On Thursday Jackie Calmes (pictured) and Trip Gabriel, two of the New York Times's more slanted campaign reporters, teamed up to cover Obama's campaign trip to Colorado and Romney's trip to Iowa: "Obama Assails Romney on Women’s Health Care." Covering Obama in Denver, the Times credited the president's popularity among women, while the Romney coverage from Iowa emphasized a controversy in that state, underlined by an accompanying photo caption: "Mitt Romney, visiting Iowa, kept quiet about his opposition to tax credits for wind power."

With Mitt Romney winning the Iowa caucus and on track to do well in New Hampshire, conservatives should just give up and rally behind the former Massachusetts governor, MSNBC host Alex Wagner suggested at the open of today's Now with Alex Wagner.

Former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele was having none of that:

It's been a mixed week for Mitt Romney's campaign. On one hand, Romney won Iowa, but on the other, he was endorsed by John McCain.

Until the first actual votes were cast Tuesday night, it appeared as if some elements of the Republican Party were becoming the mirror image of a liberal mob.

At the same time that the nation's leading networks can't call Obama a "liberal" more than about once a year, NPR's religion reporter Barbara Bradley Hagerty on Monday announced Rick Santorum was "very, very conservative" on the social issues, in addition to being "very pro-life." He even -- horrors! -- home-schools his seven children.

"He's Catholic. He's billed himself very much as the family values candidate," the reporter announced on NPR's afternoon show Talk of The Nation. "His wife Karen has homeschooled all seven of their children. He's surging in the polls because he's been very, very conservative on these issues." They also discussed if white conservative Christians dislike Obama because they're racists.

New York Times campaign reporter Ashley Parker, following GOP candidate Mitt Romney around Iowa, nonetheless managed to celebrate Barack Obama’s "eloquent and inspiring rhetoric in the state four years ago" in Sunday’s “Romney Quotes His Favorite Patriotic Songs and Offers Voters an Interpretation.”

If anyone's going to destroy Newt Gingrich's presidential aspirations, Hardball's Chris Matthews would rather it be him, or at least someone else in the liberal media. Appearing on colleague Tamron Hall's NewsNation program in today's 2 p.m. Eastern hour, Matthews whined about anti-Gingrich "bombing campaign" of TV ads placed by political action committees that have helped to drive down the former Speaker's poll numbers in the run up to tonight's caucuses.

"My sympathy is not for Newt, it's for democracy," Matthews pontificated, having argued that Romney's "wealthy friends have destroyed" Gingrich with a "Dresden"-style "bombing campaign."

With 17 months to go until the 2012 presidential election, the party in power has signaled its intention to go negative early and often.

Even before former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty formally announced his intention to run for president on the Republican ticket, the Democratic National Committee responded with a video entitled, “Why.”

The seemingly endless variety of "name that party" stunts has yet another wrinkle.

In this case, Matt Drudge is currently linking to a Des Moines Register story ("Culver OKs state pay raises"; also saved here at host for future reference) about how outgoing Iowa Governor Chet Culver has decided to rush through union contracts granting thousands of state employees 3% raises (before considering "step" raises that occur with seniority) in each of the next two years before Republican Governor Terry Bransted takes over in January.

The headline for Drudge's link is "Lame duck Dem governor in Iowa OKs $100 million in raises for state workers." Actually, it's $100 million a year for the next two years. But the linked Register article by Jason Clayworth never identifies Culver's Democratic Party affiliation, even though he tags the governor's opposition as Republican twice in the first two paragraphs. In other words, not that it was difficult to show that Culver is a Dem, but Drudge had to figure it out and tell his readers -- and we thank him for that.

Here are excerpts from Clayworth's clunker:

Allen Troupe graffiti.JPG

Somewhere between 7 p.m. on June 14 and 7 p.m. on June 15, vandals spray painted graffiti, as seen on the top right photo, on the home of Dubuque, Iowa pro-lifer Allen Troupe.

They were most likely incited by a sign in one of the windows of Troupe's home, as seen on the bottom right photo.

Allen Troupe planned parenthood bad.JPG
Click both photos to enlarge.

Troupe filed a police report and anticipated the same level of fair and balanced media coverage one would expect were pro-life graffiti to appear on the home of an abortion proponent - i.e., lots.

But not only did the local paper, the Dubuque Telegraph Herald, fail to post a story, it failed to even mention the police report in its daily police blotter. Editorial staff either considered the incident too slight or too unhelpful to their pro-abortion bias.

So Troupe emailed DTH editor Brian Cooper. Following was Cooper's response....

You'd expect to see this in the liberal blogosphere or possibly some of the national mainstream media outlets with an obvious agenda. But now some of the preemptive strikes against Republican senators leading up to the Senate confirmation hearings and eventual vote to confirm President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor, are finding their way into local newspapers.

NewsBusters.org | Screencap of ABCNews.com from April 2, 2009"Iowa Gives Gay Marriage a Thumbs Up," trumpets the front page teaser headline on ABCNews.com. But, the subhead explains, it was "Iowa's Supreme Court" not the people via their legislature or direct referendum that opened the door to same-sex marriage by finding the state's ban on the ceremony "violates [the state] Constitution."

The smart folks soberly support Barack Obama, while the ridiculous-looking rednecks love Sarah Palin. That's the subtext of the New York Times coverage on Wednesday. Jennifer Steinhauer was watching the second presidential debate with Obama fans at a Mexican restaurant in Des Moines, "Where He First Got Going, Cheering Obama On."

Debate watchers at Dos Rios -- the sort of crowd that can cite chapter and verse of Medicaid waivers without notes -- watched intensely, taking their eyes off the television only to grab a Corona.

Strangely, one of the self-evident geniuses in attendance thinks Barack Obama wants universal health care, despite the Times' desperate insistence that that's just one of the McCain campaign's many lies:

Health care was clearly a big issue in this crowd, and Mr. Obama's statement that health care was a "right" got a big round, too. "I like the fact that he is taking steps toward universal health care," said Mr. Matson, an osteopath.

In contrast, a Republican rally in Florida featuring Sarah Palin is painted in threatening terms by the Times. In her Wednesday story, "Palin Plays to Conservative Base in Florida Rallies," Julie Bosman seems perturbed at the sight of conservative Republicans in their natural element.