On Tuesday June 25, Penny Pritzker became the 38th Secretary of Commerce after the Senate voted to confirm her 97-1. Oddly enough, Pritzker has a Romney-esque business background. The well-connected friend of Obama is worth millions, has previously understated her income, and is not well liked by Big Labor. She also benefited from offshore tax havens. Despite all that, in the end, her confirmation process was a love fest and the media have been completely AWOL, failing to hit the president on the nomination.
Where was the outrage? That’s what, to it's credit, Politico has asked concerning this nomination. After all,the $80 million which Pritzker didn’t declare in income is much less than the $34,000 that Tom Daschle forgot to declare back in 2009 when he was nominated by the president to be HHS secretary.
Ten years ago, then-Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) held together a Democratic filibuster of President Bush's nomination of Miguel Estrada to the Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Tom Curry of NBCNews.com notes that Republicans tried to end debate and proceed to an up-or-down vote seven times before eventually giving up. Frustrated with Daschle's obstructionism, President Bush called for filibuster reform, which Daschle dismissed out of hand, insisting,"The Senate is always going to be the Senate."
Fast forward to February 19, 2013. Appearing on MSNBC's The Cycle in part to promote his new book about the U.S. Senate, co-host Krystal Ball dutifully read back to Daschle a line from his new tome about the filibuster being abused. At no point, however, did Ball or anyone else on the panel, including token conservative S.E. Cupp, point out the Center for American Progress fellow’s hypocrisy.
A brief but telling episode from As The MSM Mask Slips . . .
On her MSNBC show this afternoon, chatting with chum and fellow Obama fan Tom Daschle about the anniversary of the killing of OBL, Andrea Mitchell said: "What do you think of the Republican criticism that we are politicizing it, that the White House, I should say, is politicizing it"? View the video after the jump.
"Bipartisanship" is one of those buzzwords that proponents of a policy will invoke whenever possible. But a rush to demonstrate that the policy appeals across party lines can often obscure partisans' real motives in endorsing it.
Since former Senate Majority Leaders Bill Frist and Tom Daschle teamed up to endorse ObamaCare this week, plenty of media outlets have touted the "bipartisan" backing of the law.
Daschle is of course a Democrat so his support isn't as newsy as Frist's. But when a credentialed Republican, a former Senate GOP leader comes out in favor of a piece of landmark liberal legislation, the keen observer is a bit suspicious. Why the ideological shift? In Frist's case - and this fact has amazingly gone unmentioned in reports by MSNBC, NPR, and Politico - it seems to be due to his significant financial stake in ObamaCare's preservation.
Chuck Todd “hated” to say it but just had to get it out anyway–would the BP oil spill, arguably the greatest environmental disaster in U.S. history, be a “missed opportunity” for Congress to capitalize on “disaster” to enact energy legislation should it fail to do anything in its wake?
Discussing what the reaction of Congress and the Obama administration should be to the spill during an interview with Tom Daschle on MSNBC's June 4 “Daily Rundown,” Todd asked:
So if energy legislation isn’t taken up and dealt with, this would basically be–I hate to put it this way–a wasted disaster?
CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanja Gupta pressed HHS Secretary Kathleen for price controls in all parts of the health care industry on Thursday's Newsroom. Gupta stated that insurance companies were "just the tip of the iceberg" of health care costs: "There are a lot of different organizations, groups, people who contribute to health care costs. Are you going to be going after all these folks?" [audio clip available here]
It looked a bit odd for CNN to choose the correspondent, whom Obama chose to be surgeon general before adviser Tom Daschle was forced to resign, to interview other people who signed up to sell ObamaCare. Gupta's question came during an interview 26 minutes into the 9 am Eastern hour, in which both he and CNN anchor Kyra Phillips asked the Obama administration official about the health care summit later in the day at Blair House. Gupta also hinted at the possibility of going after the profits of health care suppliers in his last question to Sebelius (who was sympathetic to Gupta's proposal in her answer):
What politicians say to get elected can come back to haunt them and vilifying the lobbyist profession to score campaign points is going to do that to President Barack Obama, according to MSNBC "Morning Joe" co-anchor Joe Scarborough.
"Listen, the Obama administration is in trouble right now," Scarborough said. "We got a lot of friends in the Obama administration right now and they're in trouble because Barack Obama made promises during the 2008 campaign that he would not allow lobbyists to work in his White House. Well sometimes you want lobbyists working in your White House. You want lobbyists working in Congress. You want lobbyists working for the city of Houston, Texas, because you don't get that job as lobbyist because you got a good smile. You get the job as lobbyist because you understand an issue better than everybody else."
Not everyone on the left is in denial of the town hall protests and propagating the notion that any opposition to ObamaCare is manufactured "Astroturf" from the right.
Former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, now a Bloomberg TV contributor, said that the issue of public sentiment isn't settled. Some prognosticators have concluded that everyone wants President Barack Obama's brand of health care reform.
"I think it's still a toss-up ball quite frankly," Daschle said on Bloomberg TV Aug. 11. "I think everybody is looking to see who gets to be on the offensive and there is a critical effort on both sides to do that. Whoever is usually on the offensive as you go into the legislative fight is the winner. And so, that's really the key - who can be on the offensive as we go through the next critical weeks."
Former Sen. Tom Daschle might have been forced to withdraw his name as President Obama's Health and Human Services secretary last week, but his tax problems were far less egregious than Timothy Geithner's, the man just confirmed as the Secretary of the Treasury.
In fact, according to Pulitzer Prize winning Vanity Fair contributing editors James Steele and Donald Barlett, Geithner's offenses were significantly worse because he "not only signed a paper acknowledging he owed taxes, he collected money to pay the taxes and then didn’t."
The pair were interviewed by Democracy Now's Amy Goodman Friday, and told their liberal host things about this matter few in the media would dare as it would be another embarrassment for Obama (video embedded below the fold with rush transcript):
By now most people have heard that Barack Obama's nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Daschle, has backed out due to some major tax problems. Many have probably even heard that the bulk of his problems involve his affinity for free limo service, not to mention the inevitable limousine liberal jokes that followed. However, most have no idea exactly who was paying for Daschle's free rides.
That company is a media investment firm named InterMedia Partners. They own or have controlling stakes in a variety of media platforms from outdoor magazines to Spanish language television to Christian publishing companies. On top of providing him with the now troublesome transportation they also paid Daschle a million dollar annual salary for his advice. Here is how Fox News described Daschle and InterMedia's car troubles:
Senator Daschle is a limited partner in InterMedia Partners of Englewood, CO and Chairman of its Executive Advisory Board. Senator Daschle also is an independent consultant to InterMedia Advisors, LLP of New York City. He entered into a business relationship with InterMedia in February, 2005. Beginning in April, 2005, the senator was provided the use of a car and driver by Mr. Leo Hindery, the Managing Partner of InterMedia. In addition to being business partners, Mr. Hindery and Senator Daschle have been personal friends for many years. Charges for the car and the services of the driver were billed to InterMedia. InterMedia did not issue Senator Daschle a Form 1099 for the value of the car service and Senator Daschle did not report the value of the car service as income on his original tax returns for 2005, 2006 and 2007.
During an interview of President Obama on Tuesday’s Anderson Cooper 360, CNN’s Anderson Cooper included a number of tough questions, compared to his gentle treatment of the Democrat almost a year ago, but concluded with three softball questions on the executive’s search for a family dog, his new limo, and his cigarette habit. The anchor asked the president if he had “lost some of that moral high ground” on his pledge to have an ethical administration, and why the commander-in-chief hadn’t use the phrase “war on terror” much since his inauguration.
The interview aired in three segments during the 10 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program. Cooper began the first segment by asking President Obama about the troubled nomination of Former Senator Tom Daschle to be the HHS Secretary: “Do you feel you messed up in letting it get this far?...What was your mistake -- letting it get this far? You should have pulled it earlier?” The anchor also asked as a follow-up, “Do you feel you have lost some of that moral high ground which you set for yourself on day one with the ethics reform?” The president’s answers on the issue included his admission that the nomination was a “mistake” and that he had “screwed up.”
Appearing on Wednesday's "Good Morning America," former top Democratic aide-turned journalist George Stephanopoulos assured viewers that Barack Obama can now move on from his multiple failed cabinet officials. Referring to individuals such the (now) former Health and Human Services nominee Tom Daschle, who resigned on Tuesday due to tax problems, Stephanopoulos asserted that "the good news is, even though the President was forced to apologize so many times yesterday, is that these nominees now are gone. They've chosen to withdraw. So, the President can move on."
He added, "This was running the possibility of really hurting his reformist image. He can move on from that." Of course, just three days ago, on Sunday's GMA, Stephanopoulos touted a different message. He allowed that Daschle's nomination might be slowed down, but also predicted, "I don't think it's going to imperil it, though." He also forecasted, "The key is going to be those Republicans and, of course, is this the last of the bad news for Senator Daschle? If he gets some Republican support, this is the last of the bad news, I believe he will be confirmed."
Back on November 24, 2008, Stephanopoulos enthused over the greatness of Obama's unfolding cabinet. Talking to GMA co-host Robin Roberts, he raved, "We have not seen this kind of combination of star power and brain power and political muscle this early in a cabinet in our lifetimes." (The MRC has been heavily covering the controversy, first revealed last week by Politico, that Stephanopoulos has been having daily phone conversations with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. See an MRC press release for more.)
Fresh from her interview with President Obama, CBS anchor Katie Couric appeared on Wednesday’s Live with Regis and Kelly. She defended Tom Daschle’s tax evasion. "But in fairness to him, and I don't know all the ins and of it, but he was given a limousine by a private equity fund that I guess he was consulting for, and I don't think he realized perhaps" it was taxable income. She agreed with Kelly Ripa that losing Daschle is a big blow: "I think he's really well liked, he’s very knowledgeable on health care."
Couric also protested New York Post and Daily News photos of Obama, where he looked glum at the bad Daschle news: "That was an unfair picture. He was in a second grade class -- listening to a second grader. It makes it sound as if one of his Cabinet, or officials was telling him really bad news." Couric also whacked at her critics: "I always try to be sanguine about it and think, you know, always, it says more about the person who's writing it than often it does about the subject, about their own issues."
Yesterday was Pity the Poor President Day in Old Media.
Early last night, I noted how the Associated Press's Ben Feller chose to characterize an already-planned visit by Barack and Michelle Obama to a DC elementary school as an "escape" that "surely made him happy for a while."
A few hours ago, NB's Brent Baker reported with amazement the absurd attempts by CBS's Katie Couric and NBC's Brian Williams to portray Obama -- who either allowed poor vetting by his team or was nonchalant about the tax and other irregularities they found -- as somehow being a "culture of Washington" victim. Zheesh.
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Bill Plante reported on Health and Human Services Secretary nominee, Tom Daschle, failing to pay taxes and working as a health care lobbyist: "Daschle's problem shines a light on something that usually stays in the shadows around here, and that is how connections work in Washington. When is a lobbyist not a lobbyist, and how does a power player, like the former Senate majority leader, not know that he owes back taxes?"
The report featured Melanie Sloan of Citizens for Responsibilities and Ethics, who defended Daschle: "What Tom Daschle does is the more sophisticated kind of lobbying we have in Washington, where he's a consultant. And he talks to people about the strategy for getting a piece of legislation passed...Maybe the truth of the matter is, you need some of those Washington insiders in order to make your new government work. But then let's say that."
However, in a 2005 column by Ari Berman in the liberal magazine, The Nation, Sloan was quoted reacting to an ethics scandal surrounding Republican House majority Leader Tom Delay: "The fact that Tom DeLay is under criminal indictment and Senate majority leader Bill Frist is under criminal investigation is a historic first...This demonstrates the culture of corruption among the Congressional leadership that has become a cancer on our country." Berman’s column was posted on the CBS News website.
During MSNBC's live coverage on Tuesday of the sudden resignation of Health and Human Services nominee Tom Daschle, reporter Andrea Mitchell suggested to Republican Senator Jim DeMint that the American public will see this as the GOP having "brought him [Daschle] down." The Democratic nominee resigned over a growing controversy which revealed that the former Senate majority leader owed $140,000 in back taxes. (He has since paid them.) Mitchell sympathetically described talking to the ex-senator: "I just got off the phone with Tom Daschle. And it was an emotional conversation. He was clearly- it sounded as though he were tearful, overwrought." [audio excerpt here]
Later, while speaking to DeMint, Mitchell bristled at the South Carolina senator's contention that Democrats were also skeptical of Daschle's nomination. The journalist chided, "Well, Senator DeMint, you can say that the Democrats were uncomfortable as well, but they were all supporting him publicly." She then lectured, "So, this does read to the public as though the Republicans went after this man, someone that the President very much wanted, and brought him down."
13:47 CNN cuts to Brady briefing room, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs making opening announcements before questions. Announces Obama event to commemorate 200th anniversary of birth of Abraham Lincoln.
13:52, female reporter: On Tom Daschle, if you could take a step back, we have two nominees paying back taxes. An awful lot of money... what kind of a message does it send?
Robert Gibbs says Daschle discovered a mistake and paid for it, including penalty fees. Says he hopes Senate will examine not just "one mistake in a career" but Daschle's whole career in public service.
As noted Friday evening (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), Jake Tapper at ABC's Political Punch blog revealed that former South Dakota senator Tom Daschle, Barack Obama's nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, had failed to pay over $100,000 in federal income taxes for 2005, 2006, and 2007, because he did not originally report the "the services of (a free) car and driver" provided to him by his employer, private equity firm InterMedia Advisers.
At 11:24 last night, Tapper posted a separate update (HT to NB commenter "slickwillie2001") indicating that Daschle's tax problems involve larger amounts, go well beyond the matter of a "mere" car and driver, and are not completely resolved (bolds are mine):
Former South Dakota Senator Tom Daschle (picture at right is part of a Getty Images pic at a related New York Times story) has just upped the ante in Washington's tax-avoiding/evading game of "Can you top this?"
Whereas recently confirmed Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner "only" $40,000 in back taxes and interest, principally relating to unpaid Social Security and Medicare taxes (with a dash of retirement-plan penalty and illegally deducted overnight summer camp expenses included in the mix), the man who Rush Limbaugh used to call "Puff" Daschle during his Senate days has upped to ante to six figures.
Is the Massachusetts attempt at universal health insurance "centrist"? That's how the Boston Globe described it December 19. Citing its "national appeal," the article noted support from Sen. Ted Kennedy, who is expected to lead the Senate effort on health reform.
"To those who say these challenges can't be met, I say, 'Look at Massachusetts,'" he said in a statement.
On Thursday’s CBS Early Show, fill-in co-host Jeff Glor discussed Barack Obama’s latest cabinet picks with New York Times editor Marcus Mabry: "We'll start with Tom Daschle, potentially, secretary of Health and Human Services." Mabry approved of the choice: "...he's going to be the czar for over -- for overhauling the American health care system. That is a huge job and incredibly important. He knows how to get it done. He knows the Senate. He's going to help President Obama actually get it through." Mabry made no mention of a Wednesday New York Times article that highlighted Daschle’s numerous potential conflicts-of-interest in the position. In addition, no liberal label was applied to Daschle or any of Obama’s picks.
Glor then briefly mentioned Obama’s attorney general pick, but did not ask Mabry to comment: "Eric Holder, we know about. We've been talking about him for a couple days. He seems to be Barack Obama's pick for Attorney General." Holder, who was deputy attorney general under Bill Clinton, helped approve the pardon for convicted tax evader Marc Rich. Glor then discussed the possibility of Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano being named Homeland Security secretary. Mabry provided little evidence of Napolitano’s qualifications: "Well, she's a real tough one when it comes to border security. Governor Napolitano, will be a woman in an incredibly important job."
Doesn't Mika Brzezinski have any Republicans in her Rolodex? With Joe Scarborough home in Florida awaiting the birth of a baby, Mika has been filling in as anchor, and I sense doing much of the show's booking [mention is often made of her work in that regard]. Today's guest lineup consisted of six Dems/liberals versus a sole Republican, brought in almost at show's end.
Here's the list, in order of appearance, of today's political guests coming from outside the NBC/MSNBC family [Chuck Todd and Andrea Mitchell also appeared as guests, and Harold Ford, Jr. and Pat Buchanan served as panelists]:
Jonathan Capehart--WaPo editorial writer
Ted Sorensen--former JFK speechwriter
Doris Kearns Goodwin--historian and former LBJ aide
Tom Daschle--former Dem senator [check out the spiffy red spectacles]
Terry McAuliffe--Clinton campaign chairman
Jon Meacham--Newsweek editor and contributing editor of the center-left Washington Monthly