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NBC's Mitchell Hails Hillary Clinton: 'Foreign Policy Superstar!' --5/5/2009


1. NBC's Mitchell Hails Hillary Clinton: 'Foreign Policy Superstar!'
In a piece that could've been crafted by Hillary Clinton's PR shop, NBC's Andrea Mitchell, on Monday's Today show, gushed on and on about the Secretary of State's new "role of a lifetime," as a "a foreign policy superstar," and cheered Clinton has the "highest approval ratings of any time in her career." Mitchell's theme throughout her story was that the "anger of the primaries" between Clinton and Barack Obama was long gone and that in her role of Secretary of State she has proven to be a "key asset to Team Obama," as Today co-anchor Matt Lauer observed in the intro. There wasn't a hint of skepticism or negative note in the story as Mitchell threw in soundbites from John Podesta, Joe Klein and presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin who chimed: "She seems to be really enjoying herself, as does he."

2. 'Trollish' Limbaugh, Cheney & Gingrich Turn Off Families to GOP
Chris Matthews asked his panel of reporters, on this past weekend's syndicated The Chris Matthews Show, to offer their prescriptions on how the GOP, in the wake of the Arlen Specter departure, can regain its popularity -- to which most of the liberal reporters like Joe Klein and Howard Fineman suggested they needed to abandon their "cut taxes, shrink government," message and some of their "trollish" spokesmen like Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney and Newt Gingrich because they're turning off families, women and "people who think that caring matters."

3. ABC, CBS Blame Conservative Social Positions for GOP Misfortunes
On ABC's World News on Saturday, and the same day's CBS Evening News, correspondents suggested that conservative positions on social issues were responsible for the Republican party's recent electoral misfortunes, as the two programs filed stories about an appearance in Arlington, Virginia by Jeb Bush, Eric Cantor and Mitt Romney as part of an effort to rebuild the party's appeal. ABC cited a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll showing only 21 percent of Americans identify themselves as Republicans, while CBS cited a Pew Research poll finding the number had dropped from 30 percent in 2004 to 23 percent currently.

4. Linda Greenhouse Lavishes More Love on a Liberal Justice
The New York Times' former Supreme Court reporter, liberal Linda Greenhouse, came out of journalistic retirement (she's now senior fellow at Yale Law School) to write the lead Sunday Week in Review profile of retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter, "Justice Unbound -- Washington is only where Souter goes for his 'annual intellectual lobotomy.' At home, he reads history."

5. ABC Features James Carville to Tout Theory of 40 Years of Dem Rule
ABC's Good Morning America, which has yet to interview talk show host Mark Levin about his best selling book on conservatism, featured James Carville on Monday to promote "40 More Years: How the Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation." Co-host Diane Sawyer recited passages from the Democratic operative's tome, "Let me read what you write here. 'Republicans shouldn't be worried. They should be in agony. They should be throwing up.'" Sawyer continued to read from Carville's book: "Republicans had better get a better policy on prescription drugs and quickly they're going to need a lot more Prozac." An onscreen graphic highlighted past one-party rule and speculated, "Democrats 1932-1968, Republicans 1968-2008, Democrats 2008-2048?"

6. NBC Uses Kemp Obit to Tout Obama as Proof U.S. a 'Great' Nation
In a brief item Monday evening about Jack Kemp's passing, the NBC Nightly News delivered an obit on Kemp's life, but while Brian Williams didn't find room in his 37-second update to mention how Kemp was behind the successful, supply-side Regan tax cuts, he decided it was newsworthy to point out how "Kemp was a conservative purist who, in a letter to his grandchildren months before his death, said the election of Barack Obama was proof that we live in a great country."


NBC's Mitchell Hails Hillary Clinton:
'Foreign Policy Superstar!'

In a piece that could've been crafted by Hillary Clinton's PR shop, NBC's Andrea Mitchell, on Monday's Today show, gushed on and on about the Secretary of State's new "role of a lifetime," as a "a foreign policy superstar," and cheered Clinton has the "highest approval ratings of any time in her career." Mitchell's theme throughout her story was that the "anger of the primaries" between Clinton and Barack Obama was long gone and that in her role of Secretary of State she has proven to be a "key asset to Team Obama," as Today co-anchor Matt Lauer observed in the intro. There wasn't a hint of skepticism or negative note in the story as Mitchell threw in soundbites from John Podesta, Joe Klein and presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin who chimed: "She seems to be really enjoying herself, as does he."

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

The following is a complete transcript of the segment as it was aired on the May 4 Today show:

MATT LAUER: And now to what some are calling an unlikely alliance. During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were fierce adversaries. But despite that bitter campaign, Clinton is proving to be a key asset to Team Obama as Secretary of State. NBC's Andrea Mitchell has more on that. Andrea, good morning to you.

[On screen headline: "From Foes To Friends, The Obama-Clinton Team"]

ANDREA MITCHELL: Good morning, Matt. Well it did seem at the time to be a risky choice, President Obama's decision to name Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State. But so far, it looks like their, that controversial decision is paying off and the two formal rivals have formed a real bond. Where in the world is Hillary Clinton? Circling the globe, more than 72,000 miles in just the first 100 days, but now as Barack Obama's envoy and confidante, speaking for him and his policy, not her own.
HILLARY CLINTON: I bring greetings from President Obama...On behalf of President Obama...From President Obama.
MITCHELL: White House officials say the feeling is mutual.
BARACK OBAMA: I've given you an early gift. Hillary Clinton.
MITCHELL: Gone is the anger of the primaries.
CLINTON: Shame on you, Barack Obama!
MITCHELL: Their foreign policy differences -- that's yesterday. Today she's playing for his team.
CLINTON: President Obama won the election. He beat me in a primary, in which he put forth a different approach. And he is now our president and we all want our president, no matter of which party, to succeed.
MITCHELL: Remember how she once said he was too inexperienced to be president? Not any more.
JOHN PODESTA, OBAMA TRANSITION TEAM: Wherever their struggles were during the course of the presidential nominating fight I think those are long past and I think people are working together effectively and working together well as a team.
MITCHELL: What does he get? A foreign policy superstar, attracting more attention for his message.
DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN: He's got a very powerful point person for his argument that he wants diplomacy to have a greater stake in the world and he couldn't have found a more powerful person than Hillary for that.
MITCHELL: And he, more than anyone, knows she is tough, undaunted by challenges on every continent. As for all those critics who said it wouldn't work, especially because of the ex-president, even he has gotten out of her way.
JOE KLEIN, TIME: Former President Clinton has been strangely silent these last three or four months, which is all to the good.
MITCHELL: Clearing the stage for his wife in the role of a lifetime.
GOODWIN: She seems more vibrant, more alive, loving the job. You felt, you feel that when you watch her out there. She seems relaxed. She seems to be really enjoying herself, as does he.
MITCHELL: And that's not to say that there aren't real problems. Most notably, right now Pakistan. They're really concerned about the safety of Pakistan's nuclear weapons supply. But that said she does seem to be enjoying her job, and that's reflected in her popularity. Right now, the highest approval ratings of any time in her career. So, at least for now, being a team player seems to have its own rewards. Matt?
LAUER: Alright Andrea, thank you very much. Andrea Mitchell in Washington this morning.

'Trollish' Limbaugh, Cheney & Gingrich
Turn Off Families to GOP

Chris Matthews asked his panel of reporters, on this past weekend's syndicated The Chris Matthews Show, to offer their prescriptions on how the GOP, in the wake of the Arlen Specter departure, can regain its popularity -- to which most of the liberal reporters like Joe Klein and Howard Fineman suggested they needed to abandon their "cut taxes, shrink government," message and some of their "trollish" spokesmen like Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney and Newt Gingrich because they're turning off families, women and "people who think that caring matters."

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

First up, Time magazine's Joe Klein suggested the GOP should moderate on health care because it would finally make them "look sane!" and "bring them into...the mainstream of American politics." Then Newsweek's Fineman charged it was the conservative message of "cut taxes, shrink," government that was the problem: "But it doesn't sell with, with people outside of their base demographic which are white males. There's something about that message that turns off families, that turns off women, that turns off people who think that caring matters about other-, I know that this sounds silly, but caring about other people." And finally Matthews went further saying it's not just the GOP's message but it's messengers who are the problem: "Can you, can you, can they get past the cacophony of Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich? These are sort of trollish figures. These aren't the caring people, are they?"

The following exchange occurred on the May 3 edition of The Chris Matthews Show:

JOE KLEIN, TIME: I think health care is a real litmus test for this party. I mean Mitt Romney is the one guy who has created universal health insurance in Massachusetts. And I've talked to members of the Senate who are Republicans who are willing to go down this road. If the Republicans show some moderation on this issue and don't just say, "no," then it'll be a sign that they might be able to come back.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: How does it help them if people like Mike Enzi out in Wyoming, people like that, do join this effort? Does it make them look nicer? What, what does it do for them?
KLEIN: It makes them look sane! It brings them into the, you know, the mainstream of American politics.
HOWARD FINEMAN, NEWSWEEK: Well Chris here, here's the thing that they have to confront. They're very comfortable, the core of the Republican Party, with their message of skepticism about government. Okay, that's what it is. Cut taxes, shrink government. Supposedly that's the theory. But it doesn't sell with, with people outside of their base demographic which are white males. There's something about that message that turns off families, that turns off women, that turns off people who think that caring matters about other-, I know that this sounds silly, but caring about other people. That's why the health care thing, Joe mentions, is so important. Because it's an expression of caring about people other than yourself. That's what matters. Yeah, yeah.
KLEIN: Caring about themselves! I mean you know a lot of those white men are scared they're gonna lose health insurance.
MATTHEWS: Can you, can you, can they get past the cacophony of Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich? These are sort of trollish figures. These aren't the caring people, are they?
(laughter)
MATTHEWS: I mean you talk about compassion.
FINEMAN: Yeah.
MATTHEWS: Do these voices like Newt and, and these guys, I'm just being serious here.

ABC, CBS Blame Conservative Social Positions
for GOP Misfortunes

On ABC's World News on Saturday, and the same day's CBS Evening News, correspondents suggested that conservative positions on social issues were responsible for the Republican party's recent electoral misfortunes, as the two programs filed stories about an appearance in Arlington, Virginia by Jeb Bush, Eric Cantor and Mitt Romney as part of an effort to rebuild the party's appeal. ABC cited a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll showing only 21 percent of Americans identify themselves as Republicans, while CBS cited a Pew Research poll finding the number had dropped from 30 percent in 2004 to 23 percent currently.

Pew: pewresearch.org

Post: www.washingtonpost.com

After a soundbite of Jeb Bush explaining that Republicans needed to spend more time "listening," "learning," and "upgrading our message," ABC's Rachel Martin contended that "that means moving hot-button social issues like abortion and gay marriage to the side, and shifting the focus to health care, education and the economy."

And, ignoring the fact that a substantial number of moderate House Democrats have taken conservative positions on issues like guns and abortion to win in their own conservative leaning districts, CBS's Kimberly Dozier more directly charged that conservative positions on such issues by Republicans had hurt the party: "The trio notably avoided controversial touch stones like gun rights or abortion, which are blamed for driving away moderates and independents." Notably, 65 House Democrats recently sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder stating their opposition to a new assault weapons ban.

[This item, by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, was posted Sunday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

But in looking at the results of the ABC poll, one finds that, while 51 percent of Americans support stricter gun laws, with 48 percent opposed; when asked whether they believed stricter enforcement of current laws or the passage of new laws would be more effective in reducing crime, 61 percent answered that "enforcing existing laws" would be more effective.

And while the ABC poll found that 35 percent of Americans choose to identify themselves as Democrats with only 21 percent identifying as Republicans; 35 percent identify as conservative while only 23 percent identify as liberal.

Back to ABC's report, after noting that "There was unified opposition to President Obama's stimulus plan" from Republicans, Martin reminded viewers about Rush Limbaugh's desire for President Obama to fail, without explaining Limbaugh's belief that the country would be harmed if Obama is successful in passing his agenda:

RACHEL MARTIN: But recently, the GOP has been saying a lot of no. There was unified opposition to President Obama's stimulus plan.
MITCH MCCONNELL, SENATE MINORITY LEADER: What characterizes the first 100 days is-
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: -taxes too much-
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #3: -spends too much-
JOHN BOEHNER, HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: -and it borrows too much from our kids and grandkids.
MARTIN: And a conservative conference cheered Rush Limbaugh when he said-
RUSH LIMBAUGH: I want Barack Obama to fail.

Below is a complete transcript of the relevant story from the May 2 World News on ABC, followed by that May 2 CBS Evening News:


# From the May 2 World News:

DAVID MUIR: We turn now to Washington this evening, where top Republicans have launched an urgent effort to revitalize their beleaguered party. The party was dealt a new blow this week when Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania jumped parties. And in the latest ABC News poll, just 21 percent of Americans say they identify themselves as Republicans. That's the fewest in any ABC News poll in 25 years. Here's Rachel Martin.

RACHEL MARTIN: It was billed as a townhall meeting with big GOP names, but it felt more like a therapy session for conservatives in crisis.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1 IN AUDIENCE: As Republicans, we've got to give Americans something to say yes to. We should stand strong, stay faithful to what we firmly believe, and go forward, but have a message that includes all Americans.
MITT ROMNEY: All I can say to that is amen.
MARTIN: But recently, the GOP has been saying a lot of no. There was unified opposition to President Obama's stimulus plan.
MITCH MCCONNELL, SENATE MINORITY LEADER: What characterizes the first 100 days is-
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: -taxes too much-
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #3: -spends too much-
JOHN BOEHNER, HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: -and it borrows too much from our kids and grandkids.
MARTIN: And a conservative conference cheered Rush Limbaugh when he said-
RUSH LIMBAUGH: I want Barack Obama to fail.
FORMER GOVERNOR JEB BUSH (R-FL): It's time for us to listen first, to learn a little bit, to upgrade our message a little bit.
MARTIN: That means moving hot-button social issues like abortion and gay marriage to the side, and shifting the focus to health care, education and the economy.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #4: The Republican party needs to go back to its principles of personal responsibility, fiscal responsibility.
MARTIN: For the most part, the people gathered here today were members of the GOP party faithful. But the real question is: Will this new message resonate far beyond the Republican party? A party that lost one of its last remaining moderate Senators this week.
SENATOR ARLEN SPECTER (D-PA): I have found myself increasingly at odds with the Republican philosophy and more in line with the philosophy of the Democratic party.
RAMESH PONNURU, NATIONAL REVIEW: That conservative core is absolutely necessary for Republican success, but it's not enough. It's not sufficient. And Republicans have to find a way to reach beyond it while keeping it.
MARTIN: For now, Republicans say they have to listen and learn, so that once again they can lead. Rachel Martin, ABC News, Arlington, Virginia.


# From the May 2 CBS Evening News:

JEFF GLOR: In Virginia today, Republicans are regrouping. Following two serious setbacks in the last two national elections, Kimberly Dozier tells us prominent members of the GOP are meeting to retool their message and plot their comeback.

KIMBERLY DOZIER: It's no accident this looks like a campaign stop. Leading Republicans came here to figure out why they lost the last election, and to try and make sure they don't lose the next one. It was standing room only at Arlington's Pie-Tanza's Pizza on a Saturday morning, but GOP membership is in freefall. A Pew Research Center survey found that fewer than a quarter of those polled call themselves Republicans. That's down from 30 percent in 2004. Just this past week, the party lost longtime Senator Arlen Specter, and a congressional seat in New York. This was a message: We hear you.
FORMER GOVERNOR JEB BUSH: (R-FL): You can't beat something with nothing, and the other side has something. I don't like it, but they have it, and we have to be respectful and mindful of that.
DOZIER: And they have to come up with alternatives to shape the GOP's current label as the "party of no" for voting against Democratic policies.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN IN AUDIENCE: I just firmly believe that, as Republicans, we've got to give Americans something to say yes to. Let's do it. Let's make it happen. That's how we get, that's how we take this country back.
MITT ROMNEY: All I can say to that is amen.
DOZIER: This new movement is the brainchild of Congressman Eric Cantor, who admits the party has made mistakes in the past.
ERIC CANTOR, HOUSE MINORITY WHIP: No question we could have done a lot better. There's no question we took our licks, and rightfully so in many instances.
DOZIER: He says this is about coming up with new ideas on the economy, energy, health care, and national security. The trio notably avoided controversial touch stones like gun rights or abortion, which are blamed for driving away moderates and independents. These townhall meetings are about bringing them back. It's how the GOP turned its fortunes around when it lost to President Clinton in 1992 and came up with the blueprint for what became Newt Gingrich's Contract with America.
FRANK LUNTZ, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: Within two years, they recaptured the House and the Senate. Why? Because they engaged in this same kind of conversation.
DOZIER: Their message is: They get it. They lost because the people weren't getting what they wanted. Now it's up to the GOP to figure out what that is.

Linda Greenhouse Lavishes More Love on
a Liberal Justice

The New York Times' former Supreme Court reporter, liberal Linda Greenhouse, came out of journalistic retirement (she's now senior fellow at Yale Law School) to write the lead Sunday Week in Review profile of retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter, "Justice Unbound -- Washington is only where Souter goes for his 'annual intellectual lobotomy.' At home, he reads history."

[This item, by Clay Waters, was posted Monday on the MRC's TimesWatch site: www.timeswatch.org ]

Souter was nominated by the first President Bush but disappointed conservatives by often voting with the court's liberal bloc, which may be why Greenhouse wished him such a fond farewell:

David H. Souter had no agenda 19 years ago when he took his seat on the Supreme Court, but he did have a goal: not to become a creature of Washington, a captive of the privileges and power that came with a job he was entitled to hold for the rest of his life. In this, no matter what else can be said about his tenure on the court, he succeeded brilliantly.

Just a few decades ago, this would hardly have been a singular accomplishment. Even the most distinguished Supreme Court justices often disappeared from public view, speaking only through their opinions -- the full texts of which were all but inaccessible to ordinary citizens without access to a law library. But in this media-saturated age, the justices are everywhere. If they are not on book tours, they are opining on the authorship of Shakespeare's plays, or mingling with their peers in Europe, or on C-Span addressing high school students, or at least delivering named lectures at law schools.

None of this held any appeal for David Souter, who after returning home from his Rhodes scholarship at Magdalen College, Oxford, crossed the Atlantic only once again, for a reunion there. Who needed Paris if you had Boston, he would remark to friends. When the court is in recess, he gets in his Volkswagen and heads to Weare, N.H., to the small farmhouse that was home to his parents and grandparents.

SUSPEND Excerpt

Greenhouse took sides on a recent Supreme Court decision:

Constitutional change, he explained, "comes about because judges evaluate significant facts differently," or they "discover some relevance to a constitutional rule where earlier judges saw none." He said that "historians can come to the rescue" by explaining how and why this happens. His ostensible text was the Supreme Court's journey from the "separate but equal" holding of Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896 to the desegregation ruling in Brown v. Board of Education 58 years later.

But there was an unspoken, and more pointed, subtext: his continued dismay at the court's 5-to-4 ruling two years ago that invalidated the effort by the public schools of Louisville, Ky., to prevent resegregation by use of a modestly race-conscious student assignment plan. The dissenters -- and Justice Souter was one -- viewed the opinion by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. that this once-segregated city lacked any "compelling interest" in preserving its progress toward integration as profoundly ahistorical and as a troubling signal for the court's future approach to government actions that touched on race.

Their fears seemed well founded this past week, during the court's final argument session of the term. The question was whether a central portion of the Voting Rights Act is constitutional, and as the argument progressed, it appeared quite likely that the answer from Chief Justice Roberts and his conservative allies might well be "no."

END of Excerpt

For Greenhouse's piece: www.nytimes.com

Greenhouse likes liberal justices; she wrote "Becoming Justice Blackmun," a biography of the liberal justice who wrote the Court's notoriously flawed opinion on Roe v. Wade. And she clearly loved the ultra-liberal Justice William Brennan, as she wrote in a July 2008 Q&A session on nytimes.com just before her retirement:

Obviously, not every opinion Justice Brennan put his name to will stand the test of time. But many will. A personal note -- I took some time off from the court beat in the mid-1980's to have a baby and cover Congress for a couple of years. When I came back in 1988, Justice Brennan was 82 and the end of his tenure was in sight. He was one of the first people I ran into, in a court corridor. "I'm glad you're back," he said to me. I replied, "I'm glad you're still here." See: www.timeswatch.org

ABC Features James Carville to Tout Theory
of 40 Years of Dem Rule

ABC's Good Morning America, which has yet to interview talk show host Mark Levin about his best selling book on conservatism, featured James Carville on Monday to promote "40 More Years: How the Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation." Co-host Diane Sawyer recited passages from the Democratic operative's tome, "Let me read what you write here. 'Republicans shouldn't be worried. They should be in agony. They should be throwing up.'"

Sawyer continued to read from Carville's book: "Republicans had better get a better policy on prescription drugs and quickly they're going to need a lot more Prozac." An onscreen graphic highlighted past one-party rule and speculated, "Democrats 1932-1968, Republicans 1968-2008, Democrats 2008-2048?"

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

Sawyer, to her credit, did challenge the thesis of the book, that Democrats will be in power for decades. She skeptically noted, "But, you know, there's people looking at this who say there's a big hole in this argument. And the big hole is the deficit that is building up, the debt that is building up." The GMA co-host added, "In fact, in ten years, per person in America, $2,700 will be spent just to pay the interest on the debt. Not to pay down the debt, but just to pay the interest." Later, she wondered if Democrats are becoming overly confident.

However, Sawyer also gave Carville a free pass to trash the tea party protests that occurred in April. The former Clinton official seethed, "There were a bunch of, like, 75-year-old cranky white guys, mad at everything. It just couldn't have been a better event for the Democratic Party. I hope they come back and tea bag some more." Sawyer offered no retort or comment on Carville's broadside.

A transcript of the May 4 segment, which aired at 7:13am, follows:

DIANE SAWYER: We turn now to politics and a somewhat beleaguered group of Republicans, Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, who spent their weekend at a Virginia pizza parlor on what they call a listening tour to try to reinvigorate the Republican Party. Someone looking on possibly with a smile at all of this is GMA contributor and Democratic political strategist James Carville who has a challenge for all the Republicans who think they can come back. It is a new book out called "40 More Years: How the Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation. " 40 more years? Let me read what you write here, "Republicans shouldn't be worried. They should be in agony. They should be throwing up. Republicans had better get a better policy on prescription drugs and quickly they're going to need a lot more Prozac."
ABC GRAPHIC: Carville's Trifecta: Why Republicans Face Long Odds
JAMES CARVILLE: Right.
SAWYER: 40 Years? What's your case for this?
CARVILLE: First of all, 40 years of dominance by political party at the norm. From 1896 to 1932 there was only one Democratic president. From '32 to '68 only one Republican. And we've been living in an era of almost Republican dominance, 28 years to 12 years in the last 40 and young voters are moving Democratic at an alarmingly fast rate, if you're a Republican. Every growing demographic is trending Democratic and I think we're probably on the verge of another 40-year era of party dominance here.
ABC GRAPHIC: Democrats 1932-1968, Republicans 1968-2008, Democrats 2008-2048?
SAWYER: But, you know, there's people looking at this who say there's a big hole in this argument. And the big hole is the deficit that is building up, the debt that is building up. Even though the Obama administration is in crisis, it is adding constantly adding debt. In fact, in ten years, per person in America, $2,700 will be spent just to pay the interest on the debt. Not to pay down the debt, but just to pay the interest.
CARVILLE: Look, I think that the deficit is going to be a big issue but the Republicans have no credibility. Used to be when I was younger they had credibility on spending and blew all spending credibility in, in, in the early part of this decade. And, sure, they can do better if they are able to attain some of that credibility but right now people aren't just not looking to them and the way that they're talking about this is kind of irrelevant to people.
SAWYER: But, isn't it ripe for them taking back their issue?
CARVILLE: It's their best issue that these tea baggers, they turned everybody off. There were a bunch of, like, 75-year-old cranky white guys mad at everything. It just couldn't have been a better event for the Democratic Party. I hope they come back and tea bag some more. And I think that- I think that the Democrats are going to be smart enough to- when this recession is over and it will be over, to jump back on top of the spending issue like President Clinton did back in the '90s.
SAWYER: Want to talk about some of the other vulnerabilities out there. Again, it's been pointed out there's no guarantee, Arlen Specter moves over to the Democratic side, seems to give a good bloc now to block any vote against them. But strength is not always deployed effectively. Here's Jon Stewart.
JON STEWART ("Daily Show" clip) : I guess that means now, the Democrats also control the House, the executive and without Al Franken, they'll have a filibuster proof majority in the Senate. They haven't had that much power since Jimmy Carter's presidency and, man, that went great. That was a juggernaut of progress.
SAWYER: Too confident? Over confident, Mr. Carville?
CARVILLE: Well, you know, Diane, I started this project long before the 2008 election. In fact, as early as may of 2000, even April we were identifying me the author of "40 More Years." Yes, I mean, is there a chance that some of this is, sort of, Democratic hubris? Of course. But, the underlying dynamics that are shaping the American electorate are sort of in place and unless there's something to do to change them this is going to be a pretty tough time for the Republican Party.
SAWYER: Let's talk about what could change them. On the Democratic side and on the Republican side. You have listed a kind of trifecta. Your own trifecta of the three dangers that the Democrats face, how they could lose it all. And hubris is the first one?
CARVILLE: Of course, it always is. And I said early on, on one of- the big problem was going to be we were going to start getting in trouble and our people would tart getting indicted. It follows power around. It always has.
SAWYER: And not controlling the spending issue. But, what can you do in this economy?
CARVILLE: There's probably not much you can do in this economy and probably not much you want to do in this economy to control the spending issue, but, again, presumably we'll come out of this and they'll have to have credibility and get a hold of it.
SAWYER: And ideological purity tests. Of which particular kind?
CARVILLE: With the Republicans, look, my friend Mark Shields said do you want to be in a church chasing out heretics or you want to be in a church that's trying to bring in converts? The Republicans are always- he's not a Real republican or, you know, Rush Limbaugh says that good riddance to Specter and McCain and his daughter ought to go. That's not the kind of church we want to have. When a party gets political power it tends to become arrogant and start chasing people out that it doesn't agree with. I hope we don't do that.
SAWYER: Okay, the Republican comeback advantages are, we talked about getting credibility on spending so that was your first one out there. But the second one was to recruit fresh candidates, specifically what do you think they can target and how fast?
CARVILLE: Well, I think they can target people pretty quickly and got to get the faces of the party off. They're trying to get this Eric Cantor, this young guy from Virginia and talk a lot about Paul Ryan, who's a Congressman from Wisconsin but they need to start recruiting people at the city council level, at the county level too.
SAWYER: And, quick last one, learn to use a scalpel. Got about 15 seconds.
CARVILLE: Right, they just don't have any- calling people socialists and fascists and all of that. It just turns people off to no end. Just one giant machete they have. Put it down. Get a scalpel. You'll do better.
SAWYER: Okay. Take your vitamins 'cause you have got to live 40 years to see if James Carville was right. That's the book, "40 More Years." Thanks, James.

NBC Uses Kemp Obit to Tout Obama as Proof
U.S. a 'Great' Nation

In a brief item Monday evening about Jack Kemp's passing, the NBC Nightly News delivered an obit on Kemp's life, but while Brian Williams didn't find room in his 37-second update to mention how Kemp was behind the successful, supply-side Regan tax cuts, he decided it was newsworthy to point out how "Kemp was a conservative purist who, in a letter to his grandchildren months before his death, said the election of Barack Obama was proof that we live in a great country."

So, was Williams just trying to make Kemp look good -- or was he trying to impugn other conservatives who weren't so excited about Obama's victory or, third option, was it a way for Williams to convey to his liberal audience and the Manhattan social circuit that Kemp really wasn't one of those awful conservatives the media so often denigrate? Or all of the above? I ask, you decide.

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

The short report, in full, from the Monday, May 4 NBC Nightly News:

A private memorial being set for later this week for Jack Kemp, the former star pro quarterback, veteran Congressman from Buffalo, cabinet secretary and Republican vice presidential nominee. Jack Kemp was diagnosed with cancer this just past winter and he died on Saturday. He was remembered fondly by a friend today as "a bleeding heart conservative" who wanted the GOP to be a big tent. Kemp was a conservative purist who, in a letter to his grandchildren months before his death, said the election of Barack Obama was proof that we live in a great country. Jack Kemp was 73 years old.

On Sunday night, ABC's World News and the CBS Evening News ran short item on Kemp's passing, though sans the part about Obama. (Double-overtime NHL playoff hockey meant there was no NBC Nightly News on Sunday in the EDT and CDT zones.) Neither ABC nor CBS mentioned Kemp on Monday night.

A Monday CyberAlert post, "Flashback: In Backhanded Bias, Kemp Choice Spurred 'Haters' Talk," recalled:

Back in 1996, Bob Dole picked him as his vice presidential running mate, and some in the news media exploited the selection of Kemp to deliver backhanded insults about the "haters" who comprised the rest of the Republican Party. CNN's Bill Schneider: "He is a rare combination -- a nice conservative. These days conservatives are supposed to be mean. They're supposed to be haters." And: "Most conservatives these days come across as mean [video of Newt Gingrich] or intolerant [video of Pat Buchanan] or grouchy [video of Bob Dole]. Kemp is tolerant and inclusive. He has an excellent relationship with minorities. He showed real courage two years ago when he came out against Proposition 187, the punitive anti-illegal immigration measure in California. Kemp is not a hater."

ABC's Cokie Roberts: "He's also very inclusive, reaching out to minorities, to women, being for immigration, for affirmative action. And I think that's very important for this particular convention, Peter, and this party, which is seen somewhat dour, and somewhat mean in its ways."

See: www.mediaresearch.org

-- Brent Baker