The Sunday Morning Talk Shows: The Review


This morning on FOX News Sunday, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis said that the McCain campaign had taken no money away from the effort for the final 72-hours and put it into TV advertising, something confirmed later in the show by Karl Rove. Obama manager David Plouffe promised that Tony Romo would not vote on Tuesday and added that Pennsylvania was not as close as McCain’s peeps claim. Rove was next, and he added that John McCain has a “very steep, uphill climb” to victory on Tuesday.

Over on ABC’s This Week, Davis and Steph argued about whether or not things were going horribly awry for the McCain campaign. Obama strategist David Axelrod was confident, and he kindly added that he would do what he could to see that John McCain hypothetically would be a “successful” President should the thinkable happen: “I love him,” said Axelrod of McCain.

On NBC’s Meet the Press, Fred Thompson told Tom Brokaw that Obama would “take this country down a road toward a liberal welfare state, European-style policy like we’ve never seen before.” Next segment, John Kerry trashed John McCain and Republicans and said that Obama would be bipartisan and appoint Republicans to his cabinet. He sneered that John McCain no longer opposes torture: “It sends a terrible message to the rest of the world.”

On CBS’ Face the Nation, Axelrod said that Obama was going to “shatter the red State-blue State paradigm.” Lindsey Graham boasted: “I will beat Michael Phelps’s swimming before Barack Obama wins North Carolina, and I can’t swim.” On the next segment, Chuckie Schumer said that Dems will be a long shot to gain 60 Senate seats but it is possible. He called this year’s crop of Dem Senate candidates “non-ideological” and “thoughtful.” John Ensign countered with the Al Franken example, and indicated that he did not say yesterday that Sarah Palin was unqualified. He meant that Obama wasn’t qualified.

On CNN’s Late Edition, Senator Arlen Specter said that there would be no Bradley Effect in Western Pennsylvania but there might be a disparity between what people tell pollsters and how they actually vote. He also predicted that whoever won the election, there could be no tax cuts for anyone. Senator Junior Casey, by phone, made incoherent noises and seemed to indicate that his favorite sitcom was Charles in Charge.DAVIS ON TW. Davis was host George Stephanopoulos’s first guest on ABC’s This Week. Steph confronted Davis about how terribly things were going, and Davis argued that they were not.

AXELROD ON TW. Steph next spoke to Obama strategist David Axelrod, who stated that Obama will have the edge in early voters. When asked if these were new voters, something Rove discounted on FNS, he argued that 1 of 5 voters in North Carolina was a new voter.

Steph asked Axelrod about lobbyists working in Obama’s forthcoming Administration, and Axelrod indicated that there would be no lobbyist working his field for the Administration, something on which he blamed the current financial crisis.

Axelrod refused to make a prediction. When asked, Axelrod answered that, if the world were suddenly rent asunder and Earth were to reverse on its axis, he would do what he could to help assure that John McCain was a successful President: “I love him,” he said of Senator John McCain.

FRED THOMPSON ON MTP. On NBC;s Meet the Press, Chuck Todd showed the various polls giving Obama his largest leads in the various battleground States and declared everything over. (He seemed to smirk, which I would of course imagine, when he said that it could change.) He has it 286-157. The only path McCain has, Todd averred, is through Pennsylvania, though he said he does not know if it is even in play right now. And New Hampshire.

Fred Thompson joined moderator Tom Brokaw, who asked if McCain had to “run the table.” Thompson suggested that McCain needed to do well in the battleground States. “He’s got a shot. He’s closing.”

“John’s a closer. He always has been. People have been wrong about him before. He’s in his element. He feels good about it. I would not count him out by any stretch of the imagination.”

Brokaw mentioned the “Obamacons,” the “very prominent conservative columnists” who support Obama. He quoted a Charles Krauthammer column stating that “McCain is the quintessential center-right candidate. Yet the quintessential center-right country is poised to reject him. The hunger for anti-Republican catharsis and the blinding promise of Obamian hope are simply too strong. The reckoning comes in the morning.” This is very misleading on Brokaw’s part, as Krauthammer strongly endorses John McCain in that column. He also quoted Mike Gerson as saying that conservatives were about to go into a period of soul-searching. Brokaw argued that the country has rejected conservatism and asked if John McCain is not “swimming against a Tsunami.” Thompson answered that he was.

Fred said that the party had nominated “the only fellow who would have a chance, I think, under these circumstances.”

Brokaw played an internet ad in which Fred Thompson talks about principles. He offered that the Republicans have nationalized the banking industry and left us with a $500-billion deficit. “What Republican playbook do those principles come out of?” Thompson pointed out that John McCain had tried to reform Fannie and Freddie but was met by objections for the Dem leadership. He said that there have been reasons to be concerned about Republican activities in the past as well as Democrat activities.

Brokaw played an NPR clip of Larry Eagleburger saying that he doesn’t think Sarah Palin is at the moment ready to take over the Presidency in a crisis, adding that there have been a number of veeps who have fit into the category in the past. Brokaw then asked what questions had been asked by Couric, Gibson, or Williams which was unfair to Palin. Thompson said that he hadn’t watched these interviews, but he saw excerpts and read accounts. It’s not a matter of questions, he said, but Palin has had a double-standard applied to her. He acknowledged that Palin “got off to a bad start” but is now doing very well.

Thompson added that if they get Obama and the majorities they want, Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid will take this country down a road toward a liberal welfare state, European-style policy like we’ve never seen before.”

JOHN KERRY ON MTP. Brokaw’s next guest was John Kerry, whom Brokaw said lost the 2004 election because Osama bin Laden “came out with a tape that Friday.” Kerry said that the Obama campaign was taking nothing for granted, they have to work as hard as they can.

Brokaw was more thoughtful and less accusatory with Kerry than he had been with Thompson, fostering a different atmosphere for response. Kerry responded with more mud.

Brokaw said that the McCain camp was “attacking” Obama on taxes, his lack of experience, and “he’s never been tested.” He played a clip of Governor Schwarzenegger saying that he’d left Europe four decades ago because socialism had killed opportunities there. Brokaw asked if Obama would be able to increase taxes on the most wealthy given the current conditions. Kerry said he would.

Kerry said that both Arnold and Thompson were “trying to scare people.”

Kerry said that there have been two tests so far this season: choice of veep and economic crisis. He said that McCain had broken his promises and chosen a national security neophyte; on the economy, McCain had declared that the fundamentals of our economy were sound.

Kerry said that John McCain “lurches” from one position to another, calling to mind the butler, Lurch, from the old Addams Family sitcom. Kerry said that Barack Obama has more security experience than Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan had when they became President.

Kerry sneered that John McCain no longer opposed torture. “It sends a terrible message to the rest of the world.”

Kerry said that Colin Powell supports Barack Obama. “An Eisenhower, a Reagan, a Buckley are all supporting Barack Obama.” And Obama is going to bring the country together and reach a broader consensus.

Brokaw quoted former Dem Senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, from the New York Daily News, saying that the Dem Congress would do some bizarre and harmful things with their new majority unless Obama lets them know “in no uncertain terms: The Democrats have not won a mandate for all their policies.” Kerry agreed with Brokaw that Obama should bring Republicans into his cabinet. Kerry pronounced that “Bob Kerrey is correct.”

AXELROD ON FTN. On CBS’ Face the Nation, Axelrod said that the early voting is “breaking historical patterns.” Obama is drawing huge crowds, he noted. He vowed, though, to “fight ’til the end.”

Schieffer asked him, in Obama wins, what tipped it towards him. Axelrod said that the country needed a change from Bush and McCain. He said that Obama is shattering the “red State-blue State paradigm,” proving that we’re all in this together. Axelrod feels good about what he sees in Pennsylvania, including the larger registration edge than in 2004. He’s counting on his “organization on the ground.” He said that Pennsylvanians understand we can’t continue the “same trickle-down, deregulation policies.”

Axelrod doesn’t know if there were a Bradley Effect even in 1982, and that the real story is how little race has been a factor this election, as we have bigger issues than race.

LINDSEY GRAHAM ON FTN. Lindsey Graham was next on FTN. He said that he’s seen tightening in the polls for the last two weeks. He mentioned Joe the Plumber and Biden’s Massive Crisis theory. He thinks the undecided will split for McCain, and he added that they campaign is going to spend “more time” in Pennsylvania. He added that Missouri and North Carolina are moving McCain’s way.

Graham said, “I will beat Michael Phelps’s swimming before Barack Obama wins North Carolina, and I can’t swim.”

He said that “Florida looks good. We’ve moved in the north.”

Schieffer asked him if Palin had been a drag on the ticket, and Lindsey said look at the crowds.

Graham said that they’re “looking forward, not backward.”

SCHUMER AND ENSIGN ON FTN. Next on FTN, Schieffer talked to interviewed DSCC Chairman Chuckie Schumer and RSCC Chairman John Ensign. Schumer thinks they’re going to have a “very good night,” and if someone had told him how well they’d do a year ago. Sixty seats is possible, he said, but it is not likely.

Ensign admitted that the GOP faced a “strong political headwind.” He said that the Democrats will “pick up some seats.”

Schumer described this year’s Dem candidates as “non-ideological” and “thoughtful.” Ensign countered that Al Franken, who jokes about rape, is neither non-ideological nor thoughtful. The Dem candidates are all talking about a tax increase, he insisted. He added that the financial crisis was a result of over-regulation, not deregulation, what with the subprime loans.

Schieffer asked Ensign if he had said that Sarah Palin was not qualified. Ensign said that he had not, and that Palin draws huge crowds but has been “mishandled” by the McCain campaign. The point he was trying to make, he said, was that Obama is not qualified to be President.

ARLEN SPECTER AND JUNIOR CASEY ON LE. Pennsylvania’s Republican Senator Arlen Spencer was host Wolf Blitzer’s guest on CNN’s Late Edition. Wolf asked Specter to be honest, “Can McCain win Pennsylvania?” Specter said that some could vote in a different way than the polled, but he specifically rejected the “Bradley Effect” notions of racism. Specter added the enthusiasm generated by Palin. Blitzer insisted that Pennsylvania was racist, and he played the Murtha clip as proof. Specter answered, adamantly, “NO!” He admitted that some don’t want an African American, just as others do not want Jews or Catholics. (Specter is Jewish.)

The CNN producers got Junior Casey on the phone to challenge Specter. He said that the history of Pennsylvania has shown that no Dem gets over 51% of the vote in Pennsylvania. He said that there is tremendous enthusiasm for Obama, the only candidate who will cut taxes for the middle class. Blitzer countered with a Palin clip in which she points out Obama’s constantly shifting definition of middle class. Junior responded, “She doesn’t know what she’s talking about, bluntly.” He promised that Obama would cut taxes on the middle class, though he did not use any of Obama’s figures.

Specter said that the country had huge deficits, so both campaigns were making it up. There would be no tax cuts, he said.

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And there we have that. On Tuesday, we vote.