Sunday Morning Talk shows: The Review


On ABC’s This Week, Claire McCaskill, speaking for Obama, said that John McCain’s age was fair fodder for political adds because he is an old man who could drop dead at any moment, and “all of us know it.” Speaking for McCain, Carly Fiorina observed that the Dems are in “full panic mode.” She cited today’s opinion page in the New York Times, the columnists, as an example of this.

Former Fed chair Alan Greenspan predicted that the housing market will stabilize “early next year.”

On FOX News Sunday, Alaska Lieutenant Governor Tony Knowles pointed out that Governor Palin had slashed earmark requests from their levels under the preceding Murkowski and Knowles administrations. Former Alaska Governor Tony Knowles, a Democrat, stubbornly insisted that there were really two Bridges to Nowhere.

On NBC’s Meet the Press, moderator Tom Brokaw pointed out a few bad polls to Chuckie Schumer and asked the Senator about Obama’s plans to triumph over them. Next, he spoke to Rudy Giuliani, attacking John McCain and his campaign, maintaining that Jesus Christ was a community organizer while Pontius Pilate was a governor.

CBS’ Face the Nation was a free-for-all, with Bob Schieffer maintaining some order. It was mostly Deb Wasserman-Schultz vs. Jane Swift, but Kay Bailey Hutchison offered some more seasoned remarks. Janet Napolitano said she wanted to talk about John McCain, not Sarah Palin.

On CNN’s Late Edition, Bill Richardson averred that McCain and Obama should be debating the economy. Tim Pawlenty pointed out that Obama’s campaign and surrogates wanted to talk not about the economy, but about Palin’s 17-year-old daughter. Both candidates have a paucity of foreign policy experience, but Richardson declared that Obama has had “international experience as a human being with his background.” (I hope he’s skeptical about the water-walking bit, though.)FIORINA AND MCCASKILL ON TW. George Stephanopoulos, host of ABC’s This Week, pretty much let them argue amongst themselves, with the requisite moderation, and Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) came off as defensively combative while McCain advisor Carly Fiorina appeared to be calmly assured. I can attribute this to the nature of Dems vs. that of Republicans, but I suspect they’ve seen some polls and the demeanor of the campaigns.

McCaskill was determined to shine the light of truth on Sarah Palin and earmarks. Palin had requested, she said, more dollars per person than “anyone in the history of the world.” Hyperbole. Steph asked her about emphasizing John McCain’s age, and she said that McCain was an old man who could drop at any moment, and “all of us know it.”

Fiorina said that the Democrats were in “full panic mode,” and she offered today’s ultra-shrill New York Times opinion page as an example: Friedman, Dowd, Frank Rich. She offered that stressing John McCain’s age was “disrespectful in the extreme” and is a sign of “desperation.” To counter McCaskill’s assertion on Palin and earmarks, Fiorina said that she had forgotten to mention that Obama has asked for about a billion dollars in earmarks during his short Senate career.

Fiorina asserted that Democrats are trying to “hold woman hostage” through fear, and she noted that the Obama campaign pays women significantly less that it pays their male counterparts. McCaskill countered that McCain “wants to overturn Roe v. Wade,” so women will vote for Obama “by a large majority.” Fiorina countered that most women were not single-issue voters.

ALAN GREENSPAN ON TW. Greenspan was next for Steph, and the former Fed chairman had a few observations and predictions. He predicted that the housing market will stabilize “early next year.” He forecast that more large financial institutions will fail, but that will not be a problem if it is handled well. He explained that the problem was different now than it had been in the past because of the tremendous globalization which had taken place over the last decade. This globalization, he said, had lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty but needed to go through a correction.

Greenspan said that continued bailouts of financial institutions as they go belly-up “are draws on our scarce savings supply,” slow growth, and could cause “stagnation.”

KNOWLES AND PARNELL ON FNS. Alaska’s defeated Democrat Governor Tony Knowles was FOX News Sunday host Chris Wallace’s guest, along with her lieutenant governor, Republican Sean Parnell.

Knowles’s main point in this interview was that there were really two Bridges to Nowhere, one of which Palin supports. The second Bridge to Nowhere, evidently, was for Anchorage and Palin’s home town of Wasilla. Parnell emphasized that Palin would not stand in the way of infrastructure on the State’s “formula funds” for transportation. She supported the infamous bridge, he said, when it cost only $200,000+ but then its cost doubled.

Wallace suggested to Parnell that Palin’s earmark requests were “business as usual,” and Parnell pointed out that Palin had been slashing earmarks requests from what they had been under the Knowles and Murkowski regimes. You cannot cut all earmarks overnight, he averred, and Wallace picked up on that in directing the question to Knowles. Knowles assured Wallace that there were really two Bridges to nowhere.

Knowles harped on the “ethics investigation” of Palin, how it was a “cover up,” and he contended that the “American people are hungry for change.” Parnell countered that Governor Palin is “eminently trustworthy.”

ROVE ON FNS. Karl Rove was Wallace’s next guest on FNS. Wallace displayed on screen the dramatic reversals in the poll standings of the two Presidential candidates, and Rove agreed that “McCain does have the upper hand.” He cautioned, though, that this race is “voluble,” as the polls have taken a 12-point swing in a week. A lot of people, Rove insisted, like both candidates.

Sarah Palin, he observed, is a “breath of fresh air.” He does not expect the nation’s fascination with Palin to last the remaining seven weeks until the election, but he suspects that its impact will.

He would advise Obama to stop attacking Palin and instead focus on McCain; he would advise Obama to stop attacking McCain and assure voters that he is “up to the job” of the Presidency. Obama’s financial advantage – after the largest fundraising month ever – is “big,” but he suspects that it will not be as large as the Dems’ $121-million advantage in ’04.

Rove contends that Obama’s “lipstick on the pig” remark was deliberate and directed straight at Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. He noted that both campaigns were “taking it too far,” citing the Dems attacking McCain for not being able to operate a computer after having his arms brutalized by his communist captors in Vietnam. Rove added that some of McCain’s attacks on Obama “don’t pass the 100% truth test.”

CHUCKIE SCHUMER ON MTP. In his introduction to NBC’s Meet the Press this morning, moderator Tom Brokaw mentioned Obama’s “tanking poll numbers.” He also mentioned 9-11, flashing images from that awful day on screen, risking the wrath of MSNBC sportscaster Keith Olbermann, who has declared any mention of the day to be off-limits.

Instead of interviewing Giuliani and Schumer together, Brokaw opted to do it separately, beginning with Chuckie. He told Schumer that the American public was watching this race like a pig in a poke on the Kentucky Derby, or some such Dan Rather-like concept. Brokaw opened with polls, a Newsweek showing the race dead even at 46% then an NBC/WSJ showing McCain expanding his “strong leadership required to be President” gap to twenty-two points, 48% – 26%. Knowledgeable enough? McCain’s lead has increased to 39 points, 54% – 15%. Brokaw posited that so many of his viewers and those surveyed don’t think Barry’s qualified to lead the country in a dangerous world. Schumer is not concerned about this, he said, because he thinks “Barack Obama will show that he’s ready to lead.” The question that will determine this race, Chuckie averred, is the economy and who can help the middle class.

Brokaw showed polls giving McCain huge leads among white females, senior citizens, and “men,” who Brokaw described as “middle class voters in rural areas.” Chuckie’s not worried, because, he says, “John McCain and Sarah Palin do not represent change.” He said that they are a continuation of George Bush and voters will learn about this in the debate.

Brokaw showed McCain leading by nine points in “reflects your values.” He said that the voters “have to get to know” Obama. People are unhappy with their economic situation, and they will vote for change.

Chuckie said that the McCain-Palin ticket “has peaked.” Brokaw showed the clip of Joe Biden saying that Hillary would have been a better veep pick than he was. Chuck said that this was just Joe Biden being Joe Biden.

Chuckie thinks Hillary “will help turn the tide” among Reagan Democrats, but that the Obama-Biden economic message will do the trick.

Chuckie said that the DSCC’s “Twenty-Four Hour Rule” was now in effect with the Obama campaign. “They hit you, you have to hit back with the same speed and velocity within 24 hours.”

RUDY ON MTP. Rudy Giuliani was next for Brokaw. Brokaw played a clip of John McCain last April saying that he would run a “respectful campaign,” then he played the McCain commercial about Obama sponsoring a Sex Ed bill in the Illinois senate which mandated that sex ed be taught to kindergartners. Brokaw claimed that “any number of publications” have said that the ad was wrong, and he quoted the Washington Post as indicating that Obama was not one of the sponsors of that bill. Rudy said that the only thing he found wrong with the ad was that it called the bill an “accomplishment” of Obama’s when the bill did not pass. (Giuliani indicated that he had read the bill last night.) He pointed out that Hillary had first attacked Obama on this bill, and that Obama had invented a line about it being to protect kindergartners from HIV/AIDs only after she did.

Rudy said that the campaign has gotten too negative on both sides, and he blamed it on Obama’s refusal to debate in the town hall format. He said he understood why Barry wouldn’t debate in the town hall format when he was way ahead, but now that they two candidates are neck-and-neck, it would be great if they would. Brokaw argued that Obama is so debating McCain in town hall formats plus they have the three old-style debates.

Brokaw played clips of Rudy at the RNC pointing out that Obama’s resume to be President included that he was a “community organizer,” which was not a qualification to be President. Brokaw charged that “in that mocking fashion,” Rudy was “belittling” the role of community organizer. Brokaw announced that “Jesus Christ was a community organizer. Pontius Pilate was a governor.” He wanted Rudy to apologize, but Giuliani pointed out that Obama’s record as a community organizer “was a very sparse one.” And the group which recruited Barry to be a community organizer was a questionable, Saul Alinsky group.

Brokaw averred that John McCain, if he won, would win based on race. Giuliani said that would be such voters on both sides, he thinks neither candidate would want them, and he hopes they cancel each other out.

Brokaw played a clip of Lindsey Graham at the RNC saying that we were on the “road to Victory” in Iraq. He then quoted General Petraeus as saying that we have “significantly damaged [and] degraded” AQI, but they were still dangerous. He quoted Petraeus as stating that he would not use the word “victory” because this is the type of battle where it would be less clear. Giuliani pointed out that Graham was talking only of the “road to victory.”

SO, Brokaw attacked John McCain’s campaign when speaking to Obama and he asked Chuck Schumer about Obama’s plans to overcome a few bad polls.

FOUR WOMEN ON FTN. Bob Schieffer mixed it up with Dem Janet Napolitano Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Republicans Kay Bailey Hutchison of Jane Swift. All by satellite. He talked first two KBH about Hurricane Ike.

Former Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Jane Swift is in charge of the Palin Truth Squad for the McCain-Palin campaign, and Schieffer asked her if she wanted Palin to be treated differently than anyone else. Swift said not, and there should not be a double standard between what is asked of males and women.

Wasserman-Schultz said that all she’s seen is Palin being asked if she is up to the task. Wasserman-Shultz said of Palin: “She doesn’t know anything.” She has “no grasp of America’s foreign policy and very little grasp of domestic policy.” She accused Palin of having “Cliffnoted her performance so far.”

Schieffer noted that KBH would be more qualified than Palin, and KBH noted that the face that she hasn’t been to the Middle East yet should not be a factor. (Palin has been to Kuwait, though.) She challenged them to name one governor who had become President who had depth of foreign policy experience.

Schieffer pointed out that Napolitano is a governor, is Palin qualified? Napolitano said that Palin was not the issue. We had to discuss John McCain.

Schieffer aired a new Obama attack ad about how McCain-Bush hate women.

Wasserman-Schultz and Napolitano insisted that John McCain does not support equal pay for women. KBH insisted that McCain supports equal pay for equal work. Wasserman-Shultz said that equal pay should be guaranteed by law, pointing out that McCain opposes a specific Democrat bill regarding this, thus he must reject the concept. (Wasserman-Schultz is not an effective representative.)

Schieffer aired a McCain ad attacking Obama for attacking Sarah Palin.

Napolitano said that McCain’s ads have been “disappointing” and “misleading.” She called him the “rejuvenated, Karl Rove John McCain.” She mentioned “swift boating.” Swift said that Americans were appalled that Obama would lie about and slander Palin.

Wasserman-Schultz said that she teaches her kids to tell the truth and that Palin lied about having gone to Iraq. She called it part of the “culture of corruption.” Schieffer corrected: Palin had made it a half mile into Iraq with a general after visiting the Alaska National Guard in Kuwait. Wasserman-Schultz insisted that Palin had never set foot in Iraq.

PAWLENTY AND RICHARDSON ON LE. On CNN, Late Edition host Wolf Blitzer’s first political guests were surrogates: Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty for McCain and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson for Obama. Blitzer played the “facing celebrity” ad from the McCain campaign criticizing Obama for attacking Sarah Palin. Richardson said that it makes him made because “this election should be about the economy.” Richardson thinks there have been distortions about Palin’s “national security record.” He wants the debate on the economy. McCain was Bush and “more of the same,” he said, while Barack is “change.”

Pawlenty, smile blazing, reminded Blitzer that Obama had once agreed to accept McCain’s town hall meetings but had backed out and now was trailing. He pointed out that Obama was talking about Palin’s 17-year-old daughter, not the economy.

Richardson argued that Obama has had “international experience as a human being with his background.” Pawlenty held that Palin had the judgment and executive experience to lead. He wondered what head Barack run. Nothing. He wondered what Barack has done, accomplished. Nothing. Richardson asked what McCain had run? Nothing. Blitzer asked Richardson about McCain’s executive experience in the Navy. Richardson argued that this was not executive experience because, unlike with a government executive, it did not affect the lives of individuals on the daily basis.

Richardson said that Obama is a change agent because he’s known as a “healer” who “brings people together.” Pawlenty pointed out that the Dem Congress is half as popular as the President but that Obama is toeing their line almost all of the time; this is not “change,” he argued.

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These are the shows. One can interpret them either as further proof of the wheels coming off the Obama campaign – are we in their heads? – or as the opening salvoes in the attempt to recapture the mantles and the agenda of the Obama campaign.

I see something of both, but the only “effective” Obama surrogates I saw this week were Janet Napolitano and, to a less and different extent, George Stephanopoulos.