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Matthews 'Immensely Proud' of 'Sophisticated' Obama 'The New Us!' --4/1/2009


1. Matthews 'Immensely Proud' of 'Sophisticated' Obama 'The New Us!'
An enraptured Chris Matthews began his Tuesday edition of Hardball by singing Obama's praises, as he arrived in England, cheering: "He is the new us! That's right, President Obama is in London tonight as the new emblem of the American people. He is us, just as to the consternation of our allies and the often cringey-ness of his countrymen George W. Bush was us for eight years." The charmed Matthews continued his lovefest throughout the program, as he gasped: "We've got Barack Obama as our President and Michelle Obama as our First Lady. We're all immensely proud," and concluded the show admitting he dreamed about the arrival of the Obamas in Europe: "I thought about that scene for months, the first time they get to come as our American couple. To represent us, really in a new way. A kind of a sophisticated new leadership."

2. ABC and CBS Remind Viewers Obama More Popular than Bush
The day President Barack Obama arrived in London, the broadcast network evening newscasts on Tuesday night noted that he faces some tough challenges from other leaders who are not as enthralled with him as are their citizens, but ABC and CBS went out of their way to point out how Obama is more popular than was former President Bush. From London, ABC anchor Charles Gibson highlighted the American perception, mostly formed by the media, of how those abroad view the U.S.: "The President comes here with firm backing from the American people. According to our ABC News/Washington Post poll, 43 percent of Americans say the country's image abroad is improving under President Obama. That number was just 10 percent under President Bush." Also from London, CBS anchor Katie Couric stressed how foreigners are pleased Obama's not Bush: "What he represents to many countries overseas is a departure from the Bush administration which alienated some foreign governments early on with its rejection of global warming initiatives and its national security positions."

3. Democratic President Goes to Europe, So ABC Touts Past GOP Goofs
Good Morning America reporter Yunji de Nies on Tuesday touted supposed gaffes of past Republican Presidents in a segment on Barack Obama's trip abroad. De Nies intoned: "But one unlucky misstep and everyone remembers." As she said this, video of George W. Bush's 2005 trip to Beijing appeared on screen. (In the footage, the then-President can be seen trying to go out the wrong door.) More Republican footage followed. First, 1992 video of George H.W. Bush throwing up in Japan was highlighted and then a 2006 picture of George W. Bush rubbing the neck of German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared. De Nies described these two events as "the upset stomach of a President" and an "awkward moment between two world leaders." Introducing a clip of veteran ABC correspondent Sam Donaldson, she continued, "Sam Donaldson remembers watching Ronald Reagan fight to stay awake at the G7 summit in Venice."

4. NBC's Friesen on Michelle Obama: 'Can't Take My Eyes Off of You'
As the song "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" played over slow-motion video of Michelle Obama (with Andy Williams singing "you're just too good to be true"), NBC's Dawna Friesen, on Tuesday's Today show, eagerly awaited the arrival of the Obamas in London, for the G20 summit, as she gushed: "Yes, her husband is, of course, the big star of the show, but this is Michelle Obama's first foray on to the global stage as First Lady. And you can bet that her every move, her every fashion decision will be dissected and analyzed, especially when the couple go to meet the Queen. But she's got a lot of good will on her side."

5. CBS's Early Show: The Obamas 'Have An Extra Je Ne Sais Quoi'
In the 8:00AM EDT hour of Tuesday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Elizabeth Palmer gave a gushing report on Barack and Michelle Obama's upcoming trip to Europe, particularly focusing on the popularity of the new First Lady: "In 1961 when Jacqueline Kennedy came to Europe, she enchanted even the crustiest of world leaders. And she's remained a tough act to follow for every First Lady since. But Michelle Obama looks more than equal to the task of impressing and delighting even the grandest of them...To be honest, most Europeans were going to like whoever replaced President Bush. But there's no doubt Michelle and her husband have an extra je ne sais quoi." Palmer cited French journalist Agnes Poirier, who declared: "Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are a very alluring and very sophisticated couple, and that plays well with the French. They like seeing, you know, sophistication at the helm of power." Palmer concluded her report by adding: "And this sophisticated lady hand in hand with power looks poised to do wonders for America's image abroad."

6. Shuster Slams 'Nutty,' 'Offensive' Quotes from Rush and Others
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue host David Shuster escalated his attack on Rush Limbaugh and other conservatives on Monday's show. In a tease for a segment on "GOP all stars," Shuster complained: "Plus, the nutty rhetoric continues from Rush Limbaugh, Michael Steele and Sarah Palin." In a later tease, he fretted: "Up next, how offensive can Rush Limbaugh be?" The attack on Limbaugh was taken straight from a clip posted on the liberal Media Matters website on Friday. Limbaugh was discussing the flooding in North Dakota and made a joke about PC language and also a sly comment on how the Obama administration is dropping phrases such as the "war on terror." However, Shuster raged to guests Matt Lewis and Democratic strategist Chris Kofinis: "Rush Limbaugh referred, used the word dike when talking about flooding in North Dakota. But, that was not the context that he was using it. He was talking about Democratic female politicians. That kind of stuff, where does that, why do people listen to Rush Limbaugh?"

7. Jon Stewart and CNN's Jack Cafferty's Bash Bush/Praise Obama Show
As you might expect, Jon Stewart and CNN commentator Jack Cafferty's combined act on Monday's Daily Show consisted of some serious discussion of the economy intermixed with unoriginal jabs at former President George W. Bush's speech pattern and high praise for the Obamas. Stewart even half-jokingly suggested that if Obama "doesn't do well," (perish the thought!), "we can still blame it on Bush." Cafferty was on the Comedy Central program to promote his new book, "Now or Never." After the two initially joked about this title and the title of his last book ("It's Getting Ugly Out There"), the commentator made his first joke about Bush. Stewart asked, "Are you feeling less confident in our ability to pull this out? Is your perspective that we truly are in a nosedive?" Cafferty replied, "I don't know. You know, I've got -- I've got some faith, I think, in the new president. He's capable of making a declarative sentence, a cohesive thought." When the audience applauded, Stewart quipped, "Big grammar fans."


Matthews 'Immensely Proud' of 'Sophisticated'
Obama 'The New Us!'

An enraptured Chris Matthews began his Tuesday edition of Hardball by singing Obama's praises, as he arrived in England, cheering: "He is the new us! That's right, President Obama is in London tonight as the new emblem of the American people. He is us, just as to the consternation of our allies and the often cringey-ness of his countrymen George W. Bush was us for eight years." The charmed Matthews continued his lovefest throughout the program, as he gasped: "We've got Barack Obama as our President and Michelle Obama as our First Lady. We're all immensely proud," and concluded the show admitting he dreamed about the arrival of the Obamas in Europe: "I thought about that scene for months, the first time they get to come as our American couple. To represent us, really in a new way. A kind of a sophisticated new leadership."

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

The following are the elaborated transcripts of Matthews' Obamagasms from the March 31 edition of Hardball on MSNBC:

CHRIS MATTHEWS OPENING THE SHOW: Our American {resident and the First Lady go to Europe. Let's play Hardball! Leading off tonight, he is the new us! That's right, President Obama is in London tonight as the new emblem of the American people. He is us, just as to the consternation of our allies and the often cringey-ness of his countrymen George W. Bush was us for eight years.

...

MATTHEWS: But first here's a clip from the great movie Love Actually where the British Prime Minister, played by Hugh Grant, publicly calls out the President of the United States, played by Billy Bob Thornton, after the President bullies the British in a meeting and is caught making a move on Hugh Grant's secretary in a way that reminds most of us, of our last two presidents at their worst.

(Clip from Love Actually)

MATTHEWS: I love that scene! Anyway let's go to Chuck Todd. I hope we don't see that scene again, I think we've seen the last as Billy Bob Thornton as our president. Anyway we've got Barack Obama as our president and Michelle Obama as our First Lady. We're all immensely proud. I'm looking at a new poll from CNN tonight, Chuck Todd. It's got the wind at our back as a country actually. 86 percent of the American people love the fact that these two people are representing our country on the world stage today. What's it feel like over there in London?

...

MATTHEWS: What do you think, what do you think our guy is gonna show? What rabbit is he gonna pull out of his pocket?
EUGENE ROBINSON, WASHINGTON POST: Well he, he's gonna go and be Barack Obama. He will be, he will be charming. He will be intelligent. He will be someone the Europeans can talk to on, on, on the plane that they, that they believe they inhabit.
MATTHEWS: Right.
ROBINSON: So, you know, in that sense I think there will be real communication there. I'm just not sure-
MATTHEWS OVER VIDEO OF OBAMAS EMERGING FROM AIR FORCE ONE: There they are, there they are arriving, by the way. That's a great scene.
ROBINSON: Yeah it is.
MATTHEWS: I thought about that scene for months, the first time they get to come as our American couple. To represent us, really in a new way. A kind of a sophisticated new leadership.
ROBINSON: There will also be this atmosphere around the meeting of, of excitement-
MATTHEWS: Yeah!
ROBINSON: -that, that the Obamas come, that this is something really new. And, and, and the opportunity is for him to capitalize on that as much possible.
MATTHEWS: He must know, he must know that every word he speaks -- you know talk about being hounded by Youtube -- every word this guy speaks gets picked up on. He's got to be brilliant all the time.

ABC and CBS Remind Viewers Obama More
Popular than Bush

The day President Barack Obama arrived in London, the broadcast network evening newscasts on Tuesday night noted that he faces some tough challenges from other leaders who are not as enthralled with him as are their citizens, but ABC and CBS went out of their way to point out how Obama is more popular than was former President Bush. From London, ABC anchor Charles Gibson highlighted the American perception, mostly formed by the media, of how those abroad view the U.S.: "The President comes here with firm backing from the American people. According to our ABC News/Washington Post poll, 43 percent of Americans say the country's image abroad is improving under President Obama. That number was just 10 percent under President Bush. And the President continues to get high marks at home, as well: 64 percent say they are confident the President's programs will improve the economy."

Also from London, CBS anchor Katie Couric stressed how foreigners are pleased Obama's not Bush: "What he represents to many countries overseas is a departure from the Bush administration which alienated some foreign governments early on with its rejection of global warming initiatives and its national security positions. It may be a fresh start, but the current President's approval ratings will only take him so far."

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

For a look back at how the networks hailed Obama's July trip through Europe, check the July 25 CyberAlert item, "Can't Contain Exhilaration Over 'World Stage' for 'Messiah' Obama," which recounted:

Barack Obama's Magical Media Tour hit its high point Thursday night as the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts all led with Obama's speech in Berlin, with NBC's Brian Williams and Andrea Mitchell the most giddy, though ABC featured a German man who hailed Obama as "my new messiah." ABC and NBC saw Obama on a "world stage." Charles Gibson teased ABC's newscast: "In a city steeped in history, before a massive crowd, the candidate calls on the world to tear down this generation's walls."

NBC anchor Brian Williams, in Berlin, trumpeted how "the first ever African-American running as presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party brought throngs of people into the center of Berlin, streaming into this city, surging to get close to him, to hear his message. And when it was all over, he talked to us." Viewers next heard a sycophantic Williams ooze to Obama:

When an American politician comes to Berlin, we've had some iconic utterances in the past. We've had "ich bin ein." We've had "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall." Is the phraseology that you would like remembered, "people of Berlin, people of the world, this is our moment, this is our time"?

Talking with Andrea Mitchell, an impressed Williams marveled over how "I heard one American reporter tonight say it's hard to come up with a list of others who could draw such a crowd, but then again it's hard to know what we witnessed here today." An equally awed Mitchell gushed: "It's hard to figure out what the comparison is, what do you compare this with?" She soon asserted that in his speech Obama "acknowledged America's flaws."...

Full rundown: www.mrc.org

Democratic President Goes to Europe,
So ABC Touts Past GOP Goofs

Good Morning America reporter Yunji de Nies on Tuesday touted supposed gaffes of past Republican Presidents in a segment on Barack Obama's trip abroad. De Nies intoned: "But one unlucky misstep and everyone remembers." As she said this, video of George W. Bush's 2005 trip to Beijing appeared on screen. (In the footage, the then-President can be seen trying to go out the wrong door.) More Republican footage followed.

First, 1992 video of George H.W. Bush throwing up in Japan was highlighted and then a 2006 picture of George W. Bush rubbing the neck of German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared. De Nies described these two events as "the upset stomach of a President" and an "awkward moment between two world leaders." Introducing a clip of veteran ABC correspondent Sam Donaldson, she continued, "Sam Donaldson remembers watching Ronald Reagan fight to stay awake at the G7 summit in Venice."

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

De Nies then cheered: "Jackie Kennedy got pretty close to perfect in Paris where her French language skills stole the show" and followed that by opining, "Hillary Clinton showed off her softer side [on foreign trips]." In fairness to the network reporter, she did feature a clip of Reagan's famous address at the Berlin Wall and added, "Nancy Reagan knew how to wow them with her style."

Regarding Michelle Obama, ABC's Ann Compton opined: "She simply has to be perfect. She has to be interested in what her hosts show us. She has to be very supportive of her husband's positions and she has to look fabulous." Compared to NBC and CBS's coverage, Good Morning America was the least effusive over the current presidential trip.

The Today show played the song "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" to slow motion video of Michelle Obama. See #4 below. On CBS's The Early Show, correspondent Elizabeth Palmer gushed: "To be honest, most Europeans were going to like whoever replaced President Bush. But there's no doubt Michelle and her husband have an extra je ne sais quoi." See #5 below.

A transcript of the March 31 Good Morning America segment, which aired at 7:18am:

DIANE SAWYER: Coming up now, as we know, we go back to the President going abroad. The first couple traveling overseas. It is a diplomatic event but it's also always a chance to show American style. And here's ABC's Yunji de Nies.

ABC GRAPHIC: Not Your Average Tourist: Presidential Travel Do's and Don'ts
YUNJI DE NIES: A President on the world stage can write a new chapter in history.
JOHN F. KENNEDY: Ich bin ein Berliner
RONALD REAGAN: Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!
SAM DONALDSON (ABC News): It's part showmanship. It's part knowing your subject and, let's face it, it's part luck.
DE NIES: But one unlucky misstep [Onscreen video of Bush trying to go out the wrong door during his trip abroad.] and everyone remembers. Like the upset stomach of a President [Video of an ill George H.W. Bush in Japan] or an awkward moment between two world leaders. [Picture of George W. Bush massaging the shoulder of Angela Merkel.] Sam Donaldson remembers watching Ronald Reagan fight to stay awake at the G7 summit in Venice.
DONALDSON: He would start to fall asleep and Shultz would hit him and then he'd sort of fall asleep and Baker would knock him one. And, of course, we had to show that. We can be a mean bunch.
DE NIES: It's not just him, all eyes will also be on her.
ANN COMPTON (ABC News): She simply has to be perfect. She has to be interested in what her hosts show us. She has to be very supportive of her husband's positions and she has to look fabulous.
DE NIES: Jackie Kennedy got pretty close to perfect in Paris where her French language skills stole the show.
[Jackie Kennedy speaking French.]
DE NIES: Her husband quipped that she, not he, led the visit.
KENNEDY: I am the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris.
DE NIES: Nancy Reagan knew how to wow them with her style. Hillary Clinton showed off her softer side and no matter how empowered first ladies may be at home, overseas they need to know their role or risk a potential backlash.
COMPTON: If Michelle Obama thought that campaign press and the White House press corps are tough, wait till she gets a sampling of European press, where even someone they idolize they can turn on very, very quickly.
DE NIES: And they will be watching it all. Will Mrs. Obama wear any European designers? How will she interact with the queen? And, Robin and Diane, they will even be sizing up her table manners.

NBC's Friesen on Michelle Obama: 'Can't
Take My Eyes Off of You'

As the song "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" played over slow-motion video of Michelle Obama (with Andy Williams singing "you're just too good to be true"), NBC's Dawna Friesen, on Tuesday's Today show, eagerly awaited the arrival of the Obamas in London, for the G20 summit, as she gushed: "Yes, her husband is, of course, the big star of the show, but this is Michelle Obama's first foray on to the global stage as First Lady. And you can bet that her every move, her every fashion decision will be dissected and analyzed, especially when the couple go to meet the Queen. But she's got a lot of good will on her side."

[This item, by the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Tuesday morning, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Friesen then played soundbites from random British fans cheering Michelle:

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Oh I think she's really cool. She's got a lot of really good styles. It makes a change from politicians' wives to look good.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: She looks supportive and that's what a man needs in life.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN#2: I have been totally stunned at the awesome nature of Michelle Obama.

Friesen did feature The Evening Standard's Helen Kirwan-Taylor, claiming: "She is absolutely terrifying for the British, because the British like their women to be subdued and doey-eyed and sort of modest and soft-spoken." Apparently Taylor believed former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was the shy and retiring type.

Friesen then concluded the piece by attempting to start a fashion feud between Michelle and France's Carla Bruni: "Now her rival in the glamour stakes, Carla Bruni, she's the wife of the French president of course, has decided not to come to this G20 meeting here in London, which I guess leaves more of the limelight to Mrs. Obama."

The following is the a complete transcript of the segment as it was aired on the March 31 Today show:

MATT LAUER: A lot of attention, of course, will be focused on President Obama during his European trip, but you can bet the spotlight will be just as hot on his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama. NBC's Dawna Friesen is in London with that part of the story. Hi, Dawna, good morning.

[On screen headline: "First Lady's First Trip, Michelle Takes The World Stage."]

DAWNA FRIESEN: Good morning, Matt. Yes, her husband is, of course, the big star of the show, but this is Michelle Obama's first foray on to the global stage as First Lady. And you can bet that her every move, her every fashion decision will be dissected and analyzed, especially when the couple go to meet the Queen. But she's got a lot of good will on her side.
[Song playing in background over slow-motion video of Michelle at convention, dancing with Barack, and hugging Barack at rally: "You're just to good to be true, can't take my eyes off you."]
FRIESEN: Ask the British about Michelle Obama and you'll hear a lot of what you hear in the states.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Oh I think she's really cool. She's got a lot of really good styles. It makes a change from politicians' wives to look good.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: She looks supportive and that's what a man needs in life.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN#2: I have been totally stunned at the awesome nature of Michelle Obama.
FRIESEN: But from the sidelines of the British press there's been a bit of sniping too, about whether the First Lady is the power behind the throne.
JAMES DELINGPOLE, WELCOME TO OBAMALAND AUTHOR: The idea that, that, that Michelle Obama is sitting in the White House, looking fantastic in her frocks, and not whispering in, in her husband's ear occasionally I think defies belief. Her whisperings have a lot of influence on what her husband does.
HELEN KIRWAN-TAYLOR, THE EVENING STANDARD: She is absolutely terrifying for the British, because the British like their women to be subdued and doey-eyed and sort of modest and soft-spoken. I mean, Princess Di. Here comes this woman who is in your face. You know everything about her says, "I'm confident, I know what I want, I can do anything."
FRIESEN: Her every move will be watched and analyzed, and inevitably, compared to the day Jackie O met the Queen when JFK was President. Though Harvard-educated Michelle Obama has substance, not just style, and that's what sets her apart.
TAYLOR: What she is, is encouraging is, is the idea of accomplishment, which is what I'm hoping is, is the direction we're going, and where, where girls will want to be accomplished and beautiful. FRIESEN: Still navigating all the protocol can be a mine field, and then there's those arms, the envy of a lot of British women.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN#2 AT GYM: I think she has such a nice shape and tone to her arms it makes anyone with a bit of excess want to have something really similar.
FRIESEN: And now it's not just the First Lady's arms many covet, but her green thumb. Gardening is a great British pastime and going organic puts her at the top of the heap.
LORNA MCKEAND, GARDENER: If the First Lady can do it, well so can I. You know she's prepared to get her hands dirty. And it's a good leveling, sort of democratic thing to do, isn't it?
FRIESEN: Now her rival in the glamour stakes, Carla Bruni, she's the wife of the French president of course, has decided not to come to this G20 meeting here in London, which I guess leaves more of the limelight to Mrs. Obama. Matt?
LAUER: Alright Dawna Friesen in London for us this morning. Dawna thank you very much.

CBS's Early Show: The Obamas 'Have An
Extra Je Ne Sais Quoi'

In the 8:00AM EDT hour of Tuesday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Elizabeth Palmer gave a gushing report on Barack and Michelle Obama's upcoming trip to Europe, particularly focusing on the popularity of the new First Lady: "In 1961 when Jacqueline Kennedy came to Europe, she enchanted even the crustiest of world leaders. And she's remained a tough act to follow for every First Lady since. But Michelle Obama looks more than equal to the task of impressing and delighting even the grandest of them...To be honest, most Europeans were going to like whoever replaced President Bush. But there's no doubt Michelle and her husband have an extra je ne sais quoi." Palmer cited French journalist Agnes Poirier, who declared: "Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are a very alluring and very sophisticated couple, and that plays well with the French. They like seeing, you know, sophistication at the helm of power." Palmer concluded her report by adding: "And this sophisticated lady hand in hand with power looks poised to do wonders for America's image abroad."

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

Following that fawning report, co-host Julie Chen spoke with Angela Buttolph, the fashion editor of the British women's magazine Grazia, and asked questions like: "Why is the UK so excited about Michelle Obama's visit? What do they love about her?...So what are the British hoping to see her wear? Some British designers or whatever she wears this woman can do no wrong?...How big of a fashion trend-setter is she over there? You know, she's been wearing a lot of sleeveless dresses here, Americans, you know, can't get enough of those. Is that happening over there in the UK, whatever she's wearing, people over there want to buy?"

In her final question to Buttolph, Chen wondered: "And in the final seconds, what about her personality, or do the Brits just want to see what she's wearing? Don't they love something about her as a mom? A wife? An ivy league-educated woman?" Buttolph replied: "I mean, she's the full package, isn't she? And that makes it even more appealing when she's wearing an amazing outfit, because you think it's not just the surface, they kind of, you know, absolutely can tell that she's incredibly cultured, intelligent, powerful woman as well. And to also be able to dress yourself in an incredibly stylish way is just wonderful."

Here is the full transcript of the March 31 segment:

8:00AM TEASE:
JULIE CHEN: London calling. Britain goes bonkers for Michelle Obama as the First Lady gets set to meet the Queen.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I think she's just a lovely person. And she seems to come over with a great personality.

8:06AM SEGMENT:
JULIE CHEN: Britain loves First Lady Michelle Obama. They cannot wait to see what she wears or what she says when she meets the Queen of England on her trip there this week. CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer has more.
ELIZABETH PALMER: In 1961 when Jacqueline Kennedy came to Europe, she enchanted even the crustiest of world leaders. And she's remained a tough act to follow for every First Lady since. But Michelle Obama looks more than equal to the task of impressing and delighting even the grandest of them.
VICTORIA MATHER: I think that Michelle Obama is going to be just Prince Phillip's cup of tea. She's a feisty, intelligent, beautiful woman. What's there not to like?
PALMER: To be honest, most Europeans were going to like whoever replaced President Bush. But there's no doubt Michelle and her husband have an extra je ne sais quoi.
AGNES POIRIER: Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are a very alluring and very sophisticated couple, and that plays well with the French. They like seeing, you know, sophistication at the helm of power.
PALMER: And this sophisticated lady hand in hand with power looks poised to do wonders for America's image abroad. Elizabeth Palmer, CBS News, London.
CHEN: Joining us from London, Angela Buttolph, who writes for the British women's magazine 'Grazia.' Good morning, Angela.
ANGELA BUTTOLPH: Hello.
CHEN: Why is the UK so excited about Michelle Obama's visit? What do they love about her?
BUTTOLPH: Well, we're very excited about her visit because we just want to see what she's wearing, to be honest.
CHEN: That's honest.
BUTTOLPH: She's such a stylish lady -- yeah. And she -- and the brilliant thing about Michelle Obama is that she loves fashion. You can absolutely tell that from all her outfits. She's not just, kind of, trying to look smart and trying to look appropriate for a First Lady, you can tell that she loves clothes.
CHEN: So what are the British hoping to see her wear? Some British designers or whatever she wears this woman can do no wrong?
BUTTOLPH: Well, I think we would be, like, completely enchanted if she wore some British designers. It would be great to see her in Alexander McQueen or perhaps a Burberry trench coat. As you can see, the weather here is not great for sleeveless dresses, which is always her signature style.
CHEN: How big of a fashion trend-setter is she over there? You know, she's been wearing a lot of sleeveless dresses here, Americans, you know, can't get enough of those. Is that happening over there in the UK, whatever she's wearing, people over there want to buy?
BUTTOLPH: I think it's more that she's kind of picking certain really key trends in fashion at the moment. And those are obviously being picked up on over here. One of the things she's known for is wearing really bright colors. And that's going to be a huge trend for spring. Yesterday I was wearing a yellow dress with a huge necklace. And I was thinking, this is such a Michelle Obama look. And what's great about her is she already has this very distinctive kind of style.
CHEN: And in the final seconds, what about her personality, or do the Brits just want to see what she's wearing? Don't they love something about her as a mom? A wife? An ivy league-educated woman?
BUTTOLPH: I mean, she's the full package, isn't she? And that makes it even more appealing when she's wearing an amazing outfit, because you think it's not just the surface, they kind of, you know, absolutely can tell that she's incredibly cultured, intelligent, powerful woman as well. And to also be able to dress yourself in an incredibly stylish way is just wonderful.
CHEN: Angela Buttolph, thank you.
BUTTOLPH: Thanks.

Shuster Slams 'Nutty,' 'Offensive' Quotes
from Rush and Others

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue host David Shuster escalated his attack on Rush Limbaugh and other conservatives on Monday's show. In a tease for a segment on "GOP all stars," Shuster complained: "Plus, the nutty rhetoric continues from Rush Limbaugh, Michael Steele and Sarah Palin." In a later tease, he fretted: "Up next, how offensive can Rush Limbaugh be?"

The attack on Limbaugh was taken straight from a clip posted on the liberal Media Matters website on Friday. Limbaugh was discussing the flooding in North Dakota and made a joke about PC language and also a sly comment on how the Obama administration is dropping phrases such as the "war on terror." However, Shuster raged to guests Matt Lewis and Democratic strategist Chris Kofinis: "Rush Limbaugh referred, used the word dike when talking about flooding in North Dakota. But, that was not the context that he was using it. He was talking about Democratic female politicians. That kind of stuff, where does that, why do people listen to Rush Limbaugh?"

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

Even a partial transcript from a liberal Web site makes Limbaugh's point clear:

I heard some top of the hour news and it made me feel uncomfortable. It's about the flooding in Fargo, North Dakota brought on by the melting snowpack and the icepack. (reading from news item) "As the Red River threatens to overflow, they're filling in the dikes." Isn't there a more appropriate word? Do we have to say, I mean, we don't have any dikes here. The 'dykes' are over there...They're filling in the dikes. Couldn't we change that to 'they're filling in the contingencies' or something?...We really need to change that word.

See Teachthefacts: www.teachthefacts.org

Media Matters' audio: mediamatters.org

Obviously, this was a joke about how the Obama administration will now be using the phrase "overseas contingency operations" instead of "war on terror."

Shuster, who on Monday called Limbaugh "amazingly offensive," insisted on March 5 that those Republicans who don't denounce the radio host "appear unpatriotic." See a March 6 CyberAlert posting for more: www.mrc.org

A partial transcript of the March 30 segment and the teases, follows:

6pm EDT tease
DAVID SHUSTER: Plus, the nutty rhetoric continues from Rush Limbaugh, Michael Steele and Sarah Palin. Palin stands by her complaints about the McCain campaign.
GOVERNOR SARAH PALIN: But nobody that I could find that I wanted to hold hands with and pray with.
SHUSTER: Senator McCain responds.

6:12 tease
SHUSTER: At the half hour, Republican Michael Steele has done it again. His latest rhetoric is confusing and strange, but it's nothing compared to Rush Limbaugh's latest screed. The GOP all stars, we will have their latest at the half hour.

6:21pm tease
SHUSTER: Coming up at the half-hour, the GOP all stars: The latest bizarre rhetoric from Sarah Palin, Michael Steele and Rush Limbaugh. You don't want to miss this.

6:27pm tease
SHUSTER: Up next, how offensive can Rush Limbaugh be? We will show you. Plus, the latest bizarre comments from RNC chair Michael Steele and the prayer battle between Sarah Palin and John McCain. A GOP round-up.

6:30
SHUSTER: Welcome back to "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue." As President Obama prepares for his trip to Europe tomorrow and a spotlight on the world stage, it's hard to miss the Vaudeville act here at home in the Republican Party. And the GOP all stars are at it again. Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele said last week his fight with Rush Limbaugh was by design. Now says he is done with President Obama.
[Brief clip of Steele CNN interview]
SHUSTER: If Michael Steele doesn't make you sad, well, then there's radio host Rush Limbaugh, no longer with content with wanting the President to fail, Rush is now calling out Mr. Obama as a girly man.
RUSH LIMBAUGH: Well, I tell you what'€˜s really scary about U.S. foreign policy right now is that Hillary Clinton is incompetent. The scary thing is she's twice the man Obama is. And that illustrates just how precarious our circumstance is.
SHUSTER: Speaking of precarious, then there's GOP favorite Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. She's blaming her '€˜08 electoral loss on the McCain campaign and God?
SARAH PALIN: So I'm looking around for somebody to pray with. I just need maybe a little extra. And the McCain campaign, love them, there are a lot of people around me, but nobody I could find that wanted to hold hands with and pray.
SHUSTER: Joining us now is tonight's political panel. Chris Kofinis is a Democratic strategist and communications director for John Edwards. And Matt Lewis is a writer at AOLPoliticsDaily.com. Welcome to you both. Let's start with Michael Steele. Last week we heard that every move of his was part of a grand plan. Watch this.
STEELE: I am a cause and effect kind of guy. If I do something, there's a reason for it. Even if it may look like a mistake, a gaffe, there is a rational, there's a logic behind it. It helps me understand my position on the chess board. It helps me understand, you know, where the enemy camp is and where those inside the tent are.
CNN HOST: It's all strategic?
STEELE: It's all strategic.
SHUSTER: It's all strategic. Well, Matt Lewis, do you believe Michael Steele?
MATT LEWIS (AOLPoliticsDaily.com): Let me just say, if I make any mistakes tonight, it's all strategic. It's all planned.
SHUSTER: He's the chairman of the Republican National Committee. Do you believe him?
LEWIS: No, I actually don't. I think that was pure spin. By the way, I'm surprised that Michael Steele is even out there again. I thought he was doing better when he was being quiet. So, I'm actually surprised to see him back on television right now. Howard Dean had this same thing happen when he first became chairman.
SHUSTER: Not like this.
LEWIS: Not quite like this. But Howard Dean had enough sense to sort of stay away from TV for a while. Michael Steele should learn that.
...
SHUSTER: A part of the media is Rush Limbaugh, who has, according to his own count, 20 some million viewers. Rush Limbaugh referred- used the word dike when talking about flooding in North Dakota. But, that was not the context that he was using it. He was talking about Democratic female politicians. That kind of stuff, where does that- why do people listen to Rush Limbaugh?
LEWIS: He's amazingly good. SHUSTER: But, he's amazingly offensive. He's offensive. Would you acknowledge that?
LEWIS: You know, I actually lived in North Dakota for a while. I have a lot of friends in North Dakota. So, I understand the sensitivity when you have this sort of tragedy going on.
SHUSTER: He wasn't talking about flooding.
LEWIS: It was a light-hearted moment.
CHRIS KOFINIS (Democratic strategist): This is the problem.
LEWIS: Conservatives are often criticized for being uptight and buttoned down.
KOFINIS: That's not funny. Being offensive, I think'€"
LEWIS: On air for 15 hours a week you might occasionally'€"
KOFINIS: I don'€˜t think it'€˜s an excuse for being that offensive. The reality, again, here is that Rush Limbaugh has such a powerful voice in the Republican Party, speaks volumes as to where the state of the Republican Party is right now. He is, for all intents and purposes, the ideological soul of the Republican Party.

Jon Stewart and CNN's Jack Cafferty's
Bash Bush/Praise Obama Show

As you might expect, Jon Stewart and CNN commentator Jack Cafferty's combined act on Monday's Daily Show consisted of some serious discussion of the economy intermixed with unoriginal jabs at former President George W. Bush's speech pattern and high praise for the Obamas. Stewart even half-jokingly suggested that if Obama "doesn't do well," (perish the thought!), "we can still blame it on Bush."

Cafferty was on the Comedy Central program to promote his new book, "Now or Never." After the two initially joked about this title and the title of his last book ("It's Getting Ugly Out There"), the commentator made his first joke about Bush. Stewart asked, "Are you feeling less confident in our ability to pull this out? Is your perspective that we truly are in a nosedive?" Cafferty replied, "I don't know. You know, I've got -- I've got some faith, I think, in the new president. He's capable of making a declarative sentence, a cohesive thought." When the audience applauded, Stewart quipped, "Big grammar fans."

The CNN commentator then continued to gush over Obama: "I like Obama. I think he's a bright guy. He's a former editor of the Harvard Law Review, former senator, president of the United States, and he goes on The Tonight Show and says, arguably, the stupidest thing he's ever said in his entire adult life."

[This item, by the MRC's Matthew Balan, was posted Tuesday evening, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Stewart was actually a bit critical of the president: "You know, in terms of the economy. Obama runs on a platform of -- these guys have screwed the country over eight years. We need new leadership....Then the financial bailout as -- these guys have screwed up the financial markets for eight years, let's let them figure it out. It's these antithesis of what he ran on." Cafferty had only one response, which was to continue bashing Bush and his administration: "In fairness though, that first $700 billion -- that was Paulson and the boys under George Bush last fall....Here is $700 billion, and do what you want with it. You know, go camping -- have a nice day."

Not satisfied with merely knocking on the former president, the commentator then made the predictable Cheney/hunting gag:

STEWART: Now honestly, they wouldn't go camping. They would go to the Ritz-Carlton.
CAFFERTY: They'd go hunting-
STEWART: They're not going to go camping.
CAFFERTY: They'd go hunting -- with Cheney. (laughs)
(audience laughs)
STEWART: (laughs) Exactly.

Later, the two discussed the "populist rage" growing in response to the economic situation, and the two combined both elements of their act in a bit of a finale:

STEWART: Is there a stirring up of a populism that feels helpless and therefore, will just become destructive, or is there something constructive in people getting upset? Because Americans when they get upset -- you know, you look at other countries, man-
CAFFERTY: Oh yeah!
STEWART When they get upset, they actually go on strike-
CAFFERTY: They go to the streets.
STEWART: They have riots. We just kind of send off e-mails in capital letters, you know? (audience laughs)
CAFFERTY: (laughs) Yeah. In fairness -- in fairness, you know what they did when they got upset? They elected an African-American president. If it hadn't been for George Bush and Dick Cheney and Rumsfeld and the rest of that cabal of whatever they were for eight years, I don't think Obama gets in. I think it's probably Hillary [Clinton], or you know, somebody -- or maybe it's McCain. I think the outrage at Bush created the opportunity for Obama to be the next president. And I think that was the first indication that people are saying -- okay, we're going to get actively involved and try to do something different.
STEWART: So if Obama doesn't do well, we can still blame it on Bush?
CAFFERTY: I think so.
(audience laughs)
STEWART: You've made me a very happy man.
CAFFERTY: Thank you.
STEWART: All right. Because I think, for many folks out there, to not have him to blame is a very uncomfortable position to be in.

Talk about unsatirizable!

-- Brent Baker