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By Nearly 8-to-1, Voters Say Journalists Want Obama to Win --10/24/2008


1. By Nearly 8-to-1, Voters Say Journalists Want Obama to Win
"Voters overwhelmingly believe that the media wants Barack Obama to win the presidential election," a Pew Research Center for the People and the Press survey released Wednesday discovered. Specifically: "By a margin of 70%-9%, Americans say most journalists want to see Obama, not John McCain, win on Nov. 4. Another 8% say journalists don't favor either candidate, and 13% say they don't know which candidate most reporters support." The question: "Who do you think most newspaper reporters and TV journalists want to see win the presidential election -- Barack Obama or John McCain?" Unsurprisingly, 90 percent of Republicans recognized how journalists hope Obama is victorious, yet so did 62 percent of Democrats and independents. Pew noted how "in recent presidential campaigns, voters repeatedly have said they thought journalists favored the Democratic candidate over the Republican," but "this year's margin is particularly wide."

2. Williams Pushes McCain-Palin on Ayers, Avoid Wright, Define Elite
In the second excerpt of his interview with John McCain and Sarah Palin, NBC's Brian Williams continued, for the second night, to challenge the premises of the McCain-Palin campaign as he pushed back at describing William Ayers as a "domestic terrorist" since "it give it a vaguely post-9/11 hint" by associating terrorist with "domestic crimes," so "is an abortion clinic bomber a terrorist?" Instead of prodding McCain about why he hasn't cited Jeremiah Wright when Obama had a long-time close relationship with the fount of anti-American and racial rants, Williams sought assurance Wright will remain off the table: "Are you going to keep your promise not to involve Reverend Wright in the campaign?" Williams next snidely demanded to learn from Palin "what is an elite? Who is a member of the elite?" before pressing her: "Governor, are you a feminist?"

3. Imperial Williams Huffs: Had to Wait '55 Days' to Talk to Palin!
If observers of this campaign have learned one thing, it's that you had better not stand up David Letterman or Brian Williams if you hope to run for high office, lest you risk their diva-like wrath and pouting. Promoting his exclusive interview with John McCain and Sarah Palin, on Thursday's Today show, the anchor of NBC Nightly News repeatedly complained about how long he had to wait to interview Palin, as Williams whined at the top of the segment: "Well let's be very blunt. We have waited patiently, 55 days since Sarah Palin was named to this ticket to get this interview, since her naming as vice presidential nominee." Then after airing a few clips from the interview, Williams moaned to Today show anchor Matt Lauer: "So Matt, again, a 55 day wait for this interview, limited amount of time between the three of us and then later the two of us."

4. CBS's Smith Compares Obama to Lincoln; Obama Attacks Hannity
In an interview with Barack Obama aired on Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith lobbed softballs at the Democratic candidate, spending half the interview on Obama visiting his ailing grandmother: "Lincoln said, 'all I ever hope to be, I owe to her,' in speaking about his mother. Your grandmother was very much like a mother to you. How important is this trip?" Smith asked near the end of the interview: "Whoever gets elected President, somehow, has to put their arm around the whole country and say, 'we're in this together.' Can do you that?" That gave Obama the opportunity to call for unity and attack conservatives at the same time: "I can. And I think that's the tone that we've set from the beginning of this campaign. I mean, look. Is Sean Hannity suddenly going to get on the air waves and say 'You know, I was wrong about this Obama guy, he's my man.' No, that's not going to happen. I mean's there's going to be a certain wing of the Republican Party that is, you know, dug in and resistant to the notion that we need to change direction." Smith ended by asking Obama to imagine election night: "When you close your eyes for a moment and you think about election night. Do you win?"

5. Time's Klein Adores Obama's Calm, Asks Nothing that Would Ruin It
Time's Joe Klein interviewed Barack Obama again for the November 3 print edition, and hailed his utter lack of drama and his steadiness. Left unasked: isn't it easier to appear calm and steady when your interviewer doesn't want to upset your no-drama image? Klein went on an extended exploration of how Obama showed great respect for Gen. David Petraeus, but made no mention (and as far as a reader can tell, hurled no question) about his supporters at MoveOn.org taking out an ad skewering the general as "General Betray Us." Likewise, he praised Obama's deftness in handling the "black-nationalist sermons" of his minister Jeremiah Wright, but never seemed to press the candidate on any of the contradictions in his I can't dissociate myself/oh yes, I can routine last spring.

6. ABC's Nightline Gleefully Investigates 'the Palin Problem'
Nightline anchors Martin Bashir and Terry Moran sarcastically investigated "the Palin problem" on Wednesday's edition of the program. And while Moran did offer Sarah Palin some positive analysis, he often mixed that with snarky, condescending remarks about her falling poll numbers. At one point, the ABC journalist asserted: "The hockey mom, a woman dubbed the killa' from Wasilla, and then the blunda [sic] from the tundra, she just might be here to stay." After playing a clip of General Colin Powell claiming the Republican vice presidential nominee isn't qualified, Moran opined: "Ouch!"

7. McFadden to Clinton: Comparisons to Palin Must 'Rankle You'
On Tuesday's Nightline, co-anchor Cynthia McFadden conducted her second interview this week with Hillary Clinton and, once again, offered no policy questions and focused only on pushing the New York Senator to bash Governor Sarah Palin. The liberal journalist repeatedly questioned, five times in total, variations on whether or not Palin is qualified or good for women. At one point she even asserted: "But it must rankle you, I mean, to be compared to Sarah Palin."

8. CNN's Griffin Acknowledges 'Botched' National Review Quotation
CNN investigative correspondent Drew Griffin appeared on Thursday's Newsroom and Situation Room programs to explain how "in no way did I intend to misquote" from a recent article by National Review's Byron York: "This exchange aired just once in the 6 pm hour, and as soon as the National Review brought it to our attention at 7:05, we immediately realized the context could be misconstrued. We cut that portion of the interview. It never aired again." Griffin also mentioned how he had "since called Byron York and his editor Rich Lowry, explained what happened, and told them both that I regret any harm this may have brought." In an interview excerpt aired on Tuesday's Situation Room, Griffin had told Sarah Palin: "The National Review had a story saying that, you know, 'I can't tell if Sarah Palin is incompetent, stupid, unqualified, corrupt, or all of the above.'" In fact, York was mocking media coverage of Palin: "Watching press coverage of the Republican candidate for Vice President, it's sometimes hard to decide whether Sarah Palin is incompetent, stupid, unqualified, corrupt, backward or -- well, all of the above."


By Nearly 8-to-1, Voters Say Journalists
Want Obama to Win

"Voters overwhelmingly believe that the media wants Barack Obama to win the presidential election," a Pew Research Center for the People and the Press survey released Wednesday discovered. Specifically: "By a margin of 70%-9%, Americans say most journalists want to see Obama, not John McCain, win on Nov. 4. Another 8% say journalists don't favor either candidate, and 13% say they don't know which candidate most reporters support." The question: "Who do you think most newspaper reporters and TV journalists want to see win the presidential election -- Barack Obama or John McCain?" Unsurprisingly, 90 percent of Republicans recognized how journalists hope Obama is victorious, yet so did 62 percent of Democrats and independents.

Pew noted how "in recent presidential campaigns, voters repeatedly have said they thought journalists favored the Democratic candidate over the Republican," but "this year's margin is particularly wide." By comparison: "At this stage of the 2004 campaign, 50% of voters said most journalists wanted to see John Kerry win the election, while 22% said most journalists favored George Bush. In October 2000, 47% of voters said journalists wanted to see Al Gore win and 23% said most journalists wanted Bush to win. In 1996, 59% said journalists were pulling for Bill Clinton."

This year, by party affiliation: "In the current campaign, Republicans, Democrats and independents all feel that the media wants to see Obama win the election. Republicans are almost unanimous in their opinion: 90% of GOP voters say most journalists are pulling for Obama. More than six-in-ten Democratic and independent voters (62% each) say the same."

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

The survey of about 900 registered voters was conducted October 17-20. Pew's summary: people-press.org

PDF of all the questions: people-press.org

A Pew Research Center for People and the Press survey released in June found those polled saw a pro-Obama tilt to coverage. The June 6 CyberAlert item, "Many Recognize Media's Pro-Obama Bias, Democrats Prefer CNN," recounted:

"Far more Americans believe that the press coverage has favored Barack Obama than think it has favored Hillary Clinton," a just-released survey, from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, discovered in determining 37 percent recognize a bias in favor of Obama. Even 35 percent of Democrats "see a pro-Obama bias" compared to 45 percent of Republicans and 40 percnt of independents.

The poll, of about 1,000 Americans taken in late May, found about the same percentage of Republicans and Democrats rely on MSNBC for campaign news, but: "Far more Republicans (24%) than Democrats (10%) get most of their campaign news from Fox [News Channel], while the opposite is true for CNN: 24% of Democrats look to CNN compared with just 13% of Republicans."

Previous CyberAlert in full with a link to Pew's poll rundown: www.mediaresearch.org

For many more polls on how the public sees the news media, check the "How the Public Views the Media" section of the MRC's Media Bias Basics: www.mrc.org

Williams Pushes McCain-Palin on Ayers,
Avoid Wright, Define Elite

In the second excerpt of his interview with John McCain and Sarah Palin, NBC's Brian Williams continued, for the second night, to challenge the premises of the McCain-Palin campaign as he pushed back at describing William Ayers as a "domestic terrorist" since "it give it a vaguely post-9/11 hint" by associating terrorist with "domestic crimes," so "is an abortion clinic bomber a terrorist?" Instead of prodding McCain about why he hasn't cited Jeremiah Wright when Obama had a long-time close relationship with the fount of anti-American and racial rants, Williams sought assurance Wright will remain off the table: "Are you going to keep your promise not to involve Reverend Wright in the campaign?"

Williams next snidely demanded to learn from Palin "what is an elite? Who is a member of the elite?" before pressing her: "Governor, are you a feminist?" (Last month, CBS's Katie Couric posed the same question: "Do you consider yourself a feminist?" See: www.mrc.org )

Setting up the interview excerpt on Thursday's NBC Nightly News, Williams highlighted how "Sarah Palin's day today was spent prepping for tomorrow when Sarah and Todd Palin will be deposed under oath in that so-called Trooper-gate case" and: "The deposition, along with yesterday's revelation of that new $150,000 wardrobe and her struggle earlier this week to define the job of Vice President, have all brought a lot of unwelcome attention to the Palin side of the campaign."

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

(On Thursday's Today show, see #3 below, Williams whined repeatedly about how he had to wait 55 days to get an interview with Palin, long after Palin sat down with his competitors Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric. One of his complaints: "Well let's be very blunt. We have waited patiently, 55 days since Sarah Palin was named to this ticket to get this interview, since her naming as vice presidential nominee.")

Thursday afternoon on the "Daily Nightly" blog, Williams similarly bemoaned:
"As I've pointed out on the air over the past two days, after a 55-day wait to interview the GOP Vice Presidential nominee, we were then told that the bulk of the interview with Sarah Palin had to be conducted while she was at Senator McCain's side. When it was time to interview Palin herself, time was called after something like 8-10 minutes. We'll air part two tonight -- part three, and a summation, tomorrow evening."

That's online at: dailynightly.msnbc.msn.com

The CyberAlert item on the first interview excerpt aired, "Williams Hits McCain & Palin with Powell's Charge She's Unqualified," recounted:

Brian Williams, who was enamored with Barack Obama in two interviews this year in which he celebrated the liberal Democrat's achievements, in a Wednesday interview with the Republican ticket challenged the premises of their campaign. Recalling the woman in an audience who claimed Obama is Arab, Williams channeled left-wing efforts to discredit McCain: "Did this campaign get out of your control?"

When McCain raised Joe Biden's warning that Obama's election will precipitate "an international crisis," Williams countered with how "Joe Lieberman said on Face the Nation quote, 'our enemies will test the new President early. And it has happened throughout modern history.'" Unsatisfied by McCain's explanation, Williams followed up: "When he says the new President will be tested, though, I'm missing how that's different from Senator Lieberman saying quote 'our enemies will test the new President early.'"

In the last question in the interview excerpt aired on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, Williams forced them to respond to Colin Powell as Williams cited his assessment Palin is unqualified: "Let me ask you both about what must have been a hurtful Sunday for you especially, you Senator McCain, Colin Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama and Governor, respectfully, the heart of his quote, about Governor Palin, Senator McCain, 'I don't believe she's ready to be President of the United States which is the job of Vice President. And so that raised some question in my mind as to the judgment that Senator McCain made.' When you heard those words from a man you've known for a long time, what was your reaction, saying basically we have little to judge these future leaders on except for the big decision of picking a running mate?"

Full rundown: www.mrc.org

Compare Williams with McCain-Palin to the tone of his interview sessions with Barack Obama, as recounted in "Williams Tosses Softballs to Obama, Empathizes Over Elitist Image," the May 9 CyberAlert item:

Brian Williams, who slobbered over Barack Obama in their last interview in early January, did so again in a Thursday session conducted at Washington, DC's Newseum and excerpted on the NBC Nightly News. 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?" On Thursday, 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." Proceeding to cue up Obama for a long recitation on how he's not an elitist, Williams empathized: "You end up with people talking about your bowling score, gutter balls, wearing a tie, wearing a tie with farmers. And how have you dealt with that? Is there an operating theory that guides your life these days?"

More on both Obama interviews:

Now, what aired on the Thursday, October 23 NBC Nightly News in the second part (third to air Friday evening) from the interview Williams conducted Wednesday at a high school in Ohio:

BRIAN WILLIAMS TEASED THE NEWSCAST: NBC News exclusive, part two of our campaign trail conversation with John McCain and Sarah Palin. And why she will be placed under oath tomorrow.

....

WILLIAMS: Now to politics. There are just 12 days to go til we elect a new President and Vice President and part of Sarah Palin's day today was spent prepping for tomorrow when Sarah and Todd Palin will be deposed under oath in that so-called troopergate case currently under investigation in Alaska. Our own Savannah Guthrie reports, Palin's lawyer is traveling with her.
The deposition, along with yesterday's revelation of that new $150,000 wardrobe and her struggle earlier this week to define the job of Vice President, have all brought a lot of unwelcome attention to the Palin side of the campaign when McCain, who was in Florida today, is the one trying to get traction with 12 days to go until this election. Today in an interview he struck out hard against the Bush administration. Tonight we continue to air excerpts of our interview from yesterday on the campaign trail in Ohio. Tonight we talk about terrorism, elitism, and feminism.

- Back to the notion of terrorists and terrorism. This word has come up in relation to Mr. Ayers, hanging out with terrorists, domestic terrorists. Are we changing -- it's been said it gives it a vaguely post- 9/11 hint, using that word, that we don't normally associate with domestic crimes. Are we changing the definition? Are the people who set fire to American cities during the '60s terrorists under this definition? Is an abortion clinic bomber a terrorist under this definition, Governor?

- I'm just asking what other categories you would put in there, abortion clinic bombers? Protesters in cities where fires were started, Molotov cocktails were thrown, people died?

- Are you going to keep your promise not to involve Reverend Wright in the campaign?

- WILLIAMS: Governor, what is an elite? Who is a member of the elite?
PALIN: ....So anyone who thinks that they are, I guess, better than anyone else. That's my definition of elitism.
WILLIAMS: So it's not education, it's not income based? It's-
PALIN: Anyone who thinks that they're better than someone else.
WILLIAMS: A state of mind. It's not geography?
PALIN: Of course, not.
WILLIAMS: Senator?
McCAIN: I know where a lot of them live.
WILLIAMS: Where is that?
McCAIN: Well, in our nation's capital and New York City. I've seen it. I lived there. I know the town. I know what a lot of these elitists are. The ones she never went to a cocktail party with in Georgetown, I'll be very frank with you, who think they can dictate what they believe to America rather than let Americans decide for themselves....

- Senator, you recently talked about the liberal feminist agenda in America, vis-a-vis the attacks on Governor Palin. Governor, are you a feminist?

MSNBC.com video of what aired on Thursday's NBC Nightly News: www.msnbc.msn.com

Imperial Williams Huffs: Had to Wait
'55 Days' to Talk to Palin!

If observers of this campaign have learned one thing, it's that you had better not stand up David Letterman or Brian Williams if you hope to run for high office, lest you risk their diva-like wrath and pouting. Promoting his exclusive interview with John McCain and Sarah Palin, on Thursday's Today show, the anchor of NBC Nightly News repeatedly complained about how long he had to wait to interview Palin, as Williams whined at the top of the segment: "Well let's be very blunt. We have waited patiently, 55 days since Sarah Palin was named to this ticket to get this interview, since her naming as vice presidential nominee."

Then after airing a few clips from the interview, Williams moaned to Today show anchor Matt Lauer: "So Matt, again, a 55 day wait for this interview, limited amount of time between the three of us and then later the two of us."

Williams also emphasized his own network's poll that Palin had become a drag on the ticket: "And for those watching this and trying to decipher things like tone and body language. Remember the day before, the NBC News poll that put this race at 10 points and said 55 percent of respondents no longer believe Sarah Palin is qualified to be president. The fact that Palin is to be deposed in the so-called Troopergate story tomorrow. It had just been revealed the $150,000 worth of clothing paid for by the party to be donated by charity for Palin and her family."

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

The following are Lauer and Meredith Vieira's teasers and then Williams's complaints in between his McCain/Palin interview excerpts (same as ran the evening before on the NBC Nightly News), as they aired on the October 23 Today show:

MATT LAUER: Sarah Palin has been the subject of intense scrutiny ever since John McCain chose her as his running mate. According to our poll, out this week, a lot of Americans feel that she has been a drain on the ticket and that she is not ready to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.
MEREDITH VIEIRA: So does she have the experience for the job? Brian Williams asked her and Senator McCain about that in his exclusive interview. And we'll have that for you in just a moment.

...

LAUER: But first with 12 days to go until the election let's begin with NBC News' Brian Williams and his exclusive interview with John McCain and Sarah Palin on the campaign trail in Ohio. Hi Brian, good morning.
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Matt good morning to you.
LAUER: Tell me how it went. What types of things were on their minds?
WILLIAMS: Well let's be very blunt. We have waited patiently, 55 days since Sarah Palin was named to this ticket to get this interview, since her naming as vice presidential nominee. The campaign insisted that most of our sit down interview she be seated next to the nominee, John McCain. We were allowed time with cameras with just Sarah Palin but only a few minutes later. I think elapsed time, in all, 28 minutes to ask what were weeks worth of pent up questions. We started with one of the issues in the news this week, the comments about testing a new president by Senator Joe Biden.
(MCCAIN/PALIN INTERVIEW CLIP FROM OCTOBER 22, "NBC NIGHTLY NEWS)
WILLIAMS: Just a part of the interview early on. And for those watching this and trying to decipher things like tone and body language. Remember the day before, the NBC News poll that put this race at 10 points and said 55 percent of respondents no longer believe Sarah Palin is qualified to be president. The fact that Palin is to be deposed in the so-called Troopergate story tomorrow. It had just been revealed the $150,000 worth of clothing paid for by the party to be donated by charity for Palin and her family. Later on, in our morning with them that stretched into afternoon, we went to a different area of a high school campus and talked with just Sarah Palin, where another topic came up. These recent calls to release her medical records.
(CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Now what we don't know is timing of that release. Some of the other topics we hit. The new definition of a domestic terrorist. What an elitist is? Does Sarah Palin consider herself a feminist? And she talks about her press coverage thus far. So Matt, again, a 55 day wait for this interview, limited amount of time between the three of us and then later the two of us. We're putting this out as the conversation happened on Nightly News, and of course here on Today.
LAUER: Alright, Brian Williams thanks very much. And a 55 day wait for you to get out of be early, finally, one morning also, Brian.
WILLIAMS: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.
LAUER: Nice to see you, we appreciate it. You can see more of Brian's exclusive interview with Senator McCain and Governor Palin tonight on NBC Nightly News.

CBS's Smith Compares Obama to Lincoln;
Obama Attacks Hannity

In an interview with Barack Obama aired on Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith lobbed softballs at the Democratic candidate, spending half the interview on Obama visiting his ailing grandmother: "Lincoln said, 'all I ever hope to be, I owe to her,' in speaking about his mother. Your grandmother was very much like a mother to you. How important is this trip?" Smith later observed: "Some people say there's risk involved in this, with so little time left." Obama replied: "Yeah, well, the -- I think most people understand that if you're not caring for your family, then you're probably not the kind of person who's going to be caring for other people."

Realizing that he is supposed to be a serious journalist, Smith moved on: "I want to talk about some campaign issues..." One of the "issues" Smith asked about near the end of the interview was: "Whoever gets elected President, somehow, has to put their arm around the whole country and say, 'we're in this together.' Can do you that?" That gave Obama the opportunity to call for unity and attack conservatives at the same time: "I can. And I think that's the tone that we've set from the beginning of this campaign. I mean, look. Is Sean Hannity suddenly going to get on the air waves and say 'You know, I was wrong about this Obama guy, he's my man.' No, that's not going to happen. I mean's there's going to be a certain wing of the Republican Party that is, you know, dug in and resistant to the notion that we need to change direction."

Smith ended by asking Obama to imagine election night: "When you close your eyes for a moment and you think about election night. Do you win?"

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

Just prior to that, Smith focused on the "rancorous tone" caused by John McCain: "The rancorous tone of this campaign. I was with John McCain on Monday and I said our poll data shows that it's actually hurting you. He says 'I wouldn't be doing it if he weren't doing it.'" At that, Obama laughed and replied: "Well, look. I mean, politics is tough, but I will say this. I don't think there's any equivalence between what we've been doing and what John McCain's been doing. Witness some of the comments that have been made just over the last several months, the last several weeks. 'Socialistic,' you know? 'Pals around with terrorists.' I mean, just the kinds of stuff that -- that I can't imagine saying about an opponent of mine." Then Obama proceeded to deride that "certain wind of the Republican Party."

To his credit, Smith did ask Obama about Joe Biden's recent foreign policy gaffe: "...your running mate Joe Biden. Talked about, well, 'Barack Obama is going to be tested within the first six months.' John McCain jumped on that and said 'I don't need to be tested, I'm ready.' Are you more ready to be President of the United States than John McCain?" Obama responded: "I tell you, all I can say is this. We've had, over the last couple of months, I think, an interesting series of tests, and I think that I have been steadier."

At the top of the show, Smith teased the interview, which took place in Richmond, Virginia: "Here he is in Virginia, campaigning for the umpteenth time. I spent some time with the Virginia governor yesterday. They've got a shot there. This is -- this is almost unprecedented." Except for when Virginia went for Lyndon Johnson in 1964. In a report just prior to the interview, correspondent Jeff Glor exclaimed: "President Bush won Indiana, the state of Indiana, by 21 points four years ago. But the latest polls show it's now a toss-up...As Barack Obama visits this morning. As he continues his drive into reliable Republican territory..."

Here is the full transcript of the October 23 segment:

7:00AM TEASE:
HARRY SMITH: Our exclusive interview with Barack Obama as he leaves the campaign trail to be with his grandmother.
BARACK OBAMA: My grandmother, my grandfather, my mom, they're really the people who -- who took care of me all throughout my childhood. My grandmother's the last one left.
SMITH: And we talk about negative campaigning, being tested, and his chances of winning.

7:01AM SEGMENT:
MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: How'd it go yesterday with Barack Obama?
SMITH: Well, we went back on the campaign trail with him yesterday where we got an exclusive interview in Richmond, Virginia. This is one of those strange twists in this campaign. Here he is in Virginia, campaigning for the umpteenth time. I spent some time with the Virginia governor yesterday. They've got a shot there. This is -- this is almost unprecedented. So we have some very revealing things from Barack Obama in our interview with him in just a couple of minutes.

7:05AM SEGMENT:
HARRY SMITH: Twelve days until election day and both Barack Obama and John McCain are concentrating on key battleground states. Early Show national correspondent Jeff Glor is in Indianapolis with more. Good morning, Jeff.

JEFF GLOR: Good morning to you, Harry. President Bush won Indiana, the state of Indiana, by 21 points four years ago. But the latest polls show it's now a toss-up. As Barack Obama visits this morning. As he continues his drive into reliable Republican territory, Barack Obama was forced to veer off his usual economic express.
JOE BIDEN: Watch. We're going to have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.
GLOR: To contain the fallout from Joe Biden's comments about what would happen if Obama is elected? Obama agreed with the intent, if not the exact wording.
BARACK OBAMA: I think that his core point was that the next administration is going to be tested, regardless of who it is.
GLOR: This foreign policy flap was welcome news for John McCain, as he sought to seize the economic message of the day.
JOHN MCCAIN: You know, Joe's dream is to own a small business that will create jobs and the attacks on him are an attack on small businesses all over this nation.

GLOR: Plugging away with Joe the Plumber and tax talk at rallies.
MCCAIN: Sarah Palin and I will not raise your taxes, my friends! We want you to get wealthy!
GLOR: And on TV:

[CLIP OF MCCAIN AD]
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN A: I'm Joe the Plumber.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN B: I'm Joe the Plumber.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN C: Spread the wealth?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN A: I'm supposed to work harder...
UNIDENTIFIED MAN B: ... just to pay more taxes?

GLOR: Obama responded by saying he's trying to give Joe a tax cut. Both men are working to keep the attention off running mate related side stories, as both now face an election only 12 days away. After Barack Obama leaves Indianapolis, he'll make his way to Hawaii to visit his sick grandmother. The McCain campaign will be up and down the state of Florida today on what they call their 'Joe the Plumber tour.' Harry.

SMITH: Jeff Glor in Indianapolis this morning, thanks. I caught up with Senator Obama yesterday in Richmond, Virginia, and asked him about leaving the campaign trail at such a crucial time to visit his grandmother. Lincoln said, 'all I ever hope to be, I owe to her,' in speaking about his mother. Your grandmother was very much like a mother-
OBAMA: Absolutely.
SMITH: -to you. How important is this trip?
OBAMA: It's very important to me. You know, my mother was a single mom, so she raised me with the help of my grandparents and so my grandmother, my grandfather, my mom, they're really the people who -- who took care of me all throughout my childhood. My grandmother is the last one left. She has really been the rock of the family, the foundation of the family. Whatever strength, discipline, that I have, it comes from her.
SMITH: You said in the past that you regretted your own mother's illness and her death came so quickly, you didn't have time to get back there to see her.
OBAMA: Got there too late. We knew she wasn't doing well, but, you know, the diagnosis was such where we thought we had a little more time and we didn't, and so I want to make sure that I don't -- I don't make the same mistake twice.
SMITH: Some people say there's risk involved in this, with so little time left.
OBAMA: Yeah, well, the -- I think most people understand that if you're not caring for your family, then you're probably not the kind of person who's going to be caring for other people.
SMITH: I want to talk about some campaign issues, not the least of which is your running mate Joe Biden. Talked about, well, 'Barack Obama is going to be tested within the first six months.' John McCain jumped on that and said 'I don't need to be tested, I'm ready.' Are you more ready to be President of the United States than John McCain?
BARACK OBAMA: I tell you, all I can say is this. We've had, over the last couple of months, I think, an interesting series of tests, and I think that I have been steadier.
[CLIP OF OBAMA WITH SCREAMING CROWDS]
OBAMA: I think my advisers and my team and my organization, what we built has performed with the kind of calm, resolve, and deliberation that the White House needs right now. Any president is going to be tested by the enormity of the challenges that we face.
SMITH: The rancorous tone of this campaign. I was with John McCain on Monday and I said our poll data shows that it's actually hurting you. He says 'I wouldn't be doing it if he weren't doing it.'
OBAMA: [Laughs] Well, look. I mean, politics is tough, but I will say this. I don't think there's any equivalence between what we've been doing and what John McCain's been doing. Witness some of the comments that have been made just over the last several months, the last several weeks. 'Socialistic,' you know? 'Pals around with terrorists.' I mean, just the kinds of stuff that -- that I can't imagine saying about an opponent of mine.
SMITH: Whoever gets elected President, somehow, has to put their arm around the whole country and say, 'we're in this together.' Can do you that?
OBAMA: I can. And I think that's the tone that we've set from the beginning of this campaign. I mean, look. Is Sean Hannity suddenly going to get on the air waves and say 'You know, I was wrong about this Obama guy, he's my man.' No, that's not going to happen. I mean's there's going to be a certain wing of the Republican Party that is, you know, dug in and resistant to the notion that we need to change direction.
SMITH: When you close your eyes for a moment and you think about election night. Do you win?
OBAMA: Well, I wouldn't have gotten into this race if I didn't think I was going to win. If it's tied going into election day, I like our chances because I think we've got enormous enthusiasm on the ground.
SMITH: And just days to go.

Time's Klein Adores Obama's Calm, Asks
Nothing that Would Ruin It

Time's Joe Klein interviewed Barack Obama again for the November 3 print edition, and hailed his utter lack of drama and his steadiness. Left unasked: isn't it easier to appear calm and steady when your interviewer doesn't want to upset your no-drama image? Klein went on an extended exploration of how Obama showed great respect for Gen. David Petraeus, but made no mention (and as far as a reader can tell, hurled no question) about his supporters at MoveOn.org taking out an ad skewering the general as "General Betray Us." Likewise, he praised Obama's deftness in handling the "black-nationalist sermons" of his minister Jeremiah Wright, but never seemed to press the candidate on any of the contradictions in his I can't dissociate myself/oh yes, I can routine last spring.

In an article helpfully titled "Why Barack Obama is Winning," Klein began by describing Obama as a superior commander-in-chief to President Bush already.

[This item, by the MRC's Tim Graham, was posted Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

An excerpt:

General David Petraeus deployed overwhelming force when he briefed Barack Obama and two other Senators in Baghdad last July. He knew Obama favored a 16-month timetable for the withdrawal of most U.S. troops from Iraq, and he wanted to make the strongest possible case against it. And so, after he had presented an array of maps and charts and PowerPoint slides describing the current situation on the ground in great detail, Petraeus closed with a vigorous plea for "maximum flexibility" going forward.

Obama had a choice at that moment. He could thank Petraeus for the briefing and promise to take his views "under advisement." Or he could tell Petraeus what he really thought, a potentially contentious course of action -- especially with a general not used to being confronted. Obama chose to speak his mind. "You know, if I were in your shoes, I would be making the exact same argument," he began. "Your job is to succeed in Iraq on as favorable terms as we can get. But my job as a potential Commander in Chief is to view your counsel and interests through the prism of our overall national security." Obama talked about the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, the financial costs of the occupation of Iraq, the stress it was putting on the military.

A "spirited" conversation ensued, one person who was in the room told me. "It wasn't a perfunctory recitation of talking points. They were arguing their respective positions, in a respectful way." The other two Senators -- Chuck Hagel and Jack Reed -- told Petraeus they agreed with Obama. According to both Obama and Petraeus, the meeting -- which lasted twice as long as the usual congressional briefing -- ended agreeably. Petraeus said he understood that Obama's perspective was, necessarily, going to be more strategic. Obama said that the timetable obviously would have to be flexible. But the Senator from Illinois had laid down his marker: if elected President, he would be in charge. Unlike George W. Bush, who had given Petraeus complete authority over the war '€" an unprecedented abdication of presidential responsibility (and unlike John McCain, whose hero worship of Petraeus bordered on the unseemly) -- Obama would insist on a rigorous chain of command.

SUSPEND Excerpt

That's a sentence full of the audacity of hope that no one remembers that Obama was backed by the unseemly "Betray Us" ad buyers, not to mention the discounts offered by Obama supporters at The New York Times. Klein wants us to see his Obama as a giant looming over the puny Republican ring-kissers.

Klein was more supinely pro-Obama when it came to Wright, quoting absolutely nothing from his hateful heap of sermons, neither America-deserved-9/11, nor U.S. of K.K.K.A., or nor the U.S. Government Invented AIDS Virus to Kill Blacks. Obama is allowed to declare that this was a teaching moment for America, not a reaching moment for Obama, when the spin couldn't take the stink off his 20-year association with a vicious preacher of hate and racial bitterness:

He seemed to be thinking in my presence, rather than just reciting talking points, and it took him some time to think through my question about gut decisions. He said the first really big one was how to react when incendiary videos of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's black-nationalist sermons surfaced last spring. "The decision to make it big as opposed to make it small," Obama said of the landmark speech on race relations he delivered in Philadelphia. "My gut was telling me that this was a teachable moment and that if I tried to do the usual political damage control instead of talking to the American people like ... they were adults and could understand the complexities of race, I would be not only doing damage to the campaign but missing an important opportunity for leadership."

The speech was followed by a more traditional form of damage control when Wright showed up in Washington still spewing racial nonsense: Obama cut him loose. And while Obama has followed a fairly traditional political path in this campaign, his strongest -- and most telling -- moments have been those when he followed his natural no-drama instincts.

Obama completely contradicting himself was somehow not political floundering. It was forceful damage control flowing from a natural no-drama instinct. You get that same sense of liberal calm undisturbed by helpful liberal reporters in this passage:

But one of the more remarkable spectacles of the 2008 election -- unprecedented in my time as a journalist -- was the unanimity among Democrats on matters of policy once the personality clash between Obama and Hillary Clinton was set aside. There was no squabbling between old and new Dems, progressives and moderates, over race or war or peace. This was a year for no-drama Democrats, which made Obama as comfortable a fit for them as McCain was awkward for the Republican base.

SUSPEND Excerpt

This does not acknowledge that reporters don't tend to foster discord between Democrats, especially after a long primary season, but launches eagerly into egging on intranecine Republican squabbles.

Then Klein launched back into Petraeus, having Obama declare him non-ideological, and then imply he's non-ideological as well:

Which is why the Petraeus moment is so interesting. Obama's gut reaction was to go against his normal palliative impulse and to challenge the general instead. "I felt it was necessary to make that point ... precisely because I respect Petraeus and [Ambassador Ryan] Crocker," Obama said, after he reluctantly acknowledged that my reporting of the meeting was correct. "Precisely because they've been doing a good job ... And I want them to understand that I'm taking their arguments seriously." Obama endorses Petraeus' new post, as the commanding general at Central Command, with responsibility for overseeing both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. "He's somebody who cares about facts and cares about the reality on the ground. I don't think he comes at this with an ideological predisposition. That's one of the reasons why I think he's been successful in moving the ball forward in Iraq. And I hope that he's applying that same perspective to what's happening in Afghanistan."

SUSPEND Excerpt

Klein must tell the reader that he's been honored repeatedly by Obama interviews, and reminds the reader that he aggressively hectored the most liberal Senator from the left in the first interview:

Almost exactly two years ago, I had my first formal interview with Barack Obama -- and he appeared on this magazine's cover for the first time. It wasn't an easy interview. His book The Audacity of Hope had just been published, but his policy proposals didn't seem very audacious. He actually grew a bit testy when I pushed him on the need for universal health insurance and a more aggressive global-warming policy -- neither of which he supported. He has stayed with his less-than-universal health-care plan, and I still find it less than convincing. And his cap-and-trade program to control carbon emissions has taken a backseat to the economic crisis '€" although Obama insisted that he still favored such a plan, so long as consumers are cushioned with rebates when energy prices rise.

SUSPEND Excerpt

Klein wrapped up by declaring his solidarity with Obama's adult leadership, something the current president doesn't possess, by his lights:

His has been a remarkable campaign, as smoothly run as any I've seen in nine presidential cycles. Even more remarkable, Obama has made race -- that perennial, gaping American wound -- an afterthought. He has done this by introducing a quality to American politics that we haven't seen in quite some time: maturity. He is undoubtedly as ego-driven as everyone else seeking the highest office -- perhaps more so, given his race, his name and his lack of experience. But he has not been childishly egomaniacal, in contrast to our recent baby-boomer Presidents -- or petulant, in contrast to his opponent. He does not seem needy. He seems a grown-up, in a nation that badly needs some adult supervision.

END of Excerpts

For the entire article: www.time.com

ABC's Nightline Gleefully Investigates
'the Palin Problem'

Nightline anchors Martin Bashir and Terry Moran sarcastically investigated "the Palin problem" on Wednesday's edition of the program. And while Moran did offer Sarah Palin some positive analysis, he often mixed that with snarky, condescending remarks about her falling poll numbers. At one point, the ABC journalist asserted: "The hockey mom, a woman dubbed the killa' from Wasilla, and then the blunda [sic] from the tundra, she just might be here to stay." After playing a clip of General Colin Powell claiming the Republican vice presidential nominee isn't qualified, Moran opined: "Ouch!"

Moran, who just last week asked Senator Joe Biden if Palin's rhetoric made him concerned about his safety, pronounced the candidate's downfall: "When McCain nominated her, she was just incandescent and it looked for a while like it was one of the most brilliant and daring political moves in recent times."

For the October 14 CyberAlert item. "Moran: Palin's Rhetoric Make You 'Concerned for Obama's Safety?'" see: www.mrc.org

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

To be fair, Moran did talk to some Palin supporters and at one point he suggested: "But don't count Sarah Palin out, yet." He also instructed: "Out on the campaign trail, Palin ignores her critics and in these crowds, her crowds, you won't find any critics. All you'll find are adoring fans."

Of course, one might say that Moran knows something about adoring crowds and not being a critic. On November 6, 2006, he famously delivered this glowing assessment of Senator Barack Obama:

TERRY MORAN: You can see it in the crowds. The thrill, the hope. How they surge toward him. You're looking at an American political phenomenon. In state after state, in the furious final days of this crucial campaign, Illinois Senator Barack Obama has been the Democrat's not-so-secret get-out-the-vote weapon. He inspires the party faithful and many others, like no one else on the scene today...And the question you can sense on everyone's mind, as they listen so intently to him, is he the one? Is Barack Obama the man, the black man, who could lead the Democrats back to the White House and maybe even unite the country?

See a November 8, 2006 CyberAlert posting for more: www.mrc.org

On January 29 this year he enthused: "That's what is at the heart of Obama's politics, the notion that divisions are artificial and can be overcome by an act of will and of imagination." See a January 31 CyberAlert posting for more: www.mrc.org

A partial transcript of the October 22 segment:

MARTIN BASHIR: Tonight on Nightline, the Palin problem. As controversy swirls around Sarah Palin's $150,000 campaign wardrobe, new poll numbers show she's hurting McCain's chance at the presidency. So what's going on? We take to the trail with Sarah Palin to find out.

BASHIR: Good evening. There are now just 13 days until the election, and Barack Obama continues to have momentum on his side. While anything could happen between now and then, there's no doubt that John McCain is fighting an uphill battle. And it's become increasingly apparent that choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate may have something to do with it. My co-anchor Terry Moran was on the campaign trail today in Ohio and he joins us now. Good evening, Terry.

...

MORAN: It's a cruel trend but unmistakable. Polls show Palin is now a drag on the Republican ticket. An ABC News poll this month found that 60 percent of Americans now doubt her qualifications for office. Plus, an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll this week found that for first time more voters have a negative opinion of Palin than a positive one. 47 percent negative, 38 percent positive. That's a huge shift from early September when she had a 47 percent to 27 percent positive rating. And then, this weekend, came this.
GENERAL COLIN POWELL: Now that we have had a chance to watch her for some seven weeks, I don't believe she's ready to be president of the United States which is the job of the vice president. And so, that raised some question in my mind as to the judgment that Senator McCain made.
MORAN: Ouch!
PALIN: Thank you so much. Thank you.
MORAN: But don't count Sarah Palin out, yet. She's had kind of a rough ride over the past few weeks.

...

MORAN: Win or lose, Sarah Palin has become a player in national politics. So get used to her, America. The hockey mom, a woman dubbed the killa' from Wasilla, and then the blunda [sic] from the tundra, she just might be here to stay. Well, about Sarah Palin's wardrobe. The McCain/Palin campaign says it was always the intention to donate those clothes to charity after the election and they say there are more important issues. There sure are. Her supporters just brushed off that story. One woman told me, I like her because she's a lot like me. And I'd need new clothes to, to run for vice president. Martin?

McFadden to Clinton: Comparisons to Palin
Must 'Rankle You'

On Tuesday's Nightline, co-anchor Cynthia McFadden conducted her second interview this week with Hillary Clinton and, once again, offered no policy questions and focused only on pushing the New York Senator to bash Governor Sarah Palin. The liberal journalist repeatedly questioned, five times in total, variations on whether or not Palin is qualified or good for women. At one point she even asserted: "But it must rankle you, I mean, to be compared to Sarah Palin."

Below are McFadden's (unsuccessful) attempts to get Clinton to slam the Republican vice presidential nominee.

# "Is Sarah Palin good for women?"

# "I feel like you're bending over backwards. I mean, I feel in some ways as if a man with the qualifications that Sarah Palin brings to this role, you'd have no problem with taking the gloves off and saying, hold it just a second."

# "Is she ready to serve as commander in chief, Senator?"

# "Does she deserve, does she have the right to stand on your shoulders in this regard?"

# "But it must rankle you, I mean, to be compared to Sarah Palin."

The seeds for Cynthia McFadden's repeated questioning of Palin's qualifications and competence can, perhaps, be found in an online chat for the website Wowowow.com (Women on the Web) on September 9. McFadden discussed Palin with other female journalists, including Lesley Stahl, and marveled at how the selection of the Alaska governor fascinated the nation: "I think that it's really been amazing -- the dominance of this story and the Republicans throughout the last week, and I suspect going into this in the week to come."

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

She added, "But it's interesting that the Democrats haven't been able to get a wedge in there at all." At another point, after Stahl suggested that the Palin nomination might blow up in the Republicans' faces, McFadden retorted, "It may well yet." It would seem that McFadden, in her Nightline interview, attempted to do what she thought the Democrats weren't able to: Drive a wedge into Palin's support. See WOW online chat: www.wowowow.com

On Monday's Nightline, McFadden had fawned over Senator Barack Obama and Clinton, calling them "genuine" pals. For that interview she also asked no policy questions and instead gushed to the two Democrats, "You looked pretty good up there together." See an October 22 CyberAlert posting for more: www.mrc.org

A partial transcript of Tuesday's Nightline segment:

CYNTHIA MCFADDEN: It seemed like a good day to talk to Hillary Clinton about the other most famous woman in politics. Is Sarah Palin good for women?
HILLARY CLINTON: You know, I think that there has been a tendency in our discussions about Governor Palin's candidacy to sort of put it in this either/or. If you think the fact that she's on the ticket is a milestone, which I happen to think it is. She's obviously an accomplished political figure in her own right, having been elected governor of her state. Aren't many people who have done that. You can celebrate that and be, you know, very impressed by that but still say the McCain/Palin ticket should not lead our country.
MCFADDEN: I feel like you're bending over backwards. I mean, I feel in some ways as if a man with the qualifications that Sarah Palin brings to this role, you'd have no problem with taking the gloves off and saying, hold it just a second.
CLINTON: I think that both Barack and Joe were very smart after an initial kind of misstep in pulling back and not criticizing Governor Palin personally. Issues, fair game. You know, absolutely, plans for the future, proposals, campaigning tactics, but let's just leave that to the field that we're on and let people draw their own conclusions.
MCFADDEN: Is she ready to serve as commander in chief, senator?
CLINTON: Well, I believe that our ticket is much better.
MCFADDEN: And yet, the Republican ticket seems to love her, in a not so subtle attempt to woo her voters they're embracing the woman they once vilified. Consider Sarah Palin's first speech as McCain's running mate.
GOVERNOR SARAH PALIN: It was rightly noted in Denver this week that Hillary left 18 million cracks in the highest, hardest glass ceiling in America. But it turns out the women of America aren't finished yet and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all.
MCFADDEN: Does she deserve, does she have the right to stand on your shoulders in this regard?
CLINTON: You know what, I think we all stand on other people's shoulders. I believe that you can hold two thoughts simultaneously. You can hold the thought that she's an extraordinary woman. But that doesn't mean that she and John McCain should lead our country. For a million reasons that I think people understand.
MCFADDEN: But it must rankle you, I mean, to be compared to Sarah Palin.
CLINTON: It doesn't. None of this rankles me at all. I mean it really doesn't.
MCFADDEN: You said something just a moment ago downstairs that I must say made sit up straighter.
CLINTON: [Speech clip]: You know, I didn't set out to run as a woman for president, but that's the only way I could run. [Clip ends] Well, I was really saying, you know, I didn't consider myself the woman candidate. Although obviously I was. I mean, that's who I am. But as I got into the campaign and realized that's how people were seeing me, for better or for worse in some situations, that there was this historical burden that I was carrying, that I had not anticipated. It became apparent that there's a lot of unfinished business in our country when it comes to gender.
MCFADDEN: So was it ultimately better? Was it ultimately more helpful or harmful to be a woman running for president?
CLINTON: I'll have to think about that. I don't know what the answer is.
MCFADDEN: And that in itself is quite remarkable from a woman who usually has an answer for everything. What she does know is that for at least the next two weeks she'll be focused like a laser on getting Barack Obama elected to the job that only four months ago she still thought might be hers. I asked Senator Clinton about her future plans, whether if Obama is elected president she'd like to serve in his cabinet or perhaps even on the Supreme Court. She said she was very content to stay in the U.S. Senate. Martin?

CNN's Griffin Acknowledges 'Botched'
National Review Quotation

CNN investigative correspondent Drew Griffin appeared on Thursday's Newsroom and Situation Room programs to explain how "in no way did I intend to misquote" from a recent article by National Review's Byron York: "This exchange aired just once in the 6 pm hour, and as soon as the National Review brought it to our attention at 7:05, we immediately realized the context could be misconstrued. We cut that portion of the interview. It never aired again." Griffin also mentioned how he had "since called Byron York and his editor Rich Lowry, explained what happened, and told them both that I regret any harm this may have brought."

In an interview excerpt aired on Tuesday's Situation Room, Griffin had told Sarah Palin: "The National Review had a story saying that, you know, 'I can't tell if Sarah Palin is incompetent, stupid, unqualified, corrupt, or all of the above.'" In fact, York was mocking media coverage of Palin: "Watching press coverage of the Republican candidate for Vice President, it's sometimes hard to decide whether Sarah Palin is incompetent, stupid, unqualified, corrupt, backward or -- well, all of the above."

Check the October 23 CyberAlert for more on what CNN originally aired, with an illustrative video clip: www.mediaresearch.org

Griffin first appeared seven minutes into the 2 pm Eastern hour of Newsroom. Anchor Kyra Phillips asked the correspondent about the criticism he had received over the misquotation. He played a clip of the question, and explained the impression he had of the interview overall. He then played the initial exchange he had with Governor Palin over the "botched" quote, and most of her answer.

[This item, by the MRC's Matthew Balan, was posted Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

For Byron York's article on National Review Online, see "How Palin Governed: Behind all the criticism and controversy, what really happened," at: article.nationalreview.com
Phillips then gave her take on the exchange, that "she [Palin] was jumping in, you were trying to finish, kind of explain the whole quote. But you were just being a gentleman and letting her finish her answer." Griffin replied: "Well, you know, you try to get a little rapport going. Now, look, she asked me for the author's name and...I couldn't remember Byron York's name....But, I wanted to keep the interview moving. So, I got to the heart...of York's article...which is -- you're a successful governor. Why aren't you getting that message out, which she answered." He then gave his explanation on how "[i]n no way did [he] intend to misquote the National Review," and how this exchange only aired the one initial time.

Griffin then read the official CNN statement to National Review about the misquotation:

GRIFFIN: We sent a statement to the National Review in an e-mail explaining what had happened, that we had, in fact, cut the question from any further airings. Here's what it says: 'Drew was trying to express what Byron York was saying, but he didn't finish his thought and inadvertently left the impression that it was York's view, rather than a commentary on how the candidate had been portrayed by others. We do not plan to re-air that portion of the interview.'

Phillips concluded the segment by adding her commentary on general criticism of the media: "Bottom line: we go to journalism school. We should graduate not only with a diploma, but with a big target our forehead because no matter what we say during a political season -- and you're rushed and it's tight time, there's always going to be people out there that are going to criticize." When Griffin replied that he hoped "that clears it up," Phillips answered by making an odd reference to a liberal group that supports Obama: "Well, I hope it does, too. Let's move -- MoveOn.org, okay? Thanks, Drew."

The investigative correspondent returned almost 5 hours later, near the end of the 6 pm Eastern hour of The Situation Room, and gave a shorter version of the explanation he gave to Phillips:

WOLF BLITZER: Some controversy over an interview that the Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin gave. She gave it to our Drew Griffin -- he interviewed the governor this week. You saw it here in The Situation Room. Drew, you -- as you know, you're being criticized for one question that you asked Governor Palin. Tell our viewers what the issue is.
DREW GRIFFIN: Wolf, the issue is really the setup to a question in that 25-minute interview. First, I want you to hear what this is all about. Here's the question.
GRIFFIN (from taped interview with Sarah Palin): Governor, you've been mocked in the press. The press has been pretty hard on you. The Democrats have been pretty hard on you. But also, some conservatives have been pretty hard on you as well. The National Review had a story saying that, you know, I can't tell if Sarah Palin is incompetent, stupid, unqualified, corrupt, or all of the above.
GRIFFIN: It's a conservative magazine and the author, Byron York -- here is what York wrote: 'Watching press coverage of the Republican candidate for vice president, it's sometimes hard to decide whether Sarah Palin is incompetent, stupid, unqualified, corrupt, backward or -- or well, all of the above.' Unfortunately, my question -- I botched it. I misquoted York by using the word 'I' instead of reading his direct quote, which I had in front of me, which attributes the statement to the media. I thought it was a very good article, Wolf. I was going to get it -- use it to get the governor to answer the question why her, you know, successful governing record in Alaska wasn't getting out. She had no trouble answering that question, and in no way did I intend to misquote the National Review. The exchange aired just once in your show, Wolf, and as soon as the National Review brought it to our attention at 7:05, we immediately realized the context could be misconstrued, and we cut that portion of the interview. It never aired again. We also sent a statement directly to the National Review explaining what happened, and that we do not plan to run it again. And I since called Byron York and his editor Rich Lowry, explained what happened, and told them both that I regret any harm this may have brought. Wolf?

-- Brent Baker