Blitzer: Obama Warns GOP 'to Play the Race Card Against Him' --6/23/2008
2. Carlson Pitches Gore for VP: 'Brains, Good Judgment & Experience'
3. Gibson Frets Obama's Money Advantage: 'Is It Basically Fair?'
4. CNN Goes Easy on Obama's Flip-Flop on Public Campaign Financing
5. Ex-Washington Post Reporter 'Nervous' What McCain Means to SCOTUS
6. NBC: Less Driving = "Bad News" of Lower Gas Tax Receipts
7. ABC's GMA Again Touts Leftist Condom Blogger as Sex Expert
Barack Obama on Friday pre-smeared the opposition by charging they will "make you afraid" by identifying him as black, but instead of focusing on the basis of such an allegation or decrying Obama's personal insertion of the race-card into the campaign, Wolf Blitzer opened Friday night's CNN Election Center show by hyping Obama's warning: "Tonight here in the Election Center: a highly controversial warning directly from Barack Obama's lips. He bluntly says Republicans will try to make an issue of his race. We have the audio tape, you're going to hear it here."
With "'DID I MENTION HE'S BLACK?' OBAMA PREDICTS GOP SCARE TACTICS" as the on screen header, Blitzer announced the "Just In" news: "At a fundraiser today in Florida, Senator Barack Obama warned his supporters that the Republicans are going to try to play the race card against him in an effort to simply scare voters." Viewers then heard audio of Obama, with the words on screen:
Blitzer's only question about the allegation, to reporter Candy Crowley, suggested Blitzer saw the words as some kind of brave new front: "Have you ever heard him talk out on the campaign trail about race like this?"
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Friday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
This wasn't the first time Blitzer has raised fears of underhanded, race-based attacks on Obama. The Wednesday, February 13 CyberAlert article, "Blitzer Raises Specter of GOP Going 'Willie Horton' Against Obama," reported:
The Democratic presidential nomination process isn't even over, yet on Tuesday CNN's Wolf Blitzer raised the media's favorite shorthand for vicious Republicans never forgotten from 1988, a name journalists can be counted on to resurrect every election season in order to discredit criticism of a liberal candidate, as he asked a guest how "worried" he was about Republicans energizing "elements of racism" by producing "Willie Horton kind of commercials... potentially against Barack Obama?" This, just a week after possible racism by Democratic voters was suggested by Obama's ten-point loss in California's primary after polls showed him up by 13 points. Columnist Bob Novak observed: "The way Obama lost California raises the specter of the dreaded Bradley Effect."
Blitzer's question came during an interview on The Situation Room with conservative radio talk show host Larry Elder, author of 'Stupid Black Men: How to Play the Race Card -- and Lose,' which Elder explained makes the case for how "white racism is no longer a major problem in America anymore." Blitzer wondered: "Why do Republicans have so much trouble attracting African-American support?" Elder replied by pointing out how "Republicans, as a percentage of the party, more of them voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 than did Democrats. Al Gore's dad voted against it" and "those who founded the Klan were, in fact, Democrats, and one of their goals was to stop the spread of Republicanism." But instead of pursuing that sordid history, Blitzer launched into his questions about Republicans using racism to defeat Obama.
From the top of the 8 PM EDT Friday, June 20 Election Center anchored by Wolf Blitzer, filling in for Campbell Brown:
WOLF BLITZER: Tonight here in the Election Center: a highly controversial warning directly from Barack Obama's lips. He bluntly says Republicans will try to make an issue of his race. We have the audio tape, you're going to hear it here....
We start with two late-breaking developments in the presidential campaign. We have this just in to the Election Center: CNN has confirmed from Obama aides the Senator raised almost $22 million in just the month of May. And get this: For the entire election cycle, counting the primaries, Obama's campaign has raised more than $286 million and it has $43 million in the bank right now.
"The most important reason [Al] Gore should be Vice President is that he's suffered and learned. He has the temperament some of us reach on our death beds," former Time magazine Deputy Washington Bureau Chief Margaret Carlson trumpeted in a column posted Thursday on Bloomberg.com. In "Gore Has Right Stuff for Second Turn as No. 2," Carlson effused: "If there's anything we need to rescue us from the last eight years, it's brains, good judgment and experience. Obama has the first two. Gore has all three."
Though on this weekend's Political Capital program on Bloomberg Television she hailed Gore's "presidential timber," she was more restrained than in her column: "If what Obama needs, and I think it's what he needs, somebody of presidential timber, why not get somebody who won the popular presidential vote and who's done everything? And who was right about the Middle East, right about this Iraq war, knows where the lights are in the White House, has gravitas?"
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Saturday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Last October Carlson celebrated Gore for winning the Nobel Prize. The October 15 CyberAlert item, "Carlson: 'Prophet' Al Gore 'Rose Above a Great Injustice,'" recounted:
Winning the Nobel Peace Prize was a "wonderful thing" Al Gore deserved for doing "a great thing," veteran Washington journalist Margaret Carlson declared on Bloomberg Television's Political Capital show, as she contended "he rose above a great injustice" in what occurred in Florida's 2000 election count. Appearing with Bob Novak on the show, hosted by Al Hunt, which airs several times each weekend, Carlson told Novak: "You'd still be holding your breath and kicking your feet if what had happened to Al Gore in Florida had happened to you. He rose above, he rose above a great injustice. And by the way, you know, late in life you can find your gifts, which is Al Gore found what he should be doing and it is a great thing that he's done."
When Novak asserted Gore merely "became a demagogue on the global warming issue," Carlson, the former Deputy Washington Bureau Chief for Time magazine who now posts columns on the Bloomberg News Web site, championed Gore's cause as she hailed how "he became a prophet on an issue that is crucially important to the world."
An excerpt from Carlson's June 19 Bloomberg column:
....For many, if not most, defeated candidates, losing is the wound that never heals. Recently HBO reopened the wound with its movie Recount,' about chads in Florida. And in a 60 Minutes interview, Justice Antonin Scalia poured salt on it saying that it was "nonsense" to think that politics guided the Supreme Court to set an unreachable deadline for recounting ballots and deliver victory to George W. Bush.
Scalia's advice: "Get over it.''
A lot of Democrats haven't, but Gore has. He's like George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life, grateful for what he has. Appearing with Obama at a rally of 20,000 at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit this week, Gore was looser and more exuberant than I remember him, cradling the microphone like Oprah. He used to be so wooden he dressed up like Frankenstein at his annual Halloween party to make the obvious joke....
And to a lesser extent, appearances matter, and looking at the stage, the perfect vice president was on it. He's tall like Obama but more rooted to the ground, and I'm not talking about pounds. If there's anything Obama needs, it is an older, more tested, more solid version of himself....
The most important reason Gore should be vice president is that he's suffered and learned. He has the temperament some of us reach on our death beds. He could have fought on, but found honor in retreat. Gore, as New York Times columnist Tom Friedman observed, took a bullet for the country. After the most gracious concession speech possible, he barely spoke about what had happened.
He took the toughest loss in political history as an occasion to rewrite his life. His first dream dashed, he didn't go sulk or have a midlife crisis, although he did grow a beard and a waistline. He reached for a second act suited to his gifts. His impressive engineer's mind hadn't invented the Internet, but he'd come closer than anyone else, as Newt Gingrich graciously and accurately pointed out.
He didn't discover global warming, but he sounded the alarm and got many skeptics and opponents to agree that attention had to be paid.
Even Senator John McCain, who wants to drill for oil off the U.S. coasts, is on board to address the issue.
If it's laughable that Gore would run for president, how much more laughable is it that he would consider for a nanosecond taking the vice presidency? Even if he were hungering for a comeback, it wouldn't be to play second banana again. Why would he do it?
For the country. Why waste on investment banking what he knows from being a heartbeat away from the presidency? He's tested and steeped in foreign policy. An Academy Award is fine, but no movie can give you the platform that the vice presidency can for global warming. He could actually do something about it.
The country is desperate for a new workable energy policy. These gas prices can't go on, or they can but not if they don't spur a Manhattan Project to reduce our thirst for oil, most of it in the hands of our enemies. Gore has one.
Forget geography or winning Ohio or appealing to suburban women. For different reasons than McCain, Obama needs to reach for presidential timber. If there's anything we need to rescue us from the last eight years, it's brains, good judgment and experience. Obama has the first two. Gore has all three.
END of Excerpt
For the column in full: www.bloomberg.com
Applying the same invidious approach to campaign spending as journalists so often do to society where they equate outcome with fairness and consider income disparities to be an injustice which must be dealt with by forced redistribution of wealth via the tax code, on Friday night ABC anchor Charles Gibson fretted that Barack Obama's fundraising advantage over John McCain violates "basic fairness." Citing Obama's decision to opt out of public financing since he knows he can raise much more than McCain, Gibson complained to George Stephanopoulos: "George, I've heard a lot of political analysis today about his decision, but let me ask you a question about basic fairness. People in this country like to believe that people play on a level playing field and that a campaign will be about ideas and personality. If you start with that much more money, is it basically fair?"
Of course, conservatives would point out that the mainstream media have never provided "a level playing field" to candidates to the right of center. If Obama can raise more than his opponent it just reflects greater enthusiasm for him. And there's hardly any nobility in taking taxpayer money when you know you'll be challenged to raise a larger amount voluntarily. But I suspect what really infuriates Gibson is Obama's decision to abandon public financing, a basic tenet of liberalism.
Answering the previous question, Stephanopoulos had marveled: "We have never seen in modern times a Democratic campaign able to spend so much money on the Republican turf this early in the ball game."
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Friday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The June 20 CyberAlert item, "CBS Resurrects Swift Boat Ad 'Smear' in Defense of Obama's Flip-Flop," recounted:
The broadcast network evening newscasts stories Thursday night all described Barack Obama's decision to opt out of public financing as a "flip-flop," a "reversal" and/or a "direct contradiction" of a pledge, but CBS's Dean Reynolds relayed Obama's rationalization -- that "he's opting out of the system to have enough money to fight the unlimited spending and what he called the 'smears' from unregulated Republican-allied organizations" -- and then, with 2004 anti-John Kerry ad clip on screen, forwarded his own example of a supposed past smear from the right: "Such as the Swift Boat group which attacked John Kerry in 2004."
The previous CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org
The segment on the Friday, June 20 World News with Gibson in New York and Stephanopoulos in Washington, DC:
CHARLES GIBSON: Barack Obama announced today that he and Hillary Clinton will campaign together next Friday, their first joint appearance since he secured the nomination. The announcement comes a day after Obama said he is not going to take public campaign financing, a decision which has drawn a great deal of criticism, and our chief Washington correspondent, George Stephanopoulos, is joining us again to talk about this.
CNN's senior political correspondent Candy Crowley, during a report on Thursday's The Situation Room, must have thought it was a foregone conclusion that Barack Obama would give up on his pledge that he would accept public financing for his presidential campaign: "If you raised more than a quarter billion dollars in the primary season, would you limit yourself to $85 million in the fall campaign? Duh!" While she did point out Obama's previous statements affirming his dedication to public financing, both she and Wolf Blitzer used subdued language to describe this broken promise, and tried to spin how this might be a potential issue in the campaign.
[This item, by Matthew Balan, was posted Thursday evening on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Blitzer introduced Crowley's report, which aired at the top of the 4 pm Eastern hour, by explaining how Obama was "abandoning an earlier commitment to accept public funding." The CNN senior correspondent then described glowingly "while it may have been an easy decision, and it may have been expected, it certainly is history-making." After making her "duh!" statement and playing an excerpt of Obama's videotaped announcement on the issue, she repeated how the Democrat "made history" by becoming "the first presidential nominee to refuse public financing in a general campaign."
She then described Obama's past statements on public financing, while minimizing their possible impact:
CROWLEY:. ...Legal and expected, all would be okay except for the video trail of this kind of thing -- dateline New Hampshire, April 2007.
"Hoping he does have a political issue"? How about, simply put, he does have a political issue. Barack Obama has flip-flopped on public campaign financing. As Blitzer put it in his introduction, "the McCain camp is jumping on that big-time."
Crowley then outlined McCain's arguments against Obama in this matter, all the while attributing them mainly to Hillary Clinton.
CROWLEY: ...[McCain's] Aides helpfully provided a timeline of Obama's evolution on the subject, while the Republican National Committee reproduced quotes from Hillary Clinton from February, when it was clear Obama would opt out of the campaign finance system. 'Now we're seeing,' she said, 'how the words don't even mean what we thought they meant.' McCain, working his way through a day which ends at a fund-raiser, channeled Clinton and said pretty much the same thing.
So I guess McCain doesn't have an original argument concerning Obama's decision.
Despite outlining the McCain campaign's arguments, she did not include any sound bite or statement from McCain or any of his campaign officials reacting to this decision. All of the sound bites came from Obama. Since he made this decision on Thursday morning, and Crowley's report aired in the afternoon, an official response from the McCain campaign was likely released before the beginning of The Situation Room.
Crowley, appearing on-camera at the conclusion of her report, seemingly tried to downplay this move by Obama by bringing up a possible source of money for McCain: "For McCain's side, of course, he has the Republican National Committee, which can be of big help to his campaign, and right now, Wolf, they are out-fundraising the Democratic National Committee, about two-to-one for the cycle." Blitzer then tried to explain it away, stating that "Obama makes the point that the whole system is broken right now. That's why he's going to get out this previous indication that he was going to accept it."
Is that all it is? It's probably a safe bet that if a Republican presidential candidate had gone back on his word, the term "flip-flop" or something along those lines would have been used in your network's reporting.
In a Wednesday column decrying John McCain's condemnation of the Supreme Court's ruling giving Guantanamo detainees access to the courts, former Washington Post reporter and editor Ruth Marcus illustrated that no matter how unexcited conservatives may be about McCain liberals still see him as dangerous as she expressed fear of what McCain's efforts to appease conservatives will mean for the Supreme Court if he wins: "As his evolving reactions to the Guantanamo case may indicate, legal issues are not at the center of McCain's policy interests. But they are a top priority for conservative activists, which makes me all the more nervous about what a McCain presidency would mean for the court."
Marcus, the Post's deputy national editor from 1999 through 2002, noted that "the oldest justices are also the most liberal," so she worried "a President McCain could shift the court significantly to the right" while, she lamented, "a President Obama would be lucky, even with a Democratic Senate, to nudge the court even a bit in a liberal direction."
Earlier in her June 18 column, Marcus, who is now an editorial writer for the paper, quoted McCain on the Guantanamo ruling: "'One of the worst decisions in the history of this country,' he thundered last Friday." She then exposed her liberal position on abortion as she asked: "Worse than Roe v. Wade, to take an example on which McCain and I differ but that illustrates the overheated nature of his reaction?"
Bio for Marcus: projects.washingtonpost.com
(Screen shot, in the posted version of this CyberAlert, is from when Marcus was part of the roundtable on ABC's This Week on May 11.)
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Sunday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
An excerpt from her column, "The Court McCain Wants," which appeared in the June 18 Washington Post:
Conservatives, seizing on the Supreme Court's ruling last week on Guantanamo detainees, want to turn the court into election fodder....
McCain was initially mild, saying only that the decision "obviously concerns me." By the next day, though, he was as over the top as Justice Antonin Scalia, who warned that the court's action "will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed." Legal reasoning -- or ad copy for the Republican National Committee?
In any event, McCain got the point. "One of the worst decisions in the history of this country," he thundered last Friday.
Worse than Roe v. Wade, to take an example on which McCain and I differ but that illustrates the overheated nature of his reaction?...
McCain lamented that the court was giving rights to "enemy combatants ...ardently seeking to destroy the United States of America and all that we stand for and believe in." Strikes me that a big part of what we believe in is the rule of law and the notion that people can't be held indefinitely without a fair hearing.
As his evolving reactions to the Guantanamo case may indicate, legal issues are not at the center of McCain's policy interests. But they are a top priority for conservative activists, which makes me all the more nervous about what a McCain presidency would mean for the court. Yes, a Democratic Senate could temper the kind of nominee McCain would select, but a conservative legal movement whose rallying cry is "No More Souters" will be hard to satisfy with an unknown commodity. Remember Harriet Miers?
The next president is almost certain to have one appointment, and quite possibly two or more. In addition, the oldest justices are also the most liberal: John Paul Stevens is 88; Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 75.
As a result, a President McCain could shift the court significantly to the right, while a President Obama would be lucky, even with a Democratic Senate, to nudge the court even a bit in a liberal direction. More likely, he would merely be able to maintain the shaky, conservative-leaning status quo.
And it is shaky indeed -- not just when it comes to abortion rights, the usual focus of Supreme Court debate in election years. Certainly, the addition of one or two conservative justices could mean, if not Roe's explicit demise, then a dramatic curtailing of the right to choose. Yet the court is at a tipping point on issues that range from the scope of presidential power to the separation of church and state to the future of affirmative action....
END of Excerpt
For the entire column: www.washingtonpost.com
As anyone aware of the concept of supply and demand could have foreseen, Americans are driving less now that gasoline prices have passed $4.00 per gallon. So on Friday's Today show, NBC's Tom Costello dutifully noted that Americans have driven 20 billion fewer miles so far this year, but then declared a "bad news" side effect of drivers buying less gasoline: "We use federal tax money that comes from gasoline sales to maintain the nation's roads and bridges. We're looking at a billion-plus-dollar short fall right now, and the National Governors Association wants Congress to come in and fill the gap."
"Filling the gap" could either mean hiking the tax on gasoline, or supplementing the highway fund with other tax dollars. Maybe the real "bad news" for consumers is that some politicians seem determined to collect all of the gasoline taxes they desire, whether drivers actually buy the gas or not.
[This item, by the MRC's Rich Noyes, was posted Friday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Costello filed his report at about 7:15am from an overpass over what looked to be the Beltway in Rockville, Maryland. He began by noting how he just paid $4.50 per gallon for his own fill-up, although Friday's average price in Maryland is $4.046 per gallon, according to AAA's "Fuel Gauge Report." See: www.fuelgaugereport.com
For the second time in eight months, Good Morning America has featured an extremely liberal sexuality author, who blogs on a condom website and touts Democrats, as a neutral expert. On Friday's program, Logan Levkoff, the author of "Third Base Ain't What it Used to Be," and a woman who has previously stated she wouldn't rule out giving birth control to elementary school students, appeared to discuss the epidemic of teen pregnancies in Gloucester, Massachusetts. However, GMA never identified the leftist positions of this woman who once wrote a sex column titled "Ask Mistress Lola." See bio: sexysmart.typepad.com
Levkoff explained to co-host Robin Roberts that "our policies are not helping our children." Running down abstinence education, she argued: "And the fact is, we as parents need to get involved and we as schools need to advocate for healthy sexuality education. And that means talking about everything, not just abstinence, because, clearly, even if that's what they're getting, that's not what these kids are doing." Levkoff is no moderate voice. She blogs on the Trojan Elexa website and her topics have included celebrating "Blog for Choice Day," bashing President Bush and being "psyched" when the Democrats won back Congress in 2006. Shouldn't it be the responsibility of ABC to identify the extremely liberal perspective that Levkoff operates from?
[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Friday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
On Friday's segment, Levkoff didn't appear quite as radical as her last appearance on GMA. On October 17, 2007, co-host Diane Sawyer asked if the sex expert would draw the line at birth control for grade school students. At that point, she retorted, "I don't necessarily draw the line because we're in a world where we get so many sexual messages and where is our goal?" See the October 18, 2007 CyberAlert for more: www.mrc.org
On Friday's program, Levkoff spoke of Gloucester, Massachusetts, where teen pregnancies have spiked. She complained about the " the lack of access to reproductive health services." Wouldn't it be helpful at this point to know that this expert is aggressively pro-abortion? See abortion blog: www.elexasexysmart.com
Levkoff did appear with another guest, Sue Todd, the CEO of Pathways for Children, a group that provides day care for pregnant teens so that they can continue their education. But, Todd certainly was not a counter-point to Levkoff's leftist beliefs.
Once again, it seems as though ABC has attempted to pass off a committed liberal as a neutral expert with no agenda.
A transcript of the June 20 segment, which aired at 7:34am follows:
ROBIN ROBERTS: We are joined here in the studio by sexuality educator Logan Levkoff. She is the author of "Third Base Ain't What it Used to be" and Sue Todd, president and CEO of Pathways for Children, which runs the day care center that helps teen moms at that Gloucester school. Good morning to you both. Sue, let me start with you, first of all. You live there in the community. Last year there were three teen pregnancies. 17, 18 this year. What do you think is going on?
-- Brent Baker