Just how bad for Obama were Tuesday's election results?
So bad White House senior adviser David Axelrod went on Fox News Wednesday to try and spin it?
In case you've forgotten, this is about two weeks after Axelrod told ABC's George Stephanopoulos, "[T]hey're not really a news station."
I guess that's changed now that the Republicans have come back to life (video of Major Garrett's unedited interview with Axelrod embedded below the fold, part of it was aired on Wednesday's "Special Report"):
Network reporters swooned over President Barack Obama hugging a woman, who has cancer and lacks insurance, at his Wednesday “town hall” on health care, as both CNN -- where Suzanne Malveaux heralded the hug as “a bold display of presidential concern” -- and NBC failed to point out how all the questions (just seven in total) were pre-selected or from members of pro-Obama groups. Instead, NBC's Savannah Guthrie showed a kid in a video (“My mommy and daddy have small businesses, and we need health care”) before she touted how Obama “solicited questions on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and in person, with a hug for a woman who says she cannot pay her medical bills,” while CNN's Ed Henry related “he fielded questions from YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and a live audience.”
CBS's Katie Couric showcased “an emotional moment” when “a 53-year-old cancer patient described her battle to get treatment she can afford.” Couric relayed how Obama “called her exhibit A in a system that's too expensive and too complicated,” but at least, unlike NBC and CNN, Couric noted the woman “is a volunteer for Mr. Obama's political operation Organizing for America” and “the White House invited her to attend.”
Filling-in as anchor on CNN's The Situation Room, Suzanne Malveaux painted Obama as a combination of General Patton and Oprah as she set up Henry in the 6 PM EDT hour:
President Obama has a message for some critics. He will get his way. Today he made a bold promise regarding health care reform. And, in a bold display of presidential concern, the President comforted a sick and emotional woman.
Live-blogging the press briefing. Was scheduled to start at 2:30, it's now 2:38.
Watching on Fox News Channel. May also through up some Tweets @KenShepherd
The archive of official White House press briefings can be found here.
14:45: Still waiting for Gibbs to come out. Fox News has gone to split-screen.
14:52, Gibbs finally underway.
14:54, female reporter notes Judd Gregg connection to Abramoff scandal. 2nd question, is president getting tougher in rhetoric on stimulus?
14:56, same reporter he feels the need to ramp up the rhetoric a bit, why is that?
14:58, male reporter asks if there's any concern the executive pay guideline will backfire, with firms not asking for bailout money b/c of the rules. Also asks if Gibbs can give a "flavor" for what to expect from stimulus negotiations.
15:01, same reporter: Are you worried about it backfiring?
15:02, Ed Henry, CNN with question about president's stance on "buy American" provisions in the stimulus bill.
15:03, Henry asks "what balance" does Obama want "to strike" in buying American and honoring trade commitments.
Once again I'm going to live-blog the daily press briefing. I'll be focused on the reporters' questions, not so much Gibbs's answers. I also caution this is a rough transcript and may contain errors. I hope to render as accurate a depiction as possible of the questions asked and who's asking them.
As a little twist, I'll also try Twittering some comments on my Twitter page, @KenShepherd.
The presser was scheduled for 3:45 p.m. ET, but is late getting off the ground. Gibbs entering room at 3:53 p.m. ET
15:54 Gibbs gives announcements including week-ahead schedule "better late than never" he adds.
15:54, female reporter: Did the president come away with any specific reason to think Republicans will support the stimulus? Was there anything he agreed to put in the bill to get Republican support?
15:58, same reporter with followup, says way Gibbs describes it makes it sound like Obama is arguing for the status quo stimulus bill, not getting changes to it.
15:59, Bill Plante: It seems more aspirational. Public comments we hear are more predictable. Republicans accuse Dems of it being too larded up, Democrats say there's too much tax cuts... I don't hear enough from either side that there's compromise in the works.
Update/Closing thoughts (14:34): Hearst columnist Helen Thomas continues to make a cartoon of herself in her using her perch to parrot ultra-left-wing talking points. Her question today was on why President Obama wants to send troops into Afghanistan to "kill more people."Without doubt it was the loopiest left-wing question posed today. Oddly enough, given her history of bias, one of the best queries today came from April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks, who questioned the wisdom of pegging hopes of economic recovery on so-called "green jobs."
About to live-blog the White House daily press briefing. I'm focusing chiefly on the questions from the journalists. I'm watching via Fox News.
13:42: Gibbs: our e-mail system isn't working so well, apologizes for that to press corps.
Questions from reporters follow:
13:44, female reporter: Can you describe a little more fully about Amb. Rice's comments on mid-east diplomacy
13:45, female reporter: So you can't say when the diplomacy [with Iran] will begin or how?
13:46, Chuck Todd, NBC News: When are you guys going to announce a housing plan? Where is the money? Is it part of TARP?
13:47,Todd's followup: Does that mean it will not be part of the $350 billion?
13:48, Todd: Going to encourage banks to lend more?
Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs is conducting his second-ever press conference right now. Below you'll find my live-blogging of the questions. I can't promise verbatim rendering of the questions, but should the Obama administration post a full transcript later on, I'll link to that as well. [see related post]
I'm watching the video via MSNBC.
13:20 ET: Unid'd female reporter: This morning this event with the bipartisan leaders that the president had... but will there come a point when the president, and democratic leaders in the congress decide to have a vote whether Republicans like it or not?
13:21 ET, same reporter asks follow-up question on bipartisan cooperation
13:22 ET, male reporter asks about economic stimulus plans
13:25: What kind of reassurances can you give on the economic package. And on Pakistan, did the president consult with the Pakistan government on the strike.
Gibbs replies that he won't address the airstrikes or other military operations.
13:25, Major Garrett, Fox News Channel: You will never speak of any military operation taken by the United States?
Gibbs replies he won't discuss those airstrikes at today's briefing
As Culture and Media Institute Director Robert Knight has noted, the media are still presenting Obama campaign spin on the McCain sex ed ad as hard facts.
Last week the McCain campaign released an ad charging Senator Obama with supporting sex education for kindergarten children when he was an Illinois state senator.
According to the Obama campaign and the media the legislation in question "was written to protect young children from sexual predators."
That's a line that Obama himself used during last year's CNN/YouTube debate:
I've got a 9-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old daughter. And I want them to know if somebody is doing something wrong to them, encroaching on their privacy, that they should come talk to me or my wife. And we've had that conversation, but not every parent is going to have that conversation with their child, and I think it's important that every child does, to make sure that they're not subject to the sexual predators (emphasis mine).
The only problem is that the goal of the bill wasn't to stop sexual predators, but to revamp the Illinois sex ed curriculum.
With fresh media polls showing Sarah Palin causing a sizable percent of women to shift to support John McCain from Barack Obama, CBS and NBC on Tuesday night devoted full stories to fact check examinations to discredit her, specifically on the so-called “Bridge to Nowhere,” even though all the newscasts have already run stories on how she was for the bridge earmark during her 2006 gubernatorial campaign. Introducing a “Reality Check,” CBS anchor Katie Couric asserted:
There's also controversy over the way Governor Palin is trying to attract voters by portraying herself as a reformer opposed to government earmarks. And the example she continues to cite is her opposition to the infamous Bridge to Nowhere. But she doesn't quite tell the entire story...
Wyatt Andrews concluded: “By repeating the claim she said no thanks to the bridge, the implication is that Governor Palin confronted a Congress recklessly wasting money. The record shows, she wanted that bridge until the end and kept the money.” Over on NBC, anchor Brian Williams recalled how Palin's convention speech had “several memorable applause lines. It's how a lot of people came to know her.” But, he asked, “how do they all match up against the truth? Our senior investigative correspondent Lisa Myers takes a closer look.”