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The 2,644th CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996
6:45am EDT, Monday May 12, 2008 (Vol. Thirteen; No. 89)

 
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1. Lauer Worries to Edwards: Will Obama Get 'Swift-Boated' On Wright?
Does bringing up Reverend Jeremiah Wright amount to "swift-boating" Barack Obama? That's what Today co-host Matt Lauer suggested in a Friday interview with John Edwards. For the third time this year the Today show used the term parroted by Democratic partisans to wonder about the evil Republican smear machine. Lauer reminded John Kerry's running mate of the "swift-boating of John Kerry" and worried: "Do you see a fall election campaign where there are images of Barack Obama and Jeremiah Wright side by side? Is it going to hurt him?" This was at least the fourth time an NBC News host or anchor (third time on the Today show, second time for Lauer) has fretted about Obama being "swift-boated" by odious Republican tactics, questions which presumed the criticisms of John Kerry in 2004 were mendacious.

2. Roberts: 'Liberal' Obama Needs 'Bible-Thumping, Gun-Owning' VP
During the roundtable discussion on Sunday's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, ABC's Cokie Roberts not only made a relatively rare identification of both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as "liberal," but she also argued that Obama needs to choose a running mate who is a "Bible-thumping, gun-owning, white guy from a swing state. I mean, maybe that's who the party should have nominated."

3. CNN's Wolf Blitzer Plays Softball with Barack Obama
CNN's Wolf Blitzer tossed mostly softball questions at Senator Barack Obama in an interview aired on Thursday's The Situation Room, and re-run on Sunday's Late Edition. Besides his attempt to minimize his record as a liberal and as being the Hamas-endorsed candidate, Blitzer, for 22 minutes, skipped the Rev. Wright issue and both began and ended his interview with feel-good topics -- Obama's appearance on the cover of Time magazine, and asking the Illinois Senator about what his mother would think of him if she was alive today.

4. CBS: Obama a 'Rock Star' Just for Actually Showing Up to Work
On Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "Barack Obama took some time off from campaigning to go back to Washington, where he got the royal treatment yesterday." Correspondent Chip Reid followed with a report: "Officially this place, Capitol Hill, is Barack Obama's place of employment, but he doesn't come here very often. When he did make a rare visit yesterday he was treated like a rock star." Reid went on to describe Obama's "rock star" tour of Congress: "Swarmed by tourists and reporters, Barack Obama slowly wound his way through the U.S. Capitol, visiting the House floor where observers say even some members of Congress appeared star struck."

5. Chris Matthews in 2004: Obama Created a 'Chill' in 'My Legs'
Four years before Barack Obama gave Chris Matthews a "thrill" up his leg, the Senator produced a "chill" in the MSNBC host's leg. On July 27, 2004, during coverage of the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Matthews reacted to Obama's prime-time address by rhapsodizing: "I have to tell ya, a little chill in my, in my legs now." On February 12 this year, following primary results in Virginia and Maryland, the Hardball host again gushed over Obama, this time after a victory speech. Speaking of the Democratic candidate, he fawned: "I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don't have that too often."

6. WashPost: Guantanamo Undermines Criticism of Chinese Repression
Just as segregation in the South "blunted the force of moral outrage against the Nazis" during the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Washington Post arts critic Philip Kennicott contended in a Saturday lead "Style" section piece on a new exhibit at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on the 1936 games, Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo have also undermined arguments against Chinese political repression before the Olympic games there this summer. Deep into his May 10 treatise, "Playing With Fire: U.S. Holocaust Museum Revisits Fascist Iconography of 1936 Games and Beyond," Kennicott asserted: "It's impossible to walk through the current exhibition without feeling a repetition syndrome. Just as Jim Crow laws blunted the force of moral outrage against the Nazis, the specter of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo has blunted the force of arguments about Chinese political repression."

7. 1999: ABC's Walters Pressed Lewinsky on Affairs with Married Men  
Years before she admitted her own affairs with married men, ABC's Barbara Walters pressed Monica Lewinsky about her affair with a married Bill Clinton: "Did you ever think about what Hillary Clinton might be feeling or would feel if she knew? Did you ever think about Hillary Clinton?" At the time, the public wasn't yet aware of Walters' own affairs. Now, more than nine years later, Barbara Walters has come forward, in her new book Audition, with revelations about her relationships with married men.

8. 'Top Ten Surprising Facts in Barbara Walters' New Autobiography'
From the Late Show's "Top Ten Contest," the "Top Ten Surprising Facts in Barbara Walters' New Autobiography."


 

Lauer Worries to Edwards: Will Obama
Get 'Swift-Boated' On Wright?

     Does bringing up Reverend Wright amount to "swift-boating" Barack Obama? That's what Today co-host Matt Lauer suggested in a Friday interview with John Edwards. For the third time this year the Today show used the term parroted by Democratic partisans to wonder about the evil Republican smear machine. Lauer reminded John Kerry's running mate of the "swift-boating of John Kerry" and worried: "Do you see a fall election campaign where there are images of Barack Obama and Jeremiah Wright side by side? Is it going to hurt him?"

     Lauer also took Hillary Clinton to task for saying she appeals to working class whites, which is who the Democrats need to win this November. Lauer opined that "a candidate doesn't often come out and say 'whites are supporting me.'" And asked Edwards if this is "old style politics."
     [This item was adapted from an item, by the MRC's Justin McCarthy, posted Friday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     The entire interview was a gigantic love fest between Edwards and Lauer. The only challenging aspect was when Lauer pressed Edwards on who the former candidate will endorse.

     This was at least the fourth time an NBC News host or anchor (third time on the Today show, second time for Lauer) has fretted about Obama being "swift-boated" by odious Republican tactics, questions which presumed the criticisms of John Kerry in 2004 were mendacious.

     # On the April 22 Today, Ann Curry asked Barack Obama: "In the last presidential election John Kerry, a decorated military veteran, was 'swift-boated' as being unpatriotic. Why do you dismiss the kinds of questions that are going to be the bread and butter of the Republican campaign, if you become the nominee?" See the April 23 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org

     # The February 20 CyberAlert, "NBC's Matt Lauer Raises Notion of GOP 'Swift Boating' Obama," recounted:

Even though the general election campaign has yet to begin, some in the media seem pretty anxious to start condemning Republicans for dirty tricks. In an interview with Barack Obama shown Tuesday morning [February 19] on Today, Matt Lauer asked the Democratic frontrunner: "Have you stopped to think what the Obama version of swift-boating might be in this campaign cycle if you get to the general election? What they did to John Kerry, what's that version going to be with Barack Obama?"

     For a full rundown of the entire interview: www.mediaresearch.org

     # The October 31 CyberAlert item, "NBC's Williams Suggests Obama Likely to Be 'Swift-Boating' Victim," reported:

During Tuesday night's [October 30] Democratic presidential debate on MSNBC, NBC anchor Brian Williams posed a question to Barack Obama which managed to simultaneously impugn Republicans as executors of disreputable campaign practices and portray Obama as a likely victim of it -- all based on Mitt Romney flubbing Obama's name and memories of the Bush campaign's attacks on John McCain in 2000.

Explaining that his question would be "about religion and misinformation," Williams, who co-moderated the debate with Tim Russert, raised how Romney "misspoke twice on the same day, confusing your name with that of Osama bin Laden," as if, apparently, that was some sort of effort to suggest Obama is Muslim. Williams proceeded to highlight how "your party is fond of talking about potential swift boating," before he got to his charged political point in the form of a question: "Are you fearful of what happened to John McCain, for example in South Carolina a few years back, confusion on the basis of things like names and religion?"

     For the rest of the previous CyberAlert item: www.mediaresearch.org

     The entire transcript from 7:06 AM on May 9:

     MATT LAUER: Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards dropped out of the race back in January. He's yet to endorse either of his former rivals. Senator Edwards it's nice to see you. Good morning.
     FORMER SENATOR JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC): Good to see you. I don't look quite as tired.
     LAUER: No, you look rested actually. Do you see anyway, Senator, that Hillary Clinton can still win this nomination when you look at pledged delegates, superdelegates, the popular vote, he money issue, can she still win?
     EDWARDS: Well, you know, it's been fascinating to me as I watched Senator Clinton over the last few weeks. I think she's made a very strong case for her candidacy. The problem she has is, it's very difficult to make the math work. And I think that's the place she's in now.
     LAUER: You gave an interview to People magazine. One of the things you said is that you liked Senator Clinton's tenacity but that you don't like the, quote, "old-style politics." Let's go back to what Andrea talked about that Hillary said in that interview with USA Today. She said that "Senator Obama's support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans is weakening again. The whites in both states," she's referring to Indiana and North Carolina, "who had not completed college were supporting me." It's raised some eyebrows because even though campaigns plot or chart these things behind the scenes, they don't often come out -- a candidate doesn't often come out and say "whites are supporting me." Did she make a mistake? Is this politics, old-style politics?
     EDWARDS: Hillary and Barack are both in a very tough and extended campaign. I mean, this is a battle. It's a fight in both cases for their political future and for the future of their country. And I think they're just in there, fighting. I think that's what she's doing.
     LAUER: But does that help the Democratic party, that comment?
     EDWARDS: Well, here's the question. Here's the question. The question is what does this resolve? And let's assume Barack is the nominee because it's certainly headed in that direction. If Barack is the nominee, will we all be together and united in ensuring that all these voters that we're going to need in November come out and vote for Barack Obama? That's what I'm committed to.
     LAUER: Let me go after one subject in a couple of different ways here. Who is the most likely -- you're a loyal Democrat. You want to defeat John McCain. Who has the best chance, in your opinion, of defeating John McCain in the fall? Is it Hillary Clinton or is it Barack Obama?
     EDWARDS: I think they both would beat him. Either one of them will beat them. I know, you don't like that answer. [laughing] They're all laughing back here.
     LAUER: One of them has to have a better chance.
     EDWARDS: Well, I think right now, Barack Obama has a better chance because it looks like he's going to be the nominee. But I think he has, what he brings to the table is the capacity, number one, to unite the Democratic party, number two, to bring in new voters, to bring in people who haven't been involved in the process over a long period of time and to get people excited about this change.
     LAUER: Does he have baggage, though? Let's talk about this Jeremiah Wright controversy. He has now severed relationship with his former pastor. You know how tough a general election campaign can be.
     EDWARDS: Oh, yeah.
     LAUER: You remember the swift boating of John Kerry.
     EDWARDS: Oh, yeah.
     LAUER: Do you see a fall election campaign where there are images of Barack Obama and Jeremiah Wright side by side? Is it going to hurt him?
     EDWARDS: I think it depends on how he responds. And, number one, I think most Americans are fair minded. They're not going to blame Barack Obama for what someone else said. That's number one. Number two, John McCain has said that he's not going to run that kind of campaign. And when an ad was produced in my state of North Carolina by the Republican party based on Jeremiah Wright, he denounced it.
     LAUER: Yeah, but he doesn't often have control of what actually hits the airwaves.
     EDWARDS: No. They'll be some independent groups.
     LAUER: So does it hurt him and does it give credence to Senator Clinton's electability argument, that she has less baggage and is more electable?
     EDWARDS: You see, this all sounds like it's about strategy to me. I think that what Americans are looking for, is they're looking for a leader, a leader they can trust and somebody who will fight for them every day. And I think Obama will do that.
     LAUER: So that's what people need to decide when they go into the voting booth?
     EDWARDS: Matt, it's what they're going to decide. They take this very seriously.
     LAUER: So the North Carolina primary was held on Tuesday. You had to go into the voting booth and make a choice.
     EDWARDS: I did.
     LAUER: Who did you choose?
     EDWARDS: [laughing] I voted and I'm going to keep that between me and the polling booth right now.
     LAUER: You've got 19 pledge delegates. Don't they have a right to know who you think is the best qualified to be the president right now?
     EDWARDS: They have a right, number one, to make their own decision. But number two, I haven't said I'm not going to come out at some point and said I will say who I think should be the nominee.
     LAUER: But isn't it, are we getting to a point where your endorsement becomes moot? I mean, there is already, if it looks like we have a presumptive nominee, and you said it looks like Barack Obama, then why wait to make your endorsement?
     EDWARDS: First of all, I think the value of these endorsements, including mine, are greatly inflated. I don't have some extraordinary view about what effect I would have, no matter when I did something. And, and, number two, I really think it's important to allow voters and this democratic process to work. And that's what's happened. And I might add, Barack Obama has done pretty well without any endorsement from John Edwards.
     LAUER: Let me talk about your fight against poverty. You made the underclass, you put them at the center of your campaign for president. I know you're very much in support and you want to talk about something called half intent.
     EDWARDS: Yes.
     LAUER: What exactly is that?
     EDWARDS: Well, it's a new campaign that's we're launching that I'm going to chair, pushed by an extraordinary group of organizations who care deeply about this issue and worked on it for a long time. And the idea is to cut the poverty rate in America in half over the next ten years with some substantive ideas, raising the minimum wage, expansion of the earned income tax credit, making child care available to low-income families. And we're going to be out there, pushing legislators, pushing the Congress, pushing presidential candidates. You know, I'm very proud of the fact that both of the Democratic candidates have committed themselves to this cause. And I also had a conversation with John McCain about it and got a good response. So we're going to be out there, pushing this issue and making sure that Americans, not just politicians, are responding.
     LAUER: When it comes to poverty, would Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama be better suited to deal with poverty in the next-
     EDWARDS: Boy, that sounds an awful lot like what you asked three minutes ago.
     [laughter]
     LAUER: You can't blame a guy for trying in a couple of directions, right?
     EDWARDS: I think either one of them.
     LAUER: No endorsement today?
     EDWARDS: Not today.

 

Roberts: 'Liberal' Obama Needs 'Bible-Thumping,
Gun-Owning' VP

     During the roundtable discussion on Sunday's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, ABC's Cokie Roberts not only made a relatively rare identification of both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as "liberal," but she also argued that Obama needs to choose a running mate who is a "Bible-thumping, gun-owning, white guy from a swing state. I mean, maybe that's who the party should have nominated."

     As the group discussed the running mate possibilities, Roberts argued that it would be a bad idea for Obama to choose Clinton: "I don't think that it's good for the Democratic Party to have two liberal Senators from states that are going to go Democratic anyway. I mean, he needs a Bible-thumping, gun-owning, white guy from a swing state. I mean, maybe that's who the party should have nominated." Sam Donaldson jumped in: "You mean, in other words, somebody who disagrees with him on all the issues."

     [This item, by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, was posted Sunday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     Below is a transcript of the relevant exchange from the Sunday, May 11 This Week with George Stephanopoulos:

     COKIE ROBERTS: I don't think that it's good for the Democratic Party to have two liberal Senators from states that are going to go Democratic anyway. I mean, he needs a Bible-thumping, gun-owning, white guy from a swing state. I mean, maybe that's who the party should have nominated.
     SAM DONALDSON: You mean, in other words, somebody who disagrees with him on all the issues.
     ROBERTS: Doesn't have to disagree with him on the issues. He doesn't... [AUDIO BECOMES DIFFICULT TO HEAR]
     DONALDSON: Or, like Joe Lieberman, he'd have to be quiet, or she.
     ROBERTS: Just somebody who represents the people in the party that she's been carrying in the primaries.

 

CNN's Wolf Blitzer Plays Softball with
Barack Obama

     CNN's Wolf Blitzer tossed mostly softball questions at Senator Barack Obama in an interview aired on Thursday's The Situation Room, and re-run on Sunday's Late Edition. Besides his attempt to minimize his record as a liberal and as being the Hamas-endorsed candidate, Blitzer, for 22 minutes, skipped the Rev. Wright issue and both began and ended his interview with feel-good topics -- Obama's appearance on the cover of Time magazine, and asking the Illinois Senator about what his mother would think of him if she was alive today.

     For a briefer look at the interview, see the Friday CyberAlert item, "CNN's Blitzer to Obama: 'Ready to Handle' the 'Assault' from GOP?" online at: www.mediaresearch.org

     As the interview began 10 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour of the program, Blitzer first asked Obama about Time's "And the Winner Is" cover story emblazened with a picture of the Senator. The CNN host followed-up by referring to the so-called "Sports Illustrated Cover Jinx:" "It's almost like being on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Is that what you're -- you're nervous about that?"

     [This item, by Matthew Balan, was posted Friday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     After his foreign policy set of questions (which included the omission of Hamas's actual endorsement of the Democratic candidate), Blitzer presented two more softball questions -- this time from viewers -- concerning the so-called "dream ticket" that would include Hillary Clinton as the vice presidential candidate and what Obama's legacy would be. Blitzer closed the interview by asking, "Your mother raised you. She was on food stamps at one point -- a single mother. If she were alive today and she saw where you have reached, the point that you have reached right now, what would she say to you?"

     Now that the media have declared Obama the presumptive Democratic nominee, Blitzer devoted the subsequent questions to the upcoming general election campaign, framing the Republicans as character smear artists that Obama will have to overcome. "It's been intense in the primaries. But you realize it's going to be much more intense in the next chapter, in the next phase, given the differences between you and John McCain. Are you ready for this next phase?" He also played a recent clip of Mitt Romney slamming Obama's level of experience, and quipped afterwards, "Wow. That's a strong statement."

     The text of Wolf Blitzer's questions to Barack Obama, along with selected answers from the Senator:

     WOLF BLITZER: Here is the cover, 'And the Winner Is...' That's a picture of you. What do you think?
     BLITZER: It's almost like being on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Is that what you're -- you're nervous about that?
     BLITZER: It's been intense in the primaries. But you realize it's going to be much more intense in the next chapter, in the next phase, given the differences between you and John McCain. Are you ready for this next phase?
     BLITZER: There are major differences between you and John McCain... on a whole host of domestic issues... and foreign policy issues. And I want to go through those right now.... Already, some of his surrogates, some of his supporters, are suggesting you're not ready to be Commander-in-Chief, President of the United States. Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, said this. Listen to this.
     MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR: He has not accomplished anything during his life, in terms of legislation, or leading an enterprise, or making a business work or a city work or a state work. He really has very little experience. And, you know, the presidency of the United States is not an internship.
     BLITZER: Wow. That's a strong statement.
     BLITZER: I want -- I want to get to all of those national security, foreign policy issues in a moment. But let's talk about some domestic issues. You know they're going to paint you, the McCain camp, Republicans, as a classic tax-and-spend liberal Democrat, that you're going to raise the taxes for the American people and just spend money like there is no tomorrow when it comes to federal government programs. You ready to handle that kind of assault?
     BLITZER: He's going to say you're going to raise their taxes. What are you going to say?
     BARACK OBAMA: I will raise CEO taxes. There is no doubt about it. If you are...
     BLITZER: What about the average American?
     OBAMA: If you are a CEO in this country, you will probably pay more taxes. They won't be prohibitively high. They're -- you're going to be paying roughly what you paid in the '90s, when CEOs were doing just fine.
     BLITZER: So, you want to just eliminate the Bush tax cuts?
     OBAMA: I want to eliminate the Bush tax cuts. And what I have said is, I will institute a middle-class tax cut. So, if you're making $75,000, if you're making $50,000 a year, you will see an extra $1,000 a year offsetting on your payroll tax.
     BLITZER: Define middle class.
     OBAMA: Well, look, I think that the definitions are always a little bit rough, but let's -- let's just take it this way. If you're making $100,000 a year or less, then you're pretty solidly middle class, and you deserve relief right now, as opposed to paying higher taxes. On the other hand, if you're making more than $100,000, and certainly, if you're making more than $200,000 to $250,000, then you're doing pretty well. And it's the people who are making over $200,000, $250,000, who have benefited the most and have actually seen -- have actually seen more and more of economic growth in this country go in your direction.
     BLITZER: Because they're arguing already that you want to increase capital gains taxes, for example, on investments, and stocks, and things like that. A lot of middle-class people have those kinds of accounts. If they're-
     OBAMA: If they have, -- Wolf, if they have a 401(k), then they are going to see those taxes deferred, and they're going to pay ordinary income when they finally cash out. So, that's a phony argument. And this is something that you have seen the Republicans consistently do, is they try to make this broad- based argument about, he's going to raise your taxes as a cover for them eliminating taxes for people like myself and you, who can afford to pay a little bit more in order to assure that we have got roads and bridges that are rebuilt, in order to assure that Social Security is solvent, in order to make sure that kids who are struggling for their American dream can actually go to college, in order to make sure that people aren't going bankrupt just because somebody in their family gets sick.
     BLITZER: You used to teach constitutional law.... You know a lot about the Supreme Court. And the next President of the United States will have an opportunity to nominate justices for the Supreme Court. He gave a speech, McCain, this week saying he wants justices like Samuel Alito and John Roberts, and he defined the kind of criteria he wants. So, what would be your criteria?
     BLITZER: Are there members, justices right now upon who you would model, you would look at? Who do you like?
     BLITZER: Let's go through a couple foreign policy issues. McCain says, if you had your way, the U.S. would surrender in Iraq. He wants victory.
     OBAMA: If I had my way, we would not have gone into Iraq in the first place.
     BLITZER: But what about now?
     BLITZER: This is going to be a huge difference, the war in Iraq, the fallout, between you and McCain. He also is going after you now, today, the 60th anniversary of Israel's independence. He says you're not necessarily endorsing policies that would be good for Israel. He says this, for example: €˜I think it's very clear who Hamas wants to be the next President of the United States. I think that people should understand that I will be Hamas' worst nightmare. [If] Senator Obama is favored by Hamas. I think people can make judgments accordingly.'
     BLITZER: I want to move on, but, on this 60th anniversary of Israel, what -- what does Israel mean to you?
     BLITZER: We asked our viewers to send us in some questions, and we got thousands of responses, as you can only imagine. I've got a couple. I just want you to watch one of those and get your reaction. A lot of people asked this basic question.
     UNIDENTIFIED MALE #1: It appears that you do not have enough support among blue collar workers as Senator Clinton did. Would you consider just on that basis alone considering her on a joint ticket as Vice President?
     BLITZER: All right. Here is a question. Listen to this one.
     UNIDENTIFIED MALE #2: I strongly believe that us human beings are defined by what we've done in our lifetimes. What is the one thing that a President Barack Obama -- what will he be remembered for -- achieving during his presidency or during his lifetime?
     BLITZER: We're out of time, but a quick question on this Mother's Day weekend. Your mother raised you. She was on food stamps at one point -- a single mother. If she were alive today and she saw where you have reached, the point that you have reached right now, what would she say to you?

 

CBS: Obama a 'Rock Star' Just for Actually
Showing Up to Work

     On Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "Barack Obama took some time off from campaigning to go back to Washington, where he got the royal treatment yesterday." Correspondent Chip Reid followed with a report: "Officially this place, Capitol Hill, is Barack Obama's place of employment, but he doesn't come here very often. When he did make a rare visit yesterday he was treated like a rock star." Reid went on to describe Obama's "rock star" tour of Congress: "Swarmed by tourists and reporters, Barack Obama slowly wound his way through the U.S. Capitol, visiting the House floor where observers say even some members of Congress appeared star struck."

     [This item, by Kyle Drennen, was posted Friday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org

     At one point, Reid explained how Obama reached across the aisle: "Even saying hello to House Republicans." However, Reid pointed out that: "the conversation apparently was less than profound," and played a clp of Obama joking: "They said they were impressed with my jump shot."

     After Reid's report, Smith talked to Democratic strategist Joe Trippi about when Hillary Clinton would get out of the race. Smith began by asking about Clinton's recent comments in an interview: "First about Hillary Rodham Clinton, gives an interview to USA Today yesterday talking about how well she does with white voters, listening to her husband last night, are the wheels finally coming off this bus?"
     While Smith seems to suggest that Clinton's "wheels are coming off" for mentioning her support among white voters, he seemed shocked back in January when Barack Obama won caucus in Iowa, a predominantly white state: "I was on the bus with Barack Obama a week or two ago in Iowa. We're driving along in the bus and the snow outside is as white as that state is, as white as New Hampshire is, what is -- what is going on here? Are people seeing past color? Is that possible?"

     Read the January 8 CyberAlert on Smith's Iowa comments here: www.mrc.org

     In October of last year, Smith interviewed Obama and even wondered if the Senator's life was in danger due to racist voters: "Several years ago, I sat in Colin Powell's living room, and he talked about running for president. And one of the things that concerned him was his own safety. Do you think about that at all in terms of, there are people in this country who might look at you and say, 'not in my lifetime, not in this United States?'"

     Read the October 17, 2007 CyberAlert on Smith's concerns for Obama's safety: www.mrc.org

     Near the end of the segment, Smith asked Trippi, former campaign manager to John Edwards, about potential running mates for Obama. Shockingly, Trippi responded: "John Edwards, absolutely, it's not because I worked for him. I actually think -- I think the -- the -- just the force of two people, son of the South from Robin, South Carolina, joining with the Senator from -- from Lincoln's Illinois, would be just a powerful thing about putting the division of this country behind us and moving forward." Smith seemed to like the idea: "Right. And locking down some of those blue collars...Do you think he'd take it?"

     Here is the full transcript of the May 9 segment:

     HARRY SMITH: Barack Obama took some time off from campaigning to go back to Washington, where he got the royal treatment yesterday. CBS News Capitol Hill Correspondent Chip Reid is live with more. Good morning, Chip.
     CHIP REID: Well, good morning, Harry. Officially this place, Capitol Hill, is Barack Obama's place of employment, but he doesn't come here very often. When he did make a rare visit yesterday he was treated like a rock star.
     BARACK OBAMA: Good to see you guys. I'm surrounded, but I appreciate you.
     REID: Swarmed by tourists and reporters, Barack Obama slowly wound his way through the U.S. Capitol, visiting the House floor where observers say even some members of Congress appeared star struck.
     OBAMA: Well, we still have contests remaining-
     REID: House members are superdelegates, but Obama told reporters he was not lobbying for votes.
     OBAMA: I was, as I said, I wasn't campaigning. I was saying hello to everybody.
     REID: Even saying hello to House Republicans, where the conversation apparently was less than profound.
     BARACK OBAMA: They said they were impressed with my jump shot.
     HILLARY CLINTON: Thank you all, West Virginia.

     OBAMA: With Hillary Clinton making clear she's far from quitting, Obama said he agrees the race is not over.
     OBAMA: In no way am I taking this for granted. We're going to have to keep on working. Senator Clinton's a formidable candidate.
     REID: But it was Hillary Clinton's formidable husband who once again stole the spotlight.
     BILL CLINTON: Wait a minute. I can't believe you're saying this.
     REID: In West Virginia, angrily responding to a woman who criticized his wife for failing to fix the health care system when he was president.
     CLINTON: Now, wait a minute. I listened to you. You interrupted my speech. You let me talk, will you? You interrupted my speech.
     REID: Now, during his walking press conference, Barack Obama was asked by reporters if he's considering Hillary Clinton as his running mate. He said, 'Wait a minute. That's premature, we don't even know who the nominee is yet.' Harry.
    
     SMITH: Chip Reid in Washington this morning thanks very much. Joining us is CBS News political consultant Joe Trippi, who worked so many years, so tirelessly and so well for John Edwards. We'll talk about John Edwards in a second. First about Hillary Rodham Clinton, gives an interview to USA Today yesterday talking about how well she does with white voters, listening to her husband last night, are the wheels finally coming off this bus?
     JOE TRIPPI: Yeah, I think they are. Because everybody else has figured out that this thing is over, that there's just no way for her to get here and get the delegates to do this. And they're out there, you know, again just trying to push. And that's just not going to work right now.
     SMITH: Is there a time now that would be good for her to exit? Is there a graceful exit for her?
     TRIPPI: Well, for her, it would be May 20th. I mean if she can have -- go out with a win in West Virginia and Kentucky and say, 'hey, I've won a couple, the last few, I feel good and I'm getting out.' I think the party's going to give her a big berth to do that, unless they see more of the stuff that they've been doing yesterday.
     SMITH: Right.
     TRIPPI: If they see that, they're going to crack down on her hard. You're going to see a lot of superdelegates move to Obama-
     SMITH: Moving to over to-
     TRIPPI: And just shut this thing down.
     SMITH: Right. Why should she get out? Because she says 'I have all the reason to stay in, I'm going all the way to the end, there's still this teeny, tiny mathematical possibility of my winning.' Why should she leave?
     TRIPPI: Why should she? I mean, look, she's got -- every reason, like I said, give her berth to go all the way. But if it's -- if she's knocking this guy down -- if she's going after him, particularly on race, they're not going to let that happen.
     SMITH: Okay. In terms of vice presidential candidates. You're Barack Obama, the presumed nominee, everybody talks about this dream ticket which everybody is now tamping down again. If you had a very best pick in the world for a veep, who would it be?
     TRIPPI: John Edwards, absolutely, it's not because I worked for him. I actually think -- I think the -- the -- just the force of two people, son of the South from Robin, South Carolina, joining with the Senator from -- from Lincoln's Illinois, would be just a powerful thing about putting the division of this country behind us and moving forward.
     SMITH: Right. And locking down some of those blue collars.
     TRIPPI: Absolutely, blue collars. He goes after those blue collar voters better than anybody.
     SMITH: Do you think he'd take it?
     TRIPPI: I think -- I think he'll say no right now, but I don't know. When you get asked that's a tough thing to turn down.
     SMITH: That is a tough thing to turn down. Joe Trippi, as always thanks so much.

 

Chris Matthews in 2004: Obama Created
a 'Chill' in 'My Legs'

     Four years before Barack Obama gave Chris Matthews a "thrill" up his leg, the Senator produced a "chill" in the MSNBC host's leg. On July 27, 2004, during coverage of the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Matthews reacted to Obama's prime-time address by rhapsodizing: "I have to tell ya, a little chill in my, in my legs now."

     On February 12 this year, following primary results in Virginia and Maryland, the Hardball host again gushed over Obama, this time after a victory speech. Speaking of the Democratic candidate, he fawned: "I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don't have that too often." See the February 13 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org

     For video, see the February 25 Notable Quotables: www.mrc.org

     So, first there was the "chill." Four years later, Obama produced a "thrill." One can only imagine what feelings the likely presidential nominee will create for Chris Matthews's appendages at the 2008 Democratic convention.

     [This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Friday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
     A July 28, 2004 CyberAlert posting recounted Matthews's glowing coverage of Obama at the Democratic convention:

Following Obama's speech, in the 10pm EDT hour, Matthews gushed: "I have to tell ya a little chill in my, in my legs now. That is an amazing moment in history right there. It is really an amazing moment. A keynoter like I've never heard." Matthews soon parroted Dick Gephardt: "A star is born."

     More on Matthews:

Matthews added moments later: "Maybe I'm a romantic and I was rooting for, for Colin Powell who turned out to be a little less important politically than I thought he might be in his career. More of a soldier in the last situation we all know about. But I've just seen the first black President there. The reason I say that is because, because I think the immigrant experience combined with the, with the African background combined with the incredible education, combined with his beautiful speech, not every politician gets help from a speech. But that speech was a piece of work!"

     See the 2004 CyberAlert for more: www.mrc.org

 

WashPost: Guantanamo Undermines Criticism
of Chinese Repression

     Just as segregation in the South "blunted the force of moral outrage against the Nazis" during the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Washington Post arts critic Philip Kennicott contended in a Saturday lead "Style" section piece on a new exhibit at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on the 1936 games, Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo have also undermined arguments against Chinese political repression before the Olympic games there this summer.

     Deep into his May 10 treatise, "Playing With Fire: U.S. Holocaust Museum Revisits Fascist Iconography of 1936 Games and Beyond," Kennicott asserted: "It's impossible to walk through the current exhibition without feeling a repetition syndrome. Just as Jim Crow laws blunted the force of moral outrage against the Nazis, the specter of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo has blunted the force of arguments about Chinese political repression."

     [This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Sunday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     Even accepting the premise for 1936, a key difference is that Jim Crow laws impacted an entire segment of American citizens while Abu Ghraib was soon-corrected misbehavior by a few soldiers and Guantanamo holds a small number of people captured in a war launched against the U.S., very few of whom may be innocent. The U.S. versus China is a particularly invidious comparison in the midst of a presidential campaign to replace the current U.S. leadership, an opportunity not allowed in China. Many Americans loudly oppose the Bush administration, yet none are imprisoned -- not even Keith Olbermann.

     For the May 10 Washington Post article in full: www.washingtonpost.com

 

1999: ABC's Walters Pressed Lewinsky
on Affairs with Married Men

     Years before she admitted her own affairs with married men, ABC's Barbara Walters pressed Monica Lewinsky about her affair with a married Bill Clinton: "Did you ever think about what Hillary Clinton might be feeling?"

     At the time, the public wasn't yet aware of Walters' own affairs. Now, more than nine years later, Barbara Walters has come forward, in her new book Audition, with revelations about her relationships with married men, something former The View co-star Star Jones has denounced: "It is a sad day when an icon like Barbara Walters in the sunset of her life is reduced to publicly branding herself as an adulterer, humiliating an innocent family with accounts of her illicit affair....It speaks to her true character."

     This new information on Walters sheds some interesting light on her 1999 20/20 interview with Monica Lewinsky regarding her affair with President Clinton. As MRC Director of Media Analysis Tim Graham observed: "It might have helped viewers process that interview with some on-screen graphics that said 'Barbara Walters has been a mistress just like her interviewee.'"

     [This item, by the MRC's Lyndsi Thomas, was posted, with video and audio, Friday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     In her new book, Walters admits to having had affairs with married men including Claude Philippe, the Waldorf-Astoria's top caterer with whom she talked of getting married but he never divorced his wife. Walters also had affairs with prominent politicians including then-married U.S. Senator Edward Brooke (R-Mass.) and U.S. Senator John Warner (R-Va.). In the interview with Monica Lewinsky, Walters wondered why Lewinsky "kept having affairs with married men," as Lewinsky had an affair with a married man before becoming an intern at the White House. After Lewinsky's answer, Walters responded: "So you had to take whatever you could get?"

     Notably, after Senator Brooke left his wife for Walters who then called off the relationship, Walters said she felt only "some guilt" at costing the "superb Senator" his re-election, nothing about ruining his marriage. Perhaps she should have asked herself the same question she asked of Lewinsky in 1999: "Did you ever think about what Hillary Clinton might be feeling or would feel if she knew? Did you ever think about Hillary Clinton?" Did Walters think of the wives of the married men with whom she had affairs? Did she ever think of Mrs. Brooke whose husband actually divorced for Walters?

     A transcript of the relevant portions of the interview aired as part of a special two-hour 20/20 on Wednesday, March 3, 1999:

     BARBARA WALTERS: One juror at the grand jury asked why you kept having affairs with married men. Why did you? Why do you?
     MONICA LEWINSKY: I have to say that was the most difficult question to answer in my experience with the grand jury. It was the most pointed question. First I hope, I know I will never have an affair with a married man again. I have to pray about that but clearly to me what I've come to see is that that happened because I didn't have enough feelings of self-worth. So that I didn't feel that I was worthy of being number one to a man.
     WALTERS: So you had to take whatever you could get?
     ....

     WALTERS: Did you ever meet Hillary Clinton?
     LEWINSKY: I wouldn't say that I've met her and spoken with her in a way that I would feel I know her. It was very briefly, more handshakes.
     WALTERS: Monica, did you feel that you were in competition with Hillary Clinton?
     LEWINSKY: Sometimes. Sure. I think you'd need to look at that as that she was the wife of this man that I was in love with.
     WALTERS: When you saw Hillary Clinton sometimes she was with the President. Did he then acknowledge you in anyway?
     LEWINSKY: Yes.
     WALTERS: Smiling? Saying something?
     LEWINSKY: Yes.
     WALTERS: So he would be with her but you would still know that he was looking at you and thinking of you.
     LEWINSKY: mmhmm. [nods]
     WALTERS: Did you ever think about what Hillary Clinton might be feeling or would feel if she knew? Did you ever think about Hillary Clinton?
     LEWINSKY: I did. I think I thought about her a lot. But I never thought she would find out. I was never gonna talk about this publicly.

 

'Top Ten Surprising Facts in Barbara
Walters' New Autobiography'

     As posted Saturday, the winning entries in last week's Late Show with David Letterman "Top Ten Contest," the "Top Ten Surprising Facts in Barbara Walters' New Autobiography." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com

10. First career choice: journalism. Backup career choice: wrasslin' gators (Stephen S., East Greenbush, NY)

9. Her tawdry affair with William Taft almost cost him the 1908 presidential election (Tim C., Fort Collins, CO)

8. Spent three years as a roadie for the Grateful Dead (Glen I., Atlanta, GA)

7. She helped coin the phrase "Mo' money, mo' problems" (Matt S., Chicago, IL)

6. Spent summer of '71 as a linebacker on Jets' practice squad (Bob T., Bartlesville, OK)

5. She made $200 by taking the "under" on Star Jones' wedding (Mark S., Kettering)

4. Wore the title of 1985 New York State Fair Hot Dog Eating Champion (Brian H., Rigby, ID)

3. Katie Couric is the result of one night of passion with Walter Cronkite (Steve M., Tulsa, OK)

2. She injected Rosie O'Donnell with steroids (Joe L., Souderton, PA)

1. Spent more time on her back than Michelangelo (Michele G., Rochester, NY)

     #3 made the cutting and pasting of this list worth my time.

-- Brent Baker

 


 


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