ABC’s Good Morning America and CBS’s Early Show led the praise for the third night of the Democratic convention, with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos enthralled by how well it was going for Democrats. “I think every night in this convention has built on the one that came before,” he exclaimed Thursday morning, adding: “The speeches have gotten better every night.”
[Check here and here for a re-cap of how the morning shows drooled over the first two nights of the Democratic convention.]
CBS co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez, who isn’t even in Denver but rather back in The Early Show’s New York studios, touted how Obama’s speech at Denver’s football stadium suggested “they're going to play the Super Bowl of politics there tonight.” She enthusiastically remarked: “If the crowd went as wild as it did yesterday at the Pepsi Center when he [Barack Obama] showed up, just imagine what 75,000 screaming fans will sound like. It's going to be something.”
If a media personality is to attack a political figure for lack of experience one would expect this person to get the facts correct. That is what Diane Sawyer failed to do on the August 28 edition of "Good Morning America." After guest Minnesota Governor and potential McCain running mate Tim Pawlenty noted Barack Obama’s lack of experience, Sawyer sought to level the playing field claiming Pawlenty, as a possible vice presidential candidate, has "only been governor for two years."
On the air, Pawlenty corrected Sawyer reminding her that he has actually been a governor for six years. Sawyer immediately retracted telling the Minnesota governor "thanks for correcting me there. I in meant to say six years and thank you for the truth squad there on your own."
Earlier in the interview when questioning about McCain’s potential running mate Sawyer asked "do you think in your view that the vice presidential choice for John McCain must be pro-life?" Oddly, the mainstream media never seems to question Democrats if their vice presidential choice "must be pro-choice."
"NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams conducted an embarrassingly fawning interview with Michelle Obama on Wednesday's program regarding the subject of nasty Republicans and just how exciting the Democratic campaign is. At one point, he sympathetically questioned the politician's wife, "What of the attacks has busted through to you? What makes you angriest at John McCain, the Republicans? What's being said about your husband that you, you want to shout from the mountain tops is not true?"
More of the gushing interview aired on Thursday's "Today" show. During that segment, Williams cooed, "How often do you allow yourself to sit back and say, 'I can't believe this is happening? I can't believe we're doing this?'" Neither piece featured any tough questions. More representative were softballs about whether Mrs. Obama knows her husband will win or simply thinks it might happen.
The liberal media's growing enthusiasm in their reporting from Denver is matching the growing enthusiasm of Democratic delegates. Take Time's Swampland blog. After John Kerry's speech last night, Karen Tumulty swooned in a post simply titled "John Kerry. Wow."
I was feeling sorry for John Kerry having to follow Bill Clinton in the speaking lineup, but he electrified the audience as I have never seen him do before. As [Time's Michael] Scherer just said to me: Zell Miller without the mean.
Time's Amy Sullivan also loved the Bill Clinton speech, since the "Big Dog" brought the red meat:
Well. Whether you like the Big Dog or not, he definitely brought it tonight. It's like these last 18 bitterly-fought months didn't even happen. If I were a cynic, tonight's speech might even make me wonder if all of that chatter about how ticked off Clinton was by the Obama campaign's "instructions" earlier this week was all a set-up to make the unrestrained support of Obama that much more powerful.
“Professor George Stephanopoulos,” on Wednesday's Nightline, awarded the Democrats “straight A's” for the third day of their convention, with an A for “Filling in the Blanks,” an A for “Heartstrings,” an A for “Red Meat” and an A for “Body Language.” The former Bill Clinton campaign operative and White House aide glowed over “a night of perfect political choreography” from his former boss and other Democrats as he marveled “the only problem Barack Obama has right now, and it's a high-class problem, as Bill Clinton used to say, is can he top what happened tonight?” Anchor Terry Moran echoed: “An extraordinary series of speeches.”
Nightline has used Stephanopoulos all week to assign grades. Not counting his F on Monday night for the "garish stage," of eleven grades over three nights Stephanopoulos has presented eight A's, two grades of B+ and one C.
Hailing 2004 Democratic nominee John Kerry's Wednesday night address to the Democratic convention “the toughest speech” by “perhaps the most forceful speaker so far,” one in which Kerry denounced the “Swiftboating” of Barack Obama, NBC anchor Brian Williams channeled the liberal view, which he described merely as that of “people watching tonight,” that Kerry lost in 2004 because he didn't take on the presumed unfair “Swiftboating” attacks against him four years ago. The first question from Williams to Kerry during NBC's 10 PM EDT prime time hour of coverage:
I don’t need to tell you, people watching tonight were, you can answer this before I do, saying, “Sure, now, he took on 'Swiftboating’ in his speech tonight, but not when he ran for President.”
Kerry vociferously rejected the premise, then agreed with it, before he rejected it again as he credited newspapers with writing “the truth” about how he was smeared:
But we did actually. That’s not true. We took it on. The problem we made was a miscalculation about the truth being out there. We thought enough had been done. And the mistake we made was not spending enough money to answer the lies. We should have done that. I accept responsibility for that. But believe me, we answered it. Countless newspapers wrote the truth.
Chris Matthews liked the pick of longtime Senator Joe Biden for Barack Obama but the prospect of John McCain picking a veep, of similar voltage on the Republican side, like Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty or former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, caused Matthews to yawn: "not interesting."
Of a potential Pawlenty pick, the "Hardball" host, during MSNBC's live coverage of the Democratic Convention on Wednesday night, described it this way: "It's like two little puddles of water coming together. There is no splash. There is no news." Matthews trumpted Tom Ridge, however, as "a spectacular choice if you want spectacle," but regretted:
Pat [Buchanan] is probably right knowing the Republican Party. You would have the, the Tony Perkins of world and the Focus on the Family people and he knows the rich list of those people who would immediately rebel. It would be like the Dixiecrats walking out.
During CNN’s Wednesday night coverage of the Democratic convention, the network’s senior political analyst Gloria Borger poked fun of John McCain’s non-answer on the number of houses he owns. When host Wolf Blitzer pointed out that Borger owns homes in Washington, DC and in Montana, she confirmed, "Yeah, that's it, and I write the checks, so I know." (video at right)
One can surmise that Borger, through her snide one-liner, wanted to make the point that McCain is out of touch with the average American, a point frequently repeated by liberal pundits.
Borger’s remark came after an interview of Brian Schweitzer, the Democratic governor of Montana, during the 8 pm Eastern hour of CNN’s convention programming. Blitzer prefaced Borger’s question to Schweitzer by mentioning how she has a home in the governor’s state. Since Blitzer and Borger weren’t sure if Schweitzer could hear them due to the noise from the convention floor, correspondent John King relayed the question to the governor.
Once the interview was complete, Blitzer asked Borger his set-up question: "Let's just ask Gloria this important question -- how many homes do you own, Gloria?" Borger laughed and shook her head in response to the question, and after a few seconds of crosstalk, she gave her snarky reply.
On Wednesday, NewsBusters asked: Is the hatred [Keith] Olbermann has been spewing on virtually a nightly basis beginning to take its toll on his fellow on air personalities presaging a looming uncivil war at MSNBC?
Amid a spate of awkward on-air conflicts among MNSBC anchors at this week’s Democratic convention, some staff members say there are sharp internal disputes at the cable network over whether its opinion and personality-driven political coverage has crossed the line.
“The situation at our channel is about to blow up,” a high-ranking MSNBC journalist told Politico on Wednesday.
CBS reporter Dean Reynolds on Wednesday night described the attacks on the other candidate by Barack Obama and John McCain, but only felt McCain's required a correction. After conveying how Obama is painting McCain as “out of touch and asleep at the switch are two...Obama favorites,” Reynolds cited a new McCain “ad attacking what it said was Obama's position on Iran.” Viewers saw a clip of the ad: “Iran. Radical Islamic government, known sponsors of terrorism. Obama says Iran is a 'tiny' country, 'doesn't pose a serious threat.' Obama, dangerously unprepared to be President.” Reynolds pounced:
But the ad is a stretch because this is what Obama really said last May in Pendleton, Oregon, on the need for diplomacy.
CBS then played a clip of Obama on May 18, part of the statement the McCain campaign cited to support its ad: “Strong countries and strong Presidents talk to their adversaries. I mean, think about it, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union. They don't pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us.”
Just seconds before Nancy Pelosi acknowledged the nomination, by affirmation, of Barack Obama on Wednesday night, Chris Matthews cheered the organizers who were able to bring the "magic moment" to fruition.
Praising the negotiators who were able to bring the Hillary Clinton and Obama camps together on the nomination process, Matthews, during MSNBC's August 27, live coverage of the Democratic National Convention hailed the occasion:
According to the New York Times, pro-life Pennsylvania senator Bob Casey, Jr. spoke last night at the Democratic convention to “reach out to religious voters and anti-abortion Democrats and independents.” MSNBC’s Chris Matthews noted prior to Casey’s speech that it was part of the Democratic party strategy to “build a coalition, largely of pro-choice people, but with some, a few, pro-lifers, in order to win 60 seats in the U.S. Senate.” Former Clinton advisor Paul Begala told CNN that Casey speaking at the convention was “an example of Senator Obama’s ability to find common ground.” CNN’s Gloria Borger stated, “Having Senator Casey up there, who disagrees with Barack Obama on the issue of abortion, who will talk about it and talk about how they disagree, but how he respects Obama and the way he handles this issue, it's something that they hope Catholic voters will be listening to.”
The only problem was that Casey didn’t “reach out” to pro-life voters. He simply acknowledged his and Obama’s differing views on abortion in the following statement: “Barack Obama and I have an honest disagreement on the issue of abortion. But the fact that I'm speaking here is testament to Barack's ability to show respect for the views of people who may disagree with him.” That’s the only mention of abortion that appeared during the seven minute speech."
While hosting the 1 p.m. EDT hour of MSNBC News Live, Brian Williams interviewed Democratic Senators Evan Bayh and Jack Reed as well as former Republican presidential candidate and New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. However, the differences between the discussions were stark.
Williams whipped out Democratic talking points during his interview with Giuliani. The host asked:
[W]hat can the Republicans tell Americans who are concerned about having troops on the ground in two nations overseas, concerned about a rather dire financial outlook, the list of banks that are in trouble yesterday that in the last reporting period went from 90 to well over 100, the environment, all of the issues that have been on the plate of the current administration for eight years, all the stuff they're hitting you with from this podium?
Also during his discussion with Giuliani, Williams brought up that "the area where your candidate, Senator McCain has admitted weakness has been famously economics" to bring up the subject of McCain’s Vice Presidential choice. The Nightly News anchor also asked: "Mr. Mayor, now that Senator Clinton has spoken to this gathering and President Clinton tonight and presumably the Democrats will leave here Thursday after Obama’s speech saying they are united as one, for how long is Senator Clinton going to be a fixture in Senator McCain’s ads?"
On two separate occasions during the 1 p.m. EDT hour of MSNBC News Live on Wednesday, host Brian Williams continued to wonder, as he did repeatedly the night before, if there will ever be a female President: "If not Senator Clinton, who? And if not now, when?" He recited the line during discussions with Representative Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) and NBC Political Director Chuck Todd. Williams first raised the topic during the second segment of the hour. After asking Rep. Lowey about her thoughts on Senator Hillary Clinton’s Democratic National Convention speech, Williams wondered:
Congresswoman, we have talked about the 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling. As I said to Tom Brokaw on the air last night, the people who came to gladly vote for Senator Clinton, came with hammers in their hands to break that glass ceiling. They didn't cast their vote lightly. And here's the conundrum. If not Senator Clinton, who? And if not now, when?
Appearing on MSNBC Wednesday afternoon to promote his new movie, ‘America Betrayed,’ a left-wing screed produced by a former CNBC anchor that purports to be a “documentary” about the evils of the American government during the past seven years, actor Richard Dreyfuss slammed the Republican party as “corrupt through and through,” “adept at thievery,” and that “the rest of the country” abandoned New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Dreyfuss drew loud cheers from the liberal audience gathered around MSNBC's outdoor spot as he nonsensically declared: "I am tired of being called a traitor because I like my flag and I like -- and I support the troops."
His claim that New Orleans was "abandoned" is absolutely vapid: The Coast Guard responded rapidly, saving thousands from the rapidly rising flood waters. Millions of Americans donated money to help the victims. The federal government has pumped billions of dollars into reconstruction.
Luke Russert, son of the late Tim Russert, appeared as a correspondent on Wednesday's "Today" show to tout the technological superiority of the Barack Obama campaign and its "online political revolution." Co-host Meredith Vieira pronounced the 23-year-old's reporting "terrific," but really the segment was just another puff piece on liberals such as Obama and Bill Clinton. Regarding the latter, Russert recounted meeting the ex-president at the Denver Democratic convention and being asked by Clinton how his Senator wife's speech went. Russert replied, "Well, judging from the crowd, pretty damn good."
The bulk of the segment featured Russert interviewing Jayron Finan, a new supporter of the Illinois senator and a Democratic delegate. Russert explained "Inspired by Obama's stand against the war and his less confrontational political style, she visited his website and got involved." Continuing to repeat talking points and cliches, he added, "As she heads to the convention hall, Jayron believes that bringing new blood to the political process is the best way to bring about change."
On the Obama Messiah watch, in the last half-hour of ABC’s Good Morning America on Wednesday, anchor Chris Cuomo interviewed photographer Pete Souza who has a new book of Obama photographs. In addition to cooing over photos of the Obama daughters and Obama with the Kennedys, Cuomo highlighted photos of women looking adoringly at Obama: "And now, of course, the insight you're able to capture out on the trail. You say, it's so much like a religious experience for people as they meet him. Let's see the view that you get. Look at them with their hands clasped." Hallowed be thy name, Barack?
Souza described his images: "This is early on and you can just see the people are curious about him. This was in Springfield the day that he announced he was running for president. This was in South Carolina, a lot of curiosity early on, I think."
Before that, Cuomo saw "a continuum of leadership" from Abe Lincoln to Martin Luther King to Obama. Souza highlighted a rather pedestrian photo of Obama reading a magazine in his office, strangely touting his ability to relax. (Like so few Americans can?)
Mainstream news anchors covering the Democratic National Convention are getting more impatient by the day as the McCain campaign broadcasts ads using Hillary Clinton's own words against Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.
MSNBC anchorman Keith Olbermann was visibly annoyed not only with the Democrats' lack of counter-punches to the McCain campaign but also angry at the McCain campaign for "stealing" Hillary Clinton's primary campaign ads for the GOP senator's current ad campaign.
As my colleague Brent Baker noted earlier this morning, the "[m]ost prevalent theme during Tuesday night's coverage of the Democratic National Convention, after speculation over healing the Clinton-Obama feud" was "TV journalists worrying about how the Democrats are not adequately aggressive in their attacks against John McCain as reporters." The speeches weren't full of "red meat" to toss to the ravenous partisan crowd, lamented broadcast journalists.
But the complaint isn't constrained to the broadcast media. Evaluating the Tuesday night speeches for Time magazine, reporter Mark Halperin has given the best marks to Democrats who have tossed out meatiest attack lines.
Below is a breakdown of Halperin's grades and comments on the key speeches thus far. You'll notice that the pols with the lower marks tend to be faulted for failing to give the convention hall a healthy serving of red meat. We'll have to see how Halperin grades Republicans next week and if right-wing sirloin is slapped as grade A beef or slapped with a recall label (emphases mine):
Chris Cuomo continued his "Meet the Joneses" series on August 27's "Good Morning America" posing some surprising conservative challenging questions to an Obama adviser. The third installment featured Barack Obama’s education plan and a Jones family concerned about their children’s education.
This particular family allegedly lived in a failing school district before moving and says they can not afford a decent private school. After noting Obama opposes school vouchers Cuomo paraphrased the Jones family concerns that they want the "choice" and "opportunity" and asked the senator’s domestic policy adviser what her answer is.
After Obama’s adviser parroted talking points about "mak[ing] an investment in our public schools" Cuomo followed up questioning why not "allow families like the Joneses to get their kids into a better school so that they don't have to go down with a failing institution until it's fixed?" Obama’s adviser then noted that Senator Obama supports charter schools.
Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly cited the Media Research Center's latest special report, "Obama's Margin of Victory: The Media," in the midst of the "Unresolved Problems" segment for his August 26 program.:
There is no doubt that NBC News continues to be in the tank for Barack Obama. According to a Media Research Center study, NBC is the most lopsided network in favor of Barack. Pro-Obama reports outnumber negative Obama reports by 10-to-1 on NBC News, according to the study. Even some NBC News commentators recognize the corruption.
At that point O'Reilly's producers cut to video of MSNBC's Joe Scarborough scoffing at the notion that colleague David Shuster and others at MSNBC are strictly independent and non-partisan in their reporting. [See Mark Finkelstein's related post on that here.]
O'Reilly also cued video of CNN's Lou Dobbs complaining that his colleagues in the media are "in the tank" for the junior senator from Illinois. [See Noel Sheppard's August 25 blog post on that here.]
Pay close attention to Joe Biden's words tonight. During an appearance on this morning's "Morning Joe" Bill Adair, Washington bureau chief for the St. Petersburg Times and editor of politifact.com, implied that Barack Obama's running mate is not always truthful. Adair told hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski that "from a fact-checker's standpoint, we should be grateful to Joe Biden" because he is "full employment for fact checkers."
Brzezinski asked Adair about "the most outrageous statement" by Biden and Adair pointed to Biden's soundbite in which he says John McCain votes with George W. Bush 95 percent of the time. He discredited it, along with a charge from Hillary Clinton's speech last night about John McCain desire to privatize social security, "I thought, well, in terms of Biden, the 95% is just something where you've got to understand that that's sort of the worse case scenario. He's cherry picking. 95% was last year. Last night one of the things that Senator Clinton said that we'll hear a lot is John McCain wants to privatize social security. We heard it from several of the other speakers last night. You know, that's a real exaggeration. McCain is actually really vague and fuzzy on social security."
Biden's "95 percent of the time" charge may be the "worst-case scenario" but the fact remains that people should pay close attention to what Biden says tonight.
All three broadcast morning shows hailed Hillary Clinton’s convention speech on Wednesday, as ABC’s Diane Sawyer saw Clinton “bringing down the house,” while George Stephanopoulos declared that “she aced it. I think she's gone farther than any losing candidate has ever gone in a convention like this.”
Sawyer gushed: “If her candidacy put those 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling, her speech probably punched a hole in it.”
Over on NBC, Andrea Mitchell fawned that Clinton’s “words were perfect. I don’t see how she could have found a better way of expressing herself and coming out strongly for Barack Obama.” On CBS, Early Show co-host Harry Smith was also enthusiastic: “Hillary Clinton stands and delivers....What a speech last night....If you appreciate stagecraft at any level you had to say she did a good job with that.”
Former New York City Mayor and Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani was interviewed on Wednesday's "American Morning" by co-host Kiran Chetry about Senator Hillary Clinton's Tuesday night speech to the Democratic National Convention. After Giuliani argued that Clinton never answered the "big question" surrounding Senator Barack Obama of whether he is ready to be Commander-in-Chief, Chetry asked: "Well, what I'm wondering though, you know, is the GOP trying to paint her into a no-win situation? If she started bringing up some of Barack Obama's weaknesses that she talked about in the primary, she would have been panned for that."
Giuliani responded by saying that Clinton wouldn't have to actually bring up anything she's said about Obama's readiness to lead during the Democratic primary, she could have simply "talked about how she's gotten to know him, how much she believes in him, his character, his strength."
Chetry then brought up the Democratic talking point that Senator John McCain's term as president would continue the last eight years of President George Bush's presidency. She mentioned that some McCain supporters claim the senator is a maverick on issues such as campaign finance reform. However, the co-host was not convinced. She asked: "But really, how will McCain show besides those things that he is different from the Bush administration?"
Speaking to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith asked: "But standing in this building...feeling the enthusiasm, don't you think Republicans have something to worry about?" Giuliani, who has been attending the Democratic convention and will give the keynote address at the Republican convention next week, replied: "No, I think Republicans are very heartened by this convention. Everything seems to have not gone the way they have planned it."
Giuliani went to describe Bill Clinton’s recent anonymous comparison of Hillary and Obama, suggesting Obama was not ready to be president: "...the fact is yesterday, Bill Clinton set up this equation that only Bill Clinton could do, about candidate 'Y' and candidate 'X.' I don't know if you heard that. He said candidate 'Y' is somebody you agree with completely, but don't think is prepared to be president. And candidate 'X' is somebody you agree with half the time but is prepared. Who would you vote for?" Apparently, Smith had not heard about the comment as he reacted with a surprised: "Wow."
Later, Smith asked about Giuliani’s upcoming speech at the Republican convention and managed to remark on how much he liked one of Hillary Clinton’s one-liners from her Tuesday night speech: "Let me ask you this question because, as your convention comes up next week in the twin cities, and I have to say, Hillary Clinton had a very funny line about that. You can't tell them apart, George Bush and John McCain, twins just like the twin cities. What do you think your most important job is next week? Because this election is as close as can be in terms of the polls."
On Wednesday's "Today," frequent MSNBC contributor Mike Barnicle filed a fawning, credulous report on "Amtrak Senator" Joe Biden and his daily habit of taking the train home from Washington D.C. after completing his duties in the U.S. Senate. Barnicle, who accompanied Biden during one of these trips back to Delaware, seemed to be repeating talking points when he touted how the journey keeps the politician grounded: "The train ride also had another benefit: Keeping him in touch with real people and his working class Irish Catholic roots."
After listing what political pundits think are Biden's strengths, the journalist cooed, "But for the Amtrak Senator, it's about working people he feels a part of." As though he were narrating one of the promotional videos that have been used to introduce speakers at the Democratic convention, Barnicle pivoted off a comment by Biden that one doesn't need a focus group for most political issues. The MSNBC personality extolled, "All you need, says the presumptive Democratic nominee for vice president, is a seat on a train that takes you home every night."
With Senator Hillary Clinton’s speech at the Democratic Convention, the co-hosts of "Good Morning America" could not get over their awe for the Clintons. On the August 27 edition, at the end of George Stephanopoulos’ analysis, the co-hosts debated exactly how Former President Bill Clinton expressed his love for his wife, with Chris Cuomo believing the former president stated "I love forever and ever."
SAWYER: Okay, I'm going to finish up with something because we were arguing about it here. Do we have reracked President Clinton from his seat up in the stands? We're disagreeing. You think he's saying what, Chris Cuomo?
CHRIS CUOMO: I think I love -- I love you forever and ever.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It's three I love yous.
SAWYER: No, I think I love you, I love you, I love you.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It's three I love yous.
SAWYER: Everybody at home can weigh in. Let us know what you think. Thanks to you, George. It's great.
The Denver Post's attempts to dish on celebrities at the Democratic convention included this typical slice of Dan Rather, critic of spineless media:
Dan Rather got a standing ovation in the Big Tent's DIGG stage on Tuesday after castigating the current structure of the media and the resulting weak news coverage.
"Much of the press is rolling over and playing dead," the former CBS newsman said. "The American media is in need of a spine transplant." As he often did on the air at CBS, Rather welled with tears when speaking of American casualties in the war in Iraq.
They also found Ted Koppel, and compared his hair to dessert:
The experts — Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, Rice University history professor and talking head Douglas Brinkley and others — sat around the table on the top floor of the downtown Denver library talking about Hurricane Katrina. Ted Koppel, his hair in full meringue, led the back-and-forth. Ethel Kennedy and Kerry Kennedy occupied chairs against a wall, listening closely, nodding.
Most prevalent theme during Tuesday night's coverage of the Democratic National Convention, after speculation over healing the Clinton-Obama feud: TV journalists worrying about how the Democrats are not adequately aggressive in their attacks against John McCain as reporters, especially on CBS, repeatedly pressed for more “red meat” and wondered if the speakers are being “hard enough” or “tough enough” on McCain?
CBS's Bob Schieffer rued to keynoter Mark Warner that “normally keynote speeches” deliver “a lot of red meat,” but “I didn't hear a lot of that.” Over on NBC, Brian Williams pushed Warner: “You know there's some in the party who feel that this gathering isn't tough enough against a John McCain who, after all, hasn't let up for a day against this party.” Back to CBS, Jeff Greenfield asserted Barack Obama needs Hillary Clinton “to wake up this hall after a speech that was not only not red meat by former Governor Warner, but more like tofu with sprouts.” Couric even asked Michael Dukakis “if he thought the Democrats were hitting John McCain hard enough?” Clinton's speech left Couric unfulfilled: “We expected a lot of red meat from Senator Clinton tonight...Are you surprised she didn't sort of attack him more vociferously?”
Previewing Ed Rendell early in the evening, CNN's Wolf Blitzer wondered: “Let's see if he has some red meat.” On MSNBC, Chris Matthews was “amazed why they don’t have more fun with the man who calls himself Dick Cheney,” as he lamented: “It seems like they’re pulling their punches.” Analyst Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post yearned:
I am waiting for someone to take the podium and say the word “torture.” I'm waiting for someone to take the podium, say the word “Iraq.” I'm waiting for someone to take, to take the podium and talk about domestic surveillance...