John Harwood on Fred Thompson: 'It's Over!'

H/t David Shuster. What's that? David Shuster, liberal MSNBC avenger, now a NewsBusters source? Not exactly, but read on . . .

Watching a special Saturday-morning edition of Morning Joe, I was surprised by CNBC chief DC correspondent John Harwood's willingness to pronounce Fred Thompson's political epitaph even before voters went to the South Carolina primary polls today. Shuster was similarly struck, going so far as to suggest a headline.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: What about Fred Thompson? Is it the end of the line, John, for him tonight, or is there a way he can rejuvenate his campaign?

View video here.

JOHN HARWOOD: It appears extremely unlikely that he can rejuvenate his campaign. It's been the popgun campaign --

Host Joe Scarborough decided to play the provocateur.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Hey John, you can just say it's over.
HARWOOD: What's that?
SCARBOROUGH: You can just say it's over, that's OK, we won't call you rude. It's over, isn't it?

HARWOOD: Uh . . . yes.

As pictured, general mirth and hilarity ensued, but Harwood soldiered on.

HARWOOD: But does he want to keep helping his friend John McCain by taking votes in the South away from Mike Huckabee?

BRZEZINSKI: That's a good question.

HARWOOD: That's really what, the effect he could have on February 5th. There's a whole lot of Southern delegates at stake, and Fred Thompson can't do a whole lot of damage but he can take a chunk of those away from Huckabee. He could make the crucial difference, by the way, in McCain's victory. If McCain wins South Carolina, Fred Thompson will have had a lot to do with it.

That's when David Shuster [shown captioning the story] gave us our headline.

DAVID SHUSTER: You know, I love the screaming headline that we now have: "John Harwood on Thompson: It's Over!"

And being the obliging sorts we are . . .

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.