Perhaps Luke Russert should drop his NBC gig as youth-vote specialist and become a full-time Republican consultant. The son of the late Meet The Press host didn't hesitate this evening to share his advice to the GOP, which can be summarized in two words: go left.
The 23-year old Russert dropped his pearls of electoral wisdom while chatting with the hard-working Mika Brzezinski, guest-hosting for David Gregory on this evening's 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue after co-anchoring Morning Joe at the crack of dawn.
If Morning Joe seems every-so-slightly less up-to-date, there's a reason for it. The show is now seven seconds behind the times. A tape delay has been instituted in the wake of Joe Scarborough's unintentional dropping of an f-bomb two days ago.
B&C reported the change yesterday, and NewsBuster Ken Shepherd discussed it here. The Morning Joe crew had fun with the move on today's show. Coming back from its first break, the show aired tape [via Jimmy Kimmel Live] of CNN's Rick Sanchez coming back from a break of his own. With a screen over his shoulder reading "Transition to Power," Sanchez said: "We welcome you black. Uh, welcome you back." Point made: Joe's not the only cable TV guy capable of an embarrassing slip 'o the tongue.
The crew proceeded to a light-hearted discussion of the move to tape delay, with executive producer Chris Licht proudly displaying his finger poised on the red button.
Whoops. It's turning into quite the morning for gaffes on the NBC/MSNBC family of networks. As noted here, during the Today opening, Meredith Vieira stumbled onto the sensitive subject of Matt Lauer's marital history. Then, during Morning Joe's 8 AM hour, Joe Scarborough accidentally dropped an f-bomb, provoking a protracted apolog-a-thon. [H/t reader P.C.]
[Warning: video contains unexpurgated F-bomb 20 seconds in].
During a break, Time's Jay Carney had apparently told a story of some politico who had used the f-word. Back on the air, Scarborough had actually been praising the discipline of the Obama team members. It was in describing them as people who, in contrast with the person Carney had mentioned, were careful with their words and deeds, that Joe's internal edit button went on the fritz.
Mike Barnicle, come on up here and accept this morning's Lanny Davis Award for shameless defense of the indefensible. You've earned it. Not merely did the Morning Joe panelist excuse Barack Obama's nasty jab at Nancy Reagan, he actually claimed that we need more of those kind of "jokes" from our presidents.
Joe Scarborough began the discussion by asserting that whereas mayors, governors and other lesser officials can get away with what Obama said about the former First Lady, it is unbecoming in the mouth of a president. The Morning Joe host also suggested that had George W. Bush made a comparable crack about a beloved Dem First Lady, the New York Times would have taken him harshly to task. Leaping to Obama's defense, the former Boston Globe columnist didn't merely don the wetsuit: Barnicle went full bathysphere.
Message to Scott McClellan: when your guy's gaffe merits a screaming headline at Drudge [see after the jump] about how he's had to apologize for what he said, he's messed up. Big time. But that didn't stop Pres. Bush's former press secretary—turned Soros-paid scrivener—from going on TV and proclaiming that Obama turned in a flawless performance in his debut presser today as president-elect.
McClellan appeared on MSNBC's "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," David Gregory's post-election vehicle taking the place of "Race for the White House." In an odd bit of balance, McClellan, who endorsed Obama, was on with former Clinton press secretary Joe Lockhart. Mika Brzezinski guest-hosted for Gregory. Lockhart went first, and predictably proclaimed that Obama "made no mistakes" in his press conference today. No prize for candor, but what do you expect? Then it was McClellan's turn, and he went into parrot paradigm [with no offense to the baby red-front macaw I'm bringing home tomorrow].
The Nobel hasn't conferred any classiness on Paul Krugman. Dancing on the GOP's grave this morning in his NYT column, the newly-minted laureate impugns the party of Lincoln as "a haven for racists and reactionaries."
According to Krugman [file photo], tomorrow's election will purge the Republican congressional delegation of some of its more moderate members, leaving it even more "extreme."
The only evidence Krugman adduces in support of his Republican-are-racists slur is that GOP Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia "observing large-scale early voting by African-Americans, warns his supporters that 'the other folks are voting.'” Where's the racism, given that 90+% of African-Americans are expected to vote for Obama and presumably for Chambliss's Dem opponent?
View video after the jump of Joe Scarborough on today's Morning Joe ripping Krugman as a "shrill, silly, partisan cartoon-character" who takes his cues from the left-wing kookasphere.
Imagine that a week before a presidential election, a radio interview surfaced in which the Republican candidate had called for, say, the abolition of Social Security. Now imagine the broadcast networks' reaction to that nugget: "We interrupt regularly-scheduled programming for this Breaking News," followed by 24/7 coverage with talking heads pondering the devastating impact on America's seniors, the overall economy, the future of Western civilization, etc. Nobel laureate Paul Krugman would be booked from now till election day, offering his pained pronouncements.
But how do those same networks react when a radio interview [YouTube after the jump] surfaces of Barack Obama in a call for the redistribution of wealth, in which he laments the Supreme Court's insufficient radicalism in pursuing redistribution and refers to the civil rights movement's failure to develop a better strategy to bring about wealth redistribution as a "tragedy?
Let's take a break from the tedious MSM spin on the latest polls, and settle back and enjoy the televised spectacle of two people who patently dislike each other going at it on live national TV.
Former UN Ambassador/current Obama backer Richard Holbrooke was a guest on today's Morning Joe. Observing Holbrooke over the years, he's struck me as someone with, shall we say, a deep and abiding appreciation for his own acumen and importance.
Holbrooke and host Joe Scarborough repeatedly clashed over a host of issues from Biden's latest gaffe to Osama Bin Laden. But beyond the substance, it was the unvarnished animosity between the two that makes this must-see TV.
See Update at foot: university says Mika will not "represent" Obama.
H/t reader Thomas S. Despite her obvious liberal leanings, Mika Brzezinski prefers to play coy about her presidential preference on Morning Joe. Mika often deflects co-host Joe Scarborough's accusations that she's in the tank for Obama by invoking the fact that her brother works for McCain. And I have two beloved liberal Dem sisters: nu?
But Mika is apparently set to emerge from the political closet and let her Obama flag fly. Check out this report from the Fairfield [CT] Weekly about Brzezinski's upcoming participation in a debate at Fairfield University in which Mika will be "representing" Obama in a debate with formidable conservative pundit Monica Crowley [emphasis added]:
I suppose that mocking Republican candidates is an essential element of a Washington Post editorial writer's job description. Even so, it was jarring to hear the snide comments of WaPo editorialist Jonathan Capehart [seen right in file photo] about Sarah Palin read on the air today. Not merely did he mock her shopping habits, Capehart came very close to accusing Palin of . . . "child abuse."
Mika Brzezinski, at the Morning Joe helm with Joe Scarborough off on assignment today, led the show with the Politico report that the Republican National Committee has spent more than $150 thousand on clothes and accessories for Sarah Palin and family. Also aired was a clip of Palin describing the duties of the vice-president to a third-grader, the accuracy of which has been questioned.
Guess who said the following this morning about Joe Biden's latest gaffe—his statement that America would be faced with a major international crisis within the first six months of an Obama administration as foreign forces seek to test the young new president: "certainly if Sarah Palin had said this, it would be above the fold in most newspapers today."
1. Brent Bozell 2. Rush Limbaugh 3. McCain adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer 4. Dan Rather
If you guessed 1, 2 or 3, you'd be a rational NewsBusters reader . . . but wrong. Yes, the answer is 4, Dan Rather. In true man-bites-MSM mode, Rather made the remark on today's Morning Joe.
Has Mike Barnicle called Sarah Palin stupid? Seems that way. In a Huffington Post column that Mika Brzezinski read on today's Morning Joe, Barnicle, referring to Palin, wrote of the:
preposterous pronouncements of a woman whose candidacy is an insult to intelligence.
Let's deconstruct. The normal formulation is an "insult to our intelligence," used to describe an assertion that is obviously unbelievable. For example, you might say Barack Obama insulted our intelligence when he claimed against all evidence during this week's debate that his only tie to ACORN is his past representation of the group in a lawsuit. But when Barnicle writes that Sarah Palin's candidacy is an insult not to "our" intelligence, but to intelligence itself, it's hard to read that other than as suggesting Palin is something other than smart. Throw in his reference to "preposterous pronouncements" and there's little doubt that the person Barnicle intended to insult is Palin herself. Mika seemed to acknowledge that Barnicle meant to slur Sarah, observing, after reading that last line, "that's rough stuff."
On what should be the crowning day of his professional career, one hopes for his sake that Paul Krugman wasn't watching Morning Joe. For news of his economics Nobel was met by the crew with ridicule that even Mika Brzezinski couldn't resist. Andrea Mitchell tried to uphold the Krugman honor, but—as seen in the screencap—even she couldn't suppress a smile at the award's arrant absurdity.
Joe Scarborough piqued Mika's curiosity with his teasing of the news, while guest Jim Cramer saw the award as confirmation that America is well on the way to socialism.
Update | Hail Halperin: See incredible video at foot. Pressed by Mark Halperin, Robert Gibbs admits Obama continued to associate with Ayers after learning his past.
H/t Melody N. An Obama spokesman adamantly insists that in 1995 Barack Obama was the most clueless man in Chicago. Andrea Mitchell thinks talk of Barack Obama's ties to an unrepentant terrorist is a "distraction." Rudy Giuliani doesn't. Mitchell is happy to take the New York Times's word for the fact that Obama and William Ayers weren't close. Rudy, not so much.
After the former NYC mayor made the case on today's Morning Joe as to why Ayers matters, Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs came on, called Giuliani a liar, and flatly denied that—when beginning his political career in his living room—Obama knew Ayers was a terrorist.
Between 6 a.m. and 12 noon on Monday, MSNBC featured six segments which replayed bits from Tina Fey's Saturday Night Live parody of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's performance in Thursday's debate. The SNL parody of Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden was only played twice, and both times were during Morning Joe.
This continues a trend that was also seen last Monday morning when MSNBC replayed Tina Fey's parody of Palin's interview with Katie Couric seven times while avoiding Saturday Night Live's parody of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.
Along with the free airtime given to Fey's impersonation of Palin came some commentary by the various hosts of both Morning Joe and MSNBC News Live. First, Willie Geist commented that, "Sometimes you watch [Tina Fey] and forget what Sarah Palin actually looks like. She's so dead on."
The Associated Press has long been a bastion of liberal bias. But has it now sunk to the level of a left-wing blog in the throes of Palin Derangement Syndrome? Yes, suggests the Morning Joe folks. In a rare bit of unanimity, the panel condemned and ridiculed AP for its "analysis" item, "Palin's words carry racial tinge." According to Douglass K. Daniel, the item's author, Palin's criticism of Barack Obama for his association with Ayers somehow carries "a racially tinged subtext." See Warner Todd Huston's earlier discussion here.
Mika Brzezinski questioned the strategic wisdom of the McCain campaign's playing of the Ayers card, but even she joined in the excoriation of the AP.
H/t Doug T. It was all in good fun, but the Morning Joe gang staged a bit of business today suggesting there's something a mite stronger than half-and-half in Mika Brzezinski's cup of, well, morning joe.
After signing off with NBC reporter Tom Costello, Joe Scarborough made much of Mika's absence from the set. Cut to a shot of Brzezinski at the coffee counter, where she is seen . . . emptying a blue mini-bottle into her coffee mug. Mika accommodatingly turns the bottle toward the camera so that all can see it is . . . Skyy vodka.
Hillary Clinton, Queen of Soul? Barack Obama, All-American teenaged girl? That's precisely the analogy that Joe Scarborough made this morning in trying to explain why many Hillary supporters haven't swung to Obama. Hillary was a guest on today's Morning Joe, and the interview offered a number of other interesting tidbits:
Hillary dodged the question of whether Bill was telling the truth when he claimed she didn't want the VP slot on Obama's ticket.
The junior NY senator declined to swing at a Sarah-bashing softball Mika Brzezinski tossed her.
Hillary let slip that she still has her own campaign on her mind.
But let's get back to Joe's conventional-wisdom busting musical metaphor, which came after Hillary had offered an innocuous answer to guest panelist John Ridley's question as to why many of her supporters remain uncommitted to Obama.
"Shovel your ratings" appears to be Morning Joe's subliminal message to Keith Olbermann today. With the latest ratings showing Rachel Maddow's new MSNBC show beating Olbermann's Countdown, the MJ panel went out of its way to congratulate Maddow on her success, repeatedly mentioning what a "good person" she is and how nice it is to see such people do well.
The crew was riffing off the Drudge headline "Move Over, Olbermann, Rachel Maddow Tops MSNBC Ratings." As seen in the Drudge screencap [after the jump], on Tuesday Maddow beat Olbermann--the perennial MSNBC ratings leader--by a count of 1.8 million to 1.63 million. She also bested CNN's Larry King, among others. Scarborough & Co. never mentioned Olbermann by name. But the invidious-comparison-by-omission in their pointed praise of Maddow's good-personhood left little doubt that the wounds opened by Olbermann's open-mic slap at Scarborough, in which, during the Dem convention, he told Joe to "get a shovel" for remarks too GOP-friendly for Keith's liking, have yet to heal.
View the video, and be sure to stay tuned to the end. Mika tries to move the show along, but Scarborough pointedly persists, basking in the times when "good people do well." Got, it, Keith?
Of course we all know that it's absolutely wrong and mean-spirited to suggest that anyone on the left could conceivably be unpatriotic [though an exception might be made for unrepentant terrorist friends of Barack Obama who accept from Vietnamese communists rings made from downed US planes.] So while we won't be using the u-word here, two recent MSNBC shows offer a remarkable contrast. Let's compare Chris Matthews' giddy reaction to news of difficulties in the markets with Mika Brzezinski's gloom in begrudgingly discussing the Iraq surge's success.
The first portion of the video is from the opening of Hardball of September 15th, the day when news was breaking of Lehman and Merrill Lynch's travails, and the DJIA had sunk over 500 points. Matthews could hardly contain his glee, comparing McCain to Hoover, and declaring that because of the "terrible news" about the economy, "as of today, this is no longer an election about lipstick on pigs, misleading ads or how many houses a candidate owns. This is serious. The economy is a real issue. With real consequences." Then there was today's discussion on Morning Joe of the surge's success. Mika's pout—on view in the screencap—epitomizes her reaction. I commend the entire video clip to your attention, but would focus on these exchanges.
It might not do John McCain any good politically. But once in a while, it's refreshing to hear an MSMer called out on political bias.
It happened this morning when John McCain told Mika Brzezinski "I know you're a supporter of Senator Obama." Mika resorted to her favorite defense to the bias charge, mentioning that she has a brother who works on the McCain campaign and asking the Arizona senator to "say hello" to him for her. Just for good measure, McCain called Mika's tactic "a cheap shot."
It was Mika's question about campaign ads that touched things off . . .
Make it a trio of mindreaders at NBC/MSNBC. As noted here, yesterday Howard Fineman and David Shuster went Carnac on us, emphatically declaring that Barack Obama didn't have Sarah Palin in mind with his lipstick line. On this morning's Today, Andrea Mitchell joined her network stablemates [no pun intended!] in delving into Barack's brain and assuring us he meant no harm.
ANDREA MITCHELL: Barack Obama has been a punching-bag [aww] for a barrage of criticism from the McCain campaign. Charges that he slurred Sarah Palin when he said this about McCain and his change argument [cut to clip of Obama's lipstick line]. He was clearly talking about McCain, not Palin.
Well, guess that wraps it up. But wait. Over at Morning Joe, the group wasn't so forgiving, opining that Obama either did know, or should have known, the implications of what he was saying. Mika Brzezinski herself took the first shot.
Thanks to Sarah Palin, the culture war has become a civil war—on the left. Mika Brzezinski bravely opened a new front in the conflict during today's "Morning Joe," repeatedly going after two female MSMers for suggesting Palin is taking the working-mom thing too far.
And, mirabile dictu, Mika even admitted to sensing MSM unfairness to Republicans.
"This is an argument Joe and I have about fairness and whether or not there are some sort of underlying unfairness when it comes to Republicans. And I just, you know, I feel it here," Brzezinski said referring to a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. Full text and commentary after the jump. View video here.
What does it say about Sarah Palin that some of my favorite targets, um, subjects raved about her this morning? Andrea Mitchell and Mika Brzezinski could hardly have been more complimentary, Tom Brokaw and Jay Carney chipping in with positive comments.
ANDREA MITCHELL: Here was a novice on the national scene, with the lowest of expectations. People said sure, she'll be able to perform. But it was an amazing, amazing speech in terms of the way it connected to people. I talked to people afterwards on the floor, a lot of women. One woman from California who said it didn't matter that she, this woman delegate, is pro-choice. She said "I'm a mom. I've got three kids at home. And I see myself up there." And she's connecting to her. She said "I did not think this was a good choice until I heard that speech." Now this is admittedly a select audience of very passionate and very conservative Republican delegates. But I think there is a broader audience for this out there. I think it was an extraordinary debut.
When NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd passed along comments from Dem strategists suggesting the speech might have been "a little too hot" for swing voters, Andrea and Mika actually rode to Palin's defense.
Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann began to poignantly patch things up two nights ago. But there's clearly still mucho trabajo to be done to heal the rift between Joe Scarborough and the temperamental Countdown host. Readers will recall that during the Dem convention, Olbermann was caught [accidentally on purpose?] on an open mic suggesting Scarborough "get a shovel" for his failure to toe a sufficiently pro-Obama line.
On today's Morning Joe, Scarborough took a thinly-veiled shot at Olbermann for the way he tried to keep Republican analyst Mike Murphy off the air, and then tried to pull the plug ["let's wrap him up, alright?"] when Murphy eventually made it into an interview with Chris Matthews.
Pat Buchanan was the sole voice on today's opening-hour panel to opine that Fred Thompson had done a good job with his speech last night. In contrast, Scarborough suggested Thompson had been flat. Pat expressed his feelings of alienation as the show was going to a break. It was then that Joe and Mika let Buchanan know that—in contrast with other MSNBC venues—dissident voices were welcome on Morning Joe.
No, not Chris Matthews to Keith Olbermann. That media odd couple have already begun to kiss and make up. Instead, it was Joe Scarborough who authored the line this morning, directing it at Obama spokesman Mark Bubriski. The cause of Joe's ire was this email statement Bubriski released to the Miami Herald [emphasis added]:
Palin was a supporter of Pat Buchanan, a right-winger or as many Jews call him: a Nazi sympathizer.
The Morning Joe crew was unanimous in roundly condemning the Obama campaign tactic, rallying around Buchanan, one of its own, who was present on the set. Bubriski was riffing off a similar allegation made by Bob Wexler, a south Florida Dem congressman.
View video here. It's perhaps the longest video clip I've posted, but hope you'll agree the content justifies the length. Joe unleashes on Bubriski [calling him a "jackass" for good measure] three minutes in.
Peggy Noonan made a serious point about MSNBC's slanted coverage, and I suppose seriousness compels me to mention it first. But please do yourself a favor and stay tuned for the description of Peggy's un-PC laugh line that could be the best guilty pleasure of the campaign season. Joe Scarborough opened today's Morning Joe with an ode to the wonderfulness that was Obama last night. He was entirely in tune with Olbermann's claim that the speech was beyond criticism. All the adoration apparently annoyed Peggy, and she made a point of providing a counterweight when she appeared later in the show.
PEGGY NOONAN: Well, it was a bit of a "flop-a-lini" to tell you the truth.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Wow!
NOONAN: There were things about it that didn't work. Six months from now we're all going to remember the event. We're going to remember the Parthenon, the 60,000 people, the confetti shot out of the cannon. We're going to remember all that. We will not, I think, remember what he said. I think there was simply a number of problems with it . . . I'm actually putting a little edge on my criticism just to make up for the fact that on MSNBC last night somebody said, quote, "it wasn't a speech: it was a symphony." I'm sorry; I won't even name who did it. I am here to balance that bit of fatuous -- fatuous suck-upping!
Pay close attention to Joe Biden's words tonight. During an appearance on this morning's "Morning Joe" Bill Adair, Washington bureau chief for the St. Petersburg Times and editor of politifact.com, implied that Barack Obama's running mate is not always truthful. Adair told hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski that "from a fact-checker's standpoint, we should be grateful to Joe Biden" because he is "full employment for fact checkers."
Brzezinski asked Adair about "the most outrageous statement" by Biden and Adair pointed to Biden's soundbite in which he says John McCain votes with George W. Bush 95 percent of the time. He discredited it, along with a charge from Hillary Clinton's speech last night about John McCain desire to privatize social security, "I thought, well, in terms of Biden, the 95% is just something where you've got to understand that that's sort of the worse case scenario. He's cherry picking. 95% was last year. Last night one of the things that Senator Clinton said that we'll hear a lot is John McCain wants to privatize social security. We heard it from several of the other speakers last night. You know, that's a real exaggeration. McCain is actually really vague and fuzzy on social security."
Biden's "95 percent of the time" charge may be the "worst-case scenario" but the fact remains that people should pay close attention to what Biden says tonight.