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

Ann Curry Tells Bush: Americans 'Suffering' Because of War --2/19/2008


1. Ann Curry Tells Bush: Americans 'Suffering' Because of War
During a live interview with the President and the First Lady from Tanzania on Monday's Today show, NBC's Ann Curry pestered Bush about the Iraq war and its economic impact on Americans as she lectured: "I mean they say they're suffering because of this war." Curry had discounted Bush's insistence that he carries a "burden" in taking the nation to war as she lamented: "Some Americans believe, that they feel they're carrying the burden because of this economy. I mean they say they're suffering because of this war." When Bush said he disagreed, a puzzled Curry countered: "You don't agree with that? Has nothing to do with the economy? The war? The spending on the war?" Curry later pressed Bush to concede the war is lost and so no more Americans should die "in vain" in Iraq: "At some point, if you're absolutely wrong, you don't want any more soldiers to die in vain."

2. ABC's Gibson Trumpets How France 'Requires 31 Vacation Days'
Fretting over how "Americans give back 438 million vacation days a year" when they could be "sitting on a beach," ABC anchor Charles Gibson concluded the Presidents' Day World News by channeling envy of European socialist rules as he complained that "America is the only major country in the world that has no government-mandated time off." Citing how "psychologists say people are better workers, less stressed, if they take their time," he helpfully suggested "you might consider moving to France. There, the government requires 31 vacation days plus holidays." No mention, of course, of how that (plus a 35-hour work week) hurts French productivity and job creation, to say nothing of requiring significant immigration.

3. 60 Minutes Hails Happy Danes, Denmark's 'Social Safety Net'
On Sunday's 60 Minutes, anchor Morley Safer did a segment on Demark being ranked the happiest country in world consistently for the past three decades and wondered: "What makes a Dane so happy? And why isn't he wallowing in misery and self doubt like so many of the rest of us?" Safer also talked to a group of Danish students and seemed impressed with how advanced Denmark's welfare state has become: "For example, no student loans hanging over their heads -- all education is free in Denmark, right on through university. And students can take as long as they like to complete their studies." One of the students responded: "And we get paid to go to school, actually. Instead of in the U.S., you pay to go to school, we get paid to go to school if we pass our exams." An amazed Safer continued: "Americans watching this, particularly people your age, would be bowled over by the very idea that the government pays you to go to school...Denmark also provides free health care, subsidized child care and elder care, a social safety net spread the length and breadth of the country."

4. Gore to the Rescue, Clift Touts 'Unstoppable' Gore-Obama Ticket
Friday on a Newsweek blog, Eleanor Clift championed the idea of Al Gore becoming the Democratic nominee at a deadlocked convention: "A scenario that a few weeks ago seemed preposterous is beginning to look plausible to some nervous Democrats looking for a way out of the deadlock between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.....What if the super delegates decide not to decide, denying either candidate the requisite number of delegates to secure the party's nomination. Democrats want to win. The new rallying cry: Gore on the second ballot." Clift relayed: "A Gore-Obama ticket would be unstoppable, the thinking goes, matching the presumptive Republican nominee, McCain, on national security and experience, while embodying a powerful message of change."


Ann Curry Tells Bush: Americans 'Suffering'
Because of War

During a live interview with the President and the First Lady from Tanzania on Monday's Today show, NBC's Ann Curry pestered Bush about the Iraq war and its economic impact on Americans as she lectured: "I mean they say they're suffering because of this war." Curry had discounted Bush's insistence that he carries a "burden" in taking the nation to war as she lamented: "Some Americans believe, that they feel they're carrying the burden because of this economy. I mean they say they're suffering because of this war." When Bush said he disagreed, a puzzled Curry countered: "You don't agree with that? Has nothing to do with the economy? The war? The spending on the war?" Curry later pressed Bush to concede the war is lost and so no more Americans should die "in vain" in Iraq: "At some point, if you're absolutely wrong, you don't want any more soldiers to die in vain."

[This item is based on a Monday posting, by Geoffrey Dickens, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The Today show co-anchor also asked if the President was "chagrined" by the McCain campaign request that Bush not "appear too often by his side."

Curry did begin the session with a question favorable to Bush: "What moved you to care so much about Africa?"

The following exchange occurred, live from Africa, in the 7:30am EST half hour of the Monday, February 18 Today show on NBC:

ANN CURRY: You know I know that it helps that you've got the support of, with your children and your wife on this mission and, and I want to mention that your wife has stood up for you on so many issues. She once told me about you, when I asked her about how Americans, you know, were upset about the war in Iraq. I'm gonna get to the quote here. She basically said, "No one suffers more than their President. I hope they know the burden of worry that's on his shoulders every single day for our troops." So I've been wondering, ever since she said that, will the burden of worry, do you think, about this war in Iraq ever truly leave you?
GEORGE W. BUSH: Well what won't leave me is the fact that a mother has lost a son or a wife has lost a husband or a husband has lost a wife. I'll forever, you know, carry that with me. On the other hand I firmly believe that the mission will yield peace as people are now beginning to see Iraq is changing. Democracy is beginning to take hold. And I'm convinced 50 years from now people look back and say, "Thank God there were those who are willing to sacrifice."
CURRY: But you're saying you're gonna have to carry that burden, you're saying you're gonna have to carry that burden. Some Americans believe, that they feel they're carrying the burden because of this economy.
GEORGE W. BUSH: Yeah well-
CURRY: I mean they say they're suffering because of this war.
GEORGE W. BUSH: I don't agree with that.
CURRY: You don't agree with that? Has nothing to do with the economy? The war? The spending on the war?
GEORGE W. BUSH: I don't think so. I think, actually the spending on the war might help with jobs.
CURRY: Oh yeah?
GEORGE W. BUSH: Yeah because we're buying equipment and people are working. I think this economy is, is down because we built too many houses. And the economy is adjusting. On the other hand we're just about to kick out $157 billion to, to our taxpayers and businesses and you know other families so that we can get this economy going. But I want to get back to Iraq war. What would've been worse, on anybody's conscience, would have been had we abandoned Iraq when times were tough and let those soldiers die in vain. That would've been the absolute worse thing that would've happened.
CURRY: But at some point if you're wrong about something it is, I'm not saying that you are, I'm just saying that at some point if you, if this idea of not wanting soldiers to die in vain. At some point, if you're absolutely wrong, you don't want any more soldiers to die in vain.
GEORGE W. BUSH: Well we're not wrong in this case. And the surge is proving us not wrong. Secondly failure in Iraq would've been an unmit-, will be an unmitigated disaster in the Middle East. I mean it would empower the radicals who still want to hurt us. It would embolden Iran which is a threat to peace. And it would've abandoned the Iraqi people, I mean, who are counting on the United States to continue help them having liberated them from a brutal tyrant who murdered thousands and thousands of his people. So I don't believe it was wrong, as a matter of fact I believe it's right and I believe history will prove it's right.
CURRY: I need to quickly ask you about the news of the day which is about Kosovo. Are you officially, is the U.S. gonna officially recognize Kosovo?
[GEORGE W. BUSH]
CURRY: I need to ask you also about the McCain campaign reportedly today is saying, or at least it's in the news reportedly that it wants you to fundraise but doesn't want you to appear too often by his side.
GEORGE W. BUSH: Yeah.
CURRY: You heard about that?!
GEORGE W. BUSH: I haven't heard about it.
CURRY: You haven't heard about it? You're laughing!
GEORGE W. BUSH: How many times?
CURRY: Why are you laughing about it?
GEORGE W. BUSH: Because I find it amusing.
CURRY: Why? You don't, you don't feel a little chagrined by that?
GEORGE W. BUSH: No I just, look I don't know who said it. I, you know, I'm sitting in Tanzania! I don't know what the McCain campaign said. But I'll help him in any way I can.
CURRY: You will?
GEORGE W. BUSH: I will.
CURRY: In whatever way you can?
GEORGE W. BUSH: He's gonna win too.
CURRY: He is.
GEORGE W. BUSH: If he ends up being the nominee. Now he's still gotta, you know, as I understand Mike Huckabee is still in the race. But if John's the nominee he'll win.
CURRY: Some people might ask, you know, would you like to see, Mrs. Bush, a woman President-
LAURA BUSH: Sure, I would absolutely.
CURRY: -an African-American in your lifetime?
LAURA BUSH: A Republican.
CURRY CHUCKLING: Mr. Bush?
GEORGE W. BUSH: Would I like to see Condi Rice president, is that what you just said, is that what you're asking?
CURRY: A woman President or an African-American man President, in your lifetime?
GEORGE W. BUSH: Oh I got ya. Oh you're trying to trap me into the Clinton-Obama thing.
CURRY: I'm just asking ya.
GEORGE W. BUSH: I think we'll win. I think we'll win in November because we've got a plan that will keep taxes low and keep this country safe. And those are the two major issues facing, facing the country.

ABC's Gibson Trumpets How France 'Requires
31 Vacation Days'

Fretting over how "Americans give back 438 million vacation days a year" when they could be "sitting on a beach," ABC anchor Charles Gibson concluded the Presidents' Day World News by channeling envy of European socialist rules as he complained that "America is the only major country in the world that has no government-mandated time off." Citing how "psychologists say people are better workers, less stressed, if they take their time," he helpfully suggested "you might consider moving to France. There, the government requires 31 vacation days plus holidays." No mention, of course, of how that (plus a 35-hour work week) hurts French productivity and job creation, to say nothing of requiring significant immigration.

The anchor of the newscast on the network owned by Disney showed a picture of smiling vacationers with Mickey Mouse before he ended by noting: "And someone asked me today, '€˜Why are you making a big deal of this? You're at work today.' Good point."

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

Yearning for European time-off mandates is nothing new for the networks, particularly NBC's Today show. A few examples I quickly found in the MRC's archive, and these don't include the more common calls to follow Europe's lead in mandating paid maternity and family leave:

# CNN contributor Polly LaBarre on In the Money, June 9, 2007: "We work longer hours, we work harder, we work with fewer breaks than any other industrialized nation on Earth....To put this in perspective, we work more than medieval peasants used to work....We're a country that has no mandated paid vacation whereas the European Union has a floor of 20 days and vacation champs like France and Sweden offer 39, 40 paid days."


# Katie Couric, April 4, 2005 Today show: "So many Americans feel overworked, and I have a statistic -- 30 percent do not take their full vacation. I mean, is there something wrong with this picture? Are we too obsessed with work, because the Europeans sure have a very different attitude don't they?"


# NBC's Today, August 1, 2001:

Keith Miller: "Break out the band, bring on the drinks. The French are calling it a miracle. A government-mandated 35-hour work week is changing the French way of life. Two years ago, in an effort to create more jobs, the government imposed a shorter work week on large companies, forcing them to hire more workers....These American women, all working in France, have time for lunch and a life."

Avivah Wittenberg-Cox: "More Americans should be more aware that an economy as successful as the French one managed to be successful without giving up everything else in life."

Katie Couric, following the end of Miller's taped piece: "So great that young mother being able to come home at three every day and spend that time with her child. Isn't that nice? The French, they've got it right, don't they?"


# Matt Lauer to Escape magazine's Joe Robinson, a proponent of mandated vacation, June 12, 2000 Today show: "Americans are working more and getting less vacation time than people in any other industrialized nation....I feel strange saying, I never stopped to think about the fact there is no official U.S. policy on vacation time."

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video to provide this transcript from the end of the Monday, February 18 World News on ABC:

CHARLES GIBSON: Finally tonight, did you work today? It is, after all, a federal holiday, Washington's birthday. It's a holiday in many states, as well. But we learned today Americans are apparently uncomfortable taking days away from work. Consider this number: It is estimated Americans give back 438 million vacation days a year, 438 million. People could be sitting on a beach, taking pictures of themselves in front of famous landmarks, playing golf, just kicking back reading a book. But no, they work. America is the only major country in the world that has no government-mandated time off. 75 percent of Americans do get paid vacation, 14 days the average. But then the average worker gives back three of those days. Why do we do this to ourselves?
SUSAN GINSBERG, WORK AND FAMILY LIFE NEWSLETTER: People are scared that if they leave and if they're away for a few weeks that something is going to happen, and that they're not going to, that somebody's going take their job.
GIBSON: And when Americans do take time off, 60 percent of us are checking office e-mails. IBM might as well stand for "Infernal Beach Machine." But the thing is, psychologists say people are better workers, less stressed, if they take their time. So you might consider moving to France. There, the government requires 31 vacation days plus holidays. And someone asked me today, "Why are you making a big deal of this? You're at work today." Good point. That's World News for this holiday. I'm Charlie Gibson. I hope you had a good day. For all of us at ABC News, have a good night.

60 Minutes Hails Happy Danes, Denmark's
'Social Safety Net'

On Sunday's 60 Minutes, anchor Morley Safer did a segment on Demark being ranked the happiest country in world consistently for the past three decades and wondered: "What makes a Dane so happy? And why isn't he wallowing in misery and self doubt like so many of the rest of us?" Later in the segment, Safer discovered that low expectations of the Danish people was the key to their happiness and he concluded that: "Wanting it all is a bacterium that stays with us from youth to old age -- wanting a bigger house, fancier car, more stuff. And when we get more, there's always someone with even more stuff who's just as unhappy. Some suggest that the unhappiest zip codes in the country are the wealthiest, like the Upper East Side of New York."

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

Safer began the segment by referring to the Declaration of Independence, just prior to touting Denmark's socialism: "Tonight, we talk about happiness, that quirky, elusive emotion that the Declaration of Independence maintains we have every right to pursue...the main scientific survey of international happiness, carried out by Leicester University in England, ranks the U.S. a distant 23rd, well behind Canada and Costa Rica. But you'll be pleased to know we beat Iraq and Pakistan. And the winner is? Once again, Denmark."

Later, while talking to Danish professor Kaare Christiansen, Safer wondered if a nation's power makes it unhappy: "Do you think there's some kind of inverse relationship between the more powerful you are, the more unhappy you are, and the weaker you are, the happier you are?"

Safer also talked to a group of Danish students and seemed impressed with how advanced Denmark's welfare state has become: "For example, no student loans hanging over their heads -- all education is free in Denmark, right on through university. And students can take as long as they like to complete their studies." One of the students responded: "And we get paid to go to school, actually. Instead of in the U.S., you pay to go to school, we get paid to go to school if we pass our exams." An amazed Safer continued: "Americans watching this, particularly people your age, would be bowled over by the very idea that the government pays you to go to school...Denmark also provides free health care, subsidized child care and elder care, a social safety net spread the length and breadth of the country." Another student concluded that: "I mean, we're pretty much free to do whatever we want. We're secure from the day we're born, for a Dane who lives in Denmark."

Of course Safer did note that a government "safety net" is not free: "But in getting all of those wonderful gifts from the government, the Danes do pay a price. How much would a, sort of, middle-income person pay in taxes?" To which Dr. Christiansen replied: "About 50... half." Safer acknowledged that fact: "And that is one trade-off most Americans are not willing to make."

Safer then talked to Harvard psychologist Tal Ben-Shahar, who explained why Americans are so unhappy, we just expect too much: "In America, part of the ethos, part of the American dream, is that more is better, and the more is better usually applies to the material realm. And that doesn't pan out, that doesn't work, it doesn't make us happier...It is about having realistic expectations. It's... it's about not trying to fit in more... more than we can handle. We can't handle it all, we can't have it all, but we can have a lot."

At the end of the segment Safer asked one of the Danish students to offer Americans some advice. The student mimicked Shahar: "I have an advice. Don't... don't depend too much on the American dream. Yeah, I think you might get disappointed."

Here is the full transcript of the segment:

MORLEY SAFER: Tonight, we talk about happiness, that quirky, elusive emotion that the Declaration of Independence maintains we have every right to pursue. And man, do we pursue it. We're suckers for an endless stream of self-help books that promise a carefree existence for a mere $24.95. Television hucksters of every kind claim they have the key to Nirvana. So the happiness business, at least, is one big smiley face. As for the rest of us, well, the main scientific survey of international happiness, carried out by Leicester University in England, ranks the U.S. a distant 23rd, well behind Canada and Costa Rica. But you'll be pleased to know we beat Iraq and Pakistan. And the winner is? Once again, Denmark. Over the past 30 years in survey after survey, this nation of 5.5 million people -- the land that produced Hans Christian Andersen, the people who consume herring by the ton-- consistently beat the rest of the world in the happiness stakes. It's hard to figure -- the weather is only so-so; they're heavy drinkers and smokers; their neighbors, the Norwegians, are richer, and their other neighbors, the Swedes, are healthier. So it's ironic or something that the unhappiest man in history, or at least literary history, was that Prince of Denmark, Hamlet, who lived in this gloomy rock pile at Elsinore. Of course, Hamlet had every right to be depressed. After all, his uncle murdered his father, seduced and married his mother, and was an all- around perfect scoundrel. But Hamlet aside, what makes a Dane so happy? And why isn't he wallowing in misery and self-doubt like so many of the rest of us? That's a question that also intrigued professor Kaare Christiansen at the University of Southern Denmark.
KAARE CHRISTIANSEN: If you ask people on the street where they think the happiest country in the world is, they'll say, you know, like, tropical islands and, you know, nice places, you know, like, Italy or Spain-- you know, places with nice weather and good food. But, in Europe, they're actually the most unhappy people.
SAFER: So Dr. Christiansen and a team of researchers tried to discover just why Denmark finds itself on top of the happiness heap.
CHRISTIANSEN: We made fun of it by suggesting it could be because blondes have more fun. But then we could prove that the Swedes have more blondes than the Danes, and they were not as happy. So, we... we tested different hypothesis.
SAFER: So the result is, blondes don't necessarily have more fun.
CHRISTIANSEN: Exactly, so... but it doesn't hurt, either.
SAFER: After careful study, Dr. Christiansen thinks he isolated the key to Danish anti-depression.
CHRISTIANSEN: What we basically figured out that, although the Danes were very happy with their life, when we looked at their expectations, they were pretty modest.
SAFER: So, by having low expectations, you're rarely disappointed.
CHRISTIANSEN: Exactly.
SAFER: Dr. Christiansen's study was called 'Why Danes are Smug.' And, essentially, his answer was it's because they're so glum, and get happy when things turn out not quite so badly as they expected.
CHRISTIANSEN: And I was thinking about, what if it was opposite? That Denmark made the worse number 20, and another country was number one? I'm pretty sure the Danish television would have said, 'well, number 20's not too bad. You know, it's still in the top 25. You know, that's not too bad.'
SAFER: History may also play a role in the country's culture of low expectations. If you go to the government's own web site, it proudly proclaims: 'The present configuration of the country is the result of 400 years of forced relinquishments of land, surrenders, and lost battles.' Could it be that the true secret of happiness is a swift kick in the pants or a large dose of humiliation? Do you think there's some kind of inverse relationship between the more powerful you are, the more unhappy you are, and the weaker you are, the happier you are?
CHRISTIANSEN: Well, at least the pressure's off you, you know? And if you're doing pretty well, and once in a while, there's outstanding, you're very happy about it. But if your starting point is that you should be outstanding, that's not good.
SAFER: Do Danes like being slightly in the shadows?
CHRISTIANSEN: I think it's a little bit like in bicycle race-- you like to come from behind.
SAFER: Which is exactly what the underdog Danes did in the 1992 European Soccer Championship. Christiansen says it created such a state of euphoria that the country has not been the same since. But is the more to it? We asked Danish newspaper columnist Sebastian Dorset what he thought about Denmark's number one status.
SEBASTIAN DORSET: If you didn't tell me about the survey, I wouldn't believe that Denmark was the happiest place, because everybody complains all the time.
SAFER: But I find it fascinating that you... you say people complain. But there is a real sense of contentment here.
DORSET: Yeah.
SAFER: Dorset says that contentment may stem from the fact that Denmark is almost totally homogenous, there's no large disparities of wealth, and has had very little national turmoil for more than a half century.
DORSET: We have very little violence, we have very little murders, so people are... feel very safe.
SAFER: People feel secure.
DORSET: Yes. A knife stabbing makes... makes the front page every... every time. I don't think that happens in... in America very often.
SAFER: Happy as they may be, Dorset says Danes rarely show it.
DORSET: People are not looking very happy in the street. They don't talk very much.
SAFER: So people don't just strike up casual conversations on the train.
DORSET: No. No, never. I think, actually, there's a very highly developed body language. When... if you are stuck on the... on the window seat of a bus and wants to get out, and there's a person next to you on the aisle seat, then you don't say, excuse me, could I please get off? You start rattling your bags and... and make sort of a gesture saying, I'm about to get up, so please get up so I don't have to talk to you.
SAFER: Well, is it shyness or what?
DORSET: I don't know. It's sort of a... it's considered a right by Danish people not to be talked to.
SAFER: Danish students can fairly be described as utterly laid-back. Even so, they're surprised to be told they live in happiness-ville.
UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT: When I go abroad, I usually see people look much more happy. For example, in southern Europe-- they go about in the streets laughing much more than we do. I think you could say maybe we are more content.
SAFER: What's the distinction you make between happiness and contentedness?
STUDENT: Well, if you're... if you're content, you don't have so much to worry about. That's what I think.
SAFER: For example, no student loans hanging over their heads -- all education is free in Denmark, right on through university. And students can take as long as they like to complete their studies.
UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT B: And we get paid to go to school, actually. Instead of in the U.S., you pay to go to school, we get paid to go to school if we pass our exams.
SAFER: Americans watching this, particularly people your age, would be bowled over by the very idea that the government pays you to go to school.
STUDENT: I'm being paid right now for not going to school. I'm being paid for parenting.
SAFER: Oh, you're on paternity leave.
STUDENT: Yes, it's 100% paid for by the government for half a year.
SAFER: Denmark also provides free health care, subsidized child care and elder care, a social safety net spread the length and breadth of the country.
UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT C: I mean, we're pretty much free to do whatever we want. We're secure from the day we're born, for a Dane who lives in Denmark.
SAFER: Fish and beer-a-holics they may be, but work-a-holics, they are not. In Denmark, the average work week is, what?
CHRISTIANSEN: 37.
SAFER: 37 hours. And how much vacation?
CHRISTIANSEN: Six weeks.
SAFER: There are billionaires in the United States who don't get six weeks vacations.
CHRISTIANSEN: Maybe they should.
SAFER: But in getting all of those wonderful gifts from the government, the Danes do pay a price. How much would a, sort of, middle-income person pay in taxes?
CHRISTIANSEN: About 50... half.
SAFER: And that is one trade-off most Americans are not willing to make. According to Harvard psychology lecturer Tal Ben-Shahar, Americans want it all.
TAL BEN-SHAHAR: In America, part of the ethos, part of the American dream, is that more is better, and the more is better usually applies to the material realm. And that doesn't pan out, that doesn't work, it doesn't make us happier.
SAFER: Ben-Shahar teaches a course at Harvard called 'Positive Psychology: The Science of Happiness.' He began the class four years ago, and it became the most popular course on campus, enrolling 1,400 students. In the U.S., The quest for happiness begins in what's alleged to be the happiest years of our lives.
SHAHAR: There's a lot of unhappiness on college campuses, and it's not just at Harvard. Over 94% of college students nationwide are stressed and overwhelmed, and students are paying a very high price for this pressure.
SAFER: That pressure is a result of high expectations. Wanting it all is a bacterium that stays with us from youth to old age -- wanting a bigger house, fancier car, more stuff. And when we get more, there's always someone with even more stuff who's just as unhappy. Some suggest that the unhappiest zip codes in the country are the wealthiest, like the Upper East Side of New York.
SHAHAR: The number one predictor of well-being is close friendships and close relationships, in general, which includes, of course, family relationships. Much better predictor of well-being than... than affluence is.
SAFER: Ben-Shahar says Americans could learn a lot about happiness from the Danes.
SHAHAR: It is about having realistic expectations. It's... it's about not trying to fit in more... more than we can handle. We can't handle it all, we can't have it all, but we can have a lot.
SAFER: You've lived in the States, you visited the States.
STUDENT C: Yes.
SAFER: Would you live there?
STUDENT C: It's got a grandness to it that you can never imagine here in Denmark, because it's on a much larger scale. And the differences are much, much bigger. But I wouldn't... I wouldn't want my children to grow up there.
SAFER: Just describe for me the qualities that a successful person would have in this country.
STUDENT: Well, in order to see myself as a... as a success I would... I want to be happy and have a lot of time with my family, I think that's very important to me, and the money is not that important.
UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT D: It is more about the... the softer values, such as not being stressed and... and feeling passionate about what I'm doing. And maybe this job is not going to pay me a lot of money, but I'm going to love getting up and doing it every day.
SAFER: Do you think that you can equate money with happiness?
STUDENT C: No. If you have a sufficient amount of money, then I don't think it will make you a lot happier to get really rich. And we are already at a good level here in Denmark. So, I don't think we'll be happier if... if we increase our wealth.
SAFER: But these un-melancholy Danes, as laid back as they are, do not lack ambition.
STUDENT: I think that we have very high hopes, just like any other people do; we just don't get so disappointed when they don't -- we don't see them through.
SAFER: What would you advise Americans to do?
STUDENT: I have an advice. Don't... don't depend too much on the American dream. Yeah, I think you might get disappointed.

Gore to the Rescue, Clift Touts 'Unstoppable'
Gore-Obama Ticket

Friday on a Newsweek blog, Eleanor Clift championed the idea of Al Gore becoming the Democratic nominee at a deadlocked convention: "A scenario that a few weeks ago seemed preposterous is beginning to look plausible to some nervous Democrats looking for a way out of the deadlock between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.....What if the super delegates decide not to decide, denying either candidate the requisite number of delegates to secure the party's nomination. Democrats want to win. The new rallying cry: Gore on the second ballot." Clift relayed: "A Gore-Obama ticket would be unstoppable, the thinking goes, matching the presumptive Republican nominee, McCain, on national security and experience, while embodying a powerful message of change."

Clift's dreaming appeared on the "Stumper" blog run by Newsweek cub political reporter Andrew Romano, who introduced Clift's ruminations by touting Gore's prescience: "He foresaw global warming. He 'took the initiative' on the Internet. And he knew exactly how Iraq would turn out. Who's to say that Al Gore hasn't known all along that the Democratic race would descend into some weird state of gridlock -- and that only he, the Goreacle, could rescue the party from civil war?"

[This item is based on a Saturday posting, by the MRC's Tim Graham, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org ]

"Al Gore to the Rescue?" read the headline over the February 15 posting by Romano. An excerpt from Clift's proposition:

Al Gore on the second ballot: A scenario that a few weeks ago seemed preposterous is beginning to look plausible to some nervous Democrats looking for a way out of the deadlock between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. It goes like this: We love them both, but neither is a sure bet when it comes to electability. It's not about gender and race, each has more mundane vulnerabilities. Hillary's negatives will drive white men to John McCain; Obama's inexperience will require a gut check on the part of voters. What if the super delegates decide not to decide, denying either candidate the requisite number of delegates to secure the party's nomination. Democrats want to win. The new rallying cry: Gore on the second ballot.

The last time a political convention went to a second ballot was 1952, but this is a year with so many twists and turns that nothing is impossible. Gore would be tempted on so many levels. He would only have to endure two months of campaigning, not long enough for voters to remember what they didn't like about him eight years ago. Gore has sat out the primary process, refusing to offer even so much as a hint of where his sentiments lie. Years of playing second-fiddle to Hillary in the White House no doubt precluded his endorsement for her. Surely he would happily take Obama as his running mate, ending the Clinton dynasty and positioning the Democrats for a potential 16-year reign at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. A Gore-Obama ticket would be unstoppable, the thinking goes, matching the presumptive Republican nominee, McCain, on national security and experience, while embodying a powerful message of change.

The Gore second-ballot scenario isn't being seriously considered by Democratic Party leaders (as far as we know). But a number of individual high-profile Democrats are talking about it, along with any number of other ideas to end the seemingly intractable stalemate....

END of Excerpt

For Clift's posting in full: www.blog.newsweek.com

-- Brent Baker