The decision by Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) not to run again once again highlights the challenge that Democrats will have in retaining the Senate in 2012, although many of the 23 seats they will be defending (compared to 10 Republicans) are now considered safe. Before he upset George Allen to win the Virginia seat in 2006, Webb had been Secretary of the Navy and had also pursued screenwriting.
To that end, candidates already are lining up at the Hollywood trough, tapping donors who turned out in a big way in the recent midterms. One of the bigger events scheduled for the President's Day break will be at the home of Disney CEO Bob Iger, where Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Sen Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) will be raising for their reelection bids. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), an industry favorite on intellectual property issues, will be the featured guest. Co-hosts also include a host of other studio chiefs and media moguls including Fox's Jim Gianopoulos, Paramount's Brad Grey, Warner Bros.' Barry Meyer, Universal's Ron Meyer, Viacom's Philippe Dauman and other execs including the DGA's Jay Roth and director Paris Barclay.
Republicans will be defending 10 seats.
Although the task for Democrats looks daunting, the situation could be much different in 2012 vs. 2010 with Obama at the top of the ticket.
Sarah PAC Cites Sorkin...: The latest fund-raising pitch from Sarah Palin's political action committee cites negative comments from Aaron Sorkin, along with Oprah Winfrey and Chris Matthews, as proof that she "is a threat to liberals who make their living off of a bloated, out-of-control federal government." (ABC News.)
...While Hollywood Gives Her More Fodder: The latest Funny or Die video stars Gina Gershon as Palin, coping with withdrawal during a month without her "favorite drug": the media. The vid was directed by Funny or Die's Chris Farah and was inspired by the "Palin-free" month of February declared by Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank. A warning: The video is not for family audiences, and will certainly be the type of evidence Palin supporters will use to show that she's being unfairly targeted, er skewered.
Clooney on Malaria: George Clooney, who contracted malaria from his recent visit to Sudan, says that he's feeling much better. He says the symptoms were "really just very bad flu conditions with a little food poisoning thrown in to make you the perfect party guest." (New York Times).
Today in PSAs: Kathy Najimy and husband Dan Finnerty appear in a marriage equality PSA for We Give a Damn.