On deck: The media makes a “first” exception for Romney, and a Rudy supporter tries to make the conservative case for Rudy

With the second GOP presidential candidates debate a little less than 12 hours away, here are a few noteworthy articles about some of the candidates/potential candidates for your perusal:

Rich Lowry writes about how the media, notorious for being thrilled about firsts (first woman, first ‘African American’, etc), are so much so with the candidacy of Mitt Romney, who could be the first Mormon president. Simply put, unlike with Hillary or Obama and their respective ‘firsts’, when the media writes about the idea that Romney could be the first Mormon president, they make it clear they’d be just fine if he wasn’t – a point, among many, that Lowry makes in his piece.

— Ever heard of the Five Brothers Blog? It’s the blog of Romney’s five sons. Check it out here. Mrs. Romney and the candidate himself both post there as well.

— It’s no secret social conservatives aren’t too keen on the candidacy of Rudy Giuliani, and with that in mind, Theodore Olson, former U.S. solicitor general and chair of Giuliani’s Justice Advisory Committee, tries to make the ‘conservative case’ for the former NYC mayor here. The WaPo thinks tonight’s debate is Giuliani’s to ‘use or lose’.

— MSNBC’s First Read reports on McCain’s “mixed bag”:

Heading into the debate, a poll by NBC affiliate WIS-TV shows McCain leading Giuliani (25%-20%), but with the highest unfavorable rating among the GOPers. Another interesting finding: Romney is fifth in the horserace — behind Fred Thompson and Gingrich. Meanwhile, tied to tonight’s debate, the group VoteVets goes up with a new TV ad that singles out McCain.

VoteVets, BTW, is a Democrat-affiliated group who are against the war in Iraq.

And speaking of McCain, he recently told the Howie Kurtz that he believed 99% of the media were fair. Uh, right. Trying to woo your base back, Senator?

— Still no standouts in the “Big Three” on illegal immigration. Sigh.

— On the heels of Senator Chuck Hagel’s annoucement that he may seek an independent bid for president, and would consider NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg as a running mate comes the news that Bloomberg himself is considering his own independent bid for the WH. More on that here. John Hinderaker wonders if a Hagel candidacy would hurt Republicans. What do you think?

Cuba-lover and America-hater Michael Moore has challenged potential GOP candidate Fred Thompson to a debate, after Thompson’s criticism of Moore’s visit to Cuba in a recent NRO piece. Update: Thompson responds here (h/t: ST reader Lorica).

— While we’re on the subject of Thompson, NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly said yesterday that Thompson has likely taped his last ever episode of Law and Order. Hmmm and hmm. (Hat tip: Jim Geraghty)

Meet successful Chicago executive John Cox, a Republican candidate who hasn’t been allowed to debate due to low polling, but who Weekly Standard senior writer Matt Labash calls the GOP’s “sane” fringe candidate. His website is here. By the way, he’s sued Fox News for excluding him from tonight’s debate.


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