The Sunday Morning Talk Shows - The Review

ImageSunday, October 12, 2008


On FOX News Sunday, host Chris Wallace first talked to Rick Davis and David Axelrod, who spoke mostly at the same time. Davis posited that the media would not discuss Bill Ayers, and Axelrod countered that Bill Ayers the most discussed “unknown public figure” in the history, I suppose, of unknown public figures. In the next segment, Governor Tim Pawlenty stressed Obama’s inexperience while Governor Ed Rendell said that, despite his ravings about how Pennsylvanians hate blacks, this time the economy will trump race in his State. Rendell said also that divided government is a bad thing and the entire system should be run by one party.

On ABC’s This Week, host George Stephanopoulos talked first to former Larry Summers and James Baker. Summers said that it is time to stop talking and to start acting. Former Treasury Secretary James Baker said that “this will be with us for a while,” but “we will come out of it.” In the next segment, Congressman Barney Franks said that it is “very important to get this done today.” Congressman Roy Blunt argued that there were going to be losses, but it should not be the taxpayers who lose.

On NBC’s Meet the Press, it was Rob Portman and John Corzine. It was a civil exchange between adults, despite Tom Brokaw attempts to stir things up. For instance, Portman spoke of McCain’s proposed spending freeze while Corzine spoke of Obama’s plan to start spending $50-billion dollars to create jobs, rebuilding infrastructure, converting to alternative energy, etc.

On CBS’s Face the Nation, Lindsey Graham took offense at the Obama campaign comparing John McCain and Sarah Palin to George Wallace. Congressman Adam Putnam sees McCain as strong in Florida. Douglas Wilder sees the Bradley Effect being nullified because of Obama’s gifts and because “America is ready.” Colorado Governor Bill Ritter declared that “the gloss has come off Governor Palin.” NEXT SEGMENT, Fred Bergsten, a former official in the Administration of Jimmy Carter, declared that there is now a “crisis of confidence.” (Where have we heard that one before?) However, he thinks the “authorities” are doing the right things this time and we should come out of it alright.

On CNN’s Late Edition, Senators Chuckie Schumer and Arlen Specter had a major dustup over Schumer’s political attacks on Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell on an issue over which everyone agreed that there would be no partisan attacks.DAVIS AND AXELROD ON FNS. On FOX News Sunday this morning, host Chris Wallace opened by talking to McCain’s campaign manager Rick Davis and Obama’s chief strategist David Axelrod. Davis was in studio, the back ground was blue with light “FOX News Sunday” letters moving from one side to the other, and reverse by alternating lines, creating a distracting, almost-nauseating swimming effect. Axelrod, of course, was given a stable background.

They discussed Congressman John Lewis’s statement comparing John McCain and former segregationist Alabama Governor George Wallace. Axelrod noted that this was brought about because of the incendiary rhetoric coming from the McCain campaign inciting the racist Republican voters into a giant fit of hatred. He averred that not only the Obama campaign was condemning this nastiness from McCain, but so were newspaper editorialists and Republicans. (As a “Republican” condemning McCain’s “angry rhetoric,” Axelrod cited from Representative Jim Leach, who spoke to the DNC and who might have switched parties.) Axelrod said that the Republicans have to spread hatred because they cannot discuss the economy, “which hangs from their neck like the anchor of the Lusitania.”

Host Wallace agreed, pointing out that some people at the McCain and Palin rallies have been shouting that Obama is a liar who consorts with terrorists. Davis countered that the George Wallace comparison was over-the-top, and that John McCain was in prison camp while Wallace was doing his “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” bit.

They talked about the Obama ad which called McCain an unstable old man, but for only long enough to give Axelrod a chance to argue that McCain is risky, what with his handling of the economic crisis. He argued that “we” have issued a statement condemning Lewis’s comparison. Davis asked who he meant by “we,” and Axelrod would not answer whether or not this included Obama.

The two mostly interrupted and talked over each other, even while accusing one another of interrupting and talking over.

Wallace played the McCain commercial linking Obama and Ayers, talking of “blind ambition.” He played the clip of McCain at the town hall telling his crowd they had no reason to fear an Obama presidency. He asked Davis why we should not be afraid of an Obama Administration. Davis said that McCain was not addressing the ad when he made that statement. Axelrod argued that he was.

Wallace asked why McCain was spending time on Bill Ayers, and Davis told him that the press would not discuss Bill Ayers. Axelrod countered that Ayers was the most discussed “unknown public figure” around.

Wallace asked about the Tasergate report, which had asserted that Palin had abused her office. Axelrod said that the voters will decide whether or not they want more power abusers in Washington. Davis argued that the report was empty and the investigation was a political one which was going nowhere until Palin joined the Republican ticket.

PAWLENTY AND RENDELL ON FNS. Next up for Wallace were two surrogates: Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty for McCain and Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell for Obama. Pawlenty argued Obama’s inexperience, pointing out that one doesn’t put a rookie into the Super Bowl. Wallace asked him why McCain was wasting his time attacking Ayers when it might be better to go after Pelosi, Reid, and the specter of a Dem government in place in Washington. Rendell countered that divided government is a bad thing, because children go uninsured. He added that Americans know we have to “respond & respond quickly” to problems.

Rendell added that the bad state of the economy had thrown any possible “Bradley Effect,” as he put it, “into the river.” This means that McCain would win the Commonwealth despite what Ed Rendell had once described as Pennsylvania’s racial hatred of African Americans.

SUMMERS AND BAKER ON TW. Over on ABC’s This Week, host George Stephanopoulos talked to former Secretary of the Treasury James Baker, who served under President Ronald Reagan. Also on hand was Larry Summers, former president of Harvard and former Clinton (Bill) treasury secretary.

Summers said that government had to deal with the fiscal crisis in a direct way, rebuilding trust and creating a “comprehensive approach” to the problems. He said that it is time to stop talking and to start acting.

Secretary Baker forecast that “this will be with us for a while,” adding: “We will come out of it.” It will take longer this time than in 1987, he suggested, because of the “esoteric derivatives” in the system currently. He called for more transparency.”

BLUNT AND FRANK ON TW. Next up for Steph were House Republican whip Roy Blunt and House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank. Blunt called for a solution with provided lots of oversight and lots of transparency. He cited a “quickly changing environment.”

Barney said that it is “very important to get this done today.” He thinks it wise that when the Federal government buys our nation’s banks, they do not have voting stock. He thinks that any profits the banks might make should be diverted to “the taxpayers” to buy bad mortgages, reduce the payments, and stop foreclosures.

Blunt argued that there were going to be losses, but it should not be the taxpayers who lose. He said that there were merits to McCain’s plan, but that those who lent the money in the first place “should take significant penalty.” Part of the problem, he argued, was the lack of regulations of Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac. Frank countered that no one saw these problems coming and that it was the Republicans fault that there were not additional regulations on Fanny&Freddie.

On Face the Nation, Host Bob Schieffer spoke to Lindsey Graham; Dem Governor Bill Ritter of Colorado, Richmond’s Dem Mayor Doug Wilder, and Republican Representative Adam Putnam of Florida.

First Graham. After all the polls Schieffer showed favored Obama in a big way, Schieffer asked Graham if there were any good news for McCain. Graham said that the upcoming debate will be John McCain’s chance to prove that he is the one to handle the economy. He added that it was reprehensible to compare McCain and Palin to George Wallace. Schieffer corrected him, pointing out that the rallies were ugly because people are saying that they cannot trust Obama. Schieffer argued that even McCain thought that “this has gone over the line.” Graham said that campaign became ugly when Obama attacked and that he had no control over what people say at rallies. He finds it offensive that they would compare McCain and Palin to the “way Wallace conducted himself.”

Wilder agreed with Lewis and added: “This campaign is about change.” He said that McCain was not talking about issues and solutions, and that the American people “want to know who is with them.” He painted a picture of people coming together for Obama.

Adam Putnam, from Florida, said that this election was about anxiety on the economy, and John McCain has great support in Florida. He conceded that Obama “has opened a small lead,” but stated that we have “a long way to go.”

Bill Ritter, in Colorado. He spoke of their “different styles of leadership” on the economy, saying that Obama is resonating.

Lindsey Graham said that the advisers will speak this afternoon, but McCain will start talking about how now is the time to reduce tax rates on investors. And he talked about refinancing homes “at the actual value.”

Schieffer asked Wilder about the Bradley Effect, also called the Wilder Effect. Wilder said that his internal polls were closer than the media polls, so there was no effect. He advised Obama not to be too confidant. “He needs to stay with the issues.” He said that America is ready.

Schieffer asked Putnam if Palin were a factor in Florida. Congressman Putnam said that she is a “very powerful motivating force.” He asked Democrat Ritter the same question of Colorado, and Ritter admitted that there was one early, “but the gloss has come off Governor Palin.”

CORZINE AND PORTMAN ON MTP. Surrogates for moderator Tom Brokaw on NBC’s Meet the Press. Jon Corzine spoke for Obama and Rob Portman for McCain.

Brokaw asked: “Is the economy going to get worse before it gets better?” Corzine’s answer? “Unfortunately, yes.” He said that the value of people’s retirement savings has been destroyed, which “erodes confidence” and hurts the economy. He argued that we’ve not yet felt these effects “in the real economy,” but, boy, we’re going to. Portman countered that if we move, “and move quickly, we can pull out of this.” He agrees with John McCain that the focus should be on the housing crisis and stabilizing housing prices.

Brokaw insisted that the National Review was a “very conservative publication” arguing that instead of going with the McCain plan, we should give Frank-Dodd and the Paulson plan time to work. Portman said flat-out that “they’re wrong because there are conditions attached to it so it’s not focused on the lenders. It’s focused on the people who are underwater in their mortgages where their house value is not equal to their mortgage.”

Brokaw mentioned the new economic plan which McCain will soon unveil, mentioned in a Mike Allen piece at Politco.com, described as more tax cuts (cap gains) than writing “a check to everyone in sight.” When asked about this, Portman responded: “I don’t know, but” that raising cap gains and dividend taxes, as Obama has suggested, would be a mistake. First things first, Portman said, we must fix the housing crisis.

Corzine argued that “now is the time for steady leadership,” adding that “we can’t have a new economic plan every morning we wake up.” To restore confidence, Corzine said that Obama is proposing that the government build highways and infrastructure, build schools, “build our energy system.” All this, “So we [government] can create jobs, get people back to work.” Obama has proposed to start with $50-billion to start.

(Happy Days are Here Again!)

Director Portman cautioned that “we have to be really careful here.” We have a $10-trillion debt and Obama keeps hatching new ideas to spend money when that’s what got us into this situation.

Portman said that John McCain is ready to freeze spending and go after programs “not just with a scalpel, but sometimes with a scalpel, a hatchet – and in some cases, you have to eliminate programs altogether.” [Cue the applause. Seriously.] Corzine countered this with Obama’s approach, that he recognizes that there are some areas in which he may not be able to increase spending “as much as we’d like.” Obama wants to create jobs. “Green jobs, converting into alternate energy and conservation.” He then called our emergency rooms, “Universal Health Care.”

Brokaw played McCain’s “Blind ambition, bad judgment” ad and declared that it could be stirring up racial hatred in Minnesota. They played a clip, heavily edited, of a man in a gray t-shirt and a blue ball cap at a Minnesota rally saying that he’s afraid of Obama because he hangs around with domestic terrorists like William Ayers. This is a legitimate concern, but McCain, of course, told the man that he did not have to fear an Obama presidency. Then the blonde lady said she thought Obama was an Arab. He asked Portman if this had gone too far. Portman questioned Obama’s judgment and his truthfulness about his relationship with Ayers.

Brokaw did not repeat his lie from last week, that Bill Ayers was naught be a “school reformer from Illinois.”

BERGSTEN ON FTN. Next, Schieffer spoke to Fred Bergsten, an assistant secretary of the Treasury under Jimmy Carter. He said that the United States “is almost certainly in a recession,” but he doesn’t think it is global. He added that there is a “crisis of confidence.”

In 1979, Bergsten’s boss famously told the nation:

It is a crisis of confidence. It is a crisis that strikes at the very heart and soul and spirit of our national will. … The erosion of our confidence in the future is threatening to destroy the social and the political fabric of America.

This time, however, Bergsten sees the authorities being on top of the situation and the outcome positive. He said that there is no chance whatsoever of another “depression.”

SCHUMER AND SPECTER ON LE On CNN, Late Edition host Wolf Blitzer interviewed Chuckie Schumer and Arlen Specter. Schumer’s was on a satellite feed, so there were no punches thrown.

He started with Chuckie. He asked about the “amazing drop” in the Dow over the past year. He asked what our government should do, and Schumer said that the government had to open the credit market. He complained that the recent rescue plan was doing little but that we ought to inject lots and lots of capital into the banks.

Specter said that we need more credit. He said we have to inject the capital but be very careful that we do not nationalize our banking system. This must be done “on a temporary basis.” He called purchasing the bank stock ,”the avenue of last resort.” Schumer agreed that this should be temporary and should not be a government takeover of the banks. Schumer argued that the RSC should make lots of profit from this move.

Specter argued that we should drop the partisanship, but now Schumer is going against Mitch McConnell, breaking a “gentleman’s agreement.” He questioned “whether we have gentlemen here.” He cited an article in today’s Washington Post.

Schumer argued that he finds it ironic that “Arlen” would condemn partisanship then make a partisan remark. Specter argued that Schumer had been injecting politics, and Schumer laughed at him. “Schumer’s not being fair,” Specter argued. Schumer said that the “gentleman’s so-called agreement” was that the vote of the rescue package would not be used for political purposes. Schumer is arguing that the Bush deregulation “has led to the problem.”

Specter said, “When Schumer points the finger at McConnell, he ought to look in the mirror.”

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And there we have it. What say you?