Fred’s Leno Defense

In the wake of Thompson advisor Mary Matalin's unfortunate declaration that doing Leno is more important than debating issues in front of New Hampshire voters, Bill Sammon quotes the latest from Camp Fred's communication's director, Todd Harris:

“There have been a million debates already and there are going to be a million more,” Harris said. “And people are going to see Fred Thompson out there, mixing it up with the other candidates, mixing it up with the media, engaging the voters. They are going to see months and months and months of that.”

In the meantime, Harris said, “it makes a lot of sense” for Thompson to appear on the Leno show instead of the GOP debate because the candidate will reach “everyday normal Americans who don’t live in the 202 area code.”

This doesn't strike me as a smart course of action for the Thompson campaign. It's bad enough that  they have riled up New Hampshire Republicans by skipping the debate, but it's even worse to go out of their way to insult them by insisting that, somehow, appearing on a late night comedy show in Hollywood is serving some sort of higher purpose.

But in a sense, this incident encapsulates everything about the Thompson candidacy, both good and bad. His appearance on Leno will no doubt accentuate his star power, while his absence at the debate will reinforce fears that he is lazy and lacks substance.

r r

Rudy’s Web Makeover

The Giuliani campaign, which has been criticized for having a weak Web presence, has relaunched its Website today, with an increased focus on social networking sites (his groups on MySpace, Facebook, etc. are no longer inexplicably set to “private”). There will also be a “Running with Rudy” video feature that promises to give people an “insider’s look of life on the campaign trail.” The site upgrade was overdue. Now if only they could find a better address than, voters may actually be able to find it.