Running defense for Barack Obama on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer touted "some of the President's defenders" pushing back against a video of the commander-in-chief sloppily saluting Marines while holding a coffee cup by "circulating this photo of George W. Bush during his presidency...saluting service members while holding his dog, Barney." [Listen to the audio]

Lauer noted that despite Obama gaffe going viral on social media and "sarcastically being called the 'latte salute,'" it "didn't take long for that photo [of Bush] to come out as well."

During a segment on Thursday's Andrea Mitchell Reports on MSNBC, fill-in host Kristen Welker noted Joe Biden making a string of gaffes – which included using an anti-Semitic slur – during a trip to Iowa, but then she and her guests proceeded to excuse his offensive remarks as merely being part of his charm. [Listen to the audio]

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza observed: "Joe Biden is probably the most 'real,' I suppose, politician you have these days. He does say what's on his mind. Unfortunately, what's on his mind often gets him in trouble."

Hardball host Chris Matthews is quite the cinemaphile, frequently working movie references into his banter on the MSNBC program. So it was rather surprising when the MSNBC anchor made a whopper of a gaffe on his July 24 program regarding an iconic moment in the climactic lightsaber duel in the middle chapter of the original Star Wars trilogy, The Empire Strikes Back. It seems Matthews remembers Luke Skywalker losing the duel when Darth Vader cut of his arm, not merely his right hand.

The botched movie reference was made by Matthews as he relayed how the fictional villain has a higher favorability rating (58 percent) than any real-life 2016 presidential prospect, including Hillary Clinton (55 percent). Here's the relevant transcript (video follows page break):

During a segment attacking conservative Republicans who have been critical of the Obama administration's handling of the border crisis, MSNBC's Chris Matthews had an amusing Al Sharpton-like teleprompter moment, repeatedly trying, and failing, to pronounce "dengue fever." It's curious that Matthews, who once served in the Peace Corps in Swaziland, seems unfamiliar with the term, given how prevalent the disease is in many sub-Saharan African countries -- although not Swaziland itself.

The flub occurred as Matthews read for his guests -- California Democratic Reps. Loretta Sanchez and Juan Vargas -- a portion of a letter that Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) sent to the Atlanta-based federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about his "concerns that the diseases carried by these children may begin to spread too rapidly to control." Watch the clip below the page break.

After all three broadcast networks initially ignored offensive comments from former Democratic Montana Governor and possible 2016 presidential candidate Brian Schweitzer claiming outgoing Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor set off his "gaydar," on Friday, NBC's Today took notice of gaffe, with correspondent Peter Alexander declaring: "...a tough-talking Montana Democrat known for being unscripted is apologizing after he managed to offend Democrats, Republicans, gays, and southerners all at once." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Alexander described how Cantor "became the target of an attack that was both ugly and unfounded," with Schweitzer "slinging the mud." Alexander proceeded to quote the "shoot-from-the-lip" former governor's rambling comments about Cantor: "I'm fine with gay people, that's all right – but my gaydar is 60-70 percent. But he's not, I think..."

Do MSNBC producers think all conservative Republican legislators look alike? 

In a segment featuring the Washington Post's Robert Costa handicapping the forthcoming campaign by various House Republicans to fill outgoing Majority Leader Eric Cantor's leadership post, producers aired B-roll of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) in lieu of Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas).

On Thursday's NBC Today, Al Roker's self-described "bromance" with Vice President Joe Biden continued as the morning show weatherman pleaded: "Mr. Vice President, once again, we beseech you, please come to the third hour, Today's Take, and co-host our show....right here, Vice President Biden, we want you here." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

The invitation was prompted by Biden's latest gaffe, which Roker giddily explained to viewers: "Our favorite....My man. In an effort to congratulate the new Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Vice President Joe Biden placed a phone call to Marty Walsh....Except he called the wrong Marty Walsh. He said, reportedly, 'Oh, you son of a gun, Marty, you did it!'"

The Washington Post tiptoed gently on Friday around Joe Biden’s hopes of being elected president in 2016. “For Biden, dreams vs. realities” is the story’s headline, but at the very top of Page One, it says “At the top of his political game, the vice president shines as Obama’s personable No. 2. But events may conspire against a 2016 promotion.”

Post reporter Philip Rucker rather comically took 30 paragraphs to establish one series of “events” that threaten Biden are gaffes. The front page says Biden is a “long shot at best,” but insists he’s seen as “genuine, down-to-earth, rock solid on the issues" and “clearly has the experience and gravitas to ascend to the presidency.”

What's the correlation between Fox News and Playboy TV?

Well, on a relatively new online game show called Let's Ask America, web cam contestants were playfully asked which one would offend liberal parents more if they stumbled upon their teenage son watching one or the other. (video clip below; h/t email tipster John Heckman)

Open mouth, insert foot. Just when it seemed that Piers Morgan was finally putting his ineffective crusade for stricter gun control behind him, the CNN anchor made an obviously stereotypical remark while covering an inaugural ball in Washington, D.C., on Monday evening.

At the end of an interview with Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro and his identical twin brother, San Antonio mayor Julian Castro, the liberal host asked: “By the way, I've never met any Latinos who can't dance, so are you guys going to be -- ?”

Out: hateful tweets to black actresses supporting Romney for president. In: hateful tweets to celebrities tweeting their support for Israel in its struggle against the Palestinian terrorist network Hamas.

The conservative website The Blaze, noted that comedian Jon Lovitz -- who famously lashed out earlier this year about President Obama's determination to hike taxes -- and reality show star Kim Kardashian were harassed this past weekend with profanity-laced tirades and death wishes.

Appearing on the Conan O'Brien show on Wednesday night, talk show host Chelsea Handler started laughing at the most inopportune time. Judging by the somber look on O'Brien's face, the comedienne hadn't just cracked a joke. No, the unfortunate reason for her giggling was in remembrance of a child who was deprived the chance to live. 

Asked to recollect her adolescence, Handler couldn't resist oversharing. Her rebellious lifestyle resulted in an unplanned pregnancy as a teenager, but apparently there was nothing to think twice about. That's when the laughing started. She tried to stop herself, admitting the subject wasn't funny. Yet she continued, trying to justify the humor of her abortion by saying her baby would've been biracial. [ video segment below the page break ]