I haven't seen Chris Matthews this excited since a Barack Obama speech sent a certain sensation skyward.
The Hardball host is in an absolute frenzy over Scott McClellan's allegations. So much so that guests on this evening's show are having a hard time expressing themselves as Matthews expounds at length. Ari Fleischer finally called Chris on it. And while David Gregory didn't express his ire in words, his facial expression left little doubt as to his annoyance at being cut off in mid-sentence.
The screencap shows Gregory's grimace. But be sure to view the video here to get the full effect. A bit later, former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer appeared. He could be seen on many occasions attempting to speak, only to be submerged in a sea of ceaseless Matthews chatter. Talk at one point turned to VP Cheney's involvement in policy-making. Fleischer was again repeatedly frustrated in his attempts to talk, and finally had enough.
As Valerie Plame does the interview rounds – CBS, NBC, CNN, NPR – someone might miss the far-left, Bush-hating blog interviews. On Firedoglake, the most notable pro-Plame blog, Plame did a typewritten chat with her leftist admirers on Monday. She loved the leftist bloggers at FDL – even had them to her home for dinner -- and declared her interviews on CBS and NBC were fair.
The news media have hardly been admirers of Richard Nixon, but ABC News found new respect Tuesday for Nixon's assessments now that old tapes show how during Watergate he ridiculed furure GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson as “dumb as hell.” On the day of Thompson's debut at a GOP residential debate, both Good Morning America and World News featured stories from Brian Ross, who in the World News version boasted that “we spent weeks going through the hours of Nixon Oval Office tapes.” But though Ross reported nothing not posted two months ago on ABCNews.com, he claimed to have discovered “a tantalizing inside look at how Thompson was regarded by the President and his inner circle.” Reminding viewers that Thompson was the Republican counsel on the Senate committee investigating Watergate, Ross reported that “when Nixon's aides told him of Thompson's appointment, the President was less than impressed.” ABC then played audio from May 14, 1973 of Nixon denigrating Thompson: “He's dumb as hell.”
Cuing up a bite of Nixon asking, “He isn't very smart, is he?”, Ross relayed: “By June 1973, Thompson was still being described in the Oval Office as not very smart, but at least beginning to play ball with the White House behind the scenes.” For expert analysis of Thompson's complicity with Nixon, Ross turned to “author” John Dean who maintained Thompson saw it as “his duty...not necessarily to find the truth, but to find out what would be best for Richard Nixon.” Of course, viewers of MSNBC's Countdown know Dean as one of Keith Olbermann's favorite guests and author of such books as Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush and Conservatives Without Conscience.
On Tuesday's "Good Morning America," ABC contributor Brian Ross chose the day of Fred Thompson's first debate to slam the 2008 candidate for his work as a lawyer on the Watergate hearings 34 years ago and also play clips questioning the then-attorney's intelligence. The investigative correspondent intoned that although Thompson has touted his role in the hearings, "a much different, less valiant picture of Thompson emerges from listening to the White House audiotapes made at the time as President Nixon plotted strategy with his aides in the Oval Office." Ross proceeded to play several clips of Richard Nixon calling Thompson "dumb as hell" and of administration associates alleging that the lawyer will help the White House.
As all of this information is old news, the Ross report is clearly timed to injure Thompson on the day of his big debate. The New York Times reported the same allegations way back on August 27, 2007. The article, by Jo Becker, used many of the same Nixon quotes. (And, in fact, a report by ABC's own Jake Tapper preceded the NYT article and also mentioned Nixon's "dumb as hell" line.) Ross closed his October 9 segment by snidely noting, "We tried to get a response from Thompson but his staff did not return our phone calls and he walked right by us when we tried to put the question to him in person." However, the ABC reporter also referenced other Thompson associates, such as former Senator Howard Baker, who appointed Thompson to the Watergate investigation. And although Baker is very much still alive, did Ross seemed unable to find anyone of that era who would go on record and say something positive about Thompson.
Crusty CNN commentator Jack Cafferty had a "Live Chat" on The Huffington Post on Wednesday, and he sounded like a regular HuffPost blogger, charging that Bush lied us into war to enrich his friends, and never wants America to leave: "I don't think President Bush ever had any intention of leaving Iraq. I think we have been lied to about that the same way we were lied to about WMD. Military bases are under construction all over the country including one on the Iran-Iraq border."
Bruce Fein was a member of the Reagan Administration, but during the Dubya years, Fein sounds a lot like your typical "Bush hater," comparing the president to a long list of historical villains, which makes him a more acceptable guest for Bill Moyers or NPR’s Diane Rehm show.
On Monday's Countdown, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann opened his show railing against President Bush, contending that the President "lied us into a war" and "needlessly killed 3,584 of our family and friends and neighbors" as the Countdown host attacked the President for commuting the sentence of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, referring to Libby's involvement in the "greatest crime of this young century."
On Wednesday's Countdown, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and frequent guest John Dean discussed the possibility of a Democratic Congress moving to impeach members of President Bush's Cabinet as an alternative to actually impeaching the President or Vice President.
On Friday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann again discussed whether President Bush is the "worst ever" President, inspired by comments from Republican Senator Gordon Smith that leaving American troops in Iraq could be "criminal."
On Thursday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann continued his attacks on the Bush administration over its current series of speeches defending the Iraq War. Hosting interviews with three Bush critics from the left (Senator Barbara Boxer, the Mayor of Salt Lake City who led a protest against Bush's "lies" and John Dean, who labeled Donald Rumsfeld an "authoritarian"), the Countdown host provided a forum to attack the administration without any Bush supporters for balance.
Do you remember the scene in The Naked Gun where Leslie Nielsen, as police detective Frank Drebin, pretends to be a major league baseball umpire in order to be able to search the players to see who might be the assassin?
Variety reviewer Robert Koehler (formerly of the L.A. Times) recently reviewed a new documentary titled "Mr. Conservative: Goldwater on Goldwater." The main driver behind the project is his granddaughter, C.C. Goldwater, and it's scheduled to air on HBO on September 18.