Defending Caroline, Mitchell Reads Her Mind

Next time you find yourself in a room with Andrea Mitchell, be careful what thoughts you permit to cross your mind.  The NBC correspondent evidently has the ability to read them.  Defending Caroline Kennedy on today's Morning Joe, Mitchell stated as a fact that Kennedy's press-evading performance in upstate New York was due to her desire not to appear presumptuous.

Continuing her advocacy, Mitchell went on to praise the very remarks Kennedy made yesterday that I found dangerously sleep-inducing. She then dismissed Charles Krauthammer's criticism of Kennedy as "an opinion piece" coming from "the right." For good measure, Andrea accused Andrew Cuomo—a rival for the Senate seat—of leaking to the press unflattering information about Kennedy's failure to have voted in many elections.

ANDREA MITCHELL: I mean, the awkward position that she's in is that she was trying not to offend Governor Paterson by being too presumptuous, too out there.  So, in that first stop in Syracuse, the day before yesterday, she ducked the press, didn't want to answer a whole lot of questions, because she didn't want to seem to be sort of inheriting this or the heir apparent or presuming that he was going to give her the appointment. You don't want to risk offending David Paterson.  She did a whole lot better I thought in the way she was at Sylvia's restaurant in Harlem, talking with reporters on the street.

Now, it wouldn't be a surprise if one of Kennedy's advisers had tried to explain away to Mitchell Caroline's poor upstate performance with the line about her not wanting to appear presumptuous.  And it would have been entirely appropriate for Mitchell to have reported that, e.g., "an aide to Kennedy told me . . . "  But here, Mitchell is stating as an absolute fact what was in Kennedy's mind.  Neat trick! 

Next, it was time for Andrea to defend Caroline against criticism from one of America's most respected pundits.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Charles Krauthammer says "I have nothing against Caroline Kennedy. She seems a fine person. She certainly has led the life of a worthy socialite  --

ANDREA MITCHELL: "Socialite"?  See, I don't think that's the right --

SCARBOROUGH: -- "helping all the right causes. But when the mayor of New York endorses her candidacy by offering, among other reasons, that 'her uncle has been one of the best senators that we have had in an awful long time,' we've reached the point of embarrassment."

MITCHELL: That's an opinion piece, but that's from the right. She's a lawyer, an author, she's been an active public citizen in New York, and has, arguably on paper, more qualifications than half the Senate.
Really?  Isn't having previously run for and served in some elective office normally considered an important qualification, one that the great majority of senators possess?

And a bit later . . .
MARK HALPERIN: If you look in the New York tabloids today, there's an article about the fact that she's missed [voting in] some elections in recent years. With all due respect to our friends at the New York Post, I'm not sure they got that on their own.  Someone may have pointed them to those records. So my question to you is --

MITCHELL: Ya think?

HALPERIN: Who do you think, who would you say in that mystery who-dun-it, who do you think is trying to muddy her up a little bit?

MITCHELL: Oh, how do you spell Cuomo?
If Caroline does get the Senate seat, any chance Mitchell might pull a Carney and serve as her press secretary?
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.