NBC's Brian Williams Empathizes with the 'Human' in Obama --11/3/2008
2. ABC's Claire Shipman: Women 'Lust' After 'Rock Star' Barack Obama
3. CNN's Carol Costello: ACORN 'Committed to Registering Minority Voters'
4. Meacham: Obama's 'Freedom from Want' Is 'Very Conservative'
5. Studies: No Doubt About It: All But Fox News Tipping Obama's Way
6. If Only Journalists Voted: Presidents Mondale, Dukakis, Kerry...
7. 96% of Slate Staff to Vote for Obama; 55 Obama to One for McCain
Just as he did in two earlier interviews with Barack Obama when he held up magazine covers and asked Obama to glow in the moment, in an excerpt from this week's session with Obama aired on Friday's NBC Nightly News, Williams cued up Obama with another visual image -- this time holding up a photograph of Obama in sandals in Honolulu when he went for a walk after visiting his dying grandmother -- to empathize: "The human in you, and the husband and father and grandson must want to just bust out sometimes, or disappear, if you can't go for a walk like that?" Back in January, Williams held up a Newsweek with Obama on the cover and wondered: "How does this feel?" In May, he held up a Time magazine cover with Obama's picture and presented it to him: "Have you yet held this in your hands?"
Showing Obama the picture of him walking in a Honolulu neighborhood, Williams pondered: "I want to ask you about -- it's a press-related question. This picture was so striking to me. And according to the press pool traveling with you, you asked to just take a walk and be alone. You're visiting your grandmother. What may, by all accounts be the last time you see her. How do you react to this, I guess it's part of the contract you make when you run in such an extended campaign, but, the human in you, and the husband and father and grandson must want to just bust out sometimes, or disappear, if you can't go for a walk like that?"
The Nightly News excerpt only included one other question from Williams, one about "concern expressed about one-party control. That it would mean a green light to the likes of Reid and Pelosi and that parties with one-party control tend to overreach. Do you have an assurance to the American people that you would rein it in and not try to overreach?"
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Friday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The October 31 CyberAlert item, "After Discrediting McCain, Williams Again Cozies Up to Obama," recounted the first interview excerpt run Thursday night:
A week after NBC's Brian Williams spent his time with John McCain and Sarah Palin in Ohio discrediting the accuracy of their claims and pushing for assurance their campaign wouldn't mention Jeremiah Wright, Williams on Thursday night in Florida returned to the same cozy approach with Barack Obama, though without the memories of mom, he employed in earlier interviews with the Democratic candidate. After declaring Obama's campaign is "fueled by the urgent fight to fix the economy," Williams cited fresh bad economic news before cuing up Obama: "How do you tailor your message to this crowd? Is there more pain before there's a gain?"
His other three questions in the first excerpt run on Thursday's NBC Nightly News (with more to come Friday night) also didn't challenge any of Obama's claims or attacks, nor raise any detracting information: "Why did it take so long for Bill Clinton to join you for a rally like the one we saw here in Florida last night?" Then two questions which seemed to presume Obama will soon take office: "Does America need American car companies? Is three too many? Two too few? And on top of the billions already spent, what's it worth to you, if the answer is yes?" And lastly, a long question about litmus tests for Supreme Court nominees and if you don't apply one "how then do you also avoid surprises?" ...
Full rundown: www.mrc.org
Back on January 7, Williams handed Obama a Newsweek with "Inside Obama's Dream Machine" as the cover story and wondered: "How does this feel, of all the honors that have come your way, all the publicity? Who does it make you think of? Is there, is there a loved one?"
Check the January 8 CyberAlert item, "Williams Slobbers Over Obama; Couric Counters McCain on Surge," for much more on that interview aboard a bus in New Hampshire: www.mrc.org
Then, in a May 8 sit-down with Obama, Williams didn't pose a single challenging question nor mention Jeremiah Wright in any of the ten questions aired, but pulled the same magazine stunt, this time holding up the new Time with a smiling Obama on the cover by the words, "And the Winner* Is..." Williams fondly recalled: "Last time we were together, I handed you a copy of Newsweek, it was the first time you'd held it in your hands with you on the cover. Have you yet held this in your hands?" Obama said he had not, prompting Williams to remind him: "Last time you looked at it and you thought instantly of your mom." Obama effused: "She'd like that picture. She always encouraged me to smile more."
For more on that interview, see: "Williams Tosses Softballs to Obama, Empathizes Over Elitist Image," at: www.mrc.org
The second excerpt from the October 30 interview, conducted in Sarasota, as aired on the Friday, October 31 NBC Nightly News:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Tonight we have part two of our conversation yesterday in Florida with Barack Obama. And tonight's installment is about party politics, and privacy.
WILLIAMS TO OBAMA: If you're successful on election night, if your party is successful on election night and you do well in the House and Senate, there's been a lot of concern expressed about one-party control. That it would mean a green light to the likes of Reid and Pelosi and that parties with one-party control tend to overreach. Do you have an assurance to the American people that you would rein it in and not try to overreach?
As though the ABC correspondent were reading from a press release, she opened the segment by fawning: "And over the years, Michelle Obama in her personal journey has achieved a remarkable feat. She's carved a role for herself a path that both embraces and transcends race." Later, Shipman insisted: "An incredible journey that even more than her husband's is emblematic of the country's racial transformation." At no point, did Shipman, who once rhapsodized about the "fluid poetry" of the presidential candidate, discuss any of Michelle Obama's gaffes during the 2008 campaign, such as her famous comment in February that "for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country."
[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Friday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
On Tuesday's GMA, Shipman interrogated undecided voters about whether they could be unconsciously racist and probed, "Anybody think he's uppity?" See an October 30 CyberAlert posting for more: www.mrc.org
A transcript of the segment, which aired at 7:31am on October 31:
ROBIN ROBERTS: The other would-be first lady is Michelle Obama, of course. And what has really shaped her these last couple of years? So, we're going to go to our GMA senior correspondent, Claire Shipman, who is in Washington with that story. Good morning, Claire.
On Friday's American Morning program, CNN correspondent Carol Costello referred to the liberal organization ACORN as merely "a group committed to registering minority voters," and highlighted how it's "trying to quiet what it calls 'hysteria,' coming from conservative circles" who "charge it's...guilty of voter fraud." The on-screen graphic accompanying her report, which was the last full segment during the 6 am Eastern hour of the CNN program, exclaimed "ACORN Fight Back: Says Conservatives Creating 'Hysteria.'"
Despite playing two clips from Republican presidential candidate John McCain and conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who both criticized ACORN, Costello played three clips from two individuals who sympathized with the organization. The first two clips came from former U.S. attorney David Iglesias, who was one of eight U.S. attorneys who were controversially fired by the Justice Department in 2006. He compared the GOP's focus on the liberal group to the "Red Scare of the 1950s." During the third clip, Michael Waldman, a former speechwriter for President Clinton who now directs the Brennan Center at NYU's School of Law, emphasized that "voters should know is that when someone registers under a fake name, that doesn't mean they can vote under a fake name." Costello identified Waldman as merely as an "elections expert," and repeated his talking point twice at the end of her report.
[This item, by the MRC's Matthew Balan, was posted Friday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Costello began her report with her reference to ACORN as a "a group committed to registering minority voters." She didn't mention once during her report that this "group" has a "liberal political agenda and ties to Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama," as the Las Vegas Review-Journal mentioned in an October 9 article about Nevada authorities' raid on their office in Sin City.
For more on the law enforcement raid on ACORN's headquarters in Los Vegas, see the October 9, 2008 article by Molly Ball in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, "Voter Registration Fraud: Activists Defend Actions," at: www.lvrj.com
The CNN correspondent then detailed the liberal organization's efforts in "trying to turn the tables on Republicans who charge it's not only guilty of voter fraud, but of trying to swing the election Obama's way." After reading ACORN's "hysteria" line, Costello referred to the group's "TV ad touting its mission to sign up minority voters, and accusing Republicans of suppressing votes." She then played the clips from McCain and Limbaugh, followed by a look at Lake County, Indiana's "ACORN problem," in which an unidentified election official in the county confirmed that nearly half of the voter registration forms turned in by the organization were "bad."
Near the end of her report, Costello played Iglesias and Waldman's clips:
COSTELLO: Federal law requires organizations to turn in all completed forms, phony or not. ACORN said it's fired some of its employees for putting fake names on registration applications, and some of its workers have been charged or convicted for what they did. But former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias says that does not prove voter fraud.
Waldman worked for Ralph Nader's organization Public Citizen before being hired by the Clinton administration, first as Special Assistant to the President for Policy Coordination between 1993 and 1995, and then as Director of Speechwriting from 1995 until 1999, according to his biography by the Brennan Center.
For Michael Waldman's biography by the Brennan Center go to: www.brennancenter.org
After the clip from Waldman, Costello stated how both sides in the debate over ACORN agree that the liberal organization "does need to be more careful about how it hires its employees." She then continued by repeating Waldman's point: "But again, just because it has sent in these phony names on registration forms does not mean that voter fraud will be committed at the ballot box." When co-host John Roberts asked whether the debate over ACORN is an "an issue of perception," Costello agreed and then repeated Waldman's talking point again: "Oh absolutely, because Republicans absolutely think ACORN has done wrong. But Democrats feel that it's been overblown. So, you're right. It's a very partisan issue. But, again, at the ballot box, it doesn't mean that voter fraud will be committed."
This isn't the first time American Morning has tried to shroud ACORN's political agenda and connections to Obama. On October 9, co-host Kiran Chetry didn't even mention the organization's name during a news brief about "a community organization that helps organize voter outreach."
For more on Chetry's October 9 news brief which omitted ACORN's name, see the October 10 CyberAlert item, "CNN Omits ACORN's Name From Brief on Voter Fraud Raid in Vegas:" www.mrc.org
Newsweek editor Jon Meacham brought his professorial tones to National Public Radio on Wednesday and Thursday's Morning Edition, discussing the Obama and McCain memoirs and what they say about the candidates. The oddest moment came in Wednesday's chat on Obama, when NPR anchor Steve Inskeep raised Franklin Roosevelt's Four Freedoms -- freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear, by which FDR meant global arms reductions. Inskeep explained: "Obama seems to suggest that while they are all important, that freedom from want and freedom from fear are the things that have to come first."
Meacham agreed that these liberal conceptions of freedoms are more important, but stressing them is a "very conservative" argument coming from Obama: "Yes. If you are hungry, you're not that interested in freedom of the press. If you are impoverished, you are interested in keeping yourself warm against the cold, and it's harder to think in Jeffersonian rights-of-man terms. Once those first two freedoms are secured, the others tend to follow. It's a very conservative argument that without order, nothing else is possible."
[This item, by the MRC's Tim Graham, was posted Friday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
For the audio of Meacham's October 29, see NPR's item "Analyzing Barack Obama's Worldview," at: www.npr.org
In making the case for Obama's alleged deep conservatism, Meacham felt by concentrating on global freedom from want, Obama can reduce foreign threats to America: "That idea has not appeared to be part of the strategic approach to our desire to transform parts of the world that have wished us active harm."
In an essay on Real Clear Politics, Charles Kesler quotes lines that sound a lot like the Obama radio interviews of 2001 on the inadequacy of the civil rights revolution without spreading the wealth around: "it matters little if you have the right to sit at the front of the bus if you can't afford the bus fare; it matters little if you have the right to sit at the lunch counter if you can't afford the lunch."
For Charles Kesler's essay, see Real Clear Politics' October 17 item "The Audacity of Barack Obama," at: www.realclearpolitics.com
The broader Meacham interview seemed devoted to the idea that with his international roots and childhood experiences, Obama brought an entirely unique perspective on how other countries perceive America as an ignorant bully, an unparalleled empathy that somehow even Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton didn't have -- a greater consciousness "of what American power feels like on the receiving end than on the giving end" -- when most Americans can find countries like Indonesia on a map. You would think Obama was already a foreign policy scholar in his grade-school years in Indonesia:
Anchor STEVE INSKEEP: Obama arrived in Indonesia during a period of turmoil. A U.S.-backed military ruler had just taken over. And as Barack Obama tells the story in "The Audacity of Hope," that government killed or imprisoned hundreds of thousands of people.
For the full text of Franklin Roosevelt's "Four Freedoms" speech: www.americanrhetoric.com
Yes, the media are rooting for Barack Obama. Two studies out in the past couple of days show that it's not just conservatives who see a strong tilt by journalists in favor of the Democrats: A nonpartisan media monitoring group and a liberal-leaning research organization both confirm the pro-Obama, anti-McCain bias of ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and MSNBC.
In reports last week, the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) and the Pew-funded Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) found the most balanced campaign coverage was on the Fox News Channel, although PEJ claimed FNC's balance was actually a right-leaning bias, since it deviated from the "norm" of other big media:
The PEJ numbers: www.journalism.org
[This item, by the MRC's Rich Noyes, was posted Saturday morning on MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Back in July, the nonpartisan CMPA delighted liberals with a study showing that McCain earned better press coverage than Obama in the first few weeks following the primaries. But CMPA's look at the general election is based on far more coverage (nearly 1,000 individual news stories) and shows a heavy slant in favor of Obama on ABC, CBS and NBC in coverage from August 23 through October 24. LA Times story: www.latimes.com
In the new study, CMPA found nearly two-thirds of soundbitess on the three broadcast networks were pro-Obama (65%), while less than one-third could be rated as positive towards McCain (31%). An earlier report from CMPA (assessing coverage through the end of September) showed a similar level of good press for Obama, but pegged McCain's positive press at 36%, indicating that the networks have become even more hostile towards the Republicans in October. See: www.newsbusters.org
In an October 31 report on the study, Associated Press TV writer David Bauder quoted CMPA's director bluntly summarizing the meaning of his study: "'For whatever reason, the media are portraying Barack Obama as a better choice for president than John McCain,' said Robert Lichter, a George Mason University professor and head of the center. 'If you watch the evening news, you'd think you should vote for Obama.'" AP dispatch: LINK: www.breitbart.com
On Wednesday, the more liberal Project for Excellence in Journalism reported their breakdown of cable news coverage of the election, and it showed MSNBC was overwhelmingly tilted against John McCain and in favor of Barack Obama. Nearly three-fourths (73%) of MSNBC's McCain coverage was negative, compared to just 10% positive. For Obama, the good press outweighed the bad by a greater than 3-1 margin, 43% to 14%. See PEJ's report: www.journalism.org
On CNN, McCain faced nearly five-to-one more bad news than good (13% positive vs. 61% negative), while Obama received much more balanced treatment -- 36% positive stories vs. 39% negative stories.
In contrast, the Fox News Channel treated both candidates to roughly the same level of good and bad press, with Obama earning just slightly better press than McCain. One-fourth of Obama stories on Fox (25%) were positive, compared to 22% of McCain's coverage. Both candidates received exactly the same proportion of negative stories on FNC, 40%.
So, while PEJ describes Fox as "a mirror image" of MSNBC, that makes sense only if you think a fair and balanced press should be skewed against McCain and in favor of Obama, just not as blatantly as MSNBC has done.
The bias has become apparent to nearly everyone. Last week, the Pew Research Center polled voters and found that "by a margin of 70 percent to 9 percent, Americans say most journalists want to see Obama, not John McCain, win on November 4." All that means is that 30% just aren't paying enough attention.
Rundown of the Pew findings: www.mrc.org
Going into Tuesday's election, polls show Democrat Barack Obama with a modest lead over Republican John McCain, but one group whose support of Obama should not be in doubt is the national media. Surveys of journalists conducted over the past three decades show the media elite are extremely consistent in choosing Democratic candidates on Election Day.
If only journalists were permitted to vote, we would never have had a President Reagan or a President Bush, but would have instead faced Presidents McGovern, Mondale, Dukakis and Kerry. It wouldn't have been close.
[This item, by MRC's the MRC's Rich Noyes, was posted Sunday morning on MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
In their 1986 book, The Media Elite, political scientists S. Robert Lichter, Stanley Rothman and Linda S. Lichter reported the results of their survey of 240 journalists at the nation's top media outlets: ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Time, Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report. When asked about their voting patterns, journalists admitted their preference for Democrats:
Of those who say they voted for major party candidates, the proportion of leading journalists who supported the Democratic candidate never drops below 80 percent. In 1972, when more than 60 percent of all voters chose Nixon, over 80 percent among the media elite voted for McGovern. This does not appear to reflect any unique aversion to Nixon. Despite the well-publicized tensions between the press and his administration, leading journalists in 1976 preferred Carter over Ford by the same margin. In fact, in the Democratic landslide of 1964, journalists picked Johnson over Goldwater by a sixteen-to-one margin, or 94 to 6 percent.
Amazon's page for the book: www.amazon.com
# Journalists Picked Carter over Reagan: In 1982, scholars at California State University at Los Angeles asked reporters from the fifty largest newspapers for whom they voted in 1980. The breakdown: 51 percent cast a ballot for President Jimmy Carter and another 24 percent chose independent candidate (and liberal Republican Congressman) John Anderson. Only 25 percent picked conservative Ronald Reagan, who won 51 percent of the public's vote that year.
# Journalists Picked Mondale over Reagan: In 1985, the Los Angeles Times polled news and editorial staffers at newspapers around the country, weighting the sample so that newspapers with large circulations were more heavily represented. Once again, pollsters discovered a heavy Democratic skew. When asked how they voted in the 1984 election, more than twice as many chose liberal Walter Mondale (58 percent) over the conservative incumbent Ronald Reagan (26 percent), even as the country picked Reagan in a 59 to 41 percent landslide.
# The White House Press Corps Voted for Democrats: In early 1995, Ken Walsh of U.S. News & World Report asked his fellow White House reporters to fill out a survey for a book he was writing; 28 returned his questionnaire. He concluded that "the White House press corps is overwhelmingly Democratic, confirming a stereotype often promoted by Republicans." Interestingly, he also learned how much reporters dislike being on the receiving end of personal inquiries: "Even though the survey was anonymous, many journalists declined to reveal their party affiliations, whom they voted for in recent presidential elections, and other data they regarded as too personal -- even though they regularly pressure Presidents and other officials to make such disclosures," Walsh related in his 1996 book, Feeding the Beast: The White House Versus the Press.
So what did the few forthright scribes reveal? As with larger, more scientific surveys, Walsh discovered "evidence of an overwhelming preference for Democrats in presidential elections. In 1992, nine respondents voted for Clinton, two for George Bush, and one for independent Ross Perot....In 1988, twelve voted for Democrat Michael Dukakis, only one for Bush....In 1984, ten voted for Democrat Walter Mondale, [and] no one admitted voting for Ronald Reagan....In 1980, eight voted for Democratic incumbent Jimmy Carter, two voted for Ronald Reagan, four voted for independent candidate John Anderson....In 1976, eleven voted for Carter and two for Republican incumbent Gerald Ford." That adds up to 50 votes for Democrats and just seven for Republicans, a seven-to-one ratio in favor of the Democrats.
# Huge Majorities for Dukakis and Clinton: In 2001, Stanley Rothman and Amy E. Black updated the Media Elite's survey of journalists, and learned that reporters continued to select Democrats. "Three-quarters of elite journalists (76.1 percent)...voted for Michael Dukakis in 1988, and even larger percentages (91.3 percent)...cast ballots for Bill Clinton in 1992," they reported in the Spring 2001 edition of The Public Interest. Voters were far less exuberant about those liberal candidates, as just 46 percent chose Dukakis and only 43 percent picked Clinton, who nevertheless won a three-way race. See: findarticles.com
# Nine Out of Ten Reporters Voted for Clinton: Rothman and Black's survey closely matched a Freedom Forum poll of Washington bureau chiefs and congressional correspondents, which found 89 percent had voted for Clinton in the 1992 election, compared with seven percent for President Bush and two percent for Ross Perot. "In no state or region, among no race or class, did support for Clinton predominate more lopsidedly than among this sample of 139 journalists who either cover Congress or head a Washington bureau," summarized Minneapolis Star-Tribune media writer Eric Black in an August 18, 1996 article: www.mrc.org
The Freedom Forum was not aiming to embarrass journalists by quantifying their liberalism. The report, on relations between Capitol Hill staffers and Washington, D.C. reporters, was released in April 1996, and the data on journalists' voting pattern was buried in an appendix. The study's director, former Chicago Tribune reporter Elaine Povich, gamely asserted that reporters' heavy preference for Bill Clinton did not mean that journalists' were incapable of being objective. "One of the things about being a professional is that you attempt to leave your personal feelings aside as you do your work," Povich told the Washington Times on April 18, 1996.
# Journalists for John Kerry: New York Times columnist John Tierney surveyed 153 campaign journalists at a press party at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, and found a huge preference for Democratic Senator John Kerry over incumbent Republican President George W. Bush, particular among journalists based in Washington, D.C. He found that journalists from outside Washington preferred Kerry by a three-to-one margin, while those who work inside the Beltway favored Kerry's election by a 12-to-1 ratio. Tierney's column: www.nytimes.com
After the election, in March and April 2005, the University of Connecticut's Department of Public Policy surveyed 300 journalists nationwide -- 120 who worked in the television industry and 180 who worked at newspapers. They found journalists favored Kerry over Bush by a wide margin, 52 percent to 19 percent (with 1 percent choosing far-left independent candidate Ralph Nader). One out of five journalists (21 percent) refused to disclose their vote, while another six percent either didn't vote or said they did not know for whom they voted. CyberAlert summary: www.mrc.org
Taken as a whole, these polls firmly establish the press's pattern of preferring Democrats at the voting booth. During the nine presidential elections for which data on the media's preferences are available, each Democrat won landslide support from journalists, sometimes by four-to-one or five-to-one margins. The percentage of reporters selecting the GOP candidate never exceeded 26 percent, even as the public chose Republicans in five of the eight elections, with margins of support ranging from a low of 38 percent (Bush in 1992) to a high of 61 percent (Nixon in 1972).
At a minimum, these statistics portray a media elite whose political thinking is to the left of most Americans. Hosting CNN's Reliable Sources on April 21, 1996, Washington Post media writer Howard Kurtz reacted to the Freedom Forum's poll: "Clearly anybody looking at those numbers, if they're even close to accurate, would conclude that there is a diversity problem in the news business, and it's not just the kind of diversity we usually talk about, which is not getting enough minorities in the news business, but political diversity, as well. Anybody who doesn't see that is just in denial."
A beyond overwhelming 96 percent of the staff of Slate.com, the online news magazine site owned by the Washington Post, plan to vote for Barack Obama. A Tuesday posting, "Slate Votes: Obama wins this magazine in a rout," reported 55 staff members plan to cast their ballot for Obama, a mere one person will vote for John McCain, the same number (one) who support libertarian Bob Barr. Another staffer replied: "Not McCain." It's hard to imagine such left-wing uniformity isn't matched at many other media outlets. In a Wednesday posting, Slate Editor-at-Large Jack Shafer (the Barr backer) quipped: "I doubt that Obama will garner 96 percent even in his home precinct of Hyde Park." See: www.slate.com
This year's annual staff survey matches the last two presidential contests when nearly every editor and reporter voted for Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004. Slate.com headlined an October 26, 2004 article: "At this magazine, it's Kerry by a landslide!" In 2000, 12 of the 13 in the top editorial positions voted for Gore, with the 13th going not for Bush but the libertarian. In all three years, the Democrat earned the vote of Slate's chief editor, Jacob Weisberg, a former Newsweek reporter.
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Saturday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
2004 CyberAlert on Slate's 2000 and 2004 skew: www.mediaresearch.org
Some of the explanations top Slate reporters and editors gave for choosing Obama:
# Emily Bazelon, Senior Editor: Obama
I am voting for Barack Obama because I agree with his tax policy, and I like his health and energy plans fine. I think he'll help restore our bruised image abroad. And I know he is about 1,000 times more likely than John McCain to choose Supreme Court justices who will resist rather than further the push to the right by Bush's picks, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito...
I could spin some story about the relative merits of John McCain and Barack Obama, but let's be honest: I would have voted for any Democrat who competed in the primaries over any Republican who might have been nominated. Why? Because I side with the Democrats on the things that matter most right now: foreign policy, economic policy, and health care. Those issues on which I'm most likely to diverge from the party line -- e.g., the environment, the death penalty -- don't seem nearly as important.
I'm a big-government liberal who wants universal health care and a sustainable energy policy. So, naturally, I'm backing the Democratic ticket. I don't dislike John McCain, but ever since he picked Sarah Palin as his running mate, I've questioned his judgment. He's old, and she's not qualified. While I'm not smitten with Barack Obama, I'm confident he won't damage our standing in the world and think he might even improve it.
No surprise here: I'm voting Obama. I've been following his career since he was in the Illinois Senate and rooting for him to run for president since the spring of 2006, when I read his first book and interviewed him for a magazine story. I came away from that encounter deeply impressed by Obama's thoughtfulness, his sensitivity to language, and his unusual degree of self-knowledge. This guy is the antidote to the past eight years. He's wise where Bush is foolish, calm where Bush is rash, deep where Bush is shallow. My admiration for him has grown steadily over the past 22 months. Unlike McCain, Obama hasn't allowed running from president to distort his beliefs or his character. His campaign has been true to what he thinks and who he is as a person.
Full rundown of all the explanation from the entire staff: www.slate.com
-- Brent Baker