CNN’s John Roberts, after briefly alluding to the issue of Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s experience he called into question earlier on Friday’s "Newsroom" program, asked correspondent Dana Bash about how the Alaska governor’s newborn son with Down’s syndrome might be affected if she were elected: "There's also this issue that on April 18th, she gave birth to a baby with Down's Syndrome.... Children with Down's syndrome require an awful lot of attention. The role of Vice President, it seems to me, would take up an awful lot of her time, and it raises the issue of how much time will she have to dedicate to her newborn child?"
Bash deftly answered this question, which has the implication that Palin could neglect her infant son, and made a possible counter-argument the McCain camp would use, that a question like Roberts’ would be sexist: "That's a very good question, and I guess -- my guess is that, perhaps, the line inside the McCain campaign would be, if it were a man being picked who also had a baby, but -- you know, four months ago with Down's Syndrome, would you ask the same question?"
The CNN correspondent continued by briefly describing the Palin’s family situation and the thinking that may have gone into the situation for both McCain and Palin herself. She concluded by reporting on the Alaska governor’s appeal to social conservatives because she is "very staunchly anti-abortion," in Bash’s words.
The full transcript of the exchange between John Roberts and Dana Bash, which began 7 minutes into the 11 am Eastern hour of CNN’s "Newsroom" [audio available here]:
The following is the News Alert on the front page of one of Sen. Barack Obama's hometown papers (emphasis mine):
John John McCain tapped little-known Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his vice presidential running mate on Friday in a startling selection on the eve of the Republican National Convention. In an announcement, the campaign said that Palin, who has been governor less than two years, "has the record of reform and bipartisanship that others can only speak of."
Kind of amusing considering Chicago is the town that brought America a little-known junior senator to prominence as the Democratic nominee for the presidency.
While speculating on John McCain’s upcoming vice presidential running mate, who we now know will be Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, on Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez explained: "I found myself at one point last night thinking how difficult it must be for John McCain to watch such a huge celebration in honor of his opponent, especially on the eve of his 72nd birthday, which is today, and which he will be celebrating in Dayton, Ohio, where he will formally announce his vice president." In a later segment, Rodriguez declared: "John McCain didn't waste anytime trying to steal Barack Obama's thunder. He's decided on a running mate, and he will announce it today."
Later in that segment, Rodriguez talked to McCain communications director Jill Hazelbaker and asked: "But he needs to make a splash somehow, especially after last night. 85,000 screaming supporters witnessing an historic nomination. That's significant. How do you top that?" When Hazelbaker responded by pointing out that "what is holding him [Obama] back in this election, is the idea that he does not have the experience or the judgment to lead." Rodriguez interrupted: "But Jill, he answered...I disagree because he [Obama] answered, very directly, every criticism that John McCain has made about him from his readiness to be president, to his celebrity status, and everything in between, he gave very direct answers." Despite such strong defense for Obama, Rodriguez will be anchoring Early Show coverage at the Republican convention next week.
During his normal "Hardball" program on MSNBC on Thursday evening, Chris Matthews asked Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison if the "Republican party platform is inclusive enough on the issue of reproductive or abortion rights." Hutchison, whose name has been floated as a possible vice-presidential nominee for John McCain, didn’t give a straight yes or no answer, and mentioned that in her view, "...both the Republican and the Democratic platform generally have areas that are not mainstreamed, and I don't think that you can agree with either platform in its entirety, and I think you just have to understand that a candidate’s views are going to prevail and I think people choose the candidate."
Ah the wit and wisdom of Chris Matthews. Did you know that Joe Biden's hometown of Scranton, Pa., is stuck in 1957? Or that Sen. McCain hopes to peel off Michigan from the Democrats due in part to white voters anger at black Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick? Did you know you shouldn't bother to ask a Mormon what he did over the weekend?
Oh, and the media used to love John McCain because they were his base.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is "prickly" with the press, particularly Time magazine, reporters for the publication insist on the heels of a recent interview. Yet reporters for the same publication had a decidedly less confrontational chat last week with Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), although they did question if he was tough enough to topple McCain in November.
In the August 28 item, "McCain's Prickly TIME Interview," Time editors prefaced the transcript of James Carney and Michael Scherer's interview by lamenting McCain's less frequent engagement of the press as compared to his 2000 Republican primary run. They then insisted that McCain "quickly soured" and refused to "stray off message" during a Time interview:
McCain at first seemed happy enough to do the interview. But his mood quickly soured. The McCain on display in the 24-minute interview was prickly, at times abrasive, and determined not to stray off message.
By contrast, Time editors didn't add prefatory commentary to a relative soft August 20 interview, "Obama on His Veep Thinking" by Karen Tumulty and David von Drehle. That interview began with two questions on Obama's toughness, particularly from the perspective of nervous partisan Democrats:
During CNN’s Wednesday night coverage of the Democratic convention, the network’s senior political analyst Gloria Borger poked fun of John McCain’s non-answer on the number of houses he owns. When host Wolf Blitzer pointed out that Borger owns homes in Washington, DC and in Montana, she confirmed, "Yeah, that's it, and I write the checks, so I know." (video at right)
One can surmise that Borger, through her snide one-liner, wanted to make the point that McCain is out of touch with the average American, a point frequently repeated by liberal pundits.
Borger’s remark came after an interview of Brian Schweitzer, the Democratic governor of Montana, during the 8 pm Eastern hour of CNN’s convention programming. Blitzer prefaced Borger’s question to Schweitzer by mentioning how she has a home in the governor’s state. Since Blitzer and Borger weren’t sure if Schweitzer could hear them due to the noise from the convention floor, correspondent John King relayed the question to the governor.
Once the interview was complete, Blitzer asked Borger his set-up question: "Let's just ask Gloria this important question -- how many homes do you own, Gloria?" Borger laughed and shook her head in response to the question, and after a few seconds of crosstalk, she gave her snarky reply.
Jonathan Alter has had enough of James Carville not being a team player and boosting Sen. Barack Obama and he has a working theory that centers around a cynical, quasi-conspiratorial view of the Carville-Matalin marriage.
Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly cited the Media Research Center's latest special report, "Obama's Margin of Victory: The Media," in the midst of the "Unresolved Problems" segment for his August 26 program.:
There is no doubt that NBC News continues to be in the tank for Barack Obama. According to a Media Research Center study, NBC is the most lopsided network in favor of Barack. Pro-Obama reports outnumber negative Obama reports by 10-to-1 on NBC News, according to the study. Even some NBC News commentators recognize the corruption.
At that point O'Reilly's producers cut to video of MSNBC's Joe Scarborough scoffing at the notion that colleague David Shuster and others at MSNBC are strictly independent and non-partisan in their reporting. [See Mark Finkelstein's related post on that here.]
O'Reilly also cued video of CNN's Lou Dobbs complaining that his colleagues in the media are "in the tank" for the junior senator from Illinois. [See Noel Sheppard's August 25 blog post on that here.]
Speaking to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith asked: "But standing in this building...feeling the enthusiasm, don't you think Republicans have something to worry about?" Giuliani, who has been attending the Democratic convention and will give the keynote address at the Republican convention next week, replied: "No, I think Republicans are very heartened by this convention. Everything seems to have not gone the way they have planned it."
Giuliani went to describe Bill Clinton’s recent anonymous comparison of Hillary and Obama, suggesting Obama was not ready to be president: "...the fact is yesterday, Bill Clinton set up this equation that only Bill Clinton could do, about candidate 'Y' and candidate 'X.' I don't know if you heard that. He said candidate 'Y' is somebody you agree with completely, but don't think is prepared to be president. And candidate 'X' is somebody you agree with half the time but is prepared. Who would you vote for?" Apparently, Smith had not heard about the comment as he reacted with a surprised: "Wow."
Later, Smith asked about Giuliani’s upcoming speech at the Republican convention and managed to remark on how much he liked one of Hillary Clinton’s one-liners from her Tuesday night speech: "Let me ask you this question because, as your convention comes up next week in the twin cities, and I have to say, Hillary Clinton had a very funny line about that. You can't tell them apart, George Bush and John McCain, twins just like the twin cities. What do you think your most important job is next week? Because this election is as close as can be in terms of the polls."
Interviewing 11-year-old Scholastic News reporter Jack Greenberg shortly before 3 p.m. EDT, MSNBC's David Shuster asked the junior journalist whether he had any problem being skeptical -- sorta like Lee Cowan? -- of the people he interviews. Greenberg answered [audio available here]:
I try to stay objective through all my work. I try to do my best not to keep a political opinion, because as a journalist I always try to balance it out with what is on the other side.
On Monday night shortly after Michelle Obama finished speaking, CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin, as he expressed his disappointment that the Democrats didn’t go negative on the first night of their convention, inserted a barb against the Republicans: "...There is one big missing piece tonight I think, which is why the American people should throw the bums out. We haven't heard one word about that. We have the most unpopular President in American history, and he's barely been mentioned tonight. I just think that is an extraordinary gap...." He further explained that "Democrats have never shown, at least in recent history, that they are good at negative campaigning. Republicans are terrific at it, and Democrats have been lousy at it, and I don't think they were any good at it tonight."
On Thursday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Dean Reynolds reported on Barack Obama’s upcoming announcement of a running mate and also highlighted John McCain’s criticism of Obama’s foreign policy: "But McCain is seen by most voters as better on foreign policy and much more likely to be an effective commander-in-chief. That may explain why he's been hammering Obama on the Iraq war, all the while denying that he's calling Obama's patriotism into question."
On Tuesday’s CBS Evening News, Reynolds declared: "Obama is pivoting toward a more combative style, rebuking the Republicans for habitually turning differences over policy into questions about patriotism, a habit he said John McCain has readily embraced." Similar to Thursday’s Early Show comment, on Wednesday’s Evening News, Reynolds was skeptical of McCain denying to question Obama’s patriotism: "Yet the McCain campaign continues to run ads attacking Obama on a personal level, belittling him as a shallow celebrity and describing him as fussy, hysterical, or testy."
On Thursday’s Early Show, in addition to reporting on Obama being "on the verge of making his running mate announcement," Reynolds also described how McCain "keeps getting worried questions about his selection...fielding persistent questions about whether he or his running mate will be conservative enough." Reynolds went on to tout new poll numbers: "...according to our poll, McCain's supporters are less fervent than those who support Obama, who is also seen as better able to deal with domestic issues like the economy."
On his CNN program Tuesday night, Larry King had Bill Maher on for the entire hour, and the HBO comedian had some liberal-to-liberal advice for Barack Obama concerning his vice-presidential pick: "At this point, I think they need Hillary Clinton.... I've been thinking this way a long time.... Not just because it's bold and they need to show bold, but you know what? I think they need the Clinton ruthlessness onboard. I really do. I'm beginning to think Bill Clinton is still the only guy in that party who really knows how to do this, as far as talking to the American people, making the counter-argument to the Republican arguments that, again, Obama just seems to be cozying up to their way of thinking." Earlier, Maher leveled a stronger accusation along those lines, that Obama was "moving to the center, moving to be a kind of a lighter version of the Republican candidate."
Cynthia McFadden didn't exactly say John McCain had no character, but she certainly implied it. In an interview with Pastor Rick Warren on ABC's "Nightline," McFadden was trying to get Warren to indicate if he would counsel his flock on who to vote for, and what he would say to people who say "forget character," pick the pro-lifer.
The feature on Warren came after the pastor's Civic Forum on the Presidency held over the weekend at his 22,000-member church in southern California. McFadden asked Warren if he "owed" it to "people who look up to you" to tell them for whom he was voting .
On Sunday night’s Newsroom program, CNN anchor Rick Sanchez, pressed megachurch leader Rick Warren about Obama campaign charges that John McCain was cheating by not being in a "cone of silence" during Obama’s interview.
"Last night, I heard you say that McCain would be in a cone of silence, and then half-hour into the event, I hear our guys here at our political desk announced that McCain has just arrived at the worship center. And I'm thinking, you know -- hey, if he just arrived at the worship center, he couldn't have been in the cone of silence, right?"
After Warren give his initial answer about McCain being in a "Secret Service motorcade," Sanchez pushed two follow-up questions on the matter. In the first, he asked, "Did you think at the time -- when you said that, did you think he was in the cone of silence -- did you think he was in the building?"
For the second time in a month the CBS Early Show featured Mike Crowley, the editor of the liberal magazine New Republic, as a political analyst to speculate on vice presidential nominees for John McCain and Barack Obama. On Monday’s CBS Early Show, the focus was on Obama as co-host Harry Smith declared: "There's speculation that Barack Obama might choose his running mate sometime this week, before the Democratic Convention begins." On July 24, Smith and Crowley looked at McCain’s potential choices. One wonders when pundits from the Weekly Standard or National Review will be on to analyze the race.
Smith began Monday’s segment by wondering if Obama would pick Senator Joe Biden: "Joe Biden ascending." Crowley argued: "Joe Biden making a very interesting trip abroad to the country of Georgia, in the middle of this conflict with Russia right now. Really showing off his strong suit with his credentials, foreign policy, diplomacy. Knows a lot of foreign leaders." Smith also mentioned Senator Evan Bayh, to which Crowley added: "Straight out of central casting, Evan Bayh looks like, you know, if you could made a Hollywood movie about the guy who was going to be the vice president...he's a good politician." Both ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today also highlighted Biden and Bayh as leading VP contenders.
To his credit, Smith pointed out flaws in each as well. On Biden, he worried: "Too volatile? Too much of a wild card? He can stick his foot in his mouth." On Bayh, Smith asked: "Does anybody outside of Indiana know who he is?"
Republicans are horrible tippers and have even worse pick-up lines. You may expect to see that slant from a story making the rounds based on a industry-sponsored survey of Washington, D.C., bartenders.
[Update, 2:25 pm EDT, 8/15: A MRC CyberAlert item from March 18, 1997 reported that Waldman had worked in the Clinton administration promoting AmeriCorps before joining U.S. News and World Report.]
Correspondent David Mattingly’s report on Friday’s Newsroom program on CNN promoted the accusation by Barack Obama supporters that a popular McCain Internet advertisement, known as "The One" ad, drops hints that the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee might be the Antichrist. Mattingly used two sound bites from proponents of this idea, and none from people who are opposed to it.
Mattingly introduced his report with two clips from the ad and stated, "When you listen to this John McCain ad, it might sound like Barack Obama has a messiah complex." He then explained that while "[t]he McCain campaign says it's all in good fun... not everyone's laughing. Some Democrats say the ad, which appears only on the Internet, is infused with hidden messages to evangelical Christians -- messages that Barack Obama isn't the messiah at all." [audio clip available here]
The report’s first sound bite featured Steven Waldman, the CEO of Beliefnet.com, who made the following accusation about the ad: "It reenforces things that they've been hearing around the Internet, that maybe Barack Obama is, in fact, the Antichrist." Before Waldman co-founded Beliefnet, he was the National Editor for U.S. News and World Report and was a national correspondent for Newsweek magazine. He is also an occasional blogger on The Huffington Post.
CNN correspondent Tom Foreman omitted identifying a "foreign policy expert" as a former member of Bill Clinton’s National Security Council during a report on John McCain’s strong position towards Russia on Wednesday’s Election Center program. This expert, Charles Kupchan of the Council of Foreign Relations, accused McCain of becoming a belligerent position towards the country: "Well, over the last few years, McCain's views on Russia seem to be getting more and more confrontational, and I think he's really aligned himself with the far right, not with the centrists within the Republican Party. And, in some ways, it almost appears either if he thinks the Cold War is still on or that he wants it to return."
Kupchan, a professor of international relations at Georgetown University, served as Director for European Affairs on the National Security Council during Clinton’s first term. He also has complimented Barack Obama for his willingness to "engage adversaries," which to him is "a sign not of naiveté or inexperience, but of hard-headed realism." Foreman used two sound bites from the professor during his report. At the beginning of the segment, the CNN correspondent played Ronald Reagan’s famous "tear down this wall" line from 1987 as he introduced McCain’s position on Russia: "In the final years of the Soviet Union, as Ronald Reagan was thundering at the Russians, John McCain was a first-term senator cheering him on, and, 21 years later, he still distrusts Russia."
Rush Limbaugh killed some church goers in Tennessee last July. That is the message from a Newsday.com columnist for a local New York newspaper chain. Now, I've listened to Rush Limbaugh many times. Because of my schedule, I cannot listen every day, so certainly I have not heard every word the man has ever uttered, but I am sure that you won't be able to find a time when he told people to go out and kill liberals. Neither have I ever heard Sean Hannity advocate murder. Michael Savage.... well, I haven't heard it but I almost wouldn't be surprised, almost. Still, even Savage is smart enough not to do so I am sure. Regardless of a complete lack of such incitement to murder made by these "right-wing Shock jocks," as she puts it, Jenna Kern-Rugile is sure that the killings of the members of the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville last July is the fault of Limbaugh, Hannity and Savage.
Her premise is that the "rhetoric of extreme right pundits" such as Limbaugh, Hannity, and Bill O'Reilly "might" have caused shooter Jim D. Adkisson, 58, to gather up his guns and perpetrate a murder spree on July 27 at the Unitarian Church in Knoxville.
John Roberts, during an interview of Susan Eisenhower, the granddaughter of Dwight Eisenhower and a Barack Obama supporter, on Wednesday’s American Morning, asked about the Democratic presidential candidate’s apparent similarities to the World War II hero, as well as how he might be like Ronald Reagan. Later in the interview, the CNN co-anchor also stated that "the McCain campaign has been trying to tear him [Obama] down at every opportunity and they keep on zeroing-in on this idea of celebrity. Let's take a quick look at the latest ad from the McCain campaign that hammers Obama on that point."
Barack Obama’s campaign had announced the formation of "Republicans for Obama" on Tuesday, and Roberts interviewed Eisenhower about why she was among those "crossing party lines" to support the Illinois senator. He asked in his first question to Eisenhower, "We all remember that the ‘I like Ike’ campaign back in 1952. But reading what you've said about Senator Obama, it seems like there are some similarities, that he may be just like Ike. What can you tell me about that?" After she replied, he followed-up with another presidential comparison: "You also see some similarities, you said, between Senator Obama and President Reagan. How so?"
Barack Obama won the endorsement yesterday of three prominent Republicans, including Jim Leach and Lincoln Chafee, both of whom lost their congressional seats to Democratic opponents in the 2006 mid-term elections.
The three, who include Rita Hauser, a former White House intelligence adviser, stressed foreign policy as their principal motivation and alarm at what Ms Hauser described as the Republican nominee's "bellicose" stance on Russia's conflict with Georgia.
On Monday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann blamed the Bush administration for the fighting between Russia and Georgia, charging that "the U.S. knowingly provoked Moscow for years by building up Georgia's military," and asked if "the administration essentially stoked the fires of this conflict by the way we contributed to the building up of Georgia and sort of encourage its president to do something like this." The MSNBC host was also distressed at the words of "neoconservatives" who favor a firm response against Russia, and referred to "troubling neocon echoes." Guest Flynt Leverett expressed his concern that "a very powerful group of neoconservative fellow travelers in the Democratic Party" would undermine Barack Obama's "more nuanced approach" to dealing with the situation as these neoconservative "elements" move into the Obama campaign. (Transcript follows)
On Sunday’s Face the Nation on CBS, host Bob Schieffer talked about John McCain’s latest campaign ads with Republican strategist Karl Rove and quoted previous guest Tim Kaine, the Democratic Governor of Virginia: "But what about John McCain? At this point, as Governor Kaine said, Obama's running positive ads and John McCain is running ads about...Paris Hilton and that sort of thing...What he called the same old Karl Rove ads...Can you get elected president that way?"
In response, Rove argued that Obama started the negative trend: "I would make the argument that part of the reason why Senator Obama is in the shape he is in today is because he's failed to run a positive campaign. He's run a negative campaign." Schieffer immediately brushed that charge aside: "What do you think John McCain ought to do -- I want to get back to my question, can you get elected when the thrust of your campaign seems to be comparing the other guy to sort of an empty suit, Paris Hilton-type celebrity? Doesn't it have to go beyond that?"
CNN co-anchor Don Lemon, during a brief report on Tuesday’s Newsroom program about a pro-life measure on the ballot in South Dakota that would greatly restrict abortion, gave only the pro-choice side of the debate over the proposed law. He also oversimplified Barack Obama’s stance on the abortion issue.
Lemon stated how the Great Plains state "is becoming a new focal point in the abortion debate" due to the measure, which is called Initiated Measure 11. He then introduced the sole sound bite from a Planned Parenthood official: "Opponents say it would be one of the most rigid and inflexible bans in the country. They worry about the impact it could have on Roe vs. Wade."
During the sound bite, Sarah Stoesz, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota argued, "Nowhere in America is abortion harder to access than in the state of South Dakota, and while South Dakota accounts for only 0.1 percent of abortions nationwide, it has a potentially disproportionate, powerful effect on public policy in our country, because of the attempts in South Dakota to create a vehicle to overturn Roe vs. Wade."
Liberal talk radio host Stephanie Miller laughed-off Michael Medved’s accusation that the John Edwards sex scandal "reinforces the conviction that a lot of Americans have that the news media aren't on the level, that they're biased" on Tuesday’s American Morning: "You know, this is the myth again... of this, you know, liberal media. It's ridiculous. You can't report something that you don't have evidence on, you know. Until Edwards admitted this, there was no hard evidence. It's not something that you would report."
Earlier, Miller had jokingly, perhaps rudely, that the earlier rumors of the scandal were akin to someone making a wild accusation against Medved: "I know and love Michael and I'm tempted to say something completely unsubstantiated about his personal life right now and see if he can disprove it." Medved initially replied with a mere smile and a mild chuckle.
The two talk radio hosts appeared in a discussion segment which began 24 minutes into the 8 am Eastern hour of the CNN program. Co-host Kiran Chetry, reacting to Miller, echoed her sentiment: "Yeah. I mean -- and just in fairness, CNN was investigating this as well and, you know, there just weren't simply enough facts to go with it." I guess Miller and the folks at CNN didn’t take the report and photos of Edwards being at a California hotel with his mistress and alleged love child seriously.
ABC correspondent Gigi Stone’s report on Friday’s World News lined up two liberal women against a pro-life pharmacist in a segment on the controversy over whether pharmacists have the right to refuse to fill prescriptions for contraception. She later reported in a condescending tone about how the family of the pharmacist has nine children [see video at right; audio available here].
Stone introduced the first woman, Megan Kelly, as a "married mother." Several years ago, as Stone described, Kelly "tried to fill her monthly birth control pills [when] a pharmacist refused."
In her sound bite, Kelly explained her reaction to this refusal: "It's very, very shocking and very unsettling and one of those moments where, you know, as like a female, you're not sure if you want to cry, if you want to get really mad."
Conservatives are more racist than the population at large, and John McCain plans to "viciously" stir up racism to beat Barack Obama. That is John Heilemann's belief, as propounded in his New York magazine article, The Color-Coded Campaign, and spelled out in a CNN appearance today. The author even broke out the trite "Wonder Bread America" epithet to describe that portion of the country not lucky enough to be NYC.
Interviewed by Kiran Chetry on "American Morning" today at 6:32 AM EDT, Heilemann's jumping-off point was the question of why Obama's lead over McCain is smaller than the 10-15 points by which Dems are generically leading Republicans nationwide. Heilemann gave short shrift to the possibility that Obama is a weak candidate, given his lack of experience and most-liberal-in-the-Senate record that puts him at odds with the electorate. He focused instead on what he claims is an under-reported factor—Obama's race. It was there that he equated conservatism with racism.
JOHN HEILEMANN: During the Democratic primaries during the exit polls we would ask people whether race was an important factor for them. And somewhere, in places like New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania, 10 or 12 percent of the vote said race that was an important factor and voted for Hillary Clinton. And that's for many people a reasonable proxy to tell you about what the numbers were like for people who voted for Hillary because she was white, didn't vote for Barack because he's black. And that number will be larger in the general election because general election is a more conservative electorate than the Democratic primary electorate was.