"Oh puh-leeeez"

When it comes to the debates, the Hippocandidate Oath should be "First, do no harm. To Myself.”

Bill Richardson won the Self-Inflicted Wound Award Sunday with his suggestion that if the Chinese don't start applying pressure on Darfur,  "we say to them, maybe we won't go to the Olympics."

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton continues her struggle against the impression she is  all "paint-by-numbers,” even as she recites the ad-libs her pollsters have prepared for her. To paraphrase an old George Burns line: The key is spontaneity, and if she can fake that, she has it made.

Barack Obama, on the other hand, is SUPPOSED to be boring ... flogging us with  wonkish policy ... so he can overcome the perception he's an inexperienced, fluffy rock star. How about a campaign slogan like "HERE'S the Beef"?  

Meanwhile Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, and Richardson are the first to tell you that they are oozing experience. Now if only anyone gave a damn.

John Edwards  is experienced, too. But let's face it: He still looks like he's about to break out into "Almost Heaven” or "Leaving on a Jet Plane.” He definitely needs to work on that.

Mike Gravel? Dennis Kucinich? They benefit from the Expectations Game. There are zero expectations. And both have met them.

As for Richardson: Don't look for him to be appointed to the U.S. Olympic Committee anytime soon. But his bigger problem is that nearly everyone considers him SOMEBODY'S vice presidential running mate.

The Democrats' problem is finding someone to HEAD the ticket that we can be excited about.

Next up: the Republicans. Bipartisan sliming.