With Super Tuesday just around the corner (following another “super” – -Super Sunday), Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama arrived in Hollywood to claim their place among the stars. The occasion: Thursday’s CNN debate at the Kodak Theater.

In a marvelously written piece for the LA Times, Charles McNulty offers his review of the two candidates, who “arrived at the entertainment capital like starlets yearning for multi-picture deals.”

Obama is the far better Method actor of the two. Which is to say there’s less of a visible gap between the role he’s playing and the self he has freely exposed since he became a marquee draw. He connects with crowds — he rouses — through his comfort in his own skin and story. His past is complicated, but from that complexity he’s discovered the power of honest reckoning and straightforward emotion. He’s a natural performer. Clinton you can imagine rehearsing her lines in front of the bathroom mirror.

Her advantage is that she knows her text inside out. She’s like one of those actors — Maggie Smith is reported to be one — who are always studying backstage, underlining and dog-earing their script. Professionalism goes a long way in the theater. (Nothing wearies a director more than “temperament.”) And in politics too, there’s something noble about a candidate who can reel out bullet-point answers on any topic, no matter how insufferably boring or obscure.

McNulty goes on to say — in a line that we particularly enjoyed — that “Clinton dominated the spotlight, turning in a tour de force of bureaucratic competence that left Obama seeming like, to filch a line from Shakespeare, a ‘green girl, unsifted in such perilous circumstance.'”

With media fantasies of a Clinton-Obama or Obama-Clinton ticket, McNulty rudely awakens us with the reminder that whoever is on top of the ticket — and we’re still betting on Hillary — the candidate will be facing a white, male Republican in the general election.

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