Offering a defense of President Obama’s decision to close Guantanamo Bay within the year, on Thursday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent David Martin argued: "During his final years in office, President Bush said repeatedly he wanted to close the prison at Guantanamo, where suspected terrorists were being held indefinitely without trial. Turns out it was his own vice president who stood in the way."
Martin worked to discredit Dick Cheney’s concerns about closing the detention facility: "According to Cheney, 61 of the 530 prisoners released from Guantanamo during the Bush administration have already gone back to terrorism. According to the Defense Intelligence Agency, there are 61 suspected cases of former detainees rejoining the fight, but so far only 18 have been confirmed." Martin then admitted: "Most have subsequently been killed or captured; but some, like this suicide bomber in Iraq, lived long enough to kill again."
On Thursday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Chip Reid touted a new CBS News poll that portrayed Barack Obama as being more bipartisan on the current "stimulus" spending bill being debated in Congress, than Republicans: "The new CBS News poll shows 81 percent of Americans think the president is trying for bipartisanship, but less than half say congressional Republicans and Democrats are doing the same." The poll, which separated the president from his fellow Democrats in Congress, claimed 49 percent of Americans felt congressional Democrats were being bipartisan, while only 41 percent said the same of congressional Republicans.
However, those poll findings were not reported on Friday’s CBS Early Show. Perhaps because later Thursday night, speaking at a retreat for House Democrats, Obama declared: "Don't come to the table with the same tired arguments and worn ideas that helped to create this crisis...We're not going to get relief by turning back to the very same policies that, for the last eight years, doubled the national debt and threw our economy into a tailspin...We can't embrace the losing formula that says only tax cuts will work for every problem we face, that ignores critical challenges like our addiction to foreign oil, or the soaring cost of health care, or failing schools and crumbling bridges and roads and levees."
Appearing on Wednesday’s O’Reilly Factor on FNC, CBS 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft discussed his campaign interviews with Barack Obama that have been spliced together to create a CBS News DVD, ‘Obama: All Access,’: "Well, they were dying to have somebody come out, especially '60 Minutes,' very early on to kind of explain their campaign...we developed a nice rapport."
Host Bill O’Reilly asked Kroft about the documentary: "...what does it say to people other than ‘go, go Obama?’" Kroft replied: "It's an historical document. And I think we'll probably sell a lot of copies to libraries and things like that. Maybe to some -- maybe to some Republican political consultants." O’Reilly followed up: "Is there cheerleading in it?" Kroft responded: "No, I don't think so. It's -- we've taken the interviews and it is a straight narrative of the campaign."
However, during the CBS News documentary aired on Sunday, December 28, 2008 and re-aired this Sunday, Kroft pulled out the pom-poms: "...on the campus of George Mason University in the Virginia suburbs, where Obama held his first campaign rally, just two weeks after establishing an exploratory presidential committee...It was our first exposure to what came to be known as 'Obama-mania.' You sensed immediately that something unusual was going on, something rarely seen in American politics... 5,000 students had turned out to see him...he urged his young audience to cast aside its cynicism of politics and engage the system, evoking the words of Martin Luther King."
During an interview of President Obama on Tuesday’s Anderson Cooper 360, CNN’s Anderson Cooper included a number of tough questions, compared to his gentle treatment of the Democrat almost a year ago, but concluded with three softball questions on the executive’s search for a family dog, his new limo, and his cigarette habit. The anchor asked the president if he had “lost some of that moral high ground” on his pledge to have an ethical administration, and why the commander-in-chief hadn’t use the phrase “war on terror” much since his inauguration.
The interview aired in three segments during the 10 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program. Cooper began the first segment by asking President Obama about the troubled nomination of Former Senator Tom Daschle to be the HHS Secretary: “Do you feel you messed up in letting it get this far?...What was your mistake -- letting it get this far? You should have pulled it earlier?” The anchor also asked as a follow-up, “Do you feel you have lost some of that moral high ground which you set for yourself on day one with the ethics reform?” The president’s answers on the issue included his admission that the nomination was a “mistake” and that he had “screwed up.”
Appearing on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, Evening News anchor Katie Couric discussed her White House interview with President Obama regarding the withdrawal of recent cabinet nominees: "He is surprisingly relaxed...extremely comfortable, very focused. It’s very different than sort of the buttoned-up Bush White House...he said to every person who interviewed him...that he ‘screwed up,’ he ‘messed up.’ And I think he really is trying to be the anti-Bush because President Bush was so criticized for never saying, you know, ‘I made a mistake.’" On Tuesday’s Evening News, Couric portrayed Obama as a victim.
Early Show co-host Harry Smith agreed with Couric and pointed out another criticism of the Bush administration: "There was also criticism of too much loyalty." Like Couric, Smith then praised Obama for being the "anti-Bush" and throwing Health and Human Services secretary nominee Tom Daschle under the bus: "...and here was Tom Daschle, who had been his mentor all these-" Couric interjected: "And he's been working on health care, by the way...for many, many months...And really focused on it. You know, President Obama reiterated that he thought Tom Daschle was the right man for the job, it was an honest mistake."
Time magazine's Jay Carney moved on to do communications work for Vice President Biden. CNN's Sanjay Gupta has been placed on Obama's short list for U.S. Surgeon General. Former ABC reporter Linda Douglass was an advisor on the Obama campaign and was slated to do PR work for Tom Daschle at HHS. [audio excerpt here]
Those are just three examples of the "media wing of the Democratic Party," MRC Director of Communications Seton Motley told viewers of the February 4 "Fox & Friends."
What's more, the revolving door between journalism and the staffs of liberal politicians is nothing new, Motley added that, "[i]n the first two years of the Clinton administration, 33 journalists joined the Clinton administration, so yes, there's a history of this."
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Bill Plante reported on Health and Human Services Secretary nominee, Tom Daschle, failing to pay taxes and working as a health care lobbyist: "Daschle's problem shines a light on something that usually stays in the shadows around here, and that is how connections work in Washington. When is a lobbyist not a lobbyist, and how does a power player, like the former Senate majority leader, not know that he owes back taxes?"
The report featured Melanie Sloan of Citizens for Responsibilities and Ethics, who defended Daschle: "What Tom Daschle does is the more sophisticated kind of lobbying we have in Washington, where he's a consultant. And he talks to people about the strategy for getting a piece of legislation passed...Maybe the truth of the matter is, you need some of those Washington insiders in order to make your new government work. But then let's say that."
However, in a 2005 column by Ari Berman in the liberal magazine, The Nation, Sloan was quoted reacting to an ethics scandal surrounding Republican House majority Leader Tom Delay: "The fact that Tom DeLay is under criminal indictment and Senate majority leader Bill Frist is under criminal investigation is a historic first...This demonstrates the culture of corruption among the Congressional leadership that has become a cancer on our country." Berman’s column was posted on the CBS News website.
Anchor Wolf Blitzer and Vanity Fair correspondent Maureen Orth raved about the core members of the Obama administration and their pictures taken by photographer Annie Liebovitz during a segment on CNN’s Situation Room on Monday. Their conversation sounded as if the two were suddenly back in high school browsing a new yearbook. Blitzer gushed over the photos of President Obama and his wife Michelle and that of UN Ambassador Susan Rice, while Orth extolled how “they [the new administration] want a green America. They really do.”
Blitzer zeroed-in on Liebovitz’s photography at the beginning of the segment, as he introduced Orth: “...[Y]ou’ve got a new cover. It’s a pretty nice cover, about the new president of the United States....These pictures by Annie Liebovitz, the photographer, are really great pictures because it says a lot about the president, the first lady.” The two first discussed a shot of the Obamas walking outside the presidential limo on Inauguration Day, and the CNN anchor just couldn’t get enough: “[T]hey were walking down Pennsylvania Avenue. Who can forget that moment?...Look at those huge smiles....They are obviously holding hands, and very excited.” Orth replied, “Yeah, total energy. That was such an energetic day all the way around.”
Don't like the notion of Wall Street employees receiving bonuses? Shoot the messenger - as Adam Green at The Huffington Post has done.
In a Feb. 2 post on The Huffington Post, Green said it was bad form for CNBC "Street Signs" host Erin Burnett to even think about considering the other side of the anti-Wall Street bonus argument, since some Wall Street banks received TARP funds, courtesy of the taxpayer.
"There are, though - well, how should we say this - the taxpayer money is not being used to pay the bonuses," Burnett explained on NBC's Feb. 1 "Meet the Press." "I think people could understand if you work for a company - right? If the three of us worked for a company, your guests, and I lost $10 billion but Steve [Forbes] over there, he made a billion dollars. So overall the company actually loses money, but Steve went and did his very darndest for that company and he made money. So should he be paid for his work? That's essentially what we're talking about here."
At the end of Sunday’s Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer commented on former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele as chairman of the Republican National Committee: "So it was that the party of Lincoln, which had freed the slaves, but in the process had become the party of mainly white people, came full circle and turned to an African-American Moses to lead it out of the political wilderness."
Schieffer started his commentary by explaining how the Republican Party came to be the party of "mainly white people": "When Lyndon Johnson signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, he told a fellow Democrat 'we have lost the south for a generation,' and he was right. Richard Nixon capitalized on southern anger brought on by that act, developed a southern strategy, which emphasized states' rights, won the presidency twice, and a region where there had been few Republicans since the Civil War became the base of the reborn Republican Party."
On Monday’s American Morning, CNN anchor John Roberts interviewed former Playboy CEO Christie Hefner, and introduced her as being “added to our roster of economic analysts.” Roberts also failed to mention Hefner’s long-time support for President Obama during the segment.
The interview, which started just before the bottom-half of the 8 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, began with Roberts giving the following introduction of the former Playboy CEO: “...[T]he economy is issue number one here at CNN....We love to get expert commentary on this, and we are pleased and proud this morning to have added to our roster of economic analysts the former CEO and chairwoman of Playboy Enterprises, Christie Hefner.” He first asked Hefner about the jobs market, and the economy as a whole. Hefner touted how that the “sense that I’m getting, in talking to CEOs, is that people are hoping for a late 2010 recovery.” Later, the anchor asked the former CEO about executive bonuses, and played a sound bite from Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, who railed against the “bunch of idiots on Wall Street.” Hefner praised McCaskill’s “very good characterization” and labeled her a “pro-business Democrat,” despite her vote last year against a proposed increase in the exemption on the “death tax,” which would have aided small family-run businesses.
CBS’s Sunday Morning celebrated the 30th anniversary of its first broadcast in 1979 with host Charles Osgood citing CBS/New York Times poll numbers to demonstrate how American attitudes have changed over the past 30 years: "The majority of us now think homosexual relations between adults aren't wrong. That's a reversal from 30 years ago. As for sexual relations before marriage, the minority who disapprove is growing smaller. More people now support the legalization of marijuana than did 30 years ago. But still short of a majority. Views on abortion have hardly changed at all."
In addition to cultural issues, Osgood also explained how Americans are now ready for socialized medicine: "On the matter of health insurance, nearly half of all Americans now want the government to provide it for all problems. That's up from just over a quarter of us in 1979." Osgood also claimed: "Just one American in eight thinks the nation is more powerful today than it was ten years ago. In 1979, it was one in five." Apparently Americans were more optimistic about American power at the end of the Jimmy Carter era than at the end of the Bush era.
At the top of the show, correspondent Rita Braver did a similar look back at the last 30 years: "Three decades of change in our culture. Our communications, our politics." At that moment, a video clip of a gay marriage ceremony appeared on screen. After describing the end of apartheid in South Africa, Braver declared: "And the social order changed in this country, too." Braver spoke with Harvard history and economics professor Niall Ferguson and asked: "It does seem that white men are no longer calling all the shots." Ferguson replied: "Well, you're asking a white man if America-" Braver interrupted: " I know that, I'm asking you to fess up."
During a news brief on Monday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Elizabeth Palmer reported on the 30th Anniversary of the 1979 Iranian Revolution: "At a musical gala, a choir sang revolutionary songs. Beneath a full-scale replica of the plane that brought Ayatollah Khomeini back to Iran from exile in 1979. On a video screen, 30-year-old scenes of jubilant crowds." Palmer continued to describe the celebration: "Nearby in the Ayatollah's tomb, the faithful shout ‘Death to America.’ But to millions, this is just ritual now. They would like to see improved relations with the United States." Maybe not wishing America’s death would be a good start.
Palmer followed up by explaining: "Iran's leaders are still committed to the revolutionary ideals." Even Barack Obama has not been able to weaken Iranian principles: "And so far there's little sign they're in a hurry to accept the direct negotiations proposed by Obama's administration."
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer went out of his way to point out the apparent lack of diversity in the leadership of the Republican Party during a panel discussion on Friday’s Situation Room. Just minutes earlier, Michael Steele had been elected the chairman of the Republican National Committee, and Blitzer brought up the race of many of those who had voted for him with Republican strategist Leslie Sanchez: “Take a look at the audience, though -- and I want to show our viewers a picture of the audience. Michael Steele, the first African-American leader of the RNC -- Leslie, I don’t see a whole lot of black people, at least in that group over there.” He went on to say, “It’s encouraging. I’m sure you’re encouraged that all these white people basically elected an African-American to be their leader.”
The anchor’s comment came during the CNN program’s regular “Strategy Session” discussion. Besides Sanchez, Blitzer hosted Democratic strategist Donna Brazile during the segment. He brought up Steele’s election as the first topic. After getting both women to respond to the news, Blitzer made his comment about the seeming lack of black people. Sanchez responded by conceding to his observation, in terms of the top RNC members, but then pointed out that “if you walked around that room, there’s so much diversity there. There was so much excitement for Michael Steele.”
Showing that Barack Obama is fighting for the common man, on Friday’s CBS Early Show correspondent Jeff Glor reported on the President’s reaction to big bonuses on Wall Street: "For a man who prides himself on being cool, this was a rare flash of anger, if planned. A tongue-lashing directly from the Oval Office, which is indicating now they will look to change the rules if Wall Street doesn't itself."
Glor explained: "...firms gave out $18.4 billion in bonuses to New York-based employees last year, the same year the Dow Jones caved in 33%. And yes, a lot of the bonus money came from T.A.R.P. government bailout funds, taxpayer dollars." There was no mention of the fact that then Senator Obama was a strong supporter of the bailout.
At the top of the show, co-host Julie Chen declared: "Target Wall Street. An angry President Obama lashes out at bonuses worth nearly $20 billion." Co-host Harry Smith introduced Glor’s report in a similar fashion: "In our series ‘Red, White, and Greed,’ President Obama chastising Wall Street for paying itself big bonuses while the economy and the banking industry tanked."
During Thursday’s Situation Room, CNN’s Zain Verjee exclaimed about how much “the world is waiting” for President Obama to begin his international travels: “The world wants Obama, the road show.” She also gushed over how his “rock star vibe will make his personal diplomacy a much more potent tool” and how he will be in “really big demand overseas.”
The correspondent made her “road show” comment during an introduction to a short report on the President’s first trip to Canada, which gave a little history of the past two presidents’ first foreign trips, and also possible other overseas destinations for the commander-in-chief in the near future. The report also featured two clips from Darrell West of the Brookings Institution, who highlighted the importance of international trips for President Obama, and how other world leaders will want to interact with him, in order to “get a piece of him, find out who he is, what his priorities are.”
During the 3PM hour on MSNBC, anchor Norah O’Donnell derided Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for attending the annual Alfalfa dinner in Washington, D.C., declaring: "Sarah Palin is coming to D.C. she ran as a maverick this whole campaign, wanted nothing to do with people in Washington, the anti-establishment candidate, and now she's coming to the most exclusive dinner in Washington, to hobnob with perhaps the president, ambassadors, senators, all the people she derided during the campaign. What's up with that?"
O’Donnell spoke with Republican strategist John Feehery and Democratic strategist Morris Reid and played a clip of Palin explaining why she was attending the dinner: "Alfalfa dinner, yes. In fact, that's because President Obama is scheduled to be there. And how often will I have an opportunity to have dinner with the president. I will take up that offer to do so, yeah." O’Donnell then turned to Reid and asked: "Didn't she call him a terrorist on the campaign trail?" O’Donnell was referring to Palin’s comment that Obama was "palling around with terrorists," like his long-time Chicago associate and former domestic terrorist, Bill Ayers.
While discussing Rush Limbaugh’s opposition to the Obama administration’s massive spending bill on Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked author Ann Coulter: "But don't you think that right now is not -- it behooves the Republicans to be a little bit more in the middle? I mean, what are -- they're not -- their voices aren't going to be heard anyway, as we saw with this economic stimulus plan...So doesn't it behoove them to be more bipartisan and meet in the middle?" Coulter did not feel "behooved": "I think it's just the reverse. I mean, we just ran John McCain, we are so sick of being in the middle."
The segment actually began with co-host Harry Smith trying to offer a fair assessment of Limbaugh’s comments about wanting President Obama to "fail": "I think if you listen to what Rush Limbaugh has said, 'I want him to fail,' he wants big government to fail...He wants certain things that are especially involved in this stimulus package to fail. I don't think he's sitting there saying 'as an American citizen, I want the presidency and the country to fail.’" Coulter agreed: "That's exactly right. In fact, I put it sort of the reverse way. I said, yes, of course, I want him to succeed, but that means he'll govern as a conservative...I sort of admire Rush's verve for switching it around that way." However, co-host Julie Chen wondered: "Oh, you admire that he put it that way? Don't you think it's a little bit irresponsible for him to put it that way?"
Newsweek’s Sarah Kliff, in a January 27, 2009 web-exclusive article entitled “Pro-Lifers In Obamaland,” failed to mention how several organizations and individuals she labeled as “pro-life” have friendly relations with pro-abortion Democrats. She also tried to portray the pro-life movement as being “split” between “those who are preparing for the fight of their lives and those who see an opportunity to redefine what it means to be pro-life,” with the latter being the organizations sympathetic to the Democrats. Kliff wrote sympathetically of these groups, which are actually trying to muddy the waters of pro-life activism
Kliff began by introducing Sister Sharon Dillon, a “50-year-old former director of the Franciscan Federation” who has been “a pro-life activist since high school.” Sister Dillon “doesn't agree with Roe v. Wade,” but she’s also “frustrated with the kind of single-minded activism she sees around her.” What does Sister Dillon see as being “single-minded”? Apparently, it’s “young girls chanting, ‘hey hey, ho ho, Roe v. Wade has got to go!’” So Kliff started with the premise that wanting to overturn this Supreme Court ruling is “single-minded.”
At the end of Sunday’s Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer declared: "Hubert Humphrey once said the 1964 Civil Rights Act was America's single most effective foreign policy initiative. It had nothing to do with foreign policy, but it told the world who we wereand what we stood for and that our system was about fairness and equal treatment and that it worked. I thought about that when Barack Obama announced that torture would never be part of our national policy."
Schieffer continued to praise Obama as well as the president’s world view: "With a simple declaration, President Obama told the world our system of government is so strong we don't need to torture people to survive. That is the way of those who would destroy us. But that is not us. We have found a better way. That is what our message to the world must be. More importantly, that is what we want our children to know. When we were admired and respected by others, we are far more secure than any weapon can ever make us."
CNN commentator Jack Cafferty, who had bashed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for “starting to sound a little like Chairman Mao” the previous day, labeled Rush Limbaugh “that corpulent Oxycontin aficionado of right-wing talk radio” during his usual “Cafferty File” segment on Tuesday’s Situation Room. The slam came during as Cafferty launched a mild criticism of President Obama’s first week in office on issues like his reluctance to answer questions from the press, the closing of Guantanamo Bay, and making an exception on his ban on lobbyists from his administration.
Cafferty began his commentary, which aired nine minutes into the 5 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, by acclaiming the apparent success of President Obama’s first week in the White House: “It’s been exactly one week since Barack Obama became our 44th president -- what a week it’s been: signing executive orders; meeting with his teams of advisers on the economy, national security, Iraq, the Middle East.” He continued by focusing on how the new president has also been “learning some things along the way,” and began his critique of some of the actions by the Democratic executive, which included his smear of the conservative talk show host.
On Tuesday’s CBS ‘Early Show,’ embattled Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was interviewed over the course of two segments, totaling 10 minutes, and was never described as a Democrat. Co-hosts Maggie Rodriguez, Harry Smith and Julie Chen all spoke with the governor at some point and none mentioned his political party. The only acknowledgment of the governor’s party affiliation was in an on-screen graphic that featured a ‘(D) Illinois’ label. A mention of Blagojevich’s political party was similarly lacking on Thursday’s Good Morning America on ABC.
In addition to Early Show hosts failing to note that Blagojevich was a Democrat, none of them asked the governor about any discussions he had with President Obama or other administration officials about filling Obama’s vacant Senate seat. In the second segment in the 7:30AM half hour, Blagojevich declared: "I want to bring Congressman Rahm -- president's chief of staff, my congressman, Rahm Emanuel...I want to bring Valerie Jarrett, who's a high-ranking official in the Obama administration." However, there was no follow-up question to clarify the connection those Obama administration officials had with Blagojevich. Despite such a lack of journalist curiosity, Julie Chen exclaimed at the top of the show: "Blago live. He's faced Larry and Barbara, but his toughest interview is ahead this morning."
During his regular “Question of the Hour” segment on Monday’s Situation Room, CNN commentator Jack Cafferty compared House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s idea to spend hundred of millions of dollars on contraception as a cost-reducing measure to the oppressive birth control policies of the Chinese Communists under Mao: “What exactly did she mean? Are the millions of dollars for contraception supposed to stop people from having babies? [That’s] starting to sound a little like Chairman Mao.”
The commentator began his 5 pm Eastern hour “Cafferty File” segment by describing President Obama’s proposed stimulus package, and how this past weekend, “lawmakers were out on their soap boxes. Democrats were selling the plan. Republicans were pointing out problems with the plan.” He then addressed Speaker Pelosi’s comments to George Stephanopoulos on This Week: “On ABC, the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, defended hundreds of millions of dollars in the stimulus package earmarked for contraception. She said family planning reduces costs and explained that the stimulus plan includes assistance to states, and part of that includes children’s health and education. That includes contraception, which Pelosi said will, ‘reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.’”
For 8 years, life was good and easy for the liberal political cartoon community--they had George W. Bush & Dick Cheney to kick around. With hardly a care in the world, they boldly spoke truth to power, at immense personal risk to themselves, and quietly stacked their Pulitzers for being so bold and courageous and funny.
Then along came Barack Obama--the cool, handsome, African-American incarnation of JFK & Abraham Lincoln (no less). What were the professional sketch satirists to do?
"I had all my villains in place for eight years and they've been taken away," lamented Pulitzer Prize winner Pat Oliphant, one of the most widely syndicated cartoonists. "I don't know that I've ever had this experience before, of a president I maybe like. This is an antagonistic art. We're supposed to concentrate on finding things wrong. There's no point in drawing a cartoon that's favorable."
Less than a week after suggesting Republicans had "lost their cojones" after confirming Hillary Clinton for secretary of state, on Monday, MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell wondered: "Does President Barack Obama finally have the cojones, that some Democrats haven't had in the past, in saying to other Republicans ‘you don't have to listen to Rush Limbaugh?’" Democratic strategist Penny Lee agreed with O’Donnell and replied: "Enough with this politics of personal destruction. Let us get back to business and you don't have to listen to the extremes on either side."
O’Donnell also spoke with Republican strategist Phil Musser and asked: "...what out does it give the Republican Party to have Rush Limbaugh out there saying, who is the voice of many conservatives, that he hopes the president fails. I mean, that's kind of lame, isn't it?" Musser responded: "He is raising some legitimate issues in the context of what some would characterize as maybe impolitic language, but that's his business." However, he later attacked Limbaugh: "...the Republican Party is now the minority party and in a lot of ways, we're back to throwing the bombs from the sidelines... And that's one of the things that I think Rush Limbaugh is stepping up to try to capitalize on."
Later in segment, O’Donnell attempted to portray Obama’s comments about Limbaugh as political savvy:
O’DONNELL: But isn't this exactly the kind of fight that Obama wants to have? Don't fight with the Republicans in the House, don't fight with the Republicans in the Senate, because you have to work with them. But find somebody like a Rush Limbaugh, who they can argue is on the fringe, and fight with him, score points with your base and not lose out with the Republicans that you need?
At the end of Sunday’s 60 Minutes on CBS, commentator Andy Rooney did some of his usual thinking out loud, praising Barack Obama: "I've lived through the election of a lot of American presidents -- more than ten, I think -- and about half the people I knew at the time hated one or the other of the two candidates...Maybe I'm reading the wrong newspapers and listening to the wrong people, but I'm not hearing anyone who hates Barack Obama." Perhaps Rooney should stop listening to his own network’s fawning Obama coverage and consult the 46% of the country that did not vote for the Democratic president.
Rooney touted some of the president’s early decisions: "I think we've got ourselves a really good president with a funny name...Obama has frozen the salaries of people in the White House who are making more than $100,000...Obama has put limits on lobbyists who infest Washington. He reversed Bush's policy of making it hard to get information out of our government through the Freedom of Information Act." Rooney concluded his fawning by declaring: "Obama just looks good every time he does anything."
In a rare instance of critical coverage of the Obama administration on Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman about Obama’s decision to close Guantanamo Bay: "I'm not sure if you've seen the New York Times this morning. On the front page there is an article that reveals that a terror suspect released from Guantanamo a few months ago...is now heading up Al Qaeda in Yemen. I'm wondering if this makes you less inclined Representative Harman, to support closing down the prison?"
Harman actually doubted the credibility of the usually left-wing newspaper: "Not at all. Obviously,if that allegation is true and if this fellow has now become a key Al Qaeda operative, that's shocking and disappointing." Harman went on to argue: "But there is really no justification, and there was no justification, for disappearing people in a place that was located offshore America so it was outside the reach of U.S. law. As President Obama said two days ago, there's a false choice between our safety and our values." Rodriguez then turned to Republican Congressman Peter Hoekstra: "It all sounds great, but Representative Hoekstra you said yesterday that's placing 'hope ahead of reality,' right?"
Thursday’s CBS Early Show focused on an important aspect of the Obama Administration as co-host Julie Chen declared: "...in a meeting yesterday with senior White House staffers, President Obama showed a lot of love. That's right. The president is a man hugger. We counted nine man-to-man hugs." Co-host Maggie Rodriguez added: "Nothing wrong with that."
Chen then asked co-host Harry Smith: "Man of the show, Harry, how do you feel about the man hug?" Smith replied: "I think it's real." Rodriguez asked Smith: "Did he [Obama] ever man hug you?" Smith then recounted: "You know, I got one about a year ago in Wilmington, North Carolina. We were waiting for an interview, we had, you know, really great access. And he came in -- I have never told this story on the air before -- he came in, and he gives me one of these [Smith grasped Rodriguez’s hand and place his other hand on top]...and he says, ‘Harry Smith, how you doing, my brother?’" Rodriguez was touched: "Awww...He had you."
Reportedly few Republicans see reason to ultimately vote against confirming Obama's attorney general designee and the GOP Senate minority has only put a one-week delay on his confirmation hearings, but the Washington Post was insistent in its January 22 headline that that Republican senators were set on "Obstruct[ing] Eric Holder's "Path to [the] Justice Dept."
This is markedly different from the Post's take in 2001 when Democratic senators objected to whom the Post called the "highly contentious" John Ashcroft. The January 16, 2001 edition of the Post described the Ashcroft hearings as the "first test of Bush's strength on [Capitol] Hill." (excerpt via Nexis, emphasis mine):
Supporters and opponents of John D. Ashcroft mobilized constituencies and honed strategies yesterday in last-minute preparations for the opening today of confirmation hearings over his highly contentious nomination as attorney general.
After being nominated for an academy award on Thursday for his role in the movie ‘Milk,’ actor Josh Brolin appeared on the CBS Early Show, where co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked: "...you played 'W.' You were here on the show talking about it. How did it feel to see him at the inauguration? Did you feel bad for him at all?" Brolin responded: "I don't know, personally? No, I think personally, I do. You know, watching him take off in the helicopter. But then I was also part of the, you know, the group that waved good-bye happily politically." Rodriguez and fellow co-host Harry Smith both laughed at the remark.
Earlier, Smith asked about Brolin about his role in ‘Milk,’ about the first gay member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Harvey Milk, and his murder: "Playing this San Francisco supervisor. This is the guy who ends up killing Harvey Milk. You were so -- you make such a commitment in this role. You made this guy real." Brolin explained his desire to be in the movie: "When I read it, I thought it was a really important film...And then the timeliness of it because of Prop 8, I think it's an incredible movie, I'm glad that there's so much notice for it." On December 10, Smith declared the movie, which also stars left-wing actor Sean Penn, was "...a must-see for everybody."