President Obama's decision to relieve General Stanley McChrystal of command in Afghanistan and replace him with General David Petraeus was met with a chorus of praise in the media, as anchors and pundits on CBS, NBC, CNN, and MSNBC all sang in unison that it was a "brilliant" move. [Audio available here]
During live special coverage leading up to the announcement in the 1PM ET hour on CBS, White House correspondent Chip Reid proclaimed: "it sounds like a pretty brilliant decision really." At the same time on NBC, correspondent Jim Miklaszewski described it as a "stunning development" and added "at a quick glance, almost brilliant." Minutes later, White House correspondent Chuck Todd declared: "politically, in this town, it's going to be seen as a brilliant choice by the President."
Over on CNN, moments after Obama finished speaking, anchor Wolf Blitzer remarked that it was a "major moment for this president" and later observed: "a very brilliant move to tap General Petraeus." Finally, in the 2PM ET hour on MSNBC, Meet the Press host David Gregory concluded: "I think he took swift and decisive action. I think that's how it's going to be read."
On Friday's Good Morning America on ABC, White House correspondent Jake Tapper described White House reaction to Republican Congressman Joe Barton calling BP's $20 billion escrow fund the result of a government "shakedown": "...the argument they're making, that the Republican Party is too close to corporate America.....And they've been given this great foil by Joe Barton."
When co-host George Stephanopoulos wondered if the Obama administration was at all concerned about being seen as anti-business, Tapper recited the White House spin: "...they say, at the end of the day, there were inequities throughout the Bush years and they need to correct those inequities. It was the wild west. And they'd rather be on their side, taking on corporate America, than on the Republican side, in their view, defending it."
Later, Tapper concluded: "...they think it was a good week. The President's trip down to the Gulf, the speech, the $20 billion escrow fund and then this gift from Joe Barton....they feel like they had a good week. Perhaps their first good week since this crisis began."
On Thursday's Good Morning America on ABC, co-host George Stephanopoulos laid blame on BP and Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen for mishandling the Gulf oil spill response but depicted the Obama administration as having done everything it could. In contrast, on the CBS Early Show, guests from both sides of the aisle gave the President a 'C' grade for his response.
At the top of Good Morning America, Stephanopoulos described how BP CEO Tony Hayward would be facing a "public execution" in Thursday's congressional hearings and how Michigan Democratic Congressman Bart Stupak promised to "slice and dice" Hayward. In a report that followed, correspondent Jonathan Karl furthered the theme of courageous Democrats standing up to the big oil villain: "Tony Hayward may be the most hated man in America. And he's heading right into a buzz saw of congressional outrage. In his prepared testimony, Hayward declares, 'I am deeply sorry.' But the chairman of the committee says that's not enough." A clip of Democratic committee chairman Henry Waxman was played.
Minutes later, Stephanopoulos interviewed Louisiana Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser and wondered: "...with everything the President and BP announced this week, do you think this is on the right track now?" After Nungesser expressed doubt about local fisherman being reimbursed for financial losses and a lack of organization in the response, Stephanopoulos deflected any criticism away from President Obama and suggested another target: "The White House has approved the building of berms, they've sent the boom down there, Admiral Allen is on the scene every day. Are you saying he is not giving you the help you need? And do you think he should keep his job?"
Appearing on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports on Tuesday, Politico columnist Roger Simon described a recent interview with President Obama: "...he showed a genuine irritation....when people like Bobby Jindal, you know, standing up, screaming about more federal action...a small-government, no federal aid kind of guy. And the President is calling out those people for hypocrisy."
Simon was discussing a quote from Obama in that interview, in which the President whined: "Some of the same folks who have been hollering and saying do something are the same folks who, just two or three months ago, were suggesting that government needs to stop doing so much." Apparently, asking the federal government to do its job in a national emergency but not take over people's health care is the liberal definition of hypocrisy.
Earlier, Mitchell asked Simon to preview the President's prime time address on the oil spill. Simon gushed: "...he's cool and collected about things but he also realizes that he has to break through that, and tonight is his chance. You know, speeches have never failed Barack Obama. They started his presidential career. They've always rescued him at tough times.... I think he wants to re-establish that personal bond he once had with voters." He could hardly wait for Obama's performance: "I think tonight we saw a preview of it in Pensacola. He likes to preview the speeches like opening a play out of town before you go to Broadway."
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs made the rounds on the network morning shows on Tuesday, ahead of President Obama's prime time Oval Office address on the Gulf oil spill. While he had confrontational interviews on CBS's Early Show and NBC's Today, on ABC's Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos made sure Gibbs's appearance was low-stress.
Stephanopoulos kept the questions bland, giving Gibbs plenty of room to maneuver, and made little effort to press the White House spokesman on the administration's response: "...the President struck a pretty hopeful note yesterday, but experts say this spill will change the ecosystem for a generation....Are they right?...So does the President believe that basically all the oil will stop spilling into the Gulf by the end of June?...Is it fair to conclude from that, that this is the most significant crisis the President has faced?"
By contrast, on CBS's Early Show, co-host Harry Smith began by quoting Florida Senator Bill Nelson saying there was "no command and control" during the crisis and asking Gibbs: "How has this President's most recent trip to the Gulf, how is that going to change any of this?" Smith later wondered why local authorities weren't being allowed to take charge of cleanup efforts, to which Gibbs replied: "I think that's what's happening in almost every instance." Smith quickly interrupted: "...it may sound like it from where you are, but from where we have heard on the other end, it sure doesn't feel like it."
In the 2PM ET hour on MSNBC, anchor Tamron Hall did a news brief on Democratic Congressman Bob Etheridge assaulting two students attempting to ask him a question last week, proclaiming: "...there are some Democrats that are blasting the people allegedly behind this video....some would catagorize that as an ambush interview..." [Audio available here]
Hall played a clip of the video showing the assault and afterwards quoted an written apology from Etheridge. She described how the video "first appeared on Andrew Breitbart's conservative blog BigGovernment.org," remarking that he "was partly responsible for that notorious ACORN video featuring conservative James O'Keefe." Hall made sure to also mention that "O'Keefe pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for entering Senator Mary Landrieu's office under false pretenses." Hall then suspiciously noted about the Etheridge video: "One of these so-called camera men at one point reportedly identified himself as a student, so there's discrepancy over who these individuals really are."
In the 3PM ET hour on MSNBC, anchor Chris Jansing spoke with NBC correspondent Luke Russert about the altercation and explained to viewers: "...in spite of the fact of what we see on camera and his apology, there are Democrats, right Luke, who frankly say they think that we need to look beyond what might seem obvious." Russert replied: "...nobody knows who these, quote, 'students' are" and cited Democratic Party spokesman Brad Woodhouse claiming they were actually Republican Party operatives. He concluded: "So a lot of Democrats are saying wait, hold on, this was a set up. This guy was intentionally put out to do this by the Republican Party."
On Monday's Good Morning America on ABC, co-host George Stephanopoulos discussed President Obama's response to the Gulf oil spill with Democratic strategist James Carville: "Probably no one has been tougher than you on this White House on this response. The President now going back for his forth trip. He's ratcheted up the rhetoric over the weekend. Is this what you've been waiting for?"
Stephanopoulos was referring to Carville's criticism of Obama on the May 26 broadcast: "And it just looks like he's not involved in this!...We're about to die down here!" During his Monday appearance, the on-screen headline read: "Carville Demands Justice; Gulf 'Abused and Neglected'"
However, on Monday, Carville struck a more complimentary tone toward the President, remarking that Tuesday's prime time Oval Office address on the spill could allow Obama "to hit the reset button." Near the end of the segment, Stephanopoulos, a former Democratic strategist himself, asked Carville: "...put on your strategist hat here, has the President contained the political damage?" Carville reiterated: "I think he can hit this reset button tomorrow night. I think he can not contain the political damage, I think he can eliminate the damage. I actually think done properly, there's political value in this, I think that he can help himself a great deal."
Speaking to New York Magazine columnist John Heilemann on MSNBC Friday, anchor Andrea Mitchell wondered if the Gulf oil spill could be a political opportunity for President Obama: "Is there an opportunity now to do something real on energy?"Heilemann proclaimed the disaster was "a triggering action for us to try and get toward a greener future...break our addiction to oil..."
The discussion occurred during the 1PM ET hour on Andrea Mitchell Reports with Mitchell noting how the President was "trying to contain the political damage" from the spill. After she spun the crisis as an "opportunity," Heilemann argued: "I think this is one of these real moments for any president...what better moment is there than this?" Both Mitchell and Heilemann seem to share the philosophy of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel that "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste."
Heilemann actually worried that the White House would not exploit the situation enough: "I think that for the White House to do that and not end up with a piecemeal, some kind of small bill – small ball bill – he's got to go really big and turn this into a crusade." He described the "fear" on the Left that the administration was "going to end up settling for a small solution rather than the big one that really changes, fundamentally, our relationship to energy and the – and our climate."
During the 11AM ET hour on MSNBC, anchor Contessa Brewer discussed open mic comments made by senatorial candidate Carly Fiorina with Huffington Post writer Ryan Grim and remarked that the California Republican has "the 'Mean Girls' mentality" and "comes off like that Lindsay Lohan movie 'Mean Girls.'"
Hall was referring to Fiorina making fun of Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer's hairstyle on air before a television interview on Wednesday. Grim completely agreed with Hall's assessment: "Oh yeah, absolutely. It makes her look terrible. It doesn't put her in a very good light." Though he added: "But it's not something so extreme that it's going to annihilate her."
Earlier, Grim actually observed that Fiorina "really did dodge a bullet here." He explained: "...what she said isn't going to disqualify her from election. It makes her look a little bit silly, a little bit petty, but it's not going to be something that destroys her candidacy or her career like you had with somebody like Helen Thomas a week or so ago."
Copies of the U.S. Constitution put out by Wilder Publishing and being sold on Amazon.com come with an odd disclaimer on the first page of the pamphlet, in part declaring: "This book is a product of its time and does not reflect the same values as it would if it were written today." On Wednesday's America Live on FNC, host Megyn Kelly reported the controversy, will the rest of the media follow? [Click on image for larger view of disclaimer]
In an example of political correctness run amok, the disclaimer goes on to warn parents of the literary material to follow: "Parents might wish to discuss with their children how views on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity and interpersonal relations have changed since this book was written before allowing them to read this classic work." The provocative pamphlet also includes the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation.
On FNC, correspondent Trace Gallagher quoted the publishing company's response to the controversy: "We specialize in classic books and we were receiving complaints about the values depicted in some of the books. We wrote the disclaimer so that we could stop having to point out to our readers that people held different values 100 or 200 years ago. It seems we're dammed if we do and dammed if we don't." Kelly concluded: "You know, it's one thing when you republish 'Lady Chatterley's Lover,' its another when you slap that thing on the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence." Gallagher mocked: "Warning children."
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer provided analysis of Tuesday's primary elections across the country, describing the South Carolina gubernatorial race "where they continue to draw their political plot lines from, you know, 'Desperate Housewives' or something" and how Nevada Democrats were "very happy" with the victory of tea party candidate Sharron Angle.
Speaking to Early Show co-host Maggie Rodriguez, Schieffer ran down the most watched races in Arkansas, California, South Carolina, and Nevada. When he got to South Carolina, he described gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley as "very conservative." After making the 'Desperate Housewives' comparison, he remarked how the GOP primary in the state was "providing some entertainment, as it were, for the rest of the country. I mean, you had Governor Sanford down there and his adventures. And now these allegations against Nikki Haley." He quickly added that the allegations of adultery against Haley were "without foundation" and that "Nobody has proven anything."
Rodriguez then asked if "Harry Reid is happy or fretting the fact" that tea party-backed Sharron Angle won the GOP senate primary in Nevada. Schieffer declared: "I suspect that Democrats in Nevada are very happy about this....I think the Reid people think that he would have a much better chance beating her than some of the other Republicans in the primaries."
Discussing the Gulf oil spill on Saturday's CBS Evening News, liberal historian Douglas Brinkley fretted over President Obama's left-wing agenda being in jeopardy: "...he was on a roll with the health care legislation. There was a great hope that before the election he was going to get some things done in Washington. This hit, and I think for President Obama, the spill was an inconvenience."
At the top of the segment, anchor Jeff Glor cited the latest CBS News poll showing that only 38% of Americans approve of Obama's handling of the spill and wondered if "the oil spill defines the President's legacy?" Brinkley replied: "I have no doubt that he spends every hour micro-studying what's going on in the Gulf, but part of leadership is to get on the back of the flatbed Ford and rally the country with the speech." He explained how Obama "...wanted to farm it out. It was B.P.'s problem." But warned: "You don't want to be Jimmy Carter, holed up in the White House during the Iran hostage crisis."
Brinkley went on to hope that "...future generations will say...the Obama administration marshaled the strength of the American people and did the greatest environmental cleanup the world has ever seen." He proclaimed: "This is a turning point in history. The urban president from Chicago is going to have to become the environmental president of the moment."
Promoting his latest HBO special on Monday's CBS Early Show, comedian Robert Klein turned his attention to the Gulf oil spill and who's to blame: "...we're all to blame. We're pigs. It's a parable for us. American pre-eminence is not guaranteed and unless we learn that this stuff has dangers– where are all those 'drill, baby, drills' now?" [Audio available here]
Those comments were prompted by co-host Harry Smith remarking: "BP would be such a spectacular target for your lampooning." Klein went on to add: "...all that oil that's fouling everything, it probably wouldn't run the automobiles in Texas for one day." Smith chimed in: "An hour." Klein proclaimed: "...it's minuscule, that's how much we use of that stuff. So let's get off it. I mean, and it's coming back to us in bullets, everybody knows this. But Americans have a memory of about 12 seconds."
On CBS's Sunday Morning program, a 'Fast Draw' segment by cartoonists Mitch Butler and Josh Landis similarly scolded Americans for wasting energy. Landis warned: "Our hunger for energy is driving oil companies to drill deeper and more dangerous wells..." Butler remarked: "Thankfully, these days everyone's talking about going green and saving energy. We know to ride bicycles to work instead of driving a car, don't use that air conditioner on a hot summer day. Air travel uses way too much energy. So don't take that vacation." However, Landis lamented: "...most Americans don't make enough of these kinds of sacrifices to save a meaningful amount of energy."
On Friday's CBS Early Show, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer argued that if the Gulf oil spill could be stopped, the scandal of the Obama administration offering jobs to Democratic senate candidates would suddenly disappear: "...all of this business about offering jobs to candidates if it they won't run, all of that, all of that stuff is going to go away if you can get this thing capped..."
Schieffer didn't elaborate on his theory, but later complained about the sloppiness of the corrupt backroom deals: "I mean the first rule here is if you're going to do this sort of thing, you better figure out a better way to do it than the Obama administration has figured out. It turns out it's kind of, you know, amateur hour here with this kind of stuff." Though he defended the practice itself: "...this sort of thing's been going on for a long, long time. I mean, it's a real question as to whether this is even illegal. But it's the odor that comes from it....That's what's hurting the President."
When asking Schieffer about the controversy, Early Show co-host Harry Smith remarked how it "not so particularly unusual" and simply might "smack up against a promise of no more business as usual" by President Obama. Schieffer concluded his thoughts on the matter by once again lamenting that the administration did not do a "better" job of hiding its corruption: "...if you're going to do it, you better be better at it than they've shown us they are."
At the top of Wednesday's CBS Evening News, during a report on the Gulf oil spill, correspondent Mark Strassmann found a silver lining: "The good news: since President Obama's visit to Grand Isle [Louisiana] last Friday, local officials report better coordination with BP and federal agencies."
Strassmann went on to add: "Since the President's visit, the local fire chief says there are three times as many response workers on this island. He also says while local response leaders and national response leaders may have disagreements, at least now once a decision is made everybody's marching in the same direction."
Meanwhile, in a story minutes later, correspondent Ben Tracy discussed the public backlash against oil company BP: "On YouTube, anger at BP is just a mouse click away....The Facebook page calling for a boycott of BP now has nearly 300,000 followers." Tracy pointed out: "BP is about to launch a multimillion dollar television PR campaign. But the company has not been getting much help from its CEO who at times seems tone deaf to the loss of life and livelihood in the Gulf." The broadcast featured no mention of any backlash against the Obama administration.
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, Pentagon correspondent David Martin reported on the United Nations criticizing U.S. drone attacks against terrorists: "Philip Alston is author of a new U.N. report which argues that drone strikes amount to a 'license to kill' without being held accountable, a license the U.S. would not want any other country to have."
A clip was played of Alston proclaiming: "You've got complete silence from the CIA...they should not be operating major projects which kill people directly." Martin then chimed in: "Think about it, a operation the U.S. doesn't even admit exists has killed more than 500 people."
Martin's report featured another critic of the tactic, the Brookings Institution's Peter Singer, who fretted: "It allows us to carry out acts of war without having to go through some of the debates we would have in the past."
Martin noted that though the attacks are secret, "everybody knows who to blame," followed by Singer arguing the attacks have been "very effective in creating a large amount of anger at the U.S. that may well bite us in the long term." Martin added: "Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square bomber, told investigators the drone strikes were the reason he set out to kill hundreds of innocent Americans."
On Thursday's 11AM EST hour on MSNBC, anchor Tamron Hall asked Ryan Grim of the left-wing Huffington Post about recent scandals involving the Obama White House tampering with Democratic primaries: "Darrell Issa of California...he wants the FBI involved in this....Any legs here, or is this, again, a situation that may be politicized by the other side?" [Audio available here]
Grim dismissed the idea that there was any need for an investigation: "I mean, this isn't criminal activity. This really is politics as usual." He then lamented: "...the problem for the administration is that, you know, they ran against politics as usual....they were going to move beyond all of this."
Later, Grim described the real "crime" in the Obama administration pressuring candidates like Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania and Andrew Romanoff in Colorado to end their respective primary challenges to incumbent Democratic senators: "...the real problem is that the administration didn't – wasn't willing to allow the Democratic base to choose the candidates....having these primary candidates actually pushes the senator in a more progressive direction....if there's any crime here, it's a political one, in that the administration was holding back a progressive agenda by not allowing these primaries to go forward."
On Sunday's Face the Nation on CBS, host Bob Schieffer interrogated Republican Senator Lamar Alexander on GOP senate nominee Rand Paul: "Can you see yourself supporting a candidate who takes those kinds of positions, Senator?" However, Schieffer lobbed softballs to Democratic senate nominee Joe Sestak minutes later, who claimed the White House offered him a job to quit the primary race.
In his interview with Alexander, Schieffer focused almost exclusively on comments made by Paul: "...he has had some rather controversial things to say, like the '64 Civil Rights bill may have been too broad. He's questioned the Disabilities Act. He's talking about abolishing the Federal Reserve and the Department of Education." Alexander chalked up some of Paul's remarks to political inexperience, but also noted: "...we’ve got a Democratic Caucus with nearly 60 votes that includes a very nice senator from Vermont who proudly describes himself as a Socialist."
Schieffer pressed on: "...the Republican Party, as I understand it, is trying to broaden its appeal to African Americans, to minorities. Why would any member of any minority group want to vote or want to be for someone who says that, well, you know, maybe that Civil Rights Act went a little too far?...I mean, can you be for that?" Schieffer went on to wonder: "And what about this whole business of the tea party? Is it going to prove to be a good thing for Republicans or is this something that you need to be worried about here?"
In a video celebrating the five-year anniversary of YouTube, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric listed what she thought were the top five examples of "citizen journalism" on the video sharing website, including "the famous 'Macaca moment'" of Virginia Senator George Allen, which "put politicians from both sides of the aisle on notice....there's always a microphone near by." (h/t TVNewser)
Couric began the three minute video by touting how YouTube has been "Raising awareness of human rights abuses and providing first hand accounts of conflicts and catastrophes moments after they strike." She explained: "I picked five videos that demonstrate for me the power of the medium and how a simple video upload can be a catalyst for change."
Like many in the media, the first "catalyst for change" video that came to Couric's mind was Allen's 2006 remark: "...before the age of YouTube it might have been just a local news spot at most, but it went viral online and badly hurt his chances for re-election."
On the May 17 broadcast of NBC's Today, marking YouTube's 5th anniversary also included Allen's "Macaca moment," with co-host Meredith Vieira noting how web videos have "sunk" the careers of some. On CNN's Reliable Sources on Sunday, host Howard Kurtz observed how the website "soon became a political tool. When Virginia Senate candidate George Allen referred to an Indian-American as 'Macaca,' the videotape went viral."
In the "Busted" segment at the end of Friday's The Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC, host Dylan Ratigan went after the New York Times for "accusing" Connecticut Attorney General and Democratic Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal of distorting his military record: "We think the Times should investigate some of its investigative reporting."
Ratigan dismissed a quote the Times used of Blumenthal referring to "the days that I served in Vietnam," claiming it was "only part of the story." Ratigan argued: "A longer clip from the same speech shows Blumenthal much more accurately describing his record." That longer clip included Blumenthal vaguely stating: "I really want to add my words of thanks as someone who served in the military during the Vietnam era in the Marine Corps." Hardly a statement that would have corrected the record for the audience.
Even so, Ratigan proclaimed: "This seems to support Blumenthal's explanation that he simply misspoke during that part of the speech, and on a few other occasions cited by the Times." Ratigan went on to declare: "Also undercutting the Times, word that Blumenthal's Senate rival, Linda McMahon, yes, from pro wrestling, admits that her campaign helped with The New York Times story, including gathering that evidence."
On Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez interrogated BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles on the Gulf oil spill: "Can you can understand why a Congressman told us that BP has lost all credibility?" However, on Thursday, fellow co-host Harry Smith went easy on Energy Secretary Ken Salazar, allowing the Obama administration official to shift blame to the oil company.
Rodriguez pressed Suttles repeatedly: "But it seems like every day we hear new allegations that BP had been cutting corners beforehand....So many of these keep mounting. How can you keep responding to this?...are you confident that BP will survive this?"
In contrast, Smith never asked Salazar if the Obama administration could "survive" its failures in responding to the crisis. Instead, he gave the cabinet secretary every opportunity to go after BP: "...The CEO of BP says the environmental impact in the Gulf is going to be minimal. Is this guy in touch with reality?" As NewsBusters' Scott Whitlock noted on Thursday, hosts on both the ABC and NBC morning shows actually had some tough questions for Salazar.
At the end of a joint press conference between President Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon on Wenesday, CBS White House correspondent Chip Reid attempted to ask Obama a question about Tuesday's electoral results but was given the brush off for the second time in a week.
Later that afternoon, Reid described the incident on CBSNews.com's Political Hotsheet blog: "As he [Obama] and President Calderon turned to walk back toward the Oval Office I asked, loudly enough for him to hear, if he had any comment on the elections. No response. I then shouted 'Do you have any plans for a real press conference?' No response, not that I expected one."
On Monday, the President refused to answer a question from Reid moments after signing the "Press Freedom Act" into law.
CBS morning and evening news broadcasts have ignored both the Monday and Wednesday snubs by Obama, with Reid only making his displeasure known online.
During Wednesday's 10AM EST hour on MSNBC, Politico's Mike Allen shared his thoughts on Tuesday's electoral results: "Stop the steamroller. The idea the Republicans were automatically going to be in control going into November, now not true....a Democrat winning the only Democrat-Republican showdown of yesterday in a congressional seat in Pennsylvania. The Republicans should have won."
That despite the fact that the seat has been by Democrats for decades and that Democrats outnumbered Republicans 2-to-1 in the district. Allen touted how "the White House is saying this shows that if you fight district by district that you can win. Democrats can win in a tough district if they have a local message."
Anchor Alex Witt then asked Allen about the victory of Rand Paul in the Kentucky senate Republican primary. Allen continued to spin the news as bad for the GOP: "if he makes it to Washington...He's not going to do what the Republican leaders tell him to do, they fought against him."
Allen even claimed the Paul campaign was modeled after that of Barack Obama: "this is a continuation of the trend that we saw with Barack Obama in 2008. He wasn't the establishment candidate....That's what we're seeing in both parties now."
In an interviewing with senate primary winner Rand Paul on Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked the Kentucky Republican about Democratic spin: "What do you say to Democrats who actually are happy about your victory in this primary?...ready to pounce on you in the general election, saying that your views are way too controversial and they could take this Republican seat?"
Paul dismissed the idea and noted the unpopularity of Washington Democrats in the state: "I say, bring it on, and please, please bring President Obama to Kentucky. We'd love for him to campaign down here." Rodriguez acknowledged that fact by pointing out: "It didn't work too well for Arlen Specter to have President Obama on his side." Paul added: "the Democrats will really have to run away from President Obama if they have any chance down here."
Earlier in the interview, Rodriguez wondered if Paul could garner enough Republican support: "a lot of people say that you have your work cut out for you in the general election because how will you unite a GOP party...53% of voters who voted for your opponent in this primary don't like you, 43% said they wouldn't vote for you." After Paul discussed efforts to unify, Rodriguez followed up: "Do you think that your victory gives the tea party legitimacy? Will we see this become a legitimate political party?"
On Monday, President Obama signed into law the "Press Freedom Act," but refused to answer a question from CBS White House correspondent Chip Reid at the conclusion of the signing ceremony. While Reid described the ironic incident on the CBSNews.com Political Hotsheet blog, neither Monday's Evening News nor Tuesday's Early Show mentioned the President's dodge.
On the CBS blog, Reid described the purpose of the law, which "expands the State Department's annual human rights reports to include a description of press freedoms in each country." He then noted how "It seemed a good opportunity to showcase press freedom in this country....So after he signed the bill, and as the press 'wranglers' began aggressively herding us out of the room, I asked if he still has confidence in BP. He ignored the question."
Reid also pointed out that Obama "has not held a prime-time White House news conference in many months, despite much pleading from pundits and members of the media." However, not much of that "pleading" has been featured on CBS broadcasts.
At the end of Sunday's Face the Nation on CBS, host Bob Schieffer gushed over a recent trip to the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library and one exhibit in particular: "honoring Walter Cronkite....those moments in American history captured by TV...when Walter always seemed to be there....the little things we never saw, Walter's scripts, his pipe, and his office, just the way it was."
Schieffer observed that a tribute to Cronkite being at the library of the Democratic president was a "perfect fit" and noted how: "Johnson liked and respected Walter. Walter liked and respected Johnson." Schieffer went on to fondly remember Cronkite's denunciation of the Vietnam War: "When Walter returned from Vietnam and concluded in a documentary the war was unwinnable, Johnson remarked to an aide, 'if I've lost Cronkite, I've lost America.' And so he had....When Walter came out against the war, he did something he almost never did – he took sides."
While specifically citing Cronkite's bias against the war, Schieffer failed to comment on a Friday report that revealed FBI documents detailing allegations that the then CBS Evening News anchor offered to rent a helicopter to transport Democratic Senator Ed Muskie to an anti-war rally in Florida in November of 1969.
In a Friday article for Yahoo! News, reporter John Cook revealed FBI documents that detail allegations that former CBS Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite offered CBS News resources to transport fierce Vietnam critic and Democratic Maine Senator Edmund Muskie to a Florida anti-war rally in November of 1969. (h/t TVNewser)
According to Cook, the FBI files describe how "Cronkite encouraged students at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., to invite Maine Sen. Edmund Muskie to address a protest they were planning....Cronkite told the group's leader that Muskie would be nearby for a fundraiser on the day of the protest, and said that 'CBS would rent [a] helicopter to take Muskie to and from site of rally.'"
While noting Cronkite's public condemnation of the war on air just nine months earlier, Cook rightfully observed: "such tight collaboration between a news organization and the anti-war movement — particularly the offer of CBS News resources to help ferry a sitting senator and future presidential candidate around in opposition to the war — was highly unusual and would presumably have been explosive if known widely at the time." Cook also noted: "It's unclear whether Muskie ever actually attended the event."
On Wednesday's Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC, host Dylan Ratigan didn't see any point to continuing the war in Afghanistan and slammed military air strikes against terrorist targets as: "kids with joysticks in New Jersey and Las Vegas dropping predator bombs on civilians willy-nilly." [Audio available here]
Ratigan began a panel discussion on Afghanistan with Democratic strategist David Goodfriend and Republican strategist Brent Littlefield by wondering: "Is there anybody in this administration on either side that can actually justify the American presence in Afghanistan at this point?" Littlefield attempted to explain: "we had the previous president, took the country in there because of the attacks on 9/11." Ratigan was dismissive: "That was almost ten years ago, right? I mean that was a long time ago."
Ratigan moved on to Goodfriend and referenced NBC correspondent Richard Engel's appearance on the show on Tuesday: "He is making the point that the Bush doctrine of fight them there and they won't get us here appears to be continuing to break down as we now default to just predator drone-them-to-death wherever they may be on remote control and an apparent, sort of, nonevent in Afghanistan. It's like a charade." Of course the reliance on predator drone attacks was significantly increased under the Obama administration.
On CBS's Sunday Morning, correspondent Mark Phillips described the latest adaptation of the Robin Hood legend by director Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe: "And so here is an evil King John, squeezing his subjects for more taxes....And here is Robin. Not as a thief, but as a revolutionary figure trying to limit the King's power. Robin Hood meets Che Guevara." [Audio available here]
Protesting high taxes and wanting to limit government power is the equivalent of a Communist revolution? Sounds more like the Tea Party movement.
After making that bizarre comparison, Phillips further explained the plot of the new film: "This Robin joins the fight to get the English king to sign the Magna Carta in the year 1215, the document establishing the first rights on which modern democracies are based." Guevara, of course, was the ruthless henchman of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, hardly an advocate for democracy.
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Elizabeth Palmer reported on Conservative Party leader David Cameron becoming the new British prime minister, but downplayed the political shift: "Cameron is a conservative in the British sense. In favor of gay rights, a green agenda, and the welfare state."
While in American conservative terms Cameron would certainly be considered a moderate, for Britain, the swing from 13 years of rule by the liberal Labour Party to a Conservative becoming head of state was quite significant.
Palmer cited more evidence of Cameron's supposed liberalism: "In fact, in his victory speech, addressing the huge challenges facing debt-ridden Britain, he even paraphrased John F. Kennedy." A clip was played of Cameron declaring: "One where we don't just ask, what are my entitlements? But what are my responsibilities? When we don't ask where, what am I just owed, but more, what can I give?" Calling on people to not simply rely on government entitlements hardly sounds like a liberal tenet.