The horserace coverage and media spin about Clinton's comeback notwithstanding, she actually trails Barack Obama right now where it really counts, in the number of delegates (her 24 to his 25) to the Democratic Convention.
John Hinderaker at Powerline notes the delegate count, numbers that the media rarely discuss when the dust settles on hyped primaries:
New Hampshire was a big win for John McCain and a serious setback for Mitt Romney. But do last night's results mean that Romney is finished? Not at all. In fact, he is the current leader on the Republican side in delegates, as tabulated by CNN.
Turns out on the Republican side, McCain has a meager 10 delegates compared to Huckabee's 18 and Romney's 24.
Given that and the fact that McCain was helped by crossover votes from liberal independents that he cannot count on in closed primary states, the media would do well to note McCain's challenge to run to the right in order to sew up the nomination, rather than take his victory in New Hampshire as a sign that's he's the new front-runner.
Anyone who has given birth to a child knows that post-partum hormones can really cloud your thinking. But your political views?
Apparently, when you are a conservative, or thought to be a conservative, reporters think you might move left after you give birth. That was the assumption ABC's JuJu Chang brought into her interview with The View's Elisabeth Hasselbeck on today's broadcast of Good Morning America.
Chang, who said she gave birth within nine days of Hasselbeck, was back on GMA with an interview of The View's co-host, labeled a conservative two times in the piece, who returned to her job this week as well. The interview was set up to be a chat between two new moms, but quickly became political.
Chang: Has motherhood changed your views at all - either your politics or just your worldview or your life view ?
Hasselbeck: I think motherhood stirs up questions about life. You look at it differently. I'm not voting just as a single woman anymore or just for myself. I'm actually looking at how this world will be shaped so that my kids can live in a place that's safe for them. And that is my main goal. I think it does change.
To riff off the Alice Roosevelt Longworth line: if you don't have anything nice to say about Rupert Murdoch, go sit next to David Shuster. The MSNBCer and former Fox Newser has no love lost for his old employer.
Shuster's latest is that Hillary, she of long memory, will be holding a grudge against Murdoch, whose NewsCorp owns the New York Post and Fox News, for the unflattering coverage the Post gave Clinton in the closing days of the New Hampshire primary campaign.
See Bonus Coverage at foot: "Clinton campaign spent 24 hours slicing and dicing each other."
Could the great irony be that the strong woman won because . . . people felt sorry for her? That's not just some right-wing media critic talking. It's a view emerging from left-wing circles. Apparently the libs are angry that the MSM was too biased towards Obama, so much so that it drove people to Hillary out of spite or sympathy.
Take the comments of Air America host Rachel Maddow during last night's MSNBC election coverage, in a remarkable exchange with Pat Buchanan and Chris Matthews. Who has been singled out for blame by the lefty blogosphere? None other than Matthews himself, who regularly waxed euphoric about Obama, going so far as to claim a week ago that an Obama victory in Iowa would bethe greatest story of the century.
On his blog The Daily Nightly, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams took offense at "spinning" about his Obama-swooning patter on MSNBC about how reporter Lee Cowan admitted they've found it hard to remain objective about the Obama phenomenon. NBC, biased? Williams said "rival political efforts" (the Clintons?) charged him with bias and that's "just ridiculous." The anchor demanded viewers look at NBC against and judge the "quality and fairness of our journalism." But isn't that a little like Gary Hart challenging reporters to look for Donna Rice? Exhibits of Cowan's liberal bias on the campaign (not to mention NBC's) have been posted here at NB. From the anchor's blog:
Lee admits "...it's almost hard to remain objective..." which as he implies is our goal in our work every day. He's referring to what all of us who have covered campaigns have felt from time to time: it's impossible to get the long view...the view from 40,000 feet...while operating at sea level, and inside the bubble.
Lee was talking about the swirl of excitement that has hit the Obama campaign after Iowa -- the crowds, the hoopla -- all of it. Today we learned that rival political efforts were spinning this as some kind of "bias" on the part of either Lee, or me, or this News Division, and that's just ridiculous. My response is as it always is in these situations: look at it again, listen to what's being said, and judge us by the quality and fairness of our journalism.
On Tuesday's The Situation Room, CNN's liberal political analyst Donna Brazile, formerly an advisor to both Bill Clinton and Al Gore, hinted that she was racially offended by some of the former President's recent attacks on Barack Obama. Invoking Clinton's labeling of Obama as a "kid," and his accusation that some of Obama's claims are a "fairy tale," Brazile expressed that, "as an African-American," she found Clinton's comments "depressing." Brazile: "For him to go after Obama using 'fairy tale,' calling him a 'kid,' as he did last week, it's an insult. And I tell you, as an African-American, I find his words and his tone to be very depressing." (Transcript follows)
On NPR’s evening newscast All Things Considered on Tuesday night, anchor Melissa Block talked to primary voters in Milford, New Hampshire, and the liberal ones were very expressive. One touted Hillary as "Mother Earth...a mother to take care of the country," and another broke down into tears at the similarities in the hopes inspired by Barack Obama and John F. Kennedy. She began with Steven Shaheen, making no effort to confirm or deny whether he was related to former New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne Shaheen:
STEVEN SHAHEEN: I just feel the country needs a woman to run this country. I think it needs like a Mother Earth. It needs a mother to take care of the country.
BLOCK, struck by the analogy: Mother Earth.
SHAHEEN: That’s how I feel, I mean, personally. She struck me as the person with more experience, she seems, you know, with a lot of intelligence, a lot of education, and it's a gut feeling inside — can't really put words to that.
On Tuesday's "Good Morning America," reporter Claire Shipman appeared touched by Hillary Clinton's emotional display at a New Hampshire diner on Monday. She exhibited no skepticism about the outpouring, describing it as "unexpected, spontaneous emotion." Not surprisingly, Shipman also speculated that Clinton could benefit in the polls from the event.
The ABC reporter rhapsodized, "From this woman in particular, who remains stoic publicly even as her emotional world caved in, who has cultivated such an image of strength and invulnerability, it was a surprise that just might pay off." Much of the segment related to crying in politics and whether it's now thought to be acceptable. However, Shipman clearly appeared to be fascinated with the New York senator's display of emotion in response to a question from a voter. She added, "And it's so fascinating when you are the first woman to make a serious stab at the presidency, every move, every emotion is fraught and scrutinized."
Are Hillary Clinton’s recent troubles the result of unfair press coverage? According to "The View’s" Joy Behar they are. On the January 8 edition of the ladies chat show, the co-hosts discussed Senator Clinton’s recent emotional breakdown when Behar exclaimed, "I feel like crying for her now. I feel so bad about how the press has been vilifying her."
As is expected for a woman who frequently gets her factswrong, the facts simply do not back her up. Even the allegedly "conservative" Fox News gave the New York Senator a softball interview. Since the fall, several negative stories about Senator Clinton broke that the network news simply did not pick up. Some of the most prominent examples include news that former President Bill Clinton left his wife in charge of Clinton Library documents that have not been released, and raising an extremely high amount of money from poor Chinese immigrants.
Following an interview with Hillary Clinton on Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith talked to "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer, who said of Barack Obama: "It makes people feel good to see someone who has managed to get where he has, a black American who won out in Iowa..."
The segment began with analysis of Clinton’s "display of emotion," which Schieffer thought was "rather touching." Schieffer even referenced former Democratic Senator and presidential candidate, Bill Bradley, who cried on camera, and declared "So at least, I guess we've come to accept that people can cry on camera and that's not a sign of weakness." Smith concluded: "It certainly got her back on the front page."
Following this discussion of Clinton, Smith went on to ask about Barack Obama:
Following a rather tough interview with Hillary Clinton yesterday, on Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith took a more sympathetic tone: "It is no wonder that all anyone is talking about, it seems, especially up here, is Hillary Clinton in that rare display of emotion."
In a taped interview with Clinton, Smith began by asking, "Do you think sometimes the fact that you are Hillary Clinton gets in the way of what you're trying to say?"In response, Clinton shared this observation: "You know, it could...one of the most common things people say to me on rope lines and in crowds is, oh, my gosh, you're so much nicer than I thought or you're so much prettier, you're so much this or that."
Smith then went on to ask about Clinton’s teary moment and worried about the campaign’s toll on the Senator:
There was a moment earlier today when you were in a diner, and a woman, a supporter of yours, turns to you and says, 'how do you hold it together?’...And you didn't quite hold it together...Because people will see this and interpret it in a million different ways, not the least of which is, well, the campaign's getting to her.
For the second day in a row, "Good Morning America" provided a gushing forum for Hillary Clinton's spin. On Tuesday's program, co-host Diane Sawyer asked the presidential candidate about her emotional display at a New Hampshire diner on Monday. The ABC journalist sympathetically wondered, "Is it different when a woman shows that kind of emotion and (sic) a man does?"
Sawyer certainly never broached the subject of whether Clinton contrived the wavering voice. Instead, she gingerly questioned, "Are you surprised so much is being made this morning?" Regarding the '08 candidate's recent defeat in Iowa, the GMA host carefully asked, "With those numbers coming in, what does President Clinton say to you at night or first thing in the morning? Is there a pep talk?" Sawyer followed up by speculating, "Does Chelsea write you notes and leave them under the door?"
One has to wonder if Robin Givhan is still atoning for what the Left perceives as a grievous sin against Hillary Clinton: expressing distaste for Hillary Clinton showing a bit of cleavage on the Senate floor. How else can you explain the fashion critic's January 8 Style section front-pager gushing over Hillary's emotional moment at a campaign event in New Hampshire yesterday (emphasis mine):
For a brief moment at a campaign stop in Portsmouth, N.H., Hillary Clinton let slip a glimpse of uncontrolled emotion. In response to a question from an empathetic voter who wondered how she remains upbeat and "so wonderful," Clinton's voice cracked as she conceded that the nonstop campaigning -- and all it entails -- is not easy.
This space has not served as an unmitigated cheering section for Mika Brzezinski. But kudos to the Morning Joe panelist for the well-deserved shot she took at John Edwards today.
Perhaps it was the Edwards's lack of candor that incited Mika's ire. It's been widely reported, as in this ABC News blog, that the former NC senator tried to exploit Hillary's now-famous emotional moment of yesterday:
Edwards offered little sympathy and pounced on the opportunity to question Clinton's ability to endure the stresses of the presidency.
"I think what we need in a commander-in-chief is strength and resolve, and presidential campaigns are tough business, but being president of the United States is also tough business," Edwards told reporters Laconia, New Hampshire.
But when Brzezinski asked Edwards at 7:10 AM ET today whether he had indeed criticized Clinton for tearing up, Edwards brazenly replied "absolutely not." When Edwards went on to proclaim his own machismo, Mika saw her opening and went for it.
Hillary Clinton secured interviews on all three network morning shows on Monday, but as CBS’s Harry Smith emphasized the New York Post "PANIC" headline and NBC’s Matt Lauer wondered if Hillary thought the voters were being charmed (but weren't doing their homework) about Obama, ABC gave her the softest interview of the day – with her former employee George Stephanopoulos. Which shameless producer makes the decision to let them play Patty-Cake?
ABC obviously presumes everyone knows of their previous professional relationship, since it was not disclosed. Stephanopoulos began: "She has taken charge of her campaign, Diane, running her war room out of her hotel suite, giving orders and I begin my interview by asking her what those orders are."
Pardon the viewer for hearing: "I begin my interview by asking her what my orders are."
I don't know how you top the example coming up for simultaneous outrage and doublespeak.
It's from Nedra Pickler of the Associated Press, covering Hillary Clinton's claim that Barack Obama -- known to yours truly as BOOHOO (Barack O-bombaOverseas Hussein “Obambi” Obama) -- is not a strong enough defender of abortion "rights."
During his eight years in the legislature, Obama cast a number of votes on abortion and received a 100 percent rating from the Illinois Planned Parenthood Council for his support of abortion rights, family planning services and health insurance coverage for female contraceptives. He voted against requiring medical care for aborted fetuses who survive, a vote that especially riled abortion opponents.
As MSMers go, A.B. Stoddard has been one of my favorites during this campaign season for her grown-up, no-nonsense style. The Associate Editor of The Hill is not someone given to flights of overblown rhetoric. That's why I was so struck by the brutal assessment of Hillary's predicament Stoddard just offered on MSNBC. The topic was Clinton's 11th-hour openness, reflected in her granting an interview to Access Hollywood to discuss her personal side, and epitomized during a campaign stop today when she got a bit misty while discussing the campaign and her hopes for America.
Norah O'Donnell invited Stoddard and WaPo's Chris Cillizza to psychoanalyze Clinton's latest move. At first it seemed Stoddard could be on her way to concluding that Hillary might have discovered a winning strategy. But suddenly, down came the axe . . .
Are the two major political parties hosting primaries this winter? Or is it just the Democrats? Viewers who saw Monday's edition of "Good Morning America" might assume the latter. The ABC program devoted a lopsided 14 minutes and 56 seconds to breaking down the race between Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. A scant 31 seconds were given to the competitive Republican race.
Over the course of the two hour program, GMA featured four segments on the Democrats and only a solitary (and brief) piece on the GOP contest. This included co-host Diane Sawyer interviewing Barack Obama twice. ABC anchor and former Bill Clinton operative George Stephanopoulos talked to Senator Hillary Clinton. Kate Snow discussed the state of the New York senator's White House bid. Aside from mentioning the latest GOP polls in the show's intro, the only analysis of the Republicans resulted from Sawyer asking Stephanopoulos this banal question: "And what about the Republicans?" The conversation that followed lasted 31 seconds.
Monday’s CBS "Early Show" was unusually tough on Hillary Clinton as co-host Harry Smith teased an upcoming interview with the New York Senator: "And with Clinton, why she's fighting for her political life." Co-host Maggie Rodriguez similarly teased the interview later: "Up next here on "The Early Show," Senator Hillary Clinton on why she's fighting for her political life." Finally, Harry Smith began the interview with Clinton using the phrase one last time for good measure: "Hillary Clinton is fighting for her political life, following her third place showing in the Iowa caucuses."
Smith’s first question to Clinton kept the pressure on:
Spent a lot of time in Iowa and New Hampshire over the last couple weeks following these campaigns, I've talked to a lot of voters. Plenty of people like you. They respect you. But there's a whole other group out there who are saying, it's time to turn the page. Is there any way you can get them back on to your side?
After Clinton emphasized her commitment to keep campaigning and getting her message out, Smith did not let up:
Over at The Huffington Post, blogger Dana Kennedy -- a former entertainment reporter for ABC, Fox News, and MSNBC -- asks a common question: "What if Bill Secretly Wants Hillary to Lose?" She claims she's been rooting for Hillary to win, but sadly, Bill is the star and Hillary is the "brainy plain Jane" who's been wronged by Bill's lack of discipline:
People hate Hillary so much that it's easy to chalk up their marriage as a codependence-fest. Certainly nobody was a bigger enabler than Hillary. I always hoped it wasn't proof she wasn't a total chump, but because she saw the big picture: herself as president.
But I have a vivid memory of a 15-minute interview I had with Hillary when I was covering her for the AP during the 1992 Democratic Convention in New York.
We were alone together in the back of a van going to the next stop. My impression of her was tough, brittle, super-smart. At the very end of my interview, I asked her about Gennifer Flowers, since that was the Clinton scandal du jour in 1992.
Prior to asking if America is "color-blind" in reference to Barack Obama’s recent success in Iowa, on Monday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith began the show by offering a sympathetic profile of the Illinois Senator:
There is no question that Barack Obama with his big win in Iowa is the candidate of the moment, boldly predicting that if he wins New Hampshire, he will be the next president. So who is this man? And how did he get here?...As I traveled with him, Barack Obama talked to me about the man who played almost no role in his life, yet turns out to be a great influence...Barack Obama Sr. left his wife, Ann Dunham, a white woman from Kansas whom he met at the University of Hawaii, when their son was just 2 years old. A brilliant civil servant from Kenya, Obama Sr. would study at Harvard, but he didn't come back until his son was 10. In his first book, Obama writes of a man whose mere presence controlled a room. 'It fascinated me,' Obama wrote. 'This strange power of his, and for the first time I began to think of my father as something real and immediate, perhaps even permanent.'
Pollster Frank Luntz has some 'splainin' to do writes Michelle Malkin, who has a post with video about one Granite State gentleman who's shown up in more than one Luntz focus group.
New Hampshire's a small state, but c'mon:
Yep. I think Frank Luntz, not any of the campaigns, is the one who needs to answer the questions about who Mr. Undecided is–and how he managed to end up in both focus groups. Transparency about how all of the people in the room ended up there would be wise.
At the top of Monday’s CBS "Early Show," newly appointed co-host, Maggie Rodriguez, teased an upcoming segment on race in politics in the aftermath of Barack Obama’s Iowa victory: "But besides the knock-down, drag-out political fighting in New Hampshire, we're asking the question this morning on everyone's mind, is America finally color-blind?" This just days after the "Early Show" declared that Obama’s success in Iowa meant that "history has been made."
Later in the 8am hour of the show, co-host Harry Smith led the segment with guests Joe Watson, a diversity expert, and Jon Meacham of "Newsweek." Smith began by asking a similar question as Rodriguez:
When Senator Barack Obama won the Iowa caucuses, he became the first presidential candidate of color to achieve a significant victory in the race for the White House. Is America turning color-blind? Ready to elect its first African-American president?
Smith asked for Watson’s reaction to Obama’s success and Watson declared, "I think it's a magnificent moment for America." Smith then turned to Meacham and gave this thoughtful insight on race and politics:
Jon Meacham, I was on the bus with Barack Obama a week or two ago in Iowa. We're driving along in the bus and the snow outside is as white as that state is, as white as New Hampshire is, what is -- what is going on here? Are people seeing past color? Is that possible?
ABC journalist Kate Snow continued her habit on Monday of parroting Hillary Clinton's campaign spin. Filing a report for "Good Morning America," she gushed over just how hard the senator is working for a resurgence in the polls. Snow raved, "No subject is too small. No issue too dense. Hillary Clinton is taking question after question from voters, from reporters."
Spinning seemingly ordinary tasks, Snow continued, "She's pounding the pavement, literally going door to door for votes." The GMA contributor also explained that "the new Hillary critiques Barack Obama for putting a lobbyist at the top of his New Hampshire campaign." Later in the segment, she repeated the phrase: "The new Hillary confronts Obama saying he's changed his positions." Snow has a long history of history of portraying Senator Clinton's every move as brilliant:
Candid criticism, or sour grapes towards a guy who's lapping MSNBC in the ratings? In any case, David Shuster and the rest of the Morning Joe crew took out after Bill O'Reilly this morning in the wake of the incident in which the Factor host was, shall we say, energetic in his efforts to speak with Barack Obama at a NH campaign event this weekend. Shuster called O'Reilly a "jerk" and "such a buffoon." Read accounts of the incident here, here and here.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: The press corps, for the most part, there are exceptions, loathe Mitt Romney. And the press corps loved to see all of the Republicans [at the ABC debate this past Saturday night] kicking the tar out of him, and they were all sitting there smirking. But I thought it was too much. I think if you're sitting at home in New Hampshire, you sit back after a while and you say, first of all, why does John McCain hate personally so much. But secondly, why are they all attacking Mitt Romney? He must be the guy with the ball; he must be the guy who's ahead.
I've said this before, but it merits saying again: We'll know that the news we're fed every day by the wire services, "newspapers of record," and TV networks is fair, accurate, and complete when those in search of the full picture no longer have to go to the editorials of the Wall Street Journal and Investors Business Daily to fill in Old Media's yawning information and coverage gaps.
Among the latest pieces evidence that we're not there yet -- Thursday's IBDeditorials.com opinion piece, which had this news from Britain's National Health Service (NHS):
The British have found a way to shorten those long, annoying waits for care and lower the rising costs of their universal access system. They'll let patients take care of themselves.
Move over, Bill Clinton. There's a new kid on the block when it comes to looking into the camera and not telling the truth to the American people . . . and his name is John Edwards. To his credit, George Stephanopoulos caught Edwards out today on a key tenet of Silky's candidacy . . . but then let things slide.
Edwards was a guest on This Week, and it didn't take him long to don his scourge-of-greedy-corporations mantle. Central to Edwards' pitch is the claim that you don't sit down with corporate interests, you fight them.
Fred Thompson today blasted the media for propagating a false rumor about his impending withdrawal, while reinforcing the role he has created for himself as the candidate in this race who does not suffer unwelcome questions gladly.
Back in Iowa, Thompson famously refused to respond to the debate moderator/school marm's demand for a hand-show on global warming. On this morning's Today, he declined to engage in horse-race speculation about his own prospects, then took the media to task for its propagation of that false rumor about his impending withdrawal. Weekend anchor Lester Holt interviewed the former Tennessee senator.