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Blitzer Decries Limbaugh's 'Dream Ticket' Won't Win Comment --3/6/2008


1. Blitzer Decries Limbaugh's 'Dream Ticket' Won't Win Comment
Once again, on Wednesday afternoon, CNN's Wolf Blitzer treated a reasonable remark by Rush Limbaugh as appalling and worth dissection. The Situation Room brought on three Democratic operatives to denounce "controversial" remarks made by Limbaugh on his radio show earlier in the day, with only one conservative/Republican, CNSNews.com's Editor-in-Chief Terry Jeffrey, on to defend the top-rated radio talk show host. Limbaugh's apparent offense was when he brushed aside talk of a possible joint ticket between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama as he predicted the proposed "dream ticket" wouldn't win: "Let's say put Hillary on top, that's a position she is familiar with. Therefore you've got a woman and a black, first time ever on the Democrat ticket. They don't have a prayer." Last year, Blitzer distorted Limbaugh's "phony soldiers" comment.

2. Networks Lavish One Hour of Coverage on Dem Race; Ignore GOP
Despite the fact that John McCain officially clinched the GOP nomination on Tuesday, the three network morning shows on Wednesday devoted almost a full hour of air time to covering the Democratic presidential race and barely nine minutes for the Republicans. Additionally, the Arizona Senator did not appear on NBC's Today show, ABC's Good Morning America or the CBS Early Show. Democratic Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, however, showed up on all three programs. The network morning shows featured the Democratic presidential candidates for a grand total of 59 minutes and 12 seconds. McCain and his remaining rival, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, received a mere nine minutes and ten seconds of coverage.

3. Obama Proclaims He Won Michigan, NBC's Gregory Ignores Gaffe
Barack Obama was clearly off his game on Wednesday's Today show as he not only confused David Gregory with Matt Lauer but even worse, proclaimed that he "won Michigan." Gregory, substitute hosting for Matt Lauer, did remind Obama that it was he and not Lauer that was conducting the interview, but failed to correct the more egregious error of Obama claiming a victory in a state where he wasn't even on the ballot.


Blitzer Decries Limbaugh's 'Dream Ticket'
Won't Win Comment

Once again, on Wednesday afternoon, CNN's Wolf Blitzer treated a reasonable remark by Rush Limbaugh as appalling and worth dissection. The Situation Room brought on three Democratic operatives to denounce "controversial" remarks made by Limbaugh on his radio show earlier in the day, with only one conservative/Republican, CNSNews.com's Editor-in-Chief Terry Jeffrey, on to defend the top-rated radio talk show host. Limbaugh's apparent offense was when he brushed aside talk of a possible joint ticket between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama as he predicted the proposed "dream ticket" wouldn't win: "Let's say put Hillary on top, that's a position she is familiar with. Therefore you've got a woman and a black, first time ever on the Democrat ticket. They don't have a prayer." Last year, Blitzer distorted Limbaugh's "phony soldiers" comment.

[This item is adapted from a Wednesday evening posting, by the MRC's Matthew Balan, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Democratic strategist Donna Brazile blasted Limbaugh during a segment about 50 minutes into the 4pm Eastern hour of the March 5 program: "I think that comment is, as far as I can tell, a very un-American conversation....[A]nd to suggest somehow or another that we are not capable of serving this country in the capacity of Commander-in-Chief is just, in my mind, mind-boggling."

Host Wolf Blitzer then asked Jeffrey for his take on the comments. Jeffrey admitted that he hadn't heard Limbaugh's program earlier in the day, and asked for the context of the comments: "I know on his program, where he has an opportunity to speak for, sixteen, seventeen, twenty minutes in a row sometimes, he makes very sophisticated arguments, lays out an argument that takes more than a soundbite to get across." Jeffrey then voiced his own disagreement with Limbaugh's position, that "a Clinton or Obama ticket could get elected, or an Obama/Clinton could get elected." He then voiced his opposition to such a theoretical pairing: "I don't want that ticket elected, because of their views on policy issues, which are way to the Left."

Just over a half hour later, Blitzer played an extended cut of Limbaugh's remarks, and had former Dallas, Texas mayor Ron Kirk, an Obama supporter, and former Hillary Clinton press secretary Lisa Caputo on to discuss the possible Democratic "dream ticket." Blitzer asked Kirk for his reaction to Limbaugh. The former mayor answered using a paraphrase of the title of Al Franken's anti-Limbaugh book: "You know, it's the first time I heard it, but I think -- who was it who wrote the book 'Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Jerk,' whatever it was? I mean, why are we talking about this guy? Why is he on TV? He is so irrelevant, and he only says stuff to be inflammatory. And frankly, the best thing that could happen to either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, should they be the nominee, would be for Rush Limbaugh to keep saying stupid stuff like this."

Blitzer then asked Caputo to comment, and she was just as blunt as Kirk: "I think that the voter turnout in these primaries and caucuses for the Democrats, I think, is an indicator of how Democrats feel about both candidates, and I think Rush Limbaugh is absolutely delusional if he thinks at ticket like that doesn't have a prayer."

The October 2 CyberAlert, "Blitzer Joins in Distorting Limbaugh, Advancing Far-Left Smear," recounted:

CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Monday night matched MSNBC in distorting the target of Rush Limbaugh's "phony soldiers" comment as the 7pm EDT hour of The Situation Room devoted a full story to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's attack on Limbaugh based on a Friday hit job on Limbaugh by the far-left Media Matters. "It's an angry new shot in the dispute over the war in Iraq," Blitzer asserted before reporting that Limbaugh had charged "that some veterans who are criticizing the war are, in his words, quote, 'phony soldiers.'" In fact, on his show Friday and Monday, Limbaugh made clear he was referring to those who claimed to be soldiers, but never served, a point mentioned by reporter Dana Bash, but only after Blitzer's framed the story by adopting as fact the spin of the left wing attack group.

For more, check: www.mrc.org

The October 3 CyberAlert item, "Bennett Corrects Blitzer on Rush, CNN Cites 'Chicken Hawk' Insult," reported:

Bill Bennett corrected CNN's Wolf Blitzer's presumption on Monday that Rush Limbaugh's "phony soldiers" comment was directed at soldiers who served in Iraq and now oppose the war, but in setting up the "Strategy Session" segment on Tuesday's The Situation Room, Blitzer again adopted as fact the spin of the far-left group pushing the attack on Limbaugh. With the text on screen, Blitzer highlighted how "Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania...says: 'Someone should tell chicken hawk Rush Limbaugh that the only phonies are those who choose not to serve and then criticize those who do.'" To Bennett and Donna Brazile, Blitzer wondered: "What do you make of this strategy that Harry Reid...and others are saying now that Rush Limbaugh was inappropriately offensive to veterans?" Bennett retorted with "not much" and observed: "When you shoot at a king, and he's the king of talk radio, you better get him. They didn't get him here."

On Monday night, Blitzer had dismissed Limbaugh's explanation, that he was referring to anyone who claims to have served in Iraq but has not, and introduced a story on "Limbaugh's charge that some veterans who are criticizing the war are, in his words, quote, 'phony soldiers.'"

For the rest of that rundown: www.mrc.org

Networks Lavish One Hour of Coverage
on Dem Race; Ignore GOP

Despite the fact that John McCain officially clinched the GOP nomination on Tuesday, the three network morning shows on Wednesday devoted almost a full hour of air time to covering the Democratic presidential race and barely nine minutes for the Republicans. Additionally, the Arizona Senator did not appear on NBC's Today show, ABC's Good Morning America or the CBS Early Show. Democratic Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, however, showed up on all three programs.

The network morning shows featured the Democratic presidential candidates for a grand total of 59 minutes and 12 seconds. McCain and his remaining rival, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, received a mere nine minutes and ten seconds of coverage. Now, obviously, the Democratic race is a close, hard fought contest. So, it's natural that it would receive more attention. However, McCain's very act of winning the nomination should be a well covered event, especially considering the candidate's remarkable rise from the political dead. The networks, apparently, saw it a different way.

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

In addition to lack of coverage, all three programs featured early stories on Clinton and Obama first and buried McCain coverage at the end of the 7am hour or later. Good Morning America didn't get to McCain until 7:30. The Early Show waited until the 8am hour to focus on the Senator.

On Good Morning America, while not interviewing McCain, co-host Diane Sawyer found time to pose particularly frivolous questions to Obama. She twice asked whether the Senator would like to go back on Saturday Night Live and closed the segment by gushing: "On a personal note, because it is always a family campaign as well, what did Mrs. Obama say to you last night?"

All three morning shows had similar ratios of coverage, but Today was the most lopsided in favor of the Democrats. A breakdown of the totals follows: Good Morning America featured the Democrats for 16 minutes and 45 seconds and the Republicans for three minutes and one second. The Early Show offered 19 minutes and 40 seconds to Obama and Clinton and only three minutes and 36 seconds to GOP contenders. Finally, the Today show delivered 22 minutes and 47 to the Democrats and a scant two minutes and 33 seconds for McCain and Huckabee.

Obama Proclaims He Won Michigan, NBC's
Gregory Ignores Gaffe

Barack Obama was clearly off his game on Wednesday's Today show as he not only confused David Gregory with Matt Lauer but even worse, proclaimed that he "won Michigan." Gregory, substitute hosting for Matt Lauer, did remind Obama that it was he and not Lauer that was conducting the interview, but failed to correct the more egregious error of Obama claiming a victory in a state where he wasn't even on the ballot.

[This item, by Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The following is the complete interview as it occurred on the March 4 Today show:

DAVID GREGORY: How is Senator Barack Obama feeling about his campaign this morning? He joins us now from San Antonio, Texas. Senator good morning to you.
BARACK OBAMA: Good morning, Matt.
GREGORY: It's, it's David today Senator. The reality-
OBAMA: Oh I'm sorry David.
GREGORY: The reality that you are facing in this campaign is that three times you have been able to put Senator Clinton away. You had an opportunity after Iowa. You had an opportunity after South Carolina. You had an opportunity after winning 11 in a row. Why do you think voters are reluctant to give you this nomination?
OBAMA: Oh I don't think they're reluctant David. We, we've had a very tough contest and Senator Clinton is a terrific, hard-working candidate and as you noted we just won 11 in a row which is why we've got this strong lead in the delegates. And so we have just taken it one state at a time and we feel very confident that by the time we get to the convention we're gonna have the most delegates, we will be the nominee and then we're gonna be able to focus on John McCain and the contest in November.
GREGORY: But Senator you have not demonstrated that you can decisively put the nomination away. You have also not demonstrated that you can win some of the big states that'll be important in a general election. California, New York, Ohio.
OBAMA: Well David we've won Michigan and Georgia and Illinois and Missouri. We've won twice as many states as Senator Clinton. We have more of the popular vote. We've won more primaries, more caucuses. Keep in mind what's happened here. We have won decisively in a whole number of states and you know Senator Clinton and her campaign have tended to cherry pick which states they think are important. But the bottom line is, is that we are in a very strong position. Senator Clinton barely dented the delegate count yesterday. We are going on to Mississippi and Wyoming where we feel confident that we can do well. And this process is gonna ultimately be about who's got the most delegates and we think we'll be in that position.
GREGORY: You just heard Senator Clinton. She said, unequivocally, that's not how the process works. That there are pledged delegates but these superdelegates should be independent. Should be able to vote how they want. So let's be clear on what your position is. If she tries to get the superdelegates to come over to her side, even if she trails in the pledged delegates, would you consider that, in effect, stealing the nomination?
OBAMA: No I don't think it would be stealing the nomination. She can try to persuade the superdelegates to support her. I think that most Democrats are gonna feel like whoever has won the most delegates in these primaries and caucuses will end up being the nominee. That's why we have primaries and caucuses, otherwise the superdelegates could just go into a smoke-filled room and make those decisions.
GREGORY: DO you think the party would stand for that?
OBAMA: But, but-
GREGORY: Would they stand for her trying to persuade those superdelegates or would they think it's just patently unfair?
OBAMA: I, I think it, it is perfectly within her rights to try to persuade them but keep in mind what's happened over the last couple of weeks, David. We've picked up scores of superdelegates she hasn't. She's lost superdelegates. And so we feel confident that as long as we just keep talking about the issues that really matter to the American people, talking about how we're gonna make health care more affordable, college more affordable. How we can end the war in Iraq in an honorable way and make us more safe and focus on al Qaeda in Afghanistan. If we talk about those issues and then we're gonna do well and ultimately we'll be the nominee.
GREGORY: One of the big issues is experience. Again, Senator Clinton this morning, on this program says she brings life experience to the White House. Something she said in the past few days. That Senator McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee, brings life experience to the White House. Today she suggests, Obama -- he brings a speech. What's your response?
OBAMA: Well you know she's been making this argument since the beginning of this contest. And if it was a particularly effective argument then she'd have the delegate lead. I mean the fact of the matter is that Senator Clinton, you know when she runs this 3a.m., you know, phone call ad doesn't cite and can't cite any particular experience that makes her more effective in dealing with these issues of national security and when she did have a red phone moment, when we have the most important foreign policy decision of a generation, she got it wrong. So I'm looking forward to having that debate. I ultimately think that the American people are gonna want a clear break from the Bush-Cheney foreign policies of the past because they haven't made us more safe and more secure. And I think whoever is offering that clean break is gonna be in a much stronger position to debate John McCain. If she thinks that longevity in Washington is the primary criteria for winning the White House, then John McCain is gonna beat her.
GREGORY: Very quick answer. Redo Florida and Michigan?
OBAMA: Well I think that we have played by whatever the rules the DNC has put forward, the Democratic National Committee. And we will continue to play by those rules and whatever the rules are we think we'll do well.
GREGORY: Senator Barack Obama, thank you very much this morning.
OBAMA: Thank you so much David.

To read why Obama wasn't on the ballot in Michigan's Democratic primary: en.wikipedia.org

-- Brent Baker