Tonight in Iowa, Republican presidential candidates will debate before a national audience. But, at least on page 14 of today's Chicago Tribune, a much bigger story concerns a little known homosexual activist, not in this evening's debate, who also seeks the GOP nomination. He admits to a childhood crush on Chuck Connors of TV's "The Rifleman," and stands about as much a chance of winning the GOP nod as the late Mr. Connors does.
The story, "Debate is gay candidate's primary aim," runs 25 paragraphs and approximately 1,200 words. Excerpted from an even longer article on the Chicago Tribune's Web site, it centers on an understandably less than optimistic candidate:
Fred Karger, Republican candidate for president, knows there is no chance he will be the GOP nominee, much less the next leader of the free world. "I'm not delusional," he says, though one might wonder what, exactly, he is thinking.
In contrast, the same page of today's Tribune carries a much smaller article, "Eyes on Iowa as GOP hopefuls set for debate," taken from an expanded piece appearing on the newspaper's Web site. The print story is seven paragraphs in length and about 300 words. Several candidates who will participate tonight aren't even mentioned.
Maybe if Newt Gingrich confessed to an infatuation with Pa Cartwright, he'd have qualified for coverage in the Tribune story on the debate.