Verne Lundquist, closet Republican? The sports announcer got in a bit of good-natured trash talking while interviewing Pres. Obama during this afternoon's game between Duke and Georgetown in DC that PBO attended. In a basketball-politics double entendre, Lundquist asked the left-handed Obama "do you have any problems at all going to your right?"
When the president made his way to the announcers table during the second half, he, Lundquist and Clark Kellogg engaged in some b-ball banter. At the very end, an obviously nervous Lundquist hit PBO with his cheeky question.
“Tonight, the President takes on his Republican opponents face to face and fact by fact,” Katie Couric teased at the top of Friday’s CBS Evening News in setting up an anti-Republican zinger from President Barack Obama: “That's factually just not true. And you know it's not true.”
Reporting on Obama’s appearance before GOP House members at their retreat in Baltimore, Chip Reid was in awe of Obama and delivered lines that might as well have been formulated by White House Press Secretary Roberts Gibbs:
♦ It was extraordinary. And it was a command performance by the President. In fact, some Republicans are wondering if they made a mistake by allowing TV cameras in the room.
♦ It was on health care reform where he finally revealed his exasperation with Republican attacks.
♦ Throughout what was essentially a policy debate, the President demonstrated intimate knowledge of the issues....And deep familiarity with Republican positions.
♦ Republicans were on their best behavior. There were no “you lie” moments. But when the President thought the last question was unfair, he let him know it.
♦ Here at the White House, some believe this could be a game-changer for the President. As one official put it, this is the best thing the President has done in a very long time.
At the top of Friday’s Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC, the show announcer teased a story on President Obama speaking a meeting of House Republicans in Baltimore: “What will Republicans do with President Obama’s olive branch? He’s reaching out to the GOP yet again, despite a year of push backs and criticisms. Is he being naive or crazy like a fox?”
Moments later, host Dylan Ratigan made a biblical reference to explain Obama’s supposedly gracious gesture: “We begin today with a biblical story of Noah and the floods....he sent a dove....To look for dry land after a great flood had wiped out the Earth. The dove returned with an olive branch.” Ratigan then observed: “the President tried the same approach. Especially...with the Republicans.”
After playing a clip of the President calling for bipartisanship in the State of the Union speech, Ratigan argued: “So if the President thought that meant Republicans would start jumping onboard his boat? He thought wrong. They’ve taken his olive branch and are now using it to hit back against his agenda.”
At the top of Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith declared: “President Obama meets with GOP leaders as he tries to tackle the growing employment problem. Will it be a monologue or a dialogue?” White House correspondent Bill Plante later reported: “The President is also reaching out to Republicans today, speaking to the GOP House retreat. But it could be a tough crowd.”
In Plante’s report, only brief a clip of Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner was played, making Republicans seem unwilling to negotiate: “We’re not going to vote for things that we believe will hurt our country.” Plante concluded: “And the Republicans have already signaled that the President’s new temporary tax cut for small businesses is not where they’re going to find that common ground. So it may be a tough crowd indeed.” The brief Early Show segment made no mention of legitimate Republican criticism of President Obama’s own stubborn partisanship.
In contrast, on ABC’s Good Morning America, while correspondent Jon Karl referred to the House GOP as a “skeptical” and “hostile” audience, he also took the time to highlight Republican efforts to reach out to the administration: “Most Republicans in Congress doubt the President really wants to hear their ideas....Longtime Republican Frank Wolf says he’s written the White House several ideas on Homeland Security.” Karl asked Wolf about the letter: “So, you present these ideas to the White House and what happens?” Wolf replied: “Nothing. It’s like writing a letter to somebody and nobody ever answers.”
When Apple CEO Steve Jobs put the New York Times at the center of the ceremonious unveiling of his company's iPad tablet device, the implication was clear: this is the future of the news--or at least Jobs wants us to think it is. He stands to gain not only financially but politically as Apple becomes a major gatekeeper for information.
The news media industry itself is divided on whether e-readers like the iPad and the Amazon Kindle can revitalize the news business. Newspaper sales are, after all, at historial lows. Over 90 newspapers failed last year.
While there are scores of competing theories for why newspapers (and books to a lesser extent) are seemingly on the decline, a prominent and plausible one seems to be that they have lost control of their content. Aggregators like Google News have provided news consumers with faster, more reliable sources for news. The proliferation of the blogosphere has loosened Old Media's grip on that news.
On the soon-to-be canceled ‘It’s the Economy’ program on MSNBC on Thursday, co-host Contessa Brewer grilled Republican New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg on his calls to reduce out-of-control government spending: “Which programs are you willing to cut? Are you willing to tell schools, no money for you?” Gregg shot back: “What an absurd statement to make. And what a dishonest statement to make.”
Gregg called out Brewer for her unfair framing of the issue: “...nobody’s saying no money for schools....On its face you’re being fundamentally dishonest when you make that type of statement.” He went to explain the kinds of budget cuts he would make: “I would freeze discretionary spending, a real freeze, not a – not a freeze plus inflation. I would eliminate the T.A.R.P. money....I would end the stimulus spending effective in June of this year, if not sooner....reform our entitlement programs....I’ve made very specific proposals and I’m willing to stand by them.”
Gregg was far from finished, he described the big government mentality shared by the Obama administration and the liberal media: “The problem is that this administration’s view of governance is that economic prosperity is created by growing the government dramatically. And then it gets misrepresented by people like yourself who say they’re going to – that if you do any of this stuff you’re going to end up not funding education.”
During CNN’s post-State of Union coverage on Wednesday night, three liberal commentators- Paul Begala, James Carville, and Roland Martin- put up an energetic defense of President Obama’s rebuke of the Supreme Court during the address. Begala and Carville took issue with Republican panelist Alex Castellanos’s reproof of the President, while Martin rebuked Justice Samuel Alito’s reaction.
Anchor Wolf Blitzer played a clip of the relevant portion of the President’s speech, where Mr. Obama condemned the Court for its recent decision on campaign finance regulations, and highlighted how Justice Alito shook his head and mouthed “not true” in response. Blitzer then turned to the panel for its take on the moment. His fellow anchor Campbell Brown, who was moderating the panel, first questioned Castellanos on Alito’s reaction: “Was that appropriate, Alex Castellanos, to have that kind of reaction from Alito when he said that?”
Immediately following President Obama’s State of the Union address Wednesday night, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos got reaction from Newsweek editor Jon Meacham, who observed: “There were at least three moments where he expressed explicit humility. ‘I’m not – I know that people aren’t sure I can deliver this change. I take my share of the blame for not explaining health care.’”
At the same time, both Stephanopoulos and Meacham agreed that Obama’s speech was Reaganesque. Stephanopoulos argued: “What I saw there is the President not being contrite like Bill Clinton in 1995, much more defiant, more like Ronald Reagan in 1983.” Meacham replied: “There was a lot of Reagan here.”
On NBC’s Today on Thursday, Matt Lauer cited Obama’s “humility” to press former Florida Governor Jeb Bush on Republicans not supporting the President’s agenda: “...you said about the President quote, ‘if he does show humility and does try to find common ground, there are Republicans who will sign up for that.’ He showed humility....will you now get behind this president and will other Republicans?” Bush rejected the notion that Obama was humble: “I don’t think it’s humble to say that you didn’t communicate a message and that’s the reason why people opposed the health care plan in front of Congress right now by a dramatic margin.”
The Associated Press on Wednesday insinuated there might be a wider conservative plot behind James O’Keefe’s alleged misdeeds at Senator Mary Landrieu’s office, and invoked the Watergate scandal in their lede: “Was it an attempt at political espionage? Or just a third-rate prank? How high did it go? And what did the right wing know and when did they know it?”
In what some Democrats are calling the “Louisiana Watergate,” four young conservative activists — one of them a known political prankster — were arrested this week and accused of trying to tamper with the telephones in Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu’s New Orleans office.
But two days after their arrest, neither the FBI nor federal prosecutors would say what the defendants were up to or whether they were part of some larger conspiracy....
Previewing the State of the Union on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith spoke with former White House Communications Director Anita Dunn, who claimed the GOP “made a decision a year ago that they weren’t going to cooperate on anything.” Smith replied: “I don’t think you can say what you just said and look at what happened with health care, especially in the last month, and be honest about it.”
Dunn, who just recently stepped down as communications director to the Obama White House, disregarded Smith’s challenge:
Harry, I disagree with that, mostly because I was working at the White House for most of this time. And I saw how many meetings with Republicans, how many attempts to reach out, how much time was spent listening to their concerns. An entire summer spent giving a lot of room to a bipartisan process which ultimately Republicans walked away from, even as their leaders from day one announced that they were going to kill health care no matter what was in the bill.
Bad content? Bad business model? No, those reasons aren't why Air America is no longer with us. Air America, a radio network advertised as the next talk radio juggernaut in 2004, was supposed to revolutionize the format and provide a "counterweight" for those left-of-center politically.
But there's another reason according to HLN host and "The View" panelist Joy Behar. In the usual fashion of citing no statistics and making sweeping generalizations, Behar blamed the collapse of liberal talk radio outlet Air America on a gender gap in listeners on her Jan. 25 HLN broadcast.
"Ok, but can I say that men listen to talk radio more than women and men are more conservative, generally speaking," Behar said, proposing a reason for Air America's bankruptcy.
Writing the cover story for the February issue of Newsweek magazine, editor Jon Meacham examined “The Trouble With Barack”, arguing the President: “is accused of being too radical, but he’s been governing from the middle for a year.” Meacham then wondered: “So why all the anger?” Answering his own question: “Because he’s leading with his head, not his heart.”
Meacham began the piece by assuring readers of his own political moderation: “I am a Southerner, a churchgoer, and a swing voter in presidential elections....I have no automatic faith in government’s capacity to solve problems. I share these details to make clear that I am not a reflexive lefty. Far from it.”
Having established his credentials as a “swing voter,” Meacham continued with his assertion that Obama is no liberal: “I hope President Obama does not take the conventional message from the Democrats’ drubbing in Massachusetts...go to the center, Mr. President. Turn right before it is too late....the evidence fails to support the contention that the Barack Obama...was a Chicago Che or even an unreconstructed Great Society liberal. Obama is essentially a centrist.”
On Sunday’s Face the Nation on CBS, host Bob Schieffer twisted the meaning of a recent Washington Post poll on the election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts: “Three-fourths of those voters...said they wanted Brown to work with Democrats to get Republican ideas into legislation....the vote for Brown was not so much a vote for or against policy or party, as it was a vote against the process itself.”
Schieffer seemed to completely ignore the fact that the poll showed 65% of those who voted for Brown did so to “express opposition to the Democratic agenda in Washington.” Instead, Schieffer tried to spin the data as evidence that voters were upset with both parties: “People don’t like the political games....if the two sides could somehow pay less attention to the voices on the fringes of the Left and the Right, take the Massachusetts voters’ advice, sit down together and see what they can agree on, who knows? They might get something done.”
At the top of his commentary, Schieffer pretended that the meaning of Brown’s extraordinary win was uncertain, rather than a rebuke of the Democratic Party: “Figuring out what Scott Brown’s victory meant has set off a fiercer debate than trying to divine the meaning of the Book of Job. We were all certain it meant something profound, we just weren’t sure what.”
If Ellie Light is indeed a Democratic operative, she is only the proverbial tip of the party's astroturfing iceberg. Patterico's investigative work, which was also at the forefront of the blogosphere's efforts to expose Light, have revealed an even greater effort at manufacturing the appearance of public support for Democratic policies.
Organizing for America and the Democratic Party each have forms on their websites for supporters to write letters to the editors of their local papers. Both have suggested "talking points" next to the submission form. Both advise supporters to use their own words, but talking points from both of the sites have appeared in letters to the editor in a multitude of newspapers nationwide.
Margery Eagan, a liberal columnist for the Boston Herald, ripped MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann on Sunday’s Reliable Sources on CNN over his “homophobic, racist, reactionary” label of Senator-elect Scott Brown on the night of the Massachusetts special election: “This is crazy...it’s sick.”
Eagan appeared during the lead segment of the CNN program with Jonathan Martin of Politico and conservative CNN contributor Amy Holmes. Anchor Howard Kurtz played Olbermann’s smear of Brown nine minutes into the 10 am Eastern hour, and after asking Holmes for her take, he played a sound bite of Glenn Beck’s recent dead intern crack against Brown. Though Kurtz asked Eagan for her response to the Beck sound bite, she primarily attacked the MSNBC host, lumping in the conservative talk show host in passing.
EAGAN: Listen, I think Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann have both taken leave of their senses. You know, I was a Martha Coakley fan. I thought she was a great D.A. But I know Scott Brown. He’s a great guy. You can’t help but like the guy. He strikes me as a wonderful family guy. He’s out there mowing the lawn. His wife, Gail Huff, has been a great reporter on Channel 5. Racist? A homophobe? Sexist? I mean, this is crazy. His politics are different than mine, but it’s sick.
Krista Gesaman of Newsweek.com's Gaggle blog could have saved herself from the indignity of making the absurd claim that young women were "missing" from protests marking the anniversary of Roe v. Wade by merely searching through the past coverage of the March for Life by the Washington Post, Newsweek's sister publication. In past years, the Post has highlighted the "youthful throng," the "large turnout of young people," and has quoted from teenagers participating at the annual pro-life March.
My colleague Ken Shepherd noted Gesaman's beyond faulty conclusion on Friday, and highlighted a recent Marist poll that indicated that "58 percent of persons aged 18-29 view abortion as 'morally wrong.'" Members of this age were all born after the 1973 Roe decision by the Supreme Court, so it's not that surprising of a statistic. He also underlined how "hundreds if not thousands of busloads teeming with teenagers and college students, many of them young women, descend on the nation's capital for the annual March for Life."
Near the end of the 3PM ET hour of CNN’s Rick’s List on Friday, host Rick Sanchez couldn’t seem to figure out who was protesting at the March for Life in Washington D.C.: “It’s the 37th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade case....both sides being represented today, but it does appear to me, as I look at these signs that – which side is represented the most....Do we know?”
Sanchez directed that question to his executive producer Angie Massie as he went to a commercial break. Of course, the March for Life, as it’s name implies, is an annual gathering of pro-life activists in the nation’s capital to voice their opposition to abortion on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. As Rick puzzled over which side was more represented, live footage appeared on screen showing a seemingly equal number of pro-abortion and pro-life protestors.
Returning from the commercial break, Sanchez clarified that most of the protestors “seem to be” pro-life, but still seemed completely unfamiliar with the annual event: “As far as we can tell, following this protest on this day, the bulk of the protesters that we have seen here – that doesn’t mean there aren’t others, because we haven’t gone out and counted them individually – seem to be anti-abortion activists. We’ve seen more pro-life signs than we have the others.”
Speaking to former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean on Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith repeated standard liberal talking points as he urged Republicans and Democrats to quickly pass some form of health care reform: “...to help the 40 some million that don’t have insurance or the vast majority of other folks who are one medical catastrophe away from bankruptcy.”
Dean replied by lamenting how: “The President’s tried awfully hard to get even one Republican to support this.” He added: “They believe if they obstruct this agenda that they can benefit from it and I think that’s wrong for the country, but the Republicans have always been great at opposition, never very good at leadership.”
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Americans were treated to a number of populist sermons on the "special interests" who would oppose "reform" at any cost to maintain the "status quo" from which they "profit financially or politically." The drug companies, the energy companies, the Wall Street bankers, and the health insurers were the corporate enemies of a just and harmonious America, or so one might have gathered.
Obama was at the vanguard of this populist charge. But since his election, he has proposed health care legislation that would subsidize Pfizer and PhRMA, a cap and trade plan that would drive profits to General Electric, and Wall Street bailouts that lined the pockets of the same Goldman Sachs bankers he so reviled during the campaign. What happened?
Washington Examiner columnist Tim Carney exposes and investigates this monumental disconnect in his new book "Obamanomics: How Barack Obama is Bankrupting You and Enriching His Wall Street Friends, Corporate Lobbyists, and Union Bosses." Carney explores the "political strategy of partnering with the biggest businesses in order to create new regulations, taxes, and subsidies." Those measures, he argues, actually benefit the biggest businesses by crowding out competition, consolidating market share, or giving billions in subsidies directly to those companies.
Appearing on Thursday’s CBS Early Show, Politico.com White House reporter Nia-Malika Henderson argued to co-host Harry Smith that Senator-elect Scott Brown’s humorous remark that his daughters were “available” during his Tuesday night victory speech showed that: “this might be a senator who is gaffe-prone, who has to kind of walk back from remarks that he – that he makes.”
However, Henderson followed that statement by concluding that Brown’s style could make him a “hero for at least folks in the tea bag movement and grassroots folks because he says what’s on his mind.” Smith agreed: “Yeah, a breath of fresh air, as it were.”
Earlier in the segment, Smith admitted he did not see the controversy in the comments: “I’m not seeing sort of what was so horrible about it. And it feels like to me there’s a real sort of nice warm familiarity between the new senator and his daughters.” He then added: “But I guess it’s had other kinds of ramifications and there’s some blow back on this.”
Five days after blaming the national guppy shortage for Democratic candidate Martha Coakley's struggles, the New York Times's editorial page editor-gone-columnist Gail Collins turned from denial to desperation in her first column since Republican Scott Brown's miraculous win in the special election to fill the Massachusetts Senate seat: "Democratic Silver Linings."
Poor Democrats, cheer up. There's always a bright side.
On the one hand, the Republicans have a new superstar, Scott Brown, the senator-elect from Massachusetts. On the other, he's already beginning to come off as a little strange.
During Tuesday night's victory speech, Brown veered off-script and offered up his college-student daughters to the crowd. ("Yes, they're both available!") As his girls laughed with embarrassment and his wife yelled at him to stop, Brown just dug deeper. ("Arianna's definitely not available, but Ayla is.")
On Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith introduced a segment on the future of ObamaCare in the wake of Scott Brown becoming the 41st Republican senator: “Democrats are trying to figure out their next move after Tuesday’s stunning loss of Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat. The big question continues to be what will it mean for President Obama’s agenda? Especially health care reform.”
In the report that followed, White House correspondent Chip Reid described how: “The President says he still wants Congress to move forward with reform, but in an orderly way.” Citing political analyst and executive editor of The Hotline, John Mercurio, Reid declared that: “not passing health care would be devastating for Democrats.” Mercurio added: “I think without that, they satisfy no one and they discourage a lot of their base voters from turning out in November.”
Following Reid’s report, Smith conducted an exclusive interview with Senator John McCain, asking: “Is health care...as the Democrats understand it right now, is it dead?” The headline on-screen read: “Capitol Hill Chaos; GOP Victory Could Halt Health Care Reform.”
On Wednesday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann defended his recent attacks on Massachusetts Republican Senator-elect Scott Brown by insisting that some of the incorrect claims he made are true when, in fact, two are factually without merit while the third represents one of Olbermann’s typical episodes of distorting the words of a target. Among other complaints, Olbermann on Wednesday claimed that Scott "swore at" high school students at an assembly in 2007, that he has refused to renounce a vulgar threat made against Attorney General Martha Coakley by an audience member at a Sunday rally, and that he demonstrated racism in once suggesting that he wasn’t sure if Barack Obama’s parents were married at the time of his birth.
The Countdown host repeated a myth promoted by the liberal blog bluemassgroup.com that, in February 2007, then-State Senator Scott "swore at a hall full of high school students" as he appeared before a group at King Philip Regional High School in Wrentham, Massachusetts. In reality, Scott was not alleged to have "sworn at" the students, but rather, he angrily responded to and complained about vulgar comments that some students had written about him and one of his daughters – comments which had been posted on the Facebook page of a pro-gay rights teacher at the school – as Scott read the uncensored comments from the site, naming some of the students, in front of the assembly. His actions sparked criticism because he read aloud the profane words as they appeared on the Facebook page, but he was not alleged to have "sworn at" the students.
CNN’s Carol Costello reminisced enthusiastically about President Obama’s inauguration a year ago on Tuesday’s American Morning, highlighting how, at the time, “the hearts of millions of Americans were ready to burst- with a Woodstock kind of love.” Costello also took a shot at Republicans, stating that they “used the President’s strategy [on health care] to create fear and confusion among voters.” [audio available here]
Anchor Kiran Chetry set the gushing tone for the correspondent’s report, which aired at the bottom of the 6 am Eastern hour: “It was a year ago that love was in the air. America seemed to come together behind the nation’s first African-American president.” Costello lead the segment with footage of the enthusiastic crowd at the inauguration and her reporting inside the crowd, accented with a graphic of President Obama’s head inside a beating Valentine’s heart and Cupid’s arrow: “Inauguration Day, January 20th, 2009....The hearts of millions of Americans were ready to burst- (unidentified women singing) with a Woodstock kind of love.”
The day after the Inauguration, during a January 21, 2009 report on CNN, Costello dubbed the festivity “a gigantic love fest,” and gave an enthusiastic account about her time with the masses on the National Mall: “Suddenly, someone would just come up and hug you. It was just amazing. It was -- it was like you were standing in the middle of these strangers, and all of a sudden, you had a million friends around you. That’s what it felt like yesterday.”
Speaking to political analyst John Dickerson on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show about Republican Scott Brown winning the Massachusetts Senate race, co-host Maggie Rodriguez lamented: “When it comes to health care, I think it’s so ironic that the late Ted Kennedy’s passion was health care. He dedicated his career to it. And the man who will replace him could be the one to derail it.”
Rodriguez wondered: “Do you think that’ll happen? Do you think that Senator Brown will be seated in time to vote no?” Dickerson replied: “I think so. It looks like there’s not any appetite to try and rush something through quickly. Health care is already unpopular in Massachusetts and across the country. It’s a very tricky thing indeed to take an unpopular bill and then sort of sneak it in through this back door way. So that’s politically too painful.”
Interestingly, Rodriguez’s concern over Kennedy’s health care legacy was almost identical to a question NBC’s Meredith Vieira asked Senator-elect Brown on Wednesday’s Today: “...you plan to do whatever you can to derail what Ted Kennedy called, called ‘the cause of his lifetime,’ which is health care reform?”
While it is well known that MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann is the most viciously liberal voice to host a news program within the mainstream media, even he normally tones down his anti-conservative, anti-Republican vitriol when anchoring special events like election results. But during MSNBC’s coverage of the Massachusetts special Senate election, Olbermann’s presentation was more rabidly partisan than if the Democratic National Committee itself were producing the show.
As he anchored a special 10:00 p.m. edition of Countdown, Olbermann not only used one of his "Quick Comment" segments to repeat his infamous attack from the day before on Republican Senator-elect Scott Brown, but he also impatiently interrupted Brown’s victory speech, and, while Brown was still speaking, went on to give a second "Quick Comment" blaming Tea Party protesters and Fox News for the vulgar "tea bagger" term being attached to the Tea Party movement.
At 10:19 p.m., Olbermann delivered a "Quick Comment" in which he sarcastically pretended that he would apologize for his attack on Senator-elect Scott Brown from the previous day in which he had called Brown an "irresponsible, homophobic, racist, reactionary, ex-nude model, tea bagging, supporter of violence against women and against politicians with whom he disagrees."
We don’t yet know the outcome of the Jan. 19 Massachusetts Senate special election. But the very fact that the Democrats could lose the seat formerly held by Sen. Ted Kennedy to a conservative who’s made blocking healthcare reform a centerpiece of his campaign, has liberals sputtering implausible explanations.
On Jan. 19, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean and liberal radio host Nancy Skinner appeared on CNBC with Larry Kudlow to discuss the ramifications of the election for healthcare. Both suggested that Democrat Martha Coakley was in danger of losing to Scott Brown is because Democrats hadn’t been liberal enough on health care.
Although he predicted Coakley would hold Brown off, Dean said, “Let me agree with something Larry said (far be it from me to ever do such a thing). But I do think this is clarity – about clarity of message and I think the Democrats haven’t had a clear message.”
The problem, from Dean’s perspective, was that compromise had watered down and complicated the health care bill. “Look at what we’ve done. We’ve passed this health care bill, which has, you know, just been a very messy, ugly process – or we’re about to pass a health care bill,” he said, predicting it would pass with or without a Coakley victory. “The best way to [have a bill that works and can refute GOP arguments] was to pass an extension of Medicare to people below 65. Everybody knows what Medicare is, it’s easy to understand, you don’t have to make deals with the health insurance industry. So this is about clarity of message, and Scott Brown has a clear message and the Democrats don’t.”
On Monday’s AC360, CNN’s Jessica Yellin spun the rise of Republican candidate Scott Brown as coming from “folks here in Massachusetts [who] are feeling angry and scared. They’re angry and scared about the economy, about jobs...and especially in this state, about health-care reform....[Brown] has tapped into that fear and sold himself essentially as a man of the people who will fight big government” [audio clip from the segment available here].
Anchor Anderson Cooper, reporting on location from Haiti, brought on Yellin 41 minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour of his program to discuss the potential effect of the Massachusetts special election on the Democrats’ push for ObamaCare. He addressed the liberal conventional wisdom on the senate race in his first question to the CNN national political correspondent: “Jessica, you have a well-known, well-funded Democrat in Massachusetts, running to fill the seat held for nearly half a century by Ted Kennedy. At first glance, you’d assume she’d win that with a walk. What’s happened?”
Yellin pinpointed the apparent cause of Martha Coakley’s (the “well-known, well-funded Democrat”) difficulty as coming from voter discontent:
Appearing on Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele criticized potential Democratic efforts to delay seating Republican Scott Brown as the Senator from Massachusetts as “unseemly,” but co-host Maggie Rodriguez replied: “Is that fair? Because wouldn’t your party do the exact same thing?”
Rodriguez went on to argue: “Isn’t it true that when the GOP had the majority and the Democrats would filibuster something, you know, you didn’t like that....They’re trying to keep you from doing the same thing to them that you did when you were – had the majority.” Steele began to reply: “You’re mixing an apple and an orange here.” Rodriguez interrupted: “No, no, I’m really not.”
Steele explained: “To filibuster on an issue is not the same as seating a member in the United States Senate regardless of what’s going on in the Senate. There is a process that unfolds....[Democrats] made it very clear that [they] will obstruct this process...will change the rules in order for [them] to get [their] way in the Senate.” A shocked Rodriguez asked: “So you’re implying that they would do something illegal?” Steele replied: “I’m not – illegal is left for lawyers to decide. What I’m saying is that there is a process.”