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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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