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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.
That whole anti-American, friend-to-the-terrorists thing about President-elect Barack Obama? Never mind.
Just a few weeks ago, at the height of the campaign, Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota told Chris Matthews of MSNBC that, when it came to Mr. Obama, “I’m very concerned that he may have anti-American views.”
But there she was on Wednesday, after narrowly escaping defeat because of those comments, saying she was “extremely grateful that we have an African-American who has won this year.” Ms. Bachmann, a Republican, called Mr. Obama’s victory, which included her state, “a tremendous signal we sent.”
And it was not too long ago that Senator John McCain’s running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, accused Mr. Obama of “palling around with terrorists.”
But she took an entirely different tone on Thursday, when she chastised reporters for asking her questions about her war with some staff members in the McCain campaign at such a heady time. “Barack Obama has been elected president,” Ms. Palin said. “Let us, let us — let him — be able to kind of savor this moment, one, and not let the pettiness of maybe internal workings of the campaign erode any of the recognition of this historic moment that we’re in. And God bless Barack Obama and his beautiful family.”
There is a great tradition of paint-peeling political hyperbole during presidential campaign years. And there is an equally great tradition of backing off from it all afterward, though with varying degrees of deftness.
But given the intensity of some of the charges that have been made in the past few months, and the historic nature of Mr. Obama’s election, the exercise this year has been particularly whiplash-inducing, with its extreme before-and-after contrasts.
The shift in tone follows the magnanimous concession speech from Mr. McCain, of Arizona, who referred to Mr. Obama’s victory Tuesday night as “a historic election” and hailed the “special pride” it held for African-Americans. That led the vice president-elect, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., to get into the act. During the campaign, Mr. Biden said he no longer recognized Mr. McCain, an old friend. Now, he says, “We’re still friends.” President Bush, in turn, also hailed Mr. Obama’s victory, saying his arrival at the White House would be “a stirring sight.”
Whether it all heralds a new era of cooperation in Washington remains to be seen, and it may be downright doubtful. But for now, at least, it would seem to be part of an apparent rush to join what has emerged as a real moment in American history.
The presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin said she was hard-pressed to find a similar moment when the tone had changed so drastically, and so quickly, among so many people of such prominence.
“I don’t think that’s happened very often,” Ms. Goodwin said. “The best answer I can give you is they don’t want to be on the wrong side of history, and they recognize how the country saw this election, and how people feel that they’re living in a time of great historic moment.”
Others in the professional political class were not so sure. Some wondered whether simple pragmatism was the explanation.
“My experience is, it’s less an epiphany and more a political reality,” said Chris Lehane, a former Democratic strategist who worked on the presidential campaign of Al Gore. “I’m thinking they will continue in this direction so long as the polls indicate it’s a smart place to be.”
There are notable exceptions: Rush Limbaugh has given no quarter. And while his fellow conservative radio hosts Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham have noted the significance of his victory — on Wednesday, Ms. Ingraham said “Obama did make history” and “It’s not the time to vilify him” — they seem to be in line with Bill O’Reilly of Fox News. Relishing his new role in the opposition camp, Mr. O’Reilly said, “The guy is still a mystery, so our oversight will be intense.”
Some lawmakers also do not appear inclined to give up the fight. Representative John A. Boehner, the House minority leader, has already criticized Mr. Obama’s choice of Representative Rahm Emanuel, Democrat of Illinois, as his chief of staff.
But other people who opposed Mr. Obama, like Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, have good reason to try to make up with the winning ticket. As an ardent backer of Mr. McCain, Mr. Lieberman angered the Democrats, who in 2000 nominated him as their vice-presidential candidate. After losing a Democratic primary challenge in 2006 and then winning as an independent, he still continued to caucus with the Democrats.
Attending an event with Mr. McCain in York, Pa., in August, Mr. Lieberman said the race was “between one candidate, John McCain, who has always put the country first, worked across party lines to get things done, and one candidate who has not.”
As a speaker at the Republican National Convention, Mr. Lieberman went further than Democrats expected by criticizing Mr. Obama for “voting to cut off funding for our troops on the ground.” (Mr. Obama voted for bills that included plans for withdrawal from Iraq and against others that did not.)
This week Mr. Lieberman, who has been asked by the Democratic Senate leadership to consider giving up his position as the chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, released a statement congratulating Mr. Obama for “his historic and impressive victory.” It continued, “The American people are a people of extraordinary fairness.”
Marshall Wittmann, a spokesman for Mr. Lieberman, said that as far as the senator was concerned, “It’s over, and it’s genuinely time to find unity and move forward behind the new president.”
And what about that whole bit about Mr. Obama not always putting his country first? “He believes that President-elect Obama — and, then, Senator Obama — is a genuine patriot and loves his country,” Mr. Wittmann said. “The only point he was making in his campaign was about partisanship.”
Mr. Obama is apparently ready to bury the hatchet with his new fans. “President-elect Obama has made it clear that he wants to put partisanship behind and work together to solve the many challenges confronting the country,” said Stephanie Cutter, a spokeswoman for the Obama transition team. “We’re pleased that others do as well.”
The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, who will help decide Mr. Lieberman’s committee assignment, sounded less ready to forgive, at least when it came Mr. Lieberman’s support for Mr. McCain. “Joe Lieberman has done something that I think was improper, wrong, and I’d like — if we weren’t on television, I’d use a stronger word of describing what he did,” he said on CNN Friday.
Here’s the full Bachmann interview with Chris Matthews’ Hardball which almost cost Rep. Michele Bachmann her seat. But more frightening than this singular interview ~ was the overall direction that the Republican Party was preparing to take once elected. Dividing the country into pro-American and anti-American areas, its people into God and the Godless and advocating for McCarthy style checking of ‘liberal’ members of Congress for possible pro and anti-American leanings. Where was McCain planning to take the country if he were elected and how was he planning to control these elements of his Party?
Bachmann praises Obama’s win, now
After suggesting that Barack Obama had anti-American views in an exchange three weeks ago with MSNBC host Chris Matthews, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) told Politico Thursday that she was “extremely grateful that we have an African-American who has won this year.” She called his victory “a tremendous signal we sent.”
“I have not seen the United States as a racist nation,” said Bachmann, who represents Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, in the east-central part of the state. “In my district, I don’t sense racism, and that’s why I’m thankful that hopefully this will send a national signal across our country that America is not a nation made up of racists. … On the same hand, I hope that the national media will not confuse disagreement with Obama’s policy positions with being consumed [by] racism.”
Some analysts had written off the linguistically intemperate Bachmann as a casualty of her calamitous “Hardball” interview, but she graduated to being a sophomore in the House of Representatives in Tuesday’s election.
In a telephone interview, Bachman said she was gratified that voters in her district didn’t “let the media intervene” in the race, which she ultimately won by three points over Democratic challenger Elwyn Tinklenberg. But in surveying the wreckage to her party that the election wrought, Bachmann was quick to acknowledge that, going forward, “clearly the views and opinions of conservatives won’t be prevailing.”
As she looks ahead to her next term in Congress, Bachmann, a former U.S. Treasury attorney who now sits on the Financial Services Committee, said she’s hoping for a spot on the House Ways and Means Committee, the panel charged with writing tax legislation and bills affecting Social Security, Medicare, and other entitlement programs. Minnesota Rep. Jim Ramstad, a nine-term Republican who is retiring, is currently the only Minnesotan on that committee.
“My husband and I were Joe the Plumbers,” said Bachmann, referring to the 42-employee Christian therapy business she and her husband started, as well as the ubiquitous plumber from Ohio who was elevated to the status of Everyman during the campaign. “I think my business background and tax background works very well on Ways and Means.”
Bachmann said that she had always expected her race to tighten toward the end, but she seemed willing to accept the connection between her gaffe on “Hardball” and the closeness of her race.
“My opponent did not do a stellar job fundraising,” Bachmann said, noting that it was only after her interview on MSNBC that “there was money coming from [the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] and outside money, and that significantly impacted race.” Fundraising records show that her challenger raised more than $1.3 million in a week.
“What that did is, it opened the door for a phenomenal outpouring of negative media coverage. It was the echo chamber of the left media, and it was overwhelming, and that was difficult to overcome that level of vitriol.”
Bachmann said that aggressive Democratic organizing in her district this year, combined with the “great resources they had in trying to defeat me in ’06” made reelection a breakneck climb.
“I had laid a strong foundation,” Bachmann said, explaining how she pulled out the win. “That is something we knew all along. For two years I worked enormously hard in the district.”
“People knew that I am a serious member of Congress, that I take issues seriously, and that I worked extremely hard. … They know I’m not a nuanced politician that waffles and changes my mind with whatever is popular at the moment.”
After raising her national profile in cable news interviews about the presidential race and energy issues, Bachmann said her primary focus going forward will be the concerns of her constituents. She said her party would have to wait to see the specifics of the Democratic agenda, then offer “positive” alternatives.
“It was a decisive win [for Democrats] on every level: presidency, House and Senate,” Bachmann said. “Even in Minnesota, we passed a state sales tax increase. That’s pretty phenomenal when you think about the difficult environment of the economy. The fact we could pass a tax increase and have such a strong Democratic showing … it just shows what an overpowering Democratic year this was, and that’s why I feel very gratified to have survived the storm.”
During election night I went over to Fox News – I got the sense they were a little depressed over there – seem dismayed at the direction of the results coming in. They didn’t actually believe all that stuff they were saying about Barack – did they?
More than 60 million viewers watched prime-time, election-night coverage on ABC, NBC, CBS and the three main cable news networks, an increase of nearly 10 percent over 2004, according to early estimates provided Wednesday by Nielsen Media Research.
When adding in the viewership of eight other channels — including Black Entertainment Televison and the Spanish-language networks Univision and Telemundo — Tuesday night’s combined viewership ballooned to 71.5 million, more than in either 2004 or 2000.
The most-watched network, with an estimated 13.1 million viewers, was ABC. It had stationed Charles Gibson, Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos in Times Square, which was soon playing host to a raucous, impromptu celebration of Barack Obama’s victory that felt more like Dick Clark’s New Year’s Eve party than election night. The network’s audience was about the same as in 2004.
On cable, the big winner was CNN, which drew an estimated 12.3 million viewers in prime time, nearly double its audience four years earlier. The CNN audience was so large that it eclipsed that of two broadcast networks, NBC (12 million) and CBS (7.8 million), for the first time. (The audiences for the NBC and CBS broadcasts, which were led by Brian Williams and Katie Couric, each fell by more than 15 percent, when compared with election night of 2004.)
NBC’s sister cable network, MSNBC, posted large gains, with an audience of 5.9 million, more than double its viewership in 2004, according to the Nielsen estimates. (During the campaign, MSNBC and The New York Times shared some political newsgathering.) Fox News also gained Tuesday night, with an estimated 9 million viewers, an increase of about 12 percent over 2004.
For viewers of the broadcast network coverage, this election night represented a moment of transition. Since the last election, Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw have left their anchor posts on CBS and NBC — Mr. Brokaw returned as an NBC analyst Tuesday night, Mr. Rather was on HDNet, a cable channel — and Peter Jennings died.
For the cable news channels, too, new trends emerged. CNN, which was seen by fewer viewers than Fox News on election night 2004, this year outdrew Fox News. In addition, the Fox broadcast network drew 5.1 million viewers.
Huge war chest enables Democrat to eye Ariz., Ga., S.C., and N.D.
CHICAGO – What do states like Georgia, South Carolina, North Dakota and even Arizona have in common?
They’re all reach states that the Obama campaign now believes could be in play.
Thanks in part to an astonishing $150 million take in September, the Democrat has his eyes on some unlikely prizes, including McCain’s own home turf.
“Our strategy all along has been to expand the playing field,” said David Plouffe, Obama’s meticulous and cautious campaign manager. “People thought we were crazy, but it is paying off.”
Granted, he was listing these off the top of his head, and didn’t reveal the campaign’s actual state-by-state committments, but still — it’s news nonetheless.
“We’re in a pretty good position right now,” concedes Plouffe. “We’re competing in and for states no one thought would be in play.”
It appears to be part of a larger campaign strategy to win big with the Electoral College — and not settle for a narrow November victory.
Spread the wealth?
What else will come of this major moolah? Well, we know one thing, it’s not going to the other Democrats eager to maximize the party’s majorities in Congress.
On a visit to Obama headquarters here in Chicago, I asked Plouffe about the “spread the wealth” idea.
The Obama campaign has “all we can handle,” he said.
Rather than funnel cash directly to Senate and House candidates — which Plouffe said would be legal — the campaign argues that its ground-level organizing work in the states on behalf of all Democrats is worth millions, and more than makes up for any cash donations the campaign might make.
Plouffe cited North Carolina as an example.
“We have done extensive registration and turn out work, and that is paying off for everyone,” he said. In the Tar Heel state, he said, the grassroots work has helped Democrat Kay Hagan pull ahead of Sen. Liddy Dole.
“That wouldn’t be happened without our effort there,” Plouffe said.
Less than giddy at Obama HQ
Given the state of the race, might think that the atmosphere would be giddy in Obama headquarters on Michigan Ave. in downtown Chicago.
When I walked in for my first visit in months the atmosphere was the same as it was then: quiet, purposeful, and no-nonsense.
On what looked like a vast open trading floor, the twenty- and thirty-somethings went about their business, none of them in coats and ties, many of them looking like graduate students, would-be lawyers, and MBAs crashing a collaborative research project.
Lessons from New Hampshire
On an easel outside the entrance, the first person to work that morning — a retired school administrator named Mary Shepard Hughes — had written an inspiration and an a warning: “TWO SHORT WEEKS. TWO LITTLE WORDS: NEW HAMPSHIRE.”
In a campaign that has, from the start, functioned with incredible smoothness overall, the unexpected primary loss of New Hampshire to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton still rankles — and serves as a cautionary tale.
But the campaign took away lessons from that setback. “Hillary was attacking us pretty hard and we didn’t respond enough, or quickly enough,” Plouffe told me. “We learned that you’ve got to deal with everything.”
Keeping all the cash on hand is one way to make sure they can respond to anything McCain might throw out in the last two weeks.
The Obama campaign has returned fire — hard — on everything from Bill Ayers to taxes.
“They remember how John Kerry was ‘swift-boated’ and they want the cash on hand to prevent that this time,” said a top Obama fundraiser here. “They’re not going to make the Kerry mistake.”
Based on a search of closed caption data gathered since Sunday, FNC has mentioned the GOP’s favorite issues (ACORN and Ayers) nearly thirty percent more frequently than they mentioned the GOP’s least favorite issues, the economy and the middle class.
The numbers are staggering:
- Combined, FNC has mentioned “ACORN” or “Ayers” 1,231 times
- Compare that to 963 references to “economy” or “middle class”
FNC’s propaganda puts it out way out on a limb. Combined, MSNBC and CNN have made 798 references to ACORN or Ayers. Remember, that’s both networks, combined.
Put another way, FNC has mentioned ACORN or Ayers 50% more often than both of its competitors put together.
A special thanks to Beyond Media for loaning me an evaluation unit of a Snapstream Enterprise Server, which I used to generate these numbers.
Source: Daily Kos
Maddow stumped as Palin blatantly denies – Troopergate findings.