In an exclusive interview with President Obama on Wednesday, CNBC chief Washington correspondent John Harwood lobbed this softball on the political fallout of the government shutdown: "Before the election last year, you said you thought there was a possibility your re-election would break the fever within the Republican Party. Didn't happen. Do you see this moment as a chance, through this political confrontation, to break the fever now?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After the President proceeded to blame Republicans in Congress for the shutdown, Harwood actually challenged Obama on his attacks on the GOP: "I wonder about your tone lately. I have heard from you an increasing amount of exasperation, an edge, even mockery sometimes....And it gives the impression that you think that your Republican opponents are either craven or stupid or nuts. Is that what you think? And if you think so, does it help your cause to let people see that out loud?"
NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley made some stunning comments concerning the George Zimmerman trial Thursday.
Appearing on CNBC’s Closing Bell, Barkley not only said that he agreed with the verdict, but also that when it comes to race, “I don’t think the media has a pure heart…A lot of these people have a hidden agenda” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
When University of California at Santa Barbara professor Nelson Lichtenstein came onto CNBC to discuss bribery allegations against Wal-Mart De Mexico (a subsidiary of Wal-Mart), he got more than he bargained for.
Kenneth Langone, an investor who helped found Home Depot, had joined Maria Bartiromo for the full hour of “Closing Bell” on Dec. 18. Langone, who is also the CEO of Geeknet and has a net worth of $1.6 billion, challenged Lichtenstein fiercely, demanding to hear facts from him. When he found out the news source Lichtenstein was citing as proof, Langone took a jab at The New York Times as well.
Lichtenstein argued that the accusations against Wal-Mart were just the “tip of the iceberg” of a “larger pattern for the company” of the company moving into an area of finding local ways of doing things and imposing “its own business model, regardless, on these countries and on the communities there.” (See CNBC video)
Liberal fascism, anyone? Add Barney Frank to the list of Thomas Friedman and Ray LaHood who regret that in the United States, that darn Constitution gets in the way of the enlightened class imposing its will on the rest of us benighted peons.
Sparring with Mario Bartiromo on CNBC this afternoon, Dem congressman Frank, expressing frustration at his inability to get through legislation he favors, lamented: "unfortunately, under this American system of government, you have these checks and balances." Yeah, so unfortunate. If only Barney could be king for a day. View the video after the jump.
President Obama once again showed a thin skin on Thursday by accusing Fox News's Ed Henry of being Mitt Romney's spokesperson.
CNBC's John Harwood asked White House Chief of Staff William Daley about this the following day, and Daley responded, "There are certain people in the media who do seem at times to carry the water for certain piece of the political spectrum" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
As the not-so "recovery summer" draws to an end, many are scratching heads, wondering what it will take for the economy to pull out of this recession.
According to Maria Bartiromo, host of CNBC's "Closing Bell," it will be political change in Washington, D.C. In an appearance on NBC's Sept. 7 "Today," she said the best stimulus would be a Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
"This is probably the single most important catalyst for the stock market right now," Bartiromo said. "I think that the perception of confidence, the perception that perhaps we won't see tremendous change in terms of higher expenses in 2011 if we were to see the Republicans gain control of the House, it will probably be a positive for the stock market.
While some on the left side of the aisle in Congress are getting all starry-eyed about prospects of more federal stimulus spending, the first round of stimulus under President Barack Obama may have done even less to help the ailing economy than supporters claim.
On MSNBC's July 9 broadcast of "The Daily Rundown," co-hosts Chuck Todd and Savannah Guthrie interviewed CNBC "Closing Bell" anchor Maria Bartiromo from the Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colo. And Bartiromo offered her views why the economy didn't spiral out of control any more than it did. She said according to some on Wall Street, it wasn't Obama's $787-billion "stimulus" that included a huge bulk of state government bailout spending, but instead action by the Federal Reserve to put more liquidity in the economy.
"Look, there's no doubt about it - we were close to going off a cliff the weekend at Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy, Merrill [Lynch] was sold and AIG acquired by government," Bartiromo said. "You know, I mean I think we were very close and the economy needed stimulus in a big way. It's arguable whether that stimulus that helped the economy was really because of the stimulus plan or really because of the Federal Reserve. I think most people on Wall Street will believe and will tell you that it was really the Fed action in terms of giving greater access to the banks to overnight lending that really, really got us out."
The media reaction to the Obama administration's handling of the BP Gulf oil spill crisis has been a mixed bag. But it hasn't been good.
Some are arguing President Barack Obama has gone too far and overstepped his legal authority and some are arguing he hasn't gone far enough with the "boot on the throat" mentality. And on his June 17 Fox News Channel program, Glenn Beck played three separate examples of these differences you normally wouldn't associate with one another - CNBC's Matt Nesto, liberal flame-thrower and comedian Rosie O'Donnell and MSNBC's Ed Schultz.
"Even the people at NBC are noticing maybe something is not right," Beck said.
There has been a lot of criticism hurled at President Obama over his handling of the BP oil spill. Some on the left are upset the president hasn't been more forceful with the oil giant. Those on the right generally argue Obama's leadership has been inadequate.
Rarely has the president been criticized for specific actions on this issue. But on "Closing Bell" June 16, CNBC's Matt Nesto was asked whether BP acted appropriately by agreeing to the White House's terms by cutting its dividend payments and agreeing to a $20 billion escrow account.
Nesto argued that the administration was circumventing the legal system with such acts.
"Rep. Ron Paul is captivated by gold," O'Hara and Keating wrote. "Over the past two decades, he has written books about the virtues of gold-backed currency. He has made uncounted speeches about the precious metal. He even took a leadership post on the House subcommittee that oversees the nation's monetary policy, mints and gold medals."
When a protectionist law is enacted and nearly a century later it is inhibiting a recovery from major ecological catastrophe, it's probably time to scrap it or at least temporarily waive it.
But instead a nearly century old provision known as the Jones Act of 1920 is wielding the wrath of unintended consequences. According to the Heritage Foundation, this protectionist measure was put in place to defend the American maritime industry, but is endangering far more jobs than it is protecting.
"The Jones Act, which is supposedly about protecting jobs, is actually killing jobs," Heritage co-authors James Dean and Claude Berube wrote in a June 8 The Foundry post. "The jobs of fishermen, people working in tourism and others who live along the Gulf Coast and earn a living there are being severely impacted. There are also additional private sector jobs which are NOT being created in the United States since the Jones Act effectively prices U.S. based companies out of the ability to be competitive on the competitive global market. As we strive to develop new technologies for a cleaner environment at sea, the Jones Act continues to hobble our own capabilities, sometimes with devastating results."
With the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) taking another tumble of 376 points on May 20, some investors are pointing to problems in Europe for the sell-off. However, there may be problems at home as well.
"Well, a couple of things," Santelli said. Well, first of all, if you look at the high-grades, they widened out with the high-yields widened out more today at levels today that are wider than the day of the flash crash. That's ‘a.' And ‘b,' you know Maria, we have a 1.2511 on the Euro. This is so much more than just focusing on the Euro."
While everyone is scratching their heads and trying to figure out how the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) lost nearly 1,000 points before rallying back to lose only 347 points - it appears not to be limited to just one stock.
On CNBC's May 6 "Closing Bell," correspondent Matt Nesto explained that investigators for both the stock exchanges and for Citigroup, the firm that some are pointing fingers at for a so-called trader error, have narrowed it down to a futures index called the E-mini S&P 500.
"A person familiar with the Citi investigation said one focus of the trading probes were the futures contracts tied to the S&P 500 stock index known as the E-mini S&P 500 futures and in particular that two-minute window in which 16 billion of the futures were sold," Nesto said. "Again, those sources are telling us that Citigroup's total E-mini volume for the entire day was only 9 billion, suggesting that the origin of the trades was elsewhere."
Green jobs to save the American economy? If you have listened to the various politicos on the left end of the spectrum, especially before and after the passage of the $787-billion stimulus package earlier, you would think that is the cure-all.
But so far it isn't working and there are other fundamental problems that lie ahead according to some energy market analysts, like much higher oil prices - despite the pledge by President Barack Obama to open up 160 million acres for future oil exploration and drilling. To avoid the price of $100-plus oil, CNBC's CME Group floor reporter suggested expediting the process, as was the case with ObamaCare and TARP.
"I think what you're hitting on is so important because the President of course talking about some of these jobs, but also talking about drilling," Santelli said on CNBC's April 1 broadcast of "Closing Bell." "You know, if the government was able to put forth health care and the government was able to do bailouts and TARP and stretch the rules, if they wanted to get jobs now and avoid the $100-plus oil you know that's coming they could drill quickly if they wanted to. And this is something that needs to be discussed, don't you think?"
Former presidential candidate and New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani minced no words when it came to the Obama administration's massive health care overhaul. In an exclusive interview with CNBC's Maria Bartiromo, Giuliani stated that, plain and simple, it "was an ideological act by the Congress" liberal Democrats "are very happy about."
"Instead of privatizing - which is what our government should be doing - we're taking major roles of the economy for the United States government," Giuliani told "Closing Bell" anchor Bartiromo. "And it is not an exaggeration to say we are starting to look more like a European social democracy than we are an American free-market capitalist society."
A self-avowed free-market advocate, Bartiromo attempted to defend the Democrats' actions for a second: "Let me take devil's advocate for a minute here and say, ‘Okay, you say socialism and we're seeing this government takeover. Well maybe some of this stuff wasn't working before, so how do we know this isn't going to work better?'" she posed.
Giuliani lamented how disingenuous Obama's entire argument about a health care "crisis" was, seeing as how much of the significant provisions do not go into effect for years - and quite possibly under the watch of a Republican president.
"These bank bonuses, I would say, are a sin of Biblical proportions," Wallis said. "But to pick on the banks alone misses the point. It's a symptom, I think of a real erosion of societal values because new maxims have taken us over - ‘greed is good,' ‘it's all about me and I want it now.'"
Recent problems with the financial system could be used as a reason for regulators to have authority policing social networking sites like Facebook and other types of electronic communication like text messaging. If Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) CEO Richard Ketchum has his way, that's exactly what will happen.
Ketchum appeared on CNBC's Oct. 27 "Closing Bell" in an interview with the network's NYSE floor reporter Bob Pisani from the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) annual meeting in New York City. Ketchum explained how the Internet and text messaging are unconventional means of communication that pose problems for regulators.
"With all of our kids, they don't talk by phones or certainly directly to each other anymore," Ketchum said. "They talk through the Internet and they talk through text messaging and they talk through Facebook."
Invoking the word "crisis" might conjure up images of a Category 5 hurricane bearing down on the U.S. Gulf Coast or some other situation where decisive action much be taken to avert impending doom. But, is it appropriate to suddenly attach it to the key issue put forth by Obama administration, such as health care?
On July 30, CNBC dedicated its three-hour morning show "Squawk Box" to the issue and labeled the special coverage: "America's Healthcare Crisis." CNBC used the word "crisis" despite polls (including a July 30 Time article) that found 80 percent of the respondents satisfied with their health care.
You can't be loved and adored by everybody, but if you're President Barack Obama and it concerns the media, you can come awfully close.
In an interview on CNBC's June 16 "Closing Bell" with the network Washington correspondent John Harwood, Obama reflected on the media coverage he has received to date. Harwood asked the president to respond to the claim that lack of media criticism has allowed him to "hurt" the country.
"When you and I spoke in January, you said, I observed that you haven't gotten much bad press," Harwood said. "You said, ‘It's coming.' Media critics would say not only has it not come, but that you've gotten such favorable press either because of bias or because you're good box office that it's hurting the country because you're not sufficiently being held accountable for your policies. Assess that."
Once upon a time, there was Dylan Ratigan, host of CNBC's "Fast Money," and co-host of that network's "Closing Bell." He was never partisan and willing to criticize both political parties in Washington, D.C. Now he seems to think Bristol Palin has taken Karl Rove's job as the sinister mastermind of Republican politics.
"The thing that really stands out to me with this, because the hypocrisy is obvious - it's as obvious as a closeted gay senator voting against gay marriage," Ratigan said. "There's a prevalence in politics of this type of behavior, unfortunately. That's why the conversations like the one we're now having exist."
CNBC's Maria Bartiromo on Thursday excitedly told viewers that an intra-day rally which had brought the Dow Jones Industrial Average from down about 275 to up over 170 was caused by rumors that the presidential race had tightened.
I wonder if these rumors will get reported by Obama-loving press members.
With about fifteen minutes to go in the trading session, the camera found a suddenly happy Bartiromo on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange gleefully saying the following (file photo):
Gee, and I thought I might be pushing the envelope on September 28 when I expressed concern that the "bailout" with the made-up $700 billion price tag that turned into the pork-loaded "bailout" with the made-up $850 billion price tag "blackmail" (though "extortion" may be the more appropriate word).
It is clear that this is indeed the case, at least twice over. First, there were the threats made by the Treasury Secretary, the President, and the Fed Chairman warning of a banking Armageddon if Congress didn't pass the bill.
Now there's clear evidence, reported with stunning casualness by CNBC, that Paulson & Co. threatened the big banks in some way to force them to "accept" Uncle Sam's preferred equity investments:
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.
CNBC's "Squawk Box" co-host Joe Kernen took a moment during a panel discussion September 2 to take a shot at the onslaught of coverage over presumptive vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's daughter's pregnancy.
You know as a member of the media I'm just kind of embarrassed with the media. The media says, "Yeah it shouldn't matter, it's not going to matter, we're not going to cover it" and then they put it on the cover of every paper.
Earlier in the broadcast Kernen told chief Washington correspondent John Harwood he did not think the family incidence was as big a deal as the media was making it out to be:
Felt a little bit like the guy in Casablanca, shocked, you know: teen sex in Alaska, John. Probably not that much of a shocker I guess, right? Not a whole lot. I guess bowling, yeah, It's a little lonely probably up there, right, John? ... I don't understand everybody at the same time saying that this is not going to be a big deal ... the press is going to be responsible about this, Barack Obama please don't make anything of this, but then it's the cover of every paper like it, you know, like matters.
While a lot of the members of the mainstream media were scratching their heads, trying to figure out just who Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was, CNBC actually came through with an almost immediate positive response.
The August 29 broadcast of CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" featured two of the network's prominent personalities analyzing Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain's choice of a running mate. "Closing Bell" host Maria Bartiromo and "Kudlow & Company" host Larry Kudlow said McCain's decision was wise.
Bartiromo, who was set to feature Palin in an upcoming CNBC special on energy, called the governor a "terrific choice."
BARTIROMO: "I can tell you a lot about Gov. Palin just from my conversation with her and from the day that we spent with her and that is she challenged the establishment in Alaska. She is very, very popular in Alaska and what she brings to the table predominantly is her knowledge and her know-how of energy. That's the bottom line."
As Congress takes new aim at speculators for the high price of gasoline, some media reports seem to be following suit. But as The Biz Flog explains this week, there is considerable debate over whether speculators should be blamed for the high cost of oil.
June 23, the same day Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee condemned oil speculators, the "CBS Evening News" and ABC's "World News" blamed oil speculation for a large chunk of the spike in prices.
"There's no doubt speculation plays a role in the skyrocketing price, but how much?" ABC correspondent Ryan Owens said June 23. "Experts say if it were just simple supply and demand a barrel would cost $75. Today it closed north of $135."
Scott Horsley explained oil speculation on June 29 for National Public Radio's "All Things Considered," where he pointed out that there have always been financial players in the oil market and there is still a debate over what influence they really have.
"Meet the Press" host Tim Russert asked Bartiromo and CNBC's Erin Burnett if Bernanke was "up to the task" to take on problems with the U.S. economy. Bartiromo didn't blame the Fed chief for the current economic environment, but defended Bernanke and said the foundation of the housing problems was in place prior to his tenure.
"I really don't think you can blame Ben Bernanke for this, Tim," Bartiromo said. "You know, I think that he is, as Erin said, throwing the kitchen sink, doing a lot at this point. And remember, he's a new chairman. You know, so what was put in place before he was actually in this role has set us up for this."
"But airline mergers have traditionally meant job losses, especially in the airlines' hub cities, as well as fewer flight options for passengers in smaller cities and higher ticket prices," NBC correspondent Tom Costello said. "In Atlanta, we found frequent travelers fearing that's exactly what could happen."