The Date: Feb. 5, 2008
The Venue: The Shops at Columbus Circle in the Time Warner Center, New York City
The Crowd: CNN, Time Inc. and Time magazine brass; advertising clients; and CNN and Time talent including Lou Dobbs, Anderson Cooper and Joe Klein.
The Drinks: No juice, just juicy jibes.
We've never freeloaded an election before, so a televised talk marking the Super Tuesday primaries offered a welcome opportunity to turn democracy into a free lunch. That's just a metaphor, of course; we left before the buffet. (Freeloader was masquerading as a serious wonk -- no time for food.)
Time magazine's managing editor, Rick Stengel, got off one of the best lines of the panel when he compared Barack Obama with Hillary Clinton. "He's a bit like an internet stock," Mr. Stengel said, "and she's like a mutual fund."
But Jon Klein, president of CNN's U.S. operations, may have tried the weakest. Noting during his opening remarks that the panel was situated in front of the Borders store at the Time Warner Center, he joked that he appreciated Borders' good graces -- given Lou Dobbs' constant references to "Broken Borders."
And Anderson Cooper moved to answer recent criticism that CNN wasn't disclosing the support by one of its commentators, Bill Bennett, for John McCain and Mitt Romney. Mr. Cooper introduced Mr. Bennett by noting his contributions; Mr. Bennett added that he has not decided which candidate to endorse. He was waiting for Tuesday's results, he said, like everybody else.