Appearing on Friday's "Morning Joe," former CBS anchor Dan Rather chided President Bush for not doing enough during his lame duck period and argued for moving Inauguration Day up to December 1. And although Rather didn't explain specifically what Bush wasn't doing enough about (The financial crisis? The terrorist incident in India?), he did hyperbolically fret, "But, we're in possibly, possibly the biggest crisis we've been in since December 7, 1941 and maybe since the time of the Civil War." (As big a calamity as slavery and the dissolution of the Union?)
Addressing the past practice of inaugurating presidents in March, Rather lobbied "Thank heaven, we now swear them in, new presidents, in January. I'd be in favor of moving it up to December 1st."(The former network anchor didn't explain how he would then deal with situations like the protracted 2000 post-election battle.) [Audio available here.]
Unveiling President-elect Barack Obama as her “Most Fascinating Person of 2008,” Barbara Walters wrapped up her Thursday night prime time special by championing how Obama “has redeemed the American promise that an individual can make his own destiny and create a new world.” (Obama hasn't even taken office, yet he's already managed to “create a new world”?) She then presumptuously gushed: “We are all members of that new world now, and that for us makes him the Most Fascinating Person of 2008. Good luck, Mr. President.”
A small county in rural Alabama is making national news for passing a motion declaring that the second Monday in November will be forever recognized as "Barack Obama Day".
Normally small county resolutions that affect a mere 40 of this nation's 301 million residents would not capture a national audience. In this case however the AP has discovered one of those pivotal occasions where they can pursue what should be an obvious national event while at the same time implying the obvious racism of the rest of the state that supported John McCain "largely on strong support from White voters."
MARION, Ala. - In central Alabama's Perry County, government workers already get a day off for President's Day, Martin Luther King Day, and Veteran's Day. In 2009, they'll get one more: "Barack Obama Day."
The rural county, which overwhelmingly supported Obama in last month's presidential election, has approved the second Monday in November as "The Barack Obama Day." Commissioners passed a measure that would close county offices for the new annual holiday and its roughly 40 workers will get a paid day off.
Perry County has 12,000 residents, most of them Black. Voters there backed Obama by over 70 percent in a state that gave 60 percent of the overall vote to Republican John McCain based largely on strong support from White voters. - Save the date: Ala. county passes Obama holiday
On Thursday’s "CBS Early Show," co-host Harry Smith talked discussed the Obama transition with Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer, who observed: "...a lot of people said this is going to be a very extremist president and all that, that he's a very liberal Democrat, but as we have seen in appointment after appointment, he's hewing to the center. He's picking a bunch of flaming moderates here, when you come right down t it.
"Now some liberal Democrats may not like that, but he's getting praised generally across the board here." Smith agreed: "Yeah, Bob, I would guess that the only people who really feel like they have their feathers ruffled are, maybe, the liberal Democrats."
In reality, Obama’s pick for secretary of state, New York Senator Hillary Clinton, has a lifetime American Conservative Union voting score of 9. Obama’s pick for commerce secretary, New Mexico Governor and former Congressman Bill Richardson, had an ACU score of 18 while in Congress. Obama’s chief of staff, Congressman Rahm Emanuel, has a score of 16.
"Wow!" That was Chris Matthews' immediate reaction to Barack Obama's response to a question from a Fox News reporter about why his pick for Commerce Secretary, Bill Richardson, shaved off his beard. After playing, on Wednesday's "Hardball", a clip from Obama's press conference introducing Richardson, Matthews expressed awe at the "intellectual" way Obama analyzed Richardson's personal grooming habits.
Matthews made the following observation during the "Sideshow," segment of the December 3 edition of "Hardball":
When it comes to building a quota Cabinet that fulfills liberal demands for “diversity,” Barack Obama is far smoother than the “artless” and “calculating” Clintons were back in 1992, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell argued Wednesday afternoon on MSNBC. In contrast to the Clintons, Obama’s approach is “effortless. They’re creating a mosaic, but they’re not doing it by self-consciously creating that mosaic,” Mitchell enthused.
Talking about the naming of New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson as the new Secretary of Commerce and whether Hispanics would demand other slots in Obama’s Cabinet, Mitchell panned the approach taken by Bill and Hillary sixteen years ago:
They were trying to pick one from column “A” and one from column “B,” and diversity was such an important goal, that there were a number of very, you know, top level Democrats who happened to be white men stashed in hotels in Little Rock waiting and calling reporters like me and saying, ‘Have you heard? Am I getting Transportation? Am I getting Interior? What am I getting,’ you know. But first they had to check off all the other boxes.
Veteran Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein appeared on Wednesday's "Morning Joe" and gushed that Barack Obama's appointment of Hillary Clinton to the State Department will benefit from the "real wisdom" Bill Clinton has "when it comes to foreign policy." Continuing to fawn over the President-elect's cabinet choices, Bernstein enthused, "And the real thing about this appointment, though, is that Obama is assembling a group of people to unite the country."
The author of the Clinton bio "A Woman in Charge" optimistically added, "He [Obama] wants a political consensus so he can do what other presidents haven't been able to do, which is to move the country in the direction he wants without division down the middle." Bernstein didn't explain how the liberal senator, who's lifetime American Conservative Union score is seven, would "unite the country."
Wall Street Journal reporter Jonathan Weisman (fresh from a stint at the Washington Post) displayed the extremes of mistaking bean-counting for administrative perfection on the paper’s Washington Wire blog on Tuesday:
For the rainbow cabinet of the nation’s first African American president, Mary Beth Maxwell is the perfect labor secretary you’ve probably never heard of: a gay woman, community organizer and labor leader with an adopted African American son. And this founding executive director of American Rights at Work is about to get the full-court press.
How is someone "perfectly" qualified for the cabinet by their sexuality, or by the race of their adopted children? Why doesn’t anyone in the political press have any skepticism about the relevance of race, gender, and sexual orientation in determining every single high government appointment?
On Sunday’s CBS Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer discussed the challenges President-elect Barack Obama will face with liberal authors: "Today we ask the authors of four of the year's most important books to assess the problems the new administration will face." Schieffer asked the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward, author of ‘The War Within: A Secret White House History,’ about Obama picking Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, Woodward replied: "It's an amazing national security team that Obama appears to have selected. It's kind of like 'Goldilocks and the Three Bears.' You've got too cool, which might be -- or at least appropriately cool, General Jones as the national security adviser; Gates is kind of just right, in the middle; and Hillary Clinton, hot."
Schieffer later turned to the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, author of ‘The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals,’ and asked: "...your fascinating book, 'The Dark Side,' tells how the current vice president, Richard Cheney, amassed power unknown to any vice president in our history. I'd like to ask you first, how did he do that? And do you see Joe Biden having the kind of power?" Mayer replied: "it takes a president like Bush to have a vice president like Cheney. Obama, so far, seems to be so much more involved in the details and in kind of wanting to command the policies all the way up and down, really -- so I don't see it repeating." Mayer then went on to compare the Bush and Obama administrations:
Another difference that's very important is that both the president coming in and the vice president are lawyers, and one of the things that happened in the last administration was neither of them were. They were not constitutional scholars and they enacted policies that -- including legalizing torture for all purposes -- that really were not constitutional. And I don't think we're going to see that again. This is a -- this is a group of people who -- and the secretary of state is also a lawyer now. These people respect the law, I think.
On Sunday’s Chris Matthews Show, host Matthews led the panel in a discussion over whether conservatives would choose to cooperate with the Obama administration in making "historic changes" to repair the economy, rather than stand in opposition to his programs. The premise of the discussion seemed to be that times are too serious for conservatives to dare dissent from Obama’s plans. At one point, David Ignatius of the Washington Post suggested that "thoughtful" Republicans will work with Obama as he referred to John McCain’s concession speech. Ignatius: "I thought that John McCain set the tone for thoughtful Republicans in his concession speech election night, where he reached out to Obama. He was remarkably generous. One of the best speeches he's ever made, in my book."
As he teased the show, Matthews seemed to wonder if Republicans would try to stand in the way of Obama accomplishing "great things," or if they would see the light and cooperate. Matthews: "Will the mountain of crises our country faces make Barack Obama do great things? And with all the crises, will even Republicans see historic steps are required?"
Following coverage of a Monday morning news conference in which President-elect Barack Obama announced his national security team, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric observed: "...two initially surprising centrist choices for his so-called team of rivals. Senator Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, and of course Bush Defense Secretary Robert Gates." She then asked political analyst Jeff Greenfield: "...in a way, this inoculates President-Elect Obama from criticism that he is somehow soft in the area of foreign policy, doesn't it?" Greenfield replied: "Yeah, I think so."
Greenfield went on to explain: "If he's going to pursue a different course, emphasizing diplomacy and international aid, if you have people like General Jones and Secretary Gates, and Hillary Clinton, who's relatively hawkish for a Democrat, it doesn't sound like a Kumbaya, let's just trust everybody. These are hard-headed realists and I think it helps him pursue that foreign policy." Couric followed up: "What about the confirmation process? Do you think there will be tough questions for Senator Clinton?...any road blocks during that process?" Greenfield responded: "One interesting thing is there are no -- I'll use this term -- fire-breathing conservative Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Nobody who's looking to make points going after Bill Clinton."
Less than nine months ago, the Obama campaign was slamming Hillary Clinton as utterly unqualified on foreign policy, having had no substantive experience during her husband’s administration and being dreadfully wrong in her judgment as a Senator when it came to “the most critical foreign policy judgment of our generation,” the war in Iraq.
A March 11, 2008 memo by Obama ally (and now incoming White House Counsel) Gregory Craig suggested Clinton (unlike Obama) was using “false charges and exaggerated claims to play politics with national security.” The memo was passed around as Clinton was slamming Obama as not ready to take a “3am phone call” on a national emergency.
Yet today, as President-elect Barack Obama named Hillary Clinton to the top foreign policy post in his administration, none of the three broadcast network anchors chose to disrupt the moment by reminding anyone of Obama’s argument of a few months ago that, when it came to foreign policy, Clinton is an inexperienced phony. [UPDATE at end]
Everything good that happens is because of Barack Obama. Everything bad is attributable to George Bush or Dick Cheney or Sarah Palin or some other Republican. In keeping with these mainstream media-manufactured verities, USA Today's Web site reports "President-elect Obama's actions perk up stock market." The story begins:
President-elect Barack Obama hasn't even moved into the White House yet. But Wall Street is already showering him with praise for injecting confidence into the battered psyche of investors and working quickly to hatch a plan meant to jolt the economy out of its worst funk in decades.
A market that two weeks ago was desperate for political leadership and a clear strategy to repair the economy appears to have found it in Obama, who is fast emerging as a decisive economic commander in chief.
Stocks soared last week after Obama moved aggressively to fill the power vacuum until he's sworn in and demonstrated his commitment to dig the USA out of its economic rut.
File this one under “Deluded Expectations.” During MSNBC’s coverage of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, on Thursday, daytime anchor Alex Witt seemed frustrated that the election of Barack Obama 23 days earlier — and the accompanying “global outpouring of affection, respect, hope” — had not caused an end to terrorist violence.
Talking with correspondent John Yang, who was covering the Obama side of the story, Witt conceded that while “you certainly can’t expect things to change on a dime overnight....There had been such a global outpouring of affection, respect, hope, with the new administration coming in, that precisely these kinds of attacks, it was thought — at least hoped — would be dampered down. But in this case it looks like Barack Obama is getting a preview of things to come.”
If you had any questions about how differently the economy will be covered with Barack Obama in the White House they were answered by George Stephanopoulos on Sunday when he credited the president-elect with causing the recent stock market rally as well as better than expected sales the day after Thanksgiving.
I kid you not.
During the panel discussion of the most recent installment of "This Week," Stephanopoulos said (video available here, relevant section at 11:05):
If it's Sunday, it must be worship time at the Temple of Obama, at least at the Chicago Tribune. Today the top of the front page has a picture of Barack and Michelle embracing. The headline is: "White House romances: Obamas' affection is notable among presidential pairs." Page 4 carries the story, also shown on the Trib's Web site with the headline "Scenes from Obamas' love story." We learn:
Over the last two years the future first couple has made a practice of sharing such small, intimate moments on the grandest of stages, whether trading fist bumps, whispering "I love you" or stealing quick kisses on the campaign trail.
The Obamas' unabashed affection for each other suggests they could become the one of the most engaging sets of lovebirds in White House history. Though the home has known many deeply committed couples (as well as some infamously uncommitted), few were as young, attractive or willing to put their passion on public display.
Working on the day after Thanksgiving, Brian Williams used Friday's NBC Nightly News to promote a new book from FDR's grandson, providing Williams with an opportunity to propose: “In your estimation, could we use a little FDR right about now?” Though Franklin Delano Roosevelt's policies failed to end the Depression, Williams hailed him as “the man who led this nation out of financial disaster.” Conceding “we can no longer talk to him,” as if we'd benefit from doing so, Williams trumpeted how “tonight we think we have about the next best thing” in FDR's grandson, Curtis, who “lives in the south of France after a career with the UN.”
Williams cued up Roosevelt, “I know you've been asked for comment along these lines lately: In your estimation, could we use a little FDR right about now?” Roosevelt naturally agreed as he recalled “FDR is credited with a fantastic list of legislative achievements,” but “to me, his achievement in conveying confidence and hope to the American people was far more important” and so “I hope Obama picks it up” and will “convey to the American public that they have to join him in coping with this recession.”
In the interview for Wednesday’s Barbara Walters Special on ABC with Barack and Michelle Obama, excerpts of which were also shown on Wednesday’s World News with Charles Gibson, there was an obvious contrast with Walters’s interview with then-President-elect Bush in January 2001. After having pressed Bush with complaints from liberals about his choice of John Ashcroft as Attorney General, as she claimed that Ashcroft was "not considered a friend to civil rights," Walters this time not only failed to challenge Obama from the right in any of her questions, but she actually pressed him from the left as well as she seemed to fret about how long America has to wait for him to raise taxes on the rich. Walters: "During the campaign, there was a central and consistent theme of yours to raise taxes on people earning over $250,000 a year. Now, it seems there’s a little waffling on that. When are you going to do it?"
While introducing Michelle Obama for the second half hour of the special, Walters invoked President Kennedy’s family as she effused: "The Obamas harken back to another First Family, with their youthful embodiment of style, substance, and hope." But earlier, at the top of the program, she had taken a shot President Bush as "one of the most unpopular Presidents in modern history" and suggested that it is not "an exaggeration to say that the fate of the nation is riding on [Obama’s] shoulders." Walters: "In only 55 days, Barack Obama will replace one of the most unpopular Presidents in modern history. He will inherit two wars and an economic crisis not seen since the Great Depression. Tonight, as families across our country gather for the Thanksgiving holiday, there is a sense of unease and a hope that someone can restore confidence and leadership. Although Barack Obama insists we have only one President at a time, some say that fear and financial uncertainty have forced him into the unprecedented role of a shadow President, even before he has taken the oath of office. Perhaps it would not be an exaggeration to say that the fate of the nation is riding on his shoulders."
The Censorship Fairness Doctrine has been something near and dear to the hearts of the far left for a long time. With talk radio and the web being the main pillars of the center-right media landscape, effectively neutralizing conservative radio is a fantasy scenario for Bill Moyers and others like him.
That being said, it is becoming more likely that instead of going the congressional route to squelch conservative radio speech, the incoming Obama administration will try an alternate approach through regulatory bodies and the bureaucracy.
Like clockwork Barbara Walters successfully landed an interview with President-elect Barack Obama and his wife Michelle. Channeling Lee Cowan, Walters claimed on the November 26 edition of “The View” she is “supposed to be neutral” then heaped praise on the Obamas. Barbara painted the soon to be first couple as “so smart” and “the most appealing couple” and then passed on a White House invite to all of “The View” co-hosts.
Joy Behar could not resist avoiding a swipe at the outgoing Bush administration wondering if Obama is “worried that Bush would cause more damage in the next 60 days” and felt “worried about that.”
The major broadcast networks have so far lavished praise on President-elect Barack Obama for his Cabinet choices, in contrast to the airing of complaints from liberals over President Bush’s choice of John Ashcroft as Attorney General eight years ago. But an exception came on Sunday as the CBS Evening News anchor Russ Mitchell informed viewers that "not everyone is happy about some of Mr. Obama’s picks." But rather than examining whether conservatives will be unhappy with the liberal views of Obama’s Cabinet members, CBS’s Randall Pinkston instead focused on liberals who believe the President-elect is not delivering on his campaign promise of "change," even playing a clip of political analyst Earl Ofari Hutchinson claiming that Obama had chosen a number of "Clintonesque, moderate, centrist Democrats."
In an effort to explain Barack Obama’s call for a $500 billion stimulus package on Monday’s CBS Evening News, fill-in anchor Harry Smith patronized viewers as he turned to Fast Draw artists Josh Landis and Mitch Butler, who created an animated cartoon on the subject, promoting Obama’s public works program. Butler explained: "When the economy slows down, people look for a pick-me-up." Landis added: "And a stimulus check from government is like money falling from the sky." Butler then asked: "But what's better? Giving money away-" Landis interjected: "-or using it to build bridges, highways, schools, things like that."
Butler and Landis used economist Peter Morici to further explain: "The construction workers get salaries. The steel workers and concrete makers get salaries. They spend that money on goods and services and the money -- and that creates additional jobs, and the money keeps cycling through the economy." Butler added: "And when they're finished working, there's a new bridge that businesses can use to ship more products." Later, Landis observed: "And even though the government has to carry more debt to get the project done-" Morici explained: "It employs more people immediately, boosts GNP by a larger amount and leaves the legacy of investments in our economy, which will improve productivity into the future." Landis concluded: "...spending the money on bridges, schools and other projects gives us a better shot of prosperity down the road."
On Monday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Dean Reynolds reported on Barack Obama's announcement of an economic team, but instead of getting reaction from Republicans or financial experts, Reynolds decided to stick with the president-elect himself: "Timothy Geithner, president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, as Treasury secretary. Obama said Geithner has an 'unparalleled understanding of our current economic crisis.'And Lawrence Summers, a former Treasury secretary himself, to chair the National Economic Council. Obama called him 'one of the great economic minds of our time.'
The only mention of Republicans in the story was about how cooperative they will be if Obama backs off tax increases: "As a candidate, he favored raising taxes on the rich, but as president-elect he now says he's inclined to wait on that, a concession that could bring congressional Republicans to his side."
Following the report by Reynolds, Smith played a clip of an interview with former Clinton Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman, Arthur Levitt. At one point, Smith asked Levitt: "Barack Obama puts his economic team in place today. It's two months until he takes office. Is this audacious or is this good management on his part?" Levitt replied: "This is smart. I mean, we have an administration that is virtually powerless. Certainly a president who nobody listens to. What we've seen now with the new administration is we have a shadow administration in power, in place, acting in a constructive and in a cooperative way...We cannot afford a lost two-month period where public confidence would disappear. We cannot afford that."
Less than 12 hours after George Stephanopoulos, on Good Morning America, glowed that “we have not seen this kind of combination of star power and brain power and political muscle this early in a cabinet in our lifetimes,” he popped up on World News to hail how Barack Obama's team recognized the Bush administration's “vacuum” and so decided to “step in and fill” it by showing “the President-elect taking action on the economy” day after day.
Anchor Charles Gibson set up Stephanopoulos by marveling: “George, I don't think I've ever seen a President-elect getting so involved in policy so early. It does seem like we've got, at the moment, two Presidents.” Stephanopoulos admired Obama's take charge actions:
I think what the Obama team saw -- starting last week with all of that uncertainty in the markets, in the dropping stock markets -- is they had to step in and fill a political vacuum. It began with that leak of Tim Geithner's name as Treasury Secretary on Friday, an announcement of a jobs plan on Saturday, carrying through to today, and there will be announcements both tomorrow and Wednesday to show the President-elect taking action on the economy.
On the Saturday Early Show on CBS, President-elect Barack Obama’s Cabinet picks were presented positively as correspondent Kimberly Dozier referred to a "superstar Cabinet," and its members as "bold" and "inspired," while co-anchor Erica Hill called the Cabinet "star-studded." The terminology was similar to that employed by NBC's Andrea Mitchell on the previous night's Nightly News, as she referred to Obama's "all-star Cabinet."
During the 8:00 a.m. hour of the Saturday Early Show, as she filed a story regarding Obama’s choices of Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State and Timothy Geithner, also from the Clinton administration, for Treasury Secretary, Dozier introduced her report: "Well, Obama’s Cabinet picks are coming one by one, and they’re calling it, in some cases, a ‘superstar Cabinet.’" After informing viewers that Obama may ask Defense Secretary Robert Gates to stay on, Dozier repeated the "superstar" label as she passed on praise from former Reagan Chief of Staff Ken Duberstein. Dozier: "Ronald Reagan’s former chief of staff says Obama’s taking a page from his boss’s book, choosing a superstar team for their skills, not their political persuasion."
"This is a death-bed confession," Seton Motley quipped of Time magazine's Mark Halperin admitting that the mainstream media was biased towards Sen. Barack Obama. The MRC Communications Director made the remark on the November 24 "Fox & Friends" program
"As the mainstream media dies, they're trying to rectify their reputations and their relationships with their audience by saying, 'oh, you know, we were in the tank.' Clearly, this would have been a lot more useful in June or July," Motley added. "It does us no good now at the end of November."
But don't hold your breath for balance, the NewsBusters contributor told co-host Steve Doocy:
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked liberal economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman about Barack Obama’s proposed stimulus package: "What about the $500 billion economic stimulus plan that President-elect Obama is planning? Do you think it's realistic to get that done in two years?" Not only was Krugman in favor of the plan, but he argued: "I'm actually worried that this plan may be too small... I'm still worrying that they're going to be a little bit short, because you just have to put all your notions of what is prudent aside. Being cautious is actually a very foolish thing right now."
Rodriguez’s discussion with Krugman was preceded by a fawning report by correspondent Dean Reynolds on Obama’s economic plan: "Well, the incoming administration is making it abundantly clear that it plans an active multi-billion dollar approach to kick-starting the economy. As one top economic adviser to Barack Obama put it, the era of dithering is over." Reynolds continued by declaring: "...with the actions taken so far to stem the tide proving to be totally ineffective, the incoming administration is setting the table for a long struggle to make things right."
Appearing on the November 24 "Fox & Friends," MRC Director of Communications Seton Motley reacted to left-wing bloggers critical of President-elect Obama for choosing center-left, rather than far-left staffers for his presidential transition team. [audio available here]:
GRETCHEN CARLSON, co-host, "Fox & Friends": Alright, Seton, so a lot of these people on the Left say, "Oh, wait a minute, Barack! You were supposed to choose people who feel exactly like we do on the issues." And in essence, he's chosen a lot of centrists. Will we now see the blogosphere really light up now with the ultra-left viewpoints?
Various "Good Morning America" anchors and guests on Monday gushed at the sheer brilliance of Barack Obama's incoming cabinet, including his "team of economic gladiators." Former top Bill Clinton aide-turned journalist George Stephanopoulos rhapsodized, "We have not seen this kind of combination of star power and brain power and political muscle this early in a cabinet in our lifetimes." (What does that say about Stephanopoulos' friends in the Clinton administration?) [audio clip available here]
Co-host Robin Roberts was equally enthusiastic. Speaking with Stephanopoulos, she cooed, "Some would say it's a team of rivals, a la President Lincoln, or is a better comparison a team of geniuses as FDR did?" Continuing the fawning, Stephanopoulos readily agreed: "Well, one Obama advisor told me what they like is a combination of 'Team of Rivals' and 'the Best and the Brightest,' which was the David Halberstam book about the incoming Kennedy administration. I think there are parallels to all three." (This is somewhat of an odd comparison. Halberstam's 1972 book explores the origins of the Vietnam War and the mistakes made leading up to it.)
Media sources seemed to be thrilled that Obama is promising to save or create millions of new jobs. The only problem is they seem to purposefully fail to mention that these will primarily be government jobs. From Libertarian Republican:
A check of all the major mainstream media sources this morning, finds that not a single one of them are using either the phase "Government Jobs," or "Public Sector," in their reporting on Obama's 2.5 million Jobs Program.