On The Situation Room today, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer made a surprising admission to, of all people, real estate entrepreneur Donald Trump:
BLITZER: What do you think of his (Obama's) decision to pick Joe Biden as his running mate?
TRUMP: I really don't know Senator Biden but I know one thing. He's run a number of times for president. He's gotten less than 1 percent of the vote each time. And that's a pretty tough thing. You know, he's also been involved in pretty big controversy like plagiarism in college and various other things. That's a pretty big statement. So perhaps you change over a period of time. But when you plagiarize, that's a very bad statement. That hasn't been brought up yet, but I'm sure at some point it will. I'm sure that Sarah Palin will bring it up in a debate or somebody's going to bring it up.
BLITZER: Are you talking about plagiarism when he was running for president?
TRUMP: No, I'm talking about when he was a college student as I understand it, and this was a big issue originally but he supposedly plagiarized as a college student. That's a pretty serious charge.
BLITZER: I don't remember that. We'll check it out. But maybe you obviously have a better memory about that.
On CNN's American Morning today, White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux reported on Barack Obama's campaigning in Virginia. Afterwards, anchor Kiran Chetry had a question:
CHETRY: All right. And Suzanne, what's on tap for the campaign today? And please tell me it's not lipstick again.
MALVEAUX: Let's hope not. He's going to be in Norfolk, Virginia. That is in southeast Virginia, and it's home to the world's largest Naval base. It's one of the most competitive areas that the Democrats and Republicans are fighting over. It's a critical piece of property, piece of land there with folks in Virginia, and they want those voters.
Why is it that conservative characters on prime time television, what few of them there are, almost always end up "evolving" into fuzzy liberals? "Entertainment Weekly" columnist Mark Harris asked that very question in the current issue of the media magazine [Emphasis added]:
Tonight (Sunday, May 14 at 8pm EDT/PDT, 7pm CDT/MDT) NBC will air the final episode of The West Wing. Since its debut in September of 1999 when "President Josiah Bartlet," played by Martin Sheen, told some cartoon-ish conservative religious leaders to "get your fat asses out of my White House" (an episode NBC will re-air before the final episode), the prime time drama regularly advocated liberal policies and showcased liberal causes. The MRC has compiled text and video/audio for a "Top Ten Left Wing Scenes on NBC's The West Wing" presentation of some of the program's most notorious liberal moments and crusades. Actually, you'll find nine scenes pushing liberal ideas followed by one unusual scene which mocked liberal opposition to tax cuts.
The AP reports that NBC didn't even want to pay for a nostalgia piece about its low-rated liberal-themed presidential drama "The West Wing."
When NBC announced in January that it was canceling the political drama after seven seasons, it said the final episode in May would be accompanied by a retrospective on the series' history.
Instead, NBC is airing a repeat of "The West Wing" pilot on Sunday prior to the final episode, where the Democrat portrayed by Jimmy Smits is inaugurated as the next president.
Cast members wanted to get paid for reminiscing, like getting paid for a high school reunion.
NBC had no official comment on the switch of plans. However, the network couldn't reach an agreement with the show's cast on what or if they would be paid to gather one last time and reminisce about their experience, said a person close to the show who would speak about the negotiations only on condition of anonymity.
Showing the very first episode of "The West Wing" costs NBC nothing because the production was long-since paid for.
A Hollywood star from Wisconsin is apparently less embarrassed by Canada than by the United States. On Friday night's Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, actor Bradley Whitford, who plays “Josh Lyman” on NBC's The West Wing, related how he “just had a friend who went to Europe and I gave her a Canadian flag to put on her bag.” Whitford declared that the U.S. policy in Iraq “has desecrated” the American flag since we are “treating the rest of the world with contempt, dropping bombs on people who don't need bombs dropped on them” and “killing civilians...based on an assumption that an Iraqi life is worth less than ours. It's obscene." Earlier, Whitford contended: "There's no military, conventional military solution to terrorism. If there were, Israel would be the safest country in the world.” (But if Israel didn't use their military, would Israel still exist?) Turning his anger on the Bush administration, the actor who on The West Wing plays the Chief-of-Staff to “Democratic President-elect Matt Santos,” charged: “I think the whole approach by these bungling, violent, violence-addicted people in this administration, it's like the Polish joke: You lose your ring in the dark and so you look for it where there's light, where you know how to do it."
Video clip of Whitford on how Bush's “obscene” war has “desecrated” the U.S. flag (40 seconds): Real (1.2 MB) or Windows Media (1.4 MB), plus MP3 audio (200 KB).
It should surprise no one that the Democrat won the fictional presidential race on "The West Wing," which is set to be cancelled. But the show's writers insist it has nothing to do with the fact that none of them is Republican.
At the Huffington Post yesterday, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell stated that President Bush, who is rumored to watch reruns of the television program O’Donnell is the executive producer for, should be watching recent episodes of NBC's “The West Wing” to learn how to deal with problems in his own administration:
“In episode four this season, Toby confessed to the chief of staff that he did it. In episode five, Toby offered his letter of resignation to the president, who refused to accept it and fired Toby on the spot. Toby marched out of the White House on his way to being indicted. By flipping over to ‘The West Wing’ after ‘60 Minutes,’ Bush could have learned that the right thing for West Wing staffers to do is quit/get fired before getting indicted -- that the violation of the president's trust and the public trust is more than enough reason to leave the White House. That is something Karl Rove is never going to tell him.”
Hollywood's fantasy that Republicans could sweep the nation if they only put up a "pro-choice" candidate animated last Sunday's episode -- and Janeane Garofalo got in a blast at conservatives. NBC is promising an "unprecedented West Wing event" in tonight’s sweeps stunt of a live debate between liberal presidential candidate "Matt Santos," played by Jimmy Smits, and the anti-religious right Republican "Arnie Vinick," played by Alan Alda. Last Sunday, Vinick was angered by an independent ad which attacked Santos for opposing parental notification and a ban on partial-birth abortions, policies the otherwise pro-choice Vinick backs: "Who told them to drag abortion into my campaign?" Demanding the ad be pulled, Vinick asserted: "Do you realize how many states my pro-choice position puts on the table?" Later, Santos remarked: "Vinick's appeal is that he's a different kind of Republican, moderate, reasonable, pro-choice."
In one scene on the October 30 episode, Santos' media chief, "Louise Thornton," played by Janeane Garofalo, sounded just like the real-life Garofalo when she argued that the campaign must go negative against Vinick, and she cited the good being done by a Senator she got elected by going negative against his opponent: "I'm proud that he votes against every reckless Republican tax cut. We're the blue team and there's a real war going on. Josh, do you want the right wing to get their judges?"
Friday night on MSNBC’s Scarborough Country, West Wing star Bradley Whitford trashed Bush as “a radical right-wing President who now seems to be incompetent.” A Zogby International poll of West Wing viewers found they tilt to the left, with 59 percent saying they’d vote for Democrat Smits/Santos compared to just 29 percent for Alda/Vinick, Lisa de Moraes reported in Saturday’s Washington Post. But the viewers recognize the show’s bias: “A full 77 percent of respondents said The West Wing has a liberal bias.”
In a blog offering at “The Huffington Post,” MSNBC’s senior political analyst Lawrence O’Donnell shared some rather scathing opinions of White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove yesterday, and made it clear that it would have been better for the president and the country if Rove had resigned on Friday:
“The pundit world, having spent years in awe of Karl Rove, will never understand how bad he is at his White House job. His second term agenda destroyed this presidency long before Patrick Fitzgerald’s press conference. Rove sent his president on a political death march on Social Security reform with the most hopeless legislative idea since the Clinton health care bill. That showed Congress how powerless the second-term Bush would be.”
On this past weekend'sReal Time with Bill Maher on HBO, comedian Bill Maher pointed to the liberal scriptwriters of NBC's West Wing for political guidance. Maher touted how “Alan Alda plays a Republican Senator who tells the Christian Right to go screw.” Maher yearned: “Why can't we have that in real life?” Last Tuesday (October 11) on MSNBC's Hardball, the Chicago Tribune's Jim Warren had also held up how the Alda character "confronts a top Christian Right official who insists on a public pledge that Alan Alda, if elected President, will only pick anti-abortion judges to the federal court. And Alan Alda, seeing the world as much more complicated, declines to do that." Maher proceeded to wonder: “Why can't we have a real Alan Alda character who says to the Christian Right what the Democrats basically say to the black people, which is, 'you know what? Where else are you going to go?'"
Full transcripts of Maher's comments, the Alan Alda character's lines on the October 9 episode of The West Wing and links to previous NewsBusters items on The West Wing, follow.
The opposition from the religious right faced by the fictional Republican presidential candidate on NBC's The West Wing, symbolizes for Jim Warren, the former Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Tribune who is now a Deputy Managing Editor for the paper, how real-life conservatives, upset over the Harriet Miers pick, will never be satisfied. On Tuesday's Hardball on MSNBC, Warren admired how the fictional drama's Alan Alda character “confronts a top Christian Right official who insists on a public pledge that Alan Alda, if elected President, will only pick anti-abortion judges to the federal court. And Alan Alda, seeing the world as much more complicated, declines to do that.” Warren asked and answered his own question: “Why is that relevant? I think it's relevant because just like Bill Clinton could never satisfy his left, it seems that Bush can never satisfy a group for whom he has cut taxes, delivered Saddam Hussein on a platter, done what they want on late term abortion and stem cell research, come out against gay marriage and picked a whole lot of conservative judges.”
Full transcript of his proposition, and the West Wing scene, follows.
Only on fantasy television would anyone predict the New York Times would endorse a Republican presidential candidate, but that's what occurred on Sunday's episode of NBC's drama, The West Wing. On the October 9 show, the GOP nominee, California Senator “Arnie Vinick” (played by Alan Alda), lays out a series of proposals on immigration (such as doubling the border patrol), aimed to put his Hispanic Democratic opponent, Congressman “Matt Santos” (played by Jimmy Smits), in a box. In one scene, “Vinick” campaign advisor “Bruno Gianelli” (played by Ron Silver), a former campaign adviser to Democrats including the show's “President Bartlet,” walks into a meeting and declares: “The New York Times loves your guest worker program. Think we might have a shot at an endorsement." At least another campaign staffer points out the naivete of the Democratic operative who has switched sides: "Kiss of death for a conservative." But another adds: "New York has 31 electoral votes."
Liberal commentator Lawrence O'Donnell serves as Executive Producer of the series and Sunday's episode also featured "Vinick," who is Hollywood's dream of a Republican who is “pro-choice,” pro-minimum wage, environmentalist and anti-religious right, going on a rant against the head of the "American Christian Assembly." Vinick asserts: "Tell that lying little creep the United States Senate gets to advise and consent on judges, not the clergy." More on that scene, and links to past NewsBusters and MRC CyberAlert items on the liberal advocacy in the series, follows.
MSNBC viewers are used to seeing Hardball host Chris Matthews take on Republicans from the left, but in a new twist, he'll being doing the same this weekend on NBC's Sunday drama, The West Wing. As shown on Friday's Hardball, Matthews plays himself in a scene in which the “Josh Lyman” character, the campaign manager for imaginary left-wing Democratic presidential candidate “Matt Santos” (played by Jimmy Smits), cheers on Matthews for his questions to “Arnie Vinick,” the very un-conservative Republican presidential candidate played by Alan Alda. “Lyman” exclaims, "Yeah, welcome to Hardball, Arnie!" and "Chris, baby, keep slugging!"
Following the preview, MSNBC aired a taped interview by Matthews with Alda from the West Wing set. Matthews conceded “the script was written for me,” but he that he “thought it was really smart.” Matthews applauded Hollywood's ideal GOP candidate: “You come off as kind of a Giuliani guy. You're for abortion rights, but you don't like the idea of partial birth. You're kind of a maverick Republican, you're from California. You shine your own shoes. What an interesting guy you are.” Matthews admired how “your character this last season [said] he'd studied the Bible...and you just couldn't go along with having people die because they didn't go to church or didn't honor the Sabbath, but yet slavery was okay in the Bible back in those days.” Matthews fretted: “It's a very thoughtful sort of inquiry, but do you think a guy like that could ever be elected President in this church-going country of ours?"
Indeed, as recounted in an April MRC CyberAlert item: “Hollywood's ideal Republican President, as brought to life two weeks ago by NBC's The West Wing, is 'pro-choice,' 'pro-environment,' will save the party from the 'right wing,' engineers a deal to raise the minimum wage and lectures about keeping religion out of politics.” (See full rundown below)