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By Tom Blumer | July 13, 2011 | 5:54 PM EDT

He said it, he meant it, and there's no denying it.

On Monday, in a statement carried at the Washington Post, the Associated Press, the New York Times (Page A8 of Tuesday's print edition), and elsewhere, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told U.S. troops at Camp Victory in Baghdad: "The reason you guys are here is because on 9/11 the United States got attacked. And 3,000 Americans — 3,000 not just Americans, 3,000 human beings, innocent human beings — got killed because of al-Qaeda. And we’ve been fighting as a result of that."

That sound you hear is a Democratic Party meme shattering into teeny tiny pieces. The attempts to put Humpty Dumpty together again, both by Panetta himself and the establishment press contingent following him, have been pathetic and ineffectual, which is what happens when one is up against succinctly stated truths.

By Tim Graham | July 13, 2011 | 5:20 PM EDT

ABC's George Stephanopoulos appeared on Tuesday night's Charlie Rose show to discuss what Rose described as "the political implications of the debt-limitation talks." Rose tried to compare Obama to Clinton. Stephanopoulos resisted the idea that Obama was more "cautious."

In fact, when asked how Obama is doing overall, Stephanopoulos pulled out the old line about how nobody "in our lifetime" has been dealt a tougher hand coming into the White House, as if Ronald Reagan had it easy faced with Carter-era inflation and unemployment. Grading on a recession curve, he's "done remarkably well," said George:

By Clay Waters | July 13, 2011 | 5:20 PM EDT

The New York Times's chief economics writer David Leonhardt proposed his usual solution – tax hikes – to the ongoing budget and debt-ceiling battles between congressional Republicans and President Obama in his confidently titled Wednesday column “Why Taxes Will Rise In the End.” Leonhardt struggled to ponder why his fellow citizens stubbornly refuse to raise the debt ceiling.

Polls show that most Americans are opposed to raising the federal debt ceiling. Even when the Pew Research Center included the consequences in its question -- a national default that would damage the economy -- slightly more people were against raising the ceiling than were for it.

How could this be? Above all, I think it reflects a desire to return to the good old days. Not so long ago, nobody was talking about tax increases or Medicare cuts, and the federal budget seemed to be in fine shape. If only we could get back to the past -- get spending under control, as the cliché goes -- we’d be O.K. The debt ceiling, with its harsh finality, offers the chance.

Unfortunately, this nostalgic view depends on a misunderstanding of the budget. It imagines a budget in which the United States indefinitely has the world’s highest medical costs, its largest military, an aging population and, nonetheless, taxes that are among the world’s lowest. Economists have a name for that combination: a free lunch.

By Aubrey Vaughan | July 13, 2011 | 4:30 PM EDT

Despite the fact that the White House press corps is comprised mostly of members who are ardent liberal Democrats who want to see President Obama triumph over Republicans, it has grown increasingly clear that the feeling of respect is not mutual.

The White House made that apparent today by laying down a new rule for reporters covering Obama's news conferences there: No more shouting questions at the president.

By Clay Waters | July 13, 2011 | 2:47 PM EDT

New York Times reporter Jackie Calmes’s latest front-page story on the budget battle displayed typical Times’s labeling bias, with “angry conservatives” but no liberals. Calmes also paid the Republican leadership a backhanded compliment for trying to stop their conservative base from provoking a financial crisis.

On Tuesday, Calmes claimed on the front page that Obama was “repositioning” himself as a centrist (after years of the Times insisting he already was one).

By Aubrey Vaughan | July 13, 2011 | 2:28 PM EDT

Earlier this morning, Washington Times blogger Kerry Picket discovered an unusual listing on the popular movie rating website Rotten Tomatoes. The new Sarah Palin documentary, 'The Undefeated,' was categorized not only as a documentary, but also as science fiction and fantasy.

Since Picket's blog was posted, the science fiction and fantasy tag has been removed, but it begs the question of why the film was categorized in the same listing as the fantasy tales of 'X-Men,' 'Pirates of the Caribbean,' and 'Transformers' in the first place.

By Tim Graham | July 13, 2011 | 12:28 PM EDT

Unsurprisingly, Fox-hating National Public Radio has eagerly embraced the nasty scandal of phone-hacking at Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World tabloid, which included dastardly deeds like hacking into the phone messages of abducted 13-year-old Milly Dowler, whose parents thought she might be alive because a tabloid reporter was messing with her phone.

NPR was so excited by this scandal that they sent media reporter David Folkenflik to London, and he’s filed eight reports in the last week – and starred in a one-hour Diane Rehm Show devoted to the “Murdoch Tabloid Scandal” on Tuesday, in which the name “Murdoch” was used 70 times.

By Kyle Drennen | July 13, 2011 | 12:07 PM EDT

On Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Ann Curry talked to left-wing MSNBC host Chris Matthews about the debt ceiling fight, who cheered Senator Mitch McConnell's plan to give President Obama sole authority to raise the nation's credit limit: "...the White House seems to be happy that somebody on the other side realizes how dangerous this is going to be next week."

Later, Matthews went further in his praise for McConnell, pleased that the Senate Minority Leader was moving away from conservatives: "I think what the White House is happy about is that finally Mitch McConnell who's a leader, just like the President is a leader, is separating himself from the protesters out there on the Right."

By Scott Whitlock | July 13, 2011 | 12:05 PM EDT

Of the three morning shows on Wednesday, only NBC's Today speculated that Barack Obama might be using "scare tactics" with his dire warning that, barring a deal on raising the debt limit, Social Security checks in August might no be mailed out. Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos simply asserted that the "debt crisis in Washington is getting very scary."

Stephanopoulos uncritically repeated, "And President Obama for the first time yesterday saying that Social Security recipients in August may not receive their checks."

In contrast, NBC's Matt Lauer, skeptically asked, "Scare tactic? President Obama warns millions of Americans Social Security checks may not go out next month if lawmakers fail to reach a deficit deal."

By Ken Shepherd | July 13, 2011 | 11:30 AM EDT

"It's a talking point so overused it's almost a trope by this point,"'s Bailey Johnson groused in a July 11 "The Feed" blog post: "How will I explain this [same-sex marriage] to my children?"

"Obviously that's a question parents have to answer for themselves. Unless they don't explain anything and let the children work things out for themselves. What would that look like?" Johnson asked, answering her own question by setting up a YouTube video that has since been pulled for copyright violations (you can still find the full original here and embedded below):


By Noel Sheppard | July 13, 2011 | 11:19 AM EDT

As a result of Scott Pelley's interview with President Obama on the "CBS Evening News" Tuesday, the media are once again scaring seniors with the absurd notion Social Security checks won't go out in August if the debt ceiling isn't raised.

An examination of the video and transcript of the relevant sections of this exchange bring into question whether or not that's actually what the President said (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Terence P. Jeffrey | July 13, 2011 | 11:14 AM EDT

President Barack Obama told CBS News today that there may not be enough money in the U.S. Treasury to cover Social Security checks after Aug. 3 if Congress does not agree to lift the legal limit on the federal debt and allow his administration to borrow more money.

"I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on August 3rd if we haven't resolved this issue. Because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it," Obama told CBS News anchor Scott Pelley in an interview.

By NB Staff | July 13, 2011 | 10:29 AM EDT

The Federal Election Commission, which serves to govern the financing of federal elections, ended its second quarter for presidential fundraising on June 30. Of the Republican candidates who released their numbers, former Gov. Mitt Romney led the Republican presidential hopefuls with $18.3 million, trailed by Rep. Ron Paul with $4.5 million, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty with $4.2 million, and former ambassador and Gov. Jon Huntsman with $4.1 million. Earlier this morning, Obama 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina previewed President Barack Obama's fundraising numbers and placed his fundraising sum at $86 million, far overshadowing any of his GOP competitors.

While the number appears ominous to his rivals, it isn't as staggering as it seems, and might even place Obama behind the mark of where he hopes to be. As National Review's Jim Geraghty explains, Obama's fundraising is actually behind his 2008 pace, and if he keeps the same pace for the remaining seven quarters, will not come close to achieving his goal of $1 billion. Check out more of Geraghty's analysis after the break, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

By Clay Waters | July 13, 2011 | 10:14 AM EDT

The New York Times posted a surprising column by international columnist Roger Cohen that appeared in its international edition Tuesday, “In Defense of Murdoch.” That would be media mogul Rupert Murdoch (a name loathed by all good liberals)whose vast empire of newspapers and television news is under siege after allegations of phone hacking including missing teens, police officers, even a former prime minister.

Fair warning: This column is a defense of Rupert Murdoch. If you add everything up, he’s been good for newspapers over the past several decades, keeping them alive and vigorous and noisy and relevant. Without him, the British newspaper industry might have disappeared entirely.

By Aubrey Vaughan | July 13, 2011 | 9:23 AM EDT

For the past few days, everyone has relished the opportunity to pounce on the lack of media ethics by Rupert Murdoch affiliated tabloid News of the World, but are neglecting to recognize the lack of media ethics by much more mainstream media outlets on this side of the Atlantic.

Over the past three years, often to the chagrin of TV news audiences, Casey Anthony has been the star of the airwaves. Casey, a resident of Orlando, Florida, was indicted on charges of first-degree murder, aggravated manslaughter, and aggravated child abuse following the death of her daughter, Caylee. Last week, Casey was found not guilty of these charges, and thanks to her previous good behavior in prison, is scheduled to go home Sunday. With her imminent release, brazen media outlets will soon begin duking it out to land the coveted first interview with the newly free Casey. Thanks to the thousands of dollars they put towards helping her throughout the trial, though, it seems that ABC News might already have a head start in the competition.