On this morning's Face The Nation, Bob Schieffer asked Illinois Democrat Senator Barack Obama about ethics reform, which the anchor said "looks like it's just almost about to slide right off the table."

Senator Obama responded: "Well, I'm not going to let it slide off the table." He went on to say that "We're going to try to see if we can ban some of the corporate jets that are being used and perks."



There's a reason or two why Tim Russert rules the Sunday morning news show roost. One of them is he asks tough questions based on preparation. By contrast, on Sunday's "Face the Nation," Bob Schieffer displayed the opposite.



An extraordinary election occurred in Iraq on Thursday. However, all three major network Sunday talk shows – ABC’s “This Week,” NBC’s “Meet the Press,” and CBS’ “Face the Nation” – all began their programs this morning with a discussion about revelations released on Friday by The New York Times that the White House has been authorizing surveillance of potential terrorists on American soil without getting court orders.



It’s probably not the first time it has happened, but with the exception of ABC’s George Will – who, of course, has been a regular on that network’s “This Week” for many years – the networks’ Sunday political talk shows had no established conservative guests to participate in their weekly panel discussions. Joining George Stephanopoulos and George Will this morning were Democratic political strategist Donna Brazile, TIME magazine’s Jay Carney, and ABC’s Claire Shipman. NBC’s “The Chris Matthews Show” featured Katy Kay of the BBC, Michael Duffy of TIME magazine, Norah O’Donnell of MSNBC, and Terry Neal of the Washington Post. CBS’s “Face the Nation” did its annual Thanksgiving “historians” program.

The most left-leaning of the panels was on NBC’s “Meet the Press” where Tim Russert invited Judy Woodruff, formerly of CNN’s “Inside Politics,” David Broder of the Washington Post, Eugene Robinson also of the Washington Post, and David Gregory of NBC News. While the “This Week” and “Matthews” panels actually engaged in a comparatively well-rounded discussion, the “Meet the Press” group spent the bulk of its half-hour talking about the “disaster” in Iraq. For instance, Robinson said, “I think that there's general agreement now that there will be a mess in Iraq when U.S. troops finally withdraw and it certainly won't be an Athenian democracy, as the administration said it was out to create.” Gregory agreed, “And unfortunately, perhaps the only outcome is a kind of low-level civil war that's akin to the Arab- Israeli situation with U.S. soldiers in the way.”

Woodruff then joined in by paraphrasing a recent article in the Atlantic Monthly:



CBS’s Thalia Assuras did a piece on “The Early Show” this morning (video link to follow) about President Bush’s falling poll numbers. In it, she took a snippet out of an interview that Bob Schieffer did with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) yesterday on “Face The Nation” to indicate that the senator was “concerned” about these polls and what they are currently suggesting. However, the sentences after this fragment that were not included in Assuras’s report qualified McCain’s concerns.

For example, Assuras stated, “The latest poll shows his support remains at its lowest ever, and that’s causing concern in his own party.” Then came McCain’s quote: “As a loyal Republican and a person who’s loyal to this president I am of course concerned. These numbers are not good.”

However, what CBS chose not to show the viewer were McCain’s next sentences (from caption dump):



A little something from Sunday's Face the Nation that shouldn't go unnoticed: Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu (LA), unable to cite, off-hand, examples which illustrated her allegation that the White House was orchestrating a smear campaign of local officials who responded to Hurricane Katrina, told host Bob Schieffer that he need only ask various "journalists throughout town."



CBS News has not reported this week on Janet Napolitano and Bill Richardson---Democratic governors facing reelection in 2006 in Arizona and New Mexico, respectively-- declaring states of emergency stemming from US-Mexico border security issues. Neither The Early Show nor the CBS Evening News have touched the story. Yet on Sunday, the day after Richardson issued his state of emergency declaration, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer pitched a softball which DNC chairman hit out of the park to slam Republicans as "scapegoating" immigrants for the upcoming 2006 midterm elections:



Missed some of today's programming? Mark Kilmer of rightsided.org has an excellent roundup of all of Sunday morning's talkshows. 

Among the highlights:

* On FOXNews Sunday: McCain calls conservatives opposed to him "extreme"; States he has no confidence in Rumsfeld.

* On Meet The Press: Joe Biden states Rumsfeld should resign; calls Iraq a training ground for terrorists. Hos Andrea Mitchell brings up Cindy Sheehan