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Clinton, Obama Work the L.A. Glitz

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Clinton, Obama Work the L.A. Glitz

Election 2008

Clinton, Obama Work the L.A. Glitz

Clinton, Obama Work the L.A. Glitz

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/18599682/18599665" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The Democratic candidates for president meet for a debate in Los Angeles that's equal parts boxing match and Hollywood glamor-fest.

BILL WOLFF (Announcer): From NPR News in New York, this is THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT.

(Soundbite of music)

ALISON STEWART, host:

Yes, indeed, we are firmly ensconced to the NPR studios at Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan, this is THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT - news, information and funk.

BILL WOLFF, host:

Funk.

STEWART: Financial and the musical variety coming up.

I'm Alison Stewart.

WOLFF: And I'm Bill Wolff.

It is Friday, February 1st, 2008.

STEWART: And Bill Wolff and Rachel Martin and I are a little blurry-eyed because we did stay up and watched the debate last night.

WOLFF: Well, I had to.

STEWART: I know.

WOLFF: I couldn't get to sleep if I didn't know how Topher Grace would react to Hillary Clinton's health-care plan.

(Soundbite of laughter)

WOLFF: How does Topher Grace feel about the mandates?

STEWART: All those celebrity cutaways were a little bit - they were having a substantial debate about the issues, and then, they'd cut away to Alfre Woodard nodding seriously.

WOLFF: She looked concerned, I thought - looking good, though, Alfre. I haven't seen her in a while.

STEWART: Indeed.

WOLFF: Wonderful.

STEWART: Of course, we'll talk a little bit more about the debate during the show. Also, coming up - what else do we have, Bill?

WOLFF: Well, Jack Johnson is here to talk about his new album, "Sleep Through the Static." It's released next Tuesday. We got a performance, a conversation and the whole thing.

STEWART: And I'm going to have a conversation about Yahoo. What's going on with Yahoo? A lot of news this morning - lot of news this week.

WOLFF: Big news this morning.

STEWART: Yeah. The Internet company is in - what some are calling - a financial funk. I'm going to do the interview because a full disclosure, Bill Wolff…

WOLFF: My brother, Sam, one of the world's great guys…

STEWART: Yes.

WOLFF: …works for Yahoo.

STEWART: Okay. So you could just…

WOLFF: I'm going to stay out of it.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Also, if you weren't up watching the debate, maybe you were up watching the TV show, "Lost." There's only eight episodes, but that's pretty good considering there's a writers' strike going on. A critic will join us, as well as a super fan from our staff will come in here. And we'll talk about last night's glorious return of the show.

WOLFF: Oh, I can't wait.

STEWART: We'll also go to Rachel Martin for today's headlines in just a minute.

But first, here is the BPP's Big Story.

(Soundbite of music)

WOLFF: A red carpet turned blue.

The sort of stars packed the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles last night for the CNN/Politico.com Democratic debate. George Costanza was there. Quentin Tarantino was there. Gary Shandling - alive and looking well. Pierce Brosnan -lately James Bond was in the audience, along with Fran Joy Drescher(ph) and, of course, for a military credibility, the Iron Eagle himself, Louis Gossett Jr. Yes, Louis Gossett Jr.

(Soundbite of CNN/Politico.com/Los Angeles Times Democratic debate)

Senator BARACK OBAMA (Democrat, Illinois; Presidential Candidate): I don't think the choice is between black and white, or it's about gender or religion. I don't think it's about young or old. I think what is at stake right now is whether we are looking backwards or we were looking forwards. I think it is the past versus the future.

Mr. WOLF BLITZER (Reporter, CNN): Thank you, senator.

STEWART: Of course, that was Barack Obama. Now, outside, huge crowds assembled at the theater. I mean, it was circus-like - like signs, chanting, people hoping to catch a glimpse of a candidate or a sort of star. CNN actually broadcast the arrivals of Obama and Hillary climbing out of their black SUVs. All that was missing was Ryan Seacrest.

However, inside the event, the atmosphere was quite subdued for the first head-to-head matchup between these two Democratic candidates: Obama and Clinton.

WOLFF: And after a particularly contentious Republican debate, featuring Mitt Romney versus John McCain the night before, many expected the thin Democratic herd to make for a fiery fight between the last one standing. But the theme of the night seemed to be congeniality. Even the criticisms were delivered like a velvet hammer. Obama did his change thing.

Senator HILLARY CLINTON (Democrat, New York; Presidential Candidate): It is imperative that we have a president starting on day one, who can begin to solve our problems, tackle these challenges and seize the opportunities that I think await.

STEWART: Actually, that was Senator Clinton doing her experience thing. Can we get Barack Obama doing his change thing? Ah, they can't find it. He says he's going to change new voices in the White House…

WOLFF: I haven't heard that before.

STEWART: …generation Obama - oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, you can see the way that goes.

Now - as this has been the theme throughout this campaign, the war in Iraq was a focal point. Can we pick up where Senator Clinton defended her stands against the vote for the war?

Sen. CLINTON: I think I made a reasoned judgment. Unfortunately, the person who actually got to execute the policy did not.

Mr. BLITZER: Senator…

WOLFF: And in Barack Obama's response, he took a swing at the experience ready on day one thing.

Sen. OBAMA: Senator Clinton, I think, fairly, has claimed that she's got the experience on day one. And part of the argument that I'm making in this campaign is that it is important to be right on day one. And that the judgment that I presented…

(Soundbite of applause)

WOLFF: Now, Democrats weren't the only actors getting political last night. Another celebrity made a big announcement yesterday. Can we cue that tape?

Governor ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (Republican, California): It's not a tumor.

STEWART: No, sorry. That was not the right Schwarzenegger tape.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Well, we'll just tell you. As predicted yesterday in Los Angeles, Governor Schwarzenegger followed Rudy Giuliani in endorsing John McCain for the Republican nomination.

Hey, that's the BPP's Big Story.

Now, here's Rachel Martin with even more news.

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