President Barack Obama's Ground Zero visit yesterday was "pitch perfect," according to former Newsweek editor Jon Meacham, despite reports that the commander-in-chief was rude and dismissive toward at least one American who lost a family member on Sept. 11, 2001.
On the May 6 edition of "Morning Joe," MSNBC anchor Willie Geist asked Meacham to characterize the significance of Obama's visit to the site where more than 3,000 people were slaughtered in an attack planned by deceased al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
"I thought it was pitch perfect in the sense of it was not about him," intoned Meacham, who now occasionally writes for Time magazine. "It was not the grand speech; it was him doing a kind of human interaction with the folks."
Just when the media adulation of Barack Obama might have been showing signs of waning, along comes the killing of Osama Bin Laden to drive it to new sycophantic heights. In the genre, it will be hard to outdo the schoolgirl-crushiness of Margaret Carlson.
On today's Morning Joe, Carlson characterized the operation against Osama Bin Laden as the moment when "Professor Obama turned into General Obama and ran this incredible raid."
Martin Bashir has dared go where even most congressional Dems won't: praising Britain's National Health Service and by implication the socialization of medicine it represents.
On today's Morning Joe, Bashir said the National Health Service is "a wonderful idea." For good measure, the British-born Bashir, who hosts a regular afternoon slot in the MSNBC line-up, also vastly overstated the percentage of the British workforce employed by the government. He claimed that "over 40%" in the UK are "in the public workforce." In fact, as per this official-seeming website, the actual percentage as of last month was about half that, in the range of 20-22% [6 million public-sector workers out of a total workforce of 29 million].
Of all the reasons to send our people to fight and die in Afghanistan, spending $2 billion per week in the process, Howard Dean has managed to come up with perhaps the worst: feminism.
On today's Morning Joe, Dean explained that "the whole reason" he used to support President Obama's waging of the Afghanistan war was that leaving the country would plunge its women back into "the Stone Age." But now that Afghan President Karzai has showed insufficient support for women's right in Dean's eyes, it's time to get out.
Former Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez is expected to be a Democratic contender in the Texas 2012 Senate race. However, when Politico's Mike Allen brought news of his probable candidacy to MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Monday, he omitted the fact that Sanchez commanded the U.S. ground forces in Iraq while the infamous abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison took place.
Sanchez, when he retired from the Army in November of 2006, told a local paper that the Abu Ghraib scandal was "the sole reason" he was forced to retire. The scandal occurred in the summer and fall of 2003, and involved humiliations, beatings, and sexual abuse of prisoners at the hands of U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad. Sanchez was the commander of coalition forces in Iraq during that time.
Asked to comment on the partisan budget speeches Barack Obama delivered this week, NBC's David Gregory asserted the Democratic president is finding his "groove" by criticizing "crazy" House Republicans.
"I think he's finding a groove where he can both speak to the Left but really court the independent voters we talk so much about," posited Gregory on the April 15 edition of MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
As NB's Mark Finkelstein reported earlier, Time's Mark Halperin and MSNBC's Joe Scarborough expressed their bewilderment on Thursday's "Morning Joe" that President Obama would invite Rep. Paul Ryan to the unveiling of the president's budget, sit him in the front row, and then essential call him un-American on national television.
Co-host Mika Brzezinski, on the other hand, far from being displeased by the move, touted it as evidence of the president's political courage. Obama isn't cowardly like congressional Republicans, she intimated, since he will call you un-American to your face.
"I don't think it was insulting" for the president to slime Ryan as he did, Mika claimed. "He was tough and clear." Check out the video below the break.
Yesterday, we noted that the MSNBC analyst was surprisingly respectful to Donald Trump. Today, Halperin offered more refreshingly objective analysis. Commenting on President Obama's budget speech of yesterday, Halperin observed thatif a Republican had called a Dem budget un-American, in the same way that PBO pummeled Republican proposals, the MSM "would be up in arms."
Joe Scarborough added that it was simply bad politics for the president to give Paul Ryan a front-row seat, only to insult his proposals as un-American and lacking courage or realism.
Today's Morning Joe offered an interesting contrast of MSM takes on Donald Trump. Politico honcho John Harris proffered the conventional Beltway wisdom, writing off Trump as a "silly season" candidate who adds only entertainment and amusement value to the race.
Meanwhile, Mark Halperin was surprisingly respectful of The Donald. Halperin opined that beyond the birther issue, Trump was doing a lot of smart things that other candidates should study. Among them, Trump is the only candidate, according to Halperin, willing to "get in Barack Obama's face."
Emphasizing that all but one of the top 30 income earners in the United States are white males, Mika Brzezinski clamored that it is time for the wealthy to pay their fair share and help solve the budget crisis on Monday's "Morning Joe."
Co-host Joe Scarborough and liberal New York Times columnist Charles Blow were in the midst of a debate about cutting entitlement spending when Mika chimed in. After Scarborough argued that making cuts to middle-class entitlements is necessary for the country's fiscal health, Brzezinski quipped that the rich should be contributing more to solve the budget deficit.
Are you old enough to remember the polio-era line: "funny as an iron lung"? After all, what kind of person would find funny the notion of someone fighting to breathe?
Answer: Mika Brzezinski.
Today's Morning Joe played a Letterman clip of a faux-promo for an imaginary TV show called "The Dick Cheney Story." As the title song from the Mary Tyler Moore Show plays merrily in the background, we're treated to images of Cheney wielding a gun, in a wheelchair and undergoing open-heart surgery. The clip closes with video of Cheney fighting to get a breath of air.
Cut to Mika, doubled-over, laughing hysterically, literally to the point of tears.
Many here at home may have criticized President Obama's speech last night on Libya. But abroad, there was at least one man who dug PBO's remarks: Muammar Gaddafi . . .
That was the educated estimation of NBC's Jim Maceda, reporting from Libya on Morning Joe today. It was PBO's failure to call for regime change that would have buoyed Gaddafi, says Maceda. He reported that regime officials are acting much more "bellicose" and "defiant" in the wake of the president's speech.
During Monday's "Morning Joe," Time's Mark Halperin and co-host Mika Brzezinski helpfully provided some spin for the White House to borrow as President Obama finishes his prepared remarks for Monday evening's address to the nation on the events in Libya.
President Obama has received sharp criticism for his foreign policy concerning Egypt and Libya, but Halperin threw cold water on that, calling Obama's strategy "extremely deft in a very tough situation." Brzezinski agreed with his premise, adding that his "deft" handling is also in accord with promises he previously made.
"He's pro-democracy, right? He's anti-violence. He's anti-unilateral U.S. intervention," Halperin noted of Obama, trying to connect his current policy with the peacemaker he claimed to be as a presidential candidate.
(Video below the jump. Comments begin at the 12:30 mark.)
Once again the liberals on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" threw a pity party for President Obama in the face of conservative criticism of his foreign policy. Never mind that President Bush faced withering criticism from all sides during his tenure in office, and the media felt no pathos for him.
On Morning Joe, Major Garrett, formerly of Fox News, now with the National Journal, claimed to be "militantly non-partisan" . . . then proceeded to offer a passionate defense of President Obama's Libya policy.
As an hors d'oeuvre during the discussion of the need for the media to acknowledge their leanings, Katrina vanden Heuvel risibly refused to admit that her Nation magazine is left-wing.
Is Obama more 'hawkish' and yet more charming than his immediate predecessor?
Apparently so, claimed Time's Mark Halperin and MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski on Thursday's edition of "Morning Joe."
Halperin believes that President Obama has been more cavalier than his predecessor, and Brzezinski thinks that although Obama has extended many of Bush's unpopular policies, he brings a different "characterization" to the table.
The panel harped on the irony of Obama receiving the Nobel Peace Prize despite his inexperience in the White House at the time (less than a year) and the fact that he has continued American wars overseas and started a third one in Libya. Liberals Mike Barnicle and Mika Brzezinski both admitted to having been taken aback by the 2009 decision to bestow the prize on the president in his freshman year in office. (Interestingly enough, this recalls an episode in 2009 when co-host Joe Scarborough mocked the Nobel committee's decision on the "Morning Joe" set.)
(Video after the jump. Comments from start until 3 minutes in.)
Last evening we detailed Cenk Uygur's hypocrisy in supporting military action in Libya. This morning brings news of another liberal nouveau-hawk: Howard Dean. The man who was a scream away from winning the 2004 Dem presidential nomination based on his opposition to the Iraq war suddenly supports a muscular foreign policy. On Morning Joe, Dean told Joe Klein (who is surprisingly skeptical about President Obama's Libya policy):
"I don't think you stay out of these things. You can't if you're the most powerful country in the world . . . You have to take chances."
Jon Meacham, the liberal host of PBS's "Need to Know," frankly admitted Thursday that media scrutiny of President Bush would far surpass the mild criticism of Barack Obama when it comes to a 10-minute ESPN segment on the President filling out his NCAA Tournament bracket.
Stalwart liberals such as MSNBC "Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski and California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom (D) agreed.
"My only point is that Bush would have gotten more barbecued for this," Meacham claimed on "Morning Joe" Thursday. "Anyone who thinks that he didn't – he wouldn't – is crazy." The panel was debating the merits of President Obama appearing on ESPN to discuss basketball while Libya is in turmoil and Japan is facing a possible nuclear catastrophe.
Is a pizza about to push Mika Brzezinski over the edge? Seriously. Her frantic reaction to finding her daughter and friend sharing a Domino's has me worried about Mika's state of mind.
Regular Morning Joe viewers know that Mika's dream job would be as Kommissar of the Food Police. Her concern about obesity, particularly of the childhood variety, is commendable. But her solutions--heavy-handed government intervention of the sort Mayor Bloomberg has made infamous--would flout individual liberties.
Things came to a deep-fried denouement this morning, as a quasi-hysterical Brzezinski described her horror at discovering girls . . . eating pizza.
On Friday in its 7 a.m. Eastern hour, MSNBC's "Morning Joe" headlined Thursday's congressional hearings on the radicalization of American Muslims – but only played clips of Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), a Muslim-American who represents only one side of the issue. The show then interviewed him for nine minutes, a lengthy interview for one person on the morning show.
While Ellison received some tough questions, no clips were played of Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), who is chairing the hearings, nor of Melvin Bledsoe or of Abdirizak Bihi, witnesses who testified about loved ones who were radicalized by Islamic extremists. Bihi's nephew joined a Somali Islamic militia while Bledsoe's son allegedly shot up an armed forces recruiting center in Arkansas.
Later on in the 8 a.m. Eastern hour of the show, "Morning Joe" hosted liberal Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson to discuss the hearings. Robinson dismissed King's hearings in his March 11 column entitled "A Modern-Day Witch Hunt."
Former CNBC anchor Donny Deutsch went ballistic Thursday on "Morning Joe" over the situation in Wisconsin. Deutsch called the Republican majority in the state capital "a fascist regime" after they rushed a vote Wednesday night to curb most collective bargaining for public sector workers.
"This is a governor that would not sit down at the table with these people, the Democrats, they walked away," Deutsch ranted. "Now he's doing whatever sleazy, end-run – this is not what this country is built on. This is a fascist regime."
Both Deutsch and MSNBC political analyst Harold Ford were audibly dismayed at the procedural move by the Republicans that caught the opposition in complete surprise, but it was an unashamed Deutsch who doubled down on his criticism by arguing that Gov. Walker and the Republicans were totalitarian.
Twice within the span of a few minutes on Wednesday's "Morning Joe," journalist Carl Bernstein pressed for a gas tax to be implemented to help deal with the nation's budget crisis.
The panel was covering the debate over the deficit taking place in Washington when Bernstein voiced his sentiments. When the question was if the country is truly serious about fixing the deficit, Bernstein replied in the negative. "I'm not sure we are [serious] as a country either, because again, you'd have a gas tax if we were," he quipped. Liberal co-host Mika Brzezinski immediately chimed in with her approval.
The liberal Watergate "legend" also hit Republicans for cutting programs that "for the most part...really help people." Could Bernstein have meant National Public Radio as one of these "helpful" programs?
The Wisconsin public sector unions, in agreeing to compromise on their pensions and benefits in exchange for collective bargaining, have apparently done all they could to negotiate with the state's governor – according to "Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski Tuesday. The self-confessed Democrat for whom appeal to sentiment is second-nature, Brzezinski painted the governor as "cold" and "mean" in the eyes of Wisconsin voters, to whom the union has "given blood."
"The union has given blood to this guy. They've given everything he's wanted," Brzezinski lamented. "I don't know what more they can do for him."
Brzezinski highlighted polls of Wisconsin voters, which show a majority now have an unfavorable view of the governor. "You know what the voters are saying?" she rhetorically asked. "He's cold. And he's mean. And he doesn't care about the little guy." Wow, it sounds like someone's getting coal in his stocking next Christmas.
All you need to know about why people on the right were dissatisfied with Kathleen Parker as the supposedly conservative counterweight to Eliot Spitzer on the pair's recently-canned CNN show was crystallized on Morning Joe today. The panel unleashed an absolute gush-a-thon over Parker, Mika Brzezinski declaring her "one of my favorite people" and Willie Geist describing her as "a great writer."
For good measure, the MSNBC folks delighted in dumping on rival CNN. Mike Barnicle took top trash-talking honors, claiming Parker had been "brutalized" at the network.
The Washington Post's Ezra Klein decried an upcoming congressional hearing on the threat of homegrown Islamic terrorism Monday, saying that Christians engage in violence as well but are not investigated by Congress. Klein lambasted the investigation, led by the chair of the House Homeland Security Committee Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), as an attention-grabbing ploy to demonize the American Muslim community.
"We've had school shootings from young Christians," Klein claimed on Monday's "Morning Joe." He added that there are "neo-Nazis who claim they're Christians. Is the Christian community in America so deeply vulnerable to neo-Nazis?"
Klein's point was not that Christians in America deserve an investigation by Congress, but rather that the Muslim community should not be singled out for acts of terrorism, and that they are not so vulnerable to be influenced by extremism from abroad. However, he failed to provide a single instance of violence that was itself motivated by a radical strand of Christianity.
Joe Scarborough's "intuitive gut reaction" to the mess in Wisconsin is that Gov. Walker's holdout against union pleas for collective bargaining "seems kind of un-American" to him. It supposedly pained the self-described small-government conservative to say it, but he held to his opinion on Monday's "Morning Joe."
"I'm going to get killed for saying this," Scarborough hesitantly prefaced his confession. "I'm going to get so killed for saying this – I hate to say this, but the concept of telling people that they cannot come together to negotiate with a government – it just kind of seems un-American to me."
The "Morning Joe" panel was covering the latest updates on the standoff in Wisconsin between Gov. Walker and the public sector unions, who are willing to compromise on some demands but want to keep their ability to collectively bargain. Walker still refuses to meet their demands, saying that unions' historic abuse of collective bargaining power contributed to the budget mess his state is now in.
Chuck Todd has developed an interesting device to delegitimize support for Gov. Scott Walker, depicting his backers as uneducated, frustrated, blue-collar people who are willing to "lash out at government workers."
Yup, there's no respectable basis to support Walker and his call for reforms on a collective bargaining system that has nearly wrecked Wisconsin and many other states. No, there's just the irrational reaction of the embittered, ignorant masses.
Todd offered his analysis on today's Morning Joe in explaining that the Obama administration is backing off a bold stand on Wisconsin, given its swing-state status.