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Obama MTP Interview: Obama Big Three automakers ‘strategic mistakes’

73818136AW008_Meet_The_Pres

Barack Obama made news on “Meet the Press” this morning, but the NBC program made some news as well in the final moments.

Tom Brokaw, the interim moderator, confirmed what had already leaked out in recent days: the new host of the 60-year-old program will be David Gregory.

The network’s senior White House correspondent, now host of MSNBC’s “1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,” had been considered the front-runner for the post, which became vacant when longtime moderator Tim Russert died in June. But NBC executives were still negotiating the final terms of the deal this past week.

Gregory will take the helm of the top-rated Sunday talk show, but his rivals at ABC’s “This Week,” CBS’s “Face the Nation,” CNN’s “Late Edition” and “Fox News Sunday” all see an opportunity to move up now that Brokaw, the veteran NBC anchor, is relinquishing the reins.

Other leading contenders had been Chuck Todd, NBC’s political director, and Gwen Ifill, host of PBS’s “Washington Week.” The final decision was made by Jeff Zucker, chief executive of NBC Universal, and NBC News President Steve Capus.

Gregory, 38, frequently clashed with President Bush’s spokesmen during his days as a White House reporter. But he also has a witty side, which he often displayed while filling in as a co-host on the “Today” show. MSNBC tapped the 6-foot-5 correspondent as moderator during the presidential debates and on Election Night.

Russert, a former Democratic operative, dominated the Sunday morning competition after taking over the program in 1991 and making his mark with aggressive interviews. Brokaw, the former “Nightly News” anchor, agreed to fill in after Russert’s death but made clear he wanted to leave after the election.

What remains to be seen is whether Gregory sticks with the Russert format or tries to change the show to suit his personal style.

Since joining NBC, Gregory has covered the O.J. Simpson trials, the trial of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, the Clinton impeachment and the death of Pope John Paul II.

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73818136AW008_Meet_The_Pres David Gregory – is actually very well suited to host Meet the Press, in place of Tim Russert. He has a mild temperament and he is very well versed in Washington politics. Thumbs up if he is chosen.

NBC News has settled on David Gregory as its choice to be the successor to Tim Russert in the role of moderator of its longtime Sunday discussion program “Meet the Press.” But the network has not finalized the deal, NBC executives said Tuesday.

Mr. Gregory is in negotiations with NBC to secure the position, however, and one reason he may get the job is his value to NBC’s most dominant property, the “Today” show. He has long been regarded as the network’s choice to one day succeed Matt Lauer as a “Today” host.

The news of Mr. Gregory’s appointment has been reported on several Web sites this week, including Politico.com and HuffingtonPost.com, though NBC has steadfastly denied that any deal is in place with this White House correspondent, who has most recently served as anchor of a 6 p.m. talk show on MSNBC, NBC’s cable news channel.

NBC executives said on Tuesday that the leaks of Mr. Gregory’s selection could be a potential impediment to concluding the deal.

But on Sunday NBC executives made calls to people who had been considered as potential hosts or panelists on “Meet the Press,” letting them know a decision had been made. The list of contenders had at one time been long, including two other NBC correspondents, Chuck Todd and Andrea Mitchell; the MSNBC host Chris Matthews; the PBS host Gwen Ifill; the CNN correspondent John King; and even the “CBS Evening News” anchor Katie Couric, who had been a longtime host of “Today.” [..]

The transition from Mr. Russert to the next permanent moderator has been less smooth, partly, NBC executives said, because Mr. Russert’s death was so sudden, and partly because his reputation was so big in both the television and political worlds. [..]

And while it had been assumed by many of the other competitors for the “Meet the Press” post that Mr. Gregory’s contract was ending soon, making a jump to another network a real threat, that is not the case. Mr. Gregory is under contract at NBC until January 2010.

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koppel_ted_cp_7376718 Ted Koppel, possibly angling to get back into the news game by taking the late Tim Russert’s role on “Meet the Press,” has formally dissolved his ties to Discovery Communication.

Koppel had six months left on his contract, but sources said he’s better off if he’s disentangled from any network or cable contract.

Koppel had not made any formal statement about the Russert slot, but TV sources said it’s a well-known desire for the former host of “Nightline” for 25 years. Koppel signed a three-year deal with Discovery right after he left “Nightline.”

A number of internal NBC candidates are up for the job as well.

Variety reported that The Koppel Group had produced 15 hours of documentary programming for Discovery under the “Koppel on Discovery” label. This year’s projects included the four-part China profile “The People’s Republic of Capitalism” and October’s “The Last Lynching.”

The parting of ways was described as “amicable,” but Koppel in a statement made no bones about the reason for the split.

“Producing our kind of news-related programs is an expensive proposition,” Koppel said. “It has long been clear that neither of us is interested in an extension of the current contract. Discovery and I worked on terminating the contract a few months early under terms that both sides found acceptable.

Daily Fish Bowl LA

:)

President-elect Barack Obama (center) during his first press conference, in Chicago, following his election victory, Nov. 7, 2008.

President-elect Barack Obama (center) during his first press conference, in Chicago, following his election victory, Nov. 7, 2008.

It’s proving difficult to peer inside Obama’s still tightly closed Cabinet. But so far his presidential transition has looked deliberate and impressive.

Nov. 11, 2008 | Amid the fervid speculation over the identity of the next secretary of state or even the next assistant secretary of labor for administration and management, there is a truth that is galling to gossip-mongers — Barack Obama and his closest advisors know how to keep secrets. With nearly 10 percent of the transition period between administrations already gone, we know more about the factors that will dictate the selection of the White House puppy than we do about the reasoning behind the choice of a would-be Treasury secretary.

As Valerie Jarrett, co-chair of Obama’s transition team, put it with deliberate blandness on “Meet the Press” Sunday: “I think one of the real strengths of Sen. Obama’s campaign and now President-elect Obama’s transition is that he really does like to think this through thoroughly and not telecast what he’s going to do until he’s ready to make a decision.”

No one wants to read articles titled “Entire Obama Administration Shrouded in Mist and Mystery.” So to accentuate the positive, we do have a pretty reliable handle as to who will be in the room with Obama (and presumably Joe Biden) when the major personnel decisions are made. There will be Jarrett, an African-American Chicago real estate entrepreneur who has been close friends to the president-elect and the incoming first lady for two decades; Pete Rouse, the press-shy former chief of staff for Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, who performed the same role for a newly elected Illinois senator named Obama; the Chicago-born John Podesta, Bill Clinton’s former White House chief of staff, who stealthily organized the Obama transition during the fall campaign from his Washington perch at the Center for American Progress; David Axelrod, the Chicago-based political strategist, who was the inspiration behind both Obama’s up-from-nowhere 2004 Senate victory and his 2008 run for the Rose Garden; and incoming White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, a sharp-elbowed veteran of the Clinton White House who was elected to Congress in 2002 (from Chicago, natch) with the help of Axelrod (double natch).

With all these Chicagoans (aside from Rouse) creating the Obama administration, it is time to drop the Second City urban inferiority complex. If there is an ideological orientation to this team, it seems to be Democratic centrism rather than full-throated liberalism. Bill Galston, a former top domestic advisor to Clinton now at the Brookings Institution, notes that Obama “has a great respect for expertise. His instinct is that in any field, gather the leading experts and go after them.” As Galston puts it, “This is not amateur hour — this is not crony time.” Paul Light, a professor of public service at New York University and an expert on governmental organization, said admiringly, “Obama is extremely well-prepared. There is a lot of talk coming out of the Bush administration about a seamless transition. But in many instances, the Obama people know as much about what is happening in the Cabinet agencies as the Bush people do.”

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Oh boy!!

John McCain on Sunday warned Americans against the increasingly likely prospect of a Democratic takeover of Washington’s two main branches of government next week, but insisted that opinion polls indicating a strong victory for Barack Obama were misleading.

Mr McCain – who is trailing his rival by an average of seven to eight percentage points with eight days to go – would pull off the biggest electoral upset since 1948, when Harry S Truman beat Thomas Dewey, were he to win next week.

The Republican nominee, whose campaign has been increasingly beset by finger-pointing, internal leaks and reported rifts with Sarah Palin, his vice-presidential running mate, on Sunday said he trusted his senses, which told him the opinion polls were wrong.

“Those polls have consistently shown me much farther behind than we actually are,” Mr McCain said in an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press. “We’re doing fine. We have closed [the gap] in the last week. We continue to close this next week. You’re going to be up very, very late on election night.”

However, Mr Obama’s average lead in the national polls has appeared steady in recent days, in spite of individual surveys giving him an advantage of as much as 13 points nationally or as little as three.

But in an analysis of the state of the race on Fox News, Karl Rove, the architect of President George W. Bush’s election victories, said Mr Obama now had his biggest lead of the campaign, and was ahead in states with 317 electoral votes, compared with 157 votes for Mr McCain and 270 needed to win the presidency.

According to Mr Rove, Mr Obama was set to capture Ohio, Indiana, Colorado and Virginia. “In order for McCain to win, he’s got a very steep hill to climb,” he said indicating it would be extremely difficult for the Republican to turn round a national deficit of more than six points.

Commenting on reports of tensions between Mr McCain’s advisers and Sarah Palin, Mr Rove added: “This is… not the kind of thing you like to have happening in your campaign. And it’s generally a sign that people are throwing in the towel and thinking that they’re going to lose.”

Mr McCain on Sunday again distanced himself from Mr Bush. Last week Mr McCain attacked the president in his strongest terms so far, citing the doubling of US national debt to $10,000bn since 2001 and the mismanagement of the war in Iraq.

McCain squirms as he watches a recording of himself which contradicts his own socialist argument – this showdown takes place around 2nd and 3rd minutes in.

To John McCain $25 bn for car makers ~ is not corporate welfare – but a small drop in that bucket to the poorest workers – is a government hand out – is welfare. I think McCain has got a problem with small checks ~ he likes to write the big ones to the big boys. At least that’s the new John McCain – the old John McCain back in 2000 had a very different view:

Here’s a more complete clip on exactly what McCain believed back in 2000 about ‘spreading the wealth around’ to the middle class.

Colin Powell served as secretary of State under George W. Bush, but recently endorsed Barack Obama. Photo: AP

The scene is “Meet the Press” on Sunday. Tom Brokaw has just asked Colin Powell if he is prepared to say whether he is supporting John McCain, to whom he has contributed money, or Barack Obama, whom Powell has told he will not support “just because you’re black.”

Colin Powell is, indeed, prepared to say whom he is supporting. And he does so for the next seven minutes and eight seconds, a lifetime on television, which Brokaw has the wisdom not to interrupt.

Speaking with neither anger nor malice, Powell’s words nonetheless fall like hammer blows on McCain.

“I found that he was a little unsure as to [how to] deal with the economic problems that we were having, and almost every day there was a different approach to the problem,” Powell says of McCain.

And that is a concern, Powell says, because McCain doesn’t seem to have a “complete grasp” of our economic difficulties.

Sarah Palin?

“I don’t believe she’s ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president,” Powell says. “And so that raised some question in my mind as to the judgment that Sen. McCain made.”

“I found that he was a little unsure as to [how to] deal with the economic problems that we were having, and almost every day there was a different approach to the problem,” Powell says of McCain.

You keeping score? McCain doesn’t understand the economic crisis, is erratic, is trying to foist an unqualified vice president on the nation and has shown questionable judgment.

Can it get worse? It gets worse.

Powell, who is of the same generation as McCain (Powell is a year younger), of the same party and of the same military background, criticizes McCain for his negative campaigning, for being “narrow,” and for aiding and abetting the “rightward shift” in Republican politics.

And then there is the Supreme Court. “I would have difficulty with two more conservative appointments to the Supreme Court, but that’s what we’d be looking at in a McCain administration,” Powell says.

Powell is a Republican, but a Republican who is troubled when he hears “senior members of my own party” suggest that Obama is “a Muslim and he might be associated [with] terrorists.”

“This is not the way we should be doing it in America,” Powell says, and then continues with a poignant defense of American Muslims and points out that some are buried in Arlington National Cemetery, having given their lives for their country.

Powell concludes by saying that he is voting for Obama not just because of Obama’s “ability to inspire” but because “he has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president. I think he is a transformational figure.”

That Powell would endorse Obama was not entirely shocking — their politics are not far apart — but the breadth and depth of Powell’s criticism of McCain was a surprise. Perhaps it should not have been.

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Colin Powell: New president facing a daunting picture

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