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I watch “60 Minutes” Sunday nights to see who shines and who fades in the close-up TV glare.  The results are often surprising.


Valerie Plame and Erik Prince, to take two examples.


I was predisposed to like Plame, the outed CIA agent.  After all, she’s taken a blowtorch to the Bush Administration.  And she looks like the movie version of a female spy.


I didn’t expect to like Prince, the dark prince of Blackwater USA.


My reaction to both was the opposite.


Last night, the indignation of Plame – and especially her husband, Joe Wilson – didn’t ring right.  Two 20-year veterans of Washington get Swift-Boated after Wilson blasts Bush in a New York Times op-ed, and they’re surprised?


Get real.


The previous Sunday, Prince came off cool, tough and low-key.


He had a great sound bite when asked the predictable question about being a mercenary: “I’m an American, working for America.”


Personally, I’d rather see highly-paid private soldiers risking their lives in Iraq, instead of poorly paid service men and women ripped away from their families for a third or fourth tour of duty.


Keep in mind that nobody goes on “60 Minutes” without getting expert PR advice.  Nobody with any sense, anyway. 


I don’t know who helped Plame.  But Prince’s counsel came from the giant firm Burson-Marsteller.  Whose CEO is none other than Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton’s main campaign guru. 


Penn says he has nothing to do with the Blackwater account.  But he is CEO.  I wonder how he’d do in the “60 Minutes” glare.


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