For reasons that are still inexplicable, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library agreed to partner up with NBC News, parent organization of the uber-left-wing network MSNBC to televise tonight's Republican presidential debate. While NBC representative Brian Williams had more than his share of sneering biased questions, it was Williams's co-moderator, Politico editor John Harris, who laid on the snark in his attempts to bait and attack the candidates.
Such unbalanced questioning is par-for-the-course for Republicans competing at the national level. More often than not, they take it in stride. Tonight, though, Newt Gingrich was having none of it as he went full-on after Harris's attempts to insert Gingrich into a non-existent debate about an individual mandate to purchase insurance at the national level that Republicans simply are not having. Video and transcript follow.
Editor's Note: What follows is NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell's thoughts on who won, who lost, and who should just pack it all in following last night's Republican presidential debate in Ames, Iowa.
Gingrich: The winner. Wasn't even close. Showed why Obama would pee in his pants having to debate this man.
Santorum: Also a winner. Showed most passion, and took on and beat up other candidates. But was it enough to keep him alive?
You really have to wonder what debate Mark Halperin was watching Thursday evening.
Appearing on Friday's "Morning Joe," the Time magazine and MSNBC political analyst declared former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney the winner of the Republican presidential debate in Iowa, and actually gave former House Speaker Newt Gingrich - who many thought stole the show - only a C+ (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):
Just days before the Iowa Straw Poll, Republican presidential candidates face off tonight to debate at the Iowa State Fair. Absent from the debate are two rumored candidates, Gov. Rick Perry and Sarah Palin.
Included is the still wide field of GOP contenders, Mitt Romney, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Rep. Ron Paul, Herman Cain, Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Jon Huntsman. Will you be watching tonight?
One would be hard-pressed to find a better example of sheer misguided reporting than the story in The Washington Post last weekend in which it was reported that "Newt Gingrich thinks he can revive his debilitated campaign by talking about Alzheimer's. ... For most presidential candidates, Alzheimer's is a third- or fourth-tier subject, at best. But as Gingrich sees it, Alzheimer's, as well as other niche topics such as military families' concerns and pharmaceutical issues, are priorities. ... By offering himself as a champion of pet causes, Gingrich believes he can sew together enough narrow constituencies to make a coalition — an unconventional one, yes, but a coalition nevertheless."
Now, I admit, Newt is my old boss, and I am a friend and great admirer of Newt's — so I am hardly an unbiased source. But I also happen to be pretty familiar with Newt's public ideas over the years.
Good Morning America's John Berman on Tuesday offered a condescending, dismissive take on how the money "obsessed" presidential candidates spent their Fourth of July. Yet, four years ago, the same program offered a fawning look at what Barack Obama did on Independence Day.
After mentioning Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich, Berman suggested that the Fourth of July could be "a chance to take a break from their recent big obsession, cash."
The journalist quickly followed this up by noting that the President has raised $60 million. Berman pointedly explained, "...Though he spent the day with men and women whose value is beyond priceless." (This was a reference to Obama's speech to U.S. troops at a barbeque.)
On Wednesday's All Things Considered, NPR's Ari Shapiro let The Daily Show's John Oliver and The Washington Post's Dana Milbank cast aspersions on some of the declared 2012 Republican presidential candidates and their surrogates. Oliver mocked the talking points of a Ron Paul spokesman as "pointless" and "meaningless," while Milbank derided the candidacy of Herman Cain.
Host Melissa Block introduced Shapiro's report about the White House correspondent's first visit to a post-presidential debate spin room, and gave a hint of its overall mocking tone: "The spin room might be a good name for an amusement park ride or part of a fun house. That makes it a perfect fit for a presidential campaign, which can get a bit wacky even in these early days."
In a June 16 story for the Politico, Molly Ball surveyed the existing GOP presidential field and essentially buried them all as pathetic losers who couldn't even carry their home states. The article headlined: "The GOP's Unfavorite Son Primary" detailed how current candidates Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain and even undeclared ones like Rick Perry and Sarah Palin would have trouble winning statewide races.
Yes, you read that right. According to Ball, Perry could struggle to beat Obama in Texas and Palin could fall to the President in Alaska.
Appearing on Fox News's On the Record Wednesday night, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich slammed NBC News for its reporting earlier that day that Callista Gingrich was a main cause of the exodus of Gingrich staffers last week: "I believe NBC owes Callista an apology....I think the program this morning was totally irresponsible and personally reprehensible..."
Host Greta Van Susteren asked Gingrich: "What was her role in the campaign prior to the departure? What is her role now? And had there been any internal conflicts with Callista and any of the people who left?" Gingrich responded: "Look, Callista and I have a very similar relationship to Nancy and Ronnie Reagan. And people blame Nancy Reagan for things that Ronald Reagan did."
On his June 15 program, MSNBC's Martin Bashir misled viewers with claims that GOP presidential candidates, including and especially Newt Gingrich, were dead set on "grounding NASA." Yet not once did Bashir remind viewers it was President Obama who has been criticized by Apollo program veterans for ditching the agency's project to send missions back to the moon.
"Coming up, Newt Gingrich likes Tiffany diamonds but not manned space flight," Bashir teased viewers before a commercial break at 3:10 p.m. Eastern. "Why do he and the other GOP candidates want to ground NASA?" he added.
HBO's Bill Maher on Friday took a racist swipe at Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain.
During the New Rules segment of "Real Time," the host said pretending that he was speaking to Newt Gingrich, "Let me put your unpopularity in context for you - you're a Republican and you're polling behind a black guy" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Friday morning, the Daily Kos blogger with the byline Seneca Doane tried to have fun with the mass defection away from Newt Gingrich, satirically offering Newt his services in defeating the other GOP candidates. He was especially vicious with Herman Cain: "I'll admit it right up front -- Cain scares me. I don't mean as an opponent; I mean as a human being." Cain, he says is the perfect racist:
Cain poses a problem, though. Cain can get away with saying more racist things than you can, because white (i.e., almost all) Republicans think that because he's Black, he can't be racist, even if he's trotting out every vicious anti-Black stereotype in the book to the delight of white onlookers. (And he will. You should let people know that he'll be your choice for HUD Secretary. The more pissed off he gets at it and denies that he'd take the job, the better. You'll tell him that you know that he wants a job and will give it his all.)
There are a lot of things, large and small, that irk me. One of them is our tendency to evaluate a presidential candidate based on his intelligence or academic credentials. When Obama threw his hat in the ring, people thought he was articulate and smart and hailed his intellectual credentials. Just recently, when Newt Gingrich announced his candidacy, people hailed his intellectual credentials and smartness as well.
By contrast, the intellectual elite and mainstream media people see Sarah Palin as stupid, a loose cannon and not to be trusted with our nuclear arsenal. There was another presidential candidate who was also held to be stupid and not to be trusted with our nuclear arsenal who ultimately became president — Ronald Reagan. I don't put much stock into whether a political leader is smart or not because, as George Orwell explained, "Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them."
How did so flawed a man as Newt Gingrich get to the top of his party in the 1990s? For that matter, how did so flawed a man as Bill Clinton get to the top of our government in the 1990s? And — here I am giving you a hint to the answer for the above questions — how did so flawed a man as Dominique Strauss-Kahn get to the top of the International Monetary Fund and of French politics? All are about the same age. All have similar, shall we say, recreations. The answer is that they came from what is called the 1960s generation. Now they are gone. There will be temporary reprises — more court appearances for DSK, an occasional public appearance for Bill, some more catastrophic missteps on the campaign trail for Newt — but for all intents and purposes, they are history.
On Thursday's NBC Today, senior investigative correspondent Lisa Myers kept up the attack on Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich for having a line of credit with the jeweler Tiffany's five years ago: "Gingrich has always described himself as frugal and fiscally conservative, which is why this story about a huge line of credit at Tiffany's just won't go away."
Myers touted the story as great fodder for late night comics, who "have had a field day," and remarked that Gingrich "and his wife, Calista, have been dubbed the 'Blingriches.'" She noted how "The questions just keep on coming," playing a clip of Gingrich being grilled by CBS host Bob Schieffer on Sunday's Face the Nation.
Gallup released a new poll this morning asking who GOP primary voters support sans Huckabee, Trump, and Daniels. And it turns out...the race for the GOP nomination is still very undecided, with almost everyone gaining a little more support. Check out some of the poll's findings below the break and give us your thoughts in the comments.
Will Newt Gingrich's big credit line at Tiffany's define his 2012 Republican presidential run? The New York Times seems to hope so. Wednesday’s front page "Political Memo" by Sheryl Gay Stolberg on Gingrich’s credit line was bejeweled with a headline that sounded like a liberal wish: "All That Glitters May Redefine Run by Gingrich."
To the long list of rich-guy foibles that turned into defining campaign moments -- John Edwards’s $400 haircut, John Kerry’s kite-surfing, John McCain’s inability to remember how many homes he owns -- let us now add Newt Gingrich’s $500,000 revolving line of credit at the luxury jeweler Tiffany & Company.
One difference: The Times ran their April 20, 2007 story on Edwards’ haircut not on the front page, but on page 15.
If the Wall Street Republicans and the conservative Republicans don't resolve their differences and work as a TEAM ("together everyone achieves more"), we will go back to having a Democratic majority in Congress and President Barack Obama will be re-elected for another four years.
Ripples began to form last year when then Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul of Kentucky spouted what some say were typical libertarian views but what to others sounded like criticisms of the fixed and firm Civil Rights Act of 1964.
On Sunday’s World News, ABC correspondent David Kerley mocked the current field of GOP presidential candidates as making comedians "happy" as he recounted that polls show many Republicans are not satisfied with the choices available so far. After informing viewers of the disappointment for Republicans that Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels had chosen not to run, Kerley continued: "Recent polls show that nearly half of Republican voters are not happy with their potential candidates. But comedians are."
Then came a clip of late night talk show host David Letterman: "The Republicans are really scrambling out there, really backs to the wall looking for a guy to lose to Obama."
Kerley then moved on to revelations about Republican candidate Newt Gingrich spending $500,000 on jewelry and comedian Stephen Colbert’s response:
Featured on Time Magazine's Web site is "The Misconduct Matrix." Subtitled "Not all affairs are created equal," the graphic presents 19 men guilty of - make that allegedly guilty of in some instances- serious sexual misbehavior.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn is listed, as are Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, Tiger Woods, John Kennedy and, of course, the president who gave phone sex a bad name, the impeached Bill Clinton. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is also included on the matrix.
Sharing the same quadrant (Doghouse, Massively Hypocritical) with Justice Thomas are Arnold Schwarzenegger, who's admitted to fathering a child with a staff member, Newt Gingrich, who's admitted to at least one affair, and Thomas Jefferson, who "reportedly fathered six children with his slave." Even if Thomas were guilty of what Anita Hill charged, his conduct was not nearly as egregious as the others. Talking about pubic hair on a Coke can isn't close to adultery or fathering children out of wedlock.
On Friday’s Political Capital show on Bloomberg News, as host Al Hunt turned the discussion to Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign, Bloomberg’s Margaret Carlson attacked Republican Congressman Paul Ryan’s plan for Medicare reform as she voiced supposed agreement with Gingrich that "it is right-wing social engineering to destroy Medicare as we know it."
She then went on to suggest that Gingrich plays "skinhead politics."
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Friday, May 20, Political Capital on Bloomberg News:
PBS's Mark Shields on Friday advanced the typical liberal media line that there's a danger to the GOP if it nominates a presidential candidate that is too conservative.
When he finished, his "Inside Washington" co-panelist Charles Krauthammer marvelously responded, "What Mark wants is a Republican nominee who is a squish and then he’ll vote against him anyway" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
During his umpteenth day in a row bashing Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, MSNBC's Chris Matthews began a lengthy segment Thursday by referencing the famous Marx Brother line "Who you gonna believe - me or your own eyes?"
Problem is the high and mighty "Hardball" host, despite playing a clip from "Duck Soup" clearly identifying the distinctive voice and accent of the speaker, gave credit to the wrong brother (video follows with transcript and commentary):
As NewsBusters previously reported, conservative talk radio host Mark Levin on Monday accused NBC News of racism and promoting racial division in this country.
On Wednesday, Levin ratcheted the discussion up a bit telling Fox News's Neil Cavuto, "David Gregory should not get off the hook for his race baiting" (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):