Simon on CBS: 'Obama Won Over His Base...the American Media'

Roger Simon, chief political columnist for The Politico and former White House correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and political editor of U.S. News & World Report, acknowledged on Sunday's Face the Nation that Barack Obama won over “his base,” which he identified as “the American media,” in his Tuesday speech in reaction to Reverend Jeremiah Wright's anti-American rants:
Obama really won over his base, he won over the American media. They loved that speech.
Indeed, over on This Week's roundtable, ABC News correspondent Claire Shipman trumpeted: “He gave a great speech, I think it was a brave speech.”

Fill-in Face the Nation host Chip Reid followed up Simon's observation by fretting about what Republicans, who managed to “swift boat John Kerry” when “many people believed [he] was a war hero,” might “do with what Reverend Wright said in the fall?”

Reid's question to Ana Marie Cox of Time magazine: “Now, if the Republicans could swift boat John Kerry on, you know, a guy who many people believed was a war hero, what can they do with what Reverend Wright said in the fall?”

Simon is certainly on target about the news media's enthusiasm for Obama's speech. Check these postings from last week:
'Extraordinary' Speech 'Gift' for 'Confronting Race' w/ 'Honesty'

Chris Matthews Hails Obama Speech as 'Worthy of Abraham Lincoln'

ABC's GMA Lauds 'Historic' and 'Remarkable' Obama Speech

NYT: Obama's 'Nuanced' Race Speech Marks Return of Lincoln, JFK
The relevant portion of the first panel segment on the Sunday, March 23 Face the Nation:
DOYLE McMANUS, LOS ANGELES TIMES: Every day that goes by that there's not a new scary quote from Jeremiah Wright means that Jeremiah Wright may start to fade. The Clinton campaign has to raise questions about Obama's electability. That's the only way to move those super-delegates, and that's what Bill Clinton was doing.

CHIP REID: But Roger Simon, those scary quotes aren't going away in the fall, are they, even if they go away in the Democratic race?

ROGER SIMON: No, and I'm not sure they're going away in the Democratic race. They might drop off the nightly news and from the front pages of newspapers, but Senator Obama's speech, while I thought was an honest speech and that it's the speech he wanted to give rather than his political team wanted him to give, is still problematical for him in that white, ethnic voters in Pennsylvania may not react to it in the way that -- Obama really won over his base, he won over the American media. They loved that speech.

REID: Right.

SIMON: But they're not the voters. And he is going to face this below the radar screen rouble that Reverend Wright who, let us admit, made extreme statements. Those are still going to be there. And they're, they are still going to be on the minds of people.

REID: Now, if the Republicans could swift boat John Kerry on, you know, a guy who many people believed was a war hero, what can they do with what Reverend Wright said in the fall?

ANA MARIE COX: Well, what'll be interesting is how they do that and don't put John McCain's fingerprints on it. Just this week they fired a low-level staffer who had circulated a sort of video mash-up that included a lot of Reverend Wright's sermons. And they sent out a letter not to just their staff but to those -- their surrogates and supporters that they didn't want people using Barack Hussein Obama in references. And I also know that John McCain is very serious himself about trying to keep this all very civilized, and I'm sure the Obama team appreciates that. But the RNC probably doesn't see it the same way.

REID: Yeah.

COX: And it's going to be a lot like with the swift-boating in the sense that it's going to be somewhere from off center stage this time around.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center