Here's a passage from an email update sent around by the campaign this weekend:

Specifically, on Tuesday, the fifth anniversary of Obama's forceful speech opposing the war in Iraq, a day on which another campaign reportedly wanted to gum-up the substantive coverage by releasing her fundraising totals, Obama dominated local press in Iowa and even managed to get stories in other early primary states on issues he was discussing on the trail. [emphasis added]

Runners Down, Runner Up

This morning, sad news from the heartland--marathoners competing in Chicago's 30th-anniversary race yesterday found themselves dropping like flies in record October heat. Desperate runners were seen drinking from park fountains, and by noon, thousands were told to stop. Time was when October was autumn proper in Chicago; yesterday's meltdown, with over 300 collapsed runners and one fatality, suggests otherwise.

Fred Gets Ready To Rumble

Today's Times has a nice preview of Fred Thompson's first presidential primary debate, which happens tomorrow night. Among other things, the piece points to this testy debate exchange from 1994:

--Noam Scheiber

Great Moments In Cable "news"

Fox News just featured a panel to discuss the Drudge-hyped non-news of the day: that Hillary Clinton's circle of advisors includes Sandy Berger.