Williams Hits Giuliani With Dem Talking Points; Fawns Over Bayh

Brian Williams, MSNBC News Live| NewsBusters.orgWhile hosting the 1 p.m. EDT hour of MSNBC News Live, Brian Williams interviewed Democratic Senators Evan Bayh and Jack Reed as well as former Republican presidential candidate and New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. However, the differences between the discussions were stark.

Williams whipped out Democratic talking points during his interview with Giuliani. The host asked:

[W]hat can the Republicans tell Americans who are concerned about having troops on the ground in two nations overseas, concerned about a rather dire financial outlook, the list of banks that are in trouble yesterday that in the last reporting period went from 90 to well over 100, the environment, all of the issues that have been on the plate of the current administration for eight years, all the stuff they're hitting you with from this podium?
Also during his discussion with Giuliani, Williams brought up that "the area where your candidate, Senator McCain has admitted weakness has been famously economics" to bring up the subject of McCain’s Vice Presidential choice. The Nightly News anchor also asked: "Mr. Mayor, now that Senator Clinton has spoken to this gathering and President Clinton tonight and presumably the Democrats will leave here Thursday after Obama’s speech saying they are united as one, for how long is Senator Clinton going to be a fixture in Senator McCain’s ads?"

On the other hand, during his discussion with Senators Evan Bayh and Jack Reed, Williams started off by gushing over Bayh's "American life":

Senator Bayh, I was thinking of you two evenings ago, the emotional appearance by Ted Kennedy, your family's place incredible place in modern American history. Here's Senator Kennedy in the midst of battling brain cancer, still walking stooped over from the broken back from the plane crash where your father pulled him out of the wreckage. Not everyone got out of that plane crash. They were traveling to a meeting of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, as I recall. From your standpoint on this floor, you must just sit here and think what an American life you’ve led, your family has led.

The only semi-tough question Williams asked during his discussion with Reed and Bayh was focused on how a President Obama would deal with a Joint Chiefs who is not as willing to immediately withdraw troops from Iraq: "Now, the other thing is, of course, with so many speeches at the podium, you hear this kind of generic cry to get out of Iraq. And while there’s talk of schedules and drawdown’s, you know better than most that to get out of Iraq you may run into, a newly inaugurated president may run right into a Joint Chiefs that is unwilling to do so and says, 'Hold on. How can we even put an air bridge together to get everything out of there, and what happens in our wake?' How do you counsel a Barack Obama on this kind of thing?"

In closing the segment with Reed and Bayh, Williams expressed his desire for Democrats to attack McCain more: "In 15 seconds Senator Reed, should this campaign get tougher against a John McCain who hasn't let up in a second?"

The relevant transcripts are below:

# 1:14 p.m. EDT

WILLIAMS: We are joined by two prominent members of the United States Senate. Jack Reed from the state of Rhode Island and Evan Bayh from the state of Indiana. Gentlemen, thanks for being with us. Senator Reed, most notably you, with Barack Obama on his overseas trip and as a West Pointer yourself, a former ranger, and we all know rangers lead the way-

SEN. JACK REED: Indeed.

WILLIAMS: I wanted to ask you, in my time with the military, there's a way to walk and a way to talk and a way to understand their lives. You can dip in and out of it. But it is just, it's a life unto itself as you know better than most. Does he, in your estimation, get it? Does he walk with ease among them, which is a quality I think is essential in a Commander-in-Chief?

REED: Absolutely. What impressed me the most in the trip, Brian, was the extraordinary response by the troops. We were in Kuwait and Barack wanted to go and play some basketball with the troops. I thought there’d be a few selected soldiers. There were 1,000 people in the gymnasium. The response was electric. And it was for him. They appreciate that he was coming out to visit them. To try and find out what they did. And I was terribly impressed with that response. And as someone who spent some time in the military, you want to get a gauge, it's not the Generals and the Colonels. It's the Ppec 4s and the NCOs. If they are there enthusiastically, willingly and they give that respect, then that's the true test. And he passed it with flying colors.

WILLIAMS: To say nothing of those hard command sergeant majors.

REED: Of yes.

WILLIAMS: Now, the other thing is, of course, with so many speeches at the podium, you hear this kind of generic cry to get out of Iraq. And while there’s talk of schedules and drawdown’s, you know better than most that to get out of Iraq you may run into, a newly inaugurated president may run right into a Joint Chiefs that is unwilling to do so and says, hold on. How can we even put an air bridge together to get everything out of there, and what happens in our wake. How do you counsel a Barack obama on this kind of thing?

REED: Well, I was particularly impressed, again, with our visit that he made the point as president, he had to look beyond just Iraq. He has to look at a world. And, in fact, as we speak today, Afghanistan is becoming very perilous. Pakistan's unstable. And as president, he's going to set the policy. He's going to talk to his commanders. He's going to get their advice, particularly when it comes to the technicalities, the logistics, and all those factors. But he is going to talk about a policy. And, by the way, as we're talking today, this administration is talking to the Iraqi government about a timetable that they're going to insist upon. So, I think he will be able to successfully get the best advice he can, set a policy that will strengthen the country and focus our resources on areas of much, at this juncture, of more serious concern like Afghanistan and Pakistan.

WILLIAMS: Senator Bayh I was thinking of you two evenings ago, the emotional appearance by Ted Kennedy, your family's place incredible place in modern American history. Here's Senator Kennedy in the midst of battling brain cancer, still walking stooped over from the broken back from the plane crash where your father pulled him out of the wreckage. Not everyone got out of that plane crash. They were traveling to a meeting of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, as I recall. From your standpoint on this floor, you must just sit here and think what an American life you’ve led, your family has led.

SEN. EVAN BAYH: Well, we've been privileged, Brian. My father before me and now me to represent the people of our state and to serve our nation and to work with wonderful folks like Jack Reed and Ted Kennedy, who is just a -- who is truly the latest chapter in the profiles in courage. With all he's been through, still fighting for health care for Americans, decent educational opportunities, all those kind of things. And it'swhat gets me up in the morning thinking about what we can do to make this country a better place. So, I have been privileged and I'm glad my parents weren't killed in that plane crash either.

WILLIAMS: You're sitting here, having come very close to the number two spot on this ticket. Now, of course, you go back to having a leadership position in your party. And yet as we sit here, this ticket is behind in the national polls, at the height of the convention. To what do you attribute that, and how worried are you?

BAYH: Well, you know, there's a lot of coming and going in campaigns, Brian. I think it's probably some of the negative attacks that have been launched. I fully expect that dynamic to change, though, and I believe Barack Obama and Joe Biden will be elected primarily because when people see what the choice really is, John McCain’s a good man, but he really offers four more years of the same thing. He has wholeheartedly embraced the Bush agenda, almost across the board versus the opportunity to change and actually begin to address in a real, meaningful way the challenges that people face in their daily lives, I think the majority of the Americans are not gonna want more of the same. I think they're gonna vote for a change. And so, I think Barack and Joe will lead.

WILLIAMS: In 15 seconds Senator Reed, should this campaign get tougher against a John McCain who hasn't let up in a second?

BAYH: We have to look at the contrasts and make a comparison as Evan said between someone who has embraced George Bush consistently and the opportunity to change this country, put it in a positive direction. I don't think we have to engage in sort of vitriolic attacks but we do have to make the contrast clear, specific and compelling to the American people.

WILLIAMS: Senators Jack Reed, Evan Bayh. Gentlemen, thank you both for being with us.

# 1:31 p.m. EDT

WILLIAMS: We are back and, of course, after, what, 24 hours off for good behavior, all of us who cover these events will leave Denver and go off to St. Paul, where the Republicans will have their own four-day gathering, resulting in the nomination of John McCain. The keynote speaker at that gathering will be a very, very familiar face to the assembled party faithful, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who has been kind enough to clear some time and be with us today. Mr. Mayor, what will the GOP be stressing and bragging about next week in St. Paul?

RUDY GIULIANI: I think we're gonna talk about the fact that our candidate, John McCain, is ready and prepared to be Commander- in-Chief. That there's no doubt about that. No question about it. We don't have a party that's split on that issue, the way the Democrats are split on Barack Obama. We don't have significant figures like a Hillary Clinton and a Joe bidden saying, at least in the past, that Barack Obama was not prepared to be Commander-in-Chief. We believe we have a candidate that's tested. That's ready. And we think we're right on the issues. We think that Americans want to see lower taxes and less government spending. And they want to see a strong military presence, not the kind of weakness that Barack Obama presents. But I think mostly it's going to come down to experience. This is not a time to be looking for somebody with on-the-job training in the words of a famous Democrat. It's a time to have someone who's already been tested time and again and has proven that they can lead in a time of crisis. I think that will be the area where-

WILLIAMS: The area where your candidate, Senator McCain has admitted weakness has been famously economics. Do you think his VP choice will address that weakness?

GIULIANI: I think he has addressed it, by having a much stronger economic program than Barack Obama. John McCain will lower taxes. Barack Obama will raise taxes. John McCain will keep tariffs low. Barack Obama will increase tariffs. Both of those things, if Barack Obama does them, will be catastrophic for our economy. Both the things that John McCain wants to would keep us a growth economy. John McCain is the only one offering a real plan to get us towards energy diversity. Barack Obama’s going to keep us mired down in no offshore drilling, no nuclear power. So, I think on the economy, John has the stronger position. And then there's something else. Economic policy and foreign policy are the same thing now. I mean, the question is, how can a president guide us through the global world and we, Democrats have a presidential candidate that's never even been to Latin America. We have a presidential candidate's that's been all over the world, understands it.

WILLIAMS: Mr. Mayor, now that Senator Clinton has spoken to this gathering and President Clinton tonight and presumably the Democrats will leave here Thursday after Obama’s speech saying they are united as one, for how long is Senator Clinton going to be a fixture in Senator McCain’s ads?

GIULIANI: Oh, I don't know. I think I agree with you, Brian. By the time we get to Thursday and Senator Pbama appears with the Greek or Roman columns and gives I'm sure what will be a great speech, he'll have a big bump, a 10-, 12-point bump and then we'll have to dig our way back starting next week, which we'll do. The issues in this campaign change almost daily, you know. Right now my great interest is what is Bill Clinton going to say tonight after yesterday doing this thing about candidate "x" being someone you agree with but you don't think can get the job done and candidate "y" is someone you agree with half the time but can get the job done. I'm trying to see tonight if President Clinton identifies candidates "x" and candidate "y." So, we got to get past that first.

WILLIAMS: And what can the Republicans tell Americans who are concerned about having troops on the ground in two nations overseas, concerned about a rather dire financial outlook, the list of banks that are in trouble yesterday that in the last reporting period went from 90 to well over 100, the environment, all of the issues that have been on the plate of the current administration for eight years, all the stuff they're hitting you with from this podium?

GIULIANI: Sure. I mean, the reality is that this is not the time to have somebody who has no executive experience as President of the United States, to have somebody who's rookie, who has, who members of his own party say is not ready to be Commander-in-Chief. This is time to have somebody who has taken independent positions like John McCain. There's nobody in the senate that's been more bipartisan than John McCain. There's been no one stronger on reducing spending, which is something we desperately have to do. And I think on the economy he'd be a much stronger leader and much more capable of working with Democrats than Barack Obama would be of working with Republicans. Barack Obama has never worked with Republicans. He's the most liberal member of the Senate, after all. Had the most liberal voting record in 2007. Joe Biden had the third most liberal voting record. That is hardly reaching out to the other side.

WILLIAMS: Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Mr. Mayor, we'll see you in St. Paul next week. Thank you very much for coming on the broadcast.

GIULIANI: I look forward to it, Brian. Thank you.

WILLIAMS: All right. Look forward to seeing you there.