On ABC's This week, John McCain explained that he could not stand on the sideline during this new deal discussion: "I'm a Teddy Roosevelt Republican. I had to get in the arena." He credited House Republicans for pulling House Republicans back into the New Deal negotiations.
On FOX News Sunday, John Kerry argued that "it's not for us to say" who won Friday night's debate, adding that the new deal was reached by using the principles laid out by Barack Obama. All talk of earmarks, he dismissed as "demagoguery." Lindsey Graham admitted that he was "part of the problem" with earmarks and promised that Sarah Palin's performance would get better than it was answering Katie Couric about Alaska and Russia. "If you want things to change," he said, "bring in agents of change."
On NBC's Meet the Press, we heard the campaigns' talking points from their ultimate sources. Axelrod made light of McCain never mentioned the "middle class" by term in the debate, while Schmidt pointed out that Obama never used the term "victory" in connection with the wars. Next, Republican Bob Schaffer and Dem Mark Udall, of Colorado Senate election fame, "debated."
On CBS' Face the Nation, Barack Obama praised the crafters of this new deal for incorporating the provisions he'd stated at the beginning, and he reiterated that he would support the measure only if it included his principles.
On CNN's Late Edition, Representative Eric Cantor discussed the House Republicans' desire to include an insurance provision in the new deal which would protect taxpayers by having Wall Street pay for it. Barney Franks blamed the Reagan Administration and the free market. Cantor insisted that insurance be included, and Barney indicated that it is included but not mandatory.
JOHN MCCAIN ON TW. On ABC's This Week this week, host George Stephanopoulos grilled Republican Presidential nominee John McCain. About McCain's role in reaching this New Deal on the latest financial mess, McCain credited the "people on the Hill," noting that the House and Senate worked in a "bicameral" manner. The House Republicans, he said, got back into the deal on their own.
"I'm a Teddy Roosevelt Republican. I had to get in the arena." He said that he could not watch from the sidelines, so to speak, but rather had to be in the fray, but he credited the House Republicans for making the deal better. By name, he mentioned, my notes say, Roy Blunt, Adam Putnam, and Marsha Blackburn.
Stephanopoulos played a bit of a political speech in which Obama declares that John McCain did not once use the term "middle class" in the debate. McCain asked whom Obama thought he was talking about.
Steph confronted McCain with the words of someone named Kathleen Parker who is a conservative columnist, I think he said for the Washington Post, and has declared that Sarah Palin is unqualified. McCain shrugged, "It's a free country," and he went on to extol Palin and the reaction to her selection as his running mate. "Kathleen Parker, if that's her name, can go ahead and criticize."
GRAHAM AND KERRY ON FNS. On this week's edition of FOX News Sunday, host Chris Wallace spoke with two surrogates. For McCain, 't was Lindsey Graham; for Obama, John Kerry, reporting for duty.
Kerry boasted that the New Deal on the latest financial mess was based on the principals Barack Obama had laid out: protect the taxpayers, limit the pay of execs, help homeowners, and provide oversight. This was a triumph for Obama, Kerry said, and it would have been reached sooner had McCain played politics with the situation.
Graham countered that John McCain was "decisive" in getting the House Republicans involved in the process. He said that the new deal, because of McCain and the House Republicans, no longer contained taxpayers' gifts to such as the lefty group ACORN, which has a track record of fraud. He said that McCain came to Washington and said that this was not a good deal yet, make it better. And he stayed in direct contract with the players.
Kerry averred that Obama was in "constant touch" with Secretary Paulson. He reminded that McCain had recently declared that our economy was sound – McCain had said that its "fundamentals" were sound – and charged that McCain had only "interrupted negotiations to come [to Washington] and save his campaign."
Kerry said that in the debate, Obama "closed the gap significantly on McCain's home turf." (McCain is from Mississippi?) He said that "it's not for us to say who won," but he alleged that McCain dwelled on the past while Obama looked to the future.
Graham asked, "Who do you really believe is gonna shake this place up?" Wallace confronted Graham on his own use of earmarks, and Lindsey admitted: "I am part of the problem." He is looking, he said, to having Congress break the earmark habit under John McCain.
Is Obama for increased government spending? "Absolutely not," Kerry pronounced. Obama's health care plan, Kerry offered, relies on market mechanisms. Kerry dismissed all talk of earmarks as "demagoguery."
Kerry argued that Obama would not meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad because he's not the most powerful man in Iran, something Obama pointed out at the debate. Wallace asked Kerry if Obama would meet with Ayatollah Khamenei, then, and Kerry ignored him, ranting that Bush had sent his assistant secretary of State to lay the groundwork for a meeting with Iran. As always, Kerry brought up his sour grapes, alleging that this was the very thing he had proposed in a debate four years ago, before his defeat in that year's Presidential election.
Kerry argued that the United States was meeting unilaterally with North Korea. Wallace asked him about the People's Republic of China, and Kerry alleged that the PRC was playing a minimal role. The Norks, he said, were negotiating with the United States.
Wallace asked about Joe Biden and Sarah Palin, pointing out that the two of them have had a "tough two weeks." On Biden, no to clean coal, and President FDR on TV in 1929, Kerry explained: "When you're running like a bandit, sometimes you have a simple slip of the tongue."
On Palin and her Alaska answer to Katie Couric, Graham explained that Palin was talking about Russia's proximity to Alaska and that "she'll get better." He mentioned that Biden wanted to partition Iraq, meaning that we'd be losing four wars right now. "If you want things to change," Graham said, "bring in agents of change."
The show ended with the Kerry grinning. He engaged in playful smacking and grabbing of Senator Graham.
SCHMIDT VS. AXELROD ON MTP. On this Sunday's edition of Meet the Press, moderator Tom Brokaw opened with McCain's chief strategist Steve Schmidt sitting at the table expressionless and at ease, with chief Obama strategist David Axelrod grinning like a cat. Schmidt said that McCain was happy that there was a framework for the new deal, and he credited McCain with helping to bring all the parties to the table. Schmidt said that McCain had laid out principles – that CEO's not benefit from taxpayer money, that there be oversight, that there be accountability – and "those principles appear to be contained in the legislation." (Those are the same principles for which Obama and his peeps have been trying also to claim credit.) He said that McCain returned to Washington to get all parties to agree to come to the table. Axelrod argued that Obama had been pushing those principles, and that McCain's first reaction to the crisis was to say that the economy was strong. The important thing, he said, was that Obama's principles had been embraced.
Axelrod said that Obama has been warning about this crisis for a year and a half, and that the new President would have to deal with the Bush-McCain economic problems. He complained that John McCain never once mentioned the middle class. Those are Axelrod's talking points. Schmidt said that the debate was about foreign policy, and we never once heard Obama mention "victory" in relation to the wars we are fighting. He added that McCain did talk about the middle class when he spoke of raising the child exemption and the $4,000 tax credit for health care. He pointed out that there was a difference between what Obama has said and his record.
Axelrod accused Schmidt of lying – he used the term "lie" – about the Obama campaign; Obama does so want to cut taxes for the middle class while McCain wants to cut taxes for big, stinking corporations.
Brokaw accused John McCain of being inauthentic, citing an August 28 editorial from The Economist, a British magazine. Steve Schmidt countered that there is only one John McCain and he rejected the foreigners' premise.
Schmidt pointed out that Obama had supported a tax increase for people earning as little as $42,000/year. The Obama campaign, he said, responds to these charges by saying simply that it's a lie. "Dishonest politics." He accused Obama of "trying to portray himself as a tax-cutting Ronald Reagan." He added that McCain wants to bring our troops home, but in victory. Axelrod countered that Osama bin Laden [deceased] was resurgent today because of the "dreadful mistake" of going to war in Iraq.
Brokaw charged that General David Petraeus accused John McCain of lying when he speaks of a possible victory in Iraq. Schmidt replied that we had been losing the war in Iraq until McCain, "almost by himself," stood up to President Bush and convinced him to change his strategy. Obama opposed the change in strategy, he said.
Brokaw pointed out that, despite Obama's evidence, John McCain still leads in NBC News' latest "fit to be commander-in-chief" poll, 53- to 42-percent.
SCHAFFER VS. UDALL ON MTP. The Colorado Senate race, between Republican Bob Schaffer and Democrat Mark Udall, made its appearance on MTP. Brokaw asked Shaffer about Congress' new deal on the latest financial mess, and Schaffer said that there was nothing to like about it but a deal was needed. "But to suggest there is something to celebrate is absolutely wrong."
Citing SEC Chairman Chris Cox as apologizing for deregulation, and blaming a "Republican culture beginning with Reagan," Brokaw posited that it "is about time" Congress slapped tighter regulation of Wall Street and the financial institutions. Schaffer agreed that it should be regulated in some sense but it should restrict the economy's ability to grow. He pointed out that it was Republicans in 2005 and 2007 who tried to put more restraints on Freddie Mae and Fannie Mac – I know! – but these attempts were rebuffed by Mark Udall and the Dems.
Udall proposed some principles for the new deal moving forward: no blank check, oversight, no golden parachute, taxpayers "at the front of the line," a "return on their investment," and he corrected the record: he had worked with Republicans on Fannie and Freddie reform in 2005.
Schaffer came with papers outlining instances in which Udall voted against Fannie and Freddie regulation, but Udall spoke over him to say that we're in such trouble because of some policies at the beginning of the decade.
My impression from this thing is that Udall would fit right in with ruling Democratic cabal in the Senate while Schaffer, with sane policy ideas, might shake things up a bit. But this one is for the people of Colorado to decide.
BILL CLINTON ON MTP. Brokaw's next guest on MTP was Bill Clinton.
OBAMA ON FTN. Bob Schieffer spent CBS' Face the Nation talking to Dem Presidential nominee Barack Obama, in the studio. Schieffer argued that the plan will be the one proposed by President Bush but with some changes. Obama replied that this was an urgent situation and that everyone knows that it was an urgent situation. He praised negotiators for using the principles he had outlined at the beginning of this process. He promised to review the language over the next day to make sure that his provisions are included. He will support it, then, because "Main Street is now" in trouble as well.
Obama wants to update our regulatory system, and the next President has to come in with a reform package. He said that John McCain was wrong; the fundamentals of our economy are not strong.
"I think this is a final verdict on eight years of failed economic policy," Obama glibly spat.
Obama agrees that this is the most serious financial crisis we've faced since the great depression, and that – double-negative alert – "we can't do nothing."
Obama blamed subprime lending for beginning this crisis, but this he blamed on the "family budget being in crisis."
Obama has said that he wants to find out how to keep this from happening again. He blamed John McCain for having voted with George Bush on economic matters "more than 90% of the time." He faulted John McCain for being a deregulator and for siding with Bush on tax cuts. Obama said that his own tax cuts would go to the "90% of Americans who are struggling."
Obama said that McCain would have no "significant shift" on George Bush's foreign policy. He wants to end the war in Iraq and McCain doesn't.
Obama, as President, declared that he will reserve the right to meet with any world leader who suits his fancy. He said that he would open up a dialogue with Iran at below the Presidential level but would read them the riot act but would help them being a better partner if they changed their behavior.
Schieffer asked Obama if Palin was qualified to deal with Russia because Alaska is close to Russia. Obama steered clear. Schieffer pressed that what she said was important, as she could be a heartbeat away from the Presidency. Obama said that he was more concerned with how much she thinks like McCain.
Obama remained calm and seemingly self-assured.
BARNEY AND CANTOR ON LE. On CNN's Late Edition, host Wolf Blitzer opened by interviewing Congressmen Barney Frank and Eric Cantor. Blitzer asked Cantor if the House Republicans would vote for the bill, and Cantor said that they'll have to see how the final product reads. He wants to make sure that "taxpayers are not left holding the bag," so the Congressional GOP is including an insurance provision, paid for by Wall Street. With that, he said, they can "move forward."
Barney said that he was "troubled" by Cantor's words. He complained that the House Republicans should accept the proposal because it was made by the Bush Administration. He said that Roy Blunt took part in the negotiations, but that insurance "cannot substitute for the main part of the program." Barney said that the Dems want, after five years, to have Congress determine how much it cost then charge Wall Street for it.
Cantor said that he hopes that it is mandatory that the Secretary of the Treasury must set up the insurance program. Once the government steps in a removes the toxicity from the market, the private sector investors should be allowed to hold on to the "upside."
Cantor wants Wall Street to share in this burden. Frank argued that their plan does not clean up the current problem. Cantor said that the Republican plan would ensure that the private capital would reenter the system. Frank criticized the free market, arguing that regulations were needed. Cantor started to describe that the Carter Administration forced banks to lend credit to people who could afford it, but Barney snapped: "Don't interrupt me!' When Cantor had finally explained his point, Barney said that he was "disappointed" that Cantor supported racism. Cantor explained that the "regulations went wild" and started to punish institutions. Frank blamed Reagan and the free market.
The camera angles were interesting. Barney, via a link, was shot from a low angle, making him appear to be lofty and in command. The background was dark, adding to the seriousness. Cantor, on the other hand, was shot straight on with a bright background. Frank was to be taken more seriously, CNN was telling us, but they forgot something important. The lifted angle they used with Barney showed off his sloppy necktie-work and his amazing set of jowls. Representative Cantor, on the other hand, was shown as young, energetic, and, yes, jowl-less.
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I've got blisters on my fingers.