The Sunday Morning Talk Shows: The Review

ImageSunday, August 3, 2008


On FNS, Lindsey Graham said that the Obama attempt to imply that McCain was somehow racist was a lie and should be retracted. Tom Daschle claimed that Obama was not a ditz and never uses the word “I” in his speeches. Host Chris Wallace offered to play some clips of Obama doing just that in Berlin, and Daschle changed the subject. Graham admitted: “I can’t translate an Obama speech. I don’t know what he’s saying.”

On TW, Nancy Pelosi said that she might be willing to have a vote on offshore drilling “as part of a larger package,” but she blamed the Bush Administration for there having been no such vote so far.

On TW, Tom Ridge said that he does not think McCain has an abortion litmus test for his veep selection, and that if he is chosen, he will talk to McCain then report back to Steph [begin the campaign].”

On MTP, Joe Lieberman dismissed Barack Obama as a “gifted, eloquent young man.” John Kerry talked about himself, saying that he’s an expert on the GOP trying to scare people.

On FTN, host Bob Schieffer asked former Clinton Treasury Secretary if we were in a recession or headed toward a depression. Rubin didn’t answer, but he said that there was a slight possibility that things could get worse. His next guest, Carly Fiorina, argued that things would get worse if we raised taxes, increased spending, and become isolationist, all things which would result from Obama’s schemes.

On LE, Obama economic Laura Tyson declared that Obama liked the Gang of Ten compromise legislation on energy, which includes offshore drilling, but only because it makes demands of the automotive industry and other such things. McCain economic advisor Nancy Pfotenhauer attacked Obama for supporting tax increases.

Next on LE, Major General Mark Hertling said that we were transitioning our funding of the Sons of Iraq in northern Iraq towards other reconstruction efforts and we hoped to do even more by October and November. He pointed out that the Iraqi people were just sick and tired of al Qaeda, which had relocated mostly to the Diyala province where a push to exterminate them is ongoing.

On LE, Ron Kirk and Ken Blackwell discussed the race card. Kirk, an Obama supporter, said that he didn’t think Obama’s accusation that McCain was a racist campaigner was very serious and that Obama had retracted the charge. Blitzer mentioned the charge that McCain was, with the Britney/Paris ad, trying to scare white men into believing that Obama was coming for their daughters. Blackwell called it, in an interesting example of good word choice, “ludicrous.”

The show-by-show review is below the fold.DASCHLE AND GRAHAM ON FNS. Well, FOX News Sunday host Chris Wallace spent his show talking to surrogates: Senator Lindsey Graham for John McCain and Washington lobbyist Tom Daschle for Barack Obama.

Is Obama playing the race card? “Absolutely,” answered Graham. Obama accuses McCain of racial attacks and is suggesting that he is the “victim of something.” Graham pointed out that Obama has refused to engage in the town hall debates he’d promised.

Asked about the Britney/Paris ad, Graham pointed out that Obama’s campaign is running on celebrity, not ideas. Daschle denied that Obama was making racist accusations against McCain, and Graham asked him who was the “they” against whom Obama repeatedly rails. Graham said that the attempt to smear McCain in this manner was a lie and “it should be admitted to.”

Daschle interjected that to assert that Obama is Britney and Paris is “exactly what Barack is saying [complaining about].” He complained that John McCain hadn’t said a “nice” thing about Obama in months. When confronted with the Obama quote — “I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions” – Daschle argued that this was a third-hand quote and that Obama never uses the word “I.” Wallace offered to play examples of Obama doing just that in Berlin, and Daschle changed the subject.

Speaking of the House Republicans actions in the dark in the House of Representatives this weekend, an attempt to draw attention to Pelosi’s non-inclusive and autocratic handling of the question of drilling offshore, Graham said that as leader of the party, Obama could call Nancy and tell her to open the House, Daschle shot back that the Republicans should open the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Wallace pointed out McCain’s flip-flop on raising taxes to “save social security.” Graham tried to explain it, concluding that McCain would not raise payroll taxes for social security. Daschle snickered that “this is the most gaffe-prone Presidential race” that he can remember, and that we never know which side of any issue McCain will pick.

Daschle said that McCain has adopted Barry’s position on negotiating with Iran. Graham countered that it is a good thing Congress didn’t adopt Barry’s position on the Surge.

Whatever happened to “anytime/anywhere” for debates? Daschle blamed McCain for refusing to negotiate about debates with Obama, and now there is no time for any more than the three to which Obama just agreed. He added that, including the primary season, Obama has “had more debates than anyone.” Graham countered that McCain had been “begging” Barry to debate.

Best line of the show: Graham told Wallace: “I can’t translate an Obama speech. I don’t know what he’s saying.”

Does Obama need a foreign policy Veep? No, said Daschle, he will select a Veep with judgment. Graham countered that McCain is the best prepared Presidential candidate since Eisenhower.

Daschle was not informed of anything regarding the suicide of the primary suspect in the Daschle Anthrax case. He faulted the Bush Administration for running a bad investigation.

Here is the transcript.

NANCY ON TW. Over on ABC, host George Stephanopoulos opened This Week this morning by talking to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Nancy said that we have a “failed energy policy” and that Republicans want more of the same, which are profits for “big oil.”

Nancy said that she might let offshore drilling be voted on as part of a “larger package,” but then she whined about “use it or lose it” drilling on already leased lands.

When asked why there had been no debate on offshore drilling, Nancy countered that they debate this every day, but that the Republicans were the “handmaidens of big oil.”

Nancy blamed President Bush for there having been no vote in the House on offshore drilling. She said that she is “protecting the air our children breathe.”

Nancy proclaimed that Congress had to tell the private sector to invest in renewable energy sources.

Steph played a few clips of John McCain explaining that the Britney-Paris bit was injecting a little humor into the campaign while making the point that Barry is unprepared on energy policy. Nancy bristled that this was “not worthy” of the office of President. It’s not humorous, she countered: “It’s silly.” (I momentarily expected Graham Chapman to appear on screen dressed as a general, making that same charge. Then again, I expect that every weekend when listening to the Obama campaign.) She said that the American people want to know “who’s going to educate our children.”

TOM RIDGE ON TW. Next up for Steph was former DHS Secretary and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge. Steph played a clip of McCain telling Chrissy Matthews that though he has no litmus test, it would be “tough” to pick a pro-abort as his Veep. Ridge, who favors legal abortions, said that “John won’t make abortion a litmus test,” but that he is comfortable with any decision McCain makes. If he is selected, Ridge said, he will have a quiet conversation with his friend John McCain and “maybe report back to you.”

Steph asked Ridge if McCain would be hurt in Eastern Pennsylvania by picking a pro-life running mate.

Steph asked Ridge about the Brit-Brat/Paris commercial, and the governor explained that this part of the commercial pointed out that Obama was telegenic and popular; the point of the ad, he said, was that we need to put everything on the table when considering our energy policy, including offshore drilling. Steph shot back that Obama was willing to put such drilling on the table, but Ridge said that this occurred only after Obama was forced to “clarify” his position.

LIEBERMAN AND KERRY ON MTP. Over at NBC, Meet the Press moderator Tom Brokaw talked to Joe Lieberman from the McCain camp and John Kerry from Obama’s. (As a side note, Kerry supported Ned in 2006 but kept smiling creepily at Lieberman this morning.)

Brokaw played a clip of McCain in April decrying negative campaigning and Lieberman speaking against it then asked if he thought comparing Obama to Britney and Paris is “respectful.” Lieberman said he thinks so, and that the ad was a big of humor, a “way to draw people into ad.” He said that the ad asked if Obama, with his celebrity status, is ready to lead. Lieberman doesn’t think so. He thinks Obama is a “gifted, eloquent young man” whom he hopes will give America great leadership in the future.

Brokaw called Britney and Paris, “Lightweights.” He thinks it demeaning to compare Barry to them. Lieberman countered that we’re not picking our favorite celebrity; rather, we’re “doing something very serious.”

Kerry said that Obama did not accuse McCain of being a racist, of telling people that McCain’s picking on him because he’s black. Kerry argued that “they’re trying to scare people,” adding: “And believe me, I’m an expert on how they do that.” He called it “character assassination,” citing no less sources than Russ Feingold and the New York Times. Kerry complained that Team McCain had just hired Karl Rove protégée Steve Schmidt, adding: “And believe me, they talk to Karl Rove.” (He did not source that bit. And Schmidt was hired a month ago.)

Kerry changed the subject to judgment, saying that Bush and Maliki have now adopted Obama’s position on Iraq withdrawal. He said that Obama is right about Afghanistan, that we need to put more troops there. He said that the Bush Administration has adopted Obama’s position on Iran and is now negotiating with them.

Brokaw brought up Wes Clark’s Face the Nation tirade of several weeks ago, that being a POW is not a qualification to be President, and pointed out that Clark could have been talking about Kerry’s qualifications to be President. Kerry disagreed with Clark and felt he was out of line. He said that he “stood in a cell with John McCain in Hanoi,” albeit ‘t was only when they visited together.

Then they talked about this and that. On offshore drilling, Kerry argued that we only have 3% of the world’s proven oil reserves and it would take seven (7) years to get this new oil to market, but the government has to act now to move the American people away from petroleum use which causes global warming.

Lieberman said that the McCain campaign was correct to call Obama risky, but that they were not doing it because of his name or his skin tone; rather, Obama was risky because he was unprepared. He remembered that Al Gore had selected him, the first Jewish-American on a national ticket, back in 2000 arguing that the American people would look at Lieberman’s record, not at his religion. Lieberman asked Obama to have the same faith in the American people for himself.

Brokaw wanted to know if Lieberman would be welcomed back into the Senate Dem caucus next Congress, and Kerry indicated that he would. Brokaw wanted to know if Lieberman would want back into the Senate Dem caucus next Congress, and Lieberman said that this split was only for this election because he feels so strongly about it.

It was a nifty discussion. They re-air it this afternoon on MSNBC, and here is the transcript.

BOB RUBIN ON FTN. Host Bob Schieffer’s guest on CBS’ Face the Nation was former Clinton Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin. Rubin denied that Clinton would raise taxes but would lower taxes for everyone making under $250,000. He said that Barry would institute Clinton’s rates, “which brought us the longest economic expansion of all times.”

Schieffer asked Rubin if we were in a recession or “headed toward a depression.” Rubin said that the most likely scenario would be for this to continue “for quite some time,” though there is some chance that “it will get considerable worse.”

Rubin said that Obama has “a very nuanced sense” of the economy’s problems.

Schieffer asked Rubin about offshore drilling. Rubin doesn’t think Obama has changed his mind; rather, he thinks that the answers to our problems are renewable and conservation. Rubin said Barry would go along with offshore drilling so long as it “moved the process forward” and got the Republicans to go along with the rest.

Schieffer asked about Obama’s $1,000 stimulus, and Rubin said that Obama would pay for it over a five year period. (He had said that he would pay for it by cutting funding to NASA.)

CARLY FIORINA ON FTN. Schieffer next spoke to McCain advisor Carly Fiorina. She agreed with Rubin that the situation could get worse, and they could do so if taxes were raised as Obama proposes, if spending were increased as Obama proposes, and if we became isolation and protectionist as Obama proposes.

Fiorina listed McCain’s plans, and Schieffer asked how McCain was going to do these things and cut our huge deficit. (NOTE: Schieffer did not ask Rubin this question.) Fiorina said that we had to control Federal spending. McCain has never taken an earmark, where Barry supports legislation which is “laden with pork.”

Schieffer pointed out that McCain had told Steph that a payroll tax increase would have to be on the table in negotiations to save social security. Fiorina said that McCain knows that you cannot begin negotiations with an ultimatum.

Schieffer want to know what programs McCain would cut. Fiorina answered that McCain would freeze discretionary spending for a year then review all such programs, posing the results of the review on the Internet.

LAURA TYSON AND NANCY PFOTENHAUER ON LE. On CNN, Late Edition host Wolf Blitzer interviewed Laura Tyson and Nancy Pfotenhauer, economic advisors to Obama and McCain respectively.

To Tyson, Blitzer said that Obama has changed, offering to put offshore drilling on the table. He suggested that this might be due to recent public opinion polls suggesting that the American people want drilling. She said that Obama likes the comprehensive plan, the New Energy Reform Act of 2008 — which happens to include offshore drilling. Obama thinks such drilling is useless, but he likes the proposal because of the demands the bill would place on the automotive industry.

Blitzer asked Nancy Pfotenhauer if McCain would support this “Group of Ten” (“Gang of Ten”) measure. She answered that Obama had been “dragged kicking and screaming” to the position of even considering it.

Blitzer said that they seem to have moved toward common ground with the work of the ten Senators, five Dems and five Republicans. Tyson said Obama liked the bill if it includes rolling back the tax breaks for big oil.

Pfotenhauer attacked Obama for supporting a windfall profits tax, but Blitzer argued that Exxon-Mobil does not deserve a tax break when it is making record profits.

Blitzer quoted McCain as saying that raising taxes was not the answer. Tyson argued that windfalls can be taxed in such a way as not to increase the price of oil or increase imports. She argued that corporate tax rates in the United States “may be high,” but that the corporations weren’t paying all their taxes.

Tyson was arguing based on Tax Policy Center information, and Pfotenhauer pointed out that they were a lefty outfit. Tyson chuckled. Tyson argued that the ’90s were the longest expansion in American history.

Pfotenhauer argued basically that we cannot tax our way to prosperity. Tyson argued that ‘we can so.’

MAJOR MARK HERTLING ON LE. Blitzer’s next guest was Major General Mark Hertling, commander of U.S. forces in Northern Iraq.

Blitzer asked the general about the battle in Diyala province, going under the Iraqi name “Omens of Benevolence.” He characterized it as “not a harsh fight.” He said that the operation has been ongoing for about a week end a half.

General Hertling said that they were fighting “al Qaeda itself” in Diyala, what with their having relocated there. He said that Diyala has a 200 mile border with Iran.

Blitzer played a clip of SecDef Bob Gates saying that things are improving. Wolf wanted to know if General Hertling were prepared to say that Gates could take more of his troops. Hertling said that it is conditions based, and that the battle he was overseeing is not over.

Blitzer wanted to know if the Surge brought peace to Iraq, or was in the Anbar Awakening, or was it the huge piles of cash we were paying the Sons of Iraq. Hertling said that he had to “push back a little” on those assumptions. He said that the troops and the awakening were part of it, the Sons of Iraq in the north, but the fourth thing was the Iraqi government coming together. And the Iraqis are becoming sick or al Qaeda.

Wolf wanted to know if the US taxpayers were still paying the Sons of Iraq, and the general said that we were but that we were transitioning it to other reconstruction projects. He said that he hoped to have it further reduced by October or November.

RACE CARD ON LE. Blitzer talked race card to McCain supporter Ken Blackwell, former Ohio secretary of state, and Obama supporter Ron Kirk, former mayor of Dallas. Kirk doesn’t think this is serious and that it is reflective of McCain’s “bad several weeks.” He said that McCain would discuss the economy. Blitzer pointed out that Obama had said directly that McCain was talking about the color of Obama’s skin. Kirk said that Obama had discussed this, by which he meant “retracted it.”

Blitzer played the opening of the Britney/Paris ad. He pointed out that Dona Brazile and Bob Herbert had said that both were designed to play to a fear amongst whites that black men will become sexually involved with white woman. Blackwell called this “ludicrous” (?). He said that McCain was talking about issues. The fact is, Blackwell said, that this is not the first time Obama has played the race card. He had one it to Clinton. He asked hwy Obama is injecting race into this instead of debating the issues at the town halls.

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And that’s what I saw. Have at it.