On Tuesday's CBS Early Show, substitute co-host Russ Mitchell announced that "the lame duck session of Congress could hand President Obama yet another victory" with possible passage of the START nuclear arms treaty. Moments later, Mitchell declared that "The President seems to be on a hot streak."
Mitchell got analysis from Republican strategist Dan Bartlett and Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons. Bartlett hardly offered an opposing viewpoint, as he completely agreed with Mitchell's assessment of Obama: "It's a great streak he's on. He's on a hot streak....this is a narrative now that the President can stitch together going in to the new year....they've got a lot to crow about going into the new year." The headline on-screen throughout the segment read: "Obama's Rebound?; President Scores Political Victories During Lame Duck Session."
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith noted how President Obama was on the campaign trail "in hopes of avoiding a Democratic washout," but added, "he may be getting some help from Republicans....unintentional help." Congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes exclaimed: "...we've been seeing a spate of strange claims from tea party candidates in recent weeks."
As supposed evidence of those "strange claims," Cordes pointed to Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell accurately noting that the phrase "separation of church and state" appears nowhere in the Constitution. Cordes remarked that O'Donnell's comment "actually drew gasps from her audience yesterday," and later concluded: "O'Donnell – who calls herself a strict constitutionalist – appeared unaware of one of the Constitution's most basic tenets."
A month ago, CBS News hired ex-Bill Clinton and Al Gore campaign operative Jamal Simmons, a self-described “strong supporter of Barack Obama's campaign,” as political analyst, and Tuesday night the CBS Evening News paired him with the more sober in-house analyst John Dickerson. As a result, viewers heard a rational look at the political landscape from Dickerson paired with Democratic talking points, in the guise of political analysis, from Simmons, but not balanced by any GOP veteran tearing down Democrats.
Simmons turned polls showing impending big Democratic losses into a way to deliver anti-Republican demagoguery, as he charged “voters are starting to figure out that if Republicans win, they're going to cut, you know, 21 percent out of education and borrow $700 billion from the Chinese to give tax cuts to rich people, and most voters don't want to do that.”
After Katie Couric raised, as controversial, Christine O’Donnell’s accurate contention “separation of church and state” is not in the Constitution, Simmons took the opportunity to deride Republican candidates: “If you look around the country, not just Christine O'Donnell but Sharron Angle out in Nevada, and Rich Iott in Ohio who dresses as an S.S. Nazi for the weekend, you know, these candidates are making Democrats look pretty good in comparison.”
Just in case you thought Paul Begala's boorishness knew any bounds . . .
Bill Clinton's former adviser was a guest on the Situation Room this afternoon on CNN. Talk turned to the strategy Republicans should adopt in upcoming special elections.
WOLF BLITZER: How much of a lightning rod -- you're an expert on this subject -- will Hillary Clinton be for Republicans out there, cause they're already, in some of these special elections that are coming up, they're already pointed to her to try to help Republican candidates?