Shortly following the conclusion of the final presidential debate Monday night, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams posed this question to Richard Haas of the Council on Foreign Relations: "I noticed a columnist for the New York Times tonight tweeted out that this was an etch-a-sketch moment for Governor Romney....Did you see that kind of movement on his part?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Williams reminded viewers of the origin of the phrase: "It was obviously a knock of the campaign story that came up about changing policy, moving toward the center with an ease of erasing an etch-a-sketch." Haas avoided any validation of the liberal talking point: "I'm almost more comfortable, Brian, leaving the politics to others, about, you know, what Governor Romney was trying to do tonight."
Jay Leno took a shot at the President's handling of the economy Monday.
During his Tonight Show monologue, after saying Obama Halloween masks are out-selling Romney masks by 30 percent, Leno quipped, "Well, that makes sense. I mean, what's scarier than four more years of this economy?"
Count syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan among the commentators that felt Mitt Romney won Monday's presidential debate in Boca Raton, Florida.
Speaking on Fox News shortly after the event's conclusion, Buchanan said that by the end of the debate, "Romney was smiling, he was relaxed, he looked like a winner, and the president seemed, was making some petty attacks on him I thought, and seemed like he was frustrated that it was not ending the way he wanted" (video follows with transcript):
Talk about the law of unintended consequences . . . On today's Morning Joe, Willie Geist interviewed an audience member sporting a T-shirt reading "Mika Made Me Republican."
The good-natured fellow explained that his daughter had made the T-shirt for him, that he was an independent who had voted for Perot, and that he watches Morning Joe daily because he likes to hear what the other side has to say. Whatever it was that Mika has been saying, it has apparently driven him into the Romney camp. View the video after the jump.
Although much of Obama's media thought he won Monday's presidential debate in Boca Raton, Florida, Fox News's Chris Wallace saw it much differently.
Speaking moments after the event's conclusion, Wallace said, "I felt in the middle of the debate that if I had been on a desert island for the last four years, and I had just been parachuted into this debate, I would have thought the guy that turned out to be Mitt Romney was the President protecting a lead, and that Barack Obama was the challenger trying somewhat desperately to catch up" (video follows with transcript):
On PBS's Charlie Rose show on Monday, as the group discussed the night's presidential debate, New York magazine's John Heilemann described Mitt Romney's past statements on foreign policy as "relatively harsh and relatively bellicose," as he argued that Romney had faced political "dangers" in his foreign policy positions "because he's been surrounded by some number of neo-conservative foreign policy advisors."
Martha Raddatz boosted President Obama on ABC after the final presidential debate on Monday evening, just as she did during the earlier vice presidential debate that she moderated. Raddatz asserted that Obama "humanized what he was talking about. He talked a lot about the troops; he talked about the survivors from 9/11; he talked about the people in Israel. So if, in fact, he was going towards the female vote, he probably got their attention with that sort of approach." [audio available here; video below the jump]
Moments after the final presidential debate ended NBC's Brian Williams, on Monday, declared that Barack Obama came up with the line of the night. During NBC’s live post debate coverage the NBC Nightly News anchor told viewers: "We always try to look for the phrase or expression that will live forever out of these. Tonight has to be 'horses and bayonets.'"
Williams went on to call Obama’s snide comment "a very sharp comeback" to Mitt Romney. (video after the jump)
According to the initial report in The Canadian Press, UN special rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights Ben Emmerson has an urgent message for the American people which essentially adds up to a presidential endorsement for Barack Obama.
A Romney/Ryan administration, Emmerson warned, would use torture on enemy combatants detained at U.S. facilities, and could point to their election as evidence the public approves of torture. Even so, the broadcast networks have failed to pick up on what seems to be an unprecedented attempt by a United Nations official to influence a presidential election.
Going around the rope line at the bottom of his 7 p.m. Eastern edition of Monday's Hardball to ask folks whom they are supporting in the presidential race, Chris Matthews found a young man who said he was backing Romney because, unlike Obama, "he doesn't cover up scandals in the Middle East."
"What was the scandal? Get to it, nail it, what was the scandal?!" Matthews rudely barked at the Romney backer. Upon the young Romney supporter answering that he was referring to Benghazi and the administration's early dogged insistence that the fiasco was the result of a spontaneous demonstration over a YouTube video, Matthews barked back (emphasis mine), "Yeah, it was about the video. Read the newspaper. Thank you. Everybodyknows it's about the video. It's all about the video." [video follows page break]
During the last administration, CBS anchor Bob Schieffer was a red-hot advocate of closing the terrorist holding pen at Guantanamo. "This is just a boil. It's a cancer. This thing is not doing anybody any good,” he ranted on MSNBC’s Imus In The Morning show on June 9, 2005.
Schieffer’s ardor cooled considerably once Obama was elected. Will Schieffer bring up the “cancer” of Gitmo in tonight’s debate? Back in the Bush years, he repeatedly suggested it made us just like the terrorists we were fighting. Here’s how the Imus rant continued:
You don't know whether to laugh or cry upon reading the Sunday night shots campaign Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen at Politico took at Mitt Romney and his campaign.
Maybe these guys really believe that the Romney campaign is the one which still desperately needs a "last chance to move the needle in any significant way in the swing states that will decide the election," and that "Obama is slightly better positioned in the states that will dictate the outcome." If they do, my take is that the Romney campaign is playing possum, and the Politico pair, infused with Beltway naiveté and skewed polling data, are gullibly buying it. Several paragraphs from their effort follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
On Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory grilled Florida Senator Marco Rubio on Mitt Romney's "binders full of women" comment: "Can you understand why some women have that reaction, that he seems sort of out of touch with what modern women are going through?"
Gregory also seized on Romney's support of flexible work schedules for women as more evidence of a supposed disconnect: "He talked about the – the importance of flexibility so that, you know, women could get home early to be with their kids and make dinner. And he's gotten some criticism for that because it seems that there's a narrow view of what women's view – roles are, both at home and in the workplace."
MRC director of media analysis Tim Graham appeared on Lou Dobbs Tonight on Friday on the Fox Business Channel to discuss the media’s protective coverage of the Obama administration on the growing Benghazi scandal.
Graham said on the Big Three networks, "We've had 22 stories in the last couple of days about binders full of women and networks skipping out on covering Libya." (Video and transcript below)
Coming down the stretch of the presidential campaign, it looks like NBC political director Chuck Todd has put getting it right over any personal or network partisan leanings. On Morning Joe today, Todd declared that seven out of ten challengers in Mitt Romney's position in the polls win the election.
In an assessment sure to send shivers down Obama-camp spines, Todd added that "Romney appears to have the advantages going into the next couple of weeks." View the video after the jump.
Seventeen days before Election Day and 45 months after Barack Obama's inauguration following a presidential campaign during which he expressed his eagerness to meet enemy leaders "without preconditions" (Obama responded "yes" to a 2008 presidential debate question containing those words), the New York Times is reporting that the U.S. and Iran "have agreed in principle for the first time to one-on-one negotiations," despite the fact that the White House has "denied that a final agreement (to negotiate) had been reached," and despite a reactive AP report (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) claiming that while "The White House says it is prepared to talk one-on-one ... there's no agreement now to meet."
Despite the supposed certainty of the Times's headline ("U.S. Officials Say Iran Has Agreed to Nuclear Talks"), the paper's Helene Cooper and Mark Landler report that "American officials said they were uncertain whether Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had signed off on the effort." If Khamenei isn't on board, it doesn't matter what anybody else, including Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, says or does. Three years ago, two AP reporters covering the government's crackdown on dissidents noted Khamenei's "virtually limitless authority," i.e., he's the country's behind-the-scenes dictator. In a piece that's supposed to be about a supposedly important international development, Cooper and Landler predictably blow through quite a bit of ink and bandwidth trying to paint this development as a problem for Obama's GOP opponent Mitt Romney (bolds are mine):
Count former New York Times writer Virginia Heffernan as one of the media feminists who wanted to hit Mitt Romney with a binder for about a week. From her digital macrame rug on Yahoo News, Heffernan wrote an entire column insisting "The remark did not accomplish what he’d hoped. In fact, it tipped the hand of Romney’s women panic so thoroughly that it’s likely his court-the-undecided-females’ game is now thrown."
"Plus, it misses the mark of normalcy so absolutely that he comes off as comical," she guessed. "No wonder it became a meme on Twitter and other social media sites. Just in case the humor seems opaque, let me offer a binder full of analysis."
Drifting around the dial this morning, I happened on MSNBC's Weekends With Alex Witt. Within minutes, I was stunned by two Witt whiffs, to wit:
1. Criticizing the Tea Party's lack of "diverse thinking," she asked Joe Scarborough "how much has the Tea Party damaged the Republican party?" Joe gently explained that far from damaging the GOP, the Tea Party propelled it to historic landslide victories in 2010. 2. Witt later cast the Salt Lake Tribune's recent endorsement of Barack Obama as a "surprise," ignoring the fact that in 2008, the Salt Lake Tribune endorsed . . . Barack Obama. View the video after the jump.
In response to an innocuous joke Tagg Romney made on a radio show in North Carolina, Lawrence O'Donnell used the platform that is his late night talk show on MSNBC to taunt and threaten the oldest son of a presidential hopeful.
Seemingly as serious as a heart attack, the nearly 57 year-old O'Donnell challenged the 42 year-old to a fist fight "any time, any where". [ video and transcript below ]
He's "blown away and upset" that Gallup's daily tracking poll yesterday showed Mitt Romney ahead of President Obama by seven points. Press also wants everyone to know that the poll is meaningless. (audio clip after page break)
The New York Times' s acclaimed poll-meister Nate Silver has a reputation for statistical expertise, but he's getting some guff for dismissing Mitt Romney's recent large leads in the Gallup tracking poll.
Silver's Thursday evening post on his FiveThirtyEight blog at nytimes.com, "Gallup vs. the World" claimed that Gallup's "results are deeply inconsistent with the results that other polling firms are showing in the presidential race, and the Gallup poll has a history of performing very poorly when that is the case."
The Big Three networks (ABC, CBS and NBC) gave the faux furor over Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” statement in Tuesday’s debate a whopping 22 mentions through Friday morning. Yet when Vice President Joe Biden, on Thursday, told an audience member that Republican “young guns” like Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan had “bullets” aimed at him the networks delivered just a scant two total mentions (on NBC and CBS, ABC skipped the gaffe entirely.)
On the morning after the debate ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas, on Good Morning America, singled out the “binders” comment: “You remember the Big Bird line that dominated the conversations online and around the water cooler, in essence, after the first debate? Last night, it was another Romney comment, ‘binders full of women’ that caused the heat to turn on.”
On Friday's CBS This Morning, John Dickerson was all too eager to pour cold water on the latest Gallup daily tracking poll that has Mitt Romney with a seven-point lead over President Obama: "There is a lot of debate about that...poll - whether it lags behind where the race really is....there's also other criticisms about...the way it looks at likely voters...it's a bit of an outlier from some other polls. So, if you're Mitt Romney, you like it, but we should, with all polls, be really, really skeptical."
The CBS political director raised no such objections back in mid-September, when the morning newscast spotlighted the same poll at a point where the two candidates were in a statistical dead heat, with Obama slightly ahead among both registered voters and swing state voters.
Timothy Egan, a liberal reporter for the New York Times who is now a left-wing columnist for nytimes.com, wrote a post Thursday on the second presidential debate. It followed the paper's desperate-sounding editorial that same day that tried to paint Mitt Romney as sexist for a reasonable observation about flexibility for women in the workplace. While Thursday's editorial accused Romney of a "1952 sensibility," Egan generously pegged it at 1956. Great minds think alike...?
The time capsule quality of Romney the C.E.O., circa 1956, was evident in several answers. On pay equality, it was not just “binders full of women” that made Romney seem like someone who popped to life with a hula hoop in hand. “I recognize that, if you’re going to have women in the work force, that sometimes you need to be flexible.” But only so the little honeys can get home in time to cook dinner for the gang.
With Friday's Gallup tracking poll showing Mitt Romney with a 51-45 lead over Barack Obama, the crew at NBC's Today decided to focus on a much more reliable method of predicting the next President of the United States: Halloween mask sales. Co-host Matt Lauer announced: "...there's some science behind this when it comes to the election. For example, according to the Huffington Post, this year Obama masks are out-selling Romney masks by more than 30%." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lauer detailed how the candidate with stronger mask sales has won the past several presidential contests. Co-host Savannah Guthrie declared: "That's a perfect record....the polls are all over the place, so you know what? Maybe it's as good a predictor as any."
Running for president isn't just a long, arduous struggle anymore, it's downright dangerous! Proof of this can be found in hundreds of online death threats made against GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney that are receiving far less coverage in "mainstream" news outlets than when Barack Obama faced similar hostility while campaigning for the White House in 2008.
One example of the disparity between the coverage of the 2008 and 2012 campaigns is the multitude of death threats posted on the Twitter social website against the former Massachusetts governor since the second presidential debate on Tuesday.