"Does Palin have explaining to do," Chicago Tribune religion blogger Manya Brachear asked in her post-vice presidential debate blog post. Here's how Brachear opened her October 3 entry at her "The Seeker" blog:
Pentecostals have called on the mainstream media to stop mocking their sister Sarah Palin. But when will the Republican vice-presidential candidate answer the questions that swirl every time a new church video surfaces on YouTube? Was Thursday's prime time debate yet another missed opportunity?
By contrast, a review of Brachear's blog entries dealing with Sen. Obama's controversial former pastor,Rev. Jeremiah Wright, show Brachear did not have similar concerns with Obama's relationship with Wright. Indeed, back in June, Brachear asked, "Can a candidate worship in peace?" The Trib staffer was referring to the fact that Obama was leaving Trinity United Church of Christ, blaming media scrutiny for ruining the worship experience for himself and his fellow parishioners:
Good thing Nancy Pfotenhauer wasn't in the same studio with Harry Smith this morning. The Early Show anchor might have broken out his hickory stick. Like a hectoring school marm, Smith scolded McCain adviser Pfotenhauer for what he deemed her insufficient citation of a New York Times article tracing Barack Obama's affiliation with unrepentant terrorist William Ayers.
Wagging a stern finger at Pfotenhauer across the airwaves, Smith repeatedly interrupted her, demanding "what was the conclusion, what was the conclusion?"
A week-and-half before he'll moderate the third and final presidential debate, CBS's Bob Schieffer opened Sunday's Face the Nation by calling a foul on one team as he took sides and denounced Sarah Palin's daring to say, that “our opponent is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country,” as a sign of “a campaign that's turned down and dirty,” as well as “nasty,” thanks to John McCain's “new attack dog” who “took after Barack Obama in a style reminiscent of Spiro Agnew when he was Richard Nixon's running mate.” In the Washington press corps, a comparison to Agnew is no compliment.
Later in the program, he fretted to New York Times columnist David Brooks: “Do you think it's going to get nastier and nastier? It does look as if McCain is really going on the attack. You saw what Sarah Palin said.” Brooks, whom Schieffer labeled as a “conservative columnist,” assured Schieffer it would be an ineffective tactic since “Republicans have been using this attack -- too dangerous, too liberal” for “too long” and “you can't win that way anymore.”
Sunday night, ABC reporter David Wright described Palin's reference to Bill Ayers as “incendiary” as he asserted on World News: “Today, in San Francisco, Sarah Palin defended her incendiary comments that Barack Obama has been 'palling around' with terrorists.” Earlier in the day, ABC's This Week host George Stephanopoulos had scolded guest Tim Pawlenty about Palin's charge: “When Governor Palin says of Obama 'this is not a man who sees America as you do,' it sure does sound like she is questioning Senator Obama's patriotism.”
A beautiful woman, at once a scheming, ambitious right-wing ideologue, and the powerful, evil forces behind her, plot to seize the presidency from the man—foolish enough to have made her his running-mate—who may be concealing just how seriously sick he is, both physically and mentally!
As the stuff of straight-to-video filmmaking, not bad, perhaps. But as the theory of an ostensibly serious column in America's newspaper of record? And yet, that is the paranoid picture Frank Rich paints today in Pitbull Palin Mauls McCain.
[T]he 2008 election is now an Obama-Palin race . . . and the only person who doesn’t seem to know it is Mr. Past, poor old John McCain.
Watch in horror, as the scheming woman plots behind the muddled McCain's back!
NBC's "Saturday Night Live" last evening amazingly blamed Democrats for the current financial crisis, and accurately informed viewers that the Bush administration warned about the looming calamity many years ago.
In addition, much like a report Matthew Sheffield and I did for the Capital Research Center last month, "SNL" exposed the money behind far-leftwing causes and entities in a stunningly accurate fashion, including chiding hyper-partisan billionaire George Soros as being the owner of the Democratic Party.
Here are some of the highlights (video embedded right):
align="right"Catching up with an item from a few days ago: Barry Sonnenfeld, a movie director (Men in Black) and now the Emmy-winning executive producer and director of ABC's dramady Pushing Daisies, predicted on Wednesday's Late Show that amongst the things he's “worried” President Bush will do before leaving office is “go out by pushing the button and destroying all life on Earth.” That was too much for David Letterman, hardly a Bush fan (in June he asked if Bush has “any humanity?”), who responded: “It's just a little bleaker than I would have hoped for -- the idea that he would actually detonate the planet in a moment of despair.”
Sonnenfeld, who speculated about Bush hiding bin Laden, also wondered why Americans wouldn't vote for the “really smart” Barack Obama over John McCain who “finished second to last in his graduating class in college” and Sarah Palin, who “went to five different colleges,” and so “I'm thinking maybe she's got other talents than intelligence.”
With some mix of seriousness and humor you can judge yourself by watching the video clip (though how funny is it to joke about the President as some kind of religious zealot out to murder millions?), Sonnenfeld told Letterman he's “worried since it's October that George Bush will do one of three things: Either find bin Laden, who've they've had somewhere for eight months waiting to bring out” or “let's start a war with Iran. That's always a possibility.” Then:
And here's the third thing -- and I don't know much about the Bible and I'm not a big rapture guy -- but I believe George Bush is and what better way, if your polls are so bad, than to go out by pushing the button and destroying all life on Earth?
On Thursday evening, CNN's Soledad O'Brien ran a focus group at Ohio State University moments after Joe Biden and Sarah Palin finished their vice presidential debate (video embedded right).
As she asked attendees who they felt won, she used a stunning form a new arithmetic to conclude that Biden had "by a significant margin" (as noticed by Creative Minority Report, h/t NB reader Patrick Archbold):
Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin admitted Friday that she was annoyed during her interviews with CBS's Katie Couric because she felt the "Evening News" anchor missed a lot of opportunities to discuss issues "that Americans want to hear about."
Having taken a lot of criticism from Obama-loving media members about her performance during these interviews, Palin met with Fox News's Carl Cameron Friday to clear the air about why she appeared a tad ill at ease with Couric (video embedded right, relevant section at 2:25):
align="right'Perfectly encapsulating the coastal left's blind derision of Sarah Palin as an inexperienced “beginner” and thus unqualified, when the very same smart aleck cheap shots about her could be directed at the man with whom they have fallen in love, Barack Obama, David Letterman on Friday night asked guest Brian Williams if the nation can risk “a beginner in the passenger seat” (what about in the driver's seat?) and, in a sexist cheap shot, imitated Palin adjusting her hair during a 9/11 crisis as he impersonated her voice: “How's my hair?” That led an uncomfortable Williams to lean back and sigh, prompting Letterman to acknowledge “that's unfair. I'm sorry.”
Letterman, however spent the first half of Friday's Late Show before Williams came out and most of his time with Williams ridiculing Palin, and McCain for choosing her. Though the NBC Nightly News anchor Williams tried to separate himself from the remarks, and made some gentle counter-points as he preferred to joke about how he's the only one of the three anchors yet to get an interview with Palin, Williams never made the obvious point that much of Letterman's upset over Palin's inexperience could be directed to the top of the competing ticket. Or certainly could have been when he emerged last year as a candidate, but was not.
Note to all those media members claiming how much more intelligent Joe Biden is than Sarah Palin: the pompous, holier-than-thou Senator from Delaware spoke at about an eighth-grade level during Thursday's vice presidential debate while Gov. Palin communicated her thoughts at almost a tenth-grade level.
Say it isn't so, Joe!
As deliciously reported by CNN.com Friday (photo courtesy AP):
Evan Thomas, Editor at Large with Newsweek, on Friday night likened Sarah Palin to Louisiana's infamous demagogic Democrat of the 1920s, Huey Long. On Inside Washington, a weekly show produced and aired over the weekend by Washington, DC's ABC affiliate, but first broadcast Friday night on the local PBS station, Thomas reacted to Palin's suggestion in the VP debate that the Vice President has a legislative role:
Here's what's disturbing: Either she didn't know, because actually the legislative role is just about zero as Biden says, or scarier she has a little bit of Huey Long in her. The kind of -- you could see her being a demagogue, saying “I got to do this, the rules are in the way, to heck with the rules, let's do it.”
Earlier on the October 3 show, Thomas (Newsweek's bio), until 2006 Newsweek's Assistant Managing Editor and before that the magazine's Washington bureau chief, contended she reflected the worst aspects of President George W. Bush:
Sarah Palin may have pleased Republicans and surprised Democrats with her strong performance in Thursday night's vice presidential debates, but her "carefully scripted talking points" and shallow style were the opening theme of Friday's lead story in the New York Times by Patrick Healy, "Cordial but Pointed, Palin and Biden Face Off."
Gov. Sarah Palin used a steady grin, folksy manner and carefully scripted talking points to punch politely and persist politically at the vice-presidential debate on Thursday night, turning in a performance that her rival, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., sought to undermine with cordially delivered but pointed criticism.
Despite "Today’s" earlier praise of Sarah Palin’s debate performance, Amy Robach managed to assemble seven "undecided voters" (and reported that five voted for Bush) who did not express high opinions of the Alaska governor. On the October 3 edition, Robach found women voters she identified as undecided and from key battleground states. Although the discussion began with two of the women offering positive remarks about Governor Palin, the positive feedback ended there.
Polling these seven women, Robach found "nearly every one" held a less favorable view of Sarah Palin after viewing the debate. One voter claimed Palin "has sealed the deal for me" and she "is in no way ready...to be vice president." Another "made up [her] mind" because "Palin didn’t do it for me." Curiously, one "undecided" voter wanted a candidate that would "end the war" and because of Biden’s promise she was swayed to the Obama/Biden ticket.
All week leading up to Thursday night’s debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin, NBC’s Today show suggested that the Republican vice presidential nominee could be a disaster on stage, pointing out how “conservatives question her qualifications;” “the McCain campaign is worried;” “Palin stumbled again;” and “not ready for prime time.”
But on Friday morning, after Palin proved the hand-wringers wrong, co-host Matt Lauer suggested that the “melt down” expectations were never the right yardstick for pundits. Lauer asked Tom Brokaw: “Everything you read and hear about the debate this morning is going to say that Governor Palin exceeded expectations, but in your opinion did she exceed expectations simply because she didn't melt down on the stage or did she show the kind of grasp of the issues and the subjects required to hold the second highest job in the land?”
On September 11, 2008, in anticipation of a speech that Sarah Palin would be giving at a ceremony for her son's deployment to Iraq, "Good Morning America" correspondent John Berman filed a report speculating that the Republican vice presidential candidate might be politicizing her child's military service (see picture at right). On October 3, 2008, Senator Joe Biden will be giving an address at a similar ceremony for his child's deployment to Iraq. The ABC program made no mention of this on Friday and certainly had no segments on whether the Democratic vice presidential candidate was guilty of politicizing his son, Beau Biden
During the September 11 piece, reporter Berman critiqued in advance Palin's speech: "And it [the speech] will be open to television cameras. It's such a drastic difference from the way her own running mate John McCain handled his own son's deployment." After observing that Jimmy McCain's tour of duty went unnoticed and that Senator McCain didn't discuss it, Berman added, "That stands in stark contrast to what Governor Sarah Palin told more than 40 million viewers about her son during the Republican convention last week."
There was one player on the stage in St. Louis on Thursday night that really failed to meet the standard of professionalism and national leadership: moderator Gwen Ifill. Her questions often failed the first journalistic test: they failed to press the candidates to take or defend a stand, instead of letting them unload their talking points. One came across as just plain incoherent: "Governor, on another issue, interventionism, nuclear weapons. What should be the trigger, or should there be a trigger, when nuclear weapons use is ever put into play?" That unfairly put Gov. Palin into a stumbling mode as she tried to figure out: what on Earth was bumbling Ifill trying to say?
While she offered a pile of liberal-tilting questions, Ifill offered Biden only one question from the right, about raising taxes on people making over $250,000 a year: "Why isn’t that class warfare?" Sadly, she didn’t let the sharp question stand. In the next sentence, before Biden could answer, she then went on to slam McCain’s health-care tax proposal as possibly "taking things out on the poor."
But the worst, most politician-indulging questions came at the end. This was the most distasteful question of the night: how would you abandon your running mate’s legacy if he croaked?
One candidate for Biggest Biden Spinner on Thursday night was John F. Harris, the editor-in-chief of Politico.com and a former political reporter for The Washington Post. In Jim Lehrer’s half-hour of post-debate analysis on PBS, Harris declared that "just as a neutral observer," it was obvious: on "whose answers were more substantive, who was more detailed, who responded to the question that was asked, there’s really no reason to assert a false equivalence -- Senator Biden won this debate." Historian Michael Beschloss agreed they weren’t equals, and insisted Biden "was a lot more human."
Harris also insisted that the reporters around him found Biden won: "I don’t think there’s any question that Senator Biden had the more substantive night, the crisper, at least to my ear more spontaneous night – because so many of Governor Palin’s answers were clearly points she was going to make irrespective of whatever good questions Gwen asked....If seemed to me and a number of us coming out of the filing center here that an awful lot of those questions, she got through the evening, but was hanging on for dear life."
Poor Joe. Ann Curry is concerned that the senator from Delaware was the victim of a double-standard during last night's debate that caused him to hide his light under a barrel. The Today show co-anchor [subbing for Meredith Vieira] expressed her misgivings this morning to Obama supporter Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.)
ANN CURRY: But he restrained himself to some degree. I mean, she called him "Joe," he called her "Governor." She attacked him, he didn't attack her. Do you think there was a double-standard at play here? Did Joe pull down his full game, and did that hurt him last night--and his ticket?
Six days after declaring Barack Obama the winner of the first presidential debate, following Thursday's VP debate George Stephanopoulos again decided the liberal Democrat in the debate, this time Joe Biden, was the winner -- but in assigning his “Nightline Report Card” grades he gave both Biden and Sarah Palin the same overall assessments: each got one A, one A-minus and one B. Asked by anchor Terry Moran to name “the winner,” Stephanopoulos argued:
Joe Biden, but boy, was this close. I think that Governor Palin did an awful lot to help herself tonight. There is no question that she beat expectations, that she was fluent, that she showed she could stand up there on the stage. She laid a couple of attacks there against Barack Obama, but going back to my first point on overall strategy, right now, this is a race where if John McCain cannot convince the country that he's going to take it in a different direction from President Bush, he simply cannot win...
The grades from ex-Democratic operative Stephanopoulos. On “Strategy,” an A for Biden and an A-minus for Palin; on “Style,” an A-minus for Biden and an A for Palin; and on “Accuracy,” a B for both.
align="right"Two themes in post-VP debate coverage Thursday night: First, “surprise” that Sarah Palin wasn't a “car wreck” and “did not embarrass herself.” Second, distress that she failed to answer moderator Gwen Ifill's questions.
On NBC, Chuck Todd observed “those that were tuning in looking for some sort of car wreck, probably came away disappointed.” CBS's Katie Couric proposed, without saying in which camp journalists fall, “the headline is Governor Sarah Palin did not embarrass herself or her running mate as some Republicans might have feared and some Democrats might have hoped.” Colleague Bob Schieffer asserted that “I think a lot of people were expecting” Palin “to make some sort of blunder or mistake and she did not do that.” Jeff Greenfield, also on CBS, decided “Palin passed the Tina Fey test. Anyone looking for a deer in the headlights experience didn't get one tonight.” Over on ABC, Diane Sawyer found that Palin, “after a bruising time in the media, showed up not just with confidence, but cheerful confidence that might surprise a lot of people.”
On Palin avoiding questions, CBS's Schieffer “found it a little disconcerting” that “time and again Governor Palin would just choose not to answer the question and launch in to some dissertation, sometimes talking points, and not really address what Gwen Ifill had asked her.” On CNN, reporter/analyst Gloria Borger charged: “I think at the beginning of the debate actually, Sarah Palin's problem was that she wasn't answering questions directly.” NBC anchor Brian Williams scolded: “Looking at some of the e-mail traffic and some of the commentary online tonight, people found it bracing when she said quote, 'I may not answer the questions the way the moderator and you,' Senator Biden, 'want to hear.' Of course, it's the only set of rules in town.”
Video/Audio: Click on frame above for video, compiled by the MRC's Michelle Humphrey, of Katie Couric, Bob Schieffer, Diane Sawyer and Chuck Todd. Matching MP3 audio (55 seconds)
After the vice presidential debate Chris Matthews criticized Sarah Palin for, of all things, looking into the camera because it made her look like a "dolt." In fact, the "Hardball," host took several stylistic shots at Palin that implied the Alaska Governor wasn't very intelligent. Audio here
When guest panelist Roger Simon noted Palin looked directly into the camera, Matthews observed:
You know what I think of people when they come on "Hardball," and they look at the camera, I think they're dolts.
In addition to the "dolt," remark Matthews viewed Palin's performance as "so reciting," and "automatic," "like a spelling bee," and charged:
The dangerous thing about these debates is that you can really recite your way to victory. You can memorize an awful lot of material and get away with it as intelligence, when in fact, it's just really good preparation.
The following exchanges occurred during MSNBC's October 2, post vice presidential debate coverage and then later on a special midnight [EDT] edition of "Hardball:"
At the top of Thursday's World News, just hours before the vice presidential debate, ABC anchor teased that “a new poll shows most Americans don't think” Palin is “ready to be a heartbeat away,” and, in explaining the advice both candidates are getting from their advisers, George Stephanopoulos fretted about “the dilemma for Biden,” which given that “we expect Sarah Palin to have some attack lines on Biden, on Obama. He's got to choose, at some point, not to let those attacks go unanswered.”
So there's the early media line: Biden will be the victim of attacks from Palin and must figure out how to counter those unfair attacks.
In the lead story, reporter Kate Snow did not cite any poll number about how “most Americans don't think” Palin is ready to be President, but she did highlight how “our new ABC News poll finds the public souring on Palin. One-third of registered voters now say her selection makes them less likely to support John McCain for President.”
On Thursday’s "Newsroom" program, CNN anchor Kyra Phillips treated senior Obama adviser/former ABC correspondent Linda Douglass more cordially than McCain supporter/Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, whom she pressed for an answer on the question of whether Sarah Palin is smarter than her opponent Joe Biden: "Is, is she deep enough? Is she smart enough? Is she experienced enough? Do you really think she is better than Joe Biden?"
Phillips had the two on for back-to-back interviews just after the bottom half of the 1 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program. Phillips began her interview of Douglass by asking a softball question: "I just want what to know, as a strong female who's been very successful, is all this talk about, oh, Joe Biden needs to be a gentleman. He needs to watch his manners. He needs to treat Sarah Palin like a lady. Does that bother you in any way that that's even coming up?" Douglass initially responded by exclaiming, "What a good question! You are the first person who has asked that question today." After the Obama adviser completed her answer, Phillips followed-up with a light comment: "Good. But he'll still get the door for her, right?" The two of them shared a laugh over the quip.
On the 5pm edition of Thursday night's "Hardball," Chris Matthews ventured out into the crowd of students on hand for tonight's vice presidential debate at Washington University to see what they were looking for in a candidate. When one student responded: "I'd like a display of knowledge and expertise." Matthews interjected: "So you're on the Obama side, right?"
Matthews then asked a different student, in an apparent shot at Sarah Palin, if a "candidate for Vice President should be able to get into Washington University?"
This morning, Republican presidential candidate, John McCain, appeared on Fox News's Fox & Friends to answer a few questions about tonight's vice presidential debate between Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and Delaware Senator Joe Biden.
Grabbing the headlines the past few days has been the news that Gwen Ifill, debate moderator, has written a book subtitled "The Age of Obama" which is set to be released on the day of the inauguration of the next president in January. A win by Barack Obama could positively impact book sales and have caused some to question the impartiality of Ifill.
Surprise! Joy Behar thinks Gwen Ifill, with her conflict of interest, should step aside from moderating the vice presidential debate. Could it be Joy attempting to establish herself as an independent thinker? Not likely. Joy explained, on the October 2 edition of "The View," that Ifill should not give "Palin’s side any excuse to not step up to the plate."
Earlier in the broadcast, when each panelist posed their hypothetical questions to Senator Biden and Governor Palin, Joy Behar claimed "according to what I [Behar] read" Palin allegedly supported forcing rape victims to pay for their kit due to opposition to the "morning after" pill. Surprisingly, Whoopi Goldberg countered Joy with "it’s not true" and thoroughly explained that Sarah Palin had no say in the rape kit matter.
While the networks scrutinize Republican Sarah Palin’s every comment for evidence that she’s a dimwit unqualified for the vice presidency, there’s been barely any discussion of how alleged foreign policy expert Joe Biden was dreadfully wrong in 2006-2007 in his fierce objection to the troop surge strategy in Iraq, which has led to a massive reduction in U.S. and Iraqi casualties and prevented a complete collapse and civil war.
When Biden was picked in late August, the networks touted Biden’s “wealth of experience” and “long record of accomplishment” on foreign policy (CBS); his “deep foreign policy experience” (NBC); and “foreign policy expertise” (ABC). But only NBC’s Tom Brokaw, interviewing Biden on the September 7 Meet the Press, actually confronted the Democratic vice presidential nominee with his strident opposition to the surge, telling Biden: “All the indications are the surge has worked up to a point.”
At the top of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Jeff Glor reported on the upcoming vice presidential debate by declaring: "35-year Senate veteran Joe Biden versus the upstart from Alaska, Sarah Palin, the surprise VP pick, whose credentials have been questioned after a series of attention-grabbing interviews." Despite referring to Palin as an "upstart," Glor also pointed out Biden’s failings: "If Palin has been accused of saying too little since joining the ticket, Biden, in his past, has said too much...Notable foot-in-mouth comments and old plagiarism accusations put pressure on him, too." Glor also played a clip of one of Biden’s well-known gaffes: "You cannot go to a Seven Eleven or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent."
In a later segment, co-host Harry Smith interviewed Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill and asked about some of her recent comments regarding Biden’s verbal missteps: "Speaking of Joe Biden putting his foot in his mouth, you said sometime in the last 24 hours or so, I'm getting this off the Kansas City Star website: ‘My friend, Joe Biden, has a tendency to talk forever and sometimes say stuff that's kind of stupid’...how worried are you about him tonight?" McCaskill admited: "Yeah. That was my Joe Biden --that was my Joe Biden moment yesterday." Mentioning Biden’s gaffes helped to balance out co-host Maggie Rodriguez’s hostile interview with Fred Thompson, in which she asked: "The McCain campaign has been spending a lot of time lately having to defend her and a growing number of Republicans are criticizing her for her perceived lack of knowledge, or at least inability to discuss important issues."
Here are more signs Sarah Palin could face an uphill battle with PBS host Gwen Ifill. Professor Sherrilyn Ifill of the University of Maryland Law School, whom Gwen Ifill has lauded as "my brilliant baby cousin," has written that black women are not buying Sarah Palin’s "false claims to feminism" and is portrayed as too perfect: "when women who are privileged present as though they have it all together, it’s offensive to black women." (Photo from Soros.com)
The Community Times, a suburban Maryland newspaper, found Professor Ifill was ardently opposed to the Alaska governor when they did an e-mail interview:
"From the first day, Palin presented herself as shooting a bear in the morning, field dressing it, cooking up the breakfast, diapering the babies, passing legislation in the afternoon, cleaning the house, satisfying her husband, etc., etc., etc. And it's just not true," she wrote in an e-mail interview. "It's hard to be an average working mom, really hard. And when women who are privileged present as though they have it all together, it's offensive to black women."
Of the three morning shows on Wednesday, only "Good Morning America" highlighted the growing controversy regarding the disclosure that PBS reporter Gwen Ifill, the moderator of Thursday's vice presidential debate, has authored a supportive book about Barack Obama and other African American politicians. CBS's "Early Show" and NBC's "Today" both skipped the subject.
GMA news anchor Chris Cuomo mentioned the book during the 7am hour and actually observed that it "has some conservatives claiming she will be biased tomorrow night." The ABC journalist added, "Ifill has said, though, she's only concerned about getting straight answers from the candidates." And although Cuomo did not repeat the story during the 8am news brief, at least ABC brought the issue up.
[UPDATE, by Brent Baker: Wednesday evening, of the broadcast network evening newscasts, only the NBC Nightly News mentioned Ifill. Andrea Mitchell ended a story by citing an unidentified "one conservative critic" and how colleagues and McCain say she's not biased:
As the stage is set for tomorrow night, one conservative critic challenged the moderator, Gwen Ifill of PBS because Ifill is writing a history of a generation of black politicians titled Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama. Palin said tonight that's motivating her to work harder. Ifill's colleagues and the McCain campaign say she is a respected professional.]