An Appetizing Assignment
By Howard Kurtz
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- The press covering tonight's Democratic debate is in a very good mood.
Not because we're all reflecting on the meaning of the King holiday. Not because it's a balmy 34 degrees here in South Carolina, a tad warmer than it was in Iowa. And not because CNN's Washington bureau chief, David Bohrman, just announced that there will be a "no rules" section of the debate, or that he's filling time waiting for Wolf Blitzer to show up (these are the parts you don't get to see on TV).
No, it's because the press filing center, across the street from the Palace Theater, is a Phillips Seafood Restaurant.
You just wander into the kitchen and order shrimp, scallops, blackened tuna and tilapia, not to mention berry cobbler and lemon layer cake, and dig in at restaurant-type tables and booths.
Keep in mind that most campaign-trail food is pretty bad, when it's available at all. So the likes of Jonathan Alter, Maureen Dowd, Dan Balz and others are feeling well taken care of.
Why fly here to watch the debate on TV, as you could at home? So you can hear the media chatter. The buzz amid the seafood is that Hillary is ceding South Carolina to Obama. She flies out tonight and does a round of Feb. 5 states -- California, New York and so on -- while leaving her husband, Bill, behind. I have no inside intelligence, but the Hill camp may have concluded that Saturday's primary here, with an electorate that will be primarily made up of African Americans, may be too much of an uphill climb.
Which will deprive journalists of the chance to depict it as the most crucial turning point since last week's crucial turning point.
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