On Thursday's edition of The Situation Room, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer ran with the media herd that he's "probably never seen anthing as dramatic" as the Rick Perry brain freeze. Then he turned to commentator Jack Cafferty, who insisted, "Not since Sarah Palin sat down with Katie Couric as a candidate for one of the nation's highest offices disgraced himself the way Rick Perry did last night."
When Blitzer replied by estimating Palin's made about $20 million since she ran for vice president, Cafferty shot back: "Stupidity sells. I won't argue with you about that."
David Firestone, a former national and Washington correspondent for the New York Times who is now on the paper’s editorial board, was featured on Editorial Page Editor Andrew Rosenthal’s blog Thursday, commenting on the GOP debate in Michigan Wednesday night, specifically Rick Perry’s flub when he was unable to name the three federal agencies he wanted to eliminate. However, Firestone informed us, “the real mental lapse” involve Republicans trying to cut government programs in the first place. Meanwhile, Obama's stimulus "unquestionably saved millions of jobs."
After 117 stories over ten days, what would it take for the big three networks to ease up on their unending obsession with the Herman Cain sexual harassment story? The opportunity to go after another Republican, this time Rick Perry. From Wednesday night's evening newscasts through the Thursday morning shows, there were only two Cain stories (bringing the total to 119).
Good Morning America, CBS's Early Show and NBC's Today all pounced on Perry's debate performance and an inability to remember a government agency that he wished to eliminate. The three morning shows only offered brief passing mentions to the Cain scandal. Instead, co-host Ann Curry pressed Perry, "Have you thought about ending your campaign? Are you staying in this race, sir?"
Mark McKinnon, a regular contributor to the liberal Daily Beast website, which owns Newsweek magazine, made a morbid gaffe as he commented on Texas Governor Rick Perry's stumble during the November 9 Republican presidential debate on CNBC. The New York Times on Wednesday quoted McKinnon labeling Perry's brain freeze as the "human equivalent of shuttle Challenger."
Times writers Jeff Zeleny and Ashley Parker cited the Democrat, who once served as an aide to former President George W. Bush, as an example of how "Republican operatives almost uniformly declared it [Perry's gaffe] as a sign of great trouble for his candidacy."
The same network that treated then-candidate Obama with kid gloves about Reverend Wright demanded Rick Perry to explain how his campaign wasn't finished, in his interview on CNN's American Morning on Thursday.
Co-host Christine Romans scrutinized Perry over his forgetting one of the federal agencies he had promised to get rid of. However, she seemed to believe that his campaign was over because of the gaffe. "So my question to you is how is this not the end? Convince us that this is not the end of your – of your candidacy," she demanded of Perry during the 7 a.m. hour of CNN. [Video below the break. Click here for audio.]
Updated [11:41 ET]: More analysis and transcripts added.
Interviewing Texas Governor Rick Perry on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Ann Curry asked the Republican presidential candidate about a flub in Wednesday's CNBC debate and wondered: "One of your fundraisers told The Wall Street Journal, simply, 'He just ended his campaign.' Have you thought about ending your campaign? Are you staying in this race, sir?" [Audio available here]
On CNN's American Morning, Christine Romans struck a similar tone with Perry: "How is this not the end? Convince us that this is not the end of your – of your candidacy....across the board you're hearing folks say that this was one of the worst, if not the worst, debate moment, those 54 seconds, you know, in modern primary history." [View video after the jump]
Joe Scarborough has escalated his running war with the conservative blogosphere. Clearly stung by being branded a RINO—among other things—Scarborough lashed out at "conservative bloggers" this morning.
Springboarding off his handicapping of the GOP presidential primary, in which he asserted that only Romney, Gingrich and Huntsman have a shot, Scarborough said: "I'm right all the time. And I know my Republican party better than you know your Republican party and it pisses you off and I understand why it would. Because you're always calling me a RINO and I'm always right about my party and you're always wrong." Video and more after the jump.
While Herman Cain struggles to defend himself against charges of sexual harassment over a decade ago, he might take some solace in knowing the great actor and film director Clint Eastwood likes him best amongst the Republican presidential candidates.
That was only one of the surprises published by the Los Angeles Times in an article about the Oscar-winning director Monday:
While Bob Schieffer spent a goodly amount of time on Sunday's Face the Nation discussing the allegations made against Herman Cain this week as well as Rick Perry's strange speech in New Hampshire, Liz Cheney was the voice of reason asking why he was wasting so much time on these irrelevant issues.
"With all due respect, you know, the American people are out there afraid. They're afraid that the economy is going off a cliff...I think that that's what we ought to be talking about" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Call it Niall Ferguson's Pauline Kael moment . . . During the roundtable segment this morning on ABC's This Week, Ferguson, an academic with appointments at Harvard, Stanford and Oxford, said that "all the Texans I know" can't stand Rick Perry.
Ferguson was reacting to host Christiane Amanpour's question about Perry's highly-animated New Hampshire address. Ferguson professed to like the "swaggering Texan" side of Perry he apparently saw in the speech. George Will had a caustic comeback. Video after the jump.
Rachel Maddow's "devotion" to the facts "borders on obsessive" proclaimed an MSNBC promo last winter that could have been produced by The Onion.
A dubious Maddow claim that didn't quite reach that level of obsession has caught the attention of PolitiFact Texas, part of a fact-checking project that originated with the St. Petersburg Times and won the Pulitzer Prize in 2009. (video after page break)
Sarah Silverman, that goofy exemplar of comedy so dry it is barren, possesses a steep threshold for hypocrisy.
Silverman finds it repugnant that the family of GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry in the 1980s began renting a hunting camp in Texas with the word "Niggerhead" written on a rock at an entrance to the property. That the word was painted over years ago, according to Perry, does little to assuage Silverman's indignation. (video after page break)
There are times when I'm sickened by what I see so-called journalists do on television.
Sunday was one of those times when Politico's Roger Simon, appearing on CNN's Reliable Sources, said being "a little bit racist perhaps, gives you good bona fides in a Republican primary. It shows them you're on the same side as they are" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
While many on the liberal MSNBC network have attacked Rick Perry's performance in presidential debates, it might be interesting to look back at how one of the network's own cable anchors botched such a performance.
On October 18, 2011, Al Sharpton himself trashed Perry's rhetorical skills: "And then there's Rick Perry, still dancing with the stars, but with every debate his Texas two step is drawing low marks across the country." Yet, on January 22, 2004, while running for the Democratic nomination for President, he confused the Federal Reserve with the International Monetary Fund and struggled through the late Peter Jennings' queries. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
MSNBC analyst Touré, who is a 9/11 truther, appeared on the News Nation show to denounce Rick Perry as a birther. Speaking of the Republican presidential candidate, he slammed, "...I see Trump and the other birthers, Perry, virtually going to the White House and knocking on the door saying can we see your documentation to make sure you are actually an American?"
It's odd that MSNBC would bring on Touré, who believes in a fringe conspiracy theory, to assert that Perry believes in a fringe conspiracy theory. Talking to host Tamron Hall, the analyst wondered why people would believe such weird ideas: "Why are we even wondering, at this point, is Obama really an American?"
In the last election cycle, Rolling Stone was one of the magazines to feature Obama covers repeatedly (one with a God-like aura). This might be the only reason why anyone would suggest to the magazine that Matt Taibbi's unhinged rants (badly disguised as political journalism) that they re-read Obama's speech in Tucson on civility.
The Houston Chronicle offers a handy summary of all of Taibbi's textual tantrums. The article is titled “Rick Perry: The Best Little Whore In Texas” and the subhead is “The Texas governor has one driving passion: selling off government to the highest bidder”. Amanda Russo noted "Taibbi compares the Republican presidential candidate to an undertaker, a prostitute, a male underwear model, a serial killer AND Adolf Hitler. Bet you’ve never seen all those things in one article before."
The New York Times greeted Rick Perry’s “20-20” flat-tax plan with predictable hostility. In Wednesday's “Perry Calls His Flat Tax Proposal ‘Bold Reform,” Richard Oppel Jr. took only two sentences to sniff “the plan would grant a major tax cut for the wealthy”. He also saw it “requiring drastically austere federal budgets,” of the sort we haven’t seen since...well, President Bill Clinton, actually.
MSNBC's Martin Bashir tag-teamed with liberal pundit Jared Bernstein to slam Herman Cain and Rick Perry's tax plans today, insisting that both are a sop to the "rich" and an act of "class warfare" against the middle class. An onscreen bio graphic noted that Bernstein used to work for Vice President Biden, but that fact would go unnoted for any listeners to the program via MSNBC's SiriusXM satellite radio channel.
Also unaddressed by Bashir was that while Cain, Perry and the other GOP candidates are running against the Obama economic record, Bernstein had a hand in fashioning the 2009 stimulus package.
In a January 2009 memo co-authored with then-Obama economic advisor Christina Romer, the pair argued that a stimulus bill would stop the upward march of unemployment at 8 percent in the third quarter of 2009, with unemployment falling throughout 2011 and reaching around 5.5 percent by Election Day 2012 (see graph from that report below the page break).
Appearing on Wednesday's NBC Today, Meet the Press host David Gregory ripped Rick Perry's flat tax proposal: "The problem is, this does help the rich. It hurts a lot of the poor and the middle class. Political professionals I talk to say the problem with the flat tax ideas is that once voters look at it a second or third time they don't like it much." [Audio available here]
Gregory even suggested Republican voters in Iowa would be opposed to the plan: "A lot of voters in the Iowa caucuses are not necessarily rich so it may not stand the test of time." He then added: "And oh, by the way, how do you get it passed when nobody can agree on tax reform right now?" [View video after the jump]
Emmy Award-winning singer and actress Bette Midler offered Tuesday to send Porta-Potties to help Occupy Wall Street protests.
In an interview with Joy Behar on HLN, the multimillionaire also took a cheap shot at the Texas governor saying, "I'm not sure Rick Perry knows where he was born" (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Tuesday reiterated his cartoon view of the Republican Party as a political organization that wants to cause "cruel pain on people" and intends to "get rid" of cops and firefighters.
Highlighting a couple of isolated outbursts at GOP debates, Matthews frothed, "They want more people to fry. They love executions. They want people that don't have insurance to die on the gurney in the hospital bed." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Liberal MSNBC anchor Martin Bashir on Monday compared Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry to former KGB agent Vladimir Putin, citing the fact that both supposedly love guns and "shoot to kill."
After playing a clip of Perry expressing his appreciation for the American tradition of firearms ownership, Bashir bizarrely proclaimed that "Mr. Perry's wild west show calls to mind another world leader. Yes, Vladimir Putin." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Sunday's Meet the Press, host David Gregory teed one up for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that was specifically designed to mock the Republican presidential candidates while allowing her to brag uninterrupted about the foreign policy successes of Barack Obama (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Chris Matthews this weekend made a somewhat self-deprecating comment about presidential candidate Mitt Romney telling the guests on the syndicated program bearing his name that Republicans "don't have a thrill up their leg about this guy."
After some laughter, they agreed (video follows with transcript and commentary):
CBS's Early Show on Wednesday somehow couldn't find time for any Republicans to comment on the most recent GOP presidential debate, and instead, brought on David Axelrod, the chief strategist for President Obama's reelection campaign, to bash the GOP. Anchors Erica Hill and Jeff Glor gave Axelrod the kid glove treatment, instead of pressing him about the issues that may negatively affect the President.
Glor began with the simplest question possible to the presidential advisor: "What did you think of the debate last night? Let's start with that." As one might expect, Axelrod bashed the Republican field in general and Herman Cain, Rick Perry, and Mitt Romney specifically. When the Democrat then singled out the former Massachusetts governor for further criticism, the anchor followed up by asking, "You've had some of your strongest words for Romney. Is he still your primary focus right now?"
Andrea Mitchell's attempt to imply Rick Perry was being racially insensitive, for calling fellow GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain "brother," during Tuesday's Republican debate, was so lame even her NBC colleague Chuck Todd wasn't buying it. Mitchell, on Wednesday's edition of MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports, dredged up the N-Head controversy on Perry as she scolded: "If I were Rick Perry and had that sign or the, the stone that used to be on that, that property I'm not sure I would've gone with the 'brother' stuff, over and over again."
Todd then tried to rein in his NBC colleague as he admonished: "Just very quickly on the 'brother' thing. That's a Southern cultural thing," and reminded her that their "late friend Mr. [Tim] Russert" was also fond of using that term in a friendly way, "He loved to refer to all of us as brother." Even the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza came to Perry's defense as he agreed with Todd and offered: "It sounded to me more like Hulk Hogan saying, 'brother.'" [video after the jump]
A lively GOP debate dissection on today's Morning Joe. Mika Brzezinski really liked Romney's performance, saying among other things that he was "fabulous." She also had surprising praise for Michelle Bachmann.
There was consensus that 9-9-9 was "deboned" and that Herman Cain hurt himself badly with his pre-debate answer on releasing terrorists from Gitmo. Meanwhile, Michael Steele had a striking way of saying that Perry's aggressiveness backfired. Video and more after the jump.
Hours before Republican presidential candidates faced off in Tuesday's debate in Las Vegas, Martin Bashir took a swipe at six of them.
On the MSNBC program bearing his name, the host said that since Mitt Romney is "the inevitable candidate," the rest of the contestants are auditioning "for future employment" at Fox News (video follows with transcript and commentary):
This afternoon, Associated Press Religion Writer Rachel Zoll devoted over 1,600 words to "dominionism," spending much of it attempting to cast Rick Perry as their guy, even though, as she admitted, "Perry has never said anything that would directly link him to dominionism." Oh, but he's sorta said some things that might hint at such sympathies, and he's been on stage with people who are supposedly "dominionists." Zoll even cited MSNBC's Rachel Maddow as a supposedly authoritative source.