On Monday's The Last Word show, after former chess champion and Russian political activist Garry Kasparov charged that President Obama had "blown up [the] reputation of his office" by allowing Russian President Vladimir Putin to talk him down from his "red line" warning against Syria, MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell tried to argue that Obama had not really lost face since he never specifically promised military action, even though the President warned of "enormous consequences" if chemical weapons were used.
The back and forth started after O'Donnell asked "what advice" the Russian activist had for Secretary of State John Kerry's "day to day negotiations" on the matter, prompting Kasparov to respond:
In a 66-paragraph masterpiece, Journal reporters Adam Entous, Janet Hook, and Carol Lee gave a behind-the-scenes look of how, "Through mixed messages, miscalculations, and an 11th-hour break, the U.S. stumbled into an international crisis and then stumbled out of it." Among other things disclosed, "The same day [Secretary of State John] Kerry made his fateful remark" that Syria could simply give up its weapons to the international community, "the State Department sent Congress a memo detailing: 'Russian Obstruction of Actions on Syria.'" It really is a great exploration of the Keystone Kops nature of the Obama team's bungling of Syrian foreign policy. Here's a taste (emphasis mine):
CNN’s Candy Crowley did her best Hillary Clinton Sunday.
During a State of the Union discussion about the American-Russian agreement concerning Syria, Crowley asked a skeptical Congressman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), "Who cares" that "Russia got the diplomatic edge?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan had a rather shocking observation about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s comments about American exceptionalism in his New York Times op-ed last week.
Appearing on PBS’s McLaughlin Group Friday, Buchanan said, “He’s not only appealing to the people of the world. He’s appealing to that half of the United States to whom Barack Obama himself was appealing.”
On Inside Washington Friday, PBS’s Mark Shields and NPR’s Nina Totenberg predictably echoed the Administration’s claims that its threats of force in Syria led Russian President Vladimir Putin to broker a chemical weapons deal.
Fortunately for viewers, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer was present to scold his fellow panelists for “spinning from the White House” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In yet another monologue comment destined to give NBC's Barack Obama-loving news division a case of heartburn, Tonight Show host Jay Leno, whose 22-year run (with some interruptions) as that show's host is on tap to end after the 2014 Winter Olympics, took a shot at the administation's diplomatic and leadership weaknesses recently on display.
The video of Leno's monologue from NBC's web site follows the jump. The Obama joke is at the 1:05 mark.
Loud liberal Ed Schultz on Thursday sneered that Republicans, because of a hatred for Barack Obama, now idolize their "new hero" Vladimir Putin. The Ed Show anchor also repeatedly, but incorrectly, identified Putin as the former head of the KGB.
In a viewer mail section, Schultz read aloud, "Our next question is from Jay Stan. 'Do you think Putin is hinting for a leadership role in the Republican Party?'" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Schultz mocked, "I tell you what, all of a sudden Putin is the new hero for the Republican Party. Have you noticed that?" He continued, "Have you noticed how many right-wing talk show hosts across the country all of a sudden are just embracing this former head of the KGB?" Schultz offered no examples of GOP love for Putin. In fact, in a later segment, he showed clips of Republicans slamming the Russian.
"One does not sharpen the axes after the right time; after the time they are needed." -- Russian Proverb
The late Ukrainian violinist Mischa Elman is considered one of the greatest of all time, but he has nothing on Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has played the Obama administration better than any musician.
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer had some harsh words for the apparent peace proposal offered by Russian President Vladimir Putin involving Syria turning over its chemical weapons.
Appearing on Fox News's Special Report Monday, Krauthammer said, “The chances of these weapons being eliminated from Syria are less than of the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series this year, and they are now mathematically eliminated.”
On Friday's CBS This Morning, Mark Phillips all but hinted that Pope Francis had "taken sides" with Russia's Vladimir Putin and against President Obama in the international debate over military strikes in Syria. Phillips proposed that the Pope's letter to Putin "must have been music to the Russian president's ears."
The journalist also turned to a "Vatican historian" who once publicly attacked Francis' predecessor, Benedict XVI, as a "dictator", and likened him to Islamists. He also labeled the Pope's upcoming prayer and fasting vigil for peace in Syria a "religious street protest." [audio available here; video below the jump]
NBC White House reporter Chuck Todd hotly dismissed on Twitter the planned NBC docudrama on Hillary Clinton: “NBC News has nothing to do w/Clinton mini series on NBC entertainment. So save your complaints.” Todd also tweeted: “Can already imagine how either Clinton lovers or haters will assume some sort of NBC News involvement. Trust me, we have day jobs.”
But there was Todd on the day-job on Wednesday’s Nightly News, playing three clips of Obama on ...NBC Entertainment’s Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Without any correction, Todd aired a clip of Obama falsely claiming Putin “headed up the KGB,” which was buried with the Soviet Union in 1991. (Leno and the morning shows didn’t challenge Obama on his error, either.) Todd promoted Obama as “buttoned-down, measured” while Putin was “famously flamboyant” in photo-ops:
Barack Obama delivered one gaffe after another in his August 6 interview with Jay Leno, but the networks that usually mock every mistake or slip of the tongue made by Republicans ignored the President's verbal mishaps.
ABC's Good Morning America, CBS's This Morning and NBC's Today show, on Wednesday morning, all bypassed the chance to criticize Obama for: downplaying the threat of terrorism; falsely claiming Vladimir Putin once ran the KGB; placing the Atlantic coast cities of Savannah, Charleston and Jacksonville on the Gulf of Mexico; confusing the Winter Olympics with the Summer Olympics. (video after the jump)
This Fourth of July weekend is turning into an unforseen laff-fest. Yesterday we had NBC featuring a photo of President Obama making what he might have thought was an assertive hand gesture while discussing the situation in Egypt with his aides.
Today treats us to historian Douglas Brinkley, on Morning Joe, claiming that when it comes to foreign policy, President Obama reminds him of, yes, Supreme-Allied-Commander-turned-President Dwight D. Eisenhower. View the chuckle-worthy video after the jump.
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer had some harsh words for President Obama Monday in the wake of Russia and China's handling of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.
Appearing on Fox News's Special Report, Krauthammer said, "If there's no element of respect or fear - and you saw it in the summit with the head of the United States and head of Russia and China within the last two weeks - they care nothing for what Obama says, and they know that when he makes a threat, it carries no weight behind it."
After 56 years in broadcasting and more than 50,000 interviews across the U.S., anyone else would be considered a prime candidate for retirement, but that doesn't apply to Larry King, who will launch a “mold-breaking political talk show” in June for the Russia Today online TV network.
Perhaps failed CNN-FOX-MSNBC-Current anchor Keith Olbermann should pay attention. If no one in America will hire you, take your act international.
CNN's Erin Burnett on Monday made a stunning observation about President Obama's open mic gaffe with Russia's Dmitry Medvedev.
Without specifically mentioning fellow CNNer Kyra Phillips by name, Burnett hysterically said, "I guess it's better than being in the bathroom with your open microphone" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Liberal MSNBC anchor Martin Bashir on Monday compared Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry to former KGB agent Vladimir Putin, citing the fact that both supposedly love guns and "shoot to kill."
After playing a clip of Perry expressing his appreciation for the American tradition of firearms ownership, Bashir bizarrely proclaimed that "Mr. Perry's wild west show calls to mind another world leader. Yes, Vladimir Putin." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
It appears that at NPR, even a fat lip for the President is to be heralded as a crowning achievement furthering his prestige and street cred when dealing with despots like Kim Jong Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
According to Scott Simon, a president with a "gnarly, vivid scar" might even be able to intimidate China's rulers into halting their currency manipulation (audio follows with partial transcript and commentary):
This video of Russian ex-President (now Prime Minister) Vladimir Putin's response to a question about terrorism at a G-8 summit press conference was posted in early 2008. However, his answer is worth noting now in light of Barack Obama's rather dispassionate first response to the Nigerian Christmas Day bomb plot terrorist which came off as sounding like a tepid legalistic statement from a deputy district attorney. Here is a transcipt of the question from a French journalist and the blunt response from Putin which stunned the press conference to silence:
FRENCH JOURNALIST: ...Don't you think that by trying to eradicate terrorism in Chechnya you are going to eradicate the civilian population of Chechnya?
VLADIMIR PUTIN: If you want to become an Islamic fundamentalist and be circumcised, come to Moscow. We are multiconfessional. We have very good specialists. I can recommend one for the operation. He'll make sure nothing grows back.
TASS probably couldn't have done it better. And NBC correspondent Jim Maceda seemed to be channeling that Soviet Russia official state-run news agency in his glowing account of Russia Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's heavy-handed dealings with some small businesses. Putin was, he said, "combating Russia's deep recession hand-to-hand."
"Over the past decade, Vladimir Putin's morphed into more roles than a Hollywood star," Maceda said. "From Boris Yeltsin's shy obedient yes-man to the imperious leader, the action man, bomber pilot, artist and lately the people's prime minister combating Russia's deep recession hand-to-hand - harassing a supermarket manager for marking up pork prices."
Here’s a quick informal poll:Who has heard news of Russia’s recent troop buildup in the South Ossetia region of Georgia?
Most of our readers would immediately think of the Russian invasion of that region last summer, during the presidential contest, but the Russians are arguably saber rattling again with a fresh buildup of boots on-the-ground ahead of planned NATO exercises.
Last August, the media coverage immediately took the angle of breathless anticipation on how each presidential candidate would react to such a situation.John McCain’s position was easily established from his record over many years in the Senate.Then-Senator Obama’s position was much more difficult to ascertain – but the media gave him ample time to figure it out, helping the candidate defer those questions to the September 26 debate.In fact, a good example of such activism was shown in the Washington Post’s Jim Hoagland, who in his August 31 op-ed insisted: