On a day largely devoted to remembering Margaret Thatcher, one of the 20th century's greatest conservatives, would it really have been too much for Morning Joe to have had on at least one conservative guest to discuss her legacy? Apparently, yes.
Morning Joe's lineup of political guests today leaned 100% left: Jon Meacham, Al Hunt, Cokie Roberts, Sen. Tim Kaine, former Obama aides Robert Gibbs and Melody Barnes, Tony Blair, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Mayor Michael Nutter, Eugene Robinson, Maureen Orth and Joe Klein. Joe Scarborough sometimes like to boast in such circumstances that his presence more than counterbalances the liberal avalanche. But on the major political issue of the day, gun control, Scarborough was just one more voice among many ripping Republicans for their opposition to President Obama's proposals. More after the jump.
Charlie Rose led Monday's CBS This Morning by hyping the allegedly catastrophic effect of the sequester during a promo for a report from correspondent Major Garrett: "Kids without vaccines; schools without teachers; and massive airport delays – we'll show you the worst-case scenario for government spending cuts."
Garrett himself could have been mistaken for an Obama administration flack as he devoted much of the segment to publicizing the White House's bombast about the impending $85 billion in spending cuts. He uncritically forwarded the administration's hype about the general and local effect of the cuts, which are set to take effect on March 1:
As we've noted here at NewsBusters, the Washington Post's Laura Vozzella has done her level best to attack Virginia's new strict abortion clinic regulations. Today was no exception as the Post staffer jumped on the chance to cast a Democrat-appointed health official's resignation in protest of the new regs as a move that has "provoked an outcry among the medical community." However the doctor that Vozzella quoted to represent the entire medical professional in the Old Line State is a Democratic donor whose primary place of medical practice is a Planned Parenthood clinic in Richmond.
In her October 19 front-pager "Virginia health official resigns: Abortion clinic rules cited," Vozzella noted how "Virginia's health commissioner" Karen Remley -- a 2008 appointee of then-Gov. Tim Kaine who was retained by Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) -- "abruptly stepped down Thursday over new regulations requiring abortion facilities to meet strict, hospital-style building standards that many clinics contend they cannot afford." Later in her story, Vozzella turned to one Wendy Klein, whom she simply told readers was "an internist and retired Virginia Commonwealth University medical professor who has spoken against the building rules."
The editors of the Washington Post have, yet again, shown their extreme dislike for George Allen. Less than three weeks before Virginia's crucial Senate election, the liberal paper offered front page profiles of Republican Allen and Democrat Tim Kaine. On Friday, the Post's headline sympathetically declared: "A Man of Faith and Practical Politics: While Running for Senate in Virginia, Kaine Finds Time to Wrestle With His Conscience." (The paper endorsed Kaine on Monday.)
The headline for Thursday's profile announced, "A Humbler, More Cautious Allen." Not surprisingly, the Post dredged up Allen's 2006 "macaca" remark. Marc Fisher reminded that six years ago, Allen "found himself portrayed in news reports and voters’ minds as a colossally insensitive brute, a senator who publicly slurred an Indian American man who was working for his opponent at a campaign event, calling him 'macaca.'" The above description came from the third paragraph and made it onto page A1.
Patricia Zengerle's coverage of U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine at Reuters assumes that the Democratic former Virginia Governor committed the mother of all gaffes today. I'm not so sure. It may be that David Corn's secret video of Mitt Romney commenting on the 47 percent of Americans who pay no income taxes and are dependent on the government is sending polling data in the opposite direction from what was intended and is starting to rattle Democrats.
Washington Post reporter Ben Pershing dropped a very bizarre sentence into his Virginia election roundup on the front page of Wednesday's Metro section. Sen. George Allen won the right to attempt and regain his seat against former Gov. Tim Kaine, and Kaine "quickly made clear how he would run against Allen in their head-to-head matchup." I simply could not believe the audacity of what followed.
“Voters already had the chance to experience George Allen’s vision during his last term in the Senate, which turned record surpluses into massive deficits, added trillions to our debt, and put opportunity for a select few ahead of opportunity for all our businesses and families,” Kaine said in a statement Tuesday night. “George Allen’s approach helped create our economic mess; Virginians can’t afford six more years.”
Today's Washington Post devoted an 8-paragraph editorial to slamming "Virginia's abortion end run," worrying that "poor African Americans and Hispanics" in the Old Dominion will have a harder go of killing their unborn children thanks to recently-issued Board of Health regulations on the state's abortion clinics.
[Last Friday, you may recall, Post staffer Anita Kumar gave readers a skewed portrayal of the hearing in which the regs were adopted.]
The Post dismissed as unprincipled and slippery the manner with which pro-life state legislators had pushed through a law that would require the Old Dominion's abortion clinics to be regulated like hospitals:
Andrea Mitchell invited on DNC Chairman Tim Kaine, on Tuesday's Andrea Mitchell Reports, to announce the Democrats have picked Charlotte, North Carolina to host their 2012 convention but the MSNBC host couldn't resist hitting Kaine from the left as she scolded Democrats for selecting a right-to-work state. Mitchell, taking up for Big Labor, even challenged Kaine: "I defy you to find a labor hotel for these delegates, for all the AFL-CIO folks coming to Charlotte."
The following exchange was aired on the February 1 edition of Andrea Mitchell Reports:
In an interview with Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine on Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith seemed to lament the deal to extend current tax rates and wondered: "...this gets extended...assume the economy's much better two years from now, assume you still have a Republican-dominated Congress, there's any chance that these taxes ever going to go back into effect?"
Smith's use of the phrase "back into effect" suggests that the higher tax rates prior to the Bush-era cuts were the natural appropriate levels. In a report prior to the interview, senior White House correspondent Bill Plante continued to push the idea that the deal would cut taxes rather than simply maintain current rates: "The biggest sticking points for House Democrats: the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for families making more than $250,000 a year. And the agreement on the estate tax, which would raise the inheritance amount exempted from tax from 3.5 million to 5 million and reduce the tax rate from 2009 by 10 points."
Plante made no mention of the fact that the 2010 estate tax rate is zero and that any inheritance tax in 2011 would be an increase. As NewsBusters' Scott Whitlock reported on Thursday, all three networks have inaccurately reported on the issue.
With less than two weeks to go before the midterm elections, NBC's Ann Curry on Wednesday's Today show, invited on DNC Chairman Tim Kaine to make his case and seemingly pleaded "What are you going to do, over the next 13 days...to convince voters to keep Democrats in charge?" Curry even questioned Kaine why Barack Obama hadn't energized his base earlier, specifically the youth vote, as she pressed: "If these young voters are so important...was it a mistake not to woo them sooner?" Curry then went on to quote former George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove, who pointed out the Tea Party was still maturing as a movement, as she asked the former governor of Virginia "If the Tea party is not sophisticated, then why is it so difficult for your party, to convince voters otherwise?"
The following is the full interview with Tim Kaine as it was aired on the October 20 Today show:
Just a day after NBC's Matt Lauer engaged in a rough interview with Republican New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, Lauer engaged in a much more friendly chat, with DNC chairman Tim Kaine as he helpfully asked the former Virginia Governor, on Wednesday's Today show, what Democrats could do to best "chip away"at the GOP's lead in the polls and "counter" their messages. Lauer also jumped at the chance to ask Kaine about a rumor that Hillary Clinton may join Barack Obama on the 2012 ticket as he prodded Kaine: "Any reason why that would kind of get your juices flowing?"
The following is the full interview with Kaine as it was aired on the October 6 Today show:
In a discussion of the midterm elections on Sunday's Face the Nation, CBS host Bob Schieffer asked members of his political panel a total of seven questions, six of which highlighted Republican difficulties, only one of which actually raised the problems for the Democrats in November.
Instead of acknowledging the greater political challenges facing Democrats, Schieffer began by acting as if both parties were equally in trouble: "You have Democrats on the one hand saddled with a very bad economy, high unemployment....Republicans, on the other hand, have – find themselves suddenly with some very, well, how would I say it, unusual candidates, people who have taken very extreme views on things." Schieffer then proceeded to focus almost exclusively on Republican obstacles.
In his first electoral question to former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie, Schieffer asked about one of those "unusual" GOP candidates: "...you have Linda McMahon, who is formally – or maybe she still is part of the World Wrestling Federation." After playing a clip of McMahon appearing at a WWE event, Schieffer pressed: "I expect Republicans are going to be seeing that video a lot this year, and they're going to have to defend it. Is this somebody who's going to be good for the Republican Party? Is this a good image for Republicans to have?"
Democratic National Committee boss Tim Kaine appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe on Friday. When Kaine campaigned successfully for the Virginia governor's job in 2005, The Washington Post and other liberal media outlets pushed him as both pro-choice and a "devout Catholic" and a former missionary. If he was the kind of politician who brought "devout" to the office -- say, with anti-abortion or anti-euthanasia leanings -- the Post would have found it offensive, not attractive.
So check out what MSNBC thought was the most relevant piece of Kaine's biography on Friday (and he was talking campaigns, about Rand Paul and Dick Blumenthal): he served as principal of a Catholic school in Honduras, and he "plays the harmonica and sings in his church choir." Who said the Democrats were secular?
It's reported that Kaine is a member of St. Elizabeth's parish in Richmond, which is 96 percent black. He's not pictured in the choir in that linked story. Is he in the choir now? In a previous piece boosting Kaine's faith by NBC's Mark Murray in the liberal magazine The Washington Monthly, Murray explained he had to drop out of the choir when he was elected mayor of Richmond in 1998.
Host Bob Schieffer led Sunday's Face the Nation by fretting over opposition to the passage of ObamaCare: "What about the violence in the wake of the congressional action? Isolated incidents or signs of a dangerous anger?" He told viewers that he would talk to "Republican firebrands, South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint and Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann" about the issue.
Schieffer pressed DeMint on some of the threats against members of Congress: "Senator, we saw some pretty scary stuff last week....We saw members' offices that were trashed. We saw death threats....Do you think the parties have an obligation to try to tone down some of this runaway rhetoric? Is it, in fact, dangerous?" The Senator defended tea party protestors: "I've been with hundreds of thousands of tea party patriots...and I've never seen any violence or heard any bad language....it's unfair and untrue to try to paint this whole American awakening with some of the bad comments that we heard last week in Washington."
Later turning to Bachmann, Schieffer tried to portray the Congresswoman as extreme: "You said last week that health care reform was dangerous and you equated it with tyranny. Do you really mean that?...You said that you thought Barack Obama had anti-American views....what do you mean the President is anti-American?" He continued his interrogation by pointing to comments made by Sarah Palin: "[She] famously said last week that it is not time for Republicans to retreat. It is time to reload....said she wasn't talking about guns. She was talking about getting out there and using the vote. Do you think Sarah Palin has overstated it here?"
UPDATE AT END OF POST: CBS's Bob Schieffer asked DNC Chairman Tim Kaine about this issue.
On Saturday, NewsBusters asked if journalists should find it interesting that President Obama's campaign arm is using alleged death threats against Democrats as a vehicle to raise funds to defend newly enacted healthcare legislation.
On Sunday, ABC's Jake Tapper was up to the challenge not only addressing this issue on "This Week," but doing so with his guest White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett.
After reading the text of the solicitation that was posted at the Organizing for America website earlier in the week, Tapper asked, "[I]s it appropriate for Democrats to try to raise money off of those threats?" (video embedded below the fold with transcript, relevant section at 5:50):
Someone submit the Morning Joe java to Henry Waxman for analysis. There seems to be something in it causing top Dems to experience serious delusions . . .
On today's show, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius claimed that the people of her home state of Kansas are "wildly supportive" of the substance of ObamaCare. Unfortunately, suggested Sebelius, they're just too ignorant to know what's in the blessed bill.
Later, DNC Chairman Tim Kaine didn't deny that the Obama admin had engaged in two sleazy patronage deals, involving Joe Sestak and Scott Matheson. Instead, the DNC Chairman laughed off the cynical, and possibly illegal, arrangements. "Life is life," smirked Kaine.
To Morning Joe's credit, the patronage deals and the Charlie Rangel situation were discussed throughout the show. The withdrawal of Dem Rep. Eric Massa from his re-election race, amidst allegations he sexually harrassed a male staffer, was also discussed, though not raised with Kaine. Would an RNC Chairman appearing on the show the day after the Mark Foley affair erupted have gotten a similar pass?
On Wednesday's Today, NBC's Matt Lauer, during an interview with DNC Chairman Tim Kaine seemed to overtly take sides with the Dems as he mocked the GOP's PR strategy of calling reconciliation the nuclear option, as he questioned Kaine: "It does appear, pretty clear now, that the Democrats are gonna have to go it alone in the Senate, what, what we call reconciliation, what the Republicans are calling the nuclear option."
Now perhaps Lauer was using the term "We" as in "we in the media" and not "we Democrats" but later on Lauer expressed concern about the state of the Democratic Party in New York as he asked Kaine about that state's embattled governor: "And David Paterson, the governor of New York. Should he resign? Is he damaging the Democratic Party by sticking around?" [audio available here]
The following is a complete transcript of the interview with Kaine as it was aired on the March 3 Today:
It's no surprise that Democratic National Committee chair Tim Kaine would agree with the Obama administration about the effectiveness of last year's stimulus packages. That's why CNN's "American Morning" should have at least included a single critical guest Feb. 17.
Kiran Chetry began the interview by citing a CNN poll that showed public skepticism regarding the stimulus.
"What do you say to Americans who feel that this $862 billion was basically wasted?" Chetry asked.
Kaine defended the stimulus by citing a New York Times piece saying that the stimulus "has pretty much done exactly what it was intended to do." The former governor gave the stimulus credit with getting the economy growing again. Kane also said it saved or created 2.4 million jobs.
Speaking to Virginia Governor Democratic Party Chairman Tim Kaine on Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez pointed out a potential dire situation for Democrats in the 2010 midterm election: “Your party stands to lose a lot in the fall. Its 60 vote majority in the Senate, dozens of seats in the House, as well as Governor seats across the country.”
An on-screen headline posed the question: “Democrats in Trouble?” Rodriguez summed up the circumstances under which Democrats could do well in the fall: “...two things have to happen. One, the economy has to improve, and, two, health care has to not only pass, but show that it’s working.” She assumed that health care passing would be a good thing for Democrats and failed to ask Kaine about the lack of openness in the legislative process.
Rodriguez asked for Kaine’s assessment of the situation. Unsurprisingly, the DNC chair was optimistic about his party’s chances: “I think both are going to happen....I think the passage of historic health care and continued improvement of the economy is going to actually surprise some people in November in terms of how Democrats do.”
The Washington Post has a problem with partisan memory loss.
Many of you may have heard of the recent nastiness of a Virginia homeowners’ association attempting to deny Colonel Van T. Barfoot (U.S. Army, Ret.), a Congressional Medal of Honor winner, the right to erect a flagpole in his own front yard. If you are like me, you heard about this first on Wednesday, December 2, on the Mark Levin radio show.
If you’re like the Washington Post, however, you heard about it from Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) on December 3, 2009.
His state voted Democratic in the 2008 presidential contest for the first time in 44 years, he's personally popular with voters, and he's currently the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Yet not once in her November 17 11-paragraph story did Washington Post's Rosalind Helderman raise the notion that Gov. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) might share blame for his party's gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds getting thoroughly trounced in the voting booth 14 days earlier.
Helderman's story, "Democrat Deeds ran without his base, Kaine says," was based on Kaine's recent "meeting with editors and reporters of The Washington Post." Helderman's reporting makes clear, however, that the paper was only interested in dutifully relaying Kaine's spin on the 2009 gubernatorial election, not in challenging any of his claims.
Does the National Journal's Hotline inhabit the same universe as the rest of us? Democrats lost two-out-of-three among last night's big races. But in declaring Winners and Losers among non-candidates involved with the campaigns, the only Losers Hotline saw were . . . Republicans and conservatives, with nary a Dem in sight!
Chris Matthews was only too happy to seize on the Hotline hitlist during his Sideshow segment on this evening's Hardball. Here were Hotline's three Losers:
Sarah Palin: for jumping into Hoffman's losing cause, whereas McDonell and Christie didn't invite her in and won.
Pete Sessions: the Chairman of the NRCC, who went 0-2 in special congressional elections.
Identical Twin Statements Earlier today, Media Research Center President and NewsBusters.org Publisher Brent Bozell announced this year's Dewey Defeats Truman Awards for incompetent political reporting.
Also today, Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tim Kaine issued a statement on last night's election results.
The similarities between the DNC Chair's words and CBS's Katie Couric's October 27 Award winning comments are striking.
In fact, I will provide you with each of their assertions, and reveal who said which only after the jump. Good luck guessing.
"...(T)he Republican candidate (for NY-23), a moderate, was purged from the Republican Party by the most extreme elements of the conservative right wing including Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.... (W)hat occurred in New York has exposed a war within the Republican Party that will not soon end.... The all out war between Republicans and the far right wing is a disaster for the Republican Party and will dog it well after today."
"There's growing concern among some GOP leaders that controversial commentators and far-right conservatives have hijacked the message. People like Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin appeal to the base... (but) you can't win with just the base.... Before the 2010 midterm elections roll around, Republicans need to get the focus back onto the Big Tent where all are welcome - and off the sideshows that are popping up along the party's fringe."
Is this the new politics Barack Obama promised to bring to Washington? His hand-picked DNC Chairman just went on national TV and denied that the Obama administration requested Georgetown University to cover up the IHS monogram representing the name of Christ. Confronted with a CNSNews.com article flatly reporting that such a request had indeed been made, Tim Kaine resorted to the hoary dodge of claiming he hadn't seen the story. Adding insult to injury, Kaine even claimed to be ignorant of CNSNews.com itself, NewsBusters' sister organization.
Kaine made his credulity-busting claims during a Morning Joe appearance today.
Continuing the theme that John McCain has lost the election, Monday’s CBS ‘Early Show’ already began the post mortem as co-host Harry Smith declared: "This is the final full week of the 2008 campaign. Barack Obama is pressing in on states that were once GOP strongholds and John McCain is on the defensive about himself and his running mate." Later in the show, Smith interviewed McCain supporter Mitt Romney and asked: "So much time and attention has been spent talking about John McCain's running mate in this -- in this case and, now it's -- they're defending themselves about clothes and all of these other things. One wonders if there's a presidential campaign going on here. Is Sarah Palin, has she turned out to be a drag on this ticket?" In the 7:30AM half hour, co-host Julie Chen did an entire segment on Palin’s fashion purchasing habits.
Following Smith’s interview with Romney, fellow co-host Maggie Rodriguez interviewed the Democratic Governor of Virginia, Tim Kaine, and asked about Palin: "One of the concerns that people have in your state, about Senator McCain, is his choice of running mate. Do you think that if he had chosen someone like, let's say, Mitt Romney, this would be a much tougher battle for Barack Obama?" That gave Kaine the opportunity to bash the Alaska Governor: "When you pick somebody who's in the midst of an ethics investigation in their own state legislature, called by the Republican legislature, you know, there's just going to be surprises, and I think the stories, as they come out about it have raised questions about Senator McCain and kind of his decision-making process." Rodriguez never asked about Obama picking Joe Biden, despite the Delaware Senator's numerous gaffes.
Virginia State Police chaplains can't invoke the name of Jesus Christ during department-sanctioned events.
But to the Associated Press and its reporter Bob Lewis, that's not the story. In all too typical traditional media fashion, and in what I believe is the wire service's first report on the controversy, Lewis decided that the real story is that Republican lawmakers are objecting to the ruling by the state's police superintendent, and to Governor Tim Kaine's agreement with it.
Before getting to what Lewis wrote, here is a local report on what has transpired, from Roanoke TV station WDBJ:
Six of 17 Virginia State Police Chaplains have resigned over a request they not reference Jesus Christ at public events.
Instead, they've been instructed by the Superintendent to offer non-denominational prayers, a decision made following a recent ruling by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Is it "wishful thinking" for Republicans to imagine that Obama will take Hillary as his running mate? CNN's Ed Henry thinks so. He made the comment to anchor Heidi Collins in a report on the veepstakes during CNN's 9 AM EDT hour today.
HEIDI COLLINS: Another name keeps bubbling up: Hillary Clinton. Ed Henry is on the VP watch yet again today. Alright, so what do you think today, Ed? Because I know yesterday it might have been different.
ED HENRY: Well it's interesting. You mentioned Hillary Clinton. This name has been surfacing over the last 24 hours. Some Democrats, but frankly I've also heard it from some Republicans. Because they, strategists in both parties, are saying wait a second. We thought Barack Obama was going to roll this out a couple of days ago, maybe a little sooner. Now it seems to be getting closer to the convention. Is it a surprise? Is it someone with a lot of name ID? Someone he doesn't need to spend a lot of time rolling out and introducing to the American people. Frankly I think some Republicans are spreading this because it's some wishful thinking on their part. Because they know she's also a lightning rod. She did get 18 million votes in the primaries. She brings some real strengths to the table, but she also could really rally conservatives if she was on the ticket and could give conservatives sort of a spark to turn out for John McCain. So there might be some wishful thinking there. We have gotten no new reporting suggesting she's vaulted to the top of the short list.
There's no current wisdom more conventional than that which has Hillary Clinton entirely out of the veepstakes. Take the opening of yesterday's Hardball, for example, with Mike Barnicle sitting in for Chris Matthews.
MIKE BARNICLE: It didn't get much notice in the media and it didn't show up in any newspaper obituary pages, but the idea of a Democratic ticket of Obama and Hillary Clinton died a very quiet death this week. How did the dream-team ticket disappear so fast and so quietly?
Introducing a later segment, Barnicle displayed a statement from a group that had been pushing the idea of Hillary for veep now saying that it's abandoned its effort "because it seems that Senator Obama has made his decision to offer the slot on the ticket to another candidate." The subsequent schmoozefest with Dem consultant Steve McMahon and Air America honcho Mark Green took it as a given that Hillary would not be the VP candidate, focusing instead on what other role she might play in the campaign.
In the November 7 "Washington Post," in an article reporting on the Virginia General Assembly elections, staff writer Tim Craig adopted the liberal terminology of referring to government spending as "investing" as he relayed that Democratic Governor Tim Kaine hopes to get more support for his "agenda to invest more in education, health care, and the environment." The complete text of a similar article using the same line can be found on the Washington Post's Web site here. In the front-page article "Delays in Counting Slow Results in State, Local Races," after summarizing some of the early election results, including the plight of some Republican state senators running for re-election in Democratic-trending districts, the following one-sentence paragraph ran on page A12: