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Tough Questions For Edwards And Thompson

 John Edwards was the featured guest on ABC's "This Week" today. Here's one question he got from George Stephanopoulos:

Sometimes when you talk about [electability] a lot of people listen and say you're slipping into code. You say things like, in Iowa, "picture in your head, each us is running in a tough place"--you, Senator Obama, Senator Clinton--"which one's gonna be more helpful, which one's not? Your instincts will tell you the right answer." A lot of people hear that and say that's some kind of racial/gender code.

"Absolutely not," Edwards replied. He also reminded Stephanopoulos that at one Democratic debate he had said that "if youre not voting for Senator Obama because he's black or Senator Clinton because shes a women, don't vote for me, you shouldn't vote for me." 

This is the first I'd heard of this, though it turns out Jake Tapper blogged about it a couple of weeks ago. I don't know quite what to make of this, but I would be interested to know whether "your instincts" is a stock line he's been using repeatedly or if it was just a one-off formulation.

In other Sunday-show news, Fred Thompson was the main attraction on "Meet the Press." By the low standards Thompson has set for himself, it was a decent if forgettable performance. Thompson stuck mainly to generalities and looked a bit tuckered out.

He did smoothly handle a left-field question from Russert about his recent weight loss and whether it might be health-related. No, Thompson said, invoking the apparently firm hand of his wife, Jeri: "We had a diet around our house that was imposed a while back and, basically, you know, if it tastes real good, don’t eat it." Heh.

Russert also asked Thompson about today's Washington Post story on a buddy of his busted for cocaine and pot dealing 20-plus years ago. Fred refused to, as he put it "throw my friend under the bus for something he did, you know, 25 years ago if he’s OK now," which strikes me as an admirably non-easy answer to give.

P.S. And in case you missed it, here's Barack Obama's funny appearance on SNL. (Note that he didn't object to appearing in a skit featuring Hillary-is-a-witch jokes....)

--Michael Crowley