TAMPA, Fla. -- This week when Mitt Romney strides to center stage to deliver his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, he might draw inspiration from an unlikely source: the song "I Am What I Am" from the musical "La Cage Aux Folles."
One of the chief complaints from voters about politicians is that they too often package themselves disingenuously to get elected, only to reveal their real agenda after they've won. That is what President Obama did in the 2008 campaign when he styled himself as a unifier who wanted to bridge the partisan divide by saying, "...we are not a collection of red states and blue states. We are the United States of America." He then governed more like he was in Soviet America with redistribution of income and more centralized power in Washington.
On Monday’s Rachel Maddow Show, the MSNBC host mocked Mitt Romney’s pursuit of the white vote, reporting Romney told USA Today that President Obama moved toward welfare waivers “as a calculation that was designed to shore up the Obama base before the election.” Maddow thought it was ridiculous: “As if people on welfare are Barack Obama’s base. [Maddow winks] Especially the lazy ones. [Winks again]” Government dependents never vote to keep their government money coming?
Then Maddow turned to former New York Times columnist and NBC reporter Bob Herbert, who said Romney has a “campaign that doesn’t have a theme,” so Romney’s just saying “white people, please vote for me,” because he’s white. “You can’t win an election if that’s all you’ve got going for you.” Maddow said the GOP’s almost all-white:
President Obama's casting of Mitt Romney as extreme is one of the most glaring incidents of political projection in the modern era. Romney doesn't approach extremism in substance, style or disposition. Obama swims in it.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Obama said Romney has locked himself into "extreme positions" on economic and social issues and would implement them if in office.
Immediately following an antagonistic discussion with the former presidential candidate Rick Santorum, in which he demanded the Pennsylvania Republican to differentiate himself from Mitt Romney, CBS This Morning’s Charlie Rose previewed the next interview that would be conducted by his co-anchor Gayle King, with a Chris Matthews-like swipe at the GOP as anti-science.
“Republicans here in Tampa believe evolution is just a theory,” Rose teased, adding that “Bill Nye the Science Guy says its science.” Of course this suggests Rose may be a bit scientifically illiterate himself, as the National Academies of Science defines a scientific theory as “a well-substantiated explanation of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses.”
To describe evolution as a scientific theory is accurate.
In an interview with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer was aghast at an off-the-cuff joke by Mitt Romney on Friday: "...he said, 'No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate,' an obvious reference to the birther debate. Is it – he says it was a joke. Is it funny to kind of pay attention to a fringe group and question the very legitimacy of the President of the United States's citizenship?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Christie replied: "Yeah, but he hasn't. I mean, he has been the clearest, the most affirmative of all the Republican candidates who are running for this nomination, in saying that he didn't think that was an issue." Lauer ignored the fact that President Obama himself has joked about his birth certificate on more than one occasion and that the Obama campaign actually raised money off the issue, selling mugs and t-shirts mocking the conspiracy theory.
On Monday's Charlie Rose show on PBS, during a discussion of Mitt Romney's selection of Paul Ryan having the positive effect of "energizing" the GOP base, Time magazine's Joe Klein faulted Romney for not taking a "moderate stance" for the general election, asserting that the "Republican base is the problem, not the solution." He began:
Of all the Monday newspaper reports on the Ron Paul rally in Tampa Sunday, Peter Nicholas of The Wall Street Journal best captured the fanatic nature of Paul's followers. Many said they would not vote for Romney this fall.
Take "Eric Hogan, 28, of Pennsylvania, who wore a T-shirt that read 'My President Is Paul,' said he wouldn't vote for Romney or Obama because "the will of the people is not being heard." Which people? Do these people read the election results as Paul lost in state after state? Then came Bill Detzner, 58, of Miami:
“Some Republicans wonder whether Romney is too moderate for the increasingly conservative party,” CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley refreshingly asked Monday night in veering from the media portrayal of Romney as a far-right ideologue. However, Pelley soon delivered the usual media line that presumed the party is too conservative. “The platform does not allow for exceptions on abortion with regard to the health of the mother or rape or incest,” Pelley told Romney in relaying a Democratic talking point.
Pelley next fretted “this Republican Party that you’re leading is not your father’s Republican Party,” recalling how “he opposed Barry Goldwater in 1964” and was “a passionate advocate for government support for housing for poor people.” Pelley queried: “I wonder how you would explain this Republican Party to your father?”
Of course, MSNBC's answer to Katie Couric would be downright indignant had Romney run ads on welfare that included black people.
Here is Chris Hayes venting to socialist soulmate Rachel Maddow about what he considers the veiled racism of Romney's ads slamming President Obama for gutting work requirements in the 1996 welfare reform law (video after page break) --
The Times accused the Romney campaign of ads "falsely charging that Mr. Obama has eliminated work and job training requirements for welfare beneficiaries," claiming such "moves reflect a campaign infused with a sharper edge and overtones of class and race." Yet the claim made in Romney's ad holds up -- unlike the Times's claim that Romney's recent joke about Obama's birth certificate was playing the race card.
Setting up the stakes for Mitt Romney and the Republican National Convention on Monday’s CBS This Morning, journalists and pundits kept insisting that the candidate had to show his touchy-feely side.
Correspondent Jan Crawford plugged a CNN poll showing how Romney is “down 35 points on the question of whether or not he understands and is in touch with problems facing women.” Soon-to-be co-host Norah O’Donnell insisted Romney has to “convince middle class voters that he cares about issues that they care about.”
When this NewsBuster entered a Spanish-language press conference at the Republican National Convention this morning, he was surprised to find former New Hampshire Governor and Romney surrogate John Sununu at the podium . . . holding forth in fluent Spanish.
Interviewed after his remarks, Sununu told NewsBusters that he was born in Havana and that his mother was originally from El Salvador. "As a boy, when I was bad, my mother would chew me out in Spanish. And since I was bad a lot, I learned a lot of Spanish!" Before saying goodbye, Sununu added "I love Brent Bozell!", President of NewsBusters's parent organization, Media Research Center. View a brief clip of Sununu speaking Spanish after the jump.
The hosts and reporters on Monday's Good Morning America downplayed a new ABC News/Washington Postpoll showing Mitt Romney taking the lead over Barack Obama. It wasn't until the 8am hour that news anchor Josh Elliott specifically revealed the numbers: "When it comes to the economy, 50 percent trust Romney to handle it, while just 43 percent favor the President."
The poll has the presumptive Republican nominee at 47 points, Obama at 46 percent. As Hot Air pointed out, "This is the first time that Obama has lost the lead since a brief polling burst for Romney in January." Yet, Diane Sawyer simply told co-anchor George Stephanopoulos that the race was "virtually tied." She vaguely referred to the economic numbers, but spun, "More people trust Romney on the economy, but they think he favors the wealthy over the middle class."
Now that Hurricane Isaac missed Tampa thereby dashing liberal media hopes the Republican National Convention would be destroyed by it, so-called journalists are taking up a new theme to rain on Mitt Romney's pending nomination.
Take NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd who said on Sunday's Nightly News, "When you think as this storm moves to and closer to Louisiana, the specter, the sort of shadow of Bush and Katrina does hang over this convention" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Saturday's Fox News Watch, as the panel discussed the substantial attention the media devoted to Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin's claim that forcible rape victims rarely become pregnant as opposed to Vice President Joe Biden's "chains" gaffe, two recent studies by the Media Research Center -- parent organization to NewsBusters -- were cited. Host Jon Scott cited MRC analyst Scott Whitlock's study from Tuesday:
Comedy Central's Jon Stewart has made it crystal clear he wants Barack Obama to win in November.
On NBC's Meet the Press Sunday, former Florida governor Jeb Bush said, "I look forward to working on [Mitt Romney's] reelection in 2016 and making Jon Stewart awfully upset" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Sam Youngman at Reuters, and several others have attempted to pounce on a comment about "big business" GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney made at a Minnesota fundraiser on Thursday as some kind of equivalent to President Obama's out-of-touch assertion that "the private sector is doing fine" back in June.
In fact, what Romney actually said in large part explains why the private sector isn't doing fine. Here is the relevant text from Youngman (bolds are mine):
Obama campaign spokesperson Stepanie Cutter, appearing on MSNBC earlier this week, claimed that "over the past, you know, 27 months we've created 4.5 million private-sector jobs. That's more jobs than in the Bush recovery (or) in the Reagan recovery."
A Thursday Investor's Business Daily editorial plaintively asked: "Where are those allegedly unbiased fact-checkers when you need them?" As will be seen shortly, the answer is "AWOL."
Last week when President Barack Obama raised the old tale of how Mitt Romney once put his dog in a car top carrier, the NBC Nightly News gave a sentence to how Obama “took a dig at Romney” and the CBS Evening News didn’t mention it, but on Friday night both newscasts pounced on Romney for daring to make a birth certificate joke.
“Was it a joke?” fill-in NBC anchor David Gregory demanded, teasing a full story: “What Mitt Romney said on the campaign trail today that immediately erupted in controversy.” Reporter Peter Alexander recalled Donald Trump’s tie to Romney and highlighted how “the Obama campaign quickly cried foul, insisting ‘Romney’s decision to directly enlist himself in the birther movement should give pause to any rational voter across America.’”
Opening an hour-long special on the Mormon Church for Thursday's NBC Rock Center, anchor Brian Williams proclaimed to viewers: "Most Americans say they know next to nothing about the Mormon Church. Tonight, a rare look inside the lives of modern Mormon families....A church still dealing with the issue of polygamy....And other issues of inequality."
Teasing a report on the history of the Church, Williams promised to answer the question of "why so many Americans still today are suspicious of the religion." Introducing that portion of the broadcast, Williams touted pop culture mocking the faith, starting with a clip of Fox's Family Guy in which lead character Peter Griffin declares: "I'm going to be a Mormon....Come on, nailing a different wife every night. That's a no-brainer."
Instead of informing the public about Mitt Romney's energy plan unveiled on Thursday, CNN harped on a "distraction" in the form of Bain Capital documents released by the website Gawker.
Even an article on CNNMoney.com called the Bain files "worthless," and CNN reporters questioned the significance of the document dump, but correspondent Jim Acosta talked about it anyway on Thursday's The Situation Room, as a "headache" for Romney.
On Friday, CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller reported on Twitter that Mitt Romney's campaign was "slamming [the] Obama Admin citing reports of sale of Solyndra headquarters for fire sale price of $90-million," and how "US taxpayers lost $500-million underwriting Solyndra loans." Even with this and other developments in the past month, CBS hasn't covered Solyndra since June 1, 2012 on its morning and evening newscasts.
Knoller noted in subsequent Tweets that White House Press Secretary Jay Carney had defended the federal loan guarantee for Solyndra as a "merit-based decision" during an August 2, 2012 press gaggle, after a reporter asked about an impending congressional report on the scandal. Carney also stated during the presser that President Obama "firmly believes that it is the right decision to invest in clean energy technologies."
Earlier today, the liberal website Gawker did a document dump including 950 pages worth of confidential documents affiliated with Bain Capital.
The idea was to expose Mitt Romney's alleged tax-dodging schemes with offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands. Problem being, the parent corporation known as the Gawker Media Group has a little secret of their own.
CNN shot down Mitt Romney's claim that President Obama "gutted" welfare reform, despite experts who helped construct the actual 1996 law insisting that Obama did indeed strike at its heart by nullifying work requirements for welfare recipients.
"Problem is, President Obama calls this claim nuts," stated reporter Tom Foreman, who aired a clip of Obama calling it "patently false." Foreman relayed another White House talking point about how the states were granted waivers from some rules as long as the work participants increased by 20 percent, thus ensuring Obama's motive was to increase the law's effectiveness and not to change it wholesale.
After expanding their nightly coverage of the major political party conventions in 2008, the nation’s broadcast networks have decided to cut back this year. As a result, Ann Romney, wife of Republican candidate Mitt Romney, will be completely ignored when she speaks at the GOP convention next Monday in Tampa, Florida.
Between them, the broadcast nets still attract a significant plurality of American television viewers. While online news consumption has grown drastically, the vast majority of video, 94 percent, consumed by Americans is via their television sets, meaning that Romney will have a harder time introducing himself to non-political voters than President Barack Obama did four years ago.
I was beginning to hold out hope that the Associated Press was tiring of its partnership with the polling firm GfK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications.
No such luck. The latest AP-GfK poll on the presidential race of 1,007 people of whom 878 are registered voters shows Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney 48% to 44%. That four-point lead is down from 10 points in May and six points in June. The August poll only ended up with Obama in the lead because of extraordinary overweighting of Democrats and a ridiculously small percentage of people who describe themselves as strong Republicans.
Can we stop calling the hosts of the presidential debates "moderators"? They're left-erators. It's time for the old media godfathers to end the pretense that they're fair and neutral observers of the American political scene. And it's time for the GOP to stop perpetuating these rigged exercises in futility.
Last week, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced the names of 2012's chosen referees: CNN's Candy Crowley, PBS's Jim Lehrer and CBS's Bob Schieffer will preside over the three presidential debates; ABC's Martha Raddatz will host the sole vice presidential debate. While the debate panel trumpeted the gender diversity of its picks, the chromosomal diversity is far outweighed by the political uniformity, class conformity and geographical homogeneity of the group.