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Barack Obama's 'O'' Factor

James Hirsen By Tuesday, 04 December 2007 07:53 PM EST Current | Bio | Archive

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Which Way Does 'The Golden Compass' Point?
2. Daniel Craig Claims 'The Golden Compass' Is Not Anti-religious
3. Cruel 'View'
4. Writers' Strike Spares Hillary From Late-Night Jabs
5. Barack Obama's 'O' Factor

1. Which Way Does 'The Golden Compass' Point?

New Line Cinema was probably praying that this would happen.

It seems that no one can agree about whether the new Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig flick, "The Golden Compass," is anti-Christian.

The Catholic League has called for a boycott of the film, accusing it of "selling atheism to kids."

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is on the other side of the spectrum, calling the movie "intelligent and well-crafted entertainment" and "entirely in harmony with Catholic teaching."

Britain's National Secular Society, which touts atheist author Philip Pullman as one of its members, claims that changes made to the film (which depart from the book) amount to "taking the heart" out of the work.

The movie studio altered the characteristics of the wicked group in the story and disassociated it from the Church but still retained the name "Magisterium," which is Catholic terminology.

A note to parents: I wouldn't typically discourage reading, but in this case hide the books from the kids.

2. Daniel Craig Claims 'The Golden Compass' Is Not Anti-religious

Daniel Craig recently came to the defense of his new film.

The big-screen's latest James Bond is one of the featured stars of the movie, "The Golden Compass."

At the London premiere, Craig responded to criticism of the film but defended the wrong medium. Instead of focusing on the film and the changes that were made to avoid Christian bashing, Craig launched into a defense of Philip Pullman's books.

"I'm not surprised at the criticism," Craig explained. "I get that. But I think the majority of people who are criticizing it haven't read it. These books are not anti-religious. Mainly they're anti-misuse of power - whether it's religious or political."

Craig claimed that since "The Da Vinci Code" is "now in the Vatican," Pullman's books will be sold by the Vatican. "They'll be selling this there too eventually because it presents a very healthy debate," he said.

The actor suggested that "the morals in this book are solid and really good," adding that "any child should read this."

Maybe in his reading Craig mentally skipped over the main premise of Pullman's trilogy—the murder of God.

Incidentally, Craig plays the dark Lord Asriel character in "Compass" while Kidman plays the villainess of the story whose last name just happens to be Coulter.

3. Cruel 'View'

One would think that when a mother of two had been convicted of the crime of allowing a teddy bear to be named Muhammad and was being kept at a secret location because 10,000 maniacs are chanting "kill her, kill her" in the streets of Sudan, all of the co-hosts of ABC's "The View" would be sympathetic.

They were.

The only problem, though, was that their sympathies were with the Muslim extremists. Believe it or not, they blamed the woman.

Whoopie Goldberg railed against Westerners who are "not as anxious to learn the customs before we go places."

Coldhearted co-host Sherri Shepherd exclaimed, "You would think that with her being in Sudan, she would know the rules and customs."

4. Writers' Strike Spares Hillary From Late-Night Jabs

As the Writers Guild of America strike drones on, late-night talk shows are featuring monologues with rerun jokes on Arnold Schwarzenegger's run for California governor, Scooter Libby's pardon and President Bush's pretzel mishap.

As a result, the current presidential primary candidates have been spared being the target of late-night wisecracks.

One candidate in particular is benefiting from the humor vacuum: Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

The Center for Media and Public Affairs keeps tabs on Jay Leno, David Letterman, and fellow jesters via a joke-tracking database called "Punchlines."

From Jan. 1, 2007 to Oct. 10, 2007, the former first lady was the subject of 186 late-night jokes as reported by the Los Angeles Times. All of the other Democratic candidates combined chalked up a mere 197 quips.

Three non-candidates did better than Hillary with their joke counts: Vice President Dick Cheney (197), Paris Hilton (258) and late-night perennial punching bag George W. Bush (826).

Here's a sampling of some late-night Hillary horseplay: Jay Leno's comment on the Clinton marriage: "Sen. Clinton said that as president she would bring the troops home. The troops? She can't even get Bill to come home."

David Letterman's fashion quip: "Hillary is dressing sexier and sexier. Yesterday she was seen shopping at Victoria's Pantsuit."

5. Barack Obama's 'O' Factor

Just as the polls show that the race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is getting tighter, over the primary hill comes a player in the Obama campaign who just may deliver the Democratic nomination to the Illinois senator.

For the first time in her career, daytime TV icon Oprah Winfrey is endorsing a candidate for the White House.

What's even more astounding is that Winfrey is touring Iowa with Obama, and she's luring even bigger crowds than the charismatic candidate and his wife.

Hillary is fighting back with an in-house celebrity of her own, former president and first gent wannabe Bill Clinton.

In the Oprah vs. Bill battle, there's really no contest.

Bill prevaricated in a recent comment about his supposed opposition to the Iraq war, a clear negative for his wife.

Meanwhile, Oprah has a huge influence track record with her vast audience of 8.6 million fans.

Her message about Obama is simple and clear: "I know him well enough to believe in his moral authority," Winfrey told the Hollywood Reporter.

Lady O's endorsement certainly has the potential to work big-time for Obama.

Obscure books turn into massive best sellers with a mere Oprah mention.

And when it comes to endorsements of individuals, let's just say Oprah was able to take an unknown jury consultant from Texas, transport him to Beverly Hills and make a mega-TV star out of him.

She did just that with a guy named — Dr. Phil

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Which Way Does 'The Golden Compass' Point?2. Daniel Craig Claims 'The Golden Compass' Is Not Anti-religious3. Cruel 'View'4. Writers' Strike Spares Hillary From Late-Night Jabs5. Barack Obama's 'O' Factor 1. Which Way Does...
Tuesday, 04 December 2007 07:53 PM
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