During a fawning interview with Bill Clinton on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Ann Curry asked for the former President's thoughts on Newt Gingrich running for president: "You also, having worked with him, I'm wanting to know, putting aside politics, do you see Newt Gingrich as a man who has the temperament, the leadership qualities, to be President of the United States?"
Clinton took the opportunity to relish GOP infighting during the primary season: "That's what the presidential election is for....you find out a lot about people in the crucible of battle and they're all turning on him now and running all these negative ads. And basically, It's funny, they're basically doing to each other now, in a serial way, what they did to the Democrats in 2010."
CBS's Bob Schieffer displayed his liberal leanings on Sunday's Face the Nation when he raised the issue of illegal immigration. Schieffer claimed during an interview of Newt Gingrich that "Mitt Romney has taken such a hard line, it seems to me, on immigration that some within the Republican Party are saying he is simply running off Hispanic voters."
The journalist asked Gingrich for his take on this claim about halfway through the half-hour long interview. Gingrich replied, "I'm not going on comment on Governor Romney," and simply recited his policy recommendations on illegal immigration. When the candidate stated near the end of his answer that "I do not believe the American people are going to send police out to round up folks who have been here 25 years," Schieffer followed up and asked, "There are 11 million of these people. I mean, what are you going to do with them? I mean, you can't build that many prisons to put them in jail....and you can't get that many buses to haul them back."
Just how much do the media want to prevent Newt Gingrich from becoming the Republican presidential nominee?
So much that despite their total disdain for Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), they'll even defend her from supposed sexist attacks by the former Speaker of the House (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Christopher Hitchens, RIP, would likely have loved the rough-and-tumble of today's Morning Joe. The first half-hour was a jolting fix for political junkies.
If the goring of Newt Gingrich was predictable, there was much that was not. Michelle Bachmann's debate performance was roundly praised. Lefty Jeff Sachs put himself to Ron Paul's right on the Iranian threat. Joe Scarborough and Donny Deutsch reported that normally-Dem New York CEOs have deserted Obama en masse. Video after the jump.
The cover story of Tuesday's USA Today blared "Resurgent Republicans close gap in key states." Susan Page reported a new USA Today/Gallup poll of 12 battleground states found "the number of voters who identify themselves as Democratic or Democratic-leaning in these key states has eroded, down 4 percentage points, while the ranks of Republicans have climbed by five points." GOP voters were also found to be more attentive to the campaign, more enthusiastic about the election, and more convinced the outcome matters. ABC, CBS, NBC coverage? None.
Gallup also found "Americans' concerns about the threat of big government continue to dwarf those about big business and big labor, and by an even larger margin now than in March 2009. The 64% of Americans who say big government will be the biggest threat to the country is just one percentage point shy of the record high, while the 26% who say big business is down from the 32% recorded during the recession." Network coverage? None. On Wednesday morning's Early Show CBS reporter Jan Crawford found only the Gallup result that would discourage Republicans:
Philosophically, you'd think Rudy Giuliani might align more closely with Mitt Romney than with Newt Gingrich. So what's behind Rudy's recent statement that Gingrich could be the stronger candidate? And why did Giuliani go on Morning Joe today to trash Romney as "elitist" and "a man without a core, a man without a substance"?
Well, Rudy also reminded viewers that "I ran against him in '07, '08." And as Rich Lowry has observed, "in 2008, the other Republican candidates hated Romney." Just this morning, John Podhoretz tweeted: "Re: Rudy's attacks on Romney today. Remember: SOMETHING kept Rudy out of NH in '08 when it could have been a strong state for him." So Rudy's remarks could reflect the triumph of personal animus over political ideology. Video after the jump.
If you had any question who the folks at MSNBC would prefer President Obama run against next November, what happened on Wednesday's Hardball should make it crystal clear.
About thirty minutes after host Chris Matthews apologized for his network's pathetic Ku Klux Klan smear of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, he disgustingly attacked former House Speaker Newt Gingrich saying, "You don't give WMD to someone known even by his old former allies to be in a crunch, or even whenever things get edgy, to be himself a weapon of mass destruction" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Fellow right-wingers: Is our objective to taunt Obama by accusing him of "Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior," of being "authentically dishonest" and a "wonderful con" -- and then lose the election -- or is it to defeat Obama, repeal Obamacare, secure the borders, enforce e-verify, reform entitlement programs, reduce the size of government and save the country?
If all you want is to lob rhetorical bombs at Obama and then lose, Newt Gingrich -- like recent favorite Donald Trump -- is your candidate. But if you want to save the country, Newt's not your guy.
Chris Matthews all but thinks Newt Gingrich is Satan. His MSNBC colleague Martin Bashir is a little more restrained, but not by much, comparing the former House Speaker to huckster and Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.
Bashir made the comparison in the "Clear the Air" closing commentary for his December 14 program. "Ever since he shot to the top of the Republican race for the White House, I've been trying to figure out which historical figure Newt Gingrich most resembles," noted in opening his monologue, before making a gross historical gaffe of his own (update: Bashir's twitter feed corrected the gaffe later with a h/t to yours truly):
Anderson Cooper found yet another way to scrutinize Republicans, as on Tuesday he spotlighted GOP candidates attacking each other's record after each promised to run positive campaigns – even though verbal spars happen during every single election.
The segment's title of "Keeping Them Honest" insinuated that the subject is being deceitful or dishonest, and Cooper decided to call the candidates out for backtracking on their promises of positive campaigns – even though an overall positive campaign doesn't necessarily rule out attacks on opponents' records. [Video below the break. Click here for audio.]
Appearing as a guest on Tuesday's Joy Behar Show on HLN, after complaining about Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich's proposal to provide school children with work experience and the chance to earn money in their schools, Whoopi Goldberg joined host Behar in asserting that it was "racist" for Gingrich to speak of preventing children from becoming "pimps and prostitutes and drug dealers."
Goldberg began by ranting about the absence of people who "want to see the country do better." Goldberg:
The media elite and the Republican Ruling Class are remarkably similar in their political projection for the coming year. Journalists spent the entire year savaging every fast-rising challenger to Mitt Romney. The GOP’s power pundits became equally agitated at the sniff of a conservative anywhere near the top of the GOP pack. It’s the odor of extremism that both the elites in the media and the GOP have detested – always.
So here we are, on the cusp of the election year, and both these groups have one primary target: Newt Gingrich. Both are using the same ammo: Newt is too unstable, immature, flawed, and arrogant. Or as power pundit Peggy Noonan put it, Newt is “a human hand grenade who walks around with his hand on the pin, saying, ‘Watch this!’” The Washington Post’s political cartoonist drew him as a suicide bomber.
CNN touted a study from the liberal Tax Policy Center claiming that Newt Gingrich's tax plan would increase the deficit. On Tuesday afternoon's The Situation Room, business correspondent Poppy Harlow simply labeled the Tax Policy Center "non-partisan" even though it is a joint venture of two liberal think tanks, the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institute.
CNN even reported the Gingrich campaign's claim that the study did not include "many details" of the plan because the campaign "does not recognize them as an independent arbiter of tax policy information." That bit of information was buried at the end of CNN's report, however. [Video below the break. Click here for audio.]
All three morning shows on Tuesday hyped the fight between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, but it was snarky John Berman who offered the most hyperbolic take, exclaiming on "Good Morning America," "Boom! Boom!"
The opinionated journalist offered inflamed rhetoric to describe the nomination battle, saying that the attacks follow "24 hours of political shivs and sharp elbows." Berman narrated the fight between Romney and Gingrich with glee: "Boom! Gingrich responded...Boom! The Romney camp responded...Boom! Boom!" Was this really necessary?"
MSNBC's supposedly conservative host Joe Scarborough on Tuesday continued his months-long attack on the Republican presidential candidates.
After telling his Morning Joe viewers that he would consider voting for potential third party candidate Ron Paul if Newt Gingrich won the nomination, Scarborough said he could "in five minutes write a list of 200 Republican members of the House of Representatives" more qualified than "the presidential candidates that are running right now" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Today's Morning Joe has been one long festival of Gingrich gouging.
Joe Scarborough set the tone early. During the opening segment Scarborough announced that, like Glenn Beck, if the choice comes down to Obama vs. Gingrich, and Ron Paul is running as a third-party candidate, "I'm going to give him a long look." Video after the jump.
New York Times reporter Trip Gabriel, covering the Gingrich campaign, inflated conventional pro-Israel, anti-"peace process" opinions delivered by Newt Gingrich into a diplomatic drama about Gingrich scrapping the two-state solution worthy of "damage control," in Saturday’s “Gingrich Suggests a Reversal of Mideast Policy.”
Hardball's Chris Matthews on Monday spewed hatred for Newt Gingrich, excoriating him as voicing "deadly" contempt for Barack Obama. Matthews trashed, "He's a political killer, a gun for hire."
The unhinged Matthews compared Republicans who support the former Speaker to those who would make a deal with the devil. Using violent rhetoric, the MSNBC anchor constructed reasons why conservatives embrace Gingrich: "Because he voices in cold, nasty, deadly tones the words of their contempt, because he's an opportunist ready to seek any route to his opponent's heart and thereby kill it." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The New York Times devoted a front-page story Monday to casting doubt on a theoretical nuclear threat publicized (among his many, many other ideas) by Newt Gingrich -- what scientists call electromagnetic pulse (EMP), a burst of electromagnetic radiation released by a nuclear explosion that could damage or destroy electrical service. Science reporter William Broad filed “Among Gingrich’s Passions, a Doomsday Vision.”
On Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer asked new NBC special correspondent Ted Koppel about the success of Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign: "He has said some very controversial things over the last month....Is being outspoken – and some would even say a little bit reckless – necessarily a bad thing in this election cycle?"
Koppel lamented how Gingrich had not been damaged by scandal: "For some reason or another, the three marriages don't seem to have hurt Newt Gingrich. For some reason or another, taking 1.6 million from Freddie Mac [don't seem to have hurt]." He later observed that Gingrich was like the class clown of the GOP 2012 field: "There's the sort of kid that has everybody laughing in class all the time. At the moment, that's Newt."
Appearing on Sunday's Meet the Press, Koppel told moderator David Gregory that the idea that Gingrich could be overcoming past political baggage, "leaves me absolutely breathless."
On the popular radio show A Prairie Home Companion this weekend, NPR star Garrison Keillor sang a different version of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town." It had a slightly different melody, and mocked Newt Gingrich, without naming him. Keillor sang: "Don’t think a sense of style conceals your escapades / Don’t vote to impeach Bill Clinton while shacking up with Congressional aides." Gingrich was cheating on his second wife (with his eventual third wife) at that time in 1998.
Keillor also sang that Santa is watching for who is "beating up on" gays or minorities. There's nothing wrong with opposing physical violence or mean-spirited bullying -- but with NPR, you'd have to suspect Keillor is implying a broader argument about conservative arguments against gay marriage or "affirmative action." Keillor sang:
On Sunday's Good Morning America, This Week host Christiane Amanpour portrayed Newt Gingrich as trying to appeal to a "narrow group" because the GOP presidential candidate characterized the Palestinians as "an invented people" being used to undermine the Jewish claim to Israel, and took exception with the former House Speaker because he pointed out that the Palestinian Authority incites hatred against Jews in its schools.
Even though Gingrich during Saturday's debate referred specifically to Fatah - which runs the West Bank - and the terrorist group Hamas - which runs the Gaza Strip - Amanpour complained that he was "saying that all Palestinians were terrorists."
After ABC's George Stephanopoulos brought up Gingrich's views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the This Week host:
On Sunday's World News on ABC, correspondent David Kerley filed a report highlighting anti-Newt Gingrich comments from a number of Republicans who used to serve in the House of Representatives with the former Speaker, and, although at least half the members cited as criticizing Gingrich have a history of being moderate Republicans, Kerley did not inform his viewers of this aspect of their political history which may affect their negative view of him.
After beginning the piece by asserting that Gingrich is "now frightening some of his own party," Kerley used a clip of centrist New York Representative Peter King:
ABC’s Christiane Amanpour just can’t comprehend why Jon Huntsman, with his “eminently sensible” anti-conservative positions, could be losing to Newt Gingrich who is full of “bombast” and “does say some pretty alarming things, some might say outrageous things.” More upsetting, Hunstman is supposedly “reversing” himself on those “eminently sensible positions.”
Interviewing Huntsman, who appeared from the Granite State, Amanpour noted on Sunday’s This Week that “you are at the bottom of the pack despite the fact that some independents, for instance, in New Hampshire call you the sanest one running,” yet “ what you’re offering does not seem to be resonating. It appears that the Newt Gingrich, sort of bombast and brash in your face against Obama, is what’s resonating.”
Chris Matthews has a theory as to why Newt Gingrich is suddenly soaring in the Republican presidential polls.
As he discussed with his panelists on the syndicated program bearing his name this weekend, it's all because of the former House Speaker's time as a contributor to Fox News (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Americans that spent their Saturday evening watching the Republican presidential debate witnessed the height of media hypocrisy.
Former Clinton adviser turned ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos actually asked attendees - with a straight face no less - if marital infidelity should be an issue in the campaign (video follows with highlights and commentary):