Update [12:20 ET]: More analysis and full transcript added.
In an interview with former White House press secretary and Obama campaign advisor Robert Gibbs on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer fretted over a report showing "the rich are getting richer" and pleaded: "So what responsibility does President Obama have in terms of dealing with income distribution in this country?" [Audio available here]
Lauer began his push from the left by explaining: "Some of these young people are the same young people who are occupying parks across the country and they're out there protesting Wall Street. They're also protesting the White House." [View video after the jump]
In an interview with former press secretary and current Obama campaign advisor Robert Gibbs on Sunday's Meet the Press, substitute host Savannah Guthrie pushed the President from the left: "If the President thinks more should be done, if he thinks there should be more stimulus, why doesn't he just go for broke? Why doesn't he go out there and ask for it, make a case for it?"
Guthrie worried that Obama was "pre-settling" and that, "He's making a political calculus about what he thinks might be able to pass and not getting out there and fighting for what he thinks is best of the economy." Gibbs responded: "...the President's going to fight for exactly what he believes is best for the economy because he's done that every single day he's been president. But you just mentioned it, Savannah. What can get through Congress?"
During an interview with former Obama Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer wondered: "How does the President get this excitement going again surrounding his re-election bid so that he can keep this office?" Throughout the segment, the headline on screen read: "Beyond Hope and Change; How Can President Regain Magic of 2008?"
In response to Lauer, Gibbs claimed: "First and foremost, the President is not focused on keeping his job. Most of all, he's focused on creating jobs for the American people." Gibbs also used the opportunity to bash the GOP: "The Republicans are going to have to make a choice. Are they going to swear allegiance to the Tea Party or are they going to work on behalf of the United States of America?"
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs appeared on all three major morning shows, on Wednesday, and was pressed by ABC, CBS and NBC's anchors about whether or not the President would fold and compromise with the Republicans on keeping the Bush era tax cuts in place - but it was the Today show's Meredith Vieira that hit him the strongest question from the left as she asked Gibbs what kind of "message" would Barack Obama "send to his base" if he doesn't raise taxes on the wealthy, adding, "many of whom already wonder what happened to the fighter they elected president?"
Vieira began her interview with Gibbs by noting that, according to her NBC colleague Chuck Todd, White House officials were "privately conceding that the President will bend on this tax issue" and that would include "tax cuts for every one, including the very wealthy" and continued to repeatedly push Gibbs to say if Obama would support tax increases on the rich, something Matt Lauer also did in his interview yesterday morning with Republican Congressman Eric Cantor.
Over on ABC's Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos bolstered the left's soak the rich line as he tried to get Gibbs to reassure Obama's base: "You just said extending the tax cuts for the wealthy is a line in the sand. Does that mean the President would veto any bill that extends the tax cuts for the wealthy?"
Former Clinton operative George Stephanopoulos on Wednesday hyped a call for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to resign over the revelations in the WikiLeaks release. While talking to Robert Gibbs, the GMA host quoted Jack Shafer of Slate: "Diplomacy is about face. And the only way for other nations to save face will be to give them Clinton's scalp."
The attack on the wife of his former boss may seem out of character for Stephanopoulos, but it still came from a default liberal perspective. The anchor began his badgering of Gibbs by noting, "...The State Department brushed off this call by Julian Assange for Hillary Clinton to resign. But Assange is not alone."
Continuing to recite from Shafer's article, he lectured the White House Press Secretary: "There's no way that the new WikiLeaks leaks don't leave Hillary Clinton holding the smoking gun. Sooner or later, the weakened and humiliated Secretary of State will have to pay."
Call it Chuck Todd's Profile In Pusillanimity . . .
Given a chance to express his personal opinion of White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, Todd--NBC's chief WH correspondent--mumbled, stuttered, stumbled and ultimately punted, saying it was "an awkward thing."
Chuck's duck-and-cover came during a Morning Joe segment today devoted to analyzing Gibbs in light of a GQ article about him by Robert Draper, who appeared on the show. After Draper, Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough gave their brief takes on Gibbs, Scarborough offered the floor to Todd . . . who proceeded to give his best deer-in-the-headlights impersonation. View video here.
Do the science writers and political reporters at the Associated Press ever compare notes? Based on their divergent coverage of stem cell research, it seems doubtful.
On Sunday, AP science writer Milan Rising reported that a Japanese scientist was under probable consideration to win this year's Nobel Prize in medicine:
A Japanese researcher who discovered how to make stem cells from ordinary skin cells and avoid the ethical quandaries of making them from human eggs could be a candidate for the medicine award when the 2010 Nobel Prize announcements kick off Monday, experts said.
Several prominent Nobel guessers have pointed to Kyoto University Professor Shinya Yamanaka as a potential winner of the coveted award.
Though the prize, announced this morning, went to another gentleman, the question remains: How could this be? As a court case over President Obama's executive order permitting federal funding of embryonic stem cell research has been progressing through its various appeals during the past several weeks, AP's political writers have been giving readers the clear impression that it is the research involving the destruction of human embryos that holds the real promise of scientific progress. Uh, not exactly. In fact, not at all.
It is truly remarkable to observe how press outlets continue to misreport and misinform the public in the area of stem cell research.
One of the latest examples came yesterday at the Associated Press. In a report covering a court ruling on government funding of embryonic stem cell research (ESCR), the AP's Nedra Pickler completely failed to acknowledge that there are any other kinds of stem cells. Every single use by Pickler of the terms "stem cell" or "stem cells" has no modifying adjective, except the very first, whose modifier is "embryonic."
It's as if there are no other avenues besides ESCR for "scientific progress toward potentially lifesaving medical treatment." In fact, Pickler's less-informed readers would have no reason to believe that there is any form of stem cell research besides ESCR. The reality, which will be shown later for the umpteenth time, is that non-embryonic stem cells, often referred to as adult stem cells, have already shown that they can do virtually everything embryonic cells can with far less potential for side effects and, of course, no loss of human life. The word "adult" does not appear in the AP report.
Here are several paragraphs from Pickler's pathetic piece, which also includes a deeply deceptive quote (is there any other kind?) from Obama White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs (bold is mine):
CBS's Bob Schieffer on Sunday bashed the White House for how it responded to House Minority Leader John Boehner's (R-Oh.) tax cut comment uttered on "Face the Nation" a week ago.
As readers are likely aware, Boehner made news - if not friends amongst conservatives! - by telling Schieffer that if the only thing that came out of the House was an extension of the Bush tax cuts for all but folks that make $250,000 or more per year, he would grudgingly support it.
After reading the White House's official response to Boehner during this Sunday's final segment - "Time will tell if his actions will be anything but continued support for the failed policies that got us into this mess" - Schieffer scolded, "I can remember when the first move by a president like Lyndon Johnson or maybe a smart aide in the Eisenhower White House would not have been a snarky press release."
"I`m guessing LBJ would have been on the phone to Boehner in five minutes after seeing him on TV saying something like, if you`re serious, why don`t you come over here quietly and we`ll try to work out something good for both of us and the folks out there," continued Schieffer.
"As we saw, no chance it could happen today. And we`re right back to the partisan war" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Friday, Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz wrote a "White House rips Forbes" article. Dinesh D'Souza has drawn a "torrent of criticism" for writing that President Obama is motivated by his African father's "anti-colonial" views, Kurtz wrote, but emphasized how the White House is training its fire on Forbes magazine for publishing it, suggesting it's un-factual. Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs asserted "It's a stunning thing, to see a publication you would see in a dentist's office, so lacking in truth and fact." (Has he read Newsweek?)
This isn't about "facts," it's about spins. D'Souza can be accused of putting the president on a psychoanalyst's couch about his father. (As if the media never did this for George W. Bush.) D'Souza shot back to Kurtz that it's simply a fact that the president had a Kenyan father. But Kurtz went into Gibbs-echoing rebuttal mode:
The facts are also these: Obama Sr. abandoned the family when his son was 2, and the future president saw his father only one more time, during a visit in Hawaii when he was 10. Obama Sr. died in 1982.
Gibbs says the Forbes attack comes at a time when there is "no limit to innuendo" against the president, including baseless charges that he is a Muslim and was not born in the United States. Forbes, he says, "left the facts on the cutting-room floor."
The midterm election campaign is now in full swing, and with Democrats looking at historic losses in Congress, the folks at the New York Times did their job by publishing a front page hit piece on House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Oh.) Sunday:
He maintains especially tight ties with a circle of lobbyists and former aides representing some of the nation's biggest businesses, including Goldman Sachs, Google, Citigroup, R. J. Reynolds, MillerCoors and UPS.
They have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to his campaigns, provided him with rides on their corporate jets, socialized with him at luxury golf resorts and waterfront bashes and are now leading fund-raising efforts for his Boehner for Speaker campaign, which is soliciting checks of up to $37,800 each, the maximum allowed. [...]
The woman he hopes to replace, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, derided him on Friday as having met "countless times with special-interest lobbyists in an effort to stop tough legislation" that would regulate corporations and protect consumers. And the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, through a spokeswoman, charged that he "epitomizes the smoked-filled, backroom, special-interest deal making that turns off voters about Washington."
So marvelous a hit job was done by Eric Lipton that Obama's Press Secretary Robert Gibbs sent four consecutive messages on Sunday to his 93,000 followers on Twitter:
In 2005, NBC and MSNBC and CNN were up in arms that conservative “Jeff Gannon” was allowed into the White House briefing room by Team Bush to ask “questions other reporters considered softballs.” Up until now, liberal talk-radio hosts like Ed Schultz have been seated in the front row of Obama press conferences, but they didn’t ask softball questions. On Thursday, it happened. Liberal radio host Bill Press asked press secretary Robert Gibbs to denounce Glenn Beck’s attacks on the president’s “committed Christianity.”
BILL PRESS: Robert, over the last four days, Glenn Beck has criticized the president for believing in liberation theology, which he calls a Marxist form of Christianity. Two questions, Does the president, in your knowledge, even know what liberation theology is?
ROBERT GIBBS: I don’t know the answer to that. I will say this, Bill, um, a crude paraphrasing of an old quote, and that is, people are entitled to their own opinion, as ill-informed as it may be, but they’re not entitled to their own facts. The president is a committed, mainstream Christian. I don’t, I have no evidence that would guide me, as to what [whether?] Glenn Beck would have any genuine knowledge as to what the president does and does not believe.
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):