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.
On the bright side, during Friday's The Situation Room, one day after CNN's Bill Schneider ludicrously called Democratic voters in Iowa "pretty moderate," the political analyst labeled Barack Obama as "liberal," and CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin later called Obama "very liberal" as he recommended that the Hillary Clinton campaign should be attacking the Illinois Senator's voting record. Toobin further said that, as a state senator, Obama "had one of the most liberal voting records in a fairly liberal state." (Transcript follows)
On Friday afternoon, CNN's liberal contributor Roland Martin suggested that most people who are pro-life seem "hateful" as he was describing Mike Huckabee's need to reach out to non-evangelical voters. During an appearance on CNN Newsroom at about 1:47 p.m. with anchor Kyra Phillips, Martin contended that Huckabee needs to pursue a strategy similar to that of President Bush in 2000: "Sure, [Huckabee is] a staunch pro-life person, but he isn't perceived as being hateful as other people who are pro-life." (Transcript follows)
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of Martin's comments from the Friday January 4 CNN Newsroom:
On the eve of the Iowa caucuses, NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd disclosed thatthe media was poised to take a third-place McCain finish there and use it to catapult him to victory in New Hampshire. McCain actually finished fourth in Iowa, but on Good Morning America today we saw a perfect example of the phenomenon Todd predicted.
ABC declared that McCain is "surging," "rising in the polls," may have "the most momentum," used "The Mac Is Back" as its screen graphic, and portrayed Mitt Romney in a highly unflattering light. There was only one small problem with ABC's depiction of a McCain surge: the latest poll numbers from the organization that nailed the Iowa results . . . reveal that McCain slipped in the polls overnight and lost ground to Mitt Romney.
Public radio is a left-wing preserve, but some corners of public radio are so far to the left that they treat liberals as gangsters and monsters. A brief listen to Pacifica Radio's "Democracy Now" program on Thursday brought me to a segment on the presidential candidates, and how they're all, from left to right, compromised by their warmongering national-security experts. Radical journalist Allan Nairn attacked Mike Huckabee, for example, for failing to treat Bill Clinton as a war criminal:
ThePolitico.com continues to publish hatchet hackery on Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson, with today's false coverage of Sen. Thompson's speech to supporters after his third-place finish in the Iowa Caucuses.
Politico reporter Roger Simon recently lied in The Politico about an incident at an Iowa fire hall involving Sen. Thompson and a fire helmet - an "error" that The Politico has never corrected even though video of the event clearly exposed the error.
Today, video again shows The Politico to be publishing fiction about Fred. This time, it is writer Ben Adler's coverage of the Thompson campaign's Iowa Caucus after-party, which uses words like "resignation" and "lackluster," though the video of the event clearly contradicts that depiction.
Now that whiter-than-Wonder-bread Iowa has punched Barack Obama a first-class ticket to New Hampshire, can the mainstream media, particularly the New York Times, shut up about whether America is ready for a black president? That's what Michelle Malkin rhetorically asked on her blog before giving readers the answer.
Well, it looks like the answer is no. No, the MSM won’t stop yammering about un-diverse white voters. Here’s the NYTimes editorial this morning, right on cue as I predicted, clamoring for an end to the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary by zeroing in on its lack of, you guessed it, racial diversity:
At the top of Friday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith declared: "The votes have been cast and history has been made. Democratic voters in Iowa give African-American Senator Barack Obama a giant victory."
Shortly following this "historic" proclamation, Smith also commented: "Barack Obama, the big winner on the Democratic side," and spoke of both the Obama and Huckabee wins in these terms: "What a stunning night last night, a big surprise, big votes for change."
Smith continued the "stunning" theme of Obama’s victory throughout the opening segment of the show:
For the Democrats, Obama came in first with 38% of the vote. Stunning. 38%...Now, while the polls may have predicted it, it was still no less a breathtaking win for Barack Obama because he became the clear winner in the Iowa caucuses last night...With a record turnout and support from the under-30 crowd, independent voters, and first-time caucus goers, Barack Obama stunned the political establishment, and much of the country, with his clear and decisive victory Thursday night in Iowa.
Smith also discussed the surprise win of Mike Huckabee, but did not place the Republican Governor’s victory in the same historic terms.
On the PBS talk show "Charlie Rose" Thursday night, Newsweek editor Jon Meacham declared that Hillary Clinton was right that it was a "great night for Democrats" and a bad night for Republicans. He scoured Mike Huckabee as an embarrassment: "Do you really want to see if a Southern Baptist minister who took two days to find out about the National Intelligence Estimate about Iran is going to be your standard bearer in a world at war?" He also declared it was "a rather odd thing for the Republicans of Iowa" to "say to the world that the strongest possible president is a Governor of Arkansas who does not have a great deal or any real foreign policy experience." Meacham seemed to have no sense of irony that the same words were easily spoken of Bill Clinton in 1992, and Rose didn’t call him on it, even though they joked "how many presidents does Hope, Arkansas get in one lifetime?"
Meacham also never thought it was odd that the Democrats of Iowa said to the world that the strongest possible president is a man with three years experience in the U.S. Senate who said (a) that he would meet with America-hating dictators and strongmen like Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez without preconditions and (b) then wildly swung back to suggesting he would bomb inside Pakistan to strike al-Qaeda. Meacham, who honored McCain’s courage for supporting the surge in Iraq, never mentioned Obama thought it was a mistake. When it came to the Democrats, Meacham sounded like he was offering a toast:
"Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts used the label "fundamentalist Christians" to describe the Iowa supporters of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. During an interview on Friday's program, she also noted that America "saw, there, in your offices in Iowa, right before the caucuses, people praying there in your, in your office."
The ABC journalist also grilled the '08 contender, fresh from his caucus victory, on the subject of creationism and evolution. Citing a new National Academy of Sciences report, Roberts asked, "Do you agree with that, that creationism should be kept out of our classrooms?" After Huckabee stated that, as governor, he never dealt with the question, the host repeated her question: "Should creationism be banned from the classroom. Yes or no?"
Of all the ways Harry Smith could have opened this morning's historic Early Show, he chose to do so by waving today's Boston Herald with its one-word front page "Shazam!" above a photo of Mike Huckabee. Smith described Barack Obama simply as the "big winner" on the Democratic side.
View video here [with apologies for low audio level].
Conservative Iowans who voted for Mike Huckabee on Thursday night may have been casting a vote for social conservatism, but media liberals cheered the victory as proof that Reaganism is dying in the Grand Old Party. In his live washingtonpost.com Web chat at 10 pm on Thursday night, Washington Post associate editor Robert G. Kaiser (formerly the Post’s managing editor, the second-in-command) declared with some joy that the Reagan coalition is "fracturing" due to the Huckabee win. But Kaiser also mocked Huckabee as unelectable. "Are we going to elect a president who dismisses Darwin? Are we going to elect a Baptist minister? I doubt it." He predicted fiscal conservatives and national-defense conservatives would vote Democratic or stay home instead.
Before he took any questions, Kaiser made this opening statement:
Chris Wallace and Mike Huckabee campaign chairman Ed Rollins got into it a bit during an interview on Fox News after the announcement that Huckabee took Iowa. During the exchange Wallace had asked Rollins about a blog article that appeared on Townhall.com where Rollins was allegedly overheard bad mouthing Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani.
The blog article must have hit a sore spot as Rollins became defensive in explaining his comments that appeared in the blog entry while confirming that he did indeed say some of the things that were attributed to him. (video at Webloggin)
Wallace took the opportunity to follow up on that answer in an exchange where Rollins became agitated, calling Wallace and the rest of the Washington press corps "wise men", with a final swipe that "all the wisdom doesn't live in the press corps."
Americans catching the U.S. election coverage on BBC/World on Wednesday night found a typical dose of leftish European bias. While Katty Kay reported the Republicans were dismayed by a supposed teenage "dating game" of disappointment with candidates like Romney and Huckabee, Matt Frei had a warmer take on Hillary Clinton: "Her stump speech sounds as soothing as a bedtime story and her big selling point, experience." Hillary even claimed a role in the Irish peace process during Bill’s presidency.
MRC’s Michelle Humphrey found and transcribed these snippets of Brit bias:
MATT FREI, BBC: Hillary Clinton's people chose a Methodist church in Indianola for one of her last campaign events here. At this late, desperate stage in the Iowa campaign, every bit helps including a sprinkling of Hollywood star dust, hence the appearance on stage of actress Mary Steenburgen and her husband Ted Danson. Then its time for the real star. Daughter and mother in tow. Is Chelsea learning the family business, one wonders?
HILLARY CLINTON: Long before I was ever followed around by all these cameras.
What must be the most ridiculous claim of the night's Iowa caucus coverage came on CNN when political analyst Bill Schneider argued that because only 16 percent of Democrats who showed up to caucus call themselves "very liberal," that these Democrats are "pretty moderate voters," but that Republican voters are "very conservative." Schneider based his claims simply on how voters chose to identify themselves for CNN's entrance poll of those who arrived to caucus: "The Democrats are moderate. Only about 16 percent of them call themselves 'very liberal.' There's a cliche that only liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans show up. That's half true. Republicans are very conservative. Almost half of them say they are 'very conservative.' But Democrats are pretty moderate voters." (Transcript follows)
NBC’s Today interviewers showed a dramatic contrast in interviewing presidential contenders on Thursday morning. Meredith Vieira interviewed Barack Obama with supportive questions about his voice and mildly challenging horse-race inquiries about how he would finish. "And yet some people say despite all the energy, you are short on specifics and that all that energy may not translate into people going to the caucuses." But David Gregory aggressively pressed Mitt Romney about being mean: "If you win here in Iowa and in New Hampshire you will have done so by going negative. Is that the tenor of a campaign that Americans can expect from you if you're the nominee?" He also quoted alleged conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks, who sneered in print against Romney: "In turning himself into an old-fashioned, orthodox Republican, he has made himself unelectable in the fall."
MRC's Geoff Dickens found that around 7:10 am, Vieira asked these questions to Sen. Obama:
Alright, so Hillary Clinton bills herself as better suited for the Oval O because she has foreign policy experience, plus eight years as First Lady. And we all remember that then-Gov. George W. Bush was mocked in 1999 for not knowing who the military dictator of Pakistan is.
So why the media silence on Hillary Clinton's goof in thinking that Pervez Musharraf is up for election in Pakistan? In fact the elections that were scheduled for January 8 prior to Benazir Bhutto's assassination are parliamentary elections.
After asking Senator Clinton all softball questions such as how she keeps herself "going everyday," to what nick name she would like if she wins Iowa, "Fox and Friends" asked Governor Huckabee fair but much tougher questions.
The presidential nominating contest keeps creeping earlier and earlier into the election year. The Iowa caucuses are 16 days earlier than in 2004. The New Hampshire primary is 19 days earlier than in 2004. Before the first results, the media were already pushing the contenders around, predicting that most presidential campaigns are toast if they don’t win in one of these states, and in so doing, are only advancing that perception.
All the talk of reforming the primary system – to make it more logical, more rational, more regional, more representative, less tilted to traditional first states like Iowa and New Hampshire – all of these do less for a rational nomination process than reforming the reporters and pundits who want to declare the whole race over from the first shot of the starting gun.
In 2004, John Kerry was estimated to have sealed the winning number of convention delegates by March 11, and the conventional media wisdom was talking him up as the nominee after the primaries on February 3. By the 6th, the Reuters wire service put out a story headlined "Kerry Presidency Seen [As] a Boon for U.S. Markets." Soon, CBS and other media outlets started investigating and attacking the National Guard record of President Bush, as if they were following the orders of Kerry advisers. The general election seemed already under way.
On Thursday's "Good Morning America," reporter Chris Cuomo saw dark motives in Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's attacks on Democrat John Edwards and his "Two Americas" rhetoric. The GMA host conducted a combative interview with the 2008 contender and even alleged that Romney's comments could even be construed as an example of "ignorance."
After playing a clip of the former governor dismissing Edwards's contention that there is a rich and poor America, Cuomo argumentatively asserted, "When you say, 'This is one America,' that could be a unity statement or it could be one of, perhaps, ignorance to the fact that in this country you have the rich growing at ten times the rate as the working class. Do you deny that is the situation in this country?" The ABC journalist then helpfully added, "You trying to make a different point?"
For the second day in a row, and the sixth time in less than a year and a half, a "Good Morning America" anchor speculated on whether Senator Barack Obama can overcome racism in his presidential bid. During a particularly fawning interview on Thursday's program, host Diane Sawyer referenced a quote from the senator on the subject and hypothesized that, in a white state like Iowa, "people have shown they are willing to look beyond race in this country. Has that victory been won, whatever happens tonight?"
On Wednesday, GMA co-host Chris Cuomo posed the same question to fellow Democrat John Edwards. He asked the presidential aspirant about the nature of Iowa voters, theorizing, "When you think people get into the room, do you think race or gender may play an unspoken role in the caucus voting?" Cuomo, back on December 20, 2007, fretted over whether Obama could overcome "America's inherent...racism." Sawyer herself once asked the Illinois senator if America is "secretly...more racist or more sexist"
If things don't work out for Hillary with this presidential thing, she can always do stand-up out in LA. Or not. If you didn't catch her side-splitter on last night's Letterman, you can view it here, as rebroadcast on MSNBC this morning.
For those taking nitrates who might not want to risk a sudden drop in blood pressure by watching the clip, here's the text of Hillary's rib tickler:
Dave has been off the air for eight long weeks because of the writers' strike. Tonight he's back. Oh well. All good things come to an end.
Despite recent campaign flubs that have significantly challenged the inevitability of Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) winning the Democrat nomination for president, the supposedly smartest woman in the world continues to go after prominent media members.
After highly-publicized attacks on NBC's Tim Russert and David Gregory last year, Hillary has now set her sights on CNN's Lou Dobbs, referring to "commentators who are doing well for themselves by making [immigration] a hot issue," while asking "does all that hot air solve anything?"
On Wednesday's "Lou Dobbs Tonight," the host marvelously struck back by stating that "candidates that pander to both extremes, are, as far as I am concerned, abject fools" who "will pay a price for it in the general election when they have to answer to the great center of the country":
Liberalism is dominant in the Democratic Party, the "progressive wing" and the "Net roots" are triumphant. But in confirming that fact with a Dan Balz "news analysis," The Washington Post used headlines on Thursday morning's front page that beat around the bush (or Bush). On page one, it was "Choosing a Candidate, and More: For Democrats, Party’s Tone and Image at Stake." Inside the A section, the headline after the jump was also vague: "Democrats Also Choose a Style of Leadership." The lede is clear, buried inside in paragraph seven:
Two Democrats who do not always see eye to eye on issues agree that there is substantial unity in the party on the big questions.
"The big arguments of the last years have been won by progressives, partly in response to the populist outrage against Bush," said Robert L. Borosage, co-director of the liberal Campaign for America's Future.
In a quick round of team coverage of top Democratic and Republican candidates in Iowa on Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show, " Political Correspondent Dean Reynolds led the segment with this glowing assessment of Barack Obama’s campaign:
Well, it's all about momentum now, and thanks to a promising poll from an influential newspaper, Barack Obama seems to have it and the others don't. Obama flew across Iowa lifted on the wings of a private jet and the news that he's ahead of his two main rivals. He was clearly encouraged by the priceless publicity.
Reynolds went on to promote the idea of Obama’s inevitability, something once reserved for Hillary Clinton: "A selling point now is Obama's electability, that the polls show him beating any Republican."
That observation was followed by this cheap shot sound-bite from Obama speaking about Republican rivals: "I intend to whup’em so good that it won't even be close and they can't steal the election." So much for Barack Obama reaching out to "every potential voter," as co-host Harry Smith suggested in his December 18 interview with the Illinois Senator: "Up in the northwest part of the state, the politics are conservative, but for a candidate locked in a tight race, every potential voter needs to be reached."
Credit Chuck Todd for candor. The NBC News Political Director has acknowledged that the media is poised to take a third-place finish by John McCain in Iowa, declare him the winner and catapult the Arizona senator to victory in New Hampshire. Todd appeared with the Politico's Roger Simon on this afternoon's Hardball.
If Hillary Clinton’s trying to warm up her image in the last days before the first presidential vote, NBC’s Meredith Vieira threw another log on the fire, vouching strongly for her personal warmth on Wednesday’s edition of Today. "Her every word and move is caught on tape and while her critics assail Clinton as overly calculating, up close the Senator and former First Lady is natural, confident and warm," reported Vieira as she followed Hillary on the trail in Iowa.
After her report was over, Vieira underlined that private-warmth line to co-anchor Matt Lauer: "she's excellent, one-on-one with people. You know she has the image of being very cold and calculating but she's great one-on-one. I actually took my son Ben, who's a freshman in college, and wants to be president. He told her that and they sat and talked for the longest time and it was very genuine. I think she relates a lot to young people."