Mike Huckabee won five races last night. Mitt Romney won seven. Mike Huckabee has 190 delegates. Mitt Romney has 269 [see results here]. The only closed Deep South state left on the primary calendar is Mississippi. Romney has the message and money to compete across the USA.
So when Huckabee claims it's now a two-man race between McCain and himself, a journalist would surely challenge him on it, no? No. Not Robin Roberts, at least. To the contrary, she bought into his logic to the extent of asking only about his strategy going forward.
There were also some intriguing comments from Huckabee about allegations of backroom West Virginia deals and the importance of politesse . . .
He danced the complete Kabuki, right down to the mandatory move about considering John McCain for his VP slot. But at the end of the day, Mike Huckabee has admitted the obvious: he'll take the Veep nomination if John McCain offers it.
Joe Scarborough has given away the MSM's dirty big secret: it hates Mitt Romney and is letting that animus distort its coverage of the Republican race. Joe went on an impassioned riff at the opening of today's Morning Joe.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: I want the media mavens in Manhattan and Washington, DC to listen what I'm about to tell you, because it goes against your narrative, but it is the truth. Look at the map; let's put the map back up there. Last night was a good night for John McCain, he won the big states . . . but starting at about 9 PM last night, before a lot of the Western states were closed, we heard over and over again that Mike Huckabee had now raced into second place, and once again friends that Mitt Romney should drop from the race . . . McCain had nine states won, Romney had seven states won, Huckabee had five states won. And yet, what did we hear time and time again, at this network and every other network: Mike Huckabee has now raced into second place.
During CNN's Super Tuesday election coverage, both liberal and conservative commentators took shots at conservatives as liberal Paul Begala declared that Mike Huckabee "don't believe in evolution or photosynthesis or gravity or anything," and liberal Carl Bernstein declared that Republican candidates were "trying to satisfy Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham rather than the people of the country." Conservative Bill Bennett quipped that conservative opposition to John McCain is a "kind of Trotskyism," and a "purification" of the Republican party. (Transcript follows)
None of the Republican presidential candidates have a health care plan, according to “The View’s” Joy Behar, known for putting ideology over facts. On the February 5 edition, where Super Tuesday was the dominant subject, Elisabeth Hasselbeck told her struggles voting as a Republican in New York City. First, Joy Behar charged that Republicans “never mention health care.” After Hasselbeck noted the media just does not promote their plan, Behar responded in a mocking tone.
BEHAR: Your party never mentions health care. The Republicans never bring up the subject. I’ve been watching them. I watched every single debate.
SHEPHERD: Because they’re more on the spending on the war.
BEHAR: Why not even bring it up as a possible solution? Come up with- Republicans have their own ideas. What is their idea on health care? Nothing! Zero!
You'd think a man who might be on the verge of taking a giant step toward winning the Republican nomination would go out of his way to be gracious. But John McCain couldn't suppress his spiteful streak on this morning's Today.
In the course of his interview by Matt Lauer, the Today co-anchor cited criticism of McCain by former and current Senate colleagues Rick Santorum and Thad Cochran. McCain retaliated with a personal swipe at their reputations, and later declined to describe Mitt Romney as a fine man.
On the eve of the Super Tuesday primaries, CBS anchor Katie Couric displayed remarkably different approaches to Democratic versus Republican presidential candidates, simply asking Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton about their poll standings while demanding that Mitt Romney, and John McCain himself, address whether McCain has the “temperament” to be President. She also pressed McCain to say something negative about Romney and Mike Huckabee: “What do you perceive as the biggest weakness of your opponents?” And: “What about Mike Huckabee? What do you think is his biggest weakness?”
Monday's CBS Evening News uniquely ran brief interviews with five presidential candidates, starting with Democrat Barack Obama. Couric wondered “how concerned” he was about CBS's poll showing him behind Clinton and then: “How critical is it for you to win the state of California?” Turning next to Clinton, Couric cited another aspect of the poll which “shows the two of you dead even. What happened?” With McCain, however, Couric raised former Senator Rick Santorum's charge that “I don't think he has the temperament and leadership ability to move the country in the right direction.” Couric was even more direct with Romney: “Do you believe John McCain has the temperament to be President of the United States?”
Speaking at a news conference in Oklahoma, Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee floated the idea that the reason the vast majority of America's conservative talk radio hosts aren't endorsing him or John McCain is because Mitt Romney's investment firm owns a significant share of Clear Channel Communications, the nation's largest radio syndication company.
"Some suggest that the fact that Bain Capital owns a major stake in Clear Channel is on Sean's network, maybe there's a correlation. I don't know."
The Sean he was referring to had to be none other than Sean Hannity, America's number-two talk radio host behind Rush Limbaugh.
On this Super Sunday, it's fitting I suppose that Mike Huckabee would be out there blocking and tackling for Team McCain. Appearing on this morning's Today show, the former Arkansas governor made a pro forma claim that he's still running for president and not the veep slot. But Huckabee certainly seemed to be acting as what Mark Steyn described in a recent Hugh Hewitt interview as McCain's "wing man."
Consider Huckabee's reply to a question from Sunday co-host Jenna Wolfe [a resident, coincidentally, of Chappaqua, NY, home to Bill and Hillary.]
Tim Russert isn't practicing his Christmas tree-ornament hanging technique. The Meet the Press host is demonstrating how John McCain is dangling the VP slot to Mike Huckabee. And Huck seems as transfixed as a hound before a bone, judging by the way he's staying in the race against all odds and spending his time taking shots at Mitt Romney.
Russert was a guest during the 7 AM half-hour of Morning Joe.
Mike Huckabee’s declaration that we need to amend the Constitution to be in line with God’s standards easily drives secular liberals into a frenzy. On CNN’s Late Edition on Sunday, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin called that statement in conflict with "all of American constitutional history." Newsweek International editor Fareed Zakaria was more blunt: "It frankly made him sound more like Ahmadinejad of Iran."
MIKE HUCKABEE: But I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God, and that's what we need to do, is to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards, rather than try to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family.
WOLF BLITZER: He wants constitutional amendments, just to be precise, that would ban abortion and same-sex marriage.
ABC reporter Kate Snow continued her long history of delivering generous Clinton spin during a segment on Friday's "Good Morning America." The GMA correspondent followed Chelsea Clinton as the former first daughter campaigned for her mother, repeating talking points along the way. Snow announced, "To be honest, [Chelsea] doesn't like cameras much. She let us tag along, but takes no questions." Later Snow repeated, "She doesn't want to be in the spotlight." The ABC reporter, who often covers the Clintons, didn't ask the obvious question: If Chelsea doesn't like the spotlight or cameras, why, exactly, did she allow ABC to follow her around with a camera crew?
GMA did balance the piece on the Clinton daughter with a sympathetic take on Mike Huckabee's wife, Janet. (At one point, reporter Claire Shipman asked about Mike Hucakbee's "legendary guitar playing.") However, Snow has developed a pattern of vigorously lauding the actions of various Clintons. On January 7th of 2008, she praised Hillary Clinton for seemingly ordinary actions. "No subject is too small. No issue too dense," Snow raved.
On Wednesday's The Situation Room on CNN, during the roundtable segment, Jack Cafferty charged that Hillary Clinton's recent contention that she would be best prepared to deal with a terrorist attack amounted to "the same boogeyman fearmongering garbage we've had from the Bush administration for the last five years." He added that "it isn't the terrorists that are going to take this country down. We're doing a good job of that all by ourselves." (Transcript follows)
Cafferty also lamented that Republican candidates were talking about issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, and the Confederate flag, which he called "the same crap that we hear every election cycle." He went on to recommend both spending cuts and tax increases to improve the economy. Notably, Cafferty's reference to the Confederate flag gave an impression that he saw one of the candidates pushing the issue, when in reality, as reported by CNN's John King at about 4:30 p.m., the discussion of the Confederate flag consisted of a few people protesting outside, and a man in John McCain's town hall meeting audience bringing up the subject and complaining about the Arizona Senator's opposition to the flag's display above South Carolina's state capitol, with McCain defiantly standing by his opposition. Cafferty also neglected to mention that McCain has been talking about fighting against wasteful spending, which is consistent with some of what Cafferty was pushing for.
Chris Matthews took his sloppy and blabby talk routine to The Tonight Show on Wednesday and after a few minutes trying to dig out with Media Matters and Hillary fans for saying she got where she is through her husband's wild sex life, he compared the Republicans to Iraqi factions. The Laura Ingraham show played this clip repeatedly today:
Nobody seems to be the leader yet. Nobody's Ronald Reagan. They don't seem to have a -- used to be the Democrats were the disorganized political party. Now, the Republicans are like the -- like the Iraqis. Have you noticed? They got their Shia wing, the fanatics. They've got Huckabee. This where I get into trouble. This is just where I get into trouble. [ Laughter ] Huckabee and Thompson are the Shiites, and the Sunni, the more moderate guys, are McCain, and -- who else they got over there? And uh, Rudy Giuliani. And then they got Romney, the Kurd. I mean, they're all over the place. Who's gonna unite them?
What does it say about the secular state of the MSM that a liberal media member has to defensively clarify for the record that she doesn't object to a candidate having "a moral grounding"?
During the opening half-hour of today's Morning Joe, a clip was played of Mike Huckabee describing to a South Carolina gathering how he found his faith as a 10-year old attending a vacation Bible school. He expressed the hope that others had experienced that joy and would share it with others.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: The thing that I found is, if people don't get too down in the weeds about their faith, and don't seem like they're lecturing, then I think it gives people a sense of assurance: "OK, the guy's got a faith system; I'm comfortable with that, and now move on and tell me how you're going to run the country."
That seemed to put Mika Brzezinski on the defensive.
The VRWC rides again, but this time it's apparently going after a Republican . . .
Mike Huckabee went on Morning Joe today and toyed with suggesting a "conspiracy" composed of the "Washington power circles" was out to get him. At 7:41 AM ET, the former Arkansas governor was discussing his efforts in South Carolina with Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.
Rachel Sklar at The Huffington Post's Eat the Press page certainly flies a flag for feminism. She frowns at anyone discussing Hillary's cackle or cleavage. In any socio-political squabble between a Katie Couric and a Mike Huckabee, she would clearly be in the Katie Corner. She certainly believes a woman can carry the burden of an evening newscast -- which might explain why she's angry at the latest leaked Couric behind-the-scenes video. How can Katie seem so blithely uninformed? Doesn't she know she's supposed to be bathing in an aura of gravitas? Sklar found the video unremarkable, until Couric typically proclaimed she was still clueless about one of the leading Republican presidential contenders:
See update at bottom: Scarborough nails Shuster on Huck/Obama double-standard.
If a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down, does Mike Huckabee's sweet way with a word make tolerable views that would be rejected as extreme in the mouths of others less verbally gifted?
That's Willie Geist's view of the matter. The genius of the Morning Joe panelist normally resides in his ability to avoid the controversial while remaining interesting. But the anodyne-if-endearing Geist went out of character in today's opening segment on the subject of Mike Huckabee. And he did so in a manner the former Baptist preacher might not find so fetching.
The subject was a speech Huckabee gave yesterday in which he advocated changing the Constitution to adapt to the word of God.
On Friday's Hardball, during the show's regular "Big Number" segment, Chris Matthews went after Mike Huckabee for quipping during Thursday's FNC presidential debate that those who attack the American military should be prepared to see the "gates of hell," as the MSNBC host asked if we're all "learning to talk like jihadists now," and contended that Huckabee's comments earn him a "10" on the "irresponsibility scale." Notably, Huckabee's remark was very popular with "Republican-leaning" focus group participants as shown by pollster Frank Luntz Thursday night during FNC's post-debate coverage, as the former Arkansas governor's words scored around 90 percent in terms of approval. (Transcript follows)
The New York Times's Michael Cooper and Michael Luo covered the Republican debate Thursday night in Myrtle Beach, S.C., hitting the theme of a "faltering" Fred Thompson, lashing out in a desperate bid to salvage his campaign.
"Fred D. Thompson tried to salvage his faltering presidential campaign at a debate Thursday night with a barrage of sharp attacks on the 'liberal' policies of Mike Huckabee, the fellow Southerner whom he clearly sees as a rival in the South Carolina primary.
"The performance by Mr. Thompson, which including several pointed one-liners, capped a debate that showed the altered terrain of the Republican field as it moved beyond contests in Iowa and New Hampshire."
The Times portrayed Thompson as an aggressor and Mike Huckabee turning the other cheek.
See updates for Huckabee, Thompson responses to this story at bottom.
Scratch Joe Scarborough from the list of those praising the performance of Fred Thompson at last night's South Carolina debate hosted by Fox News. With panelists Willie Geist and Mika Brzezinski in supporting roles, the Morning Joe host went off on Thompson today with stunning vitriol, deriding him as "Freddie boy" "pathetic," a "lapdog" and a "hatchet man" for John McCain.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Last night it was so painfully obvious that Fred Thompson went to John McCain yesterday morning [affecting deep Thompsonesque voice] "if I can stay awake through this debate, I'll attack Huckabee for you."
Thursday's CBS Evening News took a look at the economic and tax plans for some of the candidates from both parties, but, while Democratic plans were reported without any references to criticism, correpondent Chip Reid took jabs at Republican tax cut plans, labeling that of Mitt Romney, who "made a fortune in business," as being "right out of the playbooks of Ronald Reagan and George Bush." Reid further suggested that Mike Huckabee's plan for a national sales tax contradicts his "populist" message of "protecting the middle class," as the CBS correspondent neglected to mention that Huckabee's plan would also abolish the federal income tax and provide rebates to those with lower incomes. (Transcript follows)
Following an interview with Hillary Clinton on Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith talked to "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer, who said of Barack Obama: "It makes people feel good to see someone who has managed to get where he has, a black American who won out in Iowa..."
The segment began with analysis of Clinton’s "display of emotion," which Schieffer thought was "rather touching." Schieffer even referenced former Democratic Senator and presidential candidate, Bill Bradley, who cried on camera, and declared "So at least, I guess we've come to accept that people can cry on camera and that's not a sign of weakness." Smith concluded: "It certainly got her back on the front page."
Following this discussion of Clinton, Smith went on to ask about Barack Obama:
Fred Thompson today blasted the media for propagating a false rumor about his impending withdrawal, while reinforcing the role he has created for himself as the candidate in this race who does not suffer unwelcome questions gladly.
Back in Iowa, Thompson famously refused to respond to the debate moderator/school marm's demand for a hand-show on global warming. On this morning's Today, he declined to engage in horse-race speculation about his own prospects, then took the media to task for its propagation of that false rumor about his impending withdrawal. Weekend anchor Lester Holt interviewed the former Tennessee senator.
On the bright side, during Friday's The Situation Room, one day after CNN's Bill Schneider ludicrously called Democratic voters in Iowa "pretty moderate," the political analyst labeled Barack Obama as "liberal," and CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin later called Obama "very liberal" as he recommended that the Hillary Clinton campaign should be attacking the Illinois Senator's voting record. Toobin further said that, as a state senator, Obama "had one of the most liberal voting records in a fairly liberal state." (Transcript follows)
On Friday afternoon, CNN's liberal contributor Roland Martin suggested that most people who are pro-life seem "hateful" as he was describing Mike Huckabee's need to reach out to non-evangelical voters. During an appearance on CNN Newsroom at about 1:47 p.m. with anchor Kyra Phillips, Martin contended that Huckabee needs to pursue a strategy similar to that of President Bush in 2000: "Sure, [Huckabee is] a staunch pro-life person, but he isn't perceived as being hateful as other people who are pro-life." (Transcript follows)
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of Martin's comments from the Friday January 4 CNN Newsroom:
Public radio is a left-wing preserve, but some corners of public radio are so far to the left that they treat liberals as gangsters and monsters. A brief listen to Pacifica Radio's "Democracy Now" program on Thursday brought me to a segment on the presidential candidates, and how they're all, from left to right, compromised by their warmongering national-security experts. Radical journalist Allan Nairn attacked Mike Huckabee, for example, for failing to treat Bill Clinton as a war criminal:
On the PBS talk show "Charlie Rose" Thursday night, Newsweek editor Jon Meacham declared that Hillary Clinton was right that it was a "great night for Democrats" and a bad night for Republicans. He scoured Mike Huckabee as an embarrassment: "Do you really want to see if a Southern Baptist minister who took two days to find out about the National Intelligence Estimate about Iran is going to be your standard bearer in a world at war?" He also declared it was "a rather odd thing for the Republicans of Iowa" to "say to the world that the strongest possible president is a Governor of Arkansas who does not have a great deal or any real foreign policy experience." Meacham seemed to have no sense of irony that the same words were easily spoken of Bill Clinton in 1992, and Rose didn’t call him on it, even though they joked "how many presidents does Hope, Arkansas get in one lifetime?"
Meacham also never thought it was odd that the Democrats of Iowa said to the world that the strongest possible president is a man with three years experience in the U.S. Senate who said (a) that he would meet with America-hating dictators and strongmen like Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez without preconditions and (b) then wildly swung back to suggesting he would bomb inside Pakistan to strike al-Qaeda. Meacham, who honored McCain’s courage for supporting the surge in Iraq, never mentioned Obama thought it was a mistake. When it came to the Democrats, Meacham sounded like he was offering a toast: