The Sunday Morning Talk Shows: The Review
The Unstoppable Juggernaut of Doom?
On MTP, John McCain spoke of his campaign. He would not say that Obama is a socialist, classifying him instead as a “liberal,” even though he pointed out that the redistribution of wealth is one of the tenets of socialism.
On TW, George Stephanopoulos hosted another tedious roundtable with people like Donna Brazile, George Will, David Gergen, and Newt Gingrich. Gergen argued that the Bradley Effect applied also to Democrats, not just to Republicans.
On MTP, General Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama, disclosing that it’s the whole Hopechanghope thing that has him excited.
On FTN, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz argued that Florida’s Jews hate Sarah Palin. Missouri Governor Matt Blunt suggested that Obama’s tremendous celebrity might not translate into votes. Virginia Governor Tim Kaine said that Colin Powell’s endorsement secures Obama’s national security bona fides. Rob Portman said that John McCain’s message was the Obama is risky on economic matters.
On LE, Rudy Giuliani stipulated that Obama was a “very traditional liberal Democrat,” a “throwback” to the time before the Clintons. He endorsed Mike Bloomberg for a third term as mayor of New York City, arguing that Bloomberg had strengthened what Rudy had one as mayor.
MCCAIN ON FNS. On FOX News Sunday, host Chris Wallace spoke with GOP Presidential candidate John McCain, seated as they were at this large, black, round table. Wallace first ticked off some info: Obama up by seven in the RCP National average, he said, and leading in Karl Rove’s Electoral map, 313-171. McCain suggested that the new polls show them within the margin of error or slightly outside in the key States, but he admitted: “It’ll be tough.”
In response to Plouffe’s record-breaking fundraising month for Obama, McCain pointed out that Obama broke his word on public financing and that there is no record for $200-million taken in by the Obama campaign. He pointed out that this is the most uncontrolled money spent since Nixon and Watergate and that this is “laying a predicate for the future that’s very dangerous.”
McCain feels he started turning the campaign around at the debate, which, he said, “helped define the issues.” Speaking of the man accosted in his driveway, who asked a question only to be savaged by Obama’s peeps, McCain said: “Joe the plumber is all average citizens.” Wallace argued that it was not Obama savaging Joe the plumber; rather, he suggested, it was the media. McCain insisted that the Obama campaign was in on it.
Wallace asked McCain if he thought Obama was a socialist. McCain answered that Obama wants to redistribute the wealth, which is one of the tenets of socialism, though he considered Obama to be more of the “liberal left.” Wallace pointed out that McCain had voted for the bailout, which was socialist. McCain argued that the bailout was a reaction to a bad situation which had to be enacted.
Wallace tried to equate McCain’s questions about William Ayers with the way he feels the Bush campaign treated him in South Carolina in 2000. McCain said that in 2000, they were attacking his family. Now, he’s just asking about Obama’s association with a domestic terrorist. They are two different things, and he questioned how much Wallace knew about what was done to him in 2000.
McCain asked Obama to repudiate the statement by John Lewis calling McCain and Palin racial bigots no different from George Wallace. Wallace played a clip of McCain on Bill O’Reilly’s program last May stating that he would campaign on the issues, not Bill Ayers or Jeremiah Wright. McCain said that he was talking about the issues at his rallies. He added, “Facts are stubborn things.” He pointed out that Obama has spent more money attacking him than has been spent by any political campaign in history.
McCain talked about this ability to reach across the aisle and work with both Dems and Republicans, mentioning Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neil again.
Wallace asked McCain if Sarah Palin has been a drag on his ticket. McCain answered that “she’s the best that that could have happened to my campaign and to the American people.” He mentioned that she’s excited the base and that he is very pleased.
Wallace mentioned the NYT attack piece on his wife. McCain said very little, noting that he just wanted “to go on with this campaign” and his plans for recovering the economy.
Wallace noted that some pundits have watched McCain at the Al Smith Dinner and on Letterman and asked where that McCain has been, suggesting that he should have campaigned as a jokester. McCain responded: “Campaign rallies are not for standup comics.”
When asked about it, McCain said that he would not be devastated if he did lose. He mentioned his family and his job: “I’m the most fortunate guy you’ve ever interviewed.” Still, he would like to be President.
ROUNDTABLE ON TW. Over at ABC, This Week host George Stephanopoulos empanelled a group of celebrities to discuss Barack Obama’s coming triumph and the triumphant nature of his march to victory. David Gergen reminded us that the Bradley Effect, if it existed, was proven by a recent poll to apply to some Democrats, not just to Republicans. (NOTE: The Bradley Effect, if it exists, is ALL on the Democrats. It is about racist Democrats. Remember, it is the Democrats who would like to pollsters and claim that they were voting for Democrats Bradley, Wilder, or Obama then turn around in the polling place and vote for someone else. The Republicans do not fit into that equation.)
George Will note that McCain’s “experience” argument died in the economic crisis.
Steph gushed that Obama had raised more money than George Bush and John Kerry combined.
COLIN POWELL ON MTP. Moderator Tom Brokaw’s guest on NBC’s Meet the Press was Colin Powell. Powell endorsed Obama.
Powell said the number one issue with which the new President will have to deal is the economy, but also that the new President will have to reach out to the world and show them that we want to work with them.
Powell said that he has known John McCain very well for 25 years; he added that he’s “gotten to know” Obama over the past two years. He argued that over the past seven weeks, McCain and the GOP have become “narrower and narrower,” while Obama has “given us a more inclusive, broader reach into the needs and aspirations of our people.” (Which means, exactly, nothing.)
He faulted McCain for mentioning Bill Ayers and for the robocalls about the “very limited relationship.” This troubles him. He fears that the GOP has moved “even further to the right,” and he said that he “would have difficulty” with two McCain picks to the Supreme Court. He is troubled by Republicans telling people that Obama is a Muslim. “But what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country?” Powell told the story of a Moslem-American who gave his life in Iraq for this country and told the Republican Party to stop polarizing.
We’ve got two individuals. Either one of them could be a good President, but which is the President that we need now? Which is the individual that serves the needs of the nation for the next, period of time? And I come to the conclusion that because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities – we have to take that into account – as well as his substance – he has both style and substance – he has met the standard of being a successful President. Of being an exceptional President. I think he is a transformational figure. He is a new generation coming into the world, onto the world stage, onto the American stage, and for that reason, I will be voting for Senator Barack Obama.”
At long last, the general has either bought the hype or found his messiah, but he does not plan to campaign for him.
Powell pointed out that Obama is surrounding himself with people “who will give him the expertise that he himself does not have.”
Powell argued that if he had only Obama’s race in mind, he could have endorsed Obama months ago. He insisted that he really has been going back-and-forth ‘twixt McCain and Obama, though it would be a great thing, he said, for Americans to be able to say “that we’ve reached this point in our national history.”
He said that he still embraces “compassionate conservatism,” and he believes that American has outgrown the “Bradley Effect.” Powell says that he does not want to get back into government, but “if a President asks you to do something, you have to consider it.”
BLUNT, PORTMAN, KAINE, AND WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ ON FTN. Bob Schieffer’s guest on CBS’ Fact the Nation were Missouri Governor Roy Blunt, former Ohio Congressman Rob Portman, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, and Florida Congressperson Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.
Schieffer talked to Missouri Governor Matt Blunt about Obama’s huge rallies in St. Louis and about this morning’s Colin Powell endorsement. Blunt pointed out that Obama is a huge celebrity but that this does not always convert to votes. Rob Portman said that though Powell is “well-respected,” he’s not sure how much that endorsement will mean in Ohio. What will count, he said, were the issues. Portman also spoke of the “discrepancies”
Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, in studio. Schieffer stipulated that even bigger than the Powell endorsement was Obama’s record $150-million raised last month. He suggested that it was “like it’s from another universe!” Kaine said that the money was nice, but that Powell was a pragmatic uniter, not a divider. He said that Powell’s endorsement shores up Obama’s bona fides on national security.
Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. Schieffer asked her if Florida were prepared for the election this time, after the 2000 mess. Deb said yep, they were, and Obama-Biden was going to win. She added that Powell’s endorsement will play well with the old folks in Florida and is proof that Obama can “build bridges across the aisle.”
Schieffer pointed out that Colin Powell had declared that Sarah Palin was not ready to be President and that this reflected poorly on McCain’s judgment. Blunt argued that Palin was very well-respected in Missouri. Wasserman-Schultz said that there has been a strong reaction to “John McCain’s extremely bad judgment,” and that it bothered the “Jewish community.” Schieffer pointed out that Palin is very pro-Israel, and Wasserman-Schultz conceded this but argued that the Jews want someone who agrees to bring the troops home and a woman’s right to choose.
Schieffer asked Portman about McCain’s electoral map. What does McCain have to do to turn this around? Portman stipulated that Sarah Palin draws great crowds in Ohio and has executive experience. He said that McCain’s message was that Obama is very risky on the economy.
Kaine argued that Obama is going to give “tax relief” to Joe the plumber. He accused John McCain of proposing to “radically alter the nation’s health care system.”
RUDY ON LE. On CNN’s Late Edition, Wolf Blitzer played a clip of Colin Powell endorsing Obama, the “transformational figure,” and asked former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani to react. Rudy said he respects Colin Powell but sometimes friends disagree. In Obama, Rudy sees a “very traditional liberal Democrat,” a “throwback” to the time before the Clintons.
“I think General Powell is wrong,” he said, though he “always” respects Powell’s opinion.
Wolf played a clip of Powell complaining that the Republican Party has moved “further to the right,” and that we are just two Supreme Court justices away from taking away a woman’s right to choose. Giuliani pointed out that the Dems have gone too far to the left. The best way to govern, he said, was in the middle, and John McCain is “best at that.”
Blitzer kept trying to goad Giuliani, an abortion supporter, on Roe v. Wade. Rudy pointed out that the Supreme Court could not take away abortion rights; rather, it would “go back to the States.”
Wolf pointed out that Powell said that Palin was not ready to be President. Giuliani said that he was more comfortable with Palin than he was with Obama.
Rudy thinks Mike Bloomberg should run for a third term in NYC. He doesn’t know if Bloomberg will win, a year out, but he thinks he’s the best man for the job. Rudy argued that Bloomberg took what he had done as mayor and strengthened it, rather than reversed it.
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That’s it. Two weeks to go.