Way to go out on a limb, Harold!. . . Of all the Morning Joe regulars, Harold Ford, Jr. is on my short list of those who bring the least to the table. Ford seems more interested in cultivating friends and avoiding offense than in saying anything interesting or—heaven forfend—controversial.
Ford took his penchant for finding something good to say about everyone to absurd new heights on today's show. On the one hand, Harold showed respect for Rand Paul's filibuster. On the other, he actually broke out the hoary "my dear friend" in saying he wasn't as worred about the drone policy as is Ron Wyden. And Harold is confident that President Obama will uphold the Constitution. Ford even claimed that AG Eric Holder did "a phenomenal job" in answering questions on the drone policy. We're running out of hands, here, Harold! Matters reached an absurd crescendo when, after observing that those who hang out with terrorists put themselves in peril, Ford proclaimed "I don't dine, socialize or spend time with people who are on a terrorist list around the globe." Good to know! View the video after the jump.
Ping-pong diplomacy worked with China, so why not b-ball diplomacy with North Korea? Mika Brzezinski is clearly not buying that line of logic. On today's Morning Joe, Brzezinski confessed to being "angry" with George Stephanopoulos for having the extraterrestrial otherwise known as Dennis Rodman on This Week to discuss his recent trip to North Korea, which included meeting with its new leader, Kim Jong Un.
Mika didn't spare her fellow MJ panelists, calling them "idiots" when they persisted in discussing Rodman's trip and TW appearance. View the video after the jump.
One week after Politico declared President Obama to be a "puppet master" for his ability to manipulate media coverage, on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Willie Geist was a willing participant in the string pulling as he conducted a fawning interview with outgoing White House speechwriter Jon Favreau: "[Obama] calls Favreau his mind reader....the departing speechwriter takes us inside his life as the voice of the President."
With a headline on screen declaring "Words That Made History," Geist touted how Favreau "spent the last eight years taking hand scribbled notes...and turning them into soaring speeches for Barack Obama." Geist gushed: "The two have been inseparable writing partners since Favreau joined then-Senator Obama in 2005."
Wrapping up a panel discussion on Tuesday's NBC Today about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie poking fun at his weight during a David Letterman appearance, co-host Willie Geist argued the issue was a major political obstacle to Christie: "I think if he didn't weigh what he weighed right now, he'd be talked about as the shoo-in to be the nominee next time. But that's a real problem that people have to think about if they want to cast a vote for him, is his health." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Joe Scarborough has said that he doesn't know whether Morning Joe member Willie Geist is a Democrat or a Republican. I'd say Willie leans left on social issues but is not reflexively liberal on other matters. Today, with Scarborough absent from the Morning Joe set, Geist actually rode to the defense of Rand Paul.
The Republican Senator from Kentucky has been taking heat from Dems over telling Hillary Clinton at yesterday's Benghazi hearings that had he been president, he would have fired her for her handling of the matter. Panelist Donny Deutsch made a predictable attack, calling Paul "pathetic, amateur hour" and an "idiot." But Geist weighed in to say that Paul "had a right to challenge" Clinton, and that he's "not supposed to just sit thereand celebrate her," and that he was "doing his job." View the video after the jump.
On Thursday, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams took time out of the broadcast to provide this supposed "news" update: "First Lady Michelle Obama turned 49 today. But the big news came as the First Lady's office inaugurated a Twitter account and sent out this picture showing the First Lady's new bangs. Which Vanity Fair's website instantly praised, calling them 'featherly,' and tracing their lineage in hair terms to Brigitte Bardot." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Coverage of the grooming development continued on Friday's Today as White House correspondent Kristen Welker proclaimed: "The buzz over her bangs was immediate. People magazine tweeted: 'Guess who's turning 49 with bangs? Yep. bday girl @michelleobama debuted a fab new cut.' Vanity Fair also weighed in, remarking, 'There's just no other way to put this – got bangs.'"
At the top of Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer gushed over Vice President Biden doing a series of photo-ops while swearing in newly elected senators on Thursday: "Joe Biden welcomes lawmakers and their families to Washington like only he can." In a later report, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell glossed over several awkward moments caused by Biden: "There was certainly a lot of charm being poured on by the Vice President." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
A few minutes later, fill-in news reader Willie Geist played a brief montage of some of the especially odd comments by Biden, including the Vice President telling the husband of one senator, "Spread your legs; you're going to be frisked," and declaring after looking a woman up and down, "holy mackerel."
In a panel discussion on Wednesday's NBC Today, the morning show cast excitedly touted the possibility of left-wing actress Ashley Judd running for senate against Mitch McConnell in 2014, with co-host Willie Geist declaring: "She was a delegate to the Democratic convention this summer, she's very involved in politics, she's outspoken." [Watch the video after the jump]
News reader Natalie Morales heaped praise on Judd: "She's a brilliant woman....Harvard, I think....she's a U.N. goodwill ambassador, speaks out on HIV/AIDS prevention. And also, you know, she's done so much good for public – public good and she's a great, very smart woman." Celebrity chef Paula Deen, a guest on the show, chimed in: "I've heard that she's an extremely bright woman." Morales added: "Very."
At the top of Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie cheered the news that President Obama may make one of his major campaign donors, Anna Wintour, an ambassador: "Going Vogue? A report this morning that the President could appoint Vogue's famed editor-in-chief Anna Wintour to be his next ambassador to England or France. More on what could be a very fashionable decision." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
During a panel discussion later in the show, fellow co-host Willie Geist excused the obvious patronage job: "This is not unusual...I think something like 30% of appointees to ambassadorships are political, as a reward for people who raise a lot of money." That prompted a round of jokes about giving money to Obama to get an appointment. Fill-in news reader Tamron remarked: "[Wintour] raised more than $500,000 for his campaign, so we need to get on the ball....We need to get it going..."
On today's Morning Joe, asked by substitute host Willie Geist how much of the tough talk by Republicans and Dems over the fiscal cliff was posturing, former RNC Chairman Michael Steele said that 80% was posturing, then added "a lot of it is, let's see how big yours is versus mine."
Steele was careful to suggest he was simply talking about the size of the two parties' respective . . . plans. But between the smirks, raised eyebrows—and an immediate intervention from Geist—it seemed obvious that Steele was making a macho allusion to something else. View the video after the jump.
From Joe Scarborough to John Heilemann, Katty Kay to Mark Halperin to Willie Geist, it was unanimous on today's Morning Joe. Whatever the substance, whatever the policy, Republicans would be making a massive political mistake by opposing the possible nomination of Susan Rice as Secretary of State.
Summed up Scarborough the MJ zeitgeist: "do a bunch of old white guys want to make their first big battle, post-election, a battle going up against a younger woman of color?" View the video after the jump. H/t reader cobokat.
During a discussion on Monday, NBC's Today show crew could barely contain their enthusiasm at the prospect of Hillary Clinton running for president again in 2016, with new third-hour co-host Willie Geist proclaiming: "Can you think of a more qualified human being? She lived in the White House for eight years with another President, she was a United States senator, and now she's got every world leader on speed dial, so there'd be no questions about her qualifications." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Early in the conversation, Geist touted how "there are already polls out in Iowa, she's got 58% of the vote for 2016" and argued her run was "inevitable." Fellow co-host Savannah Guthrie thought Clinton could definitely be persuaded: "...if the head of the party comes to her in two years, if everybody comes around and says, 'You've got to do it, you could be the first female president,' I think it would be hard for her to say no." News reader Natalie Morales added: "Are we ready for a female president? I think most of America probably is."
Throughout Friday's NBC Today, hosts and reporters gushed over a video released by the Obama campaign of the President tearing up as he talked to supporters at a Chicago campaign office. At the top of the show, co-host Savannah Guthrie proclaimed: "Thanking the team. President Obama gets tearful in a speech to young campaign staffers." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Moments later, fill-in co-host Willie Geist declared: "You know, the President known for his cool, some say aloof demeanor, but now we've seen tears twice in the span of about a week." In a report that followed, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd noted: "In a video released by the Obama campaign, a tearful President thanks his campaign workers." The headline on screen read: "Tears for Four More Years; Emotional President Obama Thanks Campaign Workers."
Pseudo-conservative and liberal media darling Joe Scarborough is known for his whacky theories but on Thursday’s Morning Joe he posited a new one that puts the icing on the cake.
Speaking with co-hosts Mika Brzezinski and Willie Geist, the MSNBC host said that if the GOP had selected former Utah Governor Jon Hunstman, the Republican Party would have done much better against President Obama. [See video below break. MP3 audio here.]
Should Republicans unilaterally disarm in the media-bias wars? Joe Scarborough seems to think so. Arguing that it distracts Republicans from performing the political blocking-and-tackling needed to win elections, Scarborough has called on Republicans to "stop blaming the media."
Saying "let's makes this personal," Scarborough cited as an example of the supposed distractions to which he was referring the controversy over the tape Morning Joe aired in September from a Romney campaign stop. Readers will recall that the clip seemed to show Romney asking the crowd, which had been chanting "Romney!", to change to "Romney/Ryan." But Scarborough suggested just the opposite: that the crowd had been chanting "Ryan!" and that Romney asked them to change to "Romney/Ryan." View the video after the jump.
The mainstream media are attempting to create a self-fulfilling prophecy that Hurricane Sandy has saved Barack Obama's re-election chances.
On MSNBC's Morning Joe Thursday, Politico's Mike Allen said, "You're already hearing Republicans hint that if Mitt Romney loses, that he'll blame the storm" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Hawking a new NBC Publishing ebook on Wednesday's NBC Today about the network's election night television coverage dating back to 1948, author and TV Guide business editor Steve Battaglio touted a moment featured in the book of NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams during election night in 2008: "Brian knew that it was going to be a very special night....having a pretty good idea that Barack Obama was going to win, and how do you tell this story of the first African-American president? It was such a monumental event." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Tuesday, a 9 1/2-year-old girl was booed during an on-location live broadcast of Morning Joe because she had the nerve to say Mitt Romney should win the election (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
Talk about the law of unintended consequences . . . On today's Morning Joe, Willie Geist interviewed an audience member sporting a T-shirt reading "Mika Made Me Republican."
The good-natured fellow explained that his daughter had made the T-shirt for him, that he was an independent who had voted for Perot, and that he watches Morning Joe daily because he likes to hear what the other side has to say. Whatever it was that Mika has been saying, it has apparently driven him into the Romney camp. View the video after the jump.
Wednesday's Today show on NBC ran a four and a half minute piece profiling Saratoga Springs, Utah, Mayor, and congressional candidate Mia Love, who has a very good chance of being the first black female Republican elected to Congress.
Might the man who once said of himself "there's been nobody who's a bigger Obama supporter" vote for Mitt Romney? Maybe. On today's Morning Joe, Donny Deutsch—ad exec, man-about-the-Hamptons and quintessential wealthy NYC liberal—declared that his support for President Obama is "wavering."
Deutsch said that it was the bad jobs numbers of a couple weeks ago that "changed everything for me." Reacting to Deutsch's surprising declaration, Willie Geist broke out a variation on LBJ's line about Walter Cronkite. Said Geist: "if I've lost Donny Deutsch, I've lost Middle America." View the video after the jump.
Imagine that in one 2004 Republican primary, an opponent running to George Bush's left got 40% of the vote, and in another primary, more than 4-in-10 Republicans voted for "uncommitted" rather than support the incumbent president. Now imagine the doom the MSM would have found that to portend for Bush.
But when a candidate running to the right of Barack Obama garners 40% of the vote in the Arkansas Dem primary, and "uncommitted" amasses an astounding 42% in Kentucky . . . crickets. On Morning Joe today, Politico's Patrick Gavin proclaimed that PBO's embarrassing performance "doesn't matter." View the video after the jump.
When the New York Times reported that a pro-Mitt Romney super PAC was toying with a proposal to attack President Obama by highlighting his connections to his former pastor, the controversial far-left Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the liberal media went predictably apoplectic, calling the proposed ad campaign “incendiary and racially-tinged,” ignoring of course the incendiary things Wright thundered from the pulpit for years.
That's why Time magazine's Mark Halperin's defense of Romney and his Super PAC on the May 18 Morning Joe program is striking by contrast. [Audio here. Video below the jump.]
On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams touted how "plans for Mitt Romney's home near San Diego include a four-car garage and a car elevator for each of the cars," and that "his opponents and Democrats will no doubt have at it." Later, on NBC's Rock Center, Williams announced: "So where does tonight's story come from? NBC News can confirm it came directly from the opposition research of a rival candidate." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Introducing a Rock Center report by correspondent Willie Geist on political opposition research, Williams proclaimed the Romney story was "only going to add to an image problem that includes Swiss bank accounts and, as he put it famously, 'a couple of Cadillacs.'"
As NewsBusters reported Sunday, despite his failure as the McCain-Palin campaign’s senior adviser, and his subsequent backstabbing of the candidates he represented, HBO’s “Game Change” made him the hero of its Palin-bashing film that premiered Saturday.
The crew on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, with Schmidt as its guest, continued with this pathetic idol worship Monday (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski, in an attempt to defend President Obama’s recent apology for the accidental Koran burnings that set off riots in Afghanistan, equated his response to what a foreign leader would be required to do if his military inadvertently burned an American flag.
Morning Joe co-host Willie Geist correctly replied, “No because Americans wouldn’t go in the streets and start killing people” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
When Donny Deutsch thought he was being clever mocking Mitt Romney with a juvenile drawing of the Republican presidential candidate sunbathing near a "wrong-sized" tree, Morning Joe staple Mike Barnicle asked him exactly what many viewers must have been thinking at the time.
"Are you drunk?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
There was a surprisingly positive consensus on Rick Santorum on today's Morning Joe. Most remarkable was the observation by Obama fan Mika Brzezinski, who said "I don't agree with anything he says, but I like the guy."H/t to NewsBusters reader D.B. for audio assistance.
Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist were also upbeat on Santorum, Scarborough astutely observing that "90% of Americans don't obsess on social issues," so that what some would cast as controversial past statements by Santorum won't hurt him nearly as much as might be imagined. Video after the jump.
Following an interview on Friday’s Morning Joe we are reminded once again of the liberal media bias when it comes to media coverage of religion. During an interview with author Matthew Bowman of “The Mormon People: The Making of an American Faith,” the MSNBC anchors attacked Mormonism, leaving us to ask if such criticism would ever occur for other faiths outside the Judaic and Christian traditions.
Co-hosts Mika Brzezinski and Willie Geist, along with Time's Jon Meacham, continuously brought up the "public misconceptions" about Mormons such as polygamy and "strange religious rituals." Brzezinski opened up the conversation stating that there are still so many misconceptions about the faith, a statement that would not pass her or any other MSNBC talking heads' lips if the subject was, for example, Islam. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]