The day after suggesting that Democratic primary voters in Florida should vote for turncoat Charlie Crist to better ensure the chances of taking back the governor's mansion, MSNBC substitute host Joy-Ann Reid conducted a short and rather tense interview with Nan Rich, a former state senate minority leader. You may recall that Reid suggested yesterday it would be "toxic" for Sunshine State Democrats to let a "purity test" scuttle Crist's nomination and with it liberals' best chances to take the governor's mansion.
Reid was "pressed for time" to squeeze the interview into Tuesday's tightly-programmed Martin Bashir program, but even allowing for that, it seemed to me that Reid was annoyed that Rich was gumming up the works and preventing a coronation for Crist, who naturally would have the backing of President Obama. Judge for yourself by reading an excerpt of the transcript and/or by listening to the MP3 audio of the segment:
In her closing "Clear the Air" commentary on the November 4 Martin Bashir program, substitute host and longtime Florida resident Joy-Ann Reid rewrote the political history of Republican-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist, who announced today that he will run for the governorship in the 2014 election cycle.
Reid suggested that Florida Democrats should get over their suspicions about the turncoat and get behind Crist to better ensure that the governor's chair is flipped over to Democratic control. In doing so, however, Reid virtually threw liberal African-American and loyal Democrat Kendrick Meek under the bus:
Charlie Crist will formally announce his Florida 2014 gubernatorial candidacy on Monday. He served as Republican Governor of the Sunshine State from 2007 to 2011. He is now running as a Democrat. In 2010, he fell from being a prohibitive front-runner in that year's U.S. Senate race to a virtual afterthought after Marco Rubio's ascendance.
In the course of a fawning writeup about Crist's candidacy, the Associated Press, in a story carried at the Politico, made the following historically questionable claim about Crist:
MSNBC graciously broadcasted Republican exile and former Governor of Florida Charlie Crist’s address to the Democratic Convention during their Thursday night coverage. However, that courtesy was not given to Democrat turned Republican former Congressman Artur Davis during the Republican Convention last week.
As my colleague Ken Shepherd noted on August 29, Maddow tore into Davis during what was to be only the post speech commentary and portrayed Davis as “bitter” – thus the event that precipitated his departure from the Republican Party:
As you may be well aware, MSNBC did not air Democrat-turned-Republican Artur Davis's speech last night. Shortly before 10 p.m. Eastern, anchor Rachel Maddow seemed to offer the network's rationale: Davis was a low-profile Democrat who is just bitter because he was "absolutely destroyed" in his primary race for Alabama governor in 2010.
Yet in the very next breath, Maddow seemed positively giddy that the Democrats had landed former Gov. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.) to speak at their convention next week. There was no mention that he too was being so thoroughly and "absolutely destroyed" by Marco Rubio in the primary election polls in 2010 that he dropped out of the GOP primary in order to run as an independent. He of course, subsequently lost to Rubio in the general election by 19 percentage points. [MP3 audio here; video embedded below page break]
Most Americans don't watch the coverage of party nominating conventions, and everyone in the media knows it. So as a public service, "NBC Politics team has curated some of the notable speeches from the first night of the Republican National Convention in Tampa," according to a late night August 28 post on NBCNews.com website.
While NBC has the resources to embed videos of EVERY speech from last night, it decided to judge which ones were "notable." Wouldn't you know it, the speech of Artur Davis -- the former Democratic congressman from Alabama who seconded Barack Obama's nomination for the presidency at the Democratic convention in 2008 -- was not included in the list.
Herman Cain's political affiliation was incorrectly tagged as Democratic in an onscreen graphic during the 10 a.m. Eastern Chris Jansing Reports program today. Jansing was promoting the former Republican presidential contender's appearance on the noon Eastern Now with Alex Wagner program.
It was most certainly an innocent mistake by the graphics designer, but less excusable was yesterday's Hardball with Chris Matthews where former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist appeared as a guest of Matthews's tagged as a Republican. [see screenshots below page break; Update follows at bottom of post]
Despite all the huffing and puffing over Florida Senator Marco Rubio's alleged "embellishing" at the Washington Post, the fact is that his parents were Cuban exiles (meaning number 5 at link: "anyone separated from his or her country or home voluntarily or by force of circumstances"). That fact essentially undercuts everything about the WaPo article except the problem with the opening sentence of the biography at Rubio's Senate web site, which has been corrected.
That didn't stop two Associated Press writers, Brendan Farrington and Laura Wides-Munoz from doing quite a bit of embellishing of their own (a better word would be "mischaracterizing") in an item currently time-stamped early Saturday morning, while pretending that the rebuttal to the Post written by Mark Caputo at the Miami Herald doesn't exist. The AP pair's pathetic prose has two particular howlers which simply must be debunked.
Chris Matthews, during MSNBC's live election night coverage, was distressed at what he saw was the "death of the moderate wing of the Republican Party." After his colleague Keith Olbermann ran down the latest results of Republicans leading or winning in specific races Matthews bemoaned how such moderates like Charlie Crist and Arlen Specter were run out of their own party and even bellowed: "Mike Castle getting knocked out by the woman who said she's not a witch...is a joke, it's a joke for the Republican Party to lose people like Mike Castle."
The following November 2, outburst by Matthews was aired during MSNBC's live election night coverage:
Well, they did stop short of presenting him with a ceremonial seppuku sword . . .
But other than that, MSNBC's Daily Rundown duo of Chuck Todd and Savannah Guthrie did their best to convince Florida Dem Kendreck Meek to get out of the senatorial race to give Charlie Crist a shot against Marco Rubio.
Todd tried the cold-hard-numbers route, while Guthrie made an emotional appeal, literally asking Meek if he "can live" with himself if his continued candidacy resulted in the election of Rubio. View video here.
How embarrassing is it when a senatorial candidate sits down with your own editorial board and issues a statement so absurdly mendacious that the video clip of the "Pinocchio moment" becomes a big hit in the blogosphere yet your own story about the interview completely misses it? Such was the case with the Palm Beach Post. Charlie Crist sat down for an hour long interview with its editorial board and declared that he would still have left the Republican party even if polls had shown that he was running 20 points ahead of Marco Rubio in the race for the U.S. Senate seat from Florida. Here is a transcript of that memorable magic moment:
Q: But if you had been 20 points up in the polls over Mr. Rubio would you have left the party to run as .an independent?
A: Absolutely. Yes. I absolutely would have. Because I think it's that important. Sure. I would have...
On Wednesday’s World News on ABC, anchor Diane Sawyer briefly reported on a court ruling in Florida which struck down a state law banning the adoption of children by homosexual couples. Ignoring the issue of whether an activist court should make such a ruling, Sawyer seemed to frame the story from a sympathetic point of view for would-be same-sex parents in Florida as she referred to the ruling as "new hope" for such couples. Sawyer: "And there is new hope tonight for gay people in Florida who want to adopt a child. A state appeals court ruled that the 33-year-old ban on gay adoption is unconstitutional. And the governor said that the state will allow the adoptions immediately."
But, while ABC News programs have a history of advocating gay rights, it is ironic that the story was immediately followed by a full report about Bishop Eddie Long, a Georgia pastor accused of pushing teenage boys into homosexual sex. Sawyer set up the report: "And trouble is mounting tonight for the pastor of a 25,000-member mega church near Atlanta. Bishop Eddie Long, who lives a lavish lifestyle and has denounced homosexuality, is accused of coercing three young men into relationships. Steve Osunsami has details of the lawsuits."
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Wednesday, September 22, World News on ABC:
George Will on Sunday gave a much-needed education to the entire "This Week" panel about how the Tea Party is moving the GOP in a positive direction that could alter politics in this nation for years to come.
As Christiane Amanpour and her Roundtable guests - Democrat strategist Donna Brazile, National Journal's Ron Brownstein, and Republican strategist Matthew Dowd - all fretted about the so-called Civil War brewing in the GOP, Will was once again the voice of reason.
"At the beginning of the year, the question was, will the Tea Party people play nicely with others and will they obey the rules of politics? Who's sort of not playing nicely?" asked Will.
"Mr. Crist starts losing the primary to a Tea Party favorite Rubio. He suddenly discovers that he's an independent and changes all his views overnight," he continued.
"Mrs. Murkowski loses a primary and suddenly discovers that she has a property right in her Senate seat and she's going to run as a write-in. Senator Bennett thought of that in Utah, Senator Castle in Delaware is thinking of a write-in candidate. Who are the extremists?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Yet nowhere in his 20-paragraph story did Balz delve into those poll numbers. Instead, Balz presented the Florida race as complete wild card that is unpredictable due to the three-way nature of the contest:
Gov. Charlie Crist is the man in the middle in Florida's high-stakes race for the Senate, a candidate without a party whose hopes of moving from Tallahassee to Washington depend on his ability to fend off a squeeze play from his Democratic and Republican rivals.
The three-way campaign for the Senate is the latest in a series of important races in Florida - including the 2000 recount that helped define red-blue divisions in America - but with dynamics new to the Sunshine State.
But a look at recent polling data available on RealClearPolitics.com seems to indicate Rubio went to bed on primary election night in good shape for the general election fight ahead.
During an interview on Saturday’s The Situation Room with independent Florida Senate candidate and Governor Charlie Crist, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer pressed the former Republican to announce which party he would choose to caucus with if he is elected to the Senate, and brought up his current associations with Democrats and flip-flops toward more liberal positions.
As Crist repeatedly tried to evade acknowledging the importance of being aligned with one of the two major parties to have influence, and the likelihood that he would ultimately choose to ally with one of the parties, Blitzer was persistent in pressing for an answer, at one point quipping: "You just can't caucus with yourself, if you will, if you want to have some influence."
Crist eventually seemed to hint that his decision would depend on which party holds the majority after November: "And you’ve just hit on the pivotal issue really: What is in the best interests of the people of Florida? We don’t know who’s going to be in the majority November 2 nd after the general election. And so I think it’s important to keep an open mind, to stay committed only to one thing, and that’s the people of my state."
After playing a clip of Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio accusing Crist of moving toward President Obama politically, Blitzer queried: "But are you increasingly embracing the Obama agenda? Because he’s saying you flip-flopped on a whole lot of issues where you were a Republican, but now you’re siding with the Democrats, including President Obama."
Odd bit of role reversal on today's Morning Joe . . .
There was Mika Brzezinski, ripping Charlie Crist as unprincipled for his mid-campaign ditching of the Republican party. Joe Scarborough, the quondam GOP congressman from the Sunshine State, was in a much more forgiving mood, going so far as to predict that, following in Crist's footsteps, many others would successfully go the independent route.
Mika and Joe's exchange was triggered by the news that Crist's own Lieutenant Governor, Jeff Kottkamp, has endorsed Marco Rubio for Senate.
Since neither of the likely Democrat nominees for the Senate from Florida appear to have a chance in hell of winning the general election, Newsweek has thrown its obvious support behind the conservative Republican in the race.
The likelihood of that happening ranks right around zero which is why Newsweek is promoting Florida governor Charlie Crist, running in that race as an independent, as the best person to defeat conservative Republican Marco Rubio. In fact, Newsweek is plugging Crist to the extent that they have conveniently neglected to mention how he broke his promise not to run as an independent as well as his pledge to return campaign contributions by Republicans. Here are some tidbits from the Newsweek puff piece disguised as a news story:
Crist’s resurgence also stems in part from his shift back to where he’s always seemed most comfortable: the political center. That’s where he’s largely governed as the state’s chief executive—pursuing a Republican agenda of low taxes and limited government, but also collaborating with Democrats on environmental issues and judicial appointments. The approach made him one of the most popular governors in the country.
UPDATE: It turns out that the future is NOW. This Matthews video is running as a Marco Rubio campaign commercial as of yesterday.
Are you happy with the job that the Obama administration and the Democrats are doing? If so, then vote for Charlie Crist for the U.S. Senate because Chris Matthews happily proclaimed that Crist is going to be the new star in the Democrat caucus. However, if you are dissatisfied with the direction this nation is going and want to change it, then Marco Rubio will be your choice which is why your humble correspondent won't be a bit surprised to see this video of Matthews making his proclamation about Crist on Morning Joe end up as a Rubio campaign commercial. Here is a transcript of Matthews delivering his kiss of death product endorsement of Charlie Crist:
Charlie Crist is going to be the new star of the Democratic caucus in the Senate. He's going to be a major player in the Democratic Party down the road. He'll be a moderate Democrat somewhere in the middle. I think he's very shrewd and nimble.
Last year, Time offered its "Ten Questions" feature to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, but the reader questions it selected were mostly hostile, panning his response to the State of the Union, asking if he looked like the geeky Kenneth the Page from "30 Rock," and underlining the shakiness of the GOP: "Voters rejected the GOP in November. What changes do you think it needs to make in order to become relevant again?"
This week, Time offered the same feature to Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, and the questions were not hostile, except for "Why don't you support same-sex marriage?" and maybe "Do you still consider your support for the stimulus to have been the right choice?" There were neutral oil-spill questions, and then there were these:
"How difficult was it to leave the Republican Party?" -- David Hutchinson, Kansas City, Kans.
"What are the pros and cons of running as an independent?" -- Kevin Waters, Harrisburg, Pa.
"Will people still remember the Tea Party in 20 years?" -- Justin Powlison, Raleigh, N.C.
It was bound to happen and no one can really blame them for doing so, but someone eventually had to determine who the political winners and losers are for the tragic circumstances surrounding the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Looking forward to the upcoming election cycle, MSNBC "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough determined the time was right to take a stab at it, although reluctantly on his June 2 broadcast.
"[W]e will stay with BP for one second but talk about presidential politics and I know this will be offensive to some people but it's just a reality that there is somebody in the White House, somebody in the Democratic Party, somebody in the Republican Party that's trying to figure out the political impact of this environmental tragedy. And we were talking with Chuck Todd last hour about how it ramps up when the oil starts washing on Florida shores, Chris. That makes this a much bigger political event in terms of presidential politics, like it or not."
You might as well play the theme music of Love Is A Many Splendored Thing while reading this Michael Mayo column in the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel about Florida Governor Charlie Crist. With the senate campaign of apparent Democrat nominee Kendrick Meek seemingly dead in the water before it even really begins, Crist has now become the favorite of liberals whose main goal is to prevent conservative Marco Rubio from becoming senator from the Sunshine State.
Even though Mayo spent time cozying up to Crist, not a single penetrating question from him. Not even the obvious ones like why he lied on national television when he swore that he would NOT run as an independent as well as breaking his promise to return Republican campaign contributions when he made the switch. Mayo oozes unskeptical affection for Crist while in his presence with nary an uncomfortable inquiry:
I've got a new nickname for Charlie Crist — Governor Gamble — although I didn't share it with him when he gave me a lift the other day.
"Hop in," Crist said, waving me and a colleague into a Black Chevy Tahoe on his way to a bill-signing ceremony in Fort Lauderdale. "You [the taxpayers] pay for it. You might as well use it."
This was Crist at his affable best. Likability is what he's banking on to capture a U.S. Senate seat as an independent after his bold break from the Republican Party.
Republicans are likely to go with Tampa, Florida, as the venue for their 2012 presidential nominating convention in part because evangelicals hate Mormons. That's the gospel truth, at least according to Chris Matthews, who yesterday went on a loopy rant that was pure bluster and completely unsubstantiated in its assertions.
[MP3 audio available here; click play on the embedded video at right for video]
Matthews informed viewers that an RNC selection committee had submitted its recommendation of Tampa -- the RNC still has to give its formal approval -- over other finalists Phoenix, Arizona, and Salt Lake City, Utah. The "Hardball" host than gave his theory behind why the latter two cities were rejected, failing, of course, to cite any sources nor to add the caveat that this was purely his own speculation.
Media Research Center President and Brent Bozell appeared on last night's "Hannity" for a new recurring segment entitled "Media Mash," where the NewsBusters publisher and the Fox News host go over some of the latest instances of the liberal media's bias.
Last night's topics included media coverage of Florida Senate candidate Charlie Crist's jumping ship from the GOP to run as an independent and the new Arizona anti-immigration law, and Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square bomber suspect.
On Wednesday, Newsweek's Andrew Romano celebrated news out of Indiana that "establishment" Republican Dan Coats fended off two conservative opponents in the Senate primary.
Romano's obvious delight came through loud and clear starting with the headline, "The Tea Party is Now Irrelevant in Indiana." You see, one loss in a Senate primary was enough to declare the movement DOA - and Romano was anxious for the rest of the media to play along.
The real headline in Indiana was that 52 percent of Republicans went in favor of Tea Party challengers, but two of them in the mix was enough to split the vote, and Coats squeaked by at 39 percent.
A few media sources, including Politico, reported that Coats limped out of the primary "bruised" by anti-incumbency. Romano, however, insisted that 39 percent was a clear victory. Why the stark difference in coverage? According to Romano, some in the media were glorifying Tea Parties to apparently advance some selfish narrative.
Try not to cough from the smell of irony as you watch a Newsweek writer complain about dishonest narratives being perpetrated by the media:
Everyone knows that the quickest way to become a popular Republican in the media’s eyes is to denounce the Republicans as too extreme and conservative. The latest example is Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who became an instant media sensation when he abandoned his dreadfully losing GOP campaign for the U.S. Senate to run as an independent. Chris Matthews pushed the storyline as a “Stalinesque purge” of moderates.
Obama strategist David Axelrod crowed about how great the Democrats looked as a result: “We have a big tent. They have a lean-to now.” This, from the party that hasn’t tolerated a pro-life presidential or vice-presidential nominee since Jimmy Carter tried to straddle the fence in 1976. This, from the liberals who are presently trying to “purge” Sen. Blanche Lincoln in a Democratic primary in Arkansas. This, from the party that successfully purged Sen. Joe Lieberman from its ranks.
MSNBC's Morning Joe scored an interview with Charlie Crist on Friday, but only co-host Mika Brzezinski seemed interested in asking the newly independent governor tough questions. Joe Scarborough spun Crist's defection from the Republican Party as one of conviction. [Audio available here.]
Brzezinski grilled the senatorial candidate with this hardball: "Tell me why this isn't just politically expedient? Why this isn't just sort of a desperate attempt to win because you were losing?" Technical difficulties forced Brzezinski to ask her question again.
Attempting to get an answer to something that apparently didn't occur to Scarborough, she reiterated, "On February 22nd you were actually on this show and you said, 'I am in this race as a Republican.' We asked, "Might you become an independent?' So, how is this not politically expedient?" Scarborough joking referred to his co-host's query as "hateful."
Both Marco Rubio and Charlie Crist appeared live on Friday's Today show, and both received the same question by NBC's Meredith Vieira, was Crist's departure from the GOP just another example of the Republicans being "intolerant" to moderates? In addition to advancing that liberal view of the Florida Senate race, Vieira also questioned if Rubio was being "manipulated" by the Tea Party, as seen in the following exchange:
MEREDITH VIEIRA: Do you feel you're being manipulated at all by the Tea Party? Because they're the ones that have sort of helped boost your numbers. You've become their darling.
MARCO RUBIO: Absolutely not. Well you know what? The Tea Party is just a collection of every day Americans, most of whom have never participated in politics before, who are tired of the direction of this country and want their voices heard. This is not a professional political movement. In fact, it's only a year old but I think it's been a good thing for American politics to see people get involved and have their voices heard. I'm proud of the, of the support they've given me. [audio availabe here]
Before that exchange Vieira threw out the "GOP is too intolerant" line, first to Crist:
How should MSNBC supplement its income? Have the DNC underwrite part of Norah O'Donnell's salary. She's certainly earning it . . .
Yesterday, as noted here, a giddy Norah enthused that Charlie Crist's vote-splitting independent run gives the Dems "a real shot" to win the Florida Senate seat.
O'Donnell was back on the Dem ramparts this morning on Morning Joe, defending Janet Napolitano's execrable record on border security, leading Joe Scarborough to mock the Homeland Security secretary with some effervescent imagery . . .
During Thursday's 11AM ET hour on MSNBC, anchor Tamron Hall asked former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean about Florida Governor Charlie Crist's expected announcement to run as an independent in that state's senate race: "Is this a sign that people, perhaps centrists or moderates, like Charlie Crist, have no place in this new emerging Republican Party?"
That set up the left-wing Dean to bash conservatives and the GOP: "What effect does the tea party have on the Republican Party? And this is a really good example. They've driven another moderate out of the Republican Party....there just apparently is no place in the Republican Party for moderate, thoughtful people anymore."
Hall first asked Dean about an odd rumor: "There is a story online that's being picked up by conservative blogs that you offered to contribute to Charlie Crist's campaign if he left the Republican Party. What happened there?" Dean explained: "That was a joke between me and Joe Scarborough which some enterprising staffer for Crist picked up and pushed it around. It's not true. I'm supporting Kendrick Meek." He then added: "I actually think that the two big winners out of this are the United States, who are hopefully going to get a real senator instead of a far-right person, and I do think, of course, it helps the Democratic Party and Kendrick's candidacy as well."
After Hall introduced Dean at the beginning of the segment, she remarked: "I say it like you're a correspondent now....I love that being a possible segment Governor Dean, you coming on and talking about the top political news of the day."