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Bush Speech Leaves Dry Eyes in the House

We were far from the only ones who took note of Speaker Nancy Pelosi's excessive blinking during President Bush's State of the Union Address last week. The "Blink Count" on Late Show With David Letterman alone illustrated that our estimate of 25-30 blinks per minute was way low.

But what was merely a passing observation on our own blog brought a deluge of blogospheric vitriol to BCBeat.com aimed at Pelosi.

While some suggested that Pelosi's blinking betrayed her deviousness or the effects of cosmetic surgery, others debated whether a methamphetamine habit ("typical SF tweaker") or "loose dentures" were behind her erratic "mouth movement."

It got so ugly that one poster, identified as "Pelosi's Publicist," offered a detailed explanation for the speaker's appearance: "Nancy was wearing new eye contacts last night … Nancy does not have false teeth. They are all caps. She was not licking her teeth. She was sucking on a cough drop throughout most of the speech."

A Pelosi spokesman told B&C that no one authorized to speak for the speaker had sent the comment. But he offered a similar explanation, confirming that Pelosi was sucking a lozenge for a sore throat and that the intense lighting caused "a dry-eye issue."

Calling Shots

C-SPAN's top executives are optimistic that Speaker Pelosi will allow the public- affairs cable net to control some cameras in the House chamber.

According to spokesman Peter Kiley, Chairman/CEO Brian Lamb and Co-President/Co-COO Susan Swain met with Pelosi on Jan. 12 to discuss C-SPAN's request to add its own cameras to the ones currently controlled by the speaker and operated by the House recording studio.

Pelosi reached out to C-SPAN after initially rejecting the request out of hand last month as a potential threat to the "dignity and decorum" of the House.

"It was a positive meeting, a good exchange, and we are patiently awaiting a decision," says Kiley, adding that Pelosi and her staff asked C-SPAN to diagram where the new cameras would go.

C-SPAN likely will make a similar pitch to the Senate if Pelosi gives them the OK.

Lamb has pledged to cover House debates "fully, accurately, and with the unbiased production style on which we've built our reputation." But many legislators are concerned that the extra cameras could embarrass them with shots of impassioned speeches delivered to a virtually empty chamber and other gotcha moments.

And with the rise of YouTube, today's nap during a farm-subsidy debate could be tomorrow's campaign ad.

On the QT

Is it just us or is the influence of maverick auteur Quentin Tarantino showing up a lot in TV ads these days?

A Target ad, with black-suited tough guys strutting slo-mo down the street in an echo of QT's breakout debut Reservoir Dogs, is only the beginning.

There's the Stop & Shop spot in which rolls of paper products debate the etiquette of tipping. "Eighteen percent! It's outrageous!" Quilted Northern tells Brawny. "Why do I have to pay someone else's employees for them?"

Sounds uncannily like the opening scene from Dogs, in which the would-be bank robbers debate the etiquette of tipping. ("This tipping automatically, that s**t's for the birds," says Mr. Pink. "As far as I'm concerned, they're just doin' their job.")

And then there's the ad for T-Mobile's 5 plan, in which two friends debate the etiquette of having a friends' girlfriend on speed-dial. "You don't give another man's girl a foot massage and you definitely don't put her in your 5," says one—an apparent nod to Samuel L. Jackson's speech on the matter giving another man's girlfriend a foot massage in Pulp Fiction.

Even an Ad Council spot for its V-chip campaign evokes Christopher Walken's famous "watch" speech from Pulp Fiction.

Peterson Milla Hooks, Publicis West and McCann Ellison, the respective agencies behind the Target, T-Mobile and Ad Council spots, offered no comment, while a rep for Stop & Shop said its ad had "no connection" to the filmmaker.

With John Eggerton and Michael Malone

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