Patricia Zengerle's coverage of U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine at Reuters assumes that the Democratic former Virginia Governor committed the mother of all gaffes today. I'm not so sure. It may be that David Corn's secret video of Mitt Romney commenting on the 47 percent of Americans who pay no income taxes and are dependent on the government is sending polling data in the opposite direction from what was intended and is starting to rattle Democrats.
The New York Times wasn't impressed with the Romney campaign's counterattack on Obama after the media-inflated "47% controversy," judging by the headline over Thursday's brief story by reporter Richard Oppel: "Seeking to Turn Topic To Evils of Redistribution." The online version of the story (excerpted below) included four biased additional paragraphs at the end, but the headline at least left off the implied mockery of the Romney camp for guiding reporters to an old audio clip of Obama saying "I actually believe in redistribution."
After front-page coverage of the surreptitiously recorded (and possibly edited) clip of Romney talking about the 47% of Americans who don't pay income taxes, the Times was in no mood to provide Romney any counterplay. Oppel took pains to point out that the old Obama segment was "carefully clipped," implying it was misleading, before vigorously defending Obama and making liberal bleats about how America "has seen a significant redistribution of incomes over the past generation – from the poor and middle class to the rich, and especially to the very rich...."
While liberals and their media minions across the fruited plain call Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney dead as a result of what they believe are serious missteps the past couple of weeks, Robert Reich, Bill Clinton's Labor Secretary, thinks it's too early to celebrate.
Writing in the Huffington Post Thursday, Reich offered "Four Reasons Why Romney Might Still Win" (photo courtesy AP).
Mitt Romney’s traveling press secretary walked to the back of the candidate’s plane midflight on Tuesday and teasingly asked a pair of journalists in an exit row if they were “willing and able to assist in case of an emergency.”
Under the circumstances, it was hard to tell whether it was a question or a request.
As of midnight, Real Clear Politics showed Barack Obama with a 2.9-point lead over Mitt Romney in the average of the most recent six presidential election polls. One of those polls is a P-U production of Pew Research Center which shows Obama up by 8 points among 2,343 registered voters. The preposterous weighting of the sample is 37.1% Democrats, 30.6% Republicans, and 32.3% independents.
Any time a poll reveals the Romney v. Obama breakout in each of those three categories, I can run the results through what I'll tentatively christen the NewsBusters/BizzyBlog Poll Decoder, showing what the result would be using party affiliation results found by Rasmussen as of early September and Gallup as of before the Democratic National Convention. Here's what happens when one removes the stench from Pew's poll:
Mitt Romney on Wednesday put into play newly uncovered video of Barack Obama in 1998 advocating redistribution of wealth, but of the broadcast network evening newscasts, only the NBC Nightly News bothered to inform viewers of the display of Obama’s far-left economic philosophy. And that only came inside the newscast’s first of two stories on media-fueled fallout from Romney’s observation that 47 percent don’t pay income taxes.
“These are tough days for the Romney campaign,” NBC anchor Brian Williams led his program, declaring: “Inside 50 days to go now until the election, and they are dealing with something of a public relations disaster.”
Once again, Professor William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection is doing the work the mainstream media should do but won't do. This morning your humble correspondent posted how Jacobson got David Corn to finally admit that there was a gap in the Romney tape after initially claiming that it was complete. However, now that Corn was forced to make that admission only after being pressed by Jacobson, he is now absurdly claiming that he was upfront about that tape gap from the start. Here is Corn's latest laughable claim:
Romney had pivoted from expressing his sentiments about the “47 percent” to discussing how to appeal to independents when the tape ended, and it was the “47 percent” description that were the focus of this clip. All the clips we posted, of course, were edited out of the longer video. They all needed to have start and end points. When we posted the complete tape, we stated there was a gap of one to two minutes, or less, according to the source. That seemed to be the appropriate time to do so. I will note that Romney, who clearly has thought about how to respond to this clip, has not said in the statements he has made since its release, “But then I went on to say….
More than an hour into the program, Wednesday's CBS This Morning finally acknowledged that "this race is not over for Mitt Romney," based on the network's own polling. Norah O'Donnell noted that "in our new polls...Republicans are more enthusiastic than Democrats about voting this year in general, and that enthusiasm has actually...grown since early August."
O'Donnell's reporting came almost an hour after Bob Schieffer's apocalyptic spin about the Republican presidential nominee's campaign. Before getting to the poll numbers, she pressed Frank Luntz on whether the hidden camera videos were "a turning point in the campaign," and claimed that "Romney was suggesting that those people are mooching off the system. He wasn't offering a helping hand in that statement, or, at least, that's how they might interpret it."
Bob Schieffer all but broke out the death certificate for Mitt Romney's campaign on Tuesday's CBS Evening News and Wednesday's CBS This Morning, emphasizing the negative impact of the secretly-recorded videos released by the left-wing magazine Mother Jones: "I just can't think of anything that he could have said that could have hurt his cause more than what he said."
Schieffer claimed that "this was just an extraordinary moment," and later added that "it would seem to confirm the perception that a lot of people have, and it seems to confirm the image that the Obama campaign has been pushing...that he is out of touch, that...he doesn't have to deal with the kind of problems that other people do...I think it's a very serious thing here."
**UPDATE** On Wednesday morning, Chuck Todd played the audio of Obama's speech from 1998 on his show The Daily Rundown, 4 hours before appearing on Andrea Mitchell Reports who refused to play the clip for "authenticity" reasons.
It took less than 12 hours after it was published online at the website of leftist magazine Mother Jones for a video secretly recorded at a Mitt Romney fundraiser in May to appear all over NBC and MSNBC. The heavily-edited video, obtained by the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, has been a staple of MSNBC coverage the past two days.
Fast forward to Wednesday when audio of then-State Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.) speaking at Loyola University talking about his support for wealth redistribution. MSNBC refused to play the audio on air. On her show Wednesday, Andrea Mitchell claimed that the network's reason was: [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
New York Times reporters Annie Lowrey (pictured) and Michael Cooper issued a hostile account on Wednesday poking at Romney's surreptitiously taped comments at a fundraiser about the 47% of Americans who don't pay income taxes, "Much of Romney's View on Taxes Conflicts With Longtime G.O.P. Stand." Was Romney truly "join[ing] the battle on social programs," as the opening line stated? And can Erick Erickson of Red State possibly just be a conservative activist, as opposed to a "conservative firebrand."
Tuesday's TimesCast on nytimes.com opened with a discussion of the "devastating" and "horrible moment" for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign that was the surreptitiously recorded video of Romney speaking at a fundraiser in Florida in May noting “47 percent of Americans pay no income tax." According to host Megan Liberman, Romney's words "seems to feed perfectly into the Obama campaign's narrative about Romney, that he's just a guy who doesn't care about regular people."
Liberman: "The Romney campaign is playing defense today after the release of this hidden camera video. National political correspondent Jim Rutenberg joins me now to talk about it. So Jim, is this just another gaffe, or is this video really as devastating as a lot of people on both the right and the left are saying that it is?"
On Wednesday's NBC Today, correspondent Michael Isikoff offered a congratulatory puff piece on the man who helped release a hidden camera video of Mitt Romney: "[It] became public as a result of some dogged sleuthing by a partisan political researcher with a very personal interest in the election....James Carter IV, who helped out it, is basking in the afterglow, receiving fresh job offers from liberal bloggers and a high-five e-mail from his grandfather, former President Jimmy Carter." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The headline on screen throughout the report read: "'Poetic Justice'; Jimmy Carter's Grandson Helped Expose Romney Video." At one point in the segment, Carter gushed: "A lot of my Twitter followers that are supporters have said that this is poetic justice, that a Carter is the one that found this – this video that has given the Romney campaign so much trouble, and I have to say that I definitely agree with that sentiment."
On Tuesday night, the journalists at ABC continued to hype a "secret video" of Mitt Romney in the most hyperbolic terms. World News anchor Diane Sawyer went so far as to call it a "political earthquake" and a "seismic day."
The anchor excitedly began the show by teasing, "...Caught on tape. New moments from the secret video of Governor Romney talking to his rich donors about a lot of American voters." She wondered if Romney would be able to "limit the damage." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Who needs campaign staff when you have CNN to tout your "very, very damaging" attack ad? Host Piers Morgan gave President Obama some free publicity Tuesday night while CNN kept the anti-Romney media firestorm raging.
"I'm going to play a new Obama ad which basically sums up how he's going to attack him [Romney]. And it's very, very damaging. Watch this," Morgan told his guests, after he hyped Romney's "monumental gaffe" about the 47 percent of Americans paying no income taxes. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Stick a fork in Romney, he's done! The election's over! According to hard-left MSNBC contributors anyway. It's just a matter of time before Chris Matthews demands a prime slot on the president's inaugural ball dance card.
Speaking on Wednesday’s Morning Joe, Donny Deutsch ridiculously proclaimed the race over and asked regarding the first presidential debate, “What do you think's going to happen October 3rd that we haven't seen already?” The segment focused on a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll which found President Obama with a 5-point lead in their poll. Of course, the most recent AP/Gallup poll has the race within 1 point, but that doesn't seem to faze Deutsch. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Bob Woodward continued his lecture circuit on how he’s the source of “the best obtainable version of the truth” in politics by demanding Republican nominee Mitt Romney to apologize for his “off the cuff” remarks captured in a leaked video at a private fundraiser in Florida. During his typically soporific interview with Judy Woodruff on the PBS Newshour, which will air later this week – Woodruff claimed such antics “doesn’t work in journalism, life, or politics.”
The media's ongoing contribution to the Obama reelection effort is fairly obvious: omit or downplay news stories and polling data that cast the Obama administration in a negative light while hyping trivial Romney gaffes or media-manufactured tempests-in-teapots in order to focus the election narrative on the Republican candidate's deficiencies - real or or imagined -- rather than the incumbent Democrat's record.
In an interview with Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie teed up the liberal congresswoman to rip into Mitt Romney over a hidden camera video of him at a fundraiser: "Republicans and Democrats have criticized him for it. I'm sure Democrats view it as a gift from above, but do you think with the big issues facing our country, this is something that should be a substantive part of our campaign?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Predictably, Pelosi was eager for the topic to be an issue in the presidential race: "Absolutely. This is fundamental." She slammed Romney for having "demonstrated the demeaning attitude that...[he] has toward a large segment of the American people." In an odd slip of the tongue, she referred to "Governor Obama," but Guthrie never corrected her.
David Corn of Mother Jones magazine has claimed that the audio and video recording of Mitt Romney taken surreptitiously at a fundraiser was complete...until it was revealed that it had a critical gap of up to two minutes. At first Corn refused to admit to any gap until undeniable proof was presented to him by William A. Jacobson of Legal Insurrection:
There is a gap in the recording immediately after Romney’s now famous discussion of the 47% of voters who don’t pay taxes. The cut in the audio and video comes while Romney is in mid-sentence, so we actually do not have the full audio of what Romney said on the subject.
Syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan made a statement on Fox News's On the Record Tuesday that is guaranteed to raise eyebrows on both sides of the aisle.
Speaking with host Greta Van Susteren about how Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's remarks concerning the 47 percent of the nation that don't pay federal income taxes were spot on, Buchanan called Barack Obama a "Fabian Socialist" and "a drug dealer of welfare."
If whoever invokes Hitler first in an argument loses, then place an 'L' next to Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson's name tonight . . .
On this evening's Ed Show, slamming Mitt Romney's comments about the 47%, Robinson suggested that Romney sees himself as one of the "ubermenschen." That of course was, by way of Nietzche, one of Hitler's favorite phrases. Video after the jump.
Former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu on Tuesday took New York Times columnist David Brooks to task for his Romney-bashing piece "Thurston Howell Romney."
In the middle of a heated debate with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell about the Republican presidential nominee's comments regarding the 47 percent of Americans that don't pay taxes, Sununu asserted, "David Brooks ought to be ashamed of himself for recategorizing what Mitt Romney said" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
After CNN pounded away at the latest media-manufactured Mitt Romney gaffe, CNN's Brooke Baldwin remarked on Tuesday that the campaign faces a "tsunami" of "myriad issues."
"Can they right this?" she questioned the Romney campaign's ability to weather the media storm, adding that they face "a tsunami, if you add up the myriad issues within the campaign." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Let's see. The supposed consensus at Real Clear Politics shows Mitt Romney trailing Barack Obama by less than three points. As shown yesterday, one of the most recent five polls used in RCP's calculations from CBS and the New York Times is so cooked that it weighted registered Democrats over registered Republicans by 35%-22% -- so you can easily knock more than a point from Obama's lead for that item alone. Rasmussen has Romney up by two, and Gallup has gone from Obama +6 to Obama +1 in just a week.
So naturally, according to John Whitesides at Reuters, it's Romney's campaign which is "reeling" (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Former New Hampshire governor John Sununu made a marvelous observation about the current hyperventilation going on in the press concerning Mitt Romney's just revealed remarks concerning the 47 percent of Americans that don't pay federal income taxes.
Appearing on Fox News's America Live, Sununu said, "You have a liberal media out there is looking for the tiniest little wart that they can blow up into a giant cancer" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Norah O'Donnell played up the possible negative impact of the hidden camera video of Mitt Romney on Tuesday's CBS This Morning. Regarding the elderly vote, O'Donnell asked 2008 McCain presidential campaign manager Rick Davis, "Did Mitt Romney just insult many of the people who end up voting Republican?"
Co-anchor Charlie Rose led the interview of Davis with a question on the impact of the remarks, and threw in the reported splits in the presidential nominee's campaign: "So, how damaging is this, and all these reports of dissension within the Romney camp?" O'Donnell followed up with her "insult" hint about Romney, as she cited figures from the liberal Tax Policy Center.