Don't believe me? Ask the Boston Globe. Better put, have a gander at the paper's editorial cartoon of today. What does the Globe mean by saying that Mitt Romney "once worshipped at the church of moderation"? No doubt the Globe has in mind Mitt's glory days of 1994, campaigning against Ted Kennedy for his Senate seat.
As the Globe documented here, in 1994, Romney aligned himself with Kennedy on abortion, arguing that it should be safe and legal. He also voiced support for the controversial abortion pill RU-486. And when it came to gay rights, Romney portrayed himself as being an even more ardent advocate for the cause, promising "more effective leadership" than Kennedy on winning "full equality" for gays and lesbians, opposed a federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, and advocated gays serving openly in the military.
Regular readers know I'm not in the habit of choosing unflattering screencaps, but sometimes devotion to accurately portraying the tenor of an event demands it. Which it does in spades in conveying the vituperation unleashed on MSNBC today in an exchange over the Edwards blogger brouhaha between Dem strategist Julie Roginsky and GOP strategist Brad Blakeman.
Words don't come close to doing justice to the Roginksy vitriol. I urge you to view the video here.
Roginsky began the conversation by asserting that Edwards did the right thing in retaining the two bloggers with a history of making outrageous anti-Catholic statements, as detailed here. She called it a "pragmatic political decision."
Ron Reagan put his ballet background to use this evening, bending over backwards to avoid admitting the obvious: that the Edwards bloggers are anti-Catholic bigots. Appearing on Hardball, Reagan was matched against one of my personal favorites among conservative commentators: Terence Jeffrey of Human Events.
Asked by host Chris Matthews whether John Edwards should retain the controversial bloggers, Reagan responded:
"Yes, absolutely. If John Edwards had folded, everybody on the right would have known that John Edwards can be put in a defensive crouch."
Jeffrey: "Ron, did you actually read what they wrote?"
Reagan: "Yes I did. I did read."
Jeffrey: "Is it not anti-Catholic bigotry, Ron?"
Reagan: "I don't know what was on their mind. I can't give you a yes or no because I can't read their mind."
Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards' inflammatory new campaign bloggers Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan will be retained by the campaign after making public apologies for past postings that were controversial, to put it mildly. In a surprise, the New York Times played the story on Friday's front page, albeit under the mild headline "Edwards Learns Campaign Blogs Can Cut 2 Ways").
Marcotte is notorious for a January 7 post on the Duke lacrosse "rape" case, one she later eliminated after it became an issue after her hiring: "Can't a few white boys sexually assault a black woman anymore without people getting all wound up about it? So unfair."
This week, Chris Matthews' anti-Bush bigotry spilled over into a profanity laden rant. The "Hardball" host dropped the F-bomb during a live interview with Don Imus.
Meanwhile, CNN’s Paula Zahn connected opposition of illegal immigration to, you guessed it, the Ku Klux Klan. This is the same network, however, that tried to downplay proven religious bigotry by a blogger for the John Edwards campaign.
Over on ABC, "Good Morning America" anchor Diane Sawyer spent the week in Syria. She let the despotism of President Bashar Assad go mostly unchallenged.
During other segments, Sawyer chose to ask him about video games and whether he uses an iPod.
CNN isn't the only media outlet reporting on the anti-religious John Edwards campaign bloggers in a painfully incomplete manner. Howard Kurtz carved out a little space deep in today's Washington Post Style section (on page C-7) for a story headlined "John Edwards Keeps Controversial Bloggers." Although bloggers on both sides are identified by labels, there's no ideological "liberal" or "feminist" label used for the Silky Pony's poison pens:
Former senator John Edwards said yesterday that while he is offended by some inflammatory remarks written by two bloggers before he hired them for his presidential campaign, he is keeping them on anyway.
How can Nancy Pelosi tell she's lost the Plane-Gate argument? When even MSNBC brands it "Air Pelosi." Check the screencap.
But Pelosi has apparently decided to go down fighting. She's now playing the gender card, and for good measure has thrown in a soupçon of Rumsfeld-phobia. MSNBC just aired a clip of Speaker Pelosi making the following remarks on the issue of her request to the Pentagon for a large plane to transport her home:
"I don't even know the numbers of the planes. So this is something that is really very strange. That the Department of Defense, the Pentagon, which I have been a constant critic of the war in Iraq, and where I understand Mr. Rumsfeld still has a desk, even though he's no longer the Secretary, has decided that they would go public about a conversation on an issue that applied to the previous Speaker. Now, as a woman, as a woman Speaker of the House, I don't want any less opportunity than male speakers have had when they have served here."
Message to Nancy Pelosi: when NBC's Matt Lauer and David Gregory agree that your quest for a big plane is turning into a PR mess, and ABC's Chris Cuomo calls it a case of "jet envy," it's time to fold your wings.
Lauer raised the matter with David Gregory on this morning's "Today": "Let's talk about the size of the plane that Nancy Pelosi has requested from the Pentagon. Depending on the spin you want to believe here, either the Speaker says it's to travel efficiently back to her home district; Republicans are saying it's an abuse of power. Either way, does it just look bad from a PR standpoint?"
Gregory agreed: "I think that's the problem. This is a Democratic leader who's promising to clean up Washington. It's worth remembering, post-9/11, the House Speaker gets private air travel by the Air Force to get back to his or her home district. Dennis Hastert went back to Chicago [in the much smaller plane shown here], Nancy Pelosi is going back to San Francisco. She wants the ability to go direct and not have to refuel on the way and have some family members go with her, and none of that is untoward, but the Air Force is saying, the military is saying 'look, we can't guarantee you a 757' which is essentially what she wants, it depends on availability. Republicans are saying 'look, this is more than just efficiency, this is extravagance.'"
On Sunday’s "Late Edition," CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer conducted a syrupy interview with consumer advocate and frequent presidential candidate Ralph Nader. Blitzer allowed the former Green Party standard-bearer to once again promote left-wing PBS host Bill Moyers for President in 2008. The CNN anchor also gushed over Nader’s new work of non-fiction, "The 17 Traditions," a liberal tome about rasing families. Blitzer described it as a "beautiful book with a lot of emotion." But first, he prompted Nader to plug the Moyers for President campaign:
Wolf Blitzer: "Here's what you wrote back in October on Bill Moyers, the PBS commentator: ‘Moyers brings impressive credentials beyond his knowledge of the White House, congressional complexes. As millions of viewers and readers over the decades know, Bill Moyers is unusually articulate and authentic in evaluating the unmet necessities and framing the ignored solutions in our country.’ You'd like him to run for president?"
Ralph Nader: "Very much. I got a great response to that column."
Blitzer: "What -- What response did you get from Bill Moyers?"
There's nothing like the day an Italian-American Republican moves toward announcing his presidential candidacy for musing as to whether he might have a whiff of fascism about him. As reported here, Rudy Giuliani inched closer to running for president today by filing a so-called "statement of candidacy" with the Federal Election Commission, indicating that he would seek the presidency as a Republican should he decide to go forward.
Chris Matthews had Rudy supporter and former congresswoman Susan Molinari as a guest on this afternoon's Hardball. In the course of discussing the way in which Rudy managed to clean up NYC, Matthews and Molinari had the following exchange:
There's no denying that the recently-released National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq is anything but rosy. But the key question is 'where do we go from here?' The answer, for every one of the Dem presidential contenders, is 'home,' at varying rates of speed. In editorializing on the NIE report, don't you think, then, that it would have been appropriate for the New York Times to mention what the report foresaw as the result of a hasty withdrawal?
But the Times had better things to do with its ink, spending most of its editorial spinning the recent military success in Najaf in the most negative possible terms. In doing so, the Gray Lady ignored this key aspect of the report, as described here by CNN:
"The estimate also makes it clear, however, that simply walking away from Iraq may even be worse. If the U.S. makes a 'rapid withdrawal' from Iraq, a move many Democratic lawmakers have called for, the estimate said it could lead to the collapse of the Iraqi Security Forces, potentially plunging the country into a chaotic situation marked by "extreme ethno-sectarian violence with debilitating intra-group clashes."
To ignore this key conclusion, which goes to the heart of the debate raging in Washington today, is no mere negligence on the Times' part. It is nothing short of a journalistic fraud perpetrated on its readers. Mark was in Iraq in November. Contact him at email@example.com
Not that there was ever much doubt where Tim Russert aligns, but it was nice to get concrete confirmation on today's Meet the Press. Grilling John Edwards over his vote to authorize the war and his expression of support for it as late as 2004, Russert pointed out that Obama had staked out a firmly anti-Iraq war position before the conflict began.
Russert displayed a two-part graphic of Obama's 2002 statement, which concluded with the words: "I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars."
Russert then shot at Edwards: "His judgment was on the money."
Does Chris Matthews know something about what Bill Clinton's been up to, so to speak?
Not once, not twice, but no fewer than 12 times in under two minutes on Friday's Hardball, Matthews raised the question of whether the former president would "behave himself," not cause "distractions" with his "private life," etc. Chris' guest was Hillary confidant and campaign aide Ann Lewis, who is also sister to Rep. Barney Frank.
Hillary has let her sticky fingers show again. Will the MSM pay attention?
We're all familiar with her statement from 2004: "the tax cuts may have helped you. We're saying that for America to get back on track, we're probably going to cut that short and not give it to you. We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good."
Speaking today at the DNC's winter meeting, she let that same Hillary-knows-best side show:
"The other day the oil companies recorded the highest profits in the history of the world. I want to take those profits. And I want to put them into a strategic energy fund that will begin to fund alternative smart energy, alternatives and technologies that will actually begin to move us in the direction of independence.
When it comes to the subject of global warming, members of the media have lost all restraint. CNN’s Larry King nervously wondered if climate change might "really kill us all?" Could it "submerge cities like New York and Washington and San Francisco under floods from melting Arctic ice caps?" Not to be outdone, "Good Morning America’s" weatherman warned of the dire threat of global warming. The next day, an ABC graphic fretted, "Will billions diefrom global warming?"
For anyone that questioned whether "Newsweek" is biased, public appearances by the magazine’s top staffers should answer the question. Editor Jon Meacham suggested that President Bush is outside "reality." "Newsweek" columnist Anna Quindlen recently debunked the "myth" that Hillary Clinton is a liberal.
In our continuing calvalcade of coverage of the Biden "clean and articulate" comments, we thought it would be interesting to see how three of the leading liberal newspapers treated the story on their respective front pages this morning.
At the New York Times, the headline on the smallish front-page article brought a dash of downplaying humor to the story: "Biden Unwraps His Bid for ’08 With an Oops!"
But that was better than nothing - which was exactly how much coverage the Boston Globe and Los Angeles Times devoted to the story on their front pages.
Now, you might cut the Globe some slack since Beantown was focused on the Turner Broadcasting System marketing stunt for a Cartoon Network television show that littered the city with small battery-powered light screens, igniting fears of terrorism and shutting down much of the city for the day. Even so, the Globe editors found room on the front page for a variety of other stories including one on a pol caught in a sick leave scandal.
This is amusing for it's total ridiculousness. In the AP story about upcoming Senate campaign of Al Franken, the soon to be ex-Air America ranter and supposed comedian, AP seems to have forgotten to mention he is a liberal.
And the long piece gives no hint of Franken's leanings until the last line of the report: Long AP Version
And even the long piece does not state Franken's leftist positioning as a fact, but couches it as the claim of a political science professor. And they don't even introduce the label until the very last paragraph of a ten paragraph story.
I'm feeling a lot of love out there. Directed by the MSM toward Joe Biden, that is, for having called Barack Obama the first "clean" and "articulate" black presidential candidate. Earlier this evening, as noted here, Chris Matthews, joined by MSMers Jay Carney and Anne Kornblut, cut Biden mucho slack.
The forgive-a-thon continued on Countdown. First, Keith Olbermann declared Biden's comments "a slip." Washington Poster Dana Milbank then got into the evening's understanding zeitgeist, assuring us that "nobody sees Joe Biden as a racist."
Olbermann spun a theory that "the conservative media establishment" including "bloggers" who are "doing a lot of Biden bashing today" are motivated not by outrage over Biden's comments but by "a desire to inflict damage on a Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee."
Let's play one of our favorite parlor games: "WIARHSI?" You know: "What if a Republican Had Said It?" In today's game, let's imagine what would happen if a Republican presidential candidate had said that Barack Obama was the first "clean" and "articulate" African-American presidential candidate?
Which paper would be first to call for the Republican's withdrawal from the race: the NY Times, Boston Globe, WaPo, other?
How soon until Jesse Jackson, Carol Moseley-Braun and Al Sharpton turned up on TV to be asked how they felt about being insulted in this way?
How many hours of MSM musing over the GOP's "history of racial insensitivity"; how many replays of Trent Lott making his statement about Strom Thurmond, of George Allen's 'macaca' moment, etc., would we be subjected to over the ensuing week?
How long until the hapless Republican did indeed withdraw from the race?
But when it's a Democrat . . . count on Chris Matthews, for one, to circle the wagons.
Matthews had Anne Kornblut of the Washington Post and Jay Carney of Time magazine in as guests. The trio didn't even broach the Biden comments until a full ten minutes into their gab fest, after batting around a number of other issues. How long would Chris have waited to launch had it been a Republican on the hot seat?
If only Joe Biden had seized the moment with one brilliant burst of brevity . . .
This morning on GMA, Biden had the chance to turn his presidential candidacy announcement into a funny, feel-good moment that would have won him untold millions in free coverage. Sadly, the senator from Delaware couldn't resist his proclivity to pontificate.
Diane Sawyer had the scoop: Joe Biden appeared on this morning's Good Morning America to make it official -- he's running for president.
First came the obligatory questions about Iran and Iraq. Diane next tried lure Biden into expanding on his statement that Hillary's nostrums for Iraq would be a "disaster." Biden wouldn't bite: "I have great respect for Hillary Clinton . . . she is fully qualified to be president . . . She is a first-rate person."
Biden similarly declined to rise to Sawyer's bait about Obama's inexperience, responding: "This guy's incredible. He's fresh, he's new, he's got great ideas."
Talk then turned to Biden's Achilles heel: his famed motor mouth. Sawyer: "The Washington Post says your friends have told you that you have to learn to 'put a sock in it' and not talk so much, and that you're taking their recommendation to heart."
Biden launched into a 93-word response in which claimed he was taking his friends' advice to heart, but in the same breath added that "if it takes more than three minutes" to give an answer, he's going to do it.
Imagine if in response to Diane's question, Biden, after a pregnant pause, had let his entire answer be a big, smiling "yup!"
It would have been priceless, and splashed all over the media. But Joe just couldn't "hep" himself. Joe Biden: once again, victim of his own verbosity.
Hillary has to be nervous. At this juncture in the campaign, she’s being edged out in the Goo Primary. Her natural allies in the media suddenly are more adulatory toward Barack Obama – and more defensive of anyone who would dare question his exotic biography.
Insight magazine, a long-standing publication of The Washington Times Company, published a gossipy item with anonymous “Democratic Party” sources (they claimed some of them came from Hillary’s camp) that Obama had attended a madrassa, a radical Islamic school, in Indonesia as a child. The story was unproven, and should not have been published in its sorry condition.
When a NBC military analyst made the case that US withdrawal from Iraq would have very harmful consequences, you might have expected Meredith Vieira to argue the point. But not only did the NBC host seem to buy into his logic, she took it a significant step farther toward its logical conclusion.
Retired LTC Rick Francona was Meredith's guest on this morning's "Today." The appearance was sparked by reports that the US has amassed firm evidence that Iran is supplying a variety of weaponry to Shia militias in Iraq, including shoulder-fired missiles and sophisticated IEDs responsible for the deaths of many Americans. The screen graphic posed the question "Is U.S. Fighting Iran in Iraq?"
Francona made his thesis clear from the get-go: "We're in a power struggle with the Iranians over who's going to exercise influence in the future in Iraq, and they want to be that power. It's either us or them."
Vieira set the stage for her off-the-Dem-reservation remarks with this question: "So they're hoping if and when we leave Iraq they will fill the power vacuum that is left?"
Lynn Sweet has seen an angry Hillary up close and personal, and it left a mark, as you can see by the screen capture of Sweet describing that moment. You can't get much more mainstream than Sweet: D.C. bureau chief for the Chicago Sun-Times, columnist for The Hill, a weekly newspaper that covers the Congress, member of the National Press Club and the Gridiron Club.
Appearing on this afternoon's Hardball, Sweet was discussing the incident in which Hillary, in Iowa, jokingly referred to having experience with "evil men." The question naturally arose as to whether Hillary was alluding to Bill.
CNN analyst, author, and former Clinton operative James Carville appeared on Monday’s "Good Morning America" and complained that journalists are too tough on Hillary Clinton. Referring to the comment made by the New York Senator and 2008 presidential candidate that she has experience dealing with "evil and bad men," Carville asserted that members of the media should be lauding her strong sense of humor. The Louisiana native also touted Mrs. Clinton’s nascent White House run, saying that it was the best campaign kick off ever. However, the CNN analyst became most animated when speaking of Hillary’s recent joke:
Diane Sawyer: "I want to turn to Iraq in a moment, but you mentioned sense of humor. So, who did you think she was talking about when she said that about bad men?"
James Carville: "You know– You know, journalists are funny. All you hear is, [Adopts whiney tone] 'Hillary don't have a sense of humor. She’s too cold. She does this and that.' And then, she cracks a joke, which, by the way which was a pretty funny joke. And they say, 'Well, look at this. Look at this.' You know? And I thought it was sophisticated, and the fact that she didn't answer it is an element of good humor. And I know her personally to be a very warm and humorous person and I was delighted to see that come out. Good joke, Senator. Way to go."
CBS News correspondent Cynthia Bowers reported that Hillary Clinton’s campaign trip to Iowa this past weekend "marked the first time any Clinton has ever campaigned in Iowa." Ms. Bowers, reporting in the 7:00 half hour of Monday’s "Early Show," should have researched the facts before making such a blanket assertion. According to a Nexis search, CNN reported on February 11, 1996 that then President Clinton was campaigning in Iowa, even though he had no primary opponent, to "solidify his support." And, a Nexis search on Hillary Clinton revealed that the New York Senator was the key note speaker at a Democratic Party Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner to raise funds for Iowa Democrats on November 15, 2003.
Ms. Bower’s report, while not necessarily biased, raises the question, is anyone at CBS doing research? One would think that in the wake of the Dan Rather "memogate" scandal in 2004, CBS journalists would be more cautious about what they report and would take the time to verify the accuracy of their claims.
Largely lost in the MSM's focus on Hillary's laugh line in Iowa about her experience in dealing with evil men was something she said that was immeasurably more noteworthy. In one stunning, self-centered swoop, Hillary Clinton has transformed herself into an anti Iraq-war radical. The woman who voted to authorize the war now calls for the US, come hell or high water, to be out of Iraq by the end of President Bush's term. As per this report, here's how she put it in Iowa yesterday:
"I think it's the height of irresponsibility and I really resent it," she said, "this was his decision to go to war, he went with an ill-conceived plan, an incompetently executed strategy, and we should expect him to extricate our country from this before he leaves office."
Just when we were getting warm 'n fuzzy with Chatty Hillary of the living room couch, she went Mike Tyson on us.
Can you imagine the MSM's collective gasp of horror if a Republican presidential candidate threatened to punch out opponents? It would be a field day for the psychologists, as one after another would be paraded across TV screens to speculate on the subconscious roots of such hostility, and opine on the fitness for office of anyone harboring such pugilistic predilections. Lefty foreign policy mavens would be invited to fret over the way such knee-jerk aggression might lead us into war, etc.
But NBC raised nary an eyebrow when reporting on Hillary having uttered just such a threat during a campaign stop in Iowa yesterday. View video here.
Push Poll: Definition: "A push poll is a political campaign technique in which an individual or organization attempts to influence or alter the view of respondents under the guise of conducting a poll. Push polls are generally viewed as a form of negative campaigning. The term is also sometimes used incorrectly to refer to legitimate polls which test political messages, some of which may be negative. Push polling has been condemned by the American Association of Political Consultants."
Melissa Russo, political reporter for NBC's NYC affiliate WNBC, recently followed Rudy Giuliani up to New Hampshire. In her report on this morning's "Today," Russo stressed that at a GOP campaign stop, Giuliani failed to inform the Granite State Republicans that "he's far from a social conservative."
As the 2008 campaign heats up, members of the mainstream media are having trouble deciding between their old favorite (Hillary) and the new flame (Obama). Both CNN and ABC leapt to the defense of Senator Barack Obama after he was accused of attending an Islamic madrassah as a child. (Of course, ABC once devoted an entire episode of "Nightline" to murky allegations that George W. Bush did coke as a younger man.)
But perhaps Obama should be a little worried. The "Early Show" demonstrated exactly why Hillary is still the media’s favorite. Over on MSNBC, Chris Matthews told Hillary Clinton that "ideologues on the right" were responsible for the death of her famous health care plan.
ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos asked another 2008 candidate, Bill Richardson, if, as president, he would please just raise taxes.