We're supposed to be talking Super Bowl this weekend, not Super Tuesday. But in this fast-forward year, just when Monday morning quarterbacking trails off, the primary polls will open, granting California voters -- for once -- real clout in choosing their parties' nominees.
The sheer speed of the primary season has highlighted that old chestnut of political traditions: candidate endorsements.
When we've had little time to absorb the candidates' commercials, scrutinize their debating techniques or read up on who voted how on what, our close-to-home elected officials and other leaders can become surrogates of sorts.
"If you're talking about a short campaign when the candidates cannot convey large amounts of information to the voter, then endorsements sometimes become shorthand," said Los Angeles attorney Darry Sragow, a longtime Democratic strategist. They also can matter, Sragow said, "if they play against type -- for example, women endorsing Obama, African Americans endorsing Clinton."
Angelenos may have missed John McCain at a local solar roofing firm the other day, but Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was there to endorse him, making the Republican candidate attractive to some and anathema to others.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Monday, February 04, 2008 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 38 words Type of Material: Correction
Endorsement chart: A chart in Sunday's California section that listed a sampling of local presidential endorsements stated that Los Angeles City Councilman Dennis Zine supports Hillary Rodham Clinton. Zine has not made an endorsement in the presidential primary.
Orange County residents who weren't there Thursday when Mitt Romney stopped by Fountain Valley could take a cue from the fact he is supported by well-known local GOP leaders including Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) and former state party Chairman Mike Schroeder.
What does it mean that former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is endorsed by both "Walker, Texas Ranger" star Chuck Norris and border protection advocate Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine)?
Then there's the cascade of endorsements for Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.
Is it significant that L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa favors Clinton while labor leader Maria Elena Durazo will vote for Obama? That David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg are staunch Obama backers while fellow DreamWorks co-founder Steven Spielberg has thrown his support behind Clinton?
And what about Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove), who favors Clinton, and her younger sister, Rep. Linda T. Sanchez (D-Lakewood), who supports Obama? The two siblings finally "agreed to disagree," said the younger Sanchez.
Some leaders declined to publicly declare their vote, including Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who is close friends and allies with both Clinton and Obama. "As long as they are both in the race, she will remain neutral," a spokeswoman said.
Willie Brown, former state Assembly speaker and San Francisco mayor, on the other hand, doesn't want to ruin his chance for a television commentator gig.
"I have not endorsed anyone this season. . . . National news shows have nobody from the West or [few] people of color. . . . And if I end up endorsing anyone, it would wipe out the opportunity going forward," he said.
Here's a sampling of the "Who's for Whom" lineup for Super Tuesday.
-- Deborah Schoch
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON
* Tony Cardenas, L.A. City Council
* John Chiang, state controller
* Jamie Lee Curtis, actress
* Gray Davis, former California governor
* Ron Dellums, Oakland mayor
* Dianne Feinstein, U.S. senator
* America Ferrera, actress
* Wendy Greuel, L.A. City Council
* Janice Hahn, L.A. City Council
* Jane Harman, U.S. representative (D-Venice)
* Ron Howard, actor, director
* Jose Huizar, L.A. City Council
* John Garamendi, California lieutenant governor
* Tom LaBonge, L.A. City Council
* Bill Lockyer, state treasurer
* Gloria Molina, L.A. County supervisor
* Gavin Newsom, San Francisco mayor
* Fabian Nunez, state Assembly speaker (D-Los Angeles)
* Jack O'Connell, state superintendent of public instruction
* Don Perata, state Senate president pro tem (D-Oakland)
* Jan Perry, L.A. City Council
* Rob Reiner, film director
* Loretta Sanchez, U.S. representative (D-Garden Grove)
* Joan Irvine Smith, Orange County philanthropist
* Steven Spielberg, film director
* Antonio Villaraigosa, L.A. mayor
* Maxine Waters, U.S. representative (D-Los Angeles)
* Jack Weiss, L.A. City Council
* Dennis Zine, L.A. City Council
"She has a spine of steel, she has a stout heart and she understands public policy. It's one thing to espouse hope. It's another thing to be able to provide it in terms of public policy." U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein
* Larry Agran, Irvine City Council
* Richard Alarcon, L.A. City Council
* Karen Bass, state Assembly majority leader (D-Los Angeles)
* Yvonne B. Burke, L.A. County supervisor
* Laura Chick, L.A. city controller
* George Clooney, actor
* Maria Elena Durazo, labor leader
* Bob Foster, Long Beach mayor
* Eric Garcetti, L.A. City Council
* David Geffen, film executive
* Kamala D. Harris, San Francisco district attorney
* Scarlett Johansson, actress
* Jeffrey Katzenberg, film executive
* Bernard C. Parks, L.A. City Council
* Ed Reyes, L.A. City Council
* Gloria Romero, state senator (D-Los Angeles)
* Bill Rosendahl, L.A. City Council
* Linda T. Sanchez, U.S. representative (D-Lakewood)