Big Media Party

We set out today to dissect Barack Obama’s shameful appearance on Meet The Press yesterday. We’ll get to that tomorrow.

It occurred to us that a bigger issue was rising in the presidential campaign that was encapsulated by yesterday’s Meet The Press: The rise of a new political party – The Big Media Party.

Readers of Big Pink will notice that we regularly refer to “Big Media” not the generally approved MSM (Main Stream Media) utilized by Big Bloggers and the idiot “frame” obsessed to describe the current state of American journalism.

Why do we employ the term “Big Media” and not MSM?

Before the middle of the last century, before the labor union movement emerged and grew powerful, the description utilized by labor to describe their opponents was “Big Business”. The term “Big Business” aptly described the influence and power wielded by business interests which had reached actual if not monopolistic levels.

Eventually, as the labor union movement itself grew in membership and power. Big Business countered the growing labor union power with its own epithet aimed at the labor union movement: “Big Labor”. In both instances but particularly with Big Business the term “Big” generally [has] been acknowledged to be “big” not so much because of the size of their resources as because of the influence their members could exert on many companies and in many fields of activity.

It is with that history in mind that we refer to the modern media establishment as “Big Media”. Big Media therefore is “big” not so much because of the size of their resources as because of the influence their members could exert on many companies and in many fields of activity.

Bob Somersby of Daily Howler, and David Brock at Media Matters, among others, chew at the symptoms of today’s media establishment and rightly point out the ugly influence and misrepresentations Big Media inflicts on our current politics. These “progressive” analyses of the current media establishment echo the earlier critiques of Big Media which emerged out of the right wing movement.

The right wing, aided at the time with massive infusions of cash from loony billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, created an infrastructure to oppose what they perceived to be a “liberal” media. The infrastructure created by the right wing devised a strategy to oppose what they viewed as liberal media bias. That strategy was called “playing the refs”. The “refs” meant the “referrees” – Big Media referrees.

“Playing the refs” was the right wing strategy to intimidate Big Media outlets into the type of coverage the right wing desired. Eventually the “playing the refs” strategy was joined by the emergence of right wing media outlets such as the Weekly Standard, New York Post, Washington Times and Fox News and the entire gamut of right wing think tanks and institutions.

The “refs” of course was Big Media. “Playing the refs” was a very successful strategy. The “liberal” media was cowed. The Washington Post, in competition with the completely subsidized Washington Times, began a drift towards the right. Supposed liberal outlets like the New York Times began to prove their “fairness” with increased attacks on progressives and their policies. By the late 1990s the New York Times was an anti-Clinton operation printing daily attacks on the Democratic president. The alleged liberal media savaged Al Gore when he ran for president in 2000. When Bush looted the American economy and deceived the country into war “liberal” outlets such as the New York Times were effectively silent.

Earlier in the century, in 1949, media outlets operated under The Fairness Doctrine. By 1967 the Federal Communications Commission incorporated The Fairness Doctrine into its regulations. The Fairness Doctrine and the Equal Time provisions forced media outlets to provide coverage to a wider array of interests. When the right wing optained power in the 1980s the Fairness Doctrine and Equal Time provisions were effectively dead. In 1986 Judge Bork and Scalia, then at the Appeal Court, wrote an opinion that neutered the Fairness Doctrine and in 1987 the FCC abolished the Fairness Doctrine altogether.

Big Media rejoiced at the death of the Fairness Doctrine. The profits began to roll in. Instead of Big Media covering elections fairly, political campaigns were forced to increasingly pay for television commercials. Where once Big Media and their Princes of the Press had to provide access they now became the gatekeepers – the “refs”.

In any boxing match there are three persons in the ring. The only person who emerges unscathed is the referree. Big Media is that referree now.

What does this all mean?

Political campaigns used to desire “free media” by speaking to issues and policies. The goal was to run a good campaign, with good policies, and the best candidate thereby garnering “free media” coverage of their campaigns. This is no longer true.

Big Media, as represented by the Tim Russerts and Chris Matthews and many others, is no longer just a referree. Big Media wants to be paid homage. Big Media wants their agenda adopted as policy by the candidates.

A shameless candidate like Barack Obama goes on Meet The Press not to appeal to the voters, but to appeal to Tim Russert. Writing of the shameless Obama appearance on Meet The Press, Paul Krugman wrote Why, Barack, Why?

All of which makes it just incredible that Barack Obama would make obeisance to fashionable but misguided Social Security crisis-mongering a centerpiece of his campaign. It’s a bad omen; it suggests that he is still, despite all that has happened, desperately seeking approval from Beltway insiders.

Substantively, this is wrong — and the tone-deafness is hard to understand. Tim Russert doesn’t vote in Iowa.

Krugman doesn’t get it. Obama and Edwards are not appealing to the voters. Obama and Edwards are appealing to Big Media and adopting Big Media narratives and political agenda.

Big Media will “ref” in Obama and Edwards’ favor now in order to destroy Hillary. But the Big Media wheel will grind them down if they were ever to get the nomination. Big Blogs will help Big Media for their own self interests as they regurgitate Big Media “waitress tips” stories.

In New Hampshire Ripublican commercials are aimed at weakening Hillary’s support aided and abetted by Big Media and alleged Democrats.

Hillary is fighting against Big Media narratives and the Princes of the Press, Big Blogs, PINOs, Naderites, Ripublicans and Russert worshipping Democrats.

Hillary is fighting with Democrats, progressive independents, and good policies at her side. Hillary will win.

It’s time to Turn Up The Heat.

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164 thoughts on “Big Media Party

  1. I don’t know if this has been posted before, but it fits into the theme of the “Big Media Party”, but only because it CRASHES the party!

    “Media Matters”; by Jamison Foser

    A “terrible” performance

    The dominant political story of the past week and a half has been Hillary Clinton’s performance in the October 30 Democratic presidential debate. During and immediately after the debate, the general consensus was certainly not that Clinton had fallen on her face. As Eric Boehlert explained this week:

    What was interesting about the debate was that commentators who later described the night as a train wreck for Clinton were surprisingly subdued as the debate unfolded in real time. It was only later, as the pundits fed off each other and whipped themselves into a frenzy, that the reviews become increasingly harsh, to the point where it was written in Beltway stone that Clinton had absolutely bombed during the debate; a “debacle.”

    But again, as it unfolded live, that’s not how it was reported. For instance, live-blogging the debate at abcnews.com, Rick Klein, who later hyped the dire debate consequences for Clinton at ABC’s The Note, wrote at 9:33 p.m.: “Clinton is strong, concise, and sharp tonight. She is finding ways to contrast herself with the Bush administration even while defending herself.”

    By 10:35 p.m., Klein wished the two-hour debate was over already: “The last few minutes remind me of why debates should end at 90 minutes. Less energy on the stage, and fewer interesting things to be said.”

    Time’s Ana Marie Cox also wrote about the debate in real time. At 10:53 p.m., Cox wrote that Clinton had made her “first mistake of the night” — an hour and 53 minutes into the debate, and about nine minutes before the end.

    But as the media feeding frenzy continued, the pundit class convinced themselves that Clinton had turned in the worst debate performance in years. It was “terrible,” the New York Post announced more than a week later.

    Time’s Mark Halperin declared it “disastrous” and a “failure.” According to Halperin, Clinton was “shrill” and “too hot tempered.” The Politico’s Roger Simon agreed that Clinton “really” had a “bad night” — but Simon insisted that Clinton “seemed largely emotionless and detached.” Given that two such esteemed journalists agreed that Clinton had a horrible night, but did so based on directly contradictory reasons, it’s easy to suspect that no matter what Clinton had done during the debate, the pundits would have criticized her.

    So constant were the negative reviews of her performance, Clinton ultimately said in an interview that she hadn’t been at her best during the debate.

    Perhaps the best indication that the “disastrous performance” story line is overblown is that Slate’s Mickey Kaus has been promoting it. Kaus is in full-on Clinton Campaign Death Watch mode, endlessly hyping the latest sign that Clinton is just days away from falling behind Dick Cheney in the Democratic primary campaign. In recent days, he has declared Clinton’s campaign to be “flailing,” announced that “Hillary has now used two of what she must have considered the most powerful weapons in her arsenal … and they both backfired,” and speculated that further discussion of immigration policy would “just about do it for her” — meaning, end her campaign. Kaus has compared Clinton to Mike Dukakis and made what even he acknowledges is the “cheapest” reference to right-wing smears about Clinton having an affair with a female staffer.

    None of this, however, is a sign that Clinton is actually in trouble. It is, instead, a reminder that Kaus says a lot of silly things, particularly about the impending doom facing Democrats. Kaus spent the months leading up to the 2004 Democratic primaries declaring Sen. John Kerry to be a dead man walking. In one memorably foolish missive, Kaus announced a “Kerry Withdrawal Contest,” explaining “help him drop out now and avoid humiliation.” Kerry, Kaus wrote at the time, “faces not just defeat but utter humiliation in the New Hampshire primary. Is he really going to soldier on to finish in the single digits and get clobbered by both Howard Dean and Wesley Clark, if not one or more other candidates?”

    Less than two months later, Kerry won New Hampshire comfortably. He then went on to win the Democratic nomination, losing only four states along the way. When Mickey Kaus declares you dead in the water, it’s time to start working on your acceptance speech.

    “Breathtakingly misleading”

    If the media’s rush to declare Clinton’s performance a disaster sounds familiar, it’s because there are striking similarities to the last debate performance to be so universally and harshly condemned by the media: Al Gore’s during the 2000 general election.

    Then, as now, the initial reviews weren’t at all bad. In fact, the public and pundits alike initially judged Gore to have been the winner; the chattering class — which couldn’t stand Gore — then talked itself into believing (or at least saying) that he had performed badly.

    Then, as now, the real story of the debate was ignored by the media. In 2000, George W. Bush’s misstatements and outright lies about serious policy matters were shoved aside in favor of relentless media criticism of Gore’s mannerisms and utterly inconsequential mistake about which natural disasters he had visited with James Lee Witt and which he had visited with Witt’s staff. This time around, the pundit class ridicules Clinton for allegedly evasive answers, while ignoring the larger story: the questions she was supposedly evading contained misleading claims and factually incorrect statements.

    In her live-blogging of the debate, the very first comment Time’s Cox made about the debate itself, two minutes in, mocked Brian Williams for an opening question that was transparently hostile to Clinton: “Bri-Bri, right in with the ‘tell us how Hillary will eat our babies.’ ” Forty-three minutes later, she noted the resemblance of a question from Russert to Republican National Committee talking points: “The RNC has been emailing Tim. (See: Question about opening the Clinton archives.)” At 10:09, she mocked another Williams comment, this one about Obama: “Obama is totally a Muslim. Brian Williams just told me so.”

    In real time, Russert’s question about the “Clinton archives” seemed to Cox to have been the result of RNC emails to NBC’s star reporter. Later, President Clinton blasted Russert for his “breathtakingly misleading” question. The Annenberg Public Policy Center’s FactCheck.org agreed, concluding that Russert “misled” with his question by “misquot[ing]” a letter from President Clinton. Correcting its earlier claim that Hillary Clinton’s answer to Russert’s question was “doubly misleading,” FactCheck concluded, “Russert was wrong, and so were we. Bill Clinton … called Russert’s question ‘breathtakingly misleading,’ and we now agree. Russert did not respond to requests for comment.”

    Despite the fact that Russert’s question sounded to at least one national reporter like it had come straight from the Republican National Committee, and despite the fact that it was “breathtakingly misleading,” countless news reports have taken Clinton to task for her response, rather than indicating that Russert’s question was false.

    And — what a coincidence! — that’s just what the RNC wanted the media to do. The Hill reported this week:

    RNC officials acknowledged they’ve been encouraged to tap into the “stockpile” of opposition research they have amassed on Clinton more and more in recent days because of the senator’s debate showing last Tuesday, combined with the upcoming Iowa caucuses and Clinton’s continued leads in most polls.

    […]

    Since last Tuesday, there has been a steady drumbeat of less than flattering stories promulgated by the RNC about the Clintons’ role in releasing documents to the public.

    […]

    Like many pundits, the RNC has seen Clinton as the presumptive nominee for much of the year, and one official in the RNC’s research department said they have sought throughout the year to portray Clinton as “calculating.”

    Her trouble in last week’s debate, quickly seized upon by her Democratic rivals, is helping paint that picture, the official said.

    “She’s really fallen into the framework that we’ve been using on her,” the official said. “It’s just been great for us.”

    […]

    After putting a strategic framework in place to define Clinton as both calculating and evasive, [Communications Director Danny] Diaz and the rest of the RNC communications team are trying to capitalize on what many saw as Clinton’s first significant stumble.

    The archives question wasn’t the only question asked of Clinton during the debate that contained false or misleading assertions.

    One of Russert’s most over-the-top questions of the evening was about Social Security. Here is the complete question Russert asked Clinton:

    RUSSERT: Senator Clinton, I want to clear something up which goes to the issue of credibility. You were asked at the AARP debate whether or not you would consider taxing, lifting the cap from $97,500, taxing that, raising more money for Social Security. You said, quote, “It’s a no.” I asked you the same question in New Hampshire, and you said “no.” Then you went to Iowa and you went up to Tod Bowman, a teacher, and had a conversation with him saying, “I would consider lifting the cap perhaps above $200,000.” You were overheard by an Associated Press reporter saying that. Why do you have one public position and one private position?

    Even if everything Russert said was true, that would be a remarkable question: he began it by suggesting there is something wrong with Clinton’s “credibility” and ended it by directly asserting that she is a liar.

    But not everything Russert said was true. Very little of it was, in fact.

    At the AARP debate, Clinton hadn’t been asked specifically about “lifting the cap from $97,500”; she had been asked a far more general question. And she didn’t say, “It’s a no”; the moderator did. (Note that Russert went out of his way to make sure the audience understood that he was quoting Clinton directly: “You said, quote, ‘It’s a no.’ ” But he wasn’t telling the truth. She hadn’t said those words that he was so careful to make clear she had said.)

    Russert then falsely characterized his own question to Clinton at an earlier debate. Russert did not ask, as he claimed during the October 30 debate, whether Clinton would “consider” lifting the cap. He asked whether she would lift the cap. And she did not say “no” in response. She said that she would first “move toward fiscal responsibility” before making any such decision.

    Oh, and that quote Russert attributed to Clinton’s conversation with Bowman? It appears to be made up. The Associated Press did, in fact, report about the conversation, but did not directly quote Clinton saying anything even remotely like “I would consider lifting the cap perhaps above $200,000.” Indeed, the AP directly quoted Clinton saying only one word: “gap.” That word, “gap,” is key: not only did the Associated Press not quote Clinton saying what Russert claims it quoted her saying, it characterized her as having said she would consider payroll taxes on income above $200,000, but not income between $97,500 and $200,000. Russert not only made up a quote, he made up a quote that is contradicted by the very news organization from which he claims to have gotten the quote in the first place.

    In other words, Russert’s entire question was false. He misrepresented the questions Clinton had been asked — even misrepresenting his own words. He misrepresented her answers and quoted her saying things she did not say. At the end of it all, he called her a liar. In fact, there is no contradiction between what Clinton actually said in the two debates and what she reportedly told Tod Bowman. And Bowman himself told the Associated Press — in that same article that didn’t quote Clinton saying what Russert claimed she said — “I don’t blame her” for wanting to discuss Social Security with him privately instead of publicly “because no matter what she says, she’ll be attacked.”

    Russert was right about one thing: his question did, indeed, go “to the issue of credibility.” And it left his own credibility in tatters.

    Yet the rest of the media have politely looked away, ignoring — or, worse, defending — Russert’s dishonest performance.

    On CNN’s Reliable Sources last weekend, for example, host Howard Kurtz — whose entire job is to report about the media, for both CNN and The Washington Post — led a discussion with the Politco’s Roger Simon, Townhall.com’s Amanda Carpenter, and columnist Clarence Page in which not one of the four so much as hinted that any of Russert’s questions might have been the tiniest bit misleading.

    Kurtz, to his (small) credit, did raise the issue of whether Russert and co-moderator Brian Williams focused excessively on Clinton or on encouraging conflict among the candidates. But that is a benign question, especially compared to the much more serious matter of whether Russert had lied during his questioning of Clinton, or merely unintentionally made false claims. Instead, the journalists defended their powerful peer. Page declared that “everybody up there got hard questions.” Carpenter dismissed complaints about Russert’s “gotcha” questions as an “excuse” and an effort to “evade and not answer the hard questions.” But the problem isn’t that Clinton got “hard” questions, it’s that she got false questions.

    Simon went further, praising Russert for having done “an excellent job.” Again: Russert made false claims about Hillary Clinton in the middle of a question in which he challenged her credibility. That is not only dishonest and hypocritical behavior, it is deeply damaging to the public’s ability to make informed decisions about the candidates. It is doing serious damage to American democracy. But to Roger Simon, Russert deserves praise for this shameful performance.

    In print, Kurtz wondered if it was “wise for Hillary strategists to gripe, on background, about Russert’s questions” — but he hasn’t written a single word about whether those questions contained inaccuracies. He did praise Russert’s question about illegal immigrants as “entirely fair.” Three days before Kurtz offered that praise, The Telegraph in Nashua, New Hampshire, had editorialized that Russert’s question — which was based on Clinton’s comments to that newspaper — was “weak” and “was based on either an incomplete viewing of The Telegraph’s editorial board video or an unfortunate reliance on secondary sources.” The Telegraph gave Russert “low marks” for the question, which was “based on an incorrect interpretation of what she said to begin with” and took Clinton’s comments “out of context.”

    So, why does Kurtz think the question was “entirely fair”? Did he even look into the facts before offering his praise for Russert?

    Who’s really “playing the gender card”?

    Instead of examining Russert’s handling of the debate, the political media quickly followed his mugging of Clinton by ridiculing her campaign’s postdebate response.

    In the wake of a debate in which the NBC moderators had bombarded her with a steady stream of abusive, false, and misleading questions, and in which her opponents had also taken a few shots at her, Clinton’s campaign responded with a web video about the “Politics of Pile On.” The video concluded with a clip of Clinton saying, during the debate, “I seem to be the topic of great conversation and great consternation, and that’s for a reason.”

    It was, in many ways, an unremarkable response, reflecting one of the oldest tactics in the book: Front-runners deflect criticism by suggesting the criticism is merely a result of their success, or of opponents’ desperation. This isn’t even Politics 101; it’s more basic than that. The merits of the message — in this or any other case — aside, it’s something that every political reporter in the country has seen countless candidates employ countless times.

    But this time, those reporters pretended it was something else. They pretended Clinton was “playing the gender card.” Worse, they derided her as a “little girl” and mocked her for “whining.”

    Mickey Kaus went so far as to say Clinton should “stop acting like a whiny daughter who’s hade [sic] her Barbie taken away!”

    Here’s that “Politics of Pile On” video again. Does Clinton look like a “whiny daughter who’s had her Barbie taken away”? She’s smiling at the beginning of her comments, and speaking confidently as she moves on to explaining what she sees as the “reason” for the focus on her. How about her speech at Wellesley, the all-women’s college where she first drew national attention as an undergraduate? That’s the other piece of “evidence” of Clinton “whining” and playing the “gender card” the media has pointed to. Here’s video of the line in question. Does she look like she’s whining about having a Barbie taken away? Clinton didn’t play the gender card, she played the desperation card, employing the time-honored strategy of suggesting that criticism is the result of your opponents’ desperation or of your own success.

    The absurdity of a bunch of journalists (many, if not most, of them male) mocking a United States senator as a whiny little girl, all while accusing her of playing the gender card, couldn’t be more clear.

    Kaus insisted: “Hillary could resort to the standard damage-control techniques available to all public figures: Restating her position, changing the subject, waiting for what was a minor bad episode to blow over, etc.” But Kaus and his peers in the media are, in effect, saying that Clinton cannot resort to one standard technique available to all other leading candidates: suggesting that one faces criticism solely because one’s opponents are getting desperate. When Clinton does so, the media declares her to be “whining.” They’re insisting that Clinton not use the tactics available to every male candidate since the dawn of time. That things must be more difficult for her; that she must run this campaign backward and in high heels. There is a gender card being played, all right, but it is being played by the media, and it is being played against Hillary Clinton.

    And, to be clear, the “gender card” gets played all the time, usually by male candidates and journalists. When the media attempt to feminize John Edwards by calling him the “Breck Girl” and obsessing over his haircuts, they are playing a particularly nasty “gender card.” When they describe Clinton as “Miss Perfect” and go on about “poodle skirts” and “cooties” and cleavage the like, they are “playing the gender card.” When they refer to Barack Obama as “Obambi” and compare him to Scarlett O’Hara, they are “playing the gender card.”

    (For more on the “gender card” nonsense, see these posts by Ann Friedman and Jessica Valenti at Feministing and Dibgy.)

    Bill Clinton’s own reaction to the debate has also been distorted by the media. Several news organizations have falsely reported that Clinton accused his wife’s Democratic opponents of “swift-boating” her. In fact, Clinton was referring to Republican attacks and to the media’s role in promoting those attacks.

    And both Clintons have been mocked for suggesting that Senator Clinton was swift-boated, regardless of who was doing the swift-boating. Countless journalists have dismissed the suggestion out of hand. But was it really a bad comparison?

    Used as a verb, “swift-boating” suggests making false claims about someone in order to challenge their character or integrity. That is exactly what Tim Russert did during last week’s debate. His Social Security question to Clinton contained false claims, he explicitly set it up as going “to the issue of credibility,” and he concluded the question by explicitly (and falsely) asserting that Clinton has been dishonest.

    “You people are really nuts”

    By the end of the week, some of the nation’s most respected news outlets — ABC, NPR, The New York Times, and Time magazine among them — had begun to shift their attention toward things that really matter: whether Hillary Clinton left a tip at an Iowa diner she recently visited. Clinton did, in fact, leave a generous tip for restaurant staff, though initial news reports indicated that she had not done so.

    Time’s Cox explained why stories like this one matter:

    The most interesting thing about the Clinton did-she-leave-a-tip-or-not bruhaha yesterday was the ferocity and speed with which the Clinton campaign pushed back — with reporters at least. One can assume that’s because they know this is the kind of story, true or not, that sticks to a candidate like, uhm, an expensive hair cut.

    Set aside for a moment the simple fact that this kind of story “sticks to a candidate” because reporters endlessly repeat it. Let’s assume that this kind of story, “true or not” (and Cox does not seem aware of the restaurant manager’s reported confirmation that the campaign did leave a tip) does stick to a candidate, and that reporters really are powerless to avoid repeating it. That no matter how hard they try, they simply cannot write substantive articles about policy; they must write instead about haircuts and tips. The fact that they stick to candidates whether or not they are true is precisely the reason it is so irresponsible of reporters to report and repeat them when they aren’t true.

    Meanwhile, Anita Esterday — the waitress at that Iowa diner who Clinton supposedly failed to tip — understands what America’s media elite do not: Stories like this are a colossal waste of time and distract from things that are actually important. As Esterday told one reporter, “You people are really nuts. … There’s kids dying in the war, the price of oil right now — there’s better things in this world to be thinking about than who served Hillary Clinton at Maid-Rite and who got a tip and who didn’t get a tip.”

    On MSNBC, Chris Matthews has been doing his best to prove Anita Esterday right. While kids are dying in the war, Matthews obsesses over Hillary Clinton’s “Chinese” clapping. For three straight days, Matthews wasted viewers’ time with discussions about … clapping. Thursday night, he discussed it in two separate segments. Finally, Chrystia Freeland of the Financial Times urged Matthews to get over his fixation with Clinton’s mannerisms and focus on issues:

    FREELAND: I do think that we have to be a little bit careful also about not picking on Hillary’s mannerisms a little bit too much. So —

    MATTHEWS: Ah, those secondary characteristics are off-base. Am I being told that?

    FREELAND: Just a little bit. I mean, there’s the clapping, there was the laugh. I think there are things to pick on Hillary about, but probably the clapping wouldn’t be what I’d choose.

    PATRICK HEALY (New York Times reporter): Well, there’s one thing, Chris —

    MATTHEWS: Well, give me a list — Chrystia, give me a list some day on email of whom — what I’m allowed to criticize about Hillary. And how —

    FREELAND: Any policy matters; dynasty I think is OK, too.

    MATTHEWS: Oh, OK. Yeah, I’ll be sure to keep that in mind. Jim Warren, what do you make of this as a cultural phenomenon? If you’re watching us from overseas, you say, “Is this what Americans do at political rallies? Oh, it’s interesting.”

    JAMES WARREN (Chicago Tribune managing editor): Well, I mean, she can’t copy me and stick her hands into her pants pockets. So, there’s not much left to her. And given the repetity of her life, 10,000 different appearances a day — oh, my gosh, it looks like she’s at Sea World in San Diego. Here comes the seal! Yikes.

    MATTHEWS: You’re worse than I’ve ever been.

    WARREN: Anyway.

    MATTHEWS: Throw me a fish.

    Watch the video. Matthews’ “I’ll be sure to keep that in mind” was just dripping with sarcasm.

    Imagine how much better off we’d all be if Anita Esterday had a television show on MSNBC, and Chris Matthews worked in a diner in Iowa.

    http://www.mediamatters.org/items/200711100004?f=h_column

  2. Great article you posted Realist. Somersby has written extensively on what happened to Gore after his debate preformances.

  3. hillfans, hillary has a 23 point national lead according to the rcp average, a double digit lead in nh, and a tiny lead iowa and she is stumbling? what a bunch of bunk. also word has it the gloves ar about to come directly from the clinton camp towards obama and edwards. good!!!!

  4. YOU COULD BE ANY RIGHTER THAN THIS PIECE.

    THIS IS THE WHOLE DEAL ALL PULLED TOGETHER.

    GOOD UN’ YOU PINKOS, GOOD UN’..

  5. Here’s some advice to my Hillaryis44 friends. Watch football.

    Or, if you must watch the evening news shows, give Fox News a shot. Their panel tonight was fair and balanced. They were laughing about the media piling on Clinton for a “planted” question, chuckling about how every campaign in history has done that a innoculous question about global warming hardly ranks up their with planting a question about whether Obama has stopped beating his wife.

    You may not like their slant on the Democrats, but at least they cover elections like grownups instead of fawning guests at one of Sally Quinn’s Georgetown Social Club dinner parties.

    For example, discussing McCain’s endorsment by some Jesus Freak outfit today, they chuckled and said it didn’t mean much, but he needed one because he was left out of the action last week when the Jesus Freak endorsements were flyin’.

  6. She is being attacked from all sides while she is ahead with normal everyday voters, like teachers (teacher’s union), city workers (AFSCME), laborers (all other unions endorsing her), students (see politico), Latinos (see Hillaryhub news section), African Americans (we all knew this), GLBT (Donnie McClurkin anyone???), women (smart ladies), men (smart guys), and the ever important elderly (AARP debates/forums). I can’t wait until we win Iowa, and then all of the other primaries. I can’t wait to watch MSNBC and CNN the day after the caucus, and the day after Super Tuesday. (:

  7. i flicked thru tv channels and heard chris mathews say, hillary admitted to planting a question to her, and you could see on the picture, the girl winking at hillary as she asked the question, is this so?

    then i changed and it was again all over fox, they were saying she got caught again.

    really its too much…

  8. hwc, i have to admit, the foxnews roundtable is MILES more balanced than the mtp and hardball roundtable towards hillary. strange bedfellows, me likeing anything on foxnews?lol.

  9. kostner, you said it. after feb 5th im going to make the nutkooks on mydd, daily kos, and huffington post eat crow. and don’t get me started after nov 2008 election once hillary is elected. NO HUMBLE PIE FOR ME.

  10. if it wasnt for foser, bob somerby and now big pink, how could we handle even watching any of the media coverage…the idea would be too horrible to imagine….

  11. Wow. That MediaMatters.org piece connects a whole bunch of dots for me. I thought the RNC had to be involved. BTW, if anyone insists the GOP wants Hillary to be the candidate, ask them why they’re attacking her NOW. Wouldn’t they wait till she won the nomination and then go after her?

    Here’s a point: If the RNC is using its oppo research now, what will they have left for the GE? Currently, she’s being attacked by Dems, the GOP candidates, the RNC and Big Media (or BM, as alcina smartly noted, lol). If they can’t stop her now, she’s winning the GE, I can guarantee it.

  12. im going to treasure the looks on hannity,mathews, and russert’s face when on eletion night they declare hillary the winner of 270 electoral votes(sorry popular vote, u don’t matter in presidential elections).

  13. Bingo, mj.

    Also, terrondt, where did you hear she was taking the gloves off?

    And, united 12, Hillary didn’t “admit” planting that question. Matthews is full of it, as usual.

  14. Big Media would have label Thomas Paine a anarchist and had him in Gitmo. My respect for the media class has gone down every year…when “Kiss Ass’ers” like Chris Matthew and Timmie Russert playing king maker makes me sick.

    But they’re not the only one, the major print media is clueless too!

    The consolidation of media has brought the predictions of those in the past in fruition.

  15. on hardball this eve, paula. they could be wrong but im all for it. im sick of this pile on. the msm won’t fight em so hillary has to.

  16. Please don’t watch MSNBC and give them any ratings. Watch Fox news if have to. They are much more balanced than MSNBC/Newsweek crew towards Hillary. Again DON’T watch MSNBC until the elections are over. They are more liberal than Fox news, but most anti-hillary of all. We don’t need to reward them with our viewership.

  17. BTW, I stopped watching MSNBC about two months ago and tweety in particular about 6 months ago. I watch Fox news mostly and CNN some times. Mostly, I stay away from politics on TV and get my hillary news from here.

  18. If you heard anything that Hillary is going to do from Hardball you can discount it. If there is anyone that has least access to her team it is the Hardball crew. They basically make up stuff these days when it comes to her.

  19. yeah, check out that mika brezinzki interview with michelle obama. right, she is a impartial interview when her old man is helping obama.

  20. I just want to say this Hillary is running the PRESIDENT of the United States at the same time being the first woman. So there are a lot of agendas in play here.

    I don’t expect the MSM to fight for Hillary but I would like fairness and balance and not have the media stage a run-up to the attaching of Hillary Clinton campaign.

    Big Media…puh-lease! Are no different from Halliburton and Blackwater in my judgement…they’re all getting no bid contracts from the FCC and with the downsizing of ownership in these Corporate Sesspool of freedom of the press, where regulations is self abassed by the all might chase of Wall Street and Stock options…in other word print your own deferred money and “Wag the Dog” using the news media pundits…that slowly tickle into MSM, dipping the same lies 24/7…because the narrative has been agreed on from the top.

  21. I meant to say I don’t expect the MSM to fight for Hillary, but I would like fairness and balance and not have the media stage a run-up to the attacking the Hillary Clinton campaign.

  22. Also, Andrea Mitchell is shameless. She is a woman. She should understand what is going on and how hard it is for a woman to make it big. Yet, she is party to it. May be she had everything given in a silver spoon to her.

  23. guys, it is going to be a long 12 months. the highs and lows of a presidential run for hillary is going put us thur some ulclers, stress,anger management, keeping us from kicking in the computer screens and tvs, and craziness. it is going to be grueling. we will endure this. when hillary wins this it will be worthwhile.

  24. Here is the fact. The big media is piling on her. Her team needs to figure out how to deal with it. Begging media to cover the race fairly is not going to cut it. They have to figure out a way to cut through this and reach democrats. It is going to be extremely difficult. Democrats don’t have a way of easily reaching their target crowd like conservatives do with talk radio. But she has to do it. The so called Bid medai is going to hit her with one-sided coverage for the next two months. At the same time they will give all glorifying coverage to BO. Remember what they did to Dean in 2004. Only Bill Clinton was able to beat all the negative coverage when he won against all odds in 92.

  25. Terron’s right. Hillary is winning this thing. So the press is after her now, people are going to look around and they are not going to like thealternatives. I mean, Obama lacks the seasoning to be the next president. And, Edwards lacks continuity. Hillary is just head and shoulders the better candidate.

  26. Look, all you have to know about the big media and their Georgetown Social Club is in Mrs. Timmy Russert’s story in Vanity Fair. It’s all laid out in black and white.

    In their view, women should be hostesses. Women should spend their time worrying about scented geraniums for the dinner party fingerbowls. Women should coordinate for weeks in advance so they don’t wear the same designer gowns. Women should behave like the Georgetown Social Club’s model for feminine behavior: Nancy Reagan. Women shouldn’t trouble their pretty little heads with men’s work: policy issues, running the country.

    Don’t kid yourselves. This is a gender-based gang assault. The Georgetown Social Club is not ready for a female President.

  27. right on ra1029. no more of this above the fray stuff. watch this thursday debate, the other morons will contonue the same crap they pulled last time. hillary has to push back HARD. and name names too.

  28. the most laughable news I’ve watched today was ABC evening news. They showed a clip of falling flag at a Hillary event and used this as some sort of omen of a falling campaign.

    Simply ridiculous and pathetic, to say the least. Sometimes, I do have sympathy for George W. Bush. He was actually pounded relentlessly by MSM in the end. They were writing his obituary on a daily basis.
    But he somehow still squeaked out a win in the end. The reason was actually quite simple, he had solid base support, and those folks wouldn’t abandon him no matter what MSM told them to do.

  29. Also remember by watching tweety or the other MSNBC programs you are not only getting heartburn, but at the same time giving ratings to tweety. Give it to Fox news instead. They are more fair to Hillary than MSNBC ever will be.

  30. ra1029, I would like to see more of a counterattack, too, but I have to believe her campaign knows what it’s doing. Remember, she’s been through about a million feeding frenzies in her time.

  31. this gender thing is not isolated. on my job there are many dems who feel woman belong in the kitchen, doing house work, and baking cookies. 1950’s stuff and this is 2007!!! i actually had one of my idiot co-workers said hillary cannot protect us becuase she is a woman. this is what woman have to deal with. total garbage. then i get a kick out of this”we are not ready for a woman president”. ok, when is ready?

  32. kostner:

    That was exactly right. They pounded and pounded Bush in 2004. He still won because conservatives don’t fall for the media narratives like some liberals on big blogs do. Conservative media went to war with him against the Big media and beat them.

  33. I did not mean counter attack. I meant she needs a way to reach her target audience and appeal to them with her message by bypassing all the big media. For conservatives it is easy with fox news, national review, and talk radio. But she has to do it because the big media is not going to be kind to her at all for the next two months.

  34. Paula:

    Actually lot of BO supporters are very happy with big media coverage. Big Media is covering BO’s campaign like north korea would cover its dictator ruler (it happens to be state controlled), with absolute fawning one-sided coverage.

  35. ya know, if we give the nutkooks there way, we would not have had a dem in the white house in the 1990’s. bradly would have lost the popular vote in 2000, dean would have lost by a landslide in 2004 instead of the 51 to 48 win by bush over kerry. hell, a pefect canddidate for them is kusinich, a headcase who only got in the pres race to find a wife.

  36. my wife’s attorney is a trial lawyer supporting edwards. he trashes hillary. but i told him edwards veered far left to get the nomination. he did not like that answer.

  37. terrondt:

    One thing you can expect Edwards/BO to do in the next debate is compare her to Bush by saying she is staging her town hall question session.

  38. ra1029,

    I think the primary is going to become a battle between working class democrats and elitist liberals.
    Hillary’s base is with working class democrats & women voters. Obama is the representative of elitist liberals, george town chattering class. They definitely have the big media to prop up his candidacy. Big media always want something ‘fancy’, that’s why they fall into that empty suit Obama. He has zero credibility to become president, and will be crushed in GE no matter how much big media/big blogs love him.

    I have confidence Hillary will prevail in the end based on her solid base but it can be very close since big media/big blogs will pound her every day until the end. I have a feeling she might lose IA but will recover well and win this thing in the end.

  39. i have seen dean get piled on in 2004, but this is worse and much more cordinated. anything this close was actually the last dem to win presidential election, bill clinton.

  40. HWC, I believe that gender plays a large role. It’s not necessarily front and center in their consciousness. I think that our society has a much more subtle but insidious form of sexism and racism that was the case twenty or thirty years ago. We think we got all that handled. But in fact there is more sexism and racism than ever and it’s worse cause we think we got it all made. And politics is being treated like the superball. The pundits are yelling “and we got ourselves a whole new ballgame.” When in fact they don’t. And they want to play gotcha with somebody throwin’ a spit ball, but a planted question isn’t a big deal, really. I know plenty of speakers in academe who want to make sure that they get asked certain things because there isn’t time to address them all in a speech.I’ve actually asked friends of mine before they give a talk, is there anything you want me to ask? Trust me, in a public address, it isn’t a big deal. mollyj

  41. kostner:

    You are right. Her base is working class democrats while Obama’s is elitist liberals. Edwards is making an effort to cut into her base. This might help Obama narrow the gap a little bit. She should pull all the organizational (unions, emily’s list etc.) support to make sure she reaches her base and communicate her message to them. Let the elitists get their news from propaganda outlets like MSNBC/Newsweek.

  42. ra1029, the other dems are feeling thier oats. they feel they knicked and wounded hillary in the last debate so they will turn the damn anti. i think they are going to come at her even harder. hillary should turn up the heat on them.

  43. Thankfully the moderator is not going to be one of the debators next time. He was horrendous. She was asked loaded questions like “Why do you have one public and one private positions on social security?” (basically saying you are a liar) while Obama gets questions like “Do you beleive there is life in outer space?” and “What are you doing for Halloween?”.

  44. Also, two of those questions were breathtakingly misleading like Bill said. One was about the archives for which the factcheck.org said ‘Russert was wrong’ and the other was about her stance on illegal immigration for which the Nashua Telegraph (Timme was refering to this one when he asked her the question) said he got the context completely wrong. However, none of the big media reported much on it. Why? Because he is one of them.

  45. right ra1029, i don’t want to see that performance by moderaters ever again. total bs. why not ask obama what flavor toothpaste he uses. lowlife.

  46. ra1029, I do see Hillary using local media in states like Iowa and NH; she gets much fairer coverage there than with the BM. BTW, I meant to refer to Hillary supporters not liking the BM; obviously, Obama supporters would love it.

    Remember how Hillary was supposed to be the establishment candidate? Folks, it’s Obama.

  47. That’s a good point Paula. She should basically camp out at Iowa, NH, and SC. The local media gives her a much fairer coverage than the national media. That is a very useful way of reaching her target. She should stay away from national media. These days they are spinning anything Bill says about her into something negative even though it required them to strech his words a lot.

  48. kostner:

    I have a feeling that she will not do well in Iowa too. She should however conserve her resources and use them to make a stand in other states. There is no point in spending all her resources in Iowa when at best she can either tie or get a narrow lead. On the other hand, if she exhausts all her resources there and looses, it could be devastating.

  49. I would like to see another PBS debate with Travis Smiley moderating…that was the best debate so far…very fair and had hard hitting questions and the moderator didn’t inject himself into the debate it dealt with issues and not gotcha agendas.

    MSNBC moderating team as been 2nd classed all the way…and I’m not saying it that as a Hilliary supporter. I’m saying it because they forget that this is a job interview and the people want to know about the candidates policies, stands, what will they fight for…Obama failed that test.

    I even want to hear dissenting views not “parrot” talk. Also I would like questions focusing on issues dealing with the western United States, Alaska and Hawaii. Too much focus on the D.C and the East Coast and IA…nothing wrong but there is 50 states in the union. And the gulf region hasn’t even been given more focus out side of slogans in the debates….but issues about water and spalling growth, energy…why states in the west does not have mandatory solar energy usage and other issues.

  50. ra1029, don’t throw in the towel just yet. I still think she may win Iowa, but tactically it’s better for her to stay in Iowa. It keeps them there. She was never expected to win Iowa, but keeping her competitors there and out of the other early states works very well for her.

  51. The template of how the remaining two/three debates will go was set in the last one. Edwards/BO will tag team to take on Hillary with Dodd assisting from outside. They will figure that since it did not hurt their numbers last time, it is a green signal for piling on.

  52. I think she is already forging ties wit local media, like Foster’s Daily Democrat in NH. this helps because she can get the news out quickly. In addition, I think she should also seek out one or two radio station talk show hosts in each state which will give her fair coverage. When that happens, it is good for both. Her message gets across very clearly without distortion to locals, and the media avenues benefit because of their exclusive access to her. These niche newspaper avenues are where activists/political junkies go for and a majority of voters in primaries are political junkies. An average joe hardly finds time to even vote in GE, let alone primaries.

  53. mj, she should stay and fight in Iowa. What I am saying is she is better off not exhausting most of her resources (primarily money) there. She might end up losing the financial advantage coming out of Iowa without much to show for in terms of momentum.

  54. Whoever it was who suggested football…
    Lots of hyperventilating and lashing out at bogeymen, both real and illusory going on here. Relax. Take 2 DEEP breaths, and repeat after me; “Hillary is ahead in Iowa, NH, SC,MI,NV,EVERYWHERE, in fact.
    If you didn’t watch Olbermann tonight, you missed a segment where he and Craig Crawford downplayed the importance and effect of the plant story. Crawford called it at most, “stubbing her toe”. and included that ALL campaigns ask, “enhanced”, questions. He added that he has heard the same questions at several Rudy town halls. It was a good segment, Keith is a FRIEND of the campaign, and the Clintons.
    We are just weeks from putting the nay-sayers in their places and watching the entire party get behind Hillary as she dominates the primaries. Life is good for HillFans. So, take a break, put your feet up and relax. Tomorrow we join again in the good fight…

  55. mj & ra1029,

    I think everything has two sides. With the continued pile-on by MSM, the expectation of her winning in IA has been lowered dramatically. This is good. In politics, everything is about expectations. If we’re prepared for a potential loss in IA, nothing will be shocking when that indeed happens. By the same token, the expectation for Obama in IA has been raised dramatically.

    We’ll see how this goes in the next few weeks.

  56. So Happy Together (via Newsweek)

    Bill Clinton is never at a loss for company. When he’s not globe-trotting or charming audiences for as much as $400,000 a speech, he’s often schmoozing visitors in his suite of offices in Harlem. Last July, the former president sat down with a billionaire impressed with the William J. Clinton Foundation’s campaign against AIDS in Africa. The two men chatted amiably over lunch for more than two hours, and the visitor pledged to write Clinton’s foundation a generous check. But there was something unusual, if not plain weird, about the meeting. NEWSWEEK has learned that the billionaire so eager to endear himself to the former president was Richard Mellon Scaife—once the Clintons’ archenemy and best-known as the man behind a “vast, right-wing conspiracy” that Hillary Clinton said was out to destroy them.

    Scaife was no run-of-the-mill Clinton hater. In the 1990s, the heir to the Mellon banking fortune contributed millions to efforts to dig up dirt on President Clinton. He backed the Clinton-bashing American Spectator magazine, whose muckrakers produced lurid stories about Clinton’s alleged financial improprieties and trysts. Scaife also financed a probe called the Arkansas Project that tried, among other things, to show that Clinton, while Arkansas governor, protected drug runners.

    The Arkansas Project largely came up empty, and most of the stories were ignored by all but the most avid Clinton antagonists. But one Scaife-backed conspiracy theory got widespread attention. In 1993, White House aide and Clinton friend Vince Foster was found dead of a gunshot wound in a park outside Washington, D.C. Three official investigations concluded the death was a suicide. Yet Scaife dollars helped promote assertions that Foster had been murdered—the not-so-subtle subtext being that the Clintons had something to do with it. Scaife hired Christopher Ruddy, a reporter who doggedly pursued the conspiracy theory in a Scaife newspaper, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Though discredited, the story resonated with people who believed Clinton was hiding dark secrets. Scaife and Ruddy later started Newsmax, a Web site and magazine that attacks their enemies and lauds their heroes.

    Bill Clinton now finds himself the unlikeliest of Scaife heroes. Last month Ruddy posted a softball interview with Clinton on the Newsmax site (sample question: “What is the best thing about being an ex-president?”). A worshipful cover story followed in the current edition of the magazine. Clinton, it gushed, is “a political and cultural powerhouse” who is “part Merlin and part Midas—a politician with a magical touch.”

    What is going on here? Scaife declined to comment, but Ruddy tells NEWSWEEK he and Scaife believe Clinton’s life since leaving office has been “very laudable,” and that he is doing “very important work representing the country when the U.S. is widely resented in the world.” He said they never suggested Clinton was involved in Foster’s death, and insisted they were not among those hyping alleged Clinton sex scandals, though he acknowledged their work may have encouraged others.

    Whatever the reasons for Scaife’s change of heart, it’s not hard to figure out why the Clintons would embrace a former nemesis. As they prepared for Hillary’s presidential run, the Clintons made quiet attempts to disarm, or at least neutralize, some of their most vocal opponents. Last year Hillary accepted an offer from Rupert Murdoch (who always hedges his bets) to host a fund-raiser for her Senate campaign. The New York Times reported that the Clinton camp has also made efforts to open a line of communication to blogger Matt Drudge, who has served as a conduit for anti-Clinton GOP leaks.

    Ruddy, who accompanied Scaife to the Clinton lunch, says the peacemaking meeting came about after former New York City mayor Ed Koch offered to put the two together. (Koch declined to comment.) Clinton, pouring on the charm, greeted Scaife like an old friend. “President Clinton believes in redemption and moving forward,” says spokeswoman Jennifer Hanley. Ruddy says they talked about Clinton’s charitable work and avoided opening old wounds. After receiving the full Bill treatment, Scaife left with a new outlook on the man he had once set out to crush. Scaife isn’t ready to sign on to Hillary’s campaign—he’s still a Republican. But his lawyer, Yale Gutnick, says Bill Clinton and Richard Mellon Scaife are now members of a “mutual admiration society.” Cue the apocalypse.

  57. TheRealist,

    I have no doubt she will prevail. But this is a wake-up call for all of us. It just reinfornces our suspicion MSM has never been Hillary’s friend, they will try everything to destroy her.

    If we’re prepared for the worst scenario – the continuing, relentless pile-on by MSM up until the end of this campaign, any bit of good news will be a big boost for her campaign.

    She is in good shape, but make no mistake, it’s going to be close since Obama definitely has big media/big blogs on his back.

  58. Carby, I agree with your sentiment on PBS debate. I think PBS debate was best because the moderators didnt have an agenda. It is not like they have to make it sensational. as far as they are concerned, their revenues/reputation will not get effected if they do a dull but yet efficient job, Thats why they stick to the facts. This clearly is not the case with other media outlets where ratings mean everything. so the more sensation, the better.

    ra1029. I agree with you on Iowa. She was never supposed to win in Iowa. Not winning Iowa would be Edwards loss, not Hillarys. Iowa is Edwards make or break. He packs if he loses, and so he might be hedging by playing good guy with BO for VP. Actually it would be good if Edwards would be in the race,by coming first or second but BO last, primarily because there might be a possibility that if he folds in Iowa, a majority of his support might drift to BO. We just need Edwards in NH. After NH, he has no strategy or organization going forward, neither is he strong in other places. Even if he gets average bounce of 18-25%, he still wont be too far from Hillary’s reach. He will eventually crumble and fold. Which is why Edwards winning or second in Iowa is much more important than Hillary defeating both and coming first in Iowa in my opinion. Meanwhile, I am sensing there will be a fourth runner, and I am betting on Richardson, and wishing it wont be Biden.

  59. paula and ra1029

    in regards to local NH media coverage, the “manchester union leader”, known for its extreme right-wing bias, has been covering senator clinton in a fair and balanced manner. in comparison, the “concord monitor”, known for its progressive slant, unabashedly favors BO.

    bottom line, the BM influence flows down-hill, right to the local level.

  60. alcina:

    What is this with the so called progressive outlets favoring Obama? He hasn’t delivered one bit to them in terms of progressive accomplishments other than some empty speeches. Yet, they are willing to throw their own reputation under the bus by batting for him. They will be mightly disappointed once he gets to the whitehouse, if he ever does.

    Realist:

    I still beleive we need to stay away from MSNBC. Keith might be an exception. Fox is much more fairer to her than MSNBC/Newsweek ever will be.

  61. Keith is indeed an exception. He is the ONLY one who has access to Bill clinton and Hillary. During both years of CGI, Keith was the only one who go access to Bill’s interview. Keith got an access to Hillary’s interview on MSNBC, besides doing the mandatory meet the press. On similar lines, I think both Larry King and Wulf Blitzer have exclusive access to Clintons, which is why they dont push it too hard with them. Which is another reason why I am confident Hillary will do well in next debate, because there wont be an lets go get her ambush set up for her.

    I heard MSNBC chris mathews constantly whining about how his access to white house would be limited if she becomes president. I cant wait for that to happen :).

  62. I got a Hillary tonic from my sister today….a first time voter who does not follow the media nor politics day to day…..

    she think Hillary is doing fine and she has persuaded many members in her religious organizatiuon in social occasions (outside of the prayers meetings) to do the same……all of these people – mainly women – will be first time voters!!!!

    And my sister may even attend a low cost funder raiser if Hillary is around on her next trip to the SF bay area…… this is the first time my sister would think of donating money to a politician….

  63. I just think if Hillary can be her same confident, lovely self like she was at the J&J dinner, then she will do fine on the debate.

    I agree that the last debate was not her A game because she wasn’t expecting a set-up by the moderators, so we saw her B game. She thought she was dealing with a professional group of journalists that would be fair and balance moderators for the candidates, unfortunately for America that was not to be.

    I’m hoping the dispensing of that fantasy will have the Team Hillary
    more on top of collateral distractions.

  64. sad but true. Its like asking me if I would vote for him if he is the nominee. I mean this guy actually hates her which is sad. His utter disrespect for party unity almost spooks me.

    A Not-So-Perfect Picture of Party Unity

    By Jeff Zeleny

    On both sides of the ticket, the presidential nominating contest is growing increasingly combative, as voters may well witness Thursday during a debate in Las Vegas among the Democratic candidates.

    So how is John Edwards feeling about Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York these days? So bad, apparently, that in an interview last week he twice refused to say whether he would endorse her should she win the Democratic presidential nomination.

    It is a standard political question, which often comes with a standard answer. And it is highly unusual for a candidate to decline to answer whether he would ultimately support the party’s nominee.

    When asked the same question last week, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois did not hesitate.

    “I am a Democrat, and I would support the Democratic nominee,” he said. With a smile, he added, “I intend it to be me.”

    Neither did Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, who declared: “Of course. What’s the choice, Rudy Giuliani?”

    No Democratic candidate has gone after Mrs. Clinton with as much intensity as Mr. Edwards has. Not only has she been on the receiving end of his sharp words in televised debates, Mrs. Clinton has also emerged as a leading character in his stump speeches.

    Between campaign appearances last week, as he rode through eastern Iowa in his campaign van, Mr. Edwards declined to answer whether he would support Mrs. Clinton.

    “I’m not willing to talk about that at this point,” he said, waiting silently until the next question was asked.

  65. At least Obama said yes to that question. Another reason I can’t stand Edwards. I wish Hillary would squash him like a gnat.

  66. Ignore Edwards. we should not get distracted by him at all. He’s pretty much in Kucinich terroritory. I don’t know you guys, but I really do not get riled up by Edwards’ insanity any more. I think he’s a non-factor.

    He is a suicide bomber on behalf of Obama, that’s for sure.

  67. She has to spend enough money to at least keep Obama to third. She must win (preferably), or come in a close second to Edwards. Both guarantee her the nod.

  68. Edwards knows he has lost. No wonder he is refusing to answer.

    I was thinking about Johnny while I watched OU beat Alcorn State tonight. He is not a team player. If you think of the Democratic party as a team, he’d be the personal towel boy for sycophant loving Bwak. Well, at least in my mental meanderings. 🙂

    Hillary Clinton would be the point guard with everyone following her lead and her setting up the shots. She knows where all the players are on teh floor at any given moment. She’ll take her shot when she needs to, but her focus is always on the team. Team being the party, team being our country. Look at her speeches. She’s always pointing out she has and will work for the team. Bwak unfortunately given the text of his speeches never learned that there is no “I” in team.

    Another mental meandering before I retire to the less impressive task of folding laundry, one of teh reasons that “conservatives” hate “liberals” is because they think we’re all elitist, know-it-all, pushy snobs. We’re not. A good friend of mine, a Lutheran pro-life conservative who voted for the GOP in nearly every election she’s checked a box in had a quite in depth talk with me about the crux of her views. She is a self described social conservative, but when pressed on what that actually meant, she was pro-choice, pro-civil rights, had no problem with gay marriage and wanted religious freedom for everyone including Atheists like me. Even our views on spirituality were quite similar. She just really hates the “I’m more educated than you so I know better than you” crowd. That’s, frankly, the same crowd that endorses Bwak. He will get crucified in a GE because conservative voters will not cross the aisle for him and will actually work harder to keep him out of the WH. Conservatives who actually listen and watch are realizing the Hillary caricature they bought into isn’t true. I would also like to point out the tenor of Johnny and Bwak supporters proves they think they know everything and think everyone else is stupid. They are the worst stereotype of our party and their behavior is shameful as it reveals their own deep-seated racism. sexism and classism.

  69. It about the narrative. The media needs conflict to attract viewers. While you may believe that the media hates Hillary, hate is just the other side of LOVE. Hillary is not just good copy, not just great copy, she’s the motherlode of copy. The media has been examining Hillary’s every move for 15 years now, personally, professionally, spiritually, (hell, they want X-rays) and it is truly a love/hate relationship. The media would be doing their best to knock the front-runner down no matter who it was, that it’s Hillary makes it even better from their viewpoint, because she can take their hits and stay on top, whereas a weaker, comparatively unknown candidate would still be in the, “building up” phase(Like BO)and would have to be knocked down gently, lest they be knocked out completely (Like Dean) The front-runner gets a lot of heat down the stretch, and we know all about Hillary and heat.

    Rudy is getting something less than a gentle massage from BM himself, once again, a nationally well known front-runner who, (whatever else you want to say about him) can take a shot. The BM is all over Rudy but they really want him to be the republican nominee. Even though the BM is going at Hillary, they WANT her to be the candidate, do not doubt it for a minute. The BM wants whoever can sell the most newspapers, ad time, commercials, etc., and that’s Hillary vs. Rudy.

    Hillary vs. Rudy. You don’t even NEED their last names. That is what the BM wants. Every paper, every website, every channel, dreams of, longs for this match-up.
    The BM would love it if the Yankees and the Dodgers could play in the World Series EVERY year, as that is the best demo for viewership and ad
    prices. Hillary and Rudy, even though they are both from NY are the equivalent of the Yankees and the Dodgers of politics. Even though they are circling like jackals now, when push comes to shove, they’ll do everything in their power to steer the body politic that way. Hillary vs. Rudy sells papers and that is what it’s all about in the world of the BM.

    They want her to win, they expect her to win, they will even HELP her to win (if they really had to.), but they do not want it to be EASY. To the BM, Clinton=Drama, and there is no drama in a 25 point lead. So they
    build Obama up a little, praise his speech (I heard a rumor that over 25 students at LSU were hospitalized with alcohol poisoning after a drinking game that had them do a shot every time OB said, “I”, during the JJ speech), quote the poll where he, “only” trails by 9 or ten points and create drama where there in reality, is none. Who would watch the next debate, outside of political junkies like me if there wasn’t an aura of drama surrounding the proceedings? They want her to win but they want her to win a struggle, not take a cakewalk to the coronation. The players change but this aspect of the political narrative has been the standard media template as long as I can remember.
    She has to walk through the fire to claim the prize. If there’s no actual fire, the BM does their best to start one.

    At some point, either before or very early in the new year, the tone will change, and the BM will smile on Hillary, as the states fall, one by one, then in a, “tsunami”, in her favor. Then the stories will be about how she OVERCAME the challenges and her challengers, the brilliance of her campaign and the tireless work of the staff and especially the candidate. Then the stories will be of a kinder, gentler nature, but don’t be fooled, it’s just the beginning of another cycle.

  70. I would also like to point out the tenor of Johnny and Bwak supporters proves they think they know everything and think everyone else is stupid. They are the worst stereotype of our party … .”

    Excellent point.

  71. OMG, the media is desperate for a story. I just saw anderson cooper and they were like does this speech in Iowa change everything?

  72. I agree Obama is the establishment candidate, or worse. Some days I am not sure if he’s a Republican or Democrat. This Uniter meme he has is a joke. His performance on MTP was about a C- at best, he couldn’t answer a question. He didn’t distinguish himself as a leader, he hedged on Rezko, his records, and how he’s taken a stand on Iraq. I can’t remember the answer, because there really wasn’t one. Even with all of the help of the Big Media, he can’t seem to figure out what to do.

  73. tonight on cnn cooper asked gergen if all this hillary is sinking crap is a media concotion. gergen agreed the media is hyperventilating. however, cnn is drumming their debate as a make or break. like gergen said hillary is a fighter and will fight big time in the debate thru the primaries harder than most have seen her-if u can believe that. gergen should know-he worked in the clinton white as advisor

  74. It makes sense for CNN to hype it. I agree with Gergen, too. She’s tough as nails, and I mean that in a good way, lol.

  75. Well, atleast they admit they are hyping this speech, which I’m not sure how you could get “fired up” about unless you totally dislike Hillary and even Bill Clinton.

  76. I agree with most of your argument Realist but there is some in the media who truly want to be king makers or think they’re better then the average person…i.e Chris “I was in the peace corps” Matthews.

    They think they know how to run a campaign and do not like Hillary. So it’s personal for them and in the halo of “freedom of the press” they work their poison.

    Yes, I do think a Hillary vs Rudy fight is what the networks want but that still doesn’t excuse some of the personal attacks coming out of the media.

  77. well, y’all I’d begun to think I’d lost all semblance of objectivity, sanity and sense because I thought Hillary’s speech at JJ was one of her best ever and I thought Obama’s was extremely negative and cynical. He does not talk about who he is — he talks about what he is not (usually the opposite of how he is trying to portray Hill). Substance is largely lacking. He looked quite angry to me. Again, this might be my bias. But not “passionate” just plain ole pissed off. Working class vs elite is pretty much it, I think, as long as “middle class” is included in working class. I am baffled by the early analysis of more educated women goin’ for Obama. I still wonder about that. I think y’all are on the number with the explanation re media and the hero (or in this case) heroine who overcame the obstacles. As usual, y’all make a lot of sense. Okie, I hope if that lsu story is true those kids are outta the hospital by now. That was a lot of booze. mollyj

  78. Edwards is a threat here in Iowa. When we do calls everynight, Edwards is the most popular guy if pressed on who they support, then Hillary, then Obama. He has been going down in the polls, but don’t discount him. His negative track lately is not going to help him. I am not worried about him nationally, but here it is much different. Obama is going to lose because he has no policy passion.

  79. terrondt,

    “yeah, check out that mika brezinzki interview with michelle obama.”

    How about, after being confronted with the latest NBC/WSJ poll that shows more African-Americans say they will vote for Hillary rather than her husband (46% to 37%), Michelle tells Mika:

    “I’m completely confident Black America will wake up and GET IT.”

    UN BAH LIEVABLE.

    The arrogance.

  80. I do wish Hillary’s campaign people would not have made those remarks about young voters. Heck, a majority of young voters support her. She needs to leave Penn and Mcauliffe home and send Patty or someone a bit hipper to Iowa. It’s not Hillary. She’s young at heart. But these guys can be a bit defensive about her.

  81. celiff,

    I hope you’re right. I’ll be relieved if Edwards wins as long as Clinton is ahead of Obama.. The national media is hyping up Obama in IA like crazy. But from an Edwards supporters’ field report and your account, that does not sound like the case in IA.

    As long as Clinton is ahead of Obama on caucus night, everything will be just fine. MSM does not like Edwards, they even hate him more than Clinton. He won’t get any love even if he wins IA.

    Obama is a totally different story, even if he squeaks out a second place finish, MSM will shower him with endless love.

  82. BTW, recommended reading: David Brock’s book Blinded By The Right. And David’s organization, Media Matters for America, is calling for a return to the Fairness Doctrine.

  83. mj,

    I think you r too nitpicking. There’s no need to repeat a non-story spouted by politico. We should not be tangled with stuff like that. I see no wrong with Penn’s remarks, i could sense they were quite relieved after evaluating Obama’s ‘supporters’…

  84. Well, they put everything her campaign does under a microscope. It’s almost as if she is the only real candidate and then everyone else no matter which Party is merged into one non-Hillary. So, every sip of water she takes is evaluated. And, she does have the absolute best plans for the country, including the young. And, particulary the young returning vet’s, she’s got them covered.

  85. Yes MJ! I have been saying that for months. Either she, Bill, Patty S. D., or someone like Magic Johnson, Maya Angelou, or Steven Spielberg. This would help us SOO MUCH with this area.

  86. Though that is alot to ask. I think it absolutely a mark of what a great mom Hill is that Chelsea is such a nice young woman and that Hill has not urged Chelsea to leave her private life and campaign for her.

  87. mj,

    you can’t control media. They will do whatever needed to hype up their candidate. There’s no need to be intimidated by these trivial things, otherwise Hillary should not even open her mouth. In the end, people will get tired of such stuff.

    I still like George W. Bush’s example. He was under brutal, brutal attacks from every corner in the closing days of the campaign. The MSM was examing every step of his campaign. But to his credit, he’s a very confident man, he did not let the MSM distract him. In the end, he prevailed at the expense of MSM’s wish.

    My attitude right now is to ignore the MSM noise, let Hillary stay on message. If the MSM continues to pile on her, there’s nothing, absolutely nothing you can do to change it. Just let the chips fall where they might.

  88. This is a very sports oriented university, so Johnson would be awesome. And this is the preeminent school for writing (see late Kurt Vonnegut), so Angelou would draw a crowd.

  89. Kostner, it’s not about being intimidated. It’s because I like young people(not so old myself), and Hill loves young people, and when they interact with her, they love her, so I think she should have these voters too. Never cede a vote.

  90. my eyes are burning-just checked wapo full of pro obama stories. “the cloak of hillary’s enevitability stripped.’ “obama’s moves pay off.’

  91. I saw a good analysis of debate strategy on yesterday’s blog, found myself in agreement and started to write a concurring opinion.

    But then I realized something obvious about Hillary: she has experience, gravitas, policy wisdom, and a quick sense of humor; a deep and abiding commitment to the people of this country; and the unmistakable qualitites of a true leader.

    I then decided the smartest thing I could do as a supporter is to let Hillary be Hillary. That is the best of all possible debate strategies.

    I know a guy who is a nationally known sports psycholgist. He works with elite members of the PGA tour. What he tells them after they have set their goals, visualized their achievement, and practiced relentlessly is this: now you must trust.

  92. Press dislikes clintons, so it shouldn’t come to you as a surprise texan :). My gf was saying there was an awesome speech by Bill Clinton broadcasted on C-span today. I am looking for it online but cant find it. Here is one of the most through provoking speeches Mr. Clinton gave. I admire his fiscal discipline.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJVDqYuhL7M

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDjpR_RzLes

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJVDqYuhL7M

    excellent speech indeed.

  93. no the press doesnt like the clintons-never has. nut the ny times has some good stuff-inclduing edwards’ non commital to clinton if she is the nominee.

  94. finally we have a pollster who makes sense… Read this article from Peter A. Brown, who is assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

    Poor debate won’t hurt Clinton’s primary run
    By PETER A. BROWN
    McClatchy-Tribune News Service
    There is much hope among Democratic presidential candidates and their supporters, fueled by a news media desperately wanting a real fight for the nomination, that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s recent debate performance was so poor it might create a race from what so far has been a runaway.

    Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich now puts her chances of winning the Democratic nomination at 50 percent, down from 80 percent.

    He should know better. The evidence is scant, to say the least, that Sen. Clinton did the type of damage that could fundamentally change the dynamics of what has been, until now, a lopsided campaign. After all, there is a huge difference between having a bad outing — which she had — and throwing away decades of good will built up among the Democratic rank and file, the vast majority of whom didn’t even watch the debate.

    It would take a collapse unprecedented in modern American politics for her to lose the nomination. A Washington Post/ABC News poll taken mostly after the gaffe gave her a 23-point lead over the Democratic field.

    The notion put forward by some that her lead is no larger or more solid — and therefore just as easily squandered — as was Howard Dean’s four years ago is just plain wrong.

    Dean, who surged to the forefront of the Democratic race in 2003 only to see it all disappear when the voting began, rode a wave of anti-war fervor among Democratic activists who knew little about him. That’s why they deserted him so quickly once they saw his less flattering side.

    For Clinton to lose the nomination, millions of Democratic activists, who have worshipped her for the last 16 years, will have to suddenly re-evaluate their view.

    Of course it’s possible, but more likely than not it is a sucker’s bet. It is important to understand that not only are all the polls showing her far ahead, but these same surveys show her supporters more firmly committed than those of the other candidates.

    That’s due in no small amount to her being the wife of the most popular Democratic president in most Americans’ lifetime. Today, Bill Clinton still ranks as the nation’s most popular Democrat.

    It is no exaggeration to say most Democratic primary voters see Bill Clinton as their political god and Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, by extension, as a way to bring happy days here again.

    That’s why her lead is not only a mile wide, but just as deep.

    Now, what her admittedly lousy debate performance has done is prompt her primary opponents to begin the kind of attacks that Sen. Clinton will see from the Republicans if she is nominated.

    The Republican National Committee couldn’t be happier with Democrats raising questions about her candor, truthfulness and positions on the issues.

    Few anti-Hillary folks are Democrats who can vote in party primaries. Yes, in some states, non-party members can vote in Democratic primaries, but there are hardly enough to make a difference.

    The vast majority of them are Republicans and independents who are scared silly she could become president. And that’s why the debate gaffes could have an impact on her chances of becoming president, but more so when it comes to the general election than in the race for the nomination.

  95. Tonight on the Dan Abrams show Pat Buchanan noted that Big Media is suiting up and taking the field, and is thereby assuming a fundamentally different role in the political process.

    That is pretty obvious if you do a split screen analysis of Russert’s pit bull attack of Hillary in the Presidential debate, compared to his fireside chat with Obama on Meet The Press.

    What is perhaps less obvious is the consequences of partisanship. In the short term it gives the pundit a sense of cache among colleagues. But, in the long term he may lose access to key political figures as it becomes increasingly clear how he operates. In that case, ratings decline, advertisers depart and corporate handlers grow restive.

    The solution it seems to me is to preserve some sense of the traditional boundary between news and editorial opinion. Thus, when a viewer tunes in the presidential debates, he has a right to expect that the moderator will be fair and impartial to all candidates. Russert was not. Softball questions to one candidate, high inside fastballs to another is not fair. But if that viewer tunes in Chris Matthews, and expects fairness, then he is like the member of the ill fated Shackelford Expedition who went to Antarctica and complained about the weather.

    When Big Media acts as a partisan in the election process, it undermines its own credibility, and does a grave disservice to the country. The voters need accurate relevant information, in order to make informed choices in the voting booth. What they do not need is a BM narrative based on an irrelevant consensus derived inside the Beltway.

  96. Here is yet another, more elaborate version of the coed Q for Hillary, which, perhaps, is a setup for Thursday’s debate. Note the slightly different spin on the story. (Posted by CNN at 6:49 AM.)

    Clinton’s planted student speaks out, says she just wants honesty

    GRINNELL, Iowa (CNN) –- The college student who says she was told what question to ask at one of Sen. Hillary Clinton’s campaign events–and whose story in her campus newspaper has now made its way around the world–said Monday that “voters have a right to know what happened, adding that she “wasn’t the only one at the event who was a plant.”

    In an exclusive taped interview with CNN, Muriel Gallo-Chasanoff, a sophomore at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, said that giving anyone specific questions to ask is “dishonest,” and the whole incident has given her a negative outlook on politics.

    Gallo-Chasanoff, an undecided voter, said what happened was really pretty simple: she says a senior Clinton staffer asked if she’d like to ask the senator a question after an energy speech she gave in Newton, Iowa, on November 6.

    “I sort of thought about it, and I said ‘Yeah, can I ask how her energy plan compares to the other candidates’ energy plans?'” Gallo-Chasanoff said.

    “‘I don’t think that’s a good idea,” the staffer said, according to Gallo-Chasanoff, “because I don’t know how familiar she is with their plans.”

    He then opened a binder to a page that, according to Gallo-Chasanoff, had about eight questions on it.

    -CNN’s Chris Welch and David Schechter

    Can we take a breath here, please.

    First she says she was asked if she would like to ask A QUESTION.

    Then, she poses a valid but more complicated question.

    She does NOT SAY what she was told to ask.

    She now says that the staffer had a binder with about eight questions on a page …. and assumes what?

    She says she was not the only one who was a plant. She KNOWS this how? Because a staffer has a binder with something printed on a page which she assumes are questions?

    And CNN now assumes what?

    Wait for the rest of today’s “pile on” on this. This is getting way out of hand.

    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2007/11/13/24-creator-says-its-nuts-to-think-of-clinton-as-president/

  97. New CNN version of coed/”plant” story follows. Tried to post with CNN link but didn’t make it past the spam filter.

    Clinton’s planted student speaks out, says she just wants honesty

    GRINNELL, Iowa (CNN) –- The college student who says she was told what question to ask at one of Sen. Hillary Clinton’s campaign events–and whose story in her campus newspaper has now made its way around the world–said Monday that “voters have a right to know what happened, adding that she wasn’t the only one at the event who was a plant.

    In an exclusive taped interview with CNN, Muriel Gallo-Chasanoff, a sophomore at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, said that giving anyone specific questions to ask is “dishonest,” and the whole incident has given her a negative outlook on politics.

    Gallo-Chasanoff, an undecided voter, said what happened was really pretty simple: she says a senior Clinton staffer asked if she’d like to ask the senator a question after an energy speech she gave in Newton, Iowa, on November 6.

    “I sort of thought about it, and I said ‘Yeah, can I ask how her energy plan compares to the other candidates’ energy plans?'” Gallo-Chasanoff said.

    “‘I don’t think that’s a good idea,” the staffer said, according to Gallo-Chasanoff, “because I don’t know how familiar she is with their plans.”

    He then opened a binder to a page that, according to Gallo-Chasanoff, had about eight questions on it.

    -CNN’s Chris Welch and David Schechter

  98. Expect to see numerous versions of this today. CNN posted it 11/13/07 at 6:49 AM under CNN AM Political Ticker.

    Also saw Gallo-Chasanoff speaking on CNN this morning (sorry, had enough “Morning Jowl”). Maybe a YouTube link will be up soon.

  99. More from yesterday’s version (11/12/07 11:39 PM):

    [snip]

    He then opened a binder to a page that, according to Gallo-Chasanoff, had about eight questions on it.

    “The top one was planned specifically for a college student,” she added. ” It said ‘college student’ in brackets and then the question.”

    Topping that sheet of paper was the following: “As a young person, I’m worried about the long-term effects of global warming. How does your plan combat climate change?”

    And while she said she would have rather used her own question, Gallo-Chasanoff said she generally didn’t have a problem asking the campaign’s because she “likes to be agreeable,” adding that since she told the staffer she’d ask their pre-typed question she “didn’t want to go back on [her] word.”

    Clinton campaign spokesman Mo Eliethee has said in a statement responding to the initial college newspaper article that the senator “did not know which questioners she was calling on during the event.”

    Gallo-Chasanoff wasn’t so sure.

    “I don’t know whether Hillary knew what my question was going to be, but it seemed like she knew to call on me because there were so many people, and…I was the only college student in that area,” she said.

    In their statement, the campaign also added, “On this occasion a member of our staff did discuss a possible question about Senator Clinton’s energy plan at a forum…This is not standard policy and will not be repeated again.”

    Gallo-Chasanoff may have some doubts about that one, as well

    “After the event,” she said, “I heard another man…talking about the question he asked, and he said that the campaign had asked him to ask that question.”

    The man she references prefaced his question by saying that it probably didn’t have anything to do with energy, and then posed the following: “I wonder what you propose to do to create jobs for the middle class person such as here in Newton where we lost Maytag.”

    A Maytag factory in Newton recently closed, forcing hundreds of people out of their jobs.

    During the course of the late night interview on Grinnell’s campus, Gallo-Chasanoff also told CNN that the day before the school’s newspaper ‘Scarlet and Black’ printed the story, she wanted the reporter to inform the campaign out of courtesy to let them know it would be published.

    She said the “head of publicity for the campaign”—a man whose name she could not recall–had no factual disputes with the story, but she added that a Clinton intern spoke to her to say the campaign requests she “not talk about” the story to any more media outlets and that if she did she should inform a staffer.

    “I’m not under any real obligation to do that, and I haven’t talked to [the campaign] anymore,” Gallo-Chasanoff said, adding that she also doesn’t plan to.

    “If what I do is come and just be totally truthful, then that’s all anyone can ask of me, and that’s all I can ask of myself. So I’ll feel good with what I’ve done. I’ll feel like I’ve done the right thing.”

    Asked if this experience makes her less likely to support Clinton’s presidential bid, Gallo-Chasanoff said, “I think she has a lot to offer, but I—this experience makes me look at her campaign a little bit differently.”

    “The question and answer sessions—especially in Iowa–are really important. That’s where the voters get to…have like a real genuine conversation with this politician who could be representing them.”

    While she acknowledged “its possible that all campaigns do these kind of tactics,” she said it still doesn’t make it right.

    “Personally I want to know that I have someone who’s honest representing me.”

    Calls placed to representatives from the Clinton campaign late Monday night were not immediately returned.

    Gallo-Chasanoff’s story comes at a time when a second person has also come forward with a similar one. Geoffrey Mitchell of Hamilton, Illinois—on the Iowa border—told CNN the Clinton campaign also wanted him to ask a certain question at an Iowa event back in April.

    “He asked me if I would ask Sen. Clinton about ways she was going to confront the president on the war in Iraq, specifically war funding,” said Geoffrey Mitchell, a supporter of Sen. Barack Obama. “I told him it was not a question I felt comfortable with.”

    No questions were taken at the event. Clinton spokesman Mo Elleithee said this incident was different than what happened with Gallo-Chasanoff in Newton. Eleithee said the staffer “bumped into someone he marginally knew” and during a conversation with Mitchell, “Iraq came up.” Elleithee denied the campaign tried to plant him as a friendly questioner in the audience.

    Mitchell said he had never met the staffer before the event.

    -CNN’s Chris Welch and David Schechter

    http: // politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2007/11/12/student-given-question-for-clinton-i-just-want-honesty

  100. Spam filter got me again …. CNN did a late night interview with Gallo-Chasanoff … Due title search “Student given question to ask Clinton: I just want honesty” to access article (posted 11/12/07 at 11:39 PM by Chris Welch and David Schechter, CNN Political Ticker).

    As this story gets more elaborate, it starts to sound like somebody is fueling it besides CNN.

  101. The Faux News exclusive about Geoffrey Mitchell, who says he was asked to ask a specific question, seems suspicious. First it is Faux News and second Mitchell is an Obama supporter who pops up 11/10/07 about something he claims happened 04/07. Says he was asked to ask the question but no questions were asked at this event, which he admits.

    Will post link separately below.

  102. Mitchell (Keokuk) just so happens to be a member of Obama’s Iowa State Membership Committee. (See iowapolitics .com.)

    Mitchell’s making the rounds, too. He also called NBC/NJ (See “Second Clinton Plant” at MSNBC First Read 11/10/07).

    According to The Politico’s Ben Smith, Mitchell had told him a similar story in April. And Smith talked and emailed with Mitchell again 11/10/07 (See “Another Plant?”.) A Daily Kos poster had also run the story back in April, as well.

    This IS NOT NEWS, folks. However, you can’t fault the guy. He’s just trying to spread all the BO that he can.

    P.S. Guess that “Exclusive” Fox News interview wasn’t so exclusive after all.

    P.S. Speaking of plants !

  103. Note that the Iowa Politics letter listing Mitchell as a member of Obama’s Iowa State Membership Committee is dated 09/19/07.

    However, in the MSNBC First Read article, it reports the following:

    Mitchell, a 32-year-old minister, said he was not and had never been a Clinton supporter and stressed that he had moved to Illinois since the April 2nd event and, so, could not participate in the caucuses.

    So, why is he listed on the September 2007 letter as a State Membership Committee member for Obama in IOWA ?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

  104. Records Under Wraps (Washingtonpost Editorial)

    Hillary Clinton’s White House papers would be tied up even if she released them.
    Tuesday, November 13, 2007; Page A18

    DURING LAST month’s Democratic Party debate in Philadelphia, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s opponents demanded that she release papers from the National Archives to allow the American people to judge whether her experience as first lady qualifies her to be president. Such campaign theatrics played into the well-worn narrative that the Clintons are secretive and slippery. But even if former President and Mrs. Clinton did what her opponents asked, the records would not be available in time for next year’s election. It’s a problem of lengthy review periods stretching into years that a bill from Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) would alleviate — if only Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) would get out of the way.

    Presidential records are off-limits for five years after a president leaves office. In addition, the Presidential Records Act of 1978 allows a former president to withhold six types of records for a further seven years, including confidential advice between the president and his advisers. Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush each instructed the National Archives to withhold such documents for 12 years — as did Mr. Clinton in 1994.

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    But even if Mr. Clinton today asked the National Archives to release confidential communications between him and the former first lady, disclosure could still be years away. That’s because the six archivists at the Clinton library would have to sift through — by hand — more than 138 million pages in 36,000 boxes. And that’s after they respond on a first-come-first-served basis to 287 pending Freedom of Information Act requests. Once the Archives scrubbed the records of information that cannot be released by law, the records would go to Bruce R. Lindsey, handler of Mr. Clinton’s presidential records, who already is reviewing 26,000 pages. Then they would go to President Bush. A 2001 Bush executive order puts no time limit on the incumbent president’s review.

    Enter Mr. Lieberman, whose legislation would limit the review by the former and incumbent presidents to no more than 90 days. More important, it would roll back the unprecedented step of extending to their relatives and to the vice president the right to invoke executive privilege. That provision could put some presidential papers permanently out of public reach. The Lieberman bill, combined with more money for the Archives to help it keep up with the explosion of electronic documents, would modestly speed access to historical documents.

    But the Lieberman bill can’t get anywhere because Mr. Bunning has put a hold on it. He has said, “The president ought to have the right to withhold any records he chooses.” Wrong. Those documents belong to the people of the United States. The sooner Mr. Bunning gets out of the way, the sooner the American people can see them.

  105. No need to be shocked by posed moments (Chicago Suntimes)
    Hillary’s not the only one to use dubious campaign tactic

    November 13, 2007
    Last week, Hillary Clinton’s bus pulled up to the parking lot at a diesel plant in Newton, Iowa. The Democratic presidential candidate got out, gave a speech on energy conservation, and invited questions from the crowd.

    One of the people she chose was a Grinnell College student, Muriel Gallo-Chasanoff. Later, Gallo-Chasanoff told her college paper, Scarlet & Black, that one of Clinton’s campaign workers had given her the question to ask about global warming. “They wanted a question from a college student,” Gallo-Chasanoff told Scarlet & Black.

    A planted question.

    From Clinton’s so-called front-running campaign.

    Dumb and dumber.

    Especially when the polls in Iowa show Clinton jostling for first place in the Democratic race with Barack Obama and John Edwards, and the polls in New Hampshire show her support has slightly eroded.

    Of course, Edwards smacked Clinton for this, comparing her campaign manipulations, once again, to President Bush.

    But artifice is not in Clinton’s purview alone. It is the fundamental tool of all political campaigns.

    Last week, Obama, with a trail of reporters behind him, made a so-called unscheduled bus stop in Albia, Iowa. First he walked down the town’s main street shaking hands with people who had emerged out of Mick’s Furniture and Appliance. Then he turned the corner and headed into Smitty’s Sandwich Shop where he talked about education and agriculture with brothers Dien and Joe Judge.

    Joe, 29, is a schoolteacher; Dien, 34, is an agricultural reporter for the Iowa Independent. They are the sons of Patty Judge, the lieutenant governor of Iowa.

    Dien, who lives on the family farm nearby, told me the meeting with Obama in that quaint diner had been pre-arranged, to welcome the senator to the county. (Joe is the chairman of the Monroe County Democratic Party, a little fact that wasn’t illuminated by the Obama campaign.)

    It was a great photo op but it wasn’t as spontaneous as the campaign let on. One Obama campaign worker acknowledged in an aside: “We have to have a point in any stop we make.”

    Last July, Obama staffers called up television stations and newspaper offices inviting Chicago reporters to watch the Illinois senator walk the picket line in front of the Congress Plaza Hotel on Michigan Avenue, where housekeepers and dishwashers and other front-line workers have been on strike for more than four years.

    Obama spoke to the pickets then had a “press avail” with reporters. One TV reporter asked Obama if this was a publicity stunt, and the senator heatedly replied that he’d shown the same solidarity with the Congress Plaza Hotel workers, walking the line, when he was running for the U.S. Senate.

    Not a publicity stunt when he calls out the reporters and cameras? When he ignores the pickets until it’s time to win a Senate seat or a presidential nomination?

    During his trips through Iowa, Obama has held roundtable discussions on various topics — agriculture, Social Security, working women’s issues — with “real people.” But these are really designed for optimum press exposure, the rooms filled with journalists. At the last one I attended on women’s issues, four of the eight women were Obama supporters, four were independents.

    Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter noted to me, Obama “wouldn’t want to sit down with these women and find out that one supported Hillary’s policies.” Of course. A certain amount of stage managing and legerdemain is required.

    Lest the chastising of Hillary’s campaign with its planted question continue, recognize this is just part of the game. Sometimes it just backfires.

    A plea for cash
    Convinced of Obama’s ascendancy in Iowa — after the raucous enthusiasm shown by the crowd at the Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Des Moines last Saturday — campaign manager David Plouffe sent a plea to supporters Monday asking them to open their wallets ASAP so Obama can skip a major fund-raiser and campaign more in Iowa.

    Plouffe’s e-mail asks for $850,000 — donations of $25 each — by this weekend so “Barack can return to Iowa and build on the momentum he created.”

    The heat is on, as Hillary would allow. Her new campaign slogan is “turn up the heat” culled from that famous Harry Truman line, “If you can’t stand the heat…. ” Clearly Obama’s advisers want to keep him in the kitchen.

  106. More on Obama’s plant. (Sorry, my links aren’t making it past the spam filter.)

    Unless there is more than one Rev. Geoffrey Mitchell of Keokuk, Iowa, who is an Obama supporter, the story of his having moved to Illinois after April 2, 2007, is, well, suspect.

    According to the serving schedule for the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Keokuk, Iowa, for November 4-11, 2007, Rev. Geoffrey L. Mitchell is an Associate Minister, and William S. Mitchell is the church’s Minister. He also goes by Geoff, according to the notice. (The Courier / fcckeokuk . org).

    Geoffrey Mitchell is listed among current church participants.

    According to a Eureka Christian Church Bulletin (eureka. lib. il. us/ community / christian_church/ for May 16, 2007), Mitchell had just begun his ministry at Keokuk, Iowa, and was coming to the Illinois church to speak as a “church developer”:

    “Prior to his ministry at First Christian Church he served as Founding Pastor of Community Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Aledo, Texas, a suburb of Fort Worth. Community Christian Church was launched in a hamburger shop in Aledo with eleven people and seven years later was a congregation with
    over 200 members, a majority of whom joined through confession of faith and baptism. He has served on the National Leadership Team for New Church Ministry, as a trainer in New Church coaching/Consulting Ministry of New Church and as a Consultant for many new church starts in the Disciples. Geoffrey is a graduate of Texas Christian University and Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, Texas. His father Rev. Bill Mitchell and our own Rev. Richards served churches together in Louisville, Ky. in the 1980’s. The Keokuk congregation was served by Leland Beck as an interim just before Bill came there.”

    All this put together doesn’t add up to Geoffrey Mitchell having recently moved to Hamilton, Illinois, as the news reports state.

  107. On the importance of what we say in blogs:

    “According to the Arketi Group 2007 Web Watch Survey, 84 percent of journalists say they would or already have used blogs as a primary or secondary source for articles. 100% of those (journalists) surveyed say they rely on the Internet to help get their job done. One-quarter of journalists say blogs make their job easier, while 18 percent say instant messaging makes their job easier.”

  108. Now that it is clear that Tim Russert posed two questions that are either misleading or mischaracterizing what she said, shouldn’t he/Newsweek/LA Times apologize for their errors on the question of smearing her with the archives question.

    It is easy to smear someone in a nationally televised debate or in national press. What is more difficult is saying you are sorry when you did a poor job. I bet these pundits could never bring themselves to do it and in not doing so they slowly erode the credibility the press/media has with the people.

  109. From Craig Crawford:

    http://cqpolitics.com/wmspage.cfm?parm1=5&docID=news-000002626244

    DES MOINES, Iowa — Here’s a question not even worth asking John Edwards right now because he would not really answer it: Do you dislike Hillary Rodham Clinton enough to ultimately abandon your own race and endorse Barack Obama if it comes to that ?

    While the Democratic presidential contender and former North Carolina senator would surely dodge such a query about his rivals, he revealingly answered a more benign version at a hotel press conference in Iowa last week. After bashing Clinton for several minutes he was asked to also say how he differs with Obama.

    “The differences between Sen. Clinton and myself are bigger than they are with Sen. Obama,” Edwards said, going on to speak warmly about the Illinois senator who stands in his way as the main alternative to the New York senator who leads the pack.

    There is no such warmth when Edwards speaks of Clinton — so much so that it is not unthinkable that a loss in Iowa, where the 2004 vice presidential nominee has put the bulk of his effort, might prompt him to endorse Obama well before the Feb. 5 multi-state primaries when Clinton hopes to clinch the nomination.

    Then we would finally find out just how much Edwards dislikes her.

  110. Hillary Addresses Question Planting in Iowa (11/11/07)

    After a Veteran’s Day event in Waterloo, IA today, Sen Clinton was asked about the latest bump on what just a few weeks ago was being declared her “inevitable” road to the Democratic nomination.

    As Fox News first reported, the Clinton campaign admitted to staging a question at an energy speech in Newton, IA on Tuesday, after a Grinnell College student told the school newspaper that a staffer instructed her to ask about the NY Senator’s plan to fight Global Warming.

    “Well it was news to me. And neither I nor my campaign approve of that. And it will certainly not be tolerated,” she said. Asked a follow up question, she said “you know everything I know.”

    Video link: http://cameron.blogs.foxnews.com/2007/11/11/hillary-addresses-question-planting-in-iowa/

  111. What is all of this winking nonsense about? How is this getting interpreted by the broadcast media? I’m boycotting right now.

    I did read the original article in the Grinnell newspaper and thought it fair. It did mention that the unprompted questions were rambling, disjoint. OK, so a staffer asked a student to specifically bring up global warming. The campaign wanted to make sure it got tabled, and it that sense, it was planted. I get it.

    Now I’m reading that this student is concerned about the honesty/integrity of the process. If so, why is she winking right after asking?

  112. Isnt this whole “plant” thing is just getting on my nerves. The “goring” of Hillary is in full swing now.

    First, of all, this girl was not a “plant”. She was not forced to go to a rival campaign and ask uncomfortable questions. She was not asked to praise Hillary and make her look good like Gannon was doing to Bush in the WH Press Room. She wanted to ask a question. A staffer suggested a few questions that could help Hillary enunciate her Energy Policy. Every damn Campaign does that. The intention is to allow the candidate focus and explain policy positions !! It is an accepted PR practice. I mean, if a supporter were to get in touch with a campaign and ask for suggestions regarding the questions that could be asked at a pep rally, is that “planting” ? !! In this case, ok the girl says that she was “undecided” but she still had no problems asking that question, did she ?? Nobody put a gun to her head , did they ? Nobody forced her and she did it with her free will , didnt she ?? If she had an ethical problem, maybe she could have declined ??

    And then that wink. What the hell is that supposed to mean ? And the question itself was so innocuous ! From the reports, Hillary took quite a few questions at that event. Some of them were clearly off-topic. Does anyone believe that all of them were from “plants” ??!! And dont even get me started on the Mitchell guy, an Obama supporter, who rushes to Fox News about something that he says happened a few months ago because he wants his guy to benefit from this nonsense.

    I am not trying to diss that student but it is amazing that things are not placed in perspective. And if you try to do that, you are accused of spinning !!

  113. This whole thing seems hatched to me. Once they called on her she could have asked her anything she wanted to. Hillary’s energy plan is better than her competitors so when this staffer said that he probably really meant it.

  114. All I’m seeing in that video is a young lady who does not appear to be concerned about the integrity of the process. Not at all.

  115. That student is suspect, she want her 15mins of fame and every time I hear about this it gets bigger and bigger.

    This is a distraction and I really don’t have a problem on how the student got helped with the question because this is common practice to help smooth the process. But it seem Hillary team must be perfect too because of a double standard being applied to Team Hillary and not to the rest of the candidates.

    Okay, we know where the bar is set…Hillary is treated different and every little mistake will be amplified and exaggerated.

  116. I totally hate to say this, but according to Taylor Marsh,

    “Chris Matthews is running a full on Obama-fest today”

    Ah, yes, all politics Tuesday at MSNBC.

    Tweety is having another man-crush day. Wonder if he’s wearing Depends so he doesn’t have to leave the studio?

  117. Today’s rasmussen poll: I have yesterday’s results also for comparision.

    Hillary 41(43)
    Obama 20(20)
    Edwards 17(16)

  118. I think this was doneby some Obama plant in the Clinton camp. Think about it. He just started calling Clinton’s campaign “textbook”. Eh, this is a silly story anyway. I’d rather actaully here about her energy plan but ofcourse the media doesn’t do energy plans.

  119. Interestingly some of Clinton’s support seems to be moving in Edwards’s direction, not to Obama. But media is moving full steam ahead with Obama love fest. Ofcourse, when has media looked at evidence before creating a narrative.

    Creating a narrative before hand, and then talking about any topic that fits neatly into their pre-defined narrative is what interests them. I say let them continue with their Obama lovefest. Once Edwards overtakes Obama they are in for a big “Oops”.

  120. 2 more items which are Edwards related. The first one is the death watch on the Edwards campaign. The second part suggests Dodd might be leaving the stop Hillary group after watching his Connecticut home state poll numbers swoon to 5%. From Politico:

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/1107/Vultures_circling_in_Iowa.html

    key Obama supporter in Iowa, former Democratic Party Chair Gordon Fischer, offered a glimpse into where his campaign sees growth: In scooping up Edwards supporters.

    “It’s going to move much more to a two-person race – Barack Obama and Hillary,” he said in an interview with this blog’s favorite Chicago undergrad, Alex Beinstein. Fischer based his prediction “on the amount of people at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner….John Edwards lagged way behind both Hillary and Barack in terms of the number of supporters at the dinner and enthusiasm at the dinner.”

    “I think they’re up for grabs, but I think Barack Obama definitely has a better chance to get Edwards voters as Edwards slips in the polls as he seems to be doing now,” he said, adding that Edwards’ main weakness is “consistency,” and his shift left since his days in the Senate.

    “Hillary Clinton is the default choice, she is the establishment choice,” he said. “If you were already with Hillary Clinton, what possible more information would you need or could you need ot be with Hillary Clinton at this point.

    “Two caveats: Edwards is still, obviously, running very hard in Iowa.

    And if he does fade, the counter-argument, is demographic: The working-class white voters Edwards has been courting most aggressively have been, to this point, been far more inclined to Hillary than to Obama.

    —————

    AND, on a similar note, Dodd is putting out a statement shortly trying to open a personal front with Edwards:

    I am surprised at just how angry John has become. This is not the same John Edwards I once knew. Of course, we should all come together to support the nominee. I wonder which of the Republicans John prefers to Hillary?

  121. 11/04/07, blogger Tom Watson’s endorsement of Hillary:

    Hillary Clinton is not a perfect candidate for President, nor is she the guardian of some imagined liberal purity. She’s a hard-nosed frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, and she compromises on a daily basis to maintain that status. The hard right accuses her of being a socialist who wants to create an all-powerful Federal hegemony over individual liberties. Many on the left accuse her being an extension of Cheney-Bush. In reality, she’s a progressive Democrat with wide streak of political realism about what can and can’t be accomplished within the realm of national policy – a viewpoint that was hard-earned on the national stage, I might add.

    To all the doubting progressives out there, I’d ask: who’s your favorite Democratic President? FDR, Truman, JFK, LBJ, Carter, Clinton? Which one was pure, didn’t compromise ideals, didn’t moderate his personal views? And of that group, who accomplished the most? I’d suggest it was the man who was the most cunning. Shrewd. Quick. Calculating. Opportunistic.

    Briefly, to policy. It is my belief that President Hillary Clinton’s administration would mean the following:

    – No Supreme Court justices like Scalia, Thomas, Roberts or Alito
    – National health care
    – A sane foreign policy built upon constant negotiation and real intelligence
    – Competent management of the Federal government
    – A best-possible-under-the-circumstances exit from Iraq
    – No torture and the return of habeas corpus
    – A stronger dollar, less deficit spending, and the end of the Bush tax cuts
    – A greener national energy policy
    – Federal funding for stem cell research

    (tomwatson.typepad) .com/ tom_watson /2007/11/ clinton-for-pre.html

  122. Watson, as well as this, quoted from TaylorMarsh.com:

    “… .. Anyway, a big thanks to all of Hillary Clinton’s detractors for helping me make up my mind about this. Fences make for uncomfortable seating, and just imagine how much time you’ve saved me sitting there poring over all the policy programs which haven’t a chance in hell of making it as-is through our Russert-whipped, telecom-purchased, twitchy as a cat in a rocking chair factory Congress.”

  123. Interesting admin. This is a chess game. Last debate all them piled on Hillary because she was ahead. If Dodd and Obama see that Edwards is pulling ahead, they will do everything to pull him down. At some point, if you do not have a positive message yourself you are going to be stacked at the bottom of the pile.

  124. From NBC’s Mark Murray
    Earlier today, we cited a New York Times piece noting that Edwards is refusing to say that he would endorse Clinton if she becomes the Democratic nominee. Well, in response, Dodd has released this statement obtained by First Read: “I am surprised at just how angry John has become. This is not the same John Edwards I once knew. Of course, we should all come together to support the nominee. I wonder which of the Republicans John prefers to Hillary?
    ****************************************************
    Edward should be angry at himself…

  125. There is a posting up on Hillary’s website to help her reach the goal of 1 million $ prior to the next debate. Please contribute. Let us help her reach that goal.

  126. The Edwards campaign carcass will now be eaten by the jackals. Obama is already pecking at the corpse and now Dodd thinks he can fatten up on poor departed John Edwards.

    Expect Edwards to be forced to answer the “support the nominee” question at the debate. If he does not say he supports the nominee then Dodd and others will pounce. Wolf Blitzer might even mention Trippi shouting Obama slogans in Iowa this past week and ask Edwards and Obama if they have a destroy Hillary agreement.

  127. It sure looks that way. I am not sure if Blitzer has the guts to ask pointed questions. Russert would have asked those questions as long as his target is Hillary.

  128. I love this from Hillary’s fact hub:

    Edwards Proposes Unconstitutional Law In New Ad

    Edwards has a new TV advertisement about health care where he proposes the following law:

    When I’m president, I’m going to say to members of Congress and members of my administration including my cabinet, I’m glad that you have health care coverage and your family has health care coverage. But if you don’t pass universal health care by July 2009, in six months, I’m going to use my power as president to take your health care away from you.
    The problem is, Edwards doesn’t have the power to take health care away from Congress unilaterally—he’d have to propose a law. (Edwards himself has acknowledged this point.) And a law that takes away health coverage from Congress in July 2009 is unconstitutional according to the 27th Amendment:

    No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.
    Thus, since the law would change compensation for Congress before the next Congressional election (2010), it would violate the 27th amendment. The Atlantic’s Matt Yglesias and All The President’s Spin Author Brendan Nyhan agree.

    Today, John Edwards is proposing unconstitutional gimmickry to pass universal health care. The last time he ran for president he opposed universal health care and attacked other candidates who supported it.

  129. I agree wholeheartedly with DT.

    Let me take it a step further. Assume for the sake of argument that this was a mistake, and not merely a rhetorical practice common to all campaigns. The operative question then becomes: did the candidate know and approve this practice before the fact, or ratify it afterwards? The answer to both questions is an unequivoval no.

    I believe this BM fixation is becoming a bit of an inside joke with more responsible members. Obviously that would not include Chris Matthews-but he is hardly what one would call responsible.

    I suspect if you went back to that wonderful waitress in Iowa who told BM they were nuts for fixating on the false story about a tip while Rome was burning, she would say something like: There you go again.

  130. Edwards and Obama are both dishonest about role of lobbyists (and Hillary was right): David Weigl writes in Reason Mag Online (Nov 07):

    John Edwards’ rhetoric about lobbyists is as Manichean as anything Jerry Falwell ever sermonized. But try to imagine a government the size Edward envisions—socialized health care, subsidized college tuition—without lobbyists. New government programs breed lobbyists, and for good reasons. People who might be affected by the new programs want to get into the rooms where those programs are devised. And if money is being doled out, they want a place at the front of the line.

    Edwards argues that businesses, interest groups, and even public-sector lobbyists shouldn’t be able to influence presidential candidates. He has called for reforms that would end private financing of elections and legislation that would curtail lobbying activity. Lobbyists would get in the way of the “bold, transformative change” the candidate wants to push through Congress. Edwards doesn’t want to have to deal with the people who would be affected by those changes. He wants to dictate terms.

    [snip]

    Edwards knocked Obama for proposing a law that would merely make lobbyist activity more transparent and records more available. The bill was “an important first step,” Edwards granted. But “letting people watch the money game as it’s being played simply isn’t enough—we need to put an end to the money game altogether.”

    You can see how Edwards won huge jury awards when he was a trial lawyer. His smooth talk obscures an illiberal idea and allows him to pitch that idea to some of the people most invested in the lobbying system. At YearlyKos, he turned to an audience that included plenty of union members—an audience that, just 24 hours earlier, had attended a luncheon at which Service Employees International Union head Andy Stern spoke—and asked, “How many of you have your own Washington lobbyist?”

    “That spoke to his own ignorance,” sniffs Jan Beron, a lawyer who has worked for Republicans and private-sector lobbyists. “Who had a lobbyist? They all did! The AFL-CIO was in that room, for God’s sake. When I get questions about who represents the little guy, I say, well, how about the AARP?”

    Whether lobbyists are there for the little guy or not, they multiply when government programs appear on the horizon. In 1998 the health care industry spent $204 million (in current dollars) on lobbying.

    …. But honest reform would be less concerned with limiting people’s access to government and more concerned with limiting the amount of government there is for them to fight over. No Democratic candidate is proposing that—certainly not Edwards.

    In practice, even Democrats who slam lobbyists rarely try to shut them out altogether. Edwards has vigorously sought support and endorsements from unions, and he hasn’t talked about cutting off their lobbying activity, much less turning down their donations. (That goes double for the trial lawyers’ lobby.) The Democrats aren’t exactly eager to end the money game; they just want to shape the rules to their advantage.

    [snip]

    Any special interest, in the public sector or the private, understands the direct relationship between government spending, which Democrats tend to favor, and the lobbying game, which they pretend to hate. Lobbyists have grown accustomed to anti–K Street campaign rhetoric, and they’ve grown accustomed to the weak, contradictory reforms that occasionally arrive afterward.

    If history is any guide, Edwards’ rhetoric translated into practice would look like the lopsided changes the Democrats already have begun to pursue. If that’s the case, the “change” candidate is promising the same kind of slanted lobbying reform—tough on interests Democrats don’t like, easy on those they do—that Clinton supports. It’s the same result with added hypocrisy.

    [snip]

    It’s an attack on First Amendment rights couched as a defense of Americans’ freedoms. Unless Democrats pledge never again to expand a government program or take advice from their good friends at the National Education Association, their attacks on lobbyists will just be an attempt to muzzle the other side.

  131. From DailyHowler:

    http://www.dailyhowler.com/dh111307.shtml

    “As we told you last week, we’re now seeing a remarkable display of propaganda each evening on Hardball. Chris Matthews is trying to pick your nominee for you—just as he tried to do eight years ago—and the pimping of Obama has reached an astonishing level. Last night, Matthews clowned through his entire program, starting with a remarkable interview with Obama aide David Axelrod.”

  132. Yes, I saw the opening bit with Axelrod and it was disgusting.

    Here’s the transcript if you can stomach it (msnbc.msn . com/id/21771593/)

    CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Can Barack really do it? Can he catch and pass frontrunner Hillary? Can he be the hero he promised to be?

    Let‘s play HARDBALL.

    [snip]

    Good evening. I‘m Chris Matthews. Welcome to HARDBALL. Tonight, the Barack boom. Just a few years ago, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was an unknown name in politics. Today, let‘s face it, he‘s the headliner of the Democratic field. Saturday night, he wowed the crowd in Iowa for that J-J dinner. Sunday, Obama performed well, everybody says, in a tough interview with Tim Russert on “Meet the Press.” And tonight, the HARDBALL spotlight is on Barack Obama and the 2008 presidential race. In a moment, an exclusive interview with his top political strategist, David Axelrod.

    Plus: Is the anti-war movement pushing an Obama candidacy forward? I wonder if we‘re not seeing, myself, a stirring of the electoral excitement I remember from 1968. That year, which “Newsweek” magazine celebrates on its cover this week, really began in October of ‘67 with the march on the Pentagon against the Vietnam war. The excitement picked up that autumn with the “children‘s crusade” of Senator Eugene McCarthy against President Lyndon Johnson. I remember all that excitement. I‘m sensing a whiff of it tonight.

    We begin tonight with Barack Obama‘s top strategist, David Axelrod. David, thank you for joining us from Chicago. Let‘s take a look at a big chunk of your candidate‘s performance Saturday night at that big Jefferson Jackson dinner in Des Moines, Iowa.

    [snip] video clip

    MATTHEWS: You know, David Axelrod, that‘s got to be the strongest, most pointed speech I‘ve ever heard your guy give. It was directly on the mark, directly targeting the Clintons, both of them. I noticed in his list of great Democratic leaders, Bill Clinton‘s name did not make the list.

    DAVID AXELROD, OBAMA CAMPAIGN CHIEF STRATEGIST: Well, it‘s hard to make that list. You know, there‘s some great presidents on that list, Chris. And as Senator Obama mentioned, they were people who really stood up and led this country in a very, very powerful way. That‘s what we need right now.

    MATTHEWS: You mean to tell me you think that Barack Obama can win the Democratic nomination by giving honest answers on questions, like Social Security and the Middle East and actually say what he believes? Do you think that‘ll work?

    AXELROD: We‘re going to…

    MATTHEWS: I mean, this is a party that‘s driven so much by interest groups. You‘ve got so many in the Democratic Party who want to be pandered to every minute of the day, 24/7, and you‘re saying you don‘t have to do that.

    AXELROD: We‘re testing that proposition, Chris. I honestly think, and he said on Saturday night, this is a very different time. I think people are very, very serious about where we are at this point in time. We‘re at war. We‘ve got this terrible problem of global warming, climate change that‘s upon us. The economy‘s a mess. I don‘t think people are up for more of the same old politics.

    They‘re tired of 20 years of trench warfare in Washington. They really understand that we‘ve got some serious things in front of us. If we don‘t deal with them now, the consequences are going to be long-term. And so I think he‘s getting a very respectful and interested hearing. And you can see it in Iowa. We‘re dead even in Iowa. The polls have closed in New Hampshire. I think the American people are ready for the real change, change as we say that they can believe in, and that‘s what he‘s offering.

    MATTHEWS: Let‘s take a look. We‘re going to listen to more of Barack, a lot of Barack tonight on HARDBALL. Here he is because this is the big event so far in the campaign. Barack Obama has started his kick, as they say in racing. Here he is from Saturday night again.

    [snip] video clip

    MATTHEWS: You know, I got to say this, in watching this, in scoring this, I got to say bull‘s-eye, bull‘s-eye, bull‘s-eye, bull‘s-eye, bulls-eye, every one directly at the heart of Hillary Clinton‘s campaign. I‘m not making it personal and your guy‘s not making it personal. But every one of those charges is directly targeted at what I would consider objectively the nature of the Clinton campaign.

    AXELROD: Well, it certainly—this certainly is part of what this race is about is the kind of politics that we need in this country to move forward and actually attack these problems. And as he said in his speech in South Carolina last week, Senator Clinton is a very, very proficient politician. She‘s good at what she does. She‘s got a great campaign. They‘re running a textbook campaign. But it‘s a campaign designed to get you through an election. It‘s not designed to bring the country together. It‘s not designed to solve problems.

    And so yes, his feeling is that we have to try something different. We have to be direct and honest with the American people and lead with principle. And people are responding to that, Chris, all over the country. Where they get to know Obama, where they hear his message, and you saw it on Saturday night, there‘s tremendous enthusiasm for this candidacy. This is the change people are looking for, not a slogan but real fundamental change in how our leaders approach these problems.

    MATTHEWS: Well, both parties pander to their people outrageously. But do you know what people don‘t like about the Democrats? Maybe I‘m speaking for myself here. They look at—they get all the groups together, and we know the usual suspects because they pay for tables at the dinner. And the classic example is a guy I do admire, but not his politics, is Walter Mondale. He would give an applause line for each table at the fund-raiser, but never once did he give an applause line that everybody stood up for because everybody was being pandered to.

    You know this kind of politics. It‘s Chicago politics, too. You work all the interest groups, and you hope it‘s going to add up to 51 percent. And thank God, it never does. It adds up to 44 percent or 45 percent. And you lose election after election after election, whether your name‘s Mondale, Dukakis, Kerry, Gore, whatever, because that‘s the politics of interest group, circle the wagons, us 40 percent or 45 percent against everybody else.

    Republicans are smart to run against high taxes and on national defense, and they usually get over 50. Let me ask you this. Can a Democrat win a campaign without being simply a cheerleader of the interest groups?

    AXELROD: Well, I certainly—I certainly think so, Chris. I‘ll let the slight on my city of Chicago pass. But I will…

    MATTHEWS: But you know how it works.

    AXELROD: But—but…

    MATTHEWS: It‘s not a slight, it‘s a fact.

    AXELROD: But I have to say, one of the interesting—one of the interesting things in this campaign has been to watch—you know, Senator Obama, as you know, went to Detroit and spoke to leaders there in the auto industry, some of the labor leaders there, about the need for higher fuel efficiency standards, which have been stalled for 20 years in this country. As he points out, he didn‘t get a great hand in the room…

    MATTHEWS: Right.

    AXELROD: … but it was something that he felt strongly about.

    MATTHEWS: Yes.

    AXELROD: You mentioned Social Security. We‘ve got 78 million Baby Boomers—you and I among them—who are reaching—sadly reaching retirement age. It‘s going to be a problem…

    MATTHEWS: But I‘m not getting any older.

    AXELROD: … for the system…

    MATTHEWS: But I‘m not getting any older.

    (LAUGHTER)

    AXELROD: Yes, that‘s true. You‘ve got the fountain of youth over there but—or a very good make-up person. But there is a—but the rest of us are getting older, Chris, and it‘s going to be a problem for the country.

    MATTHEWS: Yes.

    AXELROD: And he said that, and Senator Clinton has said, Well, we‘ll talk about it after the election.

    MATTHEWS: OK…

    AXELROD: He went to the teachers union and talked about the need for pay for performance, to reward teachers…

    MATTHEWS: Good for you.

    AXELROD: … for doing a great job.

    MATTHEWS: Good for him. David, let‘s get—let‘s get a little more of your candidate. Here‘s Senator Obama again…

    AXELROD: OK. Love to hear him.

    MATTHEWS: … from Saturday night…

    [snip] video clip

    MATTHEWS: David, I wouldn‘t have believed it possible, but I think I heard Bob and Jack and Martin all at once there.

    = = = Here’s where I turned the tv off !! ===

    AXELROD: Well, you know, I think one of the things that we hope to do in this campaign is rekindle that lost sense of idealism that you spoke about, that you and I both remember. There was a time when people, young people, but others, as well, believed that we could actually, through politics, deal with the great problems facing this country.

    MATTHEWS: Yes.

    AXELROD: And we‘ve lost that in our politics, Chris. It‘s become a tactical game. I think what Senator Obama‘s trying to do is rekindle that sense is we can actually organize ourselves as the American people, not as red states and blue states, Republicans and Democrats, and deal with the problems facing this country. And I do think we can do that. I think we can win by doing that. And you know what? I‘m not sure we can if we don‘t do that. I think the American people want that desperately at this time. They know it‘s important.

    MATTHEWS: Boy, you‘re getting eloquent, too, David. Thank you very much, David Axelrod, consultant to the campaign of Barack Obama…

    AXELROD: Thank you.

    MATTHEWS: … who‘s had one heck of a weekend.

    Coming up tonight at 7:00 Eastern, the HARDBALL Power Rankings. And you probably can tell where my head‘s headed tonight. At 7:00 o‘clock, you‘ll know for sure. By the way, HARDBALL‘s David Shuster is here right now to give us a preview. David, I think we‘re giving away the secret here of who we thought had a good week, who showed some power this week.

    [snip]

    And then it picks up with David Shuster and more man-love/lust

  133. And if you don’t think Tweety obsesses about Hillary and Obama, check out his hardblogger.com website.

    – 978 results for Hillary
    – 953 results for Obama

    Now, take into consideration how long Obama’s been on Tweety’s radar and it gives a hint as to which one gets the most hot air.

    – only 520 results for Joe Biden
    – only 420 results for John Edwards
    – only 165 results for Chris Dodd

    Heck, “George Bush” gets only 445 results and “George W. Bush” gets even less, 250 results.

    I’d say Tweety is totally obsessed !!!

  134. Come on, people. Please. If I wanted to watch Axelrod on Hardball, I would watch it. Don’t ram it down my throat on Hillaryis44. Enough already. Sheesh.

    I’ve already told you guys my plan: watch some football for a couple of weeks.

  135. I’ve avoided the Matthews show for years now. His guests are all third rate media hacks, and his ratings stink, don’t they? Did he really say Obama had a ‘tough interview’ with Russert? Funny, he didn’t ask him about missing the K-L vote (so he could play it both ways with the anti-war left and the israeli lobby) and then lying about not knowing the vote was scheduled.

    Giuliani got nailed by the Police Union in New York City today. They slammed his “Zeroes for Heroes” contract negotations with cops, said Rudy has no real credentials for fighting terrorism AND … accused him of taking credit for the police officers who died on 9/11. Ouch!

  136. I will never forgive Chris Mathews for his unfair treatment of the President during the 90’s. I have not watched him since. Judging from what I have read on this site, he is still at it. What a jerk.

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