Barack Obama is still giving Chris Matthews thrills. On Thursday night's "Hardball," before throwing to an Obama clip, Matthews gave the following rave review, on his July 24 show, to the Illinois senator's speech in Germany:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: What, what do you make of this? Let's take another bite here because it was quite a speech. You have to judge for yourself but the speech had its thrill factor, certainly once again. Here he was.
However Matthews wasn't in such a jovial mood near the end of the program.
Apparently it's not just the American press corp that has fallen head over heels for Barack Obama. On Wednesday night's "Hardball," NBC News' Martin Fletcher revealed the quote that "went rushing around the media" in Israel was that a Shimon Peres female assistant remarked of Obama, "What a hunk!"
When asked by MSNBC host Chris Matthews, on the July 23 "Hardball," to give his assessment of the media coverage given to Obama in Israel, Fletcher dropped the following nugget:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me ask you Martin for a final question there, as Barack Obama leaves the Middle East. What's the general assessment of the people over there, in terms of news coverage? Has he shown himself to be a commander-in-chief, potentially?
When a writer for the New York Times questions his own paper, for refusing to publish an editorial by John McCain, and a former Clinton press secretary questions the "balance" of the coverage of Obama’s foreign tour, you know the media has reached a bias tilting point.
On Tuesday night's "Hardball," New York Times political writer John Harwood said of the Times decision to spike a McCain editorial: "I was surprised that they did not take it, especially having just run Barack Obama."
And former Bill Clinton press secretary, Dee Dee Myers, called the press coverage of Obama overseas, "extraordinary" and admitted: "It’s legitimate question. Is the press coverage between the two candidates balanced?"
The following segment occurred on the July 22, "Hardball:"
For years Chris Matthews has been proclaiming defeat in Iraq, on an almost nightly basis, on "Hardball" but on Tuesday night he finally admitted the success of the surge that John McCain supported. However, the MSNBC host claimed it would be Barack Obama that would get to enjoy the spoils.
After Newsweek's Howard Fineman suggested, "We're not losing," and pointed out the surge success would make it easier for a troop pullout, Matthews admitted the following:
MATTHEWS: Senator McCain wanted the surge to work, it worked politically and Barack Obama is the beneficiary. Not exactly the right development, politically, for him.
Matthews began the segment by playing a clip of McCain criticizing Obama on the war but then wondered if the Republican presidential nominee, "should take it back?"
The following is the full exchange as it occurred on the July 22, "Hardball":
NBC's David Gregory, substitute-hosting on Tuesday's "Today" show, argued with Rudy Giuliani that any notion of Barack Obama's foreign policy naivete has been refuted by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki. Gregory contended that Maliki's suggestion of a U.S. troop withdrawal by 2010 "validated" Obama's position. Giuliani scoffed that Democratic presidential nominee wouldn't have even been able to visit with the Prime Minister in Iraq, if it weren't for the surge that the Obama opposed.
The following exchanged occurred on the July 22, Today show:
Even though the United States is still technically not in a recession, NBC's Meredith Vieira doubted John McCain's ability "to lead us out of a recession," on Monday's "Today" show. Vieira pointed to McCain's former economic adviser Phil Gramm's "mental recession" comment as a reason to "question" McCain's "judgment," when the Republican presidential candidate appeared on the July 21 "Today" show:
MEREDITH VIEIRA: You know you said, "In a time of war a commander-in-chief's job doesn't get a learning curve," but we are facing a crisis here, domestically, that a lot of people consider more significant in their lives right now, than the war, and that is the economic crisis. You have admitted that your economic policy is a weakness for you, so do you deserve a learning curve, to get up to speed?
Last seen cheerleading for Barack Obama, NBC's Lee Cowan was in a less cheerful mood when he talked about the economy on Thursday's "Today" show. Before co-host Matt Lauer turned to self-help guru Tony Robbins to help viewers get through the "tough times," Cowan delivered a particularly depressing set-up piece that featured mostly pessimistic talking heads, including one that claimed: "The American dream is, is dying on the vine."
Opening the "Today" show Lauer did point out there was some "sweet relief" in the form of declining oil prices and a rising stock market but didn't let that bit of breaking good economic news get in the way of the pre-planned line of the day of, as Ann Curry put it, "doom and gloom."
The following are the anchor teasers followed by the full Cowan set-up piece and then Tony Robbins interview as they occurred on the July 17, "Today" show:
On Monday's "Hardball" Chris Matthews was so upset about the New Yorker's cover, depicting Barack Obama in a turban and Michelle Obama toting an AK-47, because he feared "the right will be using that as t-shirt material within the next couple of weeks."
Matthews, along with The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza and the Atlantic Media's Ronald Brownstein also insulted all the non-New Yorker subscribers who didn't get the joke as unsophisticated, or as Lizza put it, "a little slow."
The following exchanges occurred on the July 14 edition of "Hardball:"
The "Today" show's lead political story on Monday was that the Obama campaign was offended by the liberal New Yorker magazine's attempt to parody supposed right wing attacks on Obama, on its cover. To analyze the liberal Obama's reaction to the magazine cover, they brought on formerliberalDemocratic Congressman Harold Ford Jr. to discuss the controversy.
"Today" co-host, Ann Curry, announced Ford was a new NBC News analyst and not surprisingly Ford acted more like an Obama PR flack as he determined: "I've never seen a candidate treated like this, at this point in a campaign."
The following is the full segment as it occurred on the July 14, "Today" show:
On Wednesday night's "Hardball," Chris Matthews seemed "thrilled" by new poll numbers showing Obama gaining strength and was so caught up in Terry McAuliffe's prediction of a Democratic sweep he encouraged the former DNC chair "to get the vote out."
First up, on the July 9 edition of "Hardball," Matthews made the following introduction to a segment with NBC's Chuck Todd on state by state poll numbers.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Welcome back to "Hardball." The NBC News political unit has some brand new battleground maps on the fight for the White House. Let's check in with NBC News political director Chuck Todd. Chuck, dazzle us right now, will ya? Because I'm thrilled with this. Obama's strength in the Northeast, the West Coast and the Great Lakes.
A seemingly worried Matt Lauer hit Barack Obama from the left as the "Today" co-host warned the Democratic presidential nominee, on Wednesday's "Today," that "people" were "nervous" about any perceived shift to the center on his part.
First up Lauer recited, to Obama, liberal New York Times columnist Bob Herbert's fears that the Illinois Senator was, "lurching to the right."
LAUER: Let me read you what Bob Herbert said or wrote in the New York Times, on Tuesday. He said this, quote, "Senator Obama is not just tacking gently toward the center. He's lurching right when it suits him, he's zigging with the kind of reckless abandon that's guaranteed to cause disillusion, if not whiplash."
On Tuesday’s "Today" show NBC's Matt Lauer confronted Dick Morris about anti-Obama rhetoric in his new book, as the "Today" co-host seemed disturbed by the political consultant's use of terms like "dangerously radical," to describe the Democratic presidential nominee.
Lauer asked Morris if he was "fearmongering," and probed "Are you trying to scare people here?" Lauer then sucked up to the Obama campaign as he pondered that a lot of the "enthusiasm" for Obama is because "he's telling people he's gonna move away from exactly that kind of politics."
The following is the full interview as it occurred on the June 24, "Today" show:
MATT LAUER: Dick Morris is a veteran political warrior. The former Clinton aide turned Clinton nemesis, is out with a new book with the longest title we have ever seen. It's called, Fleeced: How Barack Obama, Media Mockery of Terrorist Threats, Liberals Who Want to Kill Talk Radio, The Do-Nothing Congress, Companies That Help Iran, And Washington Lobbyists For Foreign Governments Are Scamming Us...And What To Do About It. Phew! Dick Morris, good morning. That's a mouthful.
NBC's "Today" show handed "New York Times" columnist Thomas Friedman a platform, on Tuesday's show, to rail against President Bush's "incoherent mess" of an energy policy, and demand a $1/gallon gas tax, as well as a $4.50 price floor on gas.
"Today" co-host Meredith Vieira spurred on Friedman as she recited the most inflammatory passages from his Sunday column:
MEREDITH VIEIRA: Well in this column on Sunday, you don't hold back. You refer to the President as our "addict-in-chief." You say his energy plan is, "Get more addicted to oil." You go on to say, "It is hard for me to find the words to express what a massive, fraudulent, pathetic excuse for an energy policy this is." What is it, Tom that, you find so offensive in his energy plan?
On to promote his new movie "Hancock," Will Smith was pushed by "Today" co-host Matt Lauer to express his support for Barack Obama and the actor/rapper, channeled his inner Michelle Obama, as he declared it's the "first time" in five to 10 years it's been good to be an American overseas [audio available here]:
WILL SMITH: You know I just, I just came back from Moscow, Berlin, London and Paris and it's the first, I've been there quite a few times in the past five to 10 years. And it just hasn't been a good thing to be American. And this is the first time, since Barack has gotten the nomination, that it, it was a good thing.
The following is an excerpt from the interview as it occurred on the June 22, "Today" show:
NBC's "Today" brought on "Newsweek's" Howard Fineman, on Monday's program, to promote a new poll, from his magazine that shows Barack Obama has jumped to a 15 point lead, and even though no other poll shows that big of a gap Fineman boldly bragged: "But we have a tendency, sometimes, to pick up on a trend before others do and...you're probably going to see some movement and I think our poll is the first sign of it."
Fineman also seemed to forget about the Jeremiah Wright fiasco, when he declared of Obama's ability to handle the race issue in his campaign:
In what was, more or less, a puff piece about Michelle Obama on Thursday's "Today" show, Lee Cowan took Obamagasms to new heights when he described Michelle's fashion sense:
"In victory and in defeat Michelle Obama had always been there, dressed as brightly as her husband's smile, determined though, not to steal the spotlight but to put her signature touch on what's become their campaign."
The above Cowan observation came during a set-up piece for an interview segment with Doris Kearns Goodwin, in which "Today" co-anchor Meredith Vieira strategized with the presidential historian about how Michelle can improve her image. While the segment did mention Michelle's "For the first time in my adult lifetime I'm really proud of my country," gaffe at times it sounded like an E! red carpet fashion breakdown (audio available here):
Chris Matthews was not happy and seemed overly sensitive when John McCain compared Barack Obama to his old boss Jimmy Carter. On Tuesday night's "Hardball," after Matthews played a clip of McCain saying Obama was running for "Carter's second" term, he declared "I don't like it," and tried to write the attack off by saying not enough voters "even remembered voting for the guy."
The following exchanges occurred throughout the June 10 edition of "Hardball":
JOHN HARWOOD, CNBC: Look John McCain has a more complicated task because he's got to try to discredit Obama but also say he's not gonna be like George Bush either. And I think the difficulty of this task is highlighted by, you look at the examples, Barack Obama is saying John McCain would be George Bush's third term and McCain comes back with Jimmy Carter. Well you know there are a lot of voters out there saying, "And who was Jimmy Carter exactly?" They don't remember that.
Chris Matthews put the choice before voters in 2008 in the starkest terms possible on Tuesday's "Hardball" as he claimed a vote for McCain was akin to staying on a sinking Titanic and a vote for Obama was a chance at "deliverance."
CHRIS MATTHEWS OPENING SHOW: You're on this big comfortable ocean liner and it's starting to sink. Do you board the little life boat or stay on the big ship with the light still shining, the band still playing? You're the American voter, the year is 2008 and you've got till November to decide. Let's play Hardball!
On Monday's "Today" show, NBC's Amy Robach sat down with a French climber who was arrested for scaling the "New York Times," building to promote his belief that global warming kills more people every day than 9/11.
The "Today"' show graphic bragged it had an exclusive with the global warming alarmist, Alain Robert, and while Robach did note the criminal charges being brought against him, she never challenged Robert's assertion that climate change was deadlier than al Qaeda.
AMY ROBACH: What is it about scaling skyscrapers that makes you so passionate?
ALAIN ROBERT: This is something a bit different, but most of all, you know, now since nearly a year, I have decided to fight on global warming, and that's the reason why I have decided to climb the "New York Times" building.
ROBACH: Yeah this climb was different than others, because the other times, you did it perhaps just for the thrill of it. This time you did it with a message. Tell us about this organization and why it's so important to you.
ROBERT: In fact, you know, actually, global warming is killing more people every week than 9/11, so which is a big amount of people.
The following is the full interview as it occurred on the June 9, "Today" show:
Chris Matthews took to the air on MSNBC's "Hardball," just moments after former Obama fundraiser Tony Rezko was convicted on fraud and money laundering charges, but Matthews wasn't about to let that bit of breaking news ruin the moment, as he never mentioned the conviction once on the hour long program.
However, he did find time, during the 5 PM EDT edition of Wednesday's Hardball, to gush about Obama's "magic moment" with his wife Michelle:
On the day after Barack Obama won the Democratic nomination, NBC's "Today" show invited on Kerry Kennedy to promote her book about her father, Robert F. Kennedy, but during the interview viewers were subjected to an anti-Republican rant.
Asked by NBC's Matt Lauer if there can be "unity in the Democratic Party," Kennedy responded by listing a series of grievances against the Bush administration -- from health care to Iraq to Guantanamo -- that would rally the Dems behind Obama.
MATT LAUER: You, you're obviously politically active. You supported Hillary Clinton, your uncle Ted supported Barack Obama. In many ways your family is representative of what happened in this country. There was a split down the middle. So are you confident, are you hopeful that there can be unity in the Democratic Party?
On an evening where Barack Obama was on the verge of clinching the Democratic nomination and there was news that Hillary Clinton wanted in on the ticket, it was all too much for Chris Matthews to handle. The "Hardball" host couldn't contain his glee as he blurted on the 5pm edition of Tuesday night's show: "I'm getting giggles!"
Matthews made the following admission as he concluded a panel segment, with the "Politico's" Roger Simon and NBC's Andrea Mitchell and Chuck Todd, that discussed such topics as Obama's locking up the nomination and the possibility of Hillary Clinton landing the VP spot, on the June 3 "Hardball":
Invited on to promote his new book, "War Journal," NBC's Middle Eastern correspondent Richard Engel claimed, on Tuesday's "Today" show, that it wasn't "an opinion piece." However, in the book, Engel reveals a definite anti-war bias as he called the Iraq war "a war of opportunity," and charged, "the U.S. invaded the wrong country."
Engel tried to deny the book's slant in the following exchange with "Today" co-host Meredith Vieira:
MEREDITH VIEIRA: You know this is not a political treatise, but you do take a position about the war. You call it "a war of opportunity." And you write, "The problem was that the U.S. invaded the wrong country, destroying an odious government that was not responsible for 9/11. I don't know how you recover from invading the wrong country, no matter how you spin it." As a journalist, did you worry that you were crossing a line when you said that?
In a hard economic times story by NBC's Kevin Tibbles on Monday's "Today" show there was a not-so-subliminal pro-Obama message on display as several times pro-Obama signs found their way into the background. Reporting on the increased traffic to pawn shops by the desperate to make ends meet in the "rocky economy," Tibbles, didn't mention Obama by name but the Illinois senator's name or image popped up in the background several times.
Tibbles, or at least his cameraman and/or producer, seemed to be sending the not-so-subtle message that the presumed Democratic presidential nominee could be the savior from these tough economic times.
The following is the full story as it occurred on the June 2, "Today" show:
NBC's "Today" show gave Scott McClellan two segments, on Thursday morning, to slam the Bush administration and promote his book What Happened and while Meredith Vieira repeated his charge that the administration was "shading the truth," in the run up to the Iraq war, that wasn't enough for the "Today" co-host as she pressed McClellan to go further and accuse the White House of "lying" America into the Iraq war:
MEREDITH VIEIRA: Let's go back in time now.
SCOTT MCCLELLAN: Sure.
VIEIRA: Because in the book you say the Bush administration made a decision to turn away from candor and honesty and you point to the war in Iraq as the prime example. These are your words now, "Bush and his advisers knew that the American people would not support a war launched primarily for the ambitious purpose of transforming the Middle East. Rather than open this Pandora's box, the administration chose a different path, not employing out and out deception, but shading the truth." And you say, "In an effort to convince the world that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, the administration used innuendo and implication and intentional ignoring of intelligence to the contrary." Innuendo, implication, shading the truth. You seem to stop just short of saying that President Bush and his administration flat out lied.
MCCLELLAN: Well actually, I say in the book, I say that this was not a deliberate or conscious effort to do so. What happened was that we got caught up in the excesses of the permanent campaign culture in Washington, D.C.
VIEIRA: What does that mean when you say that?
MCCLELLAN: Well what it means is that, that everything is centered on trying to shape and manipulate the narrative to one's advantage. Each party, or each side is trying to do that. That's what Washington has become today. They're trying to manipulate the narrative to their advantage. And that's the way the game is played. It's, it's a battle over power and influence. And how can we gain, or how can we win those battles, how can we win over public opinion instead of, you know what it should be more on, which is bipartisan, deliberation and compromise. That's become a distant second. And so--
VIEIRA: But however you word it, isn't it lying, Scott? Isn't that what they were doing?
The following is a complete transcript the first interview segment with McClellan as it occurred on the May 29, "Today" show:
All "Big Three" network evening news anchors appeared on Wednesday's "Today" show to promote a simulcast to fight cancer but ended up wringing their hands about Scott McClellan's charges that the press was too soft on the White House in the run up to the Iraq War.
"CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric accused the White House of "strong arm tactics," and complained, "There was such a significant march to war and people who questioned it very early on...were considered patriotic."
When pushed by "Today" host Matt Lauer, "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams charged:
In Katrina the evidence was right next to us. Sadly we saw fellow Americans, in some cases, floating past, face down. We knew what had just happened. We weren't allowed to that kind of proximity with the weapons inspectors. I was in Kuwait for the build up of the war and yes we heard from the Pentagon, on my cell phone, the minute they heard us report something that they didn't like. The tone of that time was quite extraordinary.
For his part "ABC World News" anchor Charlie Gibson said he felt like all the questions were asked but declared:
NBC's "Today" show, on Wednesday morning, led with former White House press secretary Scott McClellan's book as Matt Lauer declared it a "bombshell," and Tim Russert built up McClellan's credibility as he trumpeted, "This is not Moveon.org."
After a breathless accounting of the "scathing" and "searing" revelations in the McClellan book from David Gregory, Lauer and Russert dismissed Karl Rove's criticism of the former press secretary and underlined the impact the book would have on the election:
TIM RUSSERT: Karl Rove was out last night, basically relegating his position as unimportant. That he was not in the loop. He was not a key adviser. But the fact is, it's gonna be very difficult to diminish someone who was in that room, who was in that position for as long as he was.
MATT LAUER: And here we've got a president with historically low approval ratings, he can't run for reelection so this, is this just a parting shot on, on a departing president or will this have some impact on the fall election between Barack Obama, it seems, and John McCain?
RUSSERT: It will fuel the debate about the war in Iraq, whether or not we should have gone into Iraq. John McCain said yes, Obama said no. I believe that this will be expert testimony used by the Democrats against their incumbent president.
On Monday's "Hardball" Chris Matthews scolded the Georgia Republican Party State Chair for comparing John McCain to Jesus but back in 2007 the MSNBC host declared of Bill Clinton: "There are times when he sounds like Jesus..."
First up, during the "Sideshow" segment of the May 19 show, Matthews delivered the following critique of Georgia Republican Party Chair Sue Everhart:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Now to the most absurd analogy of the day. In praising John McCain for his stoicism while he was tortured in Vietnam, Georgia Republican Party Chair Sue Everhart had this to say about her candidate, quote, "John McCain is kind of like Jesus Christ on the cross." Well I think John Lennon made that mistake when he said the Beatles were more popular than Jesus. Let's cool it with those comparisons.
However, last year Matthews compared Bill Clinton to Jesus and actually won "Quote of the Year," for it at the MRC's 2008 DisHonors Awards. The following quote is from the February 28, 2007 edition of "Hardball:"
During an exclusive interview with George W. Bush, on Monday's "Today" show, NBC's Richard Engel seemed to blame all of the Middle East's problems on the President's policies as he charged that, "Iran's position in the world is rising because of your actions in Iraq," and that the war on terrorism "has not made the world safer."
This exchange was typical of the tone of the entire interview where virtually all of Engels' questions to the President were from the left.
RICHARD ENGEL: If you look back over the last several years, the Middle East that you'll be handing over to the next president has, is deeply problematic. You have Hamas in power, Hezbollah empowered, taking to the streets, Iran empowered, Iraq still at war. What region are you handing over?
GEORGE W. BUSH: Richard, Richard those folks were always around. They were here. What we're handing over is a, is a Middle East that one recognizes the problems and the world recognizes them. There's, there's clarity as to what the problems are.
ENGEL: The war on terrorism has been the centerpiece of your presidency. Many people say that it has not made the world safer, that it has created more radicals, that, that there are more people in this part of the world who want to attack the United States.
On Thursday's "Hardball" Chris Matthews accused George W. Bush of delivering "a sucker punch" to Barack Obama in his speech to the Knesset. In the speech Bush warned against appeasing enemies, which Matthews took to be a cheap shot at the Illinois senator's willingness to talk to the leaders of hostile nations like Iran. [audio available here]
Matthews made the "sucker punch" remark on the May 15, "Hardball" in the following question to the "Dallas Morning News'" Wayne Slater:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me ask you while you're up now Wayne, this question of the President. You've written about "Bush's Brain." What was he up to in the Knesset today with that, well you'd have to call it a sucker punch over there. In the Knesset, in Israel, which was, you know, so much to do with the Holocaust, let's be honest. In terms of the world and the way it looks, the necessity of a state of Israel, a Jewish state. And to go in there and basically accuse the Democrats of selling out the Jews of Europe. I mean an amazing charge right there in, in the homeland! Incredible!