My early gander at the Wednesday morning news centers on the reactions to the formal debut of Fred Thompson among the cast of Republican presidential candidates.
Well, the reviews aren't exactly what Variety would call "boffo." More like kerplunk! The only splash Thompson made was similar to that of a bowling ball dropping into an extra-deep pool. Even the usually polite Howard Fineman couldn't hold back.
Fred Thompson stood a head taller than his fellow Republicans but he seemed in over his head as the CNBC debate began here. He wore the pained look of a man in need of a powerful digestive pill. But by the time the two-hour marathon ended, the new guy on the trail had gained just barely enough confidence, composure and credibility to make it to the next round of the GOP food fight.
Ouch. The fussy French went a bit more gently on Thompson with Agence France Press noting that he at least didn't make any big mistakes.
Katherine Seelye of the The New York Times rated Thompson as mostly ineffectual. And she was amused that a trained actor would make his debut with such a froggy voice.
Out here on the Left Coast, the political blog of the L.A. Times had a bit more charitable take on Thompson's performance, saying the former Tennessee Senator and televisions star "didn't do badly" and even improved as the two hour show progressed.
Anyway you cut it, I wouldn't be expecting any Emmy nominations for Thompson coming out of this showing.