Is an implicitly mild anti-Michelle Obama comment worse than an overt anti-Catholic remark? According to the CNN Headline News show "Showbiz Tonight" on Monday September 8, they apparently are. While they ignored Joy Behar’s inflammatory remarks comparing the saints to mental patients, they were all over Elisabeth Hasselbeck for revealing that Michelle Obama provided a list of forbidden questions. For the record, Hasselbeck said "unlike the wife of a political candidate who shall remain nameless, she didn't come with a list of topics we weren't allowed to touch."
Reliable Obama supporter and CNN contributor Roland Martin alleged Hasselbeck "gets her information from Sean ‘Little Bowl of Hate Hannity" and drinks "Hatorade." To provide some balance one guest said "she shouldn’t be shot." The one caller, Deborah from Georgia, pleaded for Hasselbeck's firing. Everyone’s complaint with "The View" co-host involved revealing what occurred behind the scenes with Michelle Obama.
Chris Matthews, on Monday night's "Hardball," speculated that Republicans were playing the race card, when they made fun of Barack Obama's experience as a community organizer, even going as far to say they're using the phrase like a "bullwhip." In a segment with NBC's Chuck Todd and pollster Stuart Rothenberg, Matthews suspiciously noted that Republicans like Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani, at last week's GOP convention, were "giggling" over the "community organizer" title as he pondered: "Is this the new 'welfare queen?'"
Then a little later in the program, in a segment with the Financial Times' Chrystia Freeland and the Independent Women's Forum's Michelle Bernard, Matthews returned to the subject as he declared: "It seems to me that the use of the word, 'community organizer,' is almost like a bullwhip."
The following exchanges occurred on the September 8 edition of "Hardball" [audio excerpts available here]:
Check out this [emphasis added] excerpt from an LA Weekly report on Michelle Obama's appearance at a private fundraiser last Wednesday in the ritzy LA neighborhood of Holmby Hills. Mrs. Obama was addressing a crowd that reporter Patrick Range McDonald described "heavily entertainment-industry."
Obama then moved on to politics, where she first brought up her husband’s vice-presidential choice. “I think it was a really good pick—Senator Joe Biden,” she said, and later added, “People say they have amazing chemistry, and it’s true.”
Obama continued with talk about Biden when she said, “What you learn about Barack from his choice is that he’s not afraid of smart people.” The crowd softly chuckled.
According to U.S. News and World Report's Web site, Robert Schlesinger is the magazine's deputy editor and oversees all opinion editorial content. Schlesinger blogs from the Republican National Convention on "Cindy McCain's $300,000 Outfit:"
ST. PAUL—Remember Pat Nixon's "respectable Republican cloth coat?" It's come a long way, baby.
To wit: According to Vanity Fair, Laura Bush's outfit cost between $3,400 and $4,300. But of course that's chump-change compared to the roughly $300,000 that Cindy McCain's cost (the biggest line-item being $280,000 for three-karat diamond earrings).
For those of you keeping track at home, Cindy McCain's outfit could pay for a four bedroom, three bath, 3,400 square feet house in Wasilla.
Schlesinger cites Vanity Fair, but he doesn't provide complete information. The Vanity Fair piece concludes:
(All prices except Laura’s shoes and Cindy’s watch are estimates, and the jewelry prices are based on the assumption that the pieces are real.)
In the last 48 hours, the establishment media’s bias against Republican Sarah Palin has become a full-fledged feeding frenzy. This morning on FNC’s Fox & Friends, the anchors noted how the pop culture mag Us Weekly is now bashing Palin with a harsh cover story, “Babies, Lies, and Scandal,” when just a couple of months ago the same magazine ran a sappy cover piece featuring Barack and Michelle Obama: “Why Barack Loves Her.”
Co-host Steve Doocy cited NewsBusters’ recent “Quick Study” study of cable news as providing proof of the incredible double standard against Palin: “The Media Research Center did a study of the two hours of prime time after Joe Biden was announced as a Vice President and after Sarah Palin was announced, and overwhelmingly it was so against the Republican.”
The Obama-infatuated media knows a quote to ignore when it hears one.
That Barack Obama and the Democratic Party is in trouble on abortion is inarguable. Obama has been caught red-handed lying about his past positions and votes on Illinois' Born Alive Infant Protection Act laws, appearing indifferent as to when anyone wishing to eliminate their baby completes the task. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has generated outrage from Catholic bishops and practitioners with her ignorant comments about the history of the Church's opposition to abortion. John McCain's nomination of prolife walk-the-walker Sarah Palin has made the contrast between the two parties' positions as obvious as I've ever seen it.
Fanning the flames by reporting yet another controversial comment from Michelle Obama would add dangerous fuel to an already-burning fire.
That likely explains why you're not hearing about this comment Ms. Obama made at the Women’s Caucus of the Democratic National Convention on Thursday about her husband (bold is mine):
"NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams conducted an embarrassingly fawning interview with Michelle Obama on Wednesday's program regarding the subject of nasty Republicans and just how exciting the Democratic campaign is. At one point, he sympathetically questioned the politician's wife, "What of the attacks has busted through to you? What makes you angriest at John McCain, the Republicans? What's being said about your husband that you, you want to shout from the mountain tops is not true?"
More of the gushing interview aired on Thursday's "Today" show. During that segment, Williams cooed, "How often do you allow yourself to sit back and say, 'I can't believe this is happening? I can't believe we're doing this?'" Neither piece featured any tough questions. More representative were softballs about whether Mrs. Obama knows her husband will win or simply thinks it might happen.
On Tuesday night, PBS anchor Judy Woodruff offered Michelle Obama the kind of cozy interview she has typically offered to Democratic wives at convention time. Her sharpest question dealt with her unfavorables in the polls, and Mrs. Obama strongly asserted that she wouldn't lose sleep over conservatives mischaracterizing her, and knows that the Obama family narratives are deeply compelling to voters:
WOODRUFF: Now your speech was also view by some as an effort to repair what some polls I guess had shown were negative impressions that had accumulated about you – your values, your view of the country. How concerned were you about that going in and do you have any concerns about that now?
MICHELLE OBAMA: You know, this is politics. And I’ve always felt that when people hear my story and they hear the truth of my story, then they’ll understand who I am. You know, I try not to lose sleep over how Barack’s opponents have mischaracterized who I am.
Tuesday’s CBS Early Show praised Michelle Obama for meeting and surpassing high expectations with her Monday night speech at the Democratic convention, as co-host Julie Chen asked co-host Harry Smith: “...do you get the feeling that Michelle Obama accomplished what she set out to do? Because I definitely -- I definitely do, after watching from television -- you know, on television last night.” Smith replied: “Yeah, I think the bar was set pretty high and I think she went over that bar and probably then some.”
At the top of the show, Chen and co-host Maggie Rodriguez fawned over the speech, using the terms “compelling,” “impressive,” and “inspiring.” After Smith established that Obama had exceeded a “high bar,” Rodriguez mentioned Ted Kennedy’s speech as well and concluded that overall, “It was a special night for them. I think the Democrats should be very happy.”
Later, Smith discussed Obama’s speech with political analyst Jeff Greenfield and asked: “Talk about a bar set high for her to get over in terms of reintroducing herself to the American public.” Greenfield gave a glowing review of the speech: “So all of those stories -- this was a speech, that, if it were a painting, Norman Rockwell would have painted it. This is the American dream. This is what the American spirit is all about.”
On Tuesday's “Today” show, co-host Matt Lauer practically dared John McCain spokesperson Nicole Wallace to challenge the narrative created by Michelle Obama in her speech during the previous night of the Democratic National Convention. Lauer cited Mrs. Obama's goal as trying to “put to rest some of the stories that have been going around, and a lot of them being talked about on conservative talk radio, about her lack of patriotism.”
The NBC host then challenged Ms. Wallace, “So, let me ask you on the record, how she did, and does the McCain campaign doubt her love of country?” Of course, Lauer offered no specifics as to what he meant by “some of the stories that have been going around,” nor did he mention the now famous quote of Michelle Obama asserting that “for the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country,” thus making it sound as though conservatives were just making things up about the candidate's wife.
During MSNBC's live coverage of the Democratic National Convention, on Monday night, Newsweek's Howard Fineman pronounced that Michelle Obama, in her opening night speech, had "dug herself, beautifully and completely, out of the hole she put herself in...when she said her husband's success was the first time she was proud of her country."
Fineman made the following declaration at 12:03am [EDT] on the Monday, August 25 (to Tuesday morning August 26) coverage of the Democratic Convention:
After Michelle Obama's Monday night speech at the Democratic National Convention, ABC and NBC mentioned her “for the first time in my adult lifetime I'm proud of my country” previous slap at the United States, but in the context of how she resolved any doubts. ABC's George Stephanopoulos declared:
“Tonight, there was no doubt. The money line in this speech was that line when she said, 'that is why I love this country,' and she lingered.” Noting how “we heard the word 'America' or 'American' or 'Americans' 12 times,” NBC's Chuck Todd decided “this is definitely a response in some ways to that whole kerfuffle that she created for herself, six or eight months ago, about being proud to be an American.”
CBS didn't touch on the topic during its prime time hour, though during an interview with Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, Katie Couric described Mrs. Obama not as controversial, but as “slightly controversial.” In a taped session later with Craig Robinson, Michelle's older brother, Couric wondered: “What one word would you like viewers all across the country to use to describe your sister?” When he suggested “sincere,” Couric agreed: “That's a good word.”
On the ideological labeling front, Ted Kennedy's appearance the hour before, highlights of which led all three broadcast networks at 10 PM EDT, failed to prompt a single liberal label on ABC or CBS, but NBC applied the tag three times, two of those to describe Kennedy as a “liberal lion.” (CNN and MSNBC provided scattered liberal labeling.)
How unbalanced was MSNBC's tag team tonight? When Keith Olbermann felt himself getting verklempt over Michelle Obama's speech, he threw it, for some fair-n-balanced commentary, to . . . Chris Matthews. At the conclusion of Mrs. Obama's appearance, Olbermann almost seemed ready to call the election off and just hand the presidency to Obama by acclamation.
KEITH OLBERMANN: Ye-a-h-h-h. Case closed.
Matthews responded with a very guttural "uh-h-h-h."
OLBERMANN: That could not have done better for them. That could not have done better for them. Right to the point of the little girls taking the mikes away and suddenly turning out to be hams. It's wonderful. It really was terrific. And notice, did you notice throughout that, especially as it built towards its conclusion, the woman in that convention hall--the ones we saw at least--we can't say every one--but there were tears throughout among the women. And it was not a maudlin speech, it was not a salesmanship speech. There was just a -- I know, I'm beginning to sound borderline sycophantic on this. So I'll stop. You start.
Live from Denver, Colorado, on Monday, Brian Williams hosted the 1 p.m. hour of MSNBC's "News Live" and featured guests Gwen Ifill of PBS and Michele Norris of NPR to talk about Michelle Obama’s upcoming primetime speech at the Democratic National Convention. The segment turned out to be a love-fest of Michelle Obama and her humble roots.
Williams started off the segment by asking the typical question of "what does Michelle Obama have to do tonight in this hall?" Ifill immediately went into gushing mode, first about Senator Ted Kennedy and then about Obama:
Michelle Obama has to find a way to bemore amazing and more emotional than Ted Kennedy. If it looks like Ted Kennedy actually walks across that stage tonight and appears in some fashion in person and speaks, it’s gonna be an emotional highpoint. Michelle Obama, however, also has to deal with preconceptions about who she is. A lot of people have never seen anything that looks like a Michelle Obama before. She’s educated, she’s beautiful, she’s tall, she tells you what she thinks and they hope that she can tell a story about Barack Obama and about herself.
In preparation for Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic convention, Monday’s CBS Early Show continued it’s fawning over the wife of the presidential candidate as co-host Harry Smith declared: "Michelle Obama steps out tonight to address the nation. Is she Barack's best asset?" The show featured three segments on Michelle Obama, two of which were complete fluff.
In the first segment, Bianca Solorzano looked at five things that people might not know about Michelle Obama: "Michelle Obama is known for her fashion-forward style, but when it comes to her style of eating, she likes good old-fashioned comfort food. We asked close friend and family confidant Valerie Jarrett to give us the inside scoop, beginning with Michelle's favorite food." Jarrett replied: "Oh, that's easy, French fries." Jarrett is of course an Obama campaign worker, in addition to being a "family confidant." It was also revealed that Michelle Obama exercises daily, her favorite singer is Stevie Wonder, and she watched the ‘Dick Van Dyke Show’ as a child. In June, the Early Show did a similar segment on Barack Obama and informed viewers that he "loves to play scrabble" but "does not like ice cream."
Solorzano went on to highlight how outspoken Michelle Obama is: "Another thing close to Michelle's heart -- honest views." A clip was played of Obama appearing on ABC’s The View claiming that: "People aren't used to strong women."
ABC’s Chris Cuomo kicked off Democratic Convention week with a very positive portrayal of Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett. On the August 25 edition of "Good Morning America," Cuomo asked such hard hitting questions as to Michelle Obama’s fashion choice the night of her speech.
Cuomo portrayed Jarrett as a friendly house wife neighbor of the Obamas', Cuomo declared Jarrett has "been called as close to [Obama] as a sister." What Cuomo neglected to note that, according to David Freddoso, Valerie Jarrett "was the chief executive of a company that managed a housing complex that became so run-down it was seized by the federal government."
The morning host could not be bothered with such inconvenient facts, instead asked the staunch Obama supporter "what don’t they know that you know?" "is he ready?" and "what is your greatest fear for Barack and Michell?"
Chris Cuomo only asked mildly tough questions about why Obama did not pick Hillary Clinton as his running mate and the recent tightening in the polls.
Monday’s "American Morning" featured a segment on CNN political analyst Roland Martin’s recent TV One interview with Michelle Obama which seemingly sought to counter negative assertions about Obama by Republicans and “crazy folks on the right.”
After airing a clip of Obama talking about her blue-collar upbringing, during which she stated that her story was the "quintessential American story," co-host Kiran Chetry asked Martin about how important it would be for Obama to address that in her speech at the Democratic National Convention. In his reply, Martin contended that "crazy folks on the right" are to blame for mischaracterizations of Obama, although he has previously acknowledged that "idiot Democrats" were also to blame for certain rumors:
CHETRY: Roland, how important is it going to be for her to bring that up tonight as she gives the speech?
MARTIN: It’s vital because it lays the foundation that, look, I’m just like you. I’m not, you know, I wasn’t some rich kid who went to Princeton and Harvard where I had a silver spoon in my mouth. She makes the point in the interview on TV One last night that, look, I was born in a two bedroom apartment, grew up with my brother, my dad, my mom. So, when you’re able to tell that story, you’re able to counter this different kind of version that’s been put upon her by frankly a lot of the crazy folks on the right.
Presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama has positioned himself as the champion of the poor and all those that can't afford health insurance.
Maybe he should direct his efforts to the hospital his wife Michelle works for, as it appears the University of Chicago Medical Center "steers patients who don't have private insurance -- primarily poor, black people -- to other health care facilities."
As reported by the Chicago Sun-Times Saturday (emphasis added throughout, h/t NBer saw the light, photo courtesy NY Daily News):
Did you know that if you have a negative view of Michelle Obama, it's all Fox News's fault?
Such seems to be the opinion of Barack Obama who told the magazine Marie Claire, "I think that if you've been watching Fox News then probably she's misunderstood, because I do think there's been a fairly systematic attempt by the conservative press to paint her in a completely false way."
Fox News's Greta Van Susteren heard about this statement by Obama, and took issue with it during an interview she did Monday with the magazine's editor (video embedded right, h/t NBer Thomas Stewart):
The Chicago Sun-Times today includes Mary Mitchell's column, "We can deny it, but race slithers into campaign." The subheadline reads "Obama, his campaign trying to transcend it -- but can't." The article makes a startling assertion about Senator Barack Obama:
Obama tries to avoid talking about race, as do his surrogates, staffers and supporters.
ABC's Robin Roberts treated Michelle Obama to a thoroughly positive (and at times gushing) interview on Thursday's "Good Morning America," sympathizing with Mrs. Obama about negative ads against her husband and "The New Yorker" cover which cast her as a black militant. Roberts also touted how Michelle Obama "has turned her attention to...improving the lives of military families," and asked about "Obama family vacation traditions," such as heated games of Scrabble.
Throughout the nearly 6 minute session, Roberts posed no questions about the controversies that have dogged Mrs. Obama on the campaign trail, such as her statement that this year -- as her husband runs for President -- is the first time she has been proud of this country.
The Obama campaign appears to have come up with a neat way to deflect criticism of the presumptive Democrat presidential nominee's failure to visit wounded American troops while visiting Germany last month: have wife Michelle sponsor a meeting with military families.
As CNN.com reported Monday (emphasis added): "Days after a television spot from John McCain’s campaign suggested Barack Obama did not hold enough respect for members of the military, the presumptive Democratic nominee’s campaign announced Monday that Michelle Obama will host a roundtable discussion with military spouses highlighting the launch of a military families advisory group."
UPDATE AT END OF POST: OBAMA MISSES THE FOLLOWING TOWN HALL MEETING FOR A VACATION AND FUNDRAISER IN HAWAII!
I guess the campaign felt this was a better idea than the junior senator from Illinois attending a presidential town hall meeting to be held next Monday in Fort Hood, Texas, the largest active-duty military installation in the country (photo courtesy NY Daily News). As the Dallas Morning News reported Monday, much like in July when he couldn't find the time to visit our wounded soldiers at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, Obama is also too busy to meet with families at Fort Hood (emphasis added):
Rush Limbaugh likes to joke that he has "half my brain tied behind my back, just to keep it fair." But there's no sign Michelle Obama [file photo] was anything but serious when she said something similar in a current People magazine interview, h/t Michelle Malkin. Mrs. Obama claimed she could be "very competent" on policy putting in only a 70% effort.
Throw in a few more statements from Mrs. Obama during the interview attesting to her own intellect, and a picture emerges of a woman either very sure--or insecure--about her smarts.
In the wake of Barack Obama’s complaints featured in Glamour magazine about Republican attacks on his wife, “MNSBC News Live” host Tamron Hall interviewed the Chicago Tribune’s Mike Dorning on the subject.
After asking Dorning if Democrats have ever attacked Republican spouses, Hall claimed that Cindy McCain has not been a target for the Democrats in this election:
We have not seen the Democrats, uh, during this election cycle attack Cindy McCain. Do you at all believe that that will happen if these attacks from the Republicans continue? Will it be a tit-for-tat that could inevitably make voters feel very uncomfortable?
Dorning went along with the assertion and even brought up criticism of Cindy McCain in the process:
On Cindy McCain, I don’t think people are gonna attack her unless they think it will help the political cause. And the only place I could see something coming up there that would actually be politically effective would be over the whole foreign buyout of Budweiser. Her family owns a lot of stock in Anheuser-Busch and obviously she would benefit from that. But in general it doesn’t quite fit the tone that the Barack Obama campaign wants to establish that they’re supposedly getting beyond attack politics. So I don’t see how that would profit them.
Of course, Cindy McCain has already been the subject of Democratic attacks. As Jake Tapper noted in his Political Punch blog in May, the Democratic National Committee attacked Mrs. McCain for not publicly releasing her tax returns:
"Authenticity a priority for the other Obama," blares the headline for a puffy July 17 Denver Post story on the Illinois senator's wife Michelle Obama. The story by staffers Suzanne Brown and Dana Coffield lamented that:
Michelle Obama's life as a contemporary political wife has been rocky at times. Her work life has been scrutinized. Papers she wrote as a senior in college have been dredged up and analyzed; the friendly fist-bump she sometimes gives her husband on stage has been parsed. And this week, she and Barack Obama were caricatured on the cover of The New Yorker magazine as a pair of terrorists.
But have no fear, for:
Through it all, she's been reluctant to change her tone.
"It would be hard for me to edit myself and still be me," she says. "And I think that in the end, that's what the voters deserve and it's what they want. I feel that it's my duty to make sure that people know who I am and then they can make make a clear, informed decision based on the truth of who I am."
During a segment on CNN’s "Newsroom" program on Monday afternoon, anchor Kyra Phillips voiced her clear objections to The New Yorker’s satirical depiction of Michelle Obama as a radical leftist and Barack Obama as a Muslim. "If I see this magazine cover, okay? And I mean, this is pretty racial. I mean, let's look at it again. You've got Michelle Obama in an Afro. You know, you've got, you know, her husband, Barack Obama, in a turban. We're talking about racism and terrorism. I mean, these are -- and burning of the flag. These are the most sensitive issues in our country right now. If I see that, I'm going to think, oh my God, is this who we want in the White House?" She later asked the question, "Do you think in any way that this cover sets us back, that it's more divisive than anything else and only proves that we're still pretty racially insensitive?"
Look for Mika Brzezinski outside the Danish embassy. True, the Danes had nothing to do with the New Yorker's publication of the Obama cover. But what more time-honored locale to protest an irreverent cartoon of a figure adulated with religious fervor?
Mika has condemned the New Yorker cover as "dangerous." Why dangerous? Mika doesn't quite say. But by darkly musing about unspoken perils that derive from the mocking of Obama, she would apparently place irony about her candidate off limits. Mika sounded the alarm on today's Morning Joe.