On Sunday’s syndicated Chris Matthews Show, as host Matthews asked the panel to predict the outcome of the Pennsylvania Senate election, he described Republican candidate Pat Toomey as "right-leaning," but assigned no ideological label to Democratic candidate Joe Sestak. Panel member John Heilemann of New York magazine asserted that Toomey is "not just right-leaning, he’s a pretty conservative guy," while also giving no label to Sestak. Ironically, it was Helene Cooper of the New York Times who finally described Sestak as "so far to the left."
Later in the show, as the group discussed what Republican control of Congress would mean for President Obama, Heilemann continued to see Republicans being at an extreme without noting any liberal extremism as he recounted President Clinton’s battle in the 1990s with Republican Speaker New Gingrich and how President Obama could play a similar role with a Republican Congress. Heilemann: "He (President Clinton) took advantage of Newt Gingrich’s extremism to make Republicans look bad. Obama can play that part of the game possibly very effectively."
The New York Times editorial board on Sunday absolutely tore Barack Obama apart for his handling of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
"The president cannot plug the leak or magically clean up the fouled Gulf of Mexico. But he and his administration need to do a lot more to show they are on top of this mess, and not perpetually behind the curve," wrote the Times.
"It certainly should not have taken days for Mr. Obama to get publicly involved in the oil spill, or even longer for his administration to start putting the heat on BP for its inadequate response and failure to inform the public about the size of the spill."
Quite surprisingly, the Times was just getting warmed up:
Barack Obama's presidency goes the way of Jimmy Carter's if he doesn't get control of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
So said New York Times White House correspondent Helene Cooper on the most recent installment of "The Chris Matthews Show."
As the opening segment's discussion concerning the spill moved to a close, the host surprisingly asked his panel if Obama can continue to "blame the previous administration, the oil patch guys, Bush and Cheney" for the disaster.
Readers will likely find the answers quite surprising (video follows with transcript and commentary):
It's been more than nine months since President Obama has held a prime time press conference, and you would think those that cover him would be outraged by it.
Well, think again, for that's certainly not what came out of a panel discussion about this issue during this weekend's syndicated "The Chris Matthews Show."
Quite the contrary, rather than criticize the Commander-in-Chief for refusing to face them in an unscripted environment that he couldn't control, NBC's Chuck Todd, MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell, the New York Times's Helene Cooper, and the Washington Post's David Ignatius actually made excuses for him (video embedded below the fold with transcribed highlights and commentary):
Chris Matthews is beginning to realize that Barack Obama can't change things with just the power of his personality.
Such was amazingly discussed during the syndicated talk show bearing his name this weekend as two White House correspondents made some astonishing claims about the current resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
"He feels that he has some ability to bring people together," noted NBC's Savannah Guthrie.
Helene Cooper of the New York Times agreed, "[T]here's this fundamental belief that he can change, that the power of his personality and the power of his oratory can change people... But you can't just do it with the power of your personality."
A seemingly stunned Matthews replied, "Well, we're learning that" (video embedded below the fold with transcript):
And if that “progress” with Russia fades, will the Times follow up? Watch this space.
Diplomatic correspondent Helene Cooper and David Barboza emphasized the positive:
President Obama, fresh from making progress in his efforts to get Russia on board for possible tough new sanctions against Iran, arrived in China on Sunday, where he will attempt the even more difficult task of prodding China’s leaders to get tough on Iran.
Well the verdict is in and it looks like the GOP has been severely damaged by its opposition to Obamacare, well at least that was the conclusion of all the liberal members of "The Chris Matthews Show" panel over the weekend. On the syndicated show, NBC's Kelly O'Donnell and HDNET's Dan Rather were unanimous that the "branding" of the GOP as "The Party Of No," has "hurt" them. The New York Times' Helene Cooper chimed in that the Republicans were "gonna be in a really tough spot," and the Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan judged "The town halls clearly hurt them. They turned the debate around in favor of the President."
The following exchanges were aired on the October 18 edition of "The Chris Matthews Show":
Something truly shocking happened on Sunday's "The Chris Matthews Show": three out of four of his guests said the current anti-government sentiment sweeping the nation is not because Barack Obama is black, and that the news media are actually responsible for exacerbating the suggestion that protesters are racist.
There was even some consensus that the same kind of dissent would be happening if Hillary Clinton was president.
On the flipside, and not at all surprising, Matthews not only didn't agree, but seemed rather disappointed by this viewpoint being expressed (video available here, partial transcript below the fold):
NBC's Norah O'Donnell, guest hosting for Chris Matthews over the weekend, repeatedly questioned her "Chris Matthews Show" panelists why there was "So much hate," and "venom," directed at Barack Obama at town hall events.
Time's Joe Klein responded it was all Rush Limbaugh's fault as he depicted opponents of Obama as racists that are "being egged on by the demagogues in, in the Republican Party, by Boss Rush Limbaugh.And I call him the boss because there isn't a single Republican elected official who's willing to call him out on his lies." [audio available here]
Over the weekend, on his syndicated "The Chris Matthews Show," Chris Matthews asked his media panel if Barack Obama was governing as "more clearly a radical like FDR was, or more like a true conservative?" The latter part of the question -- the rather absurd proposition of Obama being a conservative -- actually drew a couple of affirmatives from the panel.
The USA Today's Joan Biskupic responded she thought the President was being more conservative, at least in his judicial nods, "If you look at what he's doing, not just with his Supreme Court choice but his appeals court choices. None of them have really caused a big problem. You probably couldn't name one of those appellate judges off the top of your head. They're sort of middle-of-the-road folks. Not taking a page from Ronald Reagan in terms of seeking lightning rods."
Chris Matthews, on his syndicated "The Chris Matthews Show," over the weekend, wondered if the Mark Sanford scandal will make the GOP a more tolerant party as he asked his panel: "Have Republicans finally embarrassed themselves out of calling themselves the family values party?"
His guest panel, for the most part, agreed with the premise as Dan Rather opined: "The Republican Party was already in the process of trying to make a bigger tent with more tolerance. This will, in some ways, help that movement." The New York Times' Helen Cooper admonished: "I think the one thing the Republican Party probably learned this week is that, you know, people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."
At President Obama’s 100-day press conference on Wednesday night, White House correspondent Jeff Zeleny became a mini-celebrity – or a national laughingstock – for asking President Obama how he was surprised/troubled/enchanted/humbled over the first 100 days. The Times itself seemed embarrassed by the question. The press conference was relegated to page A-19, with the headline "Obama Voices Concern on Pakistan and Defends Interrogation Memo Release." Nine paragraphs in, Zeleny and Helene Cooper acknowledged the "light moments," but don’t acknowledge they were a gift from Zeleny and the Times:
There were a few light moments, particularly when Mr. Obama was asked what has surprised, troubled, enchanted and humbled him in the past 100 days. "Wait, let me get this all down," he said, taking out a pen.
Why the passive "mistakes were made" phrasing? Then Zeleny and Cooper provided all the president's answers to the multi-part softball, including: "He called himself enchanted by American servicemen and women, and their sacrifices they make, although he allowed that ‘enchanted’ might not be the exact characterization."