As former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw appeared as a guest on Wednesday's The Colbert Report on Comedy Central, he and host Stephen Colbert poked fun at former President Bill Clinton as the two discussed what a second term of President Barack Obama would likely involve.
A frequent emailer saw a silver lining in Rand Paul's detention this morning in Nashville by the Transportation Safety Administration which prevented him from speaking at today's March For Life rally in Washington: "Best way to get the MSM to mention pro-life rally."
Well, that's largely true. The local Nashville TV station video posted at Real Clear Politics mentions Paul's prolife purpose up-front, as does a commentary by James Fallows at the Atlantic (who incidentally described the rally as "mammoth"). But my emailer underestimated the lengths to which reporters at the Associated Press would go to keep anything pro-life out of a story. In their 750-word report (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes), Erik Schelzig and Eileen Sullivan completely misstated why Paul wanted to get on the flight he was not able to board -- which also means that their story's headline is incomplete:
After asking Tea Party favorite Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to discard his talking points and be frank on the debt ceiling issue, CNN's Don Lemon repeatedly interrupted the senator, and even lectured him and threw some Democrat talking points at him. Lemon interviewed Paul on Saturday's 5 p.m. EDT edition of CNN Newsroom.
"At this point though, and can we do this – let's do this interview without talking points, okay, let's just talk to each other," Lemon curtly told the senator at the outset. But then he asked a pointed question which made Paul raise his eyebrows.
With the deadline for raising the debt ceiling looming less than a month away, there are mixed feelings about raising the debt ceiling among debt-conscious politicians who are hesitant to give more spending power to the government. The Treasury Department has given August 2 as the estimated date on which the U.S. will no longer be able to meet fiscal obligations if the debt ceiling is not raised, though.
Sen. Rand Paul explained on Sunday that Republicans would be more in favor of raising the debt ceiling if there were a balanced budget amendment in the Constitution to obligate the federal government to balance its budget each year and prohibit it from running a deficit.
Check out a video of Paul's remarks after the break, and let us know what you think in the comments.
New York Times legal reporter Charlie Savage’s two stories on libertarian Sen. Rand Paul holding up extending sections of the Patriot Act ignored the huge hypocrisy of the act’s newest vocal defender, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The paper also demonstrated a new-found comfort on the part of the Times for the act, which it excoriated during the Bush years.
Reid attacked fellow Sen. Ron Paul in personal terms on the Senate floor Wednesday, but the Times ignored both the attack and Reid’s overheated defense of the Patriot Act, which would surely have been denounced as demagoguery coming from a Republican. Liberal journalist Spencer Ackerman called Reid a demagogue, saying "Dick Cheney would be proud." (Ouch!) Ackerman fumed:
New York Magazine apparently believes that opposing foreign aid is literally xenophobic - rooted in irrational fear of foreigners - and is willing to engage in some pretty sketchy journalistic practices to make its case. Those are a pair of lessons Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., learned on Tuesday.
Last year, MSNBC and other so-called "news" outlets mercilessly attacked Kentucky Senatorial candidate Rand Paul for giving an honest libertarian answer to Rachel Maddow concerning the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
On Friday's "Hardball," Chris Matthews tried the same tactic on Paul's father Ron, but the elder Texas Congressman was ready for the question and ended up making the host look rather silly for asking it (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Catching up with a Thursday night appearance by Senator Rand Paul to plug his new book, Paul’s segment on the Late Show exposed David Letterman as an arrogantly ill-informed ally of Wisconsin’s public employee unions: “Why don't we just raise the taxes and let these folks have their collective bargaining, have their union representation and go back to their jobs? Raise the taxes on the wealthy.”
When Paul tried to educate Letterman about how a small percent of the wealthy pay far more than their fair share, Letterman was an oblivious student as he baselessly countered: “I think there's something wrong with those numbers. I don't know what it is exactly, but I'm pretty sure there's something wrong with them.”
Paul had outlined his wish to reduce government spending, prompting Letterman to retort: “What would be so wrong then in terms of leaving the public sector alone and reducing tax benefits for the wealthy and large corporations? Why couldn't you make up your money that way?” (Audio: MP3 clip)
According to Nightline anchors Terry Moran and Bill Weir, new Republican Senator Rand Paul is "radical," "controversial" and longs to take a chainsaw to the Department of Education. Using hyperbolic language, Weir profiled Paul for Wednesday's program.
Co-anchor Moran previewed the segment by attempting to isolate the Kentucky politician: "Up next, even the most conservative Republicans balk at his proposals for slashing government." As a cartoon graphic of a crazed-looking Paul appeared onscreen wielding a chainsaw, Weir hyperventilated, "So, while the President argues for a budget scalpel, Rand Paul would use a chainsaw, shutting down the Departments of Energy and education."
The journalist continued, "He would kill the Consumer Product Safety Commission, shrink the Pentagon and cut off all foreign aid." Dismissing Paul's call for spending restraint, the ABC anchor challenged, "Does the richest nation in the history of nations have a responsibility to take care of its weakest?"
George Stephanopoulos on Wednesday highlighted Paul Begala, his old friend from the Clinton White House, while critiquing Senator Rand Paul and the state of Kentucky. Without mentioning his personal connection, the Good Morning America host chided, "You know, in the Daily Beast yesterday, Paul Begala, pointed out that Kentucky gets more from the federal government than they give out."
GMA on Wednesday offered no criticism of the union protesters, simply another attack on the actions of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Citing a USA Today poll showing Americans supporting collective bargaining, Stephanopoulos lobbied, "And we've see these protests all across the Midwest. Do you think you may have sparked a backlash here?"
Following up, the former Democratic operative berated, "But I think a lot of people look at this and say, Okay, and especially in Wisconsin, we've seen the public employees say we'll pay more for our health care and pensions. But, you can't take away our rights. Have the governors here gone too far?"
On ABC’s World News Saturday, correspondent John Hendren filed a report marking this year as the first time since 1947 that no members of the Kennedy family will hold public office in Washington, D.C. The piece began:
JOHN HENDREN: The sun has set on the Kennedy era. When Congress reconvenes next week, it will be the first time in 64 years that there has not been a Kennedy in office.
KATHLEEN KENNEDY TOWNSEND, DAUGHTER OF ROBERT F. KENNEDY: I think it's sad. I think that we need a Kennedy.
Hendren went on to recount the death of former Senator Ted Kennedy, "the Lion of the Senate," and the decision of Rhode Island Representative Patrick Kennedy to retire, as well as the shuffling of office space with the arrival of newly-elected Republicans. The ABC correspondent also noted that Tea Party-backed Rep. Ron Paul and Senator-elect Rand Paul are the only family members serving who will be serving concurrently in Congress.
Hendren concluded by offering a ray of hope for those would like to see the Kennedy family in government again:
On Thursday's Newsroom, CNN's Brooke Baldwin continued her network's liberal spin on the proposed compromise between President Obama and congressional Republicans to extend the current Bush-era tax rates, treating it as government spending. Baldwin hyped the apparent "two-year cost of this new cut" and how letting taxpayers keep their money would supposedly add to the deficit.
The anchor raised the "cost" issue during an interview of Democratic Congressman Jay Inslee six minutes into the 3 pm Eastern hour:
BALDWIN: Congressman, we're scratching our heads a bit over these numbers, and I'm hoping you can help me out here, because they're kind of all over the place. The latest we are getting is this two-year cost of this new tax cut, it's somewhere in the ballpark between $800 billion and $900 billion- that is just specifically the tax cut- and then, the top 2 percent would take up about 20 percent of that $800 billion to $900 billion pie. So, Congressman, how close is that to what you're hearing? How close is that to reality?
On NPR's Morning Edition on Monday, anchor Steve Inskeep welcomed a regular guest, Wall Street Journal economics editor David Wessel (from the liberal news side, not the conservative opinion-page side). The new Congress is already too "shrill" and "ugly" with libertarian argument against Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke's printing money to buy government bonds:
INSKEEP: Rand Paul is a name that got a lot of attention in the election this past Tuesday. He won a Senate seat from Kentucky. But, of course, his father, Ron Paul, ran for president a couple of years back, is still in the House, and it looks like he's going to chair the committee that oversees Ben Bernanke's Fed.
WESSEL: That's right. Ron Paul, who wrote a book called "End the Fed" - so you know what he thinks ought to happen. He'll definitely give Mr. Bernanke a hard time, but he's really seen as something of an outlier. He's a Libertarian. He doesn't believe in paper money. And I don't think many of the other Republicans are quite comfortable with that view. But it will be interesting to have him in the House and his son, a senator from Kentucky, taking a seat that was vacated by another shrill critic of the Fed, Jim Bunning. So, it will be a lot of fireworks there, I'm sure.
Christine Amanpour spent much of Sunday’s This Week arguing with her guests about how taxes must be raised -- a theme also echoed on Face the Nation and Meet the Press -- as she brought aboard the media’s newest hero, tax-hike advocate David Stockman, and also touted Warren Buffett’s quest to hike taxes and how even conservatives in Britain have agreed to do so: “They’re saying there for every $3 in spending cuts, $1 up in taxes.”
Advancing the media-Democratic line against the agenda of victorious conservatives, Amanpour asserted to Senator-elect Rand Paul: “There are many economists who simply say the math does not add up, if you’re not going to agree to raising taxes. Do you agree that taxes will have to be raised, as well?” Rand retorted: “I think it's not a revenue problem. It's a spending problem.” To which, Amanpour countered: “But it is a revenue problem according to so many economists.”
Amanpour soon repeated: “Without making strong entitlement and other cuts, and even if one does, most of the economists say the math does not add up to keep tax cuts on and on and on. Will you agree to some?”
At the top of her show, with “Tax Cut Mantra” derisively on screen, Amanpour touted Stockman: “Their hero may be Ronald Reagan, but his tax man says that [extending the current tax rates] will finish the economy off.”
Lawrence "Crazy Larry" O'Donnell was back to his former self during MSNBC's Election Night coverage Tuesday. During the 9 p.m. EDT hour the MSNBC anchor claimed that if Rand Paul holds to his "principles" and filibusters an attempt to raise the debt ceiling, it would destroy the United States' credit rating and possibly spark a worldwide depression. O'Donnell also pressed House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on the matter.
After Cantor refused to give O'Donnell a direct answer to his oddball question, the frustrated MSNBC host ranted that he didn't want to see Cantor on MSNBC again.
In the beginning segment, O'Donnell was giving commentary after live coverage of Rand Paul's victory speech. Paul, he noted, will soon be pressed to vote on raising the debt ceiling, something which O'Donnell asserted is vital to the health of the U.S. economy.
Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Wednesday used a post-election interview to harangue Rand Paul as to whether the newly elected senator was willing to be a one-termer in pursuit of spending cuts.
Stephanopoulos pressed, "So, even if it means you're going to be a one-term senator, you're willing to say, we're going to cut Medicare. We are going to cut Social Security in order to balance the budget?" The GMA host tried to stir up trouble, questioning, "If that means taking on your party's own leaders, are you going to do it?"
At one point, Paul attempted to point out the financial relationship between all types of Americans. Gesturing towards Stephanopoulos, he snapped, "We buy stuff from rich people. Some people are rich newscasters, you know?"
Democrats have worked overtime attempting to paint Tea Party-backed candidates as politically extreme, personally nutty, or both. But in most cases it doesn't appear to be working, and it's even backfired in Kentucky's Senate race, a Newsweek writer admitted yesterday.
While slamming Rand Paul supporters who assaulted a MoveOn.org worker in Kentucky, Ed Schultz claimed Wednesday there was simply no other side to the story – that he had not seen "any violence, anywhere, from anybody on the Left." Furthermore, Schultz blamed GOP Senate candidate Rand Paul for inciting the violence.
Chris Matthews, on Wednesday's Hardball, not so cryptically compared the actions of Republican volunteers to that of Nazi-style tactics from the 1930s as he claimed the restraining of a MoveOn.org activist by a Rand Paul supporter reminded him of what "we saw from hoodlums in the thirties in another country I will not mention" and added: "I mean it isn't far from what we saw in the thirties, where all of a sudden, political parties started showing up in uniform." Matthews, who was joined by Salon's Joan Walsh and the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza, even went on to claim physical attacks against political opponents was something that existed exclusively on one ideological side as he asserted that it was "right wing by its very nature."
This was the second night in a row Matthews advanced this theory and he didn't bother to mention the other side of the story, that a Jack Conway volunteer perhaps had acted violently at the Paul rally as well. The Post's Cillizza, to his credit, actually tried to talk Matthews down as he told the MSNBC host: "I don't think it is right wing by its nature. I would say at the end of campaigns, passions get very inflamed...I do not think it is a right wing thing, I do not think it is a left wing thing." However Cillizza failed in his effort to bring reason to the Hardball host as Matthews challenged Cillizza to "Name the last liberal progressive candidate who hired a private army, the last one that was stomping his political, her political opponents in the street?" before getting on his liberal high horse: "Well we see different kinds of passion here, don't we? We see one passion being reporters trying to get stories in Alaska so they could undercover skull-duggery. We have the passion of a woman who shows up to demonstrate with a wig on and a placard and then we see the passion of the other side, which is to hire armies of paramilitaries and stomp people."
[Update, 12:15 pm Wednesday: See below on CNN's additional coverage of the assault.]
CNN devoted seven news briefs on Tuesday to an assault on a MoveOn.org employee by Rand Paul supporters caught on camera outside the Kentucky Senate debate on Monday evening, but failed to mention a second assault on Rand Paul supporter by a booster of Paul's opponent, Jack Conway. Most of the briefs also omitted how the MoveOn employee was trying to get an embarrassing picture of Paul.
Emily Maxwell of KYPost.com reported late on Monday how "tensions flared at he senatorial candidates' debate here Monday night in two confrontations between Conway and Paul supporters, Lexington police reported. The first involved a woman who is a member of www.moveon.org and who was determined to pose in front of Rand Paul holding a sign that read 'Rand Paul Republicore: Employee of the Month.'" After detailing this first incident, Maxwell continued that "the second occurred after a Conway supporter stepped on the foot of a female Rand supporter, who recently had foot surgery, according to police. The woman was wearing a surgical boot, but after the injury, her incision was cut open. Police say she refused medical treatment and also filed an assault report."
Anchor John Roberts set the example for CNN's coverage of the incidents in his news brief six minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour of American Morning, as the video of the assault on Lauren Valle, the MoveOn.org employee played:
Appearing as a guest on Tuesday’s Countdown show on MSNBC, the Huffington Post’s Howard Fineman – formerly of Newsweek – joined substitute host Cenk Uygur in mocking Delaware Republican Senate nominee and the Tea Party as Uygur discussed O’Donnell’s recent comments about the words "separation of church and state" not being in the Consititution. After Uygur asked if the views of the Delaware Republican "speak poorly of the people who elected her, namely the Tea Party voters," Fineman agreed with Uygur’s negative view of the Tea Party and went on to trash Nevada Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle as he contended that O’Donnell "makes Sharron Angle look like Doris Kearns Goodwin." Fineman:
Yeah, it probably doesn’t help the Tea Party at all. I mean, I suppose you could argue that having Christine O’Donnell around and speaking the way she did today makes Sharron Angle look like Doris Kearns Goodwin or something. But it, you know, that’s the only way she might be useful as a point of contrast. And what’s really killing here, what’s damning here is that the Tea Party is run in the name of rights and freedom. And all of those rights and freedoms are enshrined in the very amendments that she seems totally ignorant of.
Fineman also made no mention of the legitimate debate over the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment and whether the children of illegal immigrants born in America should be considered natural-born American citizens as he mocked conservatives over the Fourteenth Amendment: "And, you know, they’re some of the amendments that they’re also questioning right now because the Fourteenth Amendment basically says that everyone here who’s born here, naturalized here, is a citizen of the United States, and their rights cannot be abridged by any of the states. And yet, the sort of local orientation of the Tea Party, you heard Christine O’Donnell talk about local option. what the local people want to do. You know, that’s something that is protected by the Fourteenth Amendment."
Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Jack Conway's recent ad questioning the faith of his opponent Republican Rand Paul was so beyond the pale that even NBC's Matt Lauer, on Tuesday's Today show, repeatedly hit Conway with questions about its appropriateness as he pressed, "Did it cross a line? Is it fair, even in the increasingly dirty world of politics?" The ad, which brought up allegations of Paul's behavior in his college days, was so over-the-top Lauer could not let Conway's charges go unchallenged as he questioned Conway's veracity, as seen in the following exchange:
MATT LAUER: This latest ad of yours ignited a firestorm. It clearly ignited the passions of Mr. Paul. Did it cross a line? Is it fair, even in the increasingly dirty world of politics? Do you stand by it?
JACK CONWAY: I stand by it. I'm not questioning his faith, I'm questioning his actions, Matt. The president of Baylor University banned a group that Rand Paul joined. And he banned this group, a few years before Rand Paul went to Baylor. He banned them because they were quote, "Making fun of Christianity and Christ." And, and our question is, why did he join a group that was known for mocking people of faith?
ABC, CBS and NBC all ran full stories Monday night on how an old video clip showed Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell talking about how, as a high-schooler, she had “dabbled into witchcraft.” CBS, however, used O’Donnell to pivot to marveling at how other Tea Party-affiliated Senate candidates remain viable despite what CBS considers exotic views.
“Christine O'Donnell's witchcraft comments may have spooked some Republican leaders,” Nancy Cordes related on the CBS Evening News, “but her fellow Tea Party Senate candidates are living prove that unusual assertions are not necessarily campaign killers.” Cordes elaborated with some contestable summaries of positions expressed:
Take Kentucky's Rand Paul who questioned the historic civil rights act, but is still tied with the Democrat in a recent poll. Nevada's Sharron Angle is neck and neck with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, even after she advocated an armed insurrection against the government. And Utah attorney Mike Lee is crushing his Democratic rival even though Lee favors dismantling Social Security and eliminating unemployment benefits. Priorities he shares with Alaska's Joe Miller.
For general discussion and debate. Possible talking point: Sarah Palin and Rand Paul were Judge Napolitano's guests on Saturday's "Freedom Watch" on FBN. First part below (relevant section at 5:20), rest available here:
That's odd, those describing themselves as pro-choice usually aren't this candid when it comes to abortion.
On her MSNBC show Thursday night, Rachel Maddow spoke with Princeton professor Melissa Harris-Lacewell about Republican Senate candidates Rand Paul, Sharron Angle and Ken Buck opposing abortion, including for pregnancies conceived through rape or incest.
Harris-Lacewell said this in response to a question from Maddow --