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By Mark Finkelstein | October 2, 2011 | 8:28 AM EDT

"It's important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we're talking with each other in a way that -- that heals, not in a way that wounds." -- President Obama, speech at Tuscon memorial service, January 12, 2011.

"The [Suskind] book amounts to a drive-by shooting of a president and his key economic advisers who deserve encomiums, not unfounded second guessing and inaccurate revisionist history." -- Former Obama car czar Steve Rattner, writing at the Politico, October 2, 2011 [emphasis added].

Where have you gone, President Hope-and-Change? Less than nine months after President Obama pronounced pious words about talking "in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds," the Obama White House sends out a designated hitter to accuse a respected author of a "drive-by shooting" of the president and his advisers.  Nice. [Via Mike Allen's Politico Playbook.]

By Tim Graham | October 2, 2011 | 8:18 AM EDT

President Obama spoke to the National Dinner of the gay-left Human Rights Campaign on Saturday night and began by joking: "I appreciate the chance to join you tonight.  I also took a trip out to California last week, where I held some productive bilateral talks with your leader, Lady Gaga. She was wearing 16-inch heels.  She was eight feet tall. It was a little intimidating." Then he said he couldn't give a long speech, because "Cyndi Lauper is in the house.  I can't compete with that."

Overall, his theme was that a "big America" supports homosexuality, and conservatives favor a "small America." He took a shot at Republicans for failing to denounce about two boos at a debate for a soldier on tape demanding Rick Santorum not turn the clock back on gay liberation. "We don’t believe in the kind of smallness that says it’s okay for a stage full of political leaders -- one of whom could end up being the President of the United States -- being silent when an American soldier is booed. " Alert to PolitiFact: Obama lied by saying they've been "silent since."

By Noel Sheppard | October 2, 2011 | 12:41 AM EDT

The folks at the New York Times aren't happy with just reporting the news. They want to be a part of it.

Such is quite apparent given the arrest of Times freelancer Natasha Lennard during an Occupy Wall Street protest Saturday:

By Tom Blumer | October 1, 2011 | 11:41 PM EDT

At the Politico, James Hohmann's biography page indicates that he is "an Honors graduate of Stanford University" who "studied American political history." I hope he skipped class during the time his profs covered the 1990s, because if not, he and many other classmates have been badly misled.

Hohmann covered Bill Clinton's commemoration of the twentieth anniversary of his presidential candidacy announcement at his library in Little Rock, Arkansas, and let the following Clintonian howlers go by without challenge:

By Tim Graham | October 1, 2011 | 11:24 PM EDT

Star PBS filmmaker Ken Burns appeared on The Colbert Report Wednesday night to sell his new PBS documentary Prohibition. Perhaps he’d had a few drinks, because he tried to compare the political environment that passed Prohibition to today’s Tea Party. Both eras apparently demonized immigrants and ruined civility in politics, and speak in racist code words about “taking our country back.”

This is the kind of clumsy dot-to-dot drawing you get from spoiled millionaire documentarians who spend their off-hours making woozy cinematic valentines to "amazing, amazing" Ted Kennedy. It may have happened on Colbert, but it’s sad, not funny:

By Noel Sheppard | October 1, 2011 | 4:47 PM EDT

It really has been amazing watching dovish media members who were perpetually complaining about the terrorist detention center at Guantanamo Bay and the enhanced interrogation of its residents when George W. Bush was president now cheering the assassination of United States citizen turned terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki.

A fine example of this hypocrisy occurred on HBO's "Real Time" Friday when the host who just last year supported a civilian trial for 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed applauded Awlaki's murder while encouraging his audience to join in the merriment (video follows with transcript and commentary, vulgarity warning):

By Clay Waters | October 1, 2011 | 3:03 PM EDT

The New York Times may not give Texas Gov. Rick Perry credit for his state’s booming economy, but it will certainly attack him for his state’s supposedly awful record on providing health care. Emily Ramshaw reported “Few Bright Spots in Perry’s Health Care Record” for Friday’s edition.

Ramshaw, a reporter for the Texas Tribune, a left-leaning nonprofit news organization based in Austin that has a content partnership with the Times, played the same sour notes on Perry and Texas health-care statistics as the paper’s regular reporters.

By Noel Sheppard | October 1, 2011 | 12:20 PM EDT

The juvenile bashing of Chris Christie's weight hit a disgraceful low on PBS's "Inside Washington" Friday when a panel absent the guiding sanity of syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer chuckled and guffawed over the size of the New Jersey governor.

What posterity will certainly view as one of the more embarrassing episodes on this political talk show stalwart came when PBS's Mark Shields quipped, "When you sit in the bathtub, and the water level in the toilet does rise, it’s a pretty good indication that you probably ought to cut the second dessert" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Tim Graham | October 1, 2011 | 11:11 AM EDT

On Tuesday night's Joy Behar Show, Joy invited on Larry King to talk Michael Jackson...and a little politics. Larry endorsed Jon Huntsman as his favorite Republican candidate, and said "the one thing good about it if Romney or Huntsman got it is a Mormon against a black, what does the South do? What do they do? You`re in Alabama, oh, my gosh." Behar joked: "There would be mass suicides in Mississippi."

Behar also ran King through the usual awful-debate-crowds talking point, and King said Rick Perry was "very compassionate" on education and health care for illegal immigrants, which "they" (the conservative base) can't tolerate:

By Noel Sheppard | October 1, 2011 | 10:32 AM EDT

For at least the third time this year, HBO's Bill Maher took a racist swipe at Herman Cain.

On Friday's "Real Time," the host said during his New Rule segment that Texas governor Rick Perry "sounded so dumb that now [Republicans are] even considering voting for a black guy" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By John Nolte | October 1, 2011 | 10:13 AM EDT

These kinds of venomous attacks from the Left were to be expected after Cain’s recent surge. Awful people. Thankfully, Cain seems unconcerned and will just keep on keeping on in the department of thinking for himself — which we all know is a hate crime if you look a certain way. From the Daily Caller:

I loved Herman Cain when he played Mr. Gaines on a different World,” Hughley tweeted. This prompted other tweets by Hughley and his followers that implied Cain was an Uncle Tom and not REALLY black because he is a conservative who doesn’t choose to believe in Democrat plantation policies that keep blacks economically oppressed. Apparently, Hughley was too absorbed in his racist Twitter banter to notice a recent Rasmussen poll that found Cain trailing Obama by just 5% in a hypothetical match-up.

By Mark Finkelstein | October 1, 2011 | 9:40 AM EDT

Is Michael Kinsley sure he wants to go down this path?

In a Bloomberg View column and then in a clip run on "Good Morning America" today, the liberal pundit claims Chris Christie is "just too fat" to be president.  According to Kinsley, Christie's weight is evidence of a lack of the self-control necessary to be an effective president.

If self-control is a key requirement for the presidency, I wonder how Kinsley would apply that standard to other recent occupants of the White House?  GMA video after the jump.

By NB Staff | October 1, 2011 | 9:26 AM EDT

For general discussion and debate about politics, economics, sports, and whatever else tickles your fancy.

By Tim Graham | October 1, 2011 | 7:43 AM EDT

How can a nasty funeral plot on “Two and a Half Men” and the global-pandemic movie “Contagion” and the ugly tone of the Charlie Sheen roast be compared to the Republican debates? Brent Lang of the entertainment-media blog The Wrap somehow accomplishes it. 

“The overwhelming pessimism that gripped America throughout the end of summer and the dawn of fall has cast a shadow across the cultural landscape,” Lang explained. “It may not have been planned that way, but either through scheduling happenstance or from a sincere desire to reflect our times, the movies and television shows that have aired or premiered in recent weeks collectively form a howl of rage and discontent.” And, then so does the GOP:

By Tim Graham | October 1, 2011 | 7:26 AM EDT

Nancy Benac of the Associated Press is thoroughly in the tank for Michelle Obama. Her latest article was headlined "First lady a not-so-secret campaign weapon." She began: "She's mingled barefoot among Aspen's elite, stirred a Vermont utility executive to tears and bucked up disenchanted New Yorkers." At the same time, the media can tout her for shopping at Target and for mingling with the Aspen elite. Michelle Obama the Target shopper wearing $42,000 diamond bracelets? Benac waited for paragraph 21 to mention that, where that kind of contrary information belongs.

Benac picked up the Obama campaign line -- she's an "enormous asset" -- and ran with it, barely noticing the idea that every re-election campaign counts on the First Lady, and every First Lady is more popular than her husband, and every First Lady can offer a personal portrait to warm people up to her husband's personal side. No, Michelle Obama causes people to tear up, and deeply motivates feminists like Gloria Steinem: