Meredith Vieira peppered RNC chair Michael Steele, on Tuesday's Today show, with a line of questioning that made the GOP out to be "partisan" in its criticisms of Obama's national security policies and questioned recent comments by Dick Cheney's were "hurting the Republicans."
Vieira began the interview by questioning if a Peter Hoekstra fundraising letter was an example of the GOP playing politics with terrorism, even reciting the Democratic spin, as if the Democrats never raised money with that issue during the Bush years:
On Dec. 22, when Rep. Parker Griffith of Alabama announced he would be switching from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party, it was to be expected MSNBC, the so-called "Place for Politics" would spin it in anyway imaginable. But Rachel Maddow decided to use the left's favorite boogeyman, the tea party movement, to denigrate conservatives and distract from what could be real problems for House Democrats.
NBC's Matt Lauer, on Monday's Today show, in his first question to RNC Chair Michael Steele, asked if opponents to Barack Obama's health care reform bill, were going to deprive the President of politically joyous holiday season, as the Today co-anchor pressed: "So is the President's stocking going to be empty on Christmas Day?" Lauer then went on to question if the Republican's entire strategy was that of simply "delaying and stalling," as seen in the following exchange:
MATT LAUER: Let's talk about health care reform. The President says he thinks the Senate will pass his version of the bill by Christmas. Joe Lieberman says he's not voting for it in it's current form. So is the President's stocking going to be empty on Christmas Day?
Fresh off Donny Deutsch’s defense of Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) slavery analogy, Mike Barnicle asked GOP Chairman Michael Steele about what proposals the GOP favored for health-care reform. Along the way, however, he used an unfortunate choice of words:
MIKE BARNICLE: [...] What are you people for?
MICHAEL STEELE: You people? [starts laughing] Who are 'you people?'
Surely no one would be foolish enough to defend Harry Reid's statement analogizing ObamaCare opponents to those who resisted the abolition of slavery, right? Um, may I introduce you to Donny Deutsch?
On Morning Joe today, the ad man suggested to RNC Chairman Michael Steele that there was nothing wrong with Reid's analogy. When Steele didn't deign to dignify Deutsch's absurdity with a response, a nasty little stand-off ensued . . .
While interviewing Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele on Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith referred to recent comments by Senator Harry Reid: “[He] said Republicans are on the wrong side of history when it comes to this health care bill and very soberly...compared those who opposed health care to those who opposed civil rights legislation....How would you respond to that?”
Steele fired back: “Well, you know, it was not a sober moment for Harry Reid at all. It was an ignorant moment for Harry Reid.” Steele continued: “ I’m kind of sick and tired of, you know, the Left and Democrats in this country, when they get into trouble and don’t get their way...they play that race card, that slavery card, that civil rights card.” Smith didn’t even mention Reid’s further comparison of Republicans to those who resisted ending slavery.
Steele called on Reid to apologize: “...it was an ignorant comment. Harry needs to go to the well of the Senate, take it back, and apologize for offending the sensibilities of the American people on something so important.”
CNN’s Rick Sanchez misrepresented the pro-life Stupak Amendment to the House Democrats’ health care plan on Monday’s Newsroom. Sanchez labeled the amendment a “conservative Republican challenge of health care reform.” The anchor also gave a false impression of an answer given by RNC Chairman Michael Steele in an earlier interview on American Morning.
Sanchez used the misleading label out of the gate in a segment which began 22 minutes into the 3 pm Eastern hour: “The Stupak Amendment was a conservative Republican challenge of health care reform by making Democrats agree to a provision to make sure that abortions are not covered under this new plan, and it was a successful challenge, by the way.”
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele accidentally referred to House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) as "Speaker Boehner" during Sunday's "This Week," and host George Stephanopoulos surprisingly didn't disagree.
Quite the contrary, he found this so compelling he gave great attention to it at ABC News's website:
Republican Chairman Michael Steele had a Freudian slip this morning on 'This Week' when he referred to Minority Leader John Boehner as "Speaker Boehner."...And Steele stuck by his slip: predicting a Speaker Boehner if Dems continue to push health care.
During the broadcast, Stephanopoulos not only didn't disagree with Steele, but instead used exit poll numbers from Tuesday's elections to show just how much trouble Democrats might be in 2010 (videos embedded below the fold with partial transcript, file photo):
Mike Allen has dumped on Doug Hoffmann's candidacy. Again. Yesterday, as noted here, Allen said Republicans would be "crazy" and "suicidal" to support the conservative in the special congressional election in New York's 23rd CD. Today, Politico's chief political correspondent has claimed that a Hoffman victory would spell "chaos" in Republican ranks.
And check the video for Mike Barnicle making an elitist crack about the upstate NY district, and Chuck Todd trying to embarrass RNC Chairman Michael Steele . . .
While two reporters -- Washington Post White House reporter Michael Fletcher and Wall Street Journal Executive Washington Editor Gerald Seib -- criticized RNC Chairman Michael Steele this morning on NPR's Diane Rehm show for issuing a statement against Obama after the Nobel Peace Prize win [transcript now below], will reporters forward and criticize this, from the CNN Political Ticker?
A Democratic National Committee spokesman said Friday the GOP has "thrown in its lot with the terrorists" in criticizing the president's Nobel Peace Prize award.
“The Republican Party has thrown in its lot with the terrorists – the Taliban and Hamas this morning – in criticizing the President for receiving the Nobel Peace prize," DNC Communications Director Brad Woodhouse said in a statement.
Either Richard Wolffe is blatantly shilling for the liberal/progressive agenda in the United States or he really is incredibly cynical about how the Republican Party picks its leader.
Wolffe, appearing on MSNBC's Oct. 5 "Countdown with Keith Olbermann," gave his thoughts on the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele. Wolffe, a MSNBC regular and former Newsweek columnist, shared his low regard for the former lieutenant governor of Maryland.
"Well, look - it's certainly being clumsy politics," Wolffe said. "And you know today, Michael Steele says he doesn't do policy. Tomorrow he'll say he doesn't do politics either."
CNN’s Jack Cafferty and Wolf Blitzer endorsed Thomas Friedman’s “scary and sobering column” in the New York Times on Wednesday’s Situation Room, where the liberal writer compared the current American political climate to that of Israel in 1995 prior to Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination. After Cafferty remarked that “Friedman’s right,” Blitzer labeled the column “powerful.”
The CNN commentator began his 5 pm Eastern “Cafferty File” segment with his “scary and sobering” label of the New York Times column. After summarizing it and reading a quote where Friedman warned that “something very dangerous is happening” in the American political dialogue, Cafferty remarked that “Friedman’s right. You don’t have to look any further than protesters comparing President Obama to a Nazi, or a Facebook poll asking if he should be killed. Tom Friedman says even if you’re not worried about violence against Mr. Obama, you should be worried about what’s happening to American politics.”
RNC Chairman Michael Steele shot back at CNN’s Wolf Blitzer after the anchor tried to smear conservatives with racism on Wednesday’s Situation Room. The CNN anchor pointed out a racist sign at a Tea Party, and Steele replied, “Don’t hold up one person as an example of behavior by everyone.” The RNC chairman also rebuked Blitzer after the anchor pointed out the GOP’s dearth of minorities in Congress [audio clips from the segment are available here].
Before he introduced Steele, Blitzer played a clip from former President Jimmy Carter, who attributed “overwhelming portion of the intensely-demonstrated animosity towards President Barack Obama” to racism. He then asked the RNC chairman for his take on the Democrat’s remarks. Steele replied that Carter was “just dead wrong....I am, like a lot of Americans, concerned and disagree with the President’s policies and approaches from the stimulus spending to this health care strategy. Am I a racist because I disagree with that? I don’t think so.”
While arguing with Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele about health care reform on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "...if the public option is socialism, then what is Medicare?....That people overwhelmingly think works pretty well for them."
Steele pointed out Medicare’s obvious flaw: "Medicare’s a government-run program that is not – that is not doing that well....Harry, come on. How often do we have to do another reset on Medicare because it’s in default or running out of money?" Steele went on to challenge President Obama’s drastic approach to reform: "My only point is why do we have to up end 1/6 of our nation’s economy to fix what the President has now redefined-" Smith interrupted: "Because that 1/6 of our economy, left to go as it is, will bankrupt us." Apparently spending $1 trillion on a massive new government program will not.
Earlier in the interview, Steele reacted to Obama’s upcoming address to Congress: "And after 26 speeches and 12 resets on this health care plan, tonight, in my view, it’s just one more opportunity to tell us what we already know." Smith responded by claiming: "Okay. Except polls would say the opposite of that." Steele replied: "No, the polls don’t...Harry I don’t know what polls you’re looking at. The polls don’t say the opposite of that."
On Tuesday’s Situation Room, CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux questioned RNC Chairman Michael Steele about the debate over ObamaCare, and alleged that protesters “from your own party...have talked about and compared President Obama to Hitler” at the health care town halls. The anchor also bizarrely asked Steele if he gave Attorney General Holder “credit...for breaking away from President Obama.”
Midway through her interview with the GOP leader, Malveaux made the left-wing allegation that Republican activists were using Nazi imagery against the President at the town halls: “How honest do you think the debate has been- the discussion? In light of some of the town hall meetings, some of the rhetoric that we’ve seen from both sides, but specifically those who are from your own party who have talked about and compared President Obama to- to Hitler.”
CNN has raised the issue of the Nazi comparisons at the health care town halls in the past weeks, all the while making three significant omissions. First, they neglected to mention that early in August, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused the anti-ObamaCare protesters of “carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town hall meeting on health care,” which led to Rush Limbaugh pointing out the similarities between the DNC health care logo and a Nazi symbol. They have also failed to mention that supporters of leftist Lyndon LaRouche bore posters of President Obama defaced with a Hitler mustache.
ABC News anchor Chris Cuomo conducted a hostile interview of RNC Chairman Michael Steele on Monday’s Good Morning America. Noting Steele hadn't used the term “death panel,” Cuomo asked if it was "a sign of positive progress." He also wondered why Steele wasn't bashing insurance companies, since when there is "excess in the system, it always comes back to the insurance companies."
The GMA anchor interviewed the RNC chairman 15 minutes into the 7 am hour. He zeroed in on Steele’s op-ed plugging a “Seniors’ Health Care Bill of Rights" which ran in the Washington Post on Monday. After Steele first summarized what was in the proposal, Cuomo brought up the hyped “death panel” term, which is a central part of the debate over ObamaCare:
“Now Mr. Steele, here in this health care bill of rights -- very interesting what is not here, the word ‘death panel’ is not anywhere in here. Is this a sign of positive progress, that we’re not going to talk about death panels anymore as a scare tactic?”
On CNN Newsroom today, anchor Kyra Phillips interviewed Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele on the topic of President Obama's healthcare push. Part of the interview:
PHILLIPS: But whether government-run or private, I mean, no one's going to demand that you go one way or another. You're still going to have a choice.
STEELE: We don't -- maybe we do. I don't know. We haven't had that debate. I mean, you're talking about -- you're talking about the possibility of reorienting one-sixth of our economy with legislators who haven't even read the legislation. I mean, are they going to do to health care what they did with cap and trade? Are we going to get amendments at 4 a.m. in the morning and no one reads them? And then only after the Health and Human Services Department has to begin to implement this craziness, we're going to find out exactly what's in the bill?
Steele was exactly correct, of course. No one knows what Obama's healthcare program will ultimately mandate. That's because, like the economic stimulus, Obama left it in the hands of his Democratic comrades in Congress to put something together. There are currently three versions in the House and another two in the Senate.
While President Obama’s health care plan seemed to be floundering, Tuesday’s CBS Early Show spun it as an opportunity for him to fight back, as co-host Julie Chen declared: "President Obama pushes back hard against critics of his health care plan as hopes fade it could be passed by August."
Co-host Harry Smith kept up the theme of Obama fighting back in the later segment: "First, though, the fight over health care is becoming a very bitter pill. President Obama goes on the offensive today, not only against Republicans, but also some members of his own party."
Following Smith’s introduction, correspondent Bill Plante reported: "It's game on in the effort to find health care reform. The President has been six months on the job and he now faces his first major battle with Congress. And as you said, not just with Republicans, he's calling in some Democrats today on the House committee to do a little arm twisting, or persuading I think they'd call it."
Apparently feeling some heat about its decision to not allow any Republicans to participate in its primetime ObamaCare infomercial Wednesday evening, ABC decided at the last minute to invite Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and RNC Chairman Michael Steele on Thursday's "Good Morning America."
Unfortunately, both McConnell and Steele, having been given less than 24 hours notice, were not available, and the RNC suggested "GMA" contact Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wi.), one of the GOP's leading voices on healthcare in the House.
Although Ryan was available, and did speak with Sawyer Thursday morning, the "GMA" co-host still felt the need to tell viewers McConnell and Steele declined her invitation (video embedded right):
Chris Matthews, on Monday's "Hardball," was outraged at the RNC's criticism of the Obamas wasting taxpayer money to go see a Broadway play as he railed that it was a "jealous, pathetic swipe at the First Couple," and remarked "What a jealous, little political party the Republicans have become." Matthews also took a shot at former President George W. Bush as he contrasted Obama's tastes with Bush's as he claimed the problem he and others had with Bush was his, "Utter disdain for any kind of thought or culture. His total lack of curiosity toward anything beyond his own backyard." Matthews then questioned if the GOP attack was made out of "jealousy or simple nincompoop anti-intellectualism?"
MATTHEWS: Well let's get this straight. President Bush's jaunts to Crawford, Texas were okay by their lights, but President Obama's day trips to New York are cause for outrage? This is the kind of pissant criticism that makes you wonder why Michael Steele still has his job. Is this jealousy or simple nincompoop anti-intellectualism? Whatever it is I like having a president who takes his wife up to Broadway. [audio available here]
The following are all of Matthews' teasers and then his anti-RNC rant as it occurred during the "Sideshow," segment of his June 1, edition of "Hardball":
Reacting to a speech by Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele during Tuesday’s 3:00 EST hour on MSNBC, anchor Norah O’Donnell declared: "In case you missed it, we compiled the greatest and the best of Michael Steele. Some people said that a lot of the cliches he used in his speech you could string them together and it would make a bad Hallmark card." An edited clip of Steele’s speech was played, highlighting his calls for Republicans to turn the corner.
A laughing O’Donnell turned to Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons and Republican strategist Phil Musser to discuss the future of the GOP: "Alright, Phil, did you get the point that the honeymoon is over, the navel-gazing is done? There was a lot of this emphasis on turning the page, which is all well and good, but there was no prescription for change in what the Republican Party's going to do. Isn't that a problem?" Musser shot back: "Well, I think Michael Steele is making an important point that you can only be on defense for so long, and with all due respect to your setup, which keeps us on defense, you know, that I think that the Republican Party has acknowledged their sin, certainly paid the measure of price for it and are now in the process of moving forward with proactive ideas."
MSNBC host Contessa Brewer derided Republicans for using the word socialist in reference to Barack Obama's economic policies on Wednesday, complaining, "Well, maybe they think Americans are a bunch of idiots." Speaking of an upcoming vote by the Republican National Committee over whether or not to label the current Democratic leadership as socialist-leaning, the "MSNBC News Live Host" worried, "Have we reverted to a bunch of junior high schoolers, 12-year-olds with the name calling?"
Of course, Brewer is on the same network that repeatedly, and gleefully, used the juvenile "tea bag" humor to describe Republican protests over taxes. So, this argument is somewhat hollow. Washington Post political reporter Perry Bacon talked to the host and tried to explain the GOP's anger towards the massive spending that has been going on in Washington. After Brewer played a clip of RNC Chairman Michael Steele on Tuesday slamming Democrats, such as "Barney Frank, who nobody understands," the journalist could barely contain herself. She fretted, "Class and dignity. Was that it?"
At the top of Tuesday’s 2:00PM EST hour on MSNBC, co-anchors Contessa Brewer and Melissa Francis spoke with Reuters correspondent Jon Decker about a speech by Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele on the future of the GOP, with Brewer citing Democratic reaction: "Here's the Democratic National Committee's response to Steele: ‘The test of the sincerity of the Chairman's words will be if he and otherGOP leaders stand up to the fringe elements of their party and whether they tell the polarizing faces of the past, including Cheney, Gingrich, and Limbaugh, to stand aside. Unfortunately, they have shown no willingness to do so.’"
In response to the DNC talking points, Decker argued that Steele would have to turn to moderate Republicans: "Michael Steele will have to recruit candidates thatmay not be the typical type of Republican that we've seen in the past few election cycles, the hard right social conservative Republicans. He's going to have to perhaps look to some moderate Republicans, some of the people who have left the party, who have been defeated over the past few election cycles, if he wants to try to be a majority party once again."
At that point, Francis wondered if the GOP should allow the more conservative members of the party to be "crushed" by Obama: "...but in some sense, doesn't it make sense to put a lot of the old faces out there right now? Because almost anybody is going to get crushed in the undertow of President Obama's popularity. So why not make the sacrificial lamb, you know, some of the people that, you know, are part of the old Republican Party, and just let them get crushed for now. Can you see that strategy at all?"
Who did MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell feature to respond to Michael Steele's Tuesday speech about the future of the Republican Party? Chris Shays, the liberal, former Republican congressman with a lifetime American Conservative Union score of 44, appeared on "Andrea Mitchell Reports" to critique the chairman of the Republican National Committee.
After Shays insisted that Dick Cheney shouldn't be deciding who is and isn't a solid member of the GOP, Mitchell complimented, "Chris Shays, a good Republican." Responding to the Steele speech, Mitchell pontificated, "No mention of Dick Cheney. No mention of Rush Limbaugh. Is he [Steele] trying to move the party to a broader party, one that would include you? You were the last standing moderate from the northeast."
On Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith talked to Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele about Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter switching to the Democratic Party: "Alright, so you see red states going to blue, though, in this last presidential election...You look at percentage-wise, lower numbers of people who declare themselves to be actual Republicans...Where does the future of your party lie?...Is there room for moderates?"
Smith began the interview by asking Steele: "Olympia Snowe mourned his [Specter’s] loss earlier this week. Rush Limbaugh said he was dead weight, good riddance. Who's right?" Steele was unequivocal: "Rush. I'm sorry, I'm not weeping here. I'm sorry. You know, look, Harry, in 2004, when Senator Specter ran for re-election...he whined and moaned and groaned and convinced the White House, and Senator Rick Santorum, and the Republican leadership at that time, to save his seat, to help him get re-elected. So all this, you know, rank-and-file crazy noise about conservatism, he didn't mind it in 2004 when his seat was on the line."
News editors need to retake Journalism 101 or move to features when stories about the White House dog take precedence over a controversial veto by the President's unconfirmed appointment to Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius vetoed a bill, House Substitute for SB 218, April 23 which would have placed additional restrictions on third trimester abortions and allowed more criminal charges over late-term procedures to occur.
With the exception of "Special Report with Bret Baier" that night and "Fox and Friends" the morning of April 24, the broadcast media avoided covering the controversial decision. But "Today," "The Early Show," and "Good Morning America" all had time to cover Michelle Obama talking about the first family's new dog Bo the morning of April 24.
An offended Chris Matthews, on Thursday night's "Hardball," was so shocked by Sarah Palin's claim that there wasn't anybody to pray with on the McCain campaign, that he hurled multiple insults Palin's way, calling her, "a little scary," and asked if Palin thought McCain was, "the Anti-Christ?" Matthews was appalled by Palin's recent revelation that she had trouble finding someone to pray with before her vice presidential debate and the MSNBC host worried such talk about "The Deity in a political environment," wasn't "normal."
Matthews' guest panelists also joined in the fray as the Washington Post's Lois Romano declared, "I think it's bizarre and I think it's judgmental," and Mother Jones magazine's David Corn cackled it was "mean and catty." RNC chair Michael Steele was also knocked for a recent profession of faith, as Matthews blurted: "Why does everything sound like the '700 Club,' with this party now? I mean everything seems to be a religious discussion."
Matthews and his panel didn't just stop at insulting Palin's religious beliefs, they also belittled Palin for her hand gestures and attractiveness. Over video of Palin waving at a campaign rally Matthews ridiculed: "You know, doing that windshield wiper wave though is not serious. That's not a serious wave. I'm sorry that's not what you do when you want to lead the free world. That's, that's more like, 'I'm a celebrity and people like me.'
And just before that snide comment from Matthews, Romano and Corn dismissed Palin for her looks:
CNN commentator Jack Cafferty returned to his routine of bashing conservatives and Republicans in a column published on CNN.com on Tuesday titled “GOP becoming a cartoon.” He accused the Republican Party of “pandering to the right wing nuts that comprise Rush Limbaugh’s radio audience,” and listed this as the primary reason that the GOP lost the 2008 presidential election. Cafferty also bashed Republicans for being too busy “obstructing Obama's programs and criticizing the Democrats’ spending plans that are aimed at trying to bring the country out of a horrible recession.”
The commentator began by criticizing three notable Republicans -- Bobby Jindal, Sarah Palin, and Michael Steele. He labeled the Louisiana governor “embarrassing” for a small grammatical error. Cafferty denounced Palin (a regular target of his ire during the presidential campaign), accusing her of performing a “tawdry grab at a few dollars that didn’t belong to her,” after the Alaska governor decided to reimburse the taxpayer dollars she used to pay for the travel expenses of her children. But he saved the most stinging language for the Republican Party chairman, simultaneously jabbing Limbaugh in the process: “Michael Steele, the newly elected chairman of the Republican National Committee, down on his knees apologizing to the helium-filled poster boy of the conservative right? Pathetic.”
New York Times "visual op-ed" columnist Charles Blow remains giddy over Republican failures in his latest column, "Three Blind Mice." Blow's mice (aka "the axis of drivel") are Republican governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, RNC chairman Michael Steele, and talk show giant Rush Limbaugh (the latter of whom controls "Limbaugh-tomized minions of the far, far right").
All these insults are packed into one puny-sized column in Saturday's edition, accompanied by a graph (that would be the "visual" part) demonstrating beyond a shadow of a doubt that among citizens at large, the newly elected President of the United States is more popular than a conservative talk show host. This apparently proves something or other.
...the Republicans have dissolved into a querulous lot of nags and naysayers without a voice, a direction or a clue, and we are not amused.
And who has surfaced as their saviors? Bobby Jindal, Michael Steele and Rush Limbaugh -- the axis of drivel.
On Thursday's Countdown show, MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe of Newsweek compared Rush Limbaugh to rapper Sister Souljah and Barack Obama's racist former minister, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, as Wolffe advised the Republican party to "kill some sacred cows" by denouncing "extremist" Limbaugh. Wolffe: "What they first of all need to do is to kill some sacred cows here. ... for President Clinton, it was Sister Souljah. For President Obama, he had to confront Reverend Wright. This is their Reverend Wright. And unless they deal with extreme voices within their own party, within their own movement, they're not going to reach those independent voters..." And after showing a clip of Limbaugh bouncing up and down on stage at CPAC, host Keith Olbermann cracked that "killer clowns from outer space is less disturbing for children."