Carl Bernstein isn't just, on the basis of his Watergate-busting fame, a liberal icon. He's also a certified Hillary Clinton expert, having devoted years to researching and writing a definitive biography of her, A Woman in Charge. So his comments tonight on Hillary's graceless reaction to her stunning defeat at the hands of Barack Obama carry special weight, and are likely to reverberate through Dem circles. Here's Bernstein's brutal take, appearing on CNN .
CARL BERNSTEIN: One of the worst nights of Hillary Clinton's life. She had a chance at the end of the evening to be magnanimous, to say something about where her campaign is going to go. Instead she was shopworn, tired; it's exactly what they don't need, the Clinton campaign, and she's going to have an uphill fight from here in.
View the video here, not only to hear Bernstein's remarks, but to watch a Hillary acknowledge Obama's victory only in passing while spending most of the same sentence speaking of primaries to come.
Exit polls are saying that Barack Obama won big today in South Carolina, taking more than 80 percent of the black vote. Maybe more important, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards are battling for second place.
How might this change the nomination picture, and what does this say about the race card the Clintons have injected into the campaign?
On the east and west coasts today, two liberal columnists unleashed a torrent of vitriol at Hillary and Bill Clinton. At the Los Angeles Times, contributing editor Jonathan Chait [a past master of political hatred] asked Is the right right on the Clintons? Consider these blistering excerpts [emphasis added]:
Something strange happened the other day. All these different people -- friends, co-workers, relatives, people on a liberal e-mail list I read -- kept saying the same thing: They've suddenly developed a disdain for Bill and Hillary Clinton. Maybe this is just a coincidence, but I think we've reached an irrevocable turning point in liberal opinion of the Clintons.
As NewsBusters has been reporting the past couple of weeks, the media have been lambasting former President Bill Clinton for his atrocious behavior on the campaign trail.
On Friday, the wire service Reuters deliciously jumped on the Bill Bashing Bandwagon.
In an article titled "Bill Clinton Again Wagging Finger, Raising Eyebrows," author Deborah Charles began with a mainstream media lede that would have been unimaginable a few months ago (emphasis added throughout):
Count Craig Crawford as a dissenting voice in the media storm blaming the Clintons for the injection of race into the Dem primaries. The Congressional Quarterly columnist and MSNBC political analyst offered his unconventional wisdom on a special Saturday edition of Morning Joe today.
CRAIG CRAWFORD: I never understood exactly what Bill Clinton said that was supposed to interject race, actually. I know he was arguing at arm's length with Obama about the war and some other issues. It wasn't clear to me -- I mean the most direct reference to race I saw in this campaign was interjected by the media after New Hampshire trying to say that for some reason Obama lost New Hampshire because of racism. I never followed that one either.
Living in the DC area, Chris Matthews has surely been stuck in traffic more than once behind someone sporting the classic NRA bumper sticker: "If Guns Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Guns." Was Chris was listening too intently to NPR to consider the the truth of that pithy aphorism? You might think so, considering his anti-gun rant that seemed to assume that criminals, rather than law-abiding citizens, will obey restrictions on gun ownership.
On this evening's Hardball, riffing off Mitt Romney's Second Amendment defense during last night's GOP debate, Chris took aim at National Review's Deroy Murdock, a Giuliani backer.
Well, now Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D) is facing mounting pressure to resign for pretty much the same thing: lying about sex under oath in a legal proceeding. While I'm personally curious whether any Democrats, particularly those supporting Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) for president will come forward and defend Kilpatrick -- you know, urging him to stay in office and fight to "work for the people of Detroit" -- the more immediate concern here at NewsBusters is, are the media noting or ignoring Kilpatrick's Democratic Party affiliation?
The answer so far? No, at least not the Associated Press. Reporter Corey Williams failed to mention Kilpatrick's party affiliation, although Williams did note Kilpatrick faces similar legal problems as Clinton:
"Whose side is Joe Lieberman On?" demands the subheading for "The Demublican," a January 24 Newsweek Web Exclusive centered on Sen. Joseph Lieberman's (I-Conn.) endorsement of John McCain for President. In the interview, reporter Jeffrey Bartholet presses Lieberman from the left on a host of policy issues and questions and on his loyalty to the Democratic Party. For his part Lieberman often points to issues where McCain has left the conservative fold, such as climate change and the Gang of Fourteen.
At no point, however, does Bartholet ask Lieberman if he feels the "party has left him" on national security/war on terror issues.
Below are the agenda of questions. I've bolded the ones that skew leftward or suggest Lieberman is disloyal or has no good reason to back a Republican over his party's standard bearers. For the full interview, click here.
While spending the day in South Carolina, "Nightline" co-host Terry Moran could barely contain his awe over Bill Clinton and his political skills. The reporter lauded the former president as "the man often called the most gifted politician of his generation." While describing the ex-commander in chief's campaigning for Hillary Clinton in Saturday's primary, Moran rhapsodized, "He lectures and jokes around and feels your pain and implores you to believe."
Although the ABC journalist offered a few token questions about whether or not Bill Clinton is overshadowing his wife's run for the White House, Moran repeatedly slipped into the sort of fawning coverage that one would expect on "Access Hollywood." While intercutting clips of the impeached ex-president's stump speech, Moran asserted, "If you close your eyes while he talks...you could almost imagine it's 1992 all over again--[clip from '92 speech] --and a brilliant young governor is charming his way to the White House."
"Good Morning America" host Robin Roberts conducted a gushing interview with Hillary Clinton on Friday's show in which she essentially wondered if the Democrat plans on crying again. Roberts also blithely accepted the New York senator's claim to be focusing her campaign what can be done for America. She extolled, "I'm sure your tone will be well received this morning."
Overall, Roberts failed to challenge Clinton on pressing issues such as the economy or Iraq. Instead, after stating that the ex-first lady's campaign has been centered around experience, the GMA host offered this extraordinary softball: "Do you believe that your strategy of emphasizing your experience is paying off?" On the subject of the New York Times endorsing Clinton, Roberts seemed to accept the '08 contender's contention that she can "restore America and our leadership." To that comment, the ABC journalist replied, "And that's what you are saying was part of it. It was a ringing endorsement." But, Robert's query about Clinton's emotional state was the most over-the-top question:
Yesterday I noted that Eric Zorn of the Chicago Tribune slammed the Hillary Clinton campaign for lying about the context of Barack Obama's remarks about President Reagan's political leadership.
In the January 25 Washington Post, liberal columnist E.J. Dionne reminds readers that then-Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton had some kind words for the Gipper during his first campaign for president:
It was a remarkable moment: A young, free-thinking presidential hopeful named Bill Clinton sat down with reporters and editors at The Post in October 1991 and started saying things most Democrats wouldn't allow to pass their lips.
Ronald Reagan, Clinton said, deserved credit for winning the Cold War. He praised Reagan's "rhetoric in defense of freedom" and his role in "advancing the idea that communism could be rolled back."
The biggest news out of last night's GOP debate could be the hit taken by John McCain's reputation for straight talk.
For whatever reason, McCain chose to deny the undeniable: that on more than one occasion he has admitted not understanding the economy as well as he should. When the debate ended it took MSNBC no time to document the record. And a bit later, in the post-debate coffee klatsch, Chris Matthews and Howard Fineman unloaded on the Arizona senator for his fudging.
The Establishment Media hailed the study's lead "finding" -- 935 false statements by Bush Administration officials in the two-year period leading up to the launch of the War. The Associated Press, CNN, MSNBC, the Washington Post and -- of course -- the New York Times were all exhilarated to once again climb aboard the "Bush Lied - People Died" Express.
Yesterday, the Obama campaign put out an email from John Kerry condemning the "Swiftboating" of Barack. Today it's Michelle Obama's turn, and the candidate's wife has come out swinging. Here's the text of an email from Michelle Obama just received from the Obama campaign [emphasis added]:
In the past week or two, another candidate's spouse has been getting an awful lot of attention.
We knew getting into this race that Barack would be competing with Senator Clinton and President Clinton at the same time.
We expected that Bill Clinton would tout his record from the nineties and talk about Hillary's role in his past success. That's a fair approach and a challenge we are prepared to face.
What we didn't expect, at least not from our fellow Democrats, are the win-at-all-costs tactics we've seen recently. We didn't expect misleading accusations that willfully distort Barack's record.
A woman has the hots for former President Bill Clinton, "The View’s" Joy Behar. Discussing the former president’s recent confrontation with a CNN reporter, Behar announced she still has "the hots for the guy" and "women respond" to a man notorious for sexual indiscretions.
Sherri Shepherd and right of center co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck added Bill Clinton is "very charming" and "extremely charismatic." Whoopi Goldberg told the story of her mother’s star struck meeting adding Clinton has "got it" "that just grabs somebody."
"Good Morning America" correspondent John Berman filed a snide report on Thursday's show that mocked the "not-so-big time," occasionally C-list, celebrities backing Republican presidential candidates. Berman framed the segment as a "bizarro awards show" (see picture at right) and it played out like a bad "Saturday Night live" sketch. The ABC correspondent sarcastically mused, "Best portly retiree with a big mustache? Backing John McCain, Wilford Brimley."
Clearly, Berman's point was that the "cool kids" are behind the Democrats. Of another nominee, he added, "Best estranged relative of Angelina Jolie? The winner? Jon Voight, backing Rudy Giuliani." Mentioning Chuck Norris's support for Mike Huckabee and the action star's explanation of why he didn't choose McCain, Berman derided, "[Norris] also prevailed in the category of most creative math skills, trying to say John McCain is old."
It's quite a sight to behold when media "has-beens" start drinking the doom and gloom Kool-Aid offered up in the media.
Sam Donaldson, who covered the Reagan White House for ABC and who now is a contributor to the network's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," last night told a gathering in Georgetown that the U.S. economy is going "in the dumper" and criticized the Democratic presidential candidates for not capitalizing on it.
As long as we’re in the habit of wondering about those "nonpartisan" groups being touted by reporters, what about AP reporter Deborah Hastings writing about the fight over voter fraud and requiring voters to show some form of ID? As the Supreme Court considers an Indiana law, touted as the strictest law in requiring a photo ID, Hastings writes "If the law is upheld, voting rights advocates fear it will encourage conservative lawmakers across the country to enact equally restrictive measures."
Hastings repeatedly suggests the battle is between conservatives and nonpartisans. The prospect of the Supreme Court upholding Indiana "worries voters’ rights groups." Such as?
"If it's upheld, we're certainly concerned that these same issues will resurface" in other states, said Justin Levitt of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University....
Time online editor Ana Marie Cox apparently believes a dated quip by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney should be considered a "macaca moment." During a Florida event on Monday, Romney, joking with a group of young people, quoted a rather lame song by the Baha Men. After asking who had a camera, he blurted, "Who let the dogs out? Who? Who?"
Now, most people would simply smile or appreciate Romney's friendly, if somewhat dorky, sense of humor. Cox, however, at Time's "Swampland" blog, wondered, "Shouldn't it be a 'macaca moment'? I suspect he's not being pilloried for it because the moment [sic] less offensive than it is cringe-inducing..." She also described the candidate's comments, which occurred at a Martin Luther King day event, as "jive talking." (Hat tip to Hot Air, who also remembered that Cox previously went after Romney for not taking proper care of the family dog.) Is Time's online editor simply looking for a scandal, any scandal, to hit Mitt Romney with?
"I like how you think, senator," cooed "Late Show" host David Letterman in agreement with John Edwards's charge that "most of what" Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly says "is crap."
Letterman had asked the former senator about his "feud" with O'Reilly over Edwards's charge that the Bush administration is failing to care for military veterans to the extent that hundreds of thousands are winding up homeless.
The exchange came in a jovial January 22 interview in which Edwards joked about having Letterman as his running mate, or at the very least as a celebrity endorser a la Oprah Winfrey.
"Good Morning America" co-host Diane Sawyer used an interview with Senator Barack Obama on Wednesday to repeatedly plead for a truce between the Democratic presidential contender and his chief opponent, Hillary Clinton. Discussing the verbal battle that took place during Monday's debate, Sawyer implored, "We have heard a lot of people say they are exhausted by this charge, counter charge."
Later in the segment, the GMA co-host reiterated the need for calm, saying, "So, is this done? Is it a truce for future debates? No more of that kind of back and forth?" Clearly, a contentious conflict between the two liberal heavyweights bothered Sawyer. (This is, it should be restated, the same show that in early 2007 featured a reporter sizing up the Obama/Clinton battle as one between the Illinois senator's "fluid poetry" and the former first lady's "hot factor.") She closed the segment by, yet again, repeating the same question. After Obama speculated that further debates would relate to issues and not personal attacks, the ABC journalist hopefully queried, "Sounds as if you're really declaring a truce this morning. Different tone?"
In an usually tough interview with Barack Obama on Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith asked the Illinois Senator about a financial scandal involving Tony Rezko, that Hillary Clinton brought up during Monday’s Democratic debate on CNN: "This is a guy that's facing federal charges of fraud and influence peddling next month. What is your real relationship with Tony Rezko?"
While such tough questioning of presidential candidates is certainly appropriate, one wonders why Harry Smith never asked Hillary Clinton about her involvement with convicted felon, Norman Hsu, who made significant financial contributions to the Clinton campaign. On September 18 of last year, while Clinton was asked about the Hsu scandal by co-host Matt Lauer on NBC’s "Today," Smith was busy touting her health care plan on CBS, ignoring Hsu completely:
In a post to his Change of Subject blog, Chicago Tribune's Eric Zorn practically pressed Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) to go further than just stopping short of calling former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) liars:
Why stop short? The Clintons are lying about Obama's remarks on Reagan
(Barack) Obama stopped just short of calling (Hillary) Clinton and her husband liars... from the Swamp's live blog of last night's Democratic debate.
Hmm. I see no reason to stop short. Bill and Hillary Clinton have lied brazenly about Obama's recent statement about Ronald Reagan.
Zorn then turned to comments from both Clintons and an extended transcript of Obama's remarks to give readers a full and fair context for those remarks. Zorn got to the heart of the matter by concluding that the Clintons are hoping to tap residual left-wing hatred of Reagan even though they should and likely do know that the Gipper's political prowess offers lessons for Democrats, even if they lay asunder his policy goals (emphasis mine):
Tom Brokaw says his most conservative friend has told him he might vote for Hillary Clinton. I for one believe the former NBC News anchor. Hillary supporters might indeed constitute the rightmost fringe of his friend set.
Whoopi Goldberg has proven to be no Rosie O’Donnell. While Rosie’s successor on "The View" does lean to the left, she has taken some conservative positions like attacking the death tax. The January 22 edition was another example.
Discussing a recent CNN story on black women torn between Obama and Clinton, Whoopi felt "pissed off" that the media would simplify individuals to voting their gender or race. Elisabeth Hasselbeck agreed questioning if this story "undermines the intelligence of the individual" adding "it’s pretty ridiculous." Sherri Shepherd joined the consensus opining "a lot of black women are very angry" adding she wants "the best person who’s going to lead the country."
Predictably, Joy Behar dissented adding "all things being equal" she would vote for the woman over the man. Hasselbeck continued that she just sees "the individual."
On Sunday’s edition of the Chris Matthews Show (syndicated by NBC), Time managing editor Richard Stengel applied the usual superlatives to Bill Clinton, in describing how he will overshadow any mere Vice President if Hillary is elected: "But the other thing that’s going to be hard is, if you have Michael Jordan on your team, i.e., Bill Clinton when it's a troubled game, aren't you going to call him and say, ‘Let's play?’ If you're the Vice President, you're completely eclipsed by him."
This Michael Jordan encomium means more coming from Stengel, who played some college B-ball for Princeton.
Stengel also felt the 2008 race was shaping up like Bill’s win in 1992, on the heels of a "Bush recession." Chris Matthews previewed that chat: "When we come back, Republicans already have an unpopular war to run on. Now it looks like a recession. Are they bound to lose in November?"
Not that there was much doubt, but let's make it official: MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski is firmly in the Obama camp. The capper came during today's opening segment of Morning Joe. After Chris Matthews offered a plausible explanation for Obama's "present" votes in the Illinois senate, David Shuster used an apt metaphor to describe Barack's less-than-trenchant rhetorical style.
DAVID SHUSTER: It's in Barack Obama's interest to say it as sharply as you [Matthews] just did, and his inability to sort of navigate in these debates, like the giant aircraft carrier trying to make a turn. If he could make the point as simply as you just did he would be fine but the way he's trying to explain and defend everything, it's like a guy who skis down a hill who makes these wide, swooping turns, and after awhile, you know, that's not, you don't get down very fast that way.
That's when Mika made her allegiance unmistakable.
The first story discusses the three Democratic candidates - Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards - and their appearances at various black churches on Sunday. Each candidate makes determined efforts to woo the African-American vote, while mentioning Dr. King.
The second story discusses the three Democratic candidates again, and how they chose to honor Dr. King today at various memorial services.
The three rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination stood together on the steps of the state capitol here on Monday in a brief display of political unity as they remembered the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
So were the Republican presidential candidates even aware of today's holiday honoring Dr. King?