As soon as I realized that Maureen Dowd's column of today, "Rush to Judgment" was indeed about Rush Limbaugh's recent observations about Hillary's looks, I braced myself for the backlash.
Surely Dowd would seek to unload on Rush for having said, in commenting on an unflattering photo of Hillary [displayed here] that turned up on Drudge, "will this country want to actually watch a woman get older before their eyes on a daily basis?” Added Rush “men aging makes them look more authoritative, accomplished, distinguished. Sadly, it’s not that way for women, and they will tell you.” And Hillary “is not going to want to look like she’s getting older, because it will impact poll numbers, it will impact perceptions [so] there will have to be steps taken to avoid the appearance of aging.”
And so I continued to read, and wait, and wait -- for the comeback that never came.
In an especially glowing interview with Barack Obama on Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith lobbed softball after softball at the Illinois Senator, including this question about the successful troop surge in Iraq: "Obama is positioning himself as a candidate for change, particularly on the war. Were you a fan of the surge?" Obama’s response was not surprising, but did defy all logic:
No. And it's fascinating to me how the surge is now being defined as a success. That central question remains -- how do we get a change in behavior amongst Sunni, Shia, and Kurds? The only way I believe to trigger that change is to send a clear signal that we are withdrawing, we're not going to have permanent bases there, we will be a partner with them to help stabilize the country, but they've got to make some decisions.
As noted here, Chris Matthews yesterday named former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack a member of Hillary's "eunuchs chorus," people he derided for "saying whatever the Clinton people told them to say." Today, Matthews might be claiming vindication. In an MSNBC interview with Andrea Mitchell, Vilsack parroted Hillary's word-'o-the-week--"change"--no fewer than eight times.
View the edited video clip of Vilsack crooning Hillary's "Change Chorus" here.
Imagine for a moment that the FBI raided televangelist Pat Robertson's office for any reason whatsoever, much less say his 1988 presidential campaign. It'd be a story in the broadcast evening news programs, right?
So why the utter lack of interest in the December 12 federal probe into Al Sharpton's 2004 campaign? A review of Nexis for ABC, NBC, and CBS network news stories for December 12-18 yielded nothing on a December 13 FBI raid.
Here's an excerpt from the AP's reporting from December 13:
On CNN’s The Situation Room on Monday, CNN political reporter Candy Crowley publicized a new website started by the Hillary Clinton campaign at the address www.thehillaryIknow.com, designed to warm up Hillary’s cold, calculating image. Crowley touted how a combination of personal friends and New York constituents and "some names you would recognize" like Wesley Clark would spin for the candidate’s personal warmth.
Some of it was low on the relevance meter: "Today, we heard from a longtime – one of her closest friends in elementary school, who told us Clinton was captain of the crossing guards in elementary school." But go on the actual website, and on the front page is Jim Blair, described only as "A very close friend of Hillary’s whose wife passed from cancer in 2000." Political junkies should know that name: Jim Blair is the Tyson Foods lawyer who mysteriously set rules aside and massaged Hillary’s $1,000 investment into a $100,000 bonanza in the cattle futures market over nine months in 1978 and 1979.
Blair’s video testimonial is summarized underneath his video screen: "I’d like to tell the story of the last of Diane’s life...Hillary was in a Senate race in New York. Hillary called Diane every day for the last 90 days of Diane’s life...Hillary gave her comfort and the strength to keep going." Blair also tells of Hillary standing up for the couple as their politically correct "best person" at their 1979 wedding, but says nothing, obviously, about the quick six-figure commodities miracle.
Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show" led with co-host Julie Chen exclaiming: "Sexism hits the campaign trail as Rush Limbaugh asks if voters want to stare at an aging woman as president." This harsh accusation was in reference to comments made by Limbaugh during his radio show on Monday, in which he said: "Will Americans want to watch a woman get older before their eyes on a daily basis? And that woman, by the way, is not going to want to look like she's getting older because it'll impact poll numbers, it'll impact perceptions."
The "Early Show" did not do a full segment on the story, but did feature a news brief at the top of the 8:00am hour by CBS Anchor Meg Oliver:
MEG OLIVER: And now a story that's expected to reverberate throughout the day. The question of sexism in politics. It's of particular interest in Campaign 2008, where a woman has a good chance of becoming a major party nominee. Radio commentator Rush Limbaugh yesterday had some thoughts after seeing this picture of Hillary Clinton posted on the internet. Limbaugh believes Americans are addicted to physical perfection and wonders if this country is ready to watch a woman age in the Oval Office.
You'd hardly expect the chief Washington correspondent of business channel CNBC to negatively stereotype economic conservatives. But appearing on today's Morning Joe, the urbane John Harwood did just that.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: [Huckabee is] a different type of evangelical. It's not the evangelical in American politics that's traditionally been very conservative economically. Obviously a lot of people at the Wall Street Journal don't like this guy.
Despite his war wounds, can Bob Kerrey still kick Chris Matthews' butt? We might soon find out, because on this evening's Hardball Matthews lumped Kerrey into a group of Clinton sycophants he derided as "castratos" and a "eunuch chorus."
Chris was kvetching about the way a variety of Hillary Clinton supporters including Kerrey have lined up to take shots at Barack Obama. In endorsing Hillary yesterday, the former Nebraska senator went out of his way to draw attention to Obama's Muslim background.
Is this the evil conservative Fox News that those on the left portray? From the December 17 "Fox and Friends" interview with Senator Hillary Clinton, one has to wonder where it came from. After a surprisingly tough interview with David Gregory on NBC’s "Today," Senator Clinton sailed through a softball interview with the allegedly right wing Fox News.
After Hillary’s husband accused "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace of engaging in a "right wing hit job," and the left wing blog campaign to boycott the Fox News debates, co-host Gretchen Carlson asked such hard hitting questions like "how do you keep yourself going everyday?"
Co-host Steve Doocy asked the tough question of what her name would be if she pulls off a victory in Iowa.
Teasing an upcoming interview with Hillary Clinton on Monday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Julie Chen exclaimed: "The coveted Iowa newspaper endorsement goes to Senators John McCain and Hillary Clinton, who is locked in a tight race and is braving the ice storm to go county to county. She joins us this morning." This discussion of Hillary’s bravery joined the rest of the television morning shows as part of the Clinton campaign’s latest media blitz after gaining the endorsement of the "Des Moines Register."
Co-host Harry Smith further previewed his interview with Clinton as he declared that, "The woman of the hour here in Iowa is Hillary Clinton." In a report preceding the interview, CBS Correspondent Jim Axelrod summarized the endorsement: "Her campaign, coming off its roughest month yet, got a boost over the weekend, winning the coveted endorsement of the "Des Moines Register," the state's most influential paper, praised her experience, citing her 'strength, resolve, and resilience.’" However, Axelrod did mention that, "John Edwards got the paper's nod four years ago, points out he finished second in the caucuses."
During the actual interview, Smith did provide some challenge to Clinton:
For those unfamiliar with the term, this is when you take a sentence or two out of a report or article divining a meaning or intent clearly different than that the author or speaker was quite obviously conveying.
In this case, the target of TP's disaffection was me. More deliciously, research associate Matt Corley chose not only to cite just fifteen words out of a 41-word sentence inside of a 2500-word article of mine, but also totally ignored the relevant subsequent question posed in the piece in order to present to his readers a completely different conclusion than that offered by moi.
Of course, this is what TP and the other Clinton front organization Media Matters for America do all the time. This is just today's example of deceit and chicanery the couple from Arkansas and all associated with them are infamous for:
Is Hillary Clinton's campaign still communicating with Billy Shaheen? And does Hillary still consider Obama's youthful drug use a relevant campaign issue? Clinton wouldn't say this morning. Hillary sandwiched her evasions between two moments of mirth and hilarity on today's Morning Joe.
Earlier in the morning, Hillary began her Today interview with David Gregory with a smile. Perhaps it was an intervening cup or two of strong coffee, but by the time she chatted with the Morning Joe crowd a bit later, Clinton was downright manic. Hillary was in full cackle as she attempted to laugh off her slippage in the polls. She ended the interview with some guffaws about the trials of waking up early on the campaign trail.
But in between, when it was Mika Brzezinski's turn to ask about continued communication between her campaign and Billy Shaheen, and the relevance of his allegations to the campaign, Hillary turned suddenly grim-faced [see image below] and evasive.
Mika Brzezinski on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" at 7:25 a.m. to Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.): "Senator, we've been talking about this all morning. Mitt Romney teared up on 'Meet the Press' over the weekend. I don't know if you saw it, what you thought of it. Do you ever tear up? When was the last time?"
Kiran Chetry, co-anchor of CNN's "American Morning" at 7:36 a.m.: "We saw Mitt Romney tear up on one of the other networks the other day. What makes you tear up, if anything?"
Both times Clinton answered with the same joke about tearing up this morning when she had had to wake up at the wee hour of 4 a.m. to get ready for the morning show chats. Both times she remarked she doesn't know how they do it. Both times the journalists in question thanked Clinton for her pander, er, candor. No, it was definitely the first one.
According to ABC’s Kate Snow, support for the Iraq War automatically makes one a conservative, even if that individual is liberal on most other issues. In reporting on the increasingly tight race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, Snow briefly mentioned at the end that Joseph Lieberman endorsed John McCain. She dismissively referred to Lieberman as a "conservative Democrat."
"And he won over long-time Democrat, all be it a conservative one, Senator Joe Lieberman, who ran with Al Gore, will endorse McCain later today."
Clinton began her Today interview with David Gregory with the radiant smile on display here. But it wasn't long before an irate Hillary was demanding "no, wait a minute" when things didn't go to her liking.
That's what a few minutes of serious Gregory grilling did to Clinton this morning. It was by far the most intense -- dare-I-say aggressive -- examination of Clinton I've seen this campaign season.
Throughout, Hillary clung as if to a life preserver to the endorsement she received from the Des Moines Register, whose editor is that same mirthless Carolyn Washburn who moderated the past week's debates. Strict School Marms of the World, Unite!
But Gregory kicked off his questioning by discounting the endorsement's value and things went downhill from there. Add the rough ride Gregory gave Clinton to the battering she took yesterday as noted here, here and here, and it's hard to escape the conclusion that the MSM has had it with Hillary.
"Being a Republican is important. Being a Democrat is important. But you know what's more important than that? The interest and well-being of the United States of America," the Democrat-turned Independent said in announcing his decision Monday morning in New Hampshire.
"Let's put the United States first again, and John McCain is the man as president who will help us do that," he said.
Months ago, I opined to friends, family, and colleagues that the GOP ticket could be McCain/Lieberman. Is this possible? How does this announcement change the landscape if at all?
It's been a rough day for Hillary. First, as noted here, she was drummed from pillar to post on ABC's "This Week." NewsBuster Noel Sheppard then detailed here how Chris Matthews' crew raked her over the coals. Now, completing Hillary's troika of tribulation, the CBS Evening News has gotten into the act.
The development being reported was ostensibly positive for Hillary: the Des Moines Register today endorsed her. If CBS had stopped there, it would have been a plus for the Clinton campaign. But unfortunately for Hillary . . . the Evening News decided to play clips of Clinton on the stump in Iowa.
As NewsBuster Mark Finkelstein reported, Sunday's "This Week" wasn't a good omen for Hillary Clinton or her supporters.
Fortunately, for those of us that enjoy Hillary bashing as much as a Gershwin tune (how 'bout you?), dessert was served on "The Chris Matthews Show" as panelists including Dan Rather, Norah O'Donnell, Katty Kay, and Andrew Sullivan gave conservatives an early Clinton kicking Christmas present to savor.
Is this still payback for Bill and Hillary chastising Tim Russert for his behavior during October's debate in Philadelphia? Maybe more important, have press members decided that if they continue to pile on the supposedly inevitable one, the Democrats' only chance in 2008 is if Mike Huckabee is the Republican nominee?
Before we get there, here are some marvelous examples of Hillary bashing from seemingly unlikely sources to brighten your day:
Worst job in America this morning: Clinton campaign staffer assigned to inform Hillary of her treatment at the hands of ABC's "This Week" panel.
From moderator George Stephanopoulos to former Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile, to the husband-wife tandem of Jay Carney of Time and Claire Shipman of ABC, to conservative sage George Will, it was a decidedly downbeat take on Hillary's fortunes.
Don't blame Lawrence O'Donnell for his ugly anti-Mormon rant. It was really the fault of O'Donnell's fellow panelists. That's Frank Rich's take on the unseemly episode on the McLaughlin Group a couple Fridays ago.In his NY Times column of today, Rich claims that O'Donnell was:
pushed over the edge by his peers’ polite chatter about Mitt Romney’s sermon on “Faith in America.” [Emphasis added.]
Gail Collins might not be as crude as Billy Shaheen. But in her own Grey Lady way, the NY Times columnist has recycled the insinuation that transformed Shaheen into an ex-Hillary co-chair.
Let's first have a look at Shaheen's statement, as reported by the Washington Post:
"The Republicans are not going to give up without a fight ... and one of the things they're certainly going to jump on is his drug use." Shaheen said Obama's candor on the subject would "open the door" to further questions. "It'll be, 'When was the last time? Did you ever give drugs to anyone? Did you sell them to anyone?'" Shaheen said. "There are so many openings for Republican dirty tricks. It's hard to overcome."
Those Clinton campaigners sure know how to slip the "subliminable" shiv in. Yesterday, chief Hillary strategist Mark Penn managed to work "cocaine use" into his comments while supposedly disassociating the campaign from charges of Obama drug use made by Hillary's New Hampshire chairman. See video of Penn in action here.
Today, it was the turn of Hillary supporter Evan Bayh to whack Barack while pretending to take the high road. A bit after 3 PM ET this afternoon, the Dem senator from Indiana with the Eagle Scout aura [who might well have his eye on the VP slot] was being interviewed by MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell about the current turmoil in Camp Clinton.
Is the MSM deciding that Hillary is irreparably-damaged goods and that it's time to move on to a Dem with a better shot at winning the White House? You might think so after the Today show's dismemberment of the Clinton campaign this morning.
Andrea Mitchell kicked things off with sharp stiletto heel.
The Iowa caucuses might be a few weeks off, but MSNBC pundits have already cast a resounding "no" vote in a referendum on Hillary's credibility. A bi-partisan consensus of blatherers today rejected the Clinton campaign's denial of involvement in NH co-chair Bill Shaheen's raising of Barack Obama's past involvement with drugs.
Meanwhile, things are getting downright nasty among top consultants to the frontrunners' campaigns . . . and Barack made Hillary regret her latest cackle.
Far too often, the media folds under pressure from Hillary and Bill
Editor's Note: Originally published December 12th, 2007 byHuman Events.
The latest edition of Gentleman's Quarterly -- GQ for short -- has just hit the stands. On its cover is an in your face photograph of former President Bill Clinton, as he "Leads (Their) Men of the Year Issue".
"Bill Clinton - Public Citizen" is the fawning Clinton tosh we have all come to expect. It is thirteen magazine pages with small type and large pictures, and authors George Saunders (in word) and Brigitte Lacombe (on camera) could not be any more in thrall to the man from Hot Springs (not Hope).
ABC’s Chris Cuomo, who previously tried to push John McCain to give a preference between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, asked Mike Huckabee, after citing Hillary Clinton, "can a woman be president?" Cuomo inquired this after mentioning that Huckabee signed an ad stating "a wife is to submit graciously to...her husband."
Huckabee appeared on the December 13 edition of "Good Morning America" to address his recent questioning of Mormon doctrine that "Jesus and the devil are brothers." Cuomo also asked Huckabee why he is "unwilling to say" that Mormons are Christians. Huckabee responded "it's not my place to start evaluating his faith, your faith, somebody else's."
It is also notable that GMA co-host Diane Sawyer previously attacked Huckabee for playing the "religion card."
I'm caffeinated and ready to blog. I'll focus mostly on the questions from the moderator, Carolyn Washburn. I'm watching the feed from Fox News Channel.
Here goes nothin':
15:25 | Debate's over. Thought it'd never end. Washburn seemed much more at ease with the Democrats, as well as looser with the time constraints. I don't believe she ever cut anyone off, for example. The questions generally tacked to the left. The series of questions pressing the candidates on character issues was promising on paper but seemed uneven. Her question to Clinton on secrecy was soft. The question to Biden about his ill-advised jokes about Indians owning Dunkin Donut shops was good, but Hillary Clinton made similar comments about Indians and gas stations, which went unmentioned.
15:22 | Washburn: "What are the lessons from Iowa?"
15:20 | Richardson resolves to lose weight. Well, he could ask Huckabee about that policy plank.
15:17 | Washburn: "Tell us your New Year's resolution for 2008."
15:15 | Washburn asks about the use of signing statements when signing legislation.