In a striking resemblance to a pair of recent "Saturday Night Live" skits, the March 12 edition of "Good Morning America" began with a fawning interview of Barack Obama, then grilled Hillary Clinton supporter Geraldine Ferraro.
Co-host Chris Cuomo first congratulated Obama for his Mississippi victory, then questioned if it "seals the deal." Cuomo added he is "sure you’re [Obama] gaining the confidence that you have a very good change of winning the ticket." Cuomo then pressed for an Obama/Clinton or Clinton/Obama ticket then asked Obama for a reaction to Geraldine Ferraro’s allegedly racially charged comments. To conclude the interview, inquired into Obama’s familial for the next six weeks leading to Pennsylvania.
"You have six weeks now before Pennsylvania. You have some time to see your wife, see your kids, play a little ball. You going to take it to the hoop? You going to pretend that you're Michael Jordan trying to take it into the basket a little bit?"
Immediately following the interview, co-host Diane Sawyer spoke with Ferraro herself on her controversial statement that "if Obama was a white mane, he would not be in this position." The tone and the questions were noticeably tougher. Sawyer challenged Ferraro’s assertion that she is not directly involved with the Clinton campaign. Sawyer also noted Obama’s popular vote totals and the 11 senators that support him, asking if they’re just caught up in "the concept." In the end, Sawyer asked if Ferraro is "sorry" for her statement.
Forget the popcorn: it could take a case of Cognac and a humidor of good cigars to fully savor the warfare that's breaking out in Dem ranks. Who could have predicted that Keith Olbermann would be accusing a prominent Clinton team member and former Dem VP candidate of making a "clearly racist" statement evoking the apartheid era in South Africa? And yet . . .
On this evening's Countdown, Olbermann and Newsweek's Howard Fineman were discussing Geraldine Ferraro's remarks about Obama and the way the Clinton campaign, far from denouncing them, sent out campaign manager Maggie Williams to try to turn the tables, accusing Obama of "false, personal and politically calculated attacks" for having the audacity to complain.
"[Michael] Wiggins, a city bus driver, was one of millions of Americans caught in the subprime mortgage crisis," CBS correspondent Randall Pinkston said. "His mortgage lenders' network loan gave him an 11-percent interest rate with a payment of $3,900 a month. But that jumped to $4,200 a month because of delinquency fees and penalties. Knowing he was sinking fast, Wiggins looked for refinancing at commercial banks."
If Hillary Clinton's latest gambit--floating Obama as her VP--were a play not a ploy, and the Today crew the theater critics, they would have left at intermission to begin penning a blistering pan.
Interviewing Tim Russert, Matt Lauer kicked off the kicking around of Hillary's idea.
MATT LAUER: Let's talk about this idea. Is it being floated seriously? Is this light-hearted, and who's behind it?
TIM RUSSERT: Well the Clintons are behind it, and New York Daily News columnist Michael Goodwin said today that he talked to a Clintonista who said it's an attempt to belittle Barack Obama, that if they can suggest that he can be Vice-President, it's an indication that who should be President?
LAUER: Yeah, but couldn't it backfire? I mean, he's ahead in the delegate count, she needs a miracle. Might it not come off as ignorant, or arrogant, not to be too harsh?
"The opening of a trapdoor and the sudden snap of a hangman's noose at dawn yesterday brought an extraordinary end to a political era in Iraq." -- Opening line from The Guardian's report of the execution of Saddam, Dec. 31, 2006
"Senator Clinton never gave a second thought to opening the trap door beneath her fellow Democrat." -- Bob Herbert of the NYT, Confronting the Kitchen Sink, March 8, 2008 [emphasis added in both citations].
When Bill O'Reilly, in an impromptu response to a phone caller's question, said that he didn't want to "lynch" Michelle Obama, critics on the left from Media Matters to Keith Olbermann were outraged. Star Jones condemned O'Reilly's statement as "racist, unacceptable and inappropriate on every level."
Wednesday’s "The Situation Room" brought on three Democratic operatives to denounce "controversial" remarks made by Rush Limbaugh on his radio show earlier in the day, with only one conservative/Republican, CNSNews.com’s Editor-in-Chief Terry Jeffrey, on to defend the top-rated radio talk show host. Limbaugh’s apparent offense was when he brushed aside talk of a possible joint ticket between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. "Let’s say put Hillary on top, that’s a position she is familiar with. Therefore you’ve got a woman and a black, first time ever on the Democrat ticket. They don’t have a prayer."
Democratic strategist Donna Brazile blasted Limbaugh during a segment about 50 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour of the program. "I think that comment is, as far as I can tell, a very un-American conversation.... [A]nd to suggest somehow or another that we are not capable of serving this country in the capacity of Commander-in-Chief is just, in my mind, mind-boggling."
When Christopher Hitchens came on today's Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough began by inviting him to comment on "last night's" results. Quipped the famously hard-living Hitchens: "I'm still thinking of it as this morning's result. I hope it doesn't show." Unfortunately for Christopher, it did. See screencap.
But whatever price Hitchens was paying for indulgences of the night before did nothing to blunt his acerbic wit. The quondam Englishman turned naturalized American offered acid observations about both Dem contenders. Hillary was first in his sights. He described as "slightly sinister" her listing during last night's victory speech of Florida and Michigan among her primary wins, since by DNC rules those contests counted for nothing. By his lights, her inclusion of the two states portends nasty arm-twisting to come.
Then there was this: "Anyone who like me when they think about the Clintons thinks about zombies, thinks about the undead, thinks about stakes through the heart, silver bullets and so on, has just received confirmation. It's as bad as we thought it was going to be."
So, how is a Rush Limbaugh caller's comments news?
Unfortunately, this is the kind of silliness that the net is sometimes prone to as sites try to fill pages with "news." On March 3 during the Rush Limbaugh radio show, one of the callers.... remember, I said a caller here... said that Barack Obama reminded her (the caller's) daughter of the cartoon character Curious George. And, um, this is somehow news? Well, it is according to ABC News at least. Excitedly, ABC's Political Radar blog delivered us a headline that virtually screams "look at the racist" -- Limbaugh Caller Says Obama Reminds Daughter of Cartoon Monkey.
On March 3rd, the Political Radar blog breathlessly reports this momentous "news," this stupendous, stultifying, divisive, pointless, news. Even more shocking, Limbaugh "laughed at the caller's comment." The NERVE!
Has the Clinton campaign been caught engaging in ethnic stereotyping of Latinos? Jake Tapper suggests it has. ABC News' Senior National Correspondent reported from Texas this morning. After airing footage of Hillary on the stump reminiscing about her days in Texas back in 1972 working on the McGovern campaign, Tapper continued.
JAKE TAPPER: That experience may the reason why Clinton's campaign asks supporters in Spanish-language TV ads to show up at tonight's caucuses 15 minutes earlier than it asks supporters in English ads, suggesting to some Hispanic political observers that the Clinton campaign thinks Latinos might be a little tardy.
Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell has proven that skin color is deeper than hate in her Sunday column as she scolded Barack Obama for distancing himself from the endorsement of the racist Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan. Mitchell scoffed at Barack's denouncement of Farrakhan as merely a "game" to placate racist white people and tried to pump up the legitimacy of Farrakhan at the same time. Shockingly Mitchell excused every hateful thing ever said by Farrakhan and said that Barack should have "found a way" to accept Farrakhan's endorsement "without denigrating Farrakhan's legacy."
Mitchell scolded Barack Obama because he tried to make sure that voters don't think that he, Barack, supports the sort of racism evinced in the past by Louis Farrakhan. Saying that, "most black people understand the game," Mitchell seems to feel that the only reason Obama eschewed Farrakhan’s praise is because all those racist whites would pillory Barack for accepting such an endorsement and so, she feels, he had to trash Farrakhan. Sadly for Mitchell, Farrakhan is a worthy representative of the black community and she feels that Obama is somehow being an apostate to that community for dumping on Farrakhan.
In the past couple of months, two journalists -- the Golf Channel's Kelly Tilghman and Fox News's Bill O'Reilly -- have gotten themselves in trouble for making a seemingly innocent remark that involved the word "lynch."
On Sunday, a Democrat Congresswoman from Ohio innocently accused the Obama campaign of trying to put a noose around Hillary Clinton's neck.
Think this will stoke equal if any outrage?
While you ponder, Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio), a Hillary Clinton supporter, was talking to Fox News's Shepard Smith about NAFTA as a campaign issue on Sunday when she said the following (h/t and video available here courtesy our dear friend Ms Underestimated):
New NPR ombudsman Alicia Shepard took up a flurry of complaints when veteran news anchor Jean Cochran told listeners President Bush was traveling to Africa, the "dark continent." They insisted NPR was sounding racist:
"I thought that we had wrested that comment along with 'colored' and other euphemisms for Africans or Afro-Americans," wrote one listener, summing up how others felt. "Could you please report my comments to NPR management? I almost drove off the side of the road to start a protest!!!"
"This is simply an outdated reference as well as being outrageously offensive," wrote another listener, Karrye Y. Braxton.
The copy, which had been approved by an editor, was pulled and Cochran agreed to never use the expression again.
It seemed like a heartwarming story: Voters in an Alabama county that is 96 percent white elected a black man to the State House of Representatives, with one voter saying, "I don't even see him as black."
What most see as a positive sign of an emerging colorblind America, reporter Adam Nossiter of the New York Times saw as something much more ominous. "It is a historic first, but the remarks of many white voters reveal an unconscious condescension," he wrote in the print edition of today's front page article titled, "On a Battlefield of Civil Rights, Race Matters Less in Politics."
Even for a newspaper that champions the left's cynical brand of identity politics, this was apparently too much, as the line was edited in the online version to read, "It is a historic first, but the moment is full of awkwardness.
Update | 3:50 PM: Obama Campaign Clarification: As predicted, the Obama campaign has clarified Michelle's remark. See text at foot.
I sense there's often more than a bit of theater in the arguments between Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. Not to say Morning Joe's the WWF of political talk, but a little conflict never hurt the ratings.
But there was evidence that this morning's dust-up between the duo was for real. At one point, Scarborough disclosed that a producer had told him through his earpiece to put on a smile, but Joe wasn't buying.
The subject was Michelle Obama's statement that "for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country."
Scarborough opined that whereas the flap over Barack borrowing a line from friend Deval Patrick wouldn't hurt him, the attitude Michelle expressed could. Mika rose to Michelle's defense, and the fight was on.
Rush Limbaugh read the first two paras of this item during his first half-hour today, citing "our buddies at NewsBusters." Thanks, Rush! Audio here.
If a supremely prominent Republican who was John McCain's chief surrogate had gotten into an angry confrontation at a campaign event, do you think the broadcast networks would have promptly let us know his interlocutor was African-American?
I do. But none of the broadcast network's morning news shows, at least during this morning's crucial first half-hour, disclosed the African-American identity of the man with whom Bill Clinton got into just such an argument yesterday in Ohio.
Not a word of any incident whatsoever at GMA or the Early Show, at least during the first half-hour. Today did mention that Clinton "showed his temper . . . after an Obama supporter tried to disrupt his speech in Canton," but nothing about the man's identity.
Let's have some fun deconstructing Frank Rich's NY Times column of today. The gist of The Grand Old White Party Confronts Obama is that it will be nearly impossible for McCain to defeat Obama because the Arizona senator reflects the politics of an almost all-white GOP in the age of a changing America.
Rich begins by mocking the the "collection of sallow-faced old Beltway pols" who flanked McCain during his victory speech on the night of the Potomac Primaries. Adding insult to injury, Rich replays Letterman's line about the GOP presidential hopefuls looking like “guys waiting to tee off at a restricted country club.”
A couple days ago, speculating that Contessa Brewer might be a closet conservative, I expressed the hope that I wasn't making trouble for her at MSNBC. Maybe I did. For the anchor now has gone out of her way to express PC sentiments that almost make you wonder whether she wasn't trying to prove her liberal bona fides to her MSNBC honchos.
Jesse Jackson would normally be the last person who'd need to be persuaded to take offense at any comment that could possibly be considered to have racial overtones. Usually, it's a case of duck meets junebug.
But for whatever reason, interviewed by Brewer on MSNBC this afternoon at 4:18 PM ET, Jackson was on his way to taking the high road regarding Ed Rendell's recent remark about some whites in Pennsylvania being unwilling to vote for blacks . . . until Contessa cut in to point out the possible racial slight. Jackson took the hint and proceeded to express the criticism Brewer had apparently been hoping for.
Over across the pond, the Brits are having a spirited discussion about Islamic law following a statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, that sharia is inevitable within the UK. This has pleased some of the more extremely politically correct people who are calling for the creation of a dual-tier legal system which would enforce the medieval dictates of Islamic sharia law.
While he may not be quite that foolish, it seems British journalist Martin Fletcher (h/t LGF) does appear to be more of the useful idiot, at least judging from an op-ed he published which praises his "brush with Islamic justice:"
As one who has been hauled in front of a Sharia court I would like to risk having my hand — or head — chopped off a second time by suggesting that the Archbishop of Canterbury just might have a point.
[A] synthetic product leeched of most human qualities. -- Frank Rich, on how Hillary Clinton is being marketed, Feb. 10, 2008.
If Frank Rich is the voice of elite liberal opinion, Hillary Clinton is in deep, deep trouble. How many folks on the Upper West Side and reasonable facsimiles thereof from Boston to Madison to LA will be opening their hearts -- or credit cards -- to Hillary after reading Rich's stunning indictment of Clinton and her campaign this morning?
The jumping-off point for Rich's column is the live prime-time special the night before Super Tuesday that the Clinton campaign conducted. Flashing his theater-critic roots, Rich panned it as a "boring" "pseudo-event," noting that "some in attendance appeared to trance out." But if the staging was bad, the substance was much, much worse in Rich's view. For he claims that it reflected nothing less than Clinton playing from a "thick deck of race cards."
Letting out a journalistic "Ha-ha!" a la Nelson Muntz, the Washington Post ran an article sure to remind disspirited conservative voters in Maryland, D.C., and Virginia of what might have been if former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) had been able to run a 2008 presidential campaign and unite the Republican Party:
RICHMOND -- As Virginia voters prepare to go to the polls Tuesday to help choose the Republican nominee for president, state and national party leaders are left wondering: What if former senator George Allen had never uttered the word "macaca"?
After years of preparing for a 2008 presidential run, including trips to Iowa and New Hampshire and formation of a national network of donors, Allen's use of the word on Aug. 11, 2006, changed the landscape of the GOP nominating contest.
First, to be fair to Keith Olbermann, I personally doubt the MSNBC anchor harbors prejudicial sentiments towards Mexican-Americans, but really, can you imagine the ire, or very least wide-open speculation if say Don Imus had said this?:
New York Senator Clinton, an adopted Giants fan watched the game in Minnesota and told the Associated Press, quote, "Super Bowl, Super Tuesday, we've got one down, let's get the other." This as her husband watched the game in New Mexico with the former governor, or with the governor and former presidential Bill Richardson, possibly asking Richardson for an endorsement and then, "would you please pass the guacamole?"
Video from Feb. 4 "Countdown" (22 secs):Windows (1.25 MB), plus MP3 audio (149 kB).
Leave it to Rush to nail it. Here's how Limbaugh opened today's show, speaking of the way Bill Clinton injected race into the campaign with his comparison [view video of Clinton making his statement here] of Obama's South Carolina primary victory to Jesse Jackson's twin wins in the Palmetto State in the '80s:
Harry Smith won't be up on the platform with Ted Kennedy today endorsing Barack Obama. But he might be there in spirit, after having absolutely unloaded on Bill Clinton's on this morning's Early Show. The CBS anchor made the stunning suggestion that when it comes to matters racial, Bill Clinton may have perpetrated a fraud on African-Americans.
Smith's guest was "diversity expert" Joe Watson and you might have expected Watson [who FWIW impressed me favorably] to carry the anti-Bill ball. But ultimately it was Smith who offered the single most damning suggestion. The CBS host began by playing the clip of Bill's by-now infamous words from the weekend, writing off the Obama victory in South Carolina by pointing out that Jesse Jackson had won there twice in the 80s.
Have the recent race baiting antics of the Clintons left you wondering whether the former first couple has lost its collective mind, especially now that this tactic seems to be at least partially responsible for Barack Obama's landslide victory in Saturday's South Carolina primary?
Or, like most conservatives, do you believe that nothing this pair ever does is spontaneous and without advanced political calculus, and that South Carolina went exactly as Bill and Hill planned?
For those undecided, a conversation I had on Friday with a very liberal albeit astute friend of mine might shed some light.
As the subject of the current presidential race surfaced, my friend indicated that he was supporting Hillary. Knowing him to be very concerned about civil rights, I asked why he wasn't backing Obama.
In the wake of Hillary Clinton's 2-1 thrashing in South Carolina at the hands of the politician I typically refer to as BOOHOO (Barack O-bombaOverseas Hussein “Obambi” Obama), the spin from Mrs. Clinton's husband is that it has no more significance than Jesse Jackson's Palmetto State victories in 1984 and 1988.
Count Craig Crawford as a dissenting voice in the media storm blaming the Clintons for the injection of race into the Dem primaries. The Congressional Quarterly columnist and MSNBC political analyst offered his unconventional wisdom on a special Saturday edition of Morning Joe today.
CRAIG CRAWFORD: I never understood exactly what Bill Clinton said that was supposed to interject race, actually. I know he was arguing at arm's length with Obama about the war and some other issues. It wasn't clear to me -- I mean the most direct reference to race I saw in this campaign was interjected by the media after New Hampshire trying to say that for some reason Obama lost New Hampshire because of racism. I never followed that one either.
In contrast to Robin Roberts’s fawning interview on "Good Morning America," CBS’s Harry Smith directed some tough questions to Hillary Clinton during her appearance on Friday’s "The Early Show." In his first question, Smith referenced The New York Times’s endorsement of the former First Lady, and their advise for her to "take the lead and changing the tone of the campaign."
In her response, Clinton brushed off the reference to the continuing war of words between her campaign and Barack Obama’s campaign, and emphasized that she has been "trying to keep us focused on the real differences between the Democrats and the Republicans [and] the legitimate contrast between me and my opponents."
Smith did not miss a beat and pressed her on the tone of her campaign, essentially endorsing the advise of the New York Times. "But Senator, would you at least then take responsibility for the ugly tone that has turned here in the last couple of weeks?... [I]t's gotten to the point where there's almost a black backlash against this, especially your husband's tactics."
When The Washington Post puts a business closing on the front page, the reader might assume it’s a long-running D.C. chain. But on the front page Thursday, black reporters Hamil Harris and Lonnae O’Neal Parker lamented the demise of the small black bookstore chain Karibu Books, founded in Maryland with a pushcart...in 1993. (The story was headlined "Black Readers Are Jolted By A Chain's Demise.") But the Post reporters didn’t go beyond the black reader reaction. Apparently, the first store to close was in Pentagon City right after Christmas. I wandered into that store out of curiosity during Christmas shopping – and was a little bit shocked. Karibu was stocking anti-white hate.
Whoopi Goldberg has proven to be no Rosie O’Donnell. While Rosie’s successor on "The View" does lean to the left, she has taken some conservative positions like attacking the death tax. The January 22 edition was another example.
Discussing a recent CNN story on black women torn between Obama and Clinton, Whoopi felt "pissed off" that the media would simplify individuals to voting their gender or race. Elisabeth Hasselbeck agreed questioning if this story "undermines the intelligence of the individual" adding "it’s pretty ridiculous." Sherri Shepherd joined the consensus opining "a lot of black women are very angry" adding she wants "the best person who’s going to lead the country."
Predictably, Joy Behar dissented adding "all things being equal" she would vote for the woman over the man. Hasselbeck continued that she just sees "the individual."
The day after we celebrated the national holiday of the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr., the Associated Press published a story seemingly meant to stir race hatred by bringing up the fact that in the state of Arkansas the memorial recognition of Confederate General Robert E. Lee's birthday is on the same day as that of King's observance there. Trying to fan the flames of racism by bringing up a Confederate general, the AP even seems to complain that Martin Luther King Drive in Little Rock, Arkansas is a shorter street than Robert E. Lee Avenue! How petty of the AP, eh? It's all not very I-have-a-deamish of the AP to so pointlessly fan these race flames, is it?
With the pointed headline, "Arkansas Lauds MLK, Gen. Lee on Same Day," and reminding us that King is a "slain civil rights leader," the AP wags a finger and lets us know about the confluence of celebration of the two men's birthdays.