Appearance Alert
MRC's Bozell to appear on FNC's 'Kelly File' at 9:40pm ET

ABC Defends Obama's 'New World View,' Touts Supposed Successes --4/21/2009


1. ABC Defends Obama's 'New World View,' Touts Supposed Successes
In the midst of conservative criticism that President Barack Obama, at the summit in Trinidad over the weekend joked around with Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and was uncritical of a 50-minute anti-American screed from Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega, ABC decided to defend Obama's foreign policy mettle -- with his only failure coming where he has followed Bush's policy. Martha Raddatz began by trying to undermine the pictures of a jovial Obama with Chavez: "Today, cell phone video images emerged of a stern and serious President Obama during a brief encounter with Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez. The image counters the cordial hand shake with Chavez who once called Mr. Obama an 'ignoramus' and George Bush 'a devil.'" She noted that "it should not be a surprise that President Obama is reaching out to friend and foe after promising a stark change," before she recited, interspersed with Obama soundbites, how in a mere 90 days "he has reached out to the Iranian people...Muslims worldwide...And the Russians." She asked: "And where has all this gotten him?" Her one expert, former Chicago Sun-Times and New York Daily News executive James Hoge, who now runs Foreign Policy magazine, hailed Obama's approach.

2. Critics of Obama-Chavez Meeting Making 'Mountain Out of Molehill'?
On Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith discussed President Obama's brief meeting with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at the Summit of the Americas with former Bush Press Secretary Dana Perino and former Clinton Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers, wondering: "Have the critics of this photo-op made a mountain out of a molehill?" In a prior report on the meeting, correspondent Bill Plante explained: "President Obama defends his visit with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Asked about the notion that his willingness to talk to enemies of the U.S. was a sign of weakness, the President said it was unlikely that he was endangering the strategic interests of the United States...His simple handshake with Venezuela's president was a symbolic break with the Bush administration policy of shutting out unfriendly nations." Smith repeated Obama's defense as he later wondered if critics were making too much of the encounter.

3. MSNBC's Brewer: Will Lefty Meghan McCain Be 'Voice' of GOP?
MSNBC host Contessa Brewer on Monday morning speculated as to whether the liberal-leaning Meghan McCain could become "the voice of the Republican Party." Brewer, who was talking to Washington Times reporter Christina Bellantoni about the daughter of the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, ignored the fact that Ms. McCain has admitted she supported Democrats John Kerry in 2004 and Al Gore in 2000. Instead, referencing the 24-year-old blogger's speech to the Log Cabin Republicans on Saturday, Brewer queried: "Is it time for the Republican Party to be more inclusive of people from all different orientations?" She then asked Bellantoni: "We talk about Limbaugh, Michael Steele, Sarah Palin, is it possible Meghan McCain becomes the voice of the Republican Party?" How bizarre is it that Brewer was asking if a woman who supported Gore and Kerry, and spoke to an organization of gay Republicans that refused to endorse George W. Bush in 2004, will one day lead the Republican Party?

4. Time Mag: 'Odd' That Gun Control 'Petered Out' After Columbine
Michael Lindenberger of Time.com, in a April 20 article titled "Ten Years After Columbine, It's Easier to Bear Arms," found it "odd" that "whatever momentum the Columbine killings gave to gun control has long since petered out," despite the "massacres perpetrated by deranged gunmen" in the following decade. He also quoted extensively from a young gun control advocate in the online article, without including any arguments from the opposing viewpoint. Lindenberger first gave his reflection on the anniversary: "Monday April 20 marks 10 years since Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold permanently etched the words Columbine High School into this nation's collective memory. What happened that day in 1999 also seemed to wake America up to the reality that it had become a nation of gun owners -- and too often a nation of shooters. The carnage in Littleton, Colorado...seemed to usher in a new era of, well if not gun control, then at least gun awareness."


 

ABC Defends Obama's 'New World View,'
Touts Supposed Successes

In the midst of conservative criticism that President Barack Obama, at the summit in Trinidad over the weekend joked around with Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and was uncritical of a 50-minute anti-American screed from Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega, ABC decided to defend Obama's foreign policy mettle -- with his only failure coming where he has followed Bush's policy. Martha Raddatz began by trying to undermine the pictures of a jovial Obama with Chavez: "Today, cell phone video images emerged of a stern and serious President Obama during a brief encounter with Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez. The image counters the cordial hand shake with Chavez who once called Mr. Obama an 'ignoramus' and George Bush 'a devil.'"

She noted that "it should not be a surprise that President Obama is reaching out to friend and foe after promising a stark change," before she recited, interspersed with Obama soundbites, how in a mere 90 days "he has reached out to the Iranian people...Muslims worldwide...And the Russians." She asked: "And where has all this gotten him?" Her one expert, former Chicago Sun-Times and New York Daily News executive James Hoge, who now runs Foreign Policy magazine, hailed Obama's approach: "I think he's doing it very sequentially, so that he's got a better chance of getting deals with people, getting some of the things we want to have done, done."

Referring to Cuba, Raddatz then touted how "already there has been one concrete change," though only in rhetoric, as she relayed how Obama's policy change has "prompted Cuban President Raul Castro to excitedly declare he would now talk about 'everything, everything, everything,'" She balanced that with a failure, where Obama has continued Bush's approach: "But President Obama has gotten nothing, nothing, nothing from his efforts with North Korea and his reaction to the recent missile launch echoes the Bush administration, stern words and a UN Security Council condemnation that have done little good."

Of course, Obama has also gotten nothing, nothing, nothing from Cuba nor anything from any of the European nations he asked to help with troops in Afghanistan. And after his outreach to Iran, that regime has imprisoned an Iranian-American journalist.

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

The story on the Monday, April 20 World News on ABC:

CHARLES GIBSON: The President has taken a number of steps in recent days to overhaul America's foreign policy. He said as a candidate he'd talk to America's enemies, a stark departure from the policy of his predecessor. And this weekend that new attitude was on display during a summit in Latin America. Martha Raddatz tonight on the new Obama foreign policy.

MARTHA RADDATZ: Today, cell phone video images emerged of a stern and serious President Obama during a brief encounter with Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez. The image counters the cordial hand shake with Chavez who once called Mr. Obama an "ignoramus" and George Bush "a devil."
SENATOR JOHN ENSIGN (R-NV), ON CNN ON SUNDAY: You have to be careful who you're seen joking around with and I think it was irresponsible of the President to be seen kind of laughing, joking with Hugo Chavez.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: It's unlikely that as a consequence of me shaking hands, or by having a polite conversation with Mr. Chavez, that we are endangering the strategic interests of the United States.
RADDATZ: It should not be a surprise that President Obama is reaching out to friend and foe after promising a stark change. In just the first 90 days, he has reached out to the Iranian people-
OBAMA, IN WEB VIDEO: You and all of your neighbors in the wider world can live in the greater security and greater peace.
RADDATZ: Muslims worldwide.
OBAMA, INAUGURAL ADDRESS: To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward.
RADDATZ, OVER VIDEO OF SECRETARY CLINTON LAUGHING WITH RUSSIA'S FOREIGN MINISTER: And the Russians. And where has all this gotten him?
JAMES HOGE, EDITOR OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS MAGAZINE: I think he's doing it very sequentially, so that he's got a better chance of getting deals with people, getting some of the things we want to have done, done.
RADDATZ: Already there has been one concrete change, Cuba. Lifting a half century of restrictions on Cuban-Americans, a move that prompted Cuban President Raul Castro to excitedly declare he would now talk about "everything, everything, everything" with President Obama. But President Obama has gotten nothing, nothing, nothing from his efforts with North Korea and his reaction to the recent missile launch echoes the Bush administration, stern words and a UN Security Council condemnation that have done little good. And that is the problem with foreign policy, sometimes no matter how far you reach out, there's no one on the other end to take your hand.

(From 1984 to 1991 Hoge served as Publisher and President of the New York Daily News, following a long career -- 1958-1984 -- as a Washington correspondent, the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of the Chicago Sun-Times. His bio: www.cfr.org )

 

 

Critics of Obama-Chavez Meeting Making
'Mountain Out of Molehill'?

On Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith discussed President Obama's brief meeting with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at the Summit of the Americas with former Bush Press Secretary Dana Perino and former Clinton Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers, wondering: "Have the critics of this photo-op made a mountain out of a molehill?" In a prior report on the meeting, correspondent Bill Plante explained: "President Obama defends his visit with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Asked about the notion that his willingness to talk to enemies of the U.S. was a sign of weakness, the President said it was unlikely that he was endangering the strategic interests of the United States...His simple handshake with Venezuela's president was a symbolic break with the Bush administration policy of shutting out unfriendly nations." Smith repeated Obama's defense as he later wondered if critics were making too much of the encounter.

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

Perino expressed the desire to see the President in photo-ops with Latin American leaders more friendly to the United States: "I would have loved to have seen more pictures with people like President Uribe of Colombia, who has worked very hard to establish democracy there." Smith became defensive: "Well, Hugo Chavez is a camera hog and that of course -- as a vowed enemy and...who called your boss 'a devil,' then that's the picture that's going to make the news." Perino pointed out that Obama "gave him the opportunity" and argued: "I think he'll call Obama something like that in the near future. I just think that he doesn't change at all."

Smith then turned to Myers: "Dee Dee was this, the picture itself, the opportunity itself, to be seen in a cordial manner, was that an error?" She could not have been more happy with the meeting, making a point similar to that of Bill Plante: "No. I think it's a positive change...And what was interesting was a lot of the leaders who were there at the Summit of the Americas said the tone was so positive, it was so productive, that not in their wildest dreams could they have imagined that the summit could be like this, compared to what it was four years ago, when people were protesting in the streets and nothing got done."

At the end of the segment, Smith briefly asked about the tea party protests last week: "... this rising sort of disaffection with the government and the Obama administration. If you are President Obama, and this is a press secretary question, a quick answer from both, Dee Dee, do you address it or ignore it?" Myers opted for ignoring the protests, while Perino responded: "I hardly think that you can go and shake hands with dictators and be friendly with them and then ignore people in your own country who have concerns about your budget."

Before moving on to another story, co-host Julie Chen defended the Obama-Chavez meeting with a quote from The Godfather: "Well, Harry, what's the saying? Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer." Smith replied: "Keep your enemies even closer, that's right."

Here is the full transcript of the segment:

7:00AM TEASE:
HARRY SMITH: President Obama back from Latin America. But was he too friendly to sworn enemies of the U.S.? Exclusive new video of an extended conversation with Hugo Chavez raising new questions this morning.

7:04AM SEGMENT:
HARRY SMITH: President Obama is back at the White House after attending a three-day summit with leaders of Latin America. But now questions are being asked about his interaction with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante has more. And good morning, Bill.
BILL PLANTE: Good morning, Harry. The President spent some time at this weekend's summit meeting talking with some of America's harshest critics. And one of them, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, has released new video, no surprise there, showing himself yesterday with the president. And the president is now getting some heat back at home. President Obama defends his visit with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Asked about the notion that his willingness to talk to enemies of the U.S. was a sign of weakness, the President said it was unlikely that he was endangering the strategic interests of the United States.
BARACK OBAMA: I mean, the whole notion was that somehow if we showed courtesy, or opened up dialogue with governments that had previously been hostile to us, that that somehow would be a sign of weakness. It doesn't make sense.
PLANTE: His simple handshake with Venezuela's president was a symbolic break with the Bush administration policy of shutting out unfriendly nations.
OBAMA: We have some very specific national interests, starting with safety and security, that we have to attend to. But, we recognize that other countries have good ideas, too.
PLANTE: Now that he's back home, the President is turning to domestic affairs. He holds his first cabinet meeting today. And he's going to instruct his cabinet officials, according to senior officials who tell us this, to cut a collective $100 million over the next 90 days. Harry.
SMITH: Bill, I remember when that used to sound like a lot of money. Thanks very much. Joining us from Washington, former Bush Press Secretary Dana Perino and former Clinton Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers. Good morning to you both.
DANA PERINO: Good morning.
DEE DEE MYERS: Good morning, Harry.
SMITH: Let's talk about the Hugo Chavez picture. I want to reiterate what Bill Plante said. The President said 'it is very unlikely that shaking hands or having a polite conversation with Mr. Chavez will endanger the strategic interests of the United States.' Have the critics of this photo-op made a mountain out of a molehill? Let me start with Dana Perino.
PERINO: Well, I think that if you wanted to show a difference in terms of style in regards to George Bush, he did that. We did not shake hands with Hugo Chavez. We were not friendly with dictators. However, you know, I'm less worried about so much the -- the handshake. I think, though, that what we will need to see is if any behavior changes. And one of the things President Obama just said in that clip is that these regimes were previously hostile to the United States. And from what I heard and read about the words of those leaders in the -- at the summit of the Americas, they are no less hostile to the United States than they used to be. And we'll have to see if the people of Venezuela and the people of Cuba and other people who are freedom fighters, that need our solidarity, our concern. The other thing is, I would have loved to have seen more pictures with people like President Uribe of Colombia, who has worked very hard to establish democracy there.
SMITH: Well, Hugo Chavez is a camera hog and that of course -- as a vowed enemy and-
PERINO: Right. And he gave him the opportunity.
SMITH: -who called your boss 'a devil,' then that's the picture that's going to make the news. Let me-
PERINO: I think he'll call Obama something like that in the near future. I just think that he doesn't change at all.
SMITH: Okay, let me -- let's go to Dee Dee. Dee Dee was this, the picture itself, the opportunity itself, to be seen in a cordial manner, was that an error?
MYERS: No. I think it's a positive change. President Obama made clear when he ran for president, and since he's become president, that he is going to establish a different kind of relationship with both countries who've been friendly to us, and some that haven't been friendly to us. And what was interesting was a lot of the leaders who were there at the Summit of the Americas said the tone was so positive, it was so productive, that not in their wildest dreams could they have imagined that the summit could be like this, compared to what it was four years ago, when people were protesting in the streets and nothing got done. They said this will create a real opportunity for us to address problems. Like the economic crisis that's really weighing on so many countries in that part of the world. So it's a positive step forward. As the President said, this doesn't change our strategic objectives anywhere in the world. It means we're starting a new dialogue, with a new tone.
SMITH: Alright, I don't have a lot of time left. I'm going to go back to the tea parties last night [last week] and this rising sort of disaffection with the government and the Obama administration. If you are President Obama, and this is a press secretary question, a quick answer from both, Dee Dee, do you address it or ignore it?
MYERS: I think you -- look, I think you continue to do what you're doing. Focus on your policies that you're trying -- what you're trying to accomplish and reassure people that this is in the country's best interest and move forward.
SMITH: Alright. And Dana?
PERINO: Well, I can -- I hardly think that you can go and shake hands with dictators and be friendly with them and then ignore people in your own country who have concerns about your budget.
SMITH: Dana Perino, Dee Dee Myers, thank you very much for a lively conversation this morning. Do appreciate it.
MYERS: Thanks, Harry.
SMITH: Alright, be well. Now here's Julie.
JULIE CHEN: Well, Harry, what's the saying? Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer.
SMITH: Keep your enemies even closer, that's right.

 

 

MSNBC's Brewer: Will Lefty Meghan McCain
Be 'Voice' of GOP?

 

MSNBC host Contessa Brewer on Monday morning speculated as to whether the liberal-leaning Meghan McCain could become "the voice of the Republican Party." Brewer, who was talking to Washington Times reporter Christina Bellantoni about the daughter of the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, ignored the fact that Ms. McCain has admitted she supported Democrats John Kerry in 2004 and Al Gore in 2000.

See The Hill: briefingroom.thehill.com

Instead, referencing the 24-year-old blogger's speech to the Log Cabin Republicans on Saturday, Brewer queried: "Is it time for the Republican Party to be more inclusive of people from all different orientations?" She then asked Bellantoni: "We talk about Limbaugh, Michael Steele, Sarah Palin, is it possible Meghan McCain becomes the voice of the Republican Party?" How bizarre is it that Brewer was asking if a woman who supported Gore and Kerry, and spoke to an organization of gay Republicans that refused to endorse George W. Bush in 2004, will one day lead the Republican Party? (In her latest Daily Beast blog, McCain attacked the "creepy" Karl Rove.)

[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Monday afternoon, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

At one point, Brewer theorized, "When Meghan McCain...says this is the party of old ideas and these guys are scared out of their wits about what the future of the Republican Party holds, does that resonate within the conservative crowd?" At the very least, Brewer should have acknowledged the liberal voting record of Ms. McCain and provided some skepticism about this young woman's potential as a leader of the GOP.

A transcript of the April 20 segment, which aired at 10:17am EDT:

CONTESSA BREWER: You know, Meghan McCain says the party her father led through last year's election is divided between the past and the future. Now, she insists she is still a proud member of the GOP. But, Meghan says it's members can no longer be the parties of old ideals. MEGHAN MCCAIN (Speech to Log Cabin Republicans): Most of our nation wants our nation to succeed. Number two, most people are ready to move on to the future, not live in the past. And number three, most of the old school Republicans are scared [bleep] of that future.
BREWER: Christina Bellantoni is a White House correspondent for the Washington Times. When Meghan McCain, who is in her early twenties and has made a lot of news for some of the non-political cat fights, recently, that she's been in, um, when she says this is the party of old ideas and these guys are scared out of their wits about what the future of the Republican Party holds, does that resonate within the conservative crowd?
CHRISTINA BELLANTONI (Washington Times): Well, whether or not it resonates within conservatives is to be determined yet, but I think this is more of a generational thing. I mean, she's using young words, words like old school. Words like we've got to be the cool party again. And you've heard, even Michael Steele use those same words, the chairman of the Republican Party. So, I think that they recognize, in addition to the fact that the Republican Party is in danger of becoming a regional party, they did not attract young people in the last election. Guess who did? President Barack Obama.
BREWER: All right. Let me play something else that she said in the process of giving this speech.
MCCAIN: I believe government should always be efficient and accountable. I have lots and lots of gay friends and, yes, I am a Republican.
BREWER: We know that there are Log Cabin Republicans, but is it time for the Republican Party to be more inclusive of people from all different orientations?
BELLANTONI: Well, I think that is where a lot of Republicans are moving towards. They've always claimed that they are a big tent party. You know, Log Cabin Republicans have always had a place, but I think some of them felt a little marginalized. This is why you're hearing Meghan McCain give this talk. This is why Steve Schmidt said last week, "We cannot be in danger of becoming a party just revolving around social issues. So, I think that they kind of learned this message from Barack Obama's campaign that led him to become president. And they're trying to reach out to more people. They're trying to decide, really, what kind of a party they are going to be. And I think we have some time before they need to figure it out. But, you're going to hear all these players start to determine which direction the party is heading.
BREWER: Hey, Christina, we talk about Limbaugh, Michael Steele, Sarah Palin, is it possible Meghan McCain becomes the voice of the Republican Party?
BELLANTONI: Uh, well, that would certainly help her book sales. She does have a book coming up. So, that is not an accident, either, that you're hearing more from her.
BREWER: Yeah.
BELLANTONI: Because, the more people know her and don't think of her, as, you know, her 72-year-old father's daughter, that think of her as a young, fresh face with Republican ideas, that will help her.

 

 

Time Mag: 'Odd' That Gun Control 'Petered
Out' After Columbine

Michael Lindenberger of Time.com, in a April 20 article titled "Ten Years After Columbine, It's Easier to Bear Arms," found it "odd" that "whatever momentum the Columbine killings gave to gun control has long since petered out," despite the "massacres perpetrated by deranged gunmen" in the following decade. He also quoted extensively from a young gun control advocate in the online article, without including any arguments from the opposing viewpoint.

Lindenberger first gave his reflection on the anniversary: "Monday April 20 marks 10 years since Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold permanently etched the words Columbine High School into this nation's collective memory. What happened that day in 1999 also seemed to wake America up to the reality that it had become a nation of gun owners -- and too often a nation of shooters. The carnage in Littleton, Colorado...seemed to usher in a new era of, well if not gun control, then at least gun awareness."

The Time.com writer continued with a seeming lamentation: "In the decade since, massacres perpetrated by deranged gunmen have continued -- including the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre in which Cho Seung-Hui killed 32 people and wounded many others. But something odd has occurred. Whatever momentum the Columbine killings gave to gun control has long since petered out."

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

For Lindenberger's full article, see Time.com's April 20, "Ten Years After Columbine, It's Easier to Bear Arms," at: www.time.com

Lindenberger cited the introduction of legislation in the state of Texas which would permit concealed-carry of handguns by college students on campus as his first example of this "petering out:"

This spring, for example, Texas lawmakers are mulling a new law that would allow college students to carry firearms to campus (Utah already makes this legal). "I think people weren't concerned about it first," says University of Texas graduate student John Woods, who has emerged as a spokesman for campus efforts to defeat the bill. "They thought, 'It's a terrible idea. Why would the government consider something like this?'" But as the debate on campus has heated up, that complacency has vanished, Woods explains to TIME. Students opposed to the bill plan a big rally on Thursday at the Capitol, he says.

END of Excerpt

The writer went on to describe the possible outcome of the graduate student's endeavors, using negative language to describe Woods' opponents: "But efforts like Woods' are up against powerful headwinds -- and not just because of the powerful gun lobby that often strangles gun-control laws. Americans in general have cooled significantly to the idea of restricting gun rights. A poll released last week by CNN showed that support for stricter gun laws was at an all-time low, with just 39% of respondents in favor. Eight years ago that number was 54%."

Lindenberger included one more lengthy quotation from Woods, where he tossed a standard line used by gun control champions (Michael Wolkowitz of the Brady Center used a similar line on the April 6 edition of ABC's Good Morning America): "'The idealist in me is shocked and angry,' Woods says, that restrictions on guns have eased rather than tightened in the wake of tragedies like the one at Virginia Tech. 'But the cynic in me is not surprised at all. I think if this was peanuts or pistachios causing all these deaths, then we'd be all over it. But there is no amendment about peanuts or pistachios in the Bill of Rights. People on both sides just simply won't compromise.'"

For more on Wolkowitz's appearance on Good Morning America, see the April 7 CyberAlert item, "ABC Touts Gun Control Group; Hypes Special on Firearms," at: www.mrc.org

The Time.com writer later added a second lament: "Indeed, the debate seems to be almost one-sided nowadays, with an ongoing backlash against gun control." Mr. Lindenberger ought to know about being "one-sided," since he only quoted from the college gun control supporter in his article.

-- Brent Baker