MIAMI — Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) had the best line when it comes to the latest Florida election in which contests for governor and the U.S. Senate are still undecided. Rubio tweeted: "Bay County was hit by a Cat 4 Hurricane just 4 weeks ago, yet managed to count votes & submit timely results. Yet over 41 hours after polls closed #Broward elections office is still counting votes?"

CNN's Piers Morgan just couldn't let his Republican guest denounce President Obama's foreign policy. He spouted the White House spin on all the President's accomplishments while not holding him accountable for the Libya fiasco, on his Monday night show.

"I would say one of the things that Barack Obama has done incredibly successfully is restore a lot of America's very damaged reputation around the world since the eight years of George Bush and all the warfare that came with it," claimed Morgan.

UPDATE: Later in today's show, a clip [displayed after the jump] was played of an interview from months ago in which Scarborough unequivocally put it to Sestak that he had been offered the Secretary of the Navy position, and Sestak seems to confirm it. So much so that after watching the clip, today's guest Jeffrey Sachs, an ardent Obama fan, had to laughingly admit that, yes, Sestak had been offered the Navy job


Does Chuck Todd understand the difference between offering, in return for a candidate's agreement to drop out of a race, a big federal job with its salary and perks, versus offering to support someone's possible future political campaign?  Apparently not.  For the NBC Political Director and chief White House correspondent this morning equated the Obama admin's apparent offer of a top job to Joe Sestak with Dick Cheney's reported offer to support Tim Pawlenty in a subsequent gubernatorial run if he would get out of a Senate primary against Norm Coleman. H/t reader Ray R.

Let's make this clear: offering a federal job which is within the offerer's power of appointment, in order to influence someone is a crime.  Offering political support in a possible future race is neither illegal nor wrong: it is simply politics.  But Todd shockingly equated the two during the course of a spirited conversation with Joe Scarborough on today's Morning Joe.

Viewers are encouraged to watch the extended clip, but here's the the crucial segment:

Top-rated "progressive talker" Ed Schultz is concerned about possible improprieties in the Minnesota Senate recount.

At least he was a moment ago.

Almost certainly without intending to, the liberal radio host fueled at least one belly laugh among listeners while he took calls Wednesday.

... except that's not exactly what the poll says. Minneapolis's KSTP channel 5's headline reads "POLL: Coleman should concede." The article that follows reads,

An exclusive Survey USA poll shows nearly half of Minnesotans surveyed say its time for Republican Norm Coleman to concede the U.S. Senate race to Democrat Al Franken.

But the survey does not hold good news for Franken either.

obama3Why can't everyone just settle down, get out of the way, get rid of the "distractions," and let Barack Obama do his magic? That seems to be a recurring media meme during this presidential transition period.

Here are just a few examples in just the past 30 days:

  • In a December 12 "analysis" piece at Reuters, Steve Holland opened by telling readers that "A political scandal that led to the arrest of Illinois' governor has become an unwelcome distraction for President-elect Barack Obama as he tries to keep his focus on preparing to run the country."
  • Amanda Paulson's Christian Science Monitor report on December 23 about Obama's internal investigation of contacts between his team and Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich fretted that "As the saga of Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his alleged “political corruption crime spree” has played out over the past two weeks, it’s been an unwelcome distraction for another politician from Illinois: President-elect Obama."
  • And yesterday, Brent Baker of NewsBusters caught ABC World News Tonight anchor Dan Harris worrying that Bill Richardson's unexpected withdrawal as Commerce Secretary nominee might be "a distraction in the key early days."

AFP's Jitendra Joshi offered up the latest example yesterday:

This is just too perfect.  Earlier today, noting that none of the network morning shows explicitly identified Rod Blagojevich as a Democrat, I wondered out loud how the MSM would treat a Republican in like circumstances.   It's taken less than three hours to get our answer.

Let's preface this by saying that Norm Coleman is not, repeat not, the target of an investigation.  To mention him anywhere within a million miles of Blago is unfair.  I'm citing the MSNBC coverage just for purposes of illustrating the double standard.  At about 11:20 AM ET, here's how Contessa Brewer threw it to Norah O'Donnell.

CONTESSA BREWER: Let's head over to Norah now, live at the politics desk, with more on a potential problem for GOP Senator, and the incumbent here in Minnesota, Norm Coleman. Norah.

In every recount of the senate election from Minnesota, incumbent senator Norm Coleman has consistently been ahead of challenger Al Franken by hundreds of votes. At this point it looks like it will be impossible for Franken to exceed Coleman's total in the recount of the few ballots remaining. So what is the solution of New York Times guest op-ed columnist and associate professor of journalism at New York University, Charles Seife? Why just declare the election a "statistical tie" and flip a coin to determine the winner. Seife explains how he has come up with his laughable resolution for the election in which Coleman continues to lead:

Before the recount began on Nov. 19, Mr. Coleman and Mr. Franken were within about 200 votes of each other. With a little under three million ballots cast in the election, that margin was unbelievably small: a few thousandths of a percent separated the two candidates. So, as Minnesota law requires, election officials began counting, by hand, every single ballot from the more than 4,000 precincts around the state.

Most recent unintentionally hilarious moment on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC cable show -- her interview with Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie over the upcoming recount in the Senate race between incumbent Republican Norm Coleman and Democratic challenger/reformed court jester Al Franken.

The interview on Wednesday night's show began innocuously enough, with a news caption at the bottom of the screen identifying Ritchie.

Ritchie described the mechanics of the looming recount, which is triggered by state law for margins of victory less than one-half percentage point. The next news caption read, "Sen. Norm Coleman (R) Has 206 Vote Lead Over Challenger Al Franken (D)" (albeit all in capital letters, as with all the captions).

Then came this eye-opener of a caption, presented as fact as with the preceding two when it is an allegation and a kneejerk one at that -- "Before Recount, GOP Trying To Smear Minnesota Secretary of State."

Says who ...? All that was needed to make this bird capable of flight were two more words ... "Democrats allege."Adding that, however, might convey an attempt by MSNBC to appear fair and balanced, the last thing its goo-goo viewership wants.

**Video Below the Fold**

Al Franken has shown himself to be an angry, easily enraged man and after the October 16 Minnesota Senatorial candidate's debate he allowed his overwrought emotional state to send him over the edge once again. After the debate was over and the Media had turned off their microphones and cameras, Franken rushed over to Senator Norm Coleman's table and proceeded to angrily get in his face over some point or another made during the debate. Franken was getting so angry that his own wife had to rush over and force him to back off from a mounting confrontation with Coleman.

This isn't the only time that Al Franken has allowed his seemingly delicately balanced temperament to be tipped to unseemly anger. In fact, he's allowed himself to be driven to physical violence in the past. In 2004, for instance, Franken tackled a disruptive LaRouchie at a Howard Dean speech. He has also been known to get into shouting matches with rally attendees and opponents alike. Not to mention his past usage of intemperate or profane language and mean-spirited use of ridicule in his comedy routines and during his radio shows when he was an Air-America host.

Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer is a college professor with a long history of political activism and fearless liberalism.—AP, 5-11-08, profile of candidate for Minn. Dem primary nomination [emphasis added].
Fearless liberalism? Fearless? It's fearless for an American college professor to be a big-time liberal? Give me a fearless break!

Yet that's how the AP described the predictably left-wing politics of the man challenging Al Franken for the right to challenge Republican Norm Coleman for his seat in the US Senate. Among Nelson-Pallmeyer's positions: