White House press secretary Robert Gibbs made the rounds of the six broadcast and cable morning news shows on Tuesday morning to help set the table for the President’s speech marking the end of major combat operations in Iraq. Of the six network anchors Gibbs spoke with, only CBS’s Harry Smith failed to ask whether President Obama would extend credit to President Bush for the successful surge strategy (a strategy then-Senator Obama denigrated as futile).
ABC’s George Stephanopoulos recited House GOP Leader John Boehner’s dig at politicians who “fought tooth-and-nail to stop the surge strategy,” and then rejected Gibbs claim that Boehner’s was “made up history.” NBC’s Matt Lauer recited Obama’s own words to Gibbs: "I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq are gonna solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse."
There's a phrase that has been conspicuously absent the media's coverage of the recent flap between White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and those he dubbed the "professional left": civil war. In contrast, media coverage of Republican infighting consistently pushes the term.
Gibbs is under fire from the left for sharply criticizing liberal critics of President Obama saying that "they need to be drug-tested" and "will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we've eliminated the Pentagon. That's not reality."
His comments have drawn heated criticism from the left. Democratic firebrand Rep. Alan Grayson, Fla., wants "Bozo the Spokesman" fired. Prominent activist and blogger Jane Hamsher claimed Obama is "having trouble across the board" with liberals. Lefties at the Daily Kos and Democratic Underground were frantic.
Yet almost no "civil war" labels from the media, in contrast to coverage of other instances of intra-party squabbling. The ouster of Dede Scozzafava in the special election in New York's 23rd District earned the "civil war" label 23 times from major media players, according to a Nexis search.
Juan Williams on Sunday said the passage of Missouri's anti-ObamaCare ballot initiative last week is irrelevant because only older white people voted for it.
Discussing the issue on "Fox News Sunday," the liberal FNC contributor said, "As far as the Missouri vote, you get 70 percent inside an echo chamber of older white people, no not in St. Louis not in Kansas City, saying, 'Oh yeah, we don't like a requirement that everybody has to have healthcare even though the hospitals in Missouri say it's gonna drive up our costs.'"
Host Chris Wallace seemed somewhat stunned by this and asked, "What happened to respect for democracy?"
When Williams elaborated saying that he believes this will eventually be decided by the courts, Liz Cheney rightly scolded her colleague, "I think it is stunning you and the White House are unwilling to heed the votes of the people in Missouri" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Robert Gibbs on Friday appeared on all three network morning shows, as well as Fox News, MSNBC and CNN, but only FNC quizzed the White House press secretary about whether the White House would try and force immigration reform without Congress.
Co-host Steve Doocy challenged, "There are some memos circulating...up on Capitol Hill, and probably at the White House as well, about how the administration is exploring the way to get around Congress by using discretionary authority to allow people who are in the country illegally to stay in the country."
When Gibbs dodged the question, Doocy pressed the subject: "Robert, if you haven't seen the memo, do you know whether or nor there is that talk? To use discretionary authority on the part of the administration to get around Congress to allow people who are in the country now illegally to stay?" All of the other cable and network morning shows ignored the topic.
What is it with this White House and publicly calling out conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh?
If you recall, back in January 2009 President Barack Obama told Republican congressional leaders to quit listening to Limbaugh if they wanted to get things done. It's happened once again. During the White House daily press briefing on July 29, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs took another couple of jabs Limbaugh - this time over the auto manufacturer bailout. In responding to a question concerning charges of "socialism," Gibbs went right after Limbaugh.
"Look, I'll say this - Rush Limbaugh and others wanted to walk away," Gibbs said. "Rush Limbaugh and others saw a million people that work at these factories that worked at these part suppliers that supported communities and thought that we should all just walk away. The president didn't think that walking away from a million jobs in these communities made a lot of economic sense."
Radio listeners and cable viewers, rest assured -- Ed Schultz is on the side of the angels when it comes to integrity, he strenuously reminds us.
The liberal radio host and MSNBC action hero spent much of his radio show yesterday venting about the Shirley Sherrod uproar and denouncing Andrew Breitbart and Fox News for their alleged role in Sherrod's abrupt firing.
Here's a holier-than-thou Schultz proclaiming his own purity (click here for audio) --
SCHULTZ: What we have here is a manufactured story, cooked up and promoted by the right wing that work across the street, supplied by a hate merchant, Breitbart, and Hannity, sold as a racial hate story and clearly a White House that overreacted without all of the facts. It is so unlike President Barack Obama to act like this.
Operator, oh could you help me place this call? You see the number on the matchbook is old and faded. Jim Croce, 'Operator,' 1972
The Obama administration, the folks that want to run our health care and who knows how much else of our economy and our lives, can't get a simple phone call through to one of its former officials.
In this afternoon's press conference, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs repeatedly said that the Obama administration, through the person of its Agriculture Secretary, has tried but failed to have a phone conversation with Shirley Sherrod, the USDA official it forced out yesterday.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs has evaded answering the question of whether President Barack Obama agrees with Dr. Donald Berwick, his newly appointed administrator of Medicare and Medicaid, who has insisted that health-care systems must redistribute wealth.
"Excellent health care is by definition redistributional," Berwick said in a speech delivered on July 1, 2008.
When asked directly at the July 7 White House press briefing whether Obama agreed with this, Gibbs would not answer the question. Instead, he parried it with jocular statements about the provenance of the quote.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs made the rounds on the network morning shows on Tuesday, ahead of President Obama's prime time Oval Office address on the Gulf oil spill. While he had confrontational interviews on CBS's Early Show and NBC's Today, on ABC's Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos made sure Gibbs's appearance was low-stress.
Stephanopoulos kept the questions bland, giving Gibbs plenty of room to maneuver, and made little effort to press the White House spokesman on the administration's response: "...the President struck a pretty hopeful note yesterday, but experts say this spill will change the ecosystem for a generation....Are they right?...So does the President believe that basically all the oil will stop spilling into the Gulf by the end of June?...Is it fair to conclude from that, that this is the most significant crisis the President has faced?"
By contrast, on CBS's Early Show, co-host Harry Smith began by quoting Florida Senator Bill Nelson saying there was "no command and control" during the crisis and asking Gibbs: "How has this President's most recent trip to the Gulf, how is that going to change any of this?" Smith later wondered why local authorities weren't being allowed to take charge of cleanup efforts, to which Gibbs replied: "I think that's what's happening in almost every instance." Smith quickly interrupted: "...it may sound like it from where you are, but from where we have heard on the other end, it sure doesn't feel like it."
NBC's Andrea Mitchell took up the cause of the White House in admonishing Big Labor for wasting their money on trying to defeat Arkansas Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln in the primary there, as she echoed their concern, on Thursday's Andrea Mitchell Reports, that organized labor essentially aided Republican John Boozman's chances to win in the general election. Mitchell invited on AFSCME President Gerry McEntee to, in essence, reprimand Big Labor's decision to support Lincoln's opponent Bill Halter, when their money could have been better spent on electing Democrats elsewhere, as she scolded: "Why invest so heavily and embarrass the White House here?" [audio available here]
The following is a complete transcript of the exchange as it was aired on the June 10 edition of MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports:
The obfuscation displayed by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Tuesday, in refusing to address factual contradictions in the Joe Sestak job offer storyline, is so obvious that even MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Wednesday night showcased a “kerfuffle” between Gibbs and CNSNews.com's Fred Lucas who dared to point out a Congressman cannot serve in the un-paid board position reportedly offered to Sestak if he refrained from running against Senator Arlen Specter.
Matthews declared of Gibbs, who wouldn't go beyond repeated “I'd refer to the memo” deflections: “That is a big case of bluffing and BS.”
An hour later on FNC, columnist Charles Krauthammer marveled: “The indifference of the press to what the White House issued last Friday [is] really quite remarkable. This statement is Swiss cheese. It's got holes in it all over the place and it doesn't add up.”
Helen Thomas was her typical, Israel-hating self Tuesday when during the White House press briefing, she called the previous day's flotilla incident a "deliberate massacre, an international crime."
When she got her chance to ask White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs a question at the proceeding, Thomas was relentless in her accusations.
"If any other nation in the world had done it, we would have been up in arms," she said.
"What is the sacrosanct, iron-clad relationship where a country that deliberately kills people and boycotts -- and we aid and abet the boycott?" (video follows with transcript and commentary, h/t Hot Air's Allahpundit):
Doesn't everyone remember in 2005 when George W. Bush's Press Secretary Scott McClellan (bless his back-stabbing heart) called reporters into the West Wing of the White House and scolded them for asking too many questions about Hurricane Katrina? That followed a similar admonishment earlier in the year about the press's obsession with anything and everything to do with the Iraq War.
You don't remember those things? That's because they didn't happen. Oh sure, someone will be able to find examples of McClellan, as well as successors Tony Snow (RIP) and Dana Perino occasionally expressing irritation with reporters for their silly and/or repeat questions on these and other subjects. But summoning them to the West Wing for a beatdown? Hardly.
That's what Obama administration Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is said to have done last Friday with White House reporters. Here's the full text of audio that can be heard at Breitbart; a somewhat expanded text report, along with a the continually updated original graphic screen-grabbed and incorporated into the image at the top right, are at Capitol News Connection:
Bill O'Reilly on Wednesday said the Obama administration has started a new war with Fox News.
"As you may remember, the President and his team harshly criticized Fox News last fall for not being fair. And that led to a vigorous back and forth between the FNC troop and the White House, which of course jazzed our ratings up a bit. Then things kind of died down."
After White House press secretary Robert Gibbs' childish attack on FNC's Wendell Goler Tuesday, O'Reilly thinks the ceasefire has officially ended.
"The lingering issue is that Fox News is by far the toughest media outlet on President Obama, and he doesn't like it" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Fox News's Neil Cavuto on Wednesday struck back at Robert Gibbs for his "botched White House presser."
On Tuesday, the White House press secretary took exception with Cavuto inviting former FEMA director Michael Brown on the previous day's "Your World" to offer a conspiracy theory about the Obama administration's response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
As NewsBusters reported, Gibbs badly misstated what Brown said during the interview as he chastised Fox's Wendell Goler who had absolutely nothing to do with it.
On Wednesday, Cavuto corrected the press secretary while setting the record straight (video follows with transcript):
A rather strange thing happened Tuesday when Fox News's Wendell Goler tried asking Robert Gibbs a question at the afternoon briefing: he got scolded by the White House press secretary for an interview Neil Cavuto did with former FEMA director Michael Brown the previous day.
To set this up, Brown on FNC's "Your World" said he felt the White House intentionally delayed action on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in order to advance Obama's green agenda.
"This president has never supported big oil," said Brown. "He has never supported offshore drilling. And now he has an excuse to shut it back down."
With this clearly on his mind, Gibbs was armed for bear Tuesday when Goler began his question, "As for critics who are calling this...President Obama's Katrina" (videos and partial transcripts below the fold with commentary, file photo, h/t Hot Air):
Although to ask this question is to invite with a good degree of criticism, it is still worth asking: Is Obama administration's approach to publicly reprimanding private industry cause for concern?
On CNBC's May 4 "Squawk Box," host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera raised this point and asked Washington correspondent John Harwood if White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs' recent statement BP was a little overboard.
"The spokesperson says, quote, ‘We're going to keep our boot on the throats of BP,'" Caruso-Cabrera said. "How is the Business Council going to react to that when they see President Obama?"
Harwood, who often goes easy on the Obama administration, wasn't so quick to criticize Gibbs for this. His explanation was that it was a little "hostile," but repeated Gibbs' suggestion it was just a regional saying.
"If you’re a fan of Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh, try reading a few columns on the Huffington Post website."
So said President Barack Obama in his commencement address to the University of Michigan 2010 graduates Saturday.
"If we choose only to expose ourselves to opinions and viewpoints that are in line with our own, studies suggest that we will become more polarized, more set in our ways," ironically said the President.
"But if we choose to actively seek out information that challenges our assumptions and our beliefs, perhaps we can begin to understand where the people who disagree with us are coming from."
Obama then gave some examples to the audience (video follows - courtesy The Right Scoop - with transcript and commentary, h/t our old friend Ian Schwartz, photo courtesy AP):
In his regular online chat at washingtonpost.com, Post media reporter Howard Kurtz responded to a question about Obama holding more press conferences to give the people "an ongoing view of his intellect, grasp of issues, and moderate temperament and views," but he seems to have "little, if any respect" for the press corps. Kurtz responded:
My sense is that the president respects the mainstream media but has little patience for cable food-fight shows, inflammatory bloggers or conservative radio talk show hosts (he has criticized Rush, Glenn and Sean by name several times).
That sounds like "Obama has little patience for shows and blogs which are willing to challenge his mythic status and suggest he's neither experienced nor wise." Kurtz continued:
When interviewing White House press secretary Robert Gibbs on Sunday's edition of Reliable Sources on CNN, host Howard Kurtz suggested Bret Baier's interview with President Obama was an "interrupt-a-thon," as if the proper role of a journalist is to allow 90 seconds for each answer. It sounded like a CNN host attacking the other team, or simply like a softball question:
KURTZ: Let me ask you about Fox. The White House campaign against Fox News, did that end when Fox's Bret Baier was invited into the Oval Office, who a lot of people have called the interrupt-a-thon interview?
GIBBS: Well, I'll let Fox determine whether or not they got out of that interview what they wanted to get out of it based on the fact that -- I mean, I think the uniqueness of having an interview with the president is getting a chance to sit as close as we are and getting that insight. I mean, he could -- this was the last interview the president did before something as historic as health care passed.
On Tuesday's front page, Washington Post reporter Jason Horowitz reported press secretary Robert Gibbs will eventually be promoted out of that pedestrian job of White House press secretary and become a senior strategist. Team Obama's disdain for their press enablers was a given:
By and large, positive coverage has always been a fact of life in the Obama universe, so it's not surprising that the administration's press secretary, especially one who is personally close to the president, is less interested in wooing the reporters in the room than sparring with them.
Horowitz noted some terse exchanges from several weeks ago between Gibbs and the network correspondents, but suggested that the press was increasingly "anachronistic" and irrelevant and Gibbs' job was "less lofty" than it used to be:
The former Chairman of the California Democratic Party was for some reason treated as a journalist during yesterday's White House press briefing, and used the opportunity to smear a prominent conservative blogger.
Bill Press, who chaired the California Democratic Party for a few years in the 1990s, and who now hosts a radio talk show, demonstrated his total lack of serious journalistic credibility at yesterday's briefing.
He misquoted RedState's Erick Erickson to make it seem as if he was encouraging the listeners of his radio show to not fill out the Census, and tried to turn Erickson's statement into an attack on CNN, who recently hired Erickson as a political correspondent.
Monday’s Washington Post should be retitled Washington Happy Talk. Topping the right side of the page is the headline "Democrats upbeat on health-care bill" and below that, the headline "Obama priority shift could help his party." This is quite a shift from the gloom-and-doom days of President Bush.
The first story, by Post reporter Dan Eggen, noted the obvious point that votes are still lacking, but he played up what he called "the most optimistic talk" on the Sunday shows. Well, not exactly. He reported White House spokesman Robert Gibbs "declared ‘this is the climactic week for health-care reform.’"
But Gibbs was bolder than that. On CBS, he promised that by next Sunday, "[We]'ll be talking about the House having passed that proposal and us being a signature away from health care reform in this country."
Eggen used to be a Justice Department reporter pounding away at what liberals considered the Bush administration’s war on the Constitution. But this is all he could muster on the "Slaughter solution" talk in paragraph 15:
Helen Thomas on Friday asked White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs why the United States keeps giving iron-clad commitments to Israel when it violates international law?
Gibbs responded during the press briefing, "Well, again, we enjoy a strong relationship with the country and the people. We are committed to their security."
Giving what the late Tony Snow marvelously referred to as "The Hezbollah View," Thomas challenged the man at the podium, "How about the Palestinian security?" (video embedded below the fold with transcript, h/t HotAirPundit):
ABC's George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday showed little interest in grilling Robert Gibbs over serious allegations made by a Democratic Congressman. Talking to the White House press secretary, the Good Morning America host could only manage a single question: "[Representative Massa has] made very specific and pointed charges against Rahm Emanuel, Democratic leaders in the House. What's the White House response?"
And that was it. Stephanopoulos simply moved on to health care. He didn't ask about allegations that a naked Emanuel once approached Massa in the shower of the House gym and screamed at him. Further, wondering about "the White House response" is a very weak question. How about, "Are the charges true?" or "Did the White House pressure Massa to resign?"
Later in the piece, the GMA anchor asked if President Obama would be "willing to negotiate new language" with Congressman Bart Stupak over the issue of abortion and the health care bill. When Gibbs asserted, "This is not a bill about abortion," Stephanopoulos again offered no challenge. He simply accepted the declaration and moved on.
Comedian Joy Behar is known for saying some pretty absurd things on television, but her comment on Wednesday's "The View" was nothing less than disgraceful.
When co-host Barbara Walters brought up the issue of Sarah Palin, and how White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs had made a joke to the press pool by writing some notes on his hand, a rather heated discussion broke out with lone conservative Elisabeth Hasselbeck making the case that such behavior is beneath the office of the President.
"When the Press Secretary is up there being the mouthpiece for the White House during a time of crisis like we've been in for so long, don't make a joke and write on your hand. You are the Press Secretary of the White House."
This didn't sit well with Behar who actually responded (video embedded below the fold, h/t Story Balloon):
Previewing the State of the Union on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith spoke with former White House Communications Director Anita Dunn, who claimed the GOP “made a decision a year ago that they weren’t going to cooperate on anything.” Smith replied: “I don’t think you can say what you just said and look at what happened with health care, especially in the last month, and be honest about it.”
Dunn, who just recently stepped down as communications director to the Obama White House, disregarded Smith’s challenge:
Harry, I disagree with that, mostly because I was working at the White House for most of this time. And I saw how many meetings with Republicans, how many attempts to reach out, how much time was spent listening to their concerns. An entire summer spent giving a lot of room to a bipartisan process which ultimately Republicans walked away from, even as their leaders from day one announced that they were going to kill health care no matter what was in the bill.
It seems that few if any events in political history has caused such a rapid meltdown among the media and the Democrats as last week's election of Scott Brown as senator from Massachusetts. And a prime example of the many meltdowns now happening is an off-camera exchange between Ed Schultz of MSNBC and White House press secretary Robert Gibbs in which Big Ed told the latter that he was "full of sh*t." Here is Schultz describing the encounter in this video:
I know it’s being recorded, but I wasn’t told it was off the record but Mr. Gibbs and I had quite the conversation off the air the other night. And I’m gonna tell ya, I told him he was full of sh*t is what I told him. I mean I did. And then he gave me the Dick Cheney f-bomb the same way Sen. Leahy got it on the Senate floor. So I told Robert Gibbs, I said, and I’m sorry you’re swearing at me but I’m just trying to help you out. I’m telling you you’re losing your base. Do you understand that you’re losing your base? And that the American people, they don't want public option. The American people want single payer.
But according to "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace, efforts to spin this in a positive way are futile. Wallace appeared on the Fox Business Network's Jan. 21 "Imus in the Morning" program to explain their efforts to alter the news coverage to a favorable tone in the wake of this news is not the proper course of action.
"I think it means a big deal and I have to laugh, you know, somebody was saying yesterday, there's some events that are just un-spinable," Wallace said. "They're just too big, too dramatic, too obvious - you can't spin them and yet the White House clearly is trying to spin this."
President Obama returned to populist rhetoric Jan. 14 when he announced a $90 billion tax on roughly 50 large banks, supposedly to recoup "every single dime" of the TARP dollars used to rescue the financial sector.
Nevermind that a number of those banks including Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley already repaid their TARP debts with interest and were forced to take the money in the first place.
Just recently BB&T's former CEO John Allison, who "adamantly opposed" TARP, told Fox Business viewers how the government strong-armed banks like his, that didn't need loans into taking money anyway.
Now Obama wants to assess billions of dollars in yearly "fees" on those firms. Talk about a raw deal.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the six largest banks - Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup Inc., Bank of America, and Wells Fargo & Co. - will bear most of the burden for this punitive bank tax if it is approved by Congress. The tax bill for each bank would range from more than $1 billion to more than $2.4 billion per year for 10 years the Journal said.
Obama claims the 10-year Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee isn't a "punishment," but the timing and tone of his announcement suggest revenge, not policy.