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In Movies & TV Commentary

Why is Mark Block smoking?

OnMedia: Herman, what were you thinking?


The most generous analysis of Herman Cain's smoking video came Sunday, from Mike Gousha on Channel 12's "UpFront." He was quoting some political talk that maybe, just maybe, it was on purpose.

The idea was to get those evil liberal pundits to obsess on the cigarette in the mouth of Cain's campaign manager, Wisconsin's own Mark Block. That would strengthen Cain among his conservative Tea Party base.

That sounds pretty generous.

Before we go any further, here's the complete one-minute video:

Huh?

In 2011, ending a brief spot like with a rumpled guy taking a drag on cigarette raises more question than it should. It also prompted lots of comedy and parody videos.

One of the funnier came from the daughters of another Republican presidential candidate, John Huntsman:

More seriously, Cain took some heat for the video on the weekend talking head shows, and was scolded by Bob Schieffer on CBS' "Face the Nation."

First, Cain offered an explanation for the bizarre little end to the spot:

"Mark Block is a smoker, and we say 'Let Mark be Mark.' That's all we're trying to say, because we believe 'let people be people.'"

Schieffer didn't buy it.

"I had cancer that's smoking related. I don't think it serves the country well, and this is an editorial opinion here, to be showing someone smoking a cigarette. ... I would suggest that perhaps as the frontrunner you would want to raise the level of the campaign."

Frankly, the whole discussion was unnecessary, but Cain made it happen with the posting of the video on his website. Internet videos have become an important part of the media campaign over the past few elections.

They're a relatively cheap way to spread a specific message, often by getting picked up by TV news outlets.

But they require thought.

Either they add to a campaign, or don't post them. If you raise questions with something inexplicable in the video, you'd better have quick, smart answers.

"Let Mark be Mark" isn't a good answer.

Brian Williams rocks tonight: NBC anchor Brian Williams launches his "Rock Center" tonight at 9 on Channel 4.

The news magazine is supposed to be hard newsy to have attracted Ted Koppell (who still seems angry that ABC's "Nightline" is too soft). But the promos for the show had a "30 Rock" feel to them.

It remains to be seen whether they can merge those two moods and attract viewers. By the way, tonight's premiere is supposed to feature an appearance by fake news anchor Jon Stewart from Comedy Central's "Daily Show."

Talkbacks

rabid652 | Oct. 31, 2011 at 1:01 p.m. (report)

Who cares what Herman Cain was thinking? He is fool as is anyone who supports him and will soon be an afterthough like Michelle Bachman and Tim Palenty. The larger issue is this grease ball Mark Block. Let's not forget the deep ties between this man and current Republican kingdom in Madison. The lack of morals and good judgment exhibited by Mark Block runs deep and rampant within the current administration and majority.

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TosaJim | Oct. 31, 2011 at 11:19 a.m. (report)

Color doesn't matter...what matters is Caine is just a publicity seeking self-promoter. If he's the best the Republicans can come up with...this country is in deep trouble....unless you are a Democrat...then he's just what the doctor ordered.

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FUGITIVEMSD | Oct. 31, 2011 at 11:08 a.m. (report)

Herman Cain will not receive the GOP Presidential nomination: the Tea Party wil not support him---he's Black.

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