On Thursday's NBC Today, in an attempt to deflect from Mitt Romney's strong debate performance, fill-in co-host David Gregory grilled Romney advisor Ed Gillespie on the Governor's tax plan: "...he wants to extend the Bush tax cuts, he wants to have further tax cuts beyond that, he wants to increase military spending and he rejected a 10 to 1 ratio when it came to cutting spending and raising revenue. So the math simply doesn't add up, does it?"
There have been six studies now that have analyzed what Governor Romney has proposed in terms of lowering tax rates and expanding the base. We've done that in the past in our country's history, it's resulted in economic growth. It would result in economic growth again. And six of those studies says – say that this could be done, very credible studies, without increasing the deficit.
Yes, the media are admitting the patently obvious: Mitt Romney won Wednesday's presidential debate. But, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell observed, the media are still shielding Obama by insisting that the president was merely stylistically off his game, rather than deficient on substance.
"It's all about how Obama was lackluster, how Obama wasn't firing on all cylinders.... No," Bozell told Fox Business Network's Stuart Varney on the Thursday morning Varney & Co. "All those things may be true, but that's just the beginning of it." [watch the video below the page break]
You might think of this one as a sequel to the Debacle in Denver.
MSNBC weekend host Chris Hayes was not his chirpy self last night after running into a buzzsaw known as former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani in an exchange reminiscent of that between a befuddled President Obama and a nimble Mitt Romney (video after page break) --
Watching Mitt Romney last night as he revived his campaign while demolishing President Obama was surely a bitter pill for Jon Meacham to swallow.
On Morning Joe today, the former Newsweek editor sought to console himself. Meacham—twice—pointed out that although Mark Twain famously wrote that rumors of his death were greatly exaggerated, Twain did eventually die. Nice analogy, Jon! View the video after the jump.
With the folks at MSNBC, it always seems to come back to race. Network host Ed Schultz failed to disappoint this morning when he appeared on Thomas Roberts's 11 a.m. Eastern MSNBC Live and suggested that racism was partly to blame for President Obama's weak performance in the debate (video follows page break):
The first Obama-Romney presidential debate of 2012 ran under this less-than-informative banner headline in Thursday's New York Times: "Obama and Romney, in First Debate, Spar Over Fixing the Economy." The actual headline to the story by Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg also failed to capture the sense, overwhelming even among the liberal press, that Romney had helped himself with a sharp, energetic performance at the University of Denver: "Feel of Seminar as Accusations Fly From Rivals."
The Washington Post's banner headline was more direct and captured the consensus of the night: "Romney takes fight to Obama," while the story claimed the president "found himself on the defensive repeatedly." Other headlines from around the country captured the same effect.
By contrast, you had to parse the Times to sense that Romney won the night. (One significant Timesman, former Executive Editor Bill Keller, reluctantly awarded Romney the debate on his Twitter feed, calling Romney's performance "shameless but masterful.")
Picking up where he left off Wednesday night, on Thursday's NBC Today, MSNBC's Chris Matthews continued to whine over President Obama's poor debate performance and ranted that Mitt Romney has "been accused of etch-a-sketch, last night was his greatest achievement. Everything he said within days ago, he's ignored." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Prior to Matthews' appearance, co-host Savannah Guthrie noted that he had been "very vocal" during MSNBC's post-debate coverage and played a sound bite of the Hardball host blasting Obama: "I don't know what he was doing out there. He had his head down, he was enduring the debate rather than fighting it. I don't know how he let Romney get away with the crap he threw out tonight about Social Security. Where was Obama tonight?!"
There has been a lot of harsh criticism for Barack Obama's performance at Wednesday's presidential debate, but maybe the strongest came Thursday from former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw.
Appearing on MSNBC's Daily Rundown, Brokaw said, "I think that this morning we have a kick-start to this presidential campaign. If it had been Romney performing like the president last night, it would have been over" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
As Matt Vespa at NewsBusters noted earlier this morning, MSNBC's Howard Fineman was extremely unhappy with Jim Lehrer's performance as moderator in last night's first presidential debate. Vespa reports that Fineman "seemed agitated to the point of calling Lehrer 'useless' and equated his moderating of the debate to 'criminal negligence.'"
In what may be seen as a surprise, the same network's Laurence O'Donnell didn't share that sentiment, as Mackenzie Weinger reported this morning at Politico:
Appearing as a panel member on CNN's post-debate coverage on Wednesday, Democratic strategist James Carville gave President Obama a poor grade for his debate performance, asserting that 'I did everything I could not to reach it, but I had to reach it, and it looked like Romney wanted to be there, and President Obama didn't want to be there."
ABC's George Stephanonopoulos carried a eight-out-of-nine record of declaring the Democratic presidential candidate the winner into Wednesday night's Obama-Romney presidential debate. Surprisingly, the Clinton administration veteran affirmed that Mitt Romney scored points on President Obama: "I think Governor Romney definitely more crisp in his presentation tonight....he was able to be aggressive without being offensive."
Stephanopoulos later claimed that "Governor Romney will get the boost that challengers usually get coming out of these debates," while downplaying President Obama's own performance: "I didn't see any knockout punches....didn't see breakthrough moments or major mistakes by either candidate." [audio available here; video below the jump]
Having seen the candidate the press corps so obviously favors perform poorly while his opponent shined, Ron Fournier at National Journal, an Associated Press alum, dove so deeply into excuse-making that I half expected him to claim that the dog ate President Obama's debate prep.
The primary culprit, according to the forlorn Fournier, is something over which Obama has no control, as seen in the following excerpt from the 11:30 p.m. version of his dispatch. The report has an accurate headline admitting to something Fournier wouldn't directly acknowledge, namely that Romney won the night (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Time's assistant managing editor Rana Foroohar could have been mistaken as an Obama campaign flack during CBS's post-presidential debate coverage on Wednesday night, with her claim that "the key issue is, really, taxes, and I think that you have to wonder whether Romney's math adds up." She asserted, "There's a bigger math issue here, and that's whether or not lowering tax rates actually creates jobs and growth, and I would argue that, factually, it doesn't."
Foroohar also boosted the incumbent's massive stimulus spending, and held up communist China as a model: "I think what the President tried to convince voters, is that investment is going to create growth...and I think that there's a case to be made for that. If you look at where jobs are going - to places like China - infrastructure spending is much higher. There's a lot more investment in those, sort of, basic competitiveness issues. Unfortunately, I don't think the President made that point sharply enough." [audio available here; video below the jump]
How resounding was Mitt Romney's rout of Barack Obama tonight? In the post-debate spin room, a hopelessly muddled Martin O'Malley, Dem guv from Maryland and supposedly an Obama surrogate, wound up referring to "President Romney"! Freudian slip, anyone?
For good measure, pressed by MSNBC's Larry O'Donnell—clearly dismayed by Obama's dismal performance—to suggest what he'd recommend the prez do differently next time, a demoralized O'Malley could only mutter "uh, I don't know." View the video after the jump.
Judging from the reaction by the commentators on MSNBC, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney had a big night during Wednesday's debate with Barack Obama.
Shortly after it's conclusion, one of the President's biggest fans said, "What was Romney doing tonight? He was winning. If he does five more of these nights, forget it" (video follows with transcript):
Reporting the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll numbers on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, political director Chuck Todd touted a rather obvious finding in the numbers, relentless media attacks on Mitt Romney have negatively affected how voters view the Republican nominee.
Todd proclaimed: "That 47% remark, it has left a mark, if you will. When we asked, 'Is there anything you've heard in the last few weeks that's made you more favorable or less favorable on Mitt Romney?', 51% said what they've heard has made them less favorable."
Mitt Romney's main advantage in his first debate with President Obama on Wednesday may be that the president will be speaking without a teleprompter. His second advantage is the president's record and how he has failed to fulfill many of his promises.
While the president will probably recycle his class warfare themes, Romney should focus on the president's domestic failures and on Republican initiatives that have worked in the past. We Americans didn't just crawl out of a cave. There is history.
Jay Leno again waded deeply into presidential politics on Tuesday evening.
Commenting on Vice President Joe Biden's "middle class has been buried" gaffe, the NBC Tonight Show host said during his opening monologue, "I’m sorry, which candidate is he campaigning for? I’m confused" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The day before Wednesday's presidential debate, CNN hosted liberal journalist Carole Simpson to give her take on the event. Not surprisingly, she laughed at Mitt Romney while praising President Obama.
"Romney is practicing zingers. He's not very funny," Simpson mocked Romney, before laughing. What did she say for President Obama? "I think he's much more comfortable in his skin." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Talk about missing the elephant (or is it donkey?) in the room – on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, Nancy Cordes reported that Senator John Kerry is "playing Mitt Romney in mock debates" with President Obama before Wednesday's debate. But she didn't once mention that Kerry's debate skills didn't help him in 2004, when he lost a presidential race to President George W. Bush.
Cordes did note that "Romney and...Kerry know each other well. They're both longtime politicians from Massachusetts." She also twice emphasized that Obama's campaign was "working hard...to try to lower expectations about his performance" during the upcoming presidential debates.
Leading into tomorrow’s presidential debate, journalists are busy setting expectations for the candidates. On Sunday’s Good Morning America, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos argued that Mitt Romney is under “huge, huge” pressure: “He is behind right now. He is behind nationally, he’s behind in all of the battleground states. This is the last big audience that Mitt Romney is going to have with about four and a half weeks left to go.”
But more undecided voters will be swayed by the media’s post-debate spin about who won and who lost than by any pre-debate expectations. Reviewing the last several campaigns, MRC analysts have found a clear trend of network reporters fawning over the performance of liberal candidates, while harping on any perceived weaknesses or gaffes from conservatives.
One of the most reliable pro-Democratic pundits is none other than George Stephanpoulos — not especially surprising, given his track record as a loyal operative for Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, but hardly the objective, unbiased voice touted by ABC News. MRC has documented how, in eight out of the last nine general election presidential debates (every one since he joined ABC News in 1997), Stephanopoulos has gone on his network’s airwaves to claim victory for the Democratic candidate, all in the guise of offering impartial analysis. [Video review below the jump.]
On Friday's World News on ABC, substitute anchor David Muir filed a report which warned that the winner of the first presidential candidate debate may have to take advantage of a "'cares about you' moment," as the report seemed more preoccupied with Mitt Romney as the candidate more likely to fail in such a moment.
Muir set up the report by harkening back to an audience question in 1992 that left then-candidate Bill Clinton giving an answer which suggested he could "connect with average problems" better than then-President George H.W. Bush.
In an interview last Thursday with Reno, Nevada, station KTVN, Ann Romney said her chief concern with her husband winning the presidency would be his "mental well-being," adding, "I have all the confidence in the world in his ability, in his decisiveness and his leadership skills, in his understanding of the economy, in his understanding of what's missing right now in the economy - you know, pieces that are missing to get this jumpstarted. So for me I think it would just be the emotional part of it."
Obviously, in context, she was not suggesting her husband couldn't handle stress well, just that she knows the presidency is a stressful job and would be emotionally taxing on the man she loves. But to MSNBC's Martin Bashir, it was an opportunity to run a segment on his October 1 program where he strongly suggested that Romney may not be mentally fit for duty as president. [MP3 audio here; video embedded at bottom of post]
Although a CNNMoney survey had economists by a three-to-one margin saying a Mitt Romney presidency would be better for the economy than another term of President Obama, the report's title said they "reluctantly" chose Romney.
"And many of those picking Romney were more critical of, as opposed to excited about, the Republican challenger's plans," the report read. Would CNNMoney have reported that economists "reluctantly" picked President Obama by a three-to-one margin?
The media were all atwitter Monday over a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finding President Obama eleven points ahead of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in key swing states.
Within 90 minutes of the Post's Jennifer Rubin exposing that the margin of error in the poll was - wait for it! - an astonishing eight points, the paper felt the need to publish a new piece explaining the whole thing.