On Thursday's edition of "Anderson Cooper 360," the host of the self titled show fretted that the withdrawal of Republican Senator Judd Gregg as commerce secretary nominee might indicate the Republican Party has declared "a war, an insurgency" against Barack Obama. Speaking to CNN analyst David Gergen, Cooper expanded on the theory. [audio excerpt here]
Referencing an embarrassing gaffe by Republican Congressman Pete Sessions that the House minority could consider the Taliban as an example of an insurgent force, the anchor seriously wondered, "So, David, though, you don't buy the idea that there is a war by Republicans against the President?" He continued, "Because, I mean, Pete Sessions, you know, who's head of the Republican Congressional Committee, was citing the Taliban as sort of an example of how to run an insurgent campaign against a larger force." Gergen didn't seem to go for the concept, asserting that there are "some hot heads in each party."
A few minutes earlier, Cooper theorized about the possible GOP threat, speculating, "But, do developments today also speak to something deeper, a war, an insurgency by Republicans against the President, against Democrats in the House and against their agenda?"
Everything is wonderful and peachy-keen in Obamaland if you rely on the reporting on the front page of The New York Times. Just ask CNBC's Jim Cramer. On his Feb. 12 program the "Mad Money" host dealt with the $789 billion stimulus package.
"Now if you were to believe what's in the papers, holy cow - except for the funny papers - you would think this package was wonderful," Cramer said he said of the reported agreement congressional leaders had reached on ironing out the package's details.
Cramer was referring to a front-page article by Richard W. Stevenson in the Feb. 12 Times, which gave a glowing account of this as a victory in the early stages of the Obama administration.
"Look at the front page of The New York Times today," Cramer said. "I love this one, ‘Measuring a Victory,' by this guy, Stevenson. He's a famous guy, you know? He's not Robert Louis Stevenson, he's Richard W. Stevenson. He writes - it's like a comedy routine - ‘It is a quick sweet victory for the new president and potentially a historic one.' Who edits this B.S.?"
A prominent Democrat made news on MSNBC Feb. 11 with his guarantee of new financial industry regulations "comparable" to FDR's New Deal.
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., appeared on MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show" Feb. 11 and told the MSNBC and Air America host that things should be done to limit what financial services can do, specifically when it comes to compensation.
"There's no question about it for the future," Frank said. "Look, there's a problem with the American system and we as liberals should be honoring this. The principle that you don't go back and do things retroactively is a very important liberal principle."
Frank "guaranteed" there would be new regulations forthcoming.
Update (16:53): The February 4-6 briefings have since been added to the archive page.
A total of five daily press briefings, including one documenting a testy February 5 exchange (embedded at right) between Obama Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and ABC's Jake Tapper, are missing from the White House press briefings page (h/t e-mail tipster Abby Bender; see Feb. 12 screencap here).
[Related item: The take by the folks at WhiteHousePressCorps.org on the missing February briefings.]
How could anyone take a principled stand against the $789 billion economic stimulus bill? Any opposition to this massive expansion of the federal government must be sheer political posturing. Or so said Newsweek magazine's Jonathan Alter.
Alter said on MSNBC's Feb. 11 "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" that congressional Republicans oppose the stimulus bill based on an ill-conceived, low-percentage bet that the proposal would fail.
"Well, they're betting on the 30 percent chance, as Joe Biden put it, that it's not going to work," Alter said. "Then they can say, ‘I told you so, it didn't do any good.'"
Alter said the ultimate reason they oppose the stimulus is the fear that if they didn't, they would lose a primary election, and not that the legislation is a larded-up government spending pork bill.
KATIE COURIC: Are you surprised how intimately involved he is in the whole process?
HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI: Quite frankly, yes. I said, “Mr. President, neither of us has time for this conversation, especially you,” because we really, we understand each other. We know where we need to go.
COURIC: Can you tell us anything he said to you, like “get cracking”?
PELOSI: No, never that. We're always cracking.
Audio: MP3 clip that matches the video (25 secs, 150 Kb)
There's been a lot of news about Democratic senators supporting the reinstitution of the Fairness Doctrine. Last week Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said it was "absolutely time to pass a standard." Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, came out with a similar message, saying, "We need the Fairness Doctrine back."
However, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., is serving as the voice of sanity in the debate and has pledged to lead a filibuster in the U.S. Senate against any attempt to reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine. He appeared in an interview on Mark Levin's Feb. 10 radio show.
"Let me ask you this Sen. Sessions," Levin said. "If they try to make a run at talk radio, whether it's the local rule or diversity of ownership, or equal this or equal that - will you lead a filibuster among others to try and stop that?"
Despite his tax problems, President Barack Obama's newly minted Treasury secretary, Tim Geithner, was sold to Congress as the one who was going to save the fragile financial system.
However, in what was billed to be a big announcement, and Geithner's first major appearance, he failed to deliver. The Treasury Secretary was slated to outline his plan to rescue troubled financial institutions from the toxic assets they had on their books. But he failed to give specifics and the markets suffered; the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) nosedived 382 points.
CNBC "Fast Money" host Dylan Ratigan had his own description of Geithner's performance. In an appearance on MSNBC's Feb. 11 "Morning Joe," he likened it to "soiling a bed."
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen spoke with Obama supporter Julio Asegueda, who attended the president’s economic town hall in Florida on Tuesday: "President Obama took his economic stimulus message to Fort Myers, Florida yesterday. And in the crowd of 1,500 he heard real stories of economic struggle and hardship, including from 19-year-old college student Julio Asegueda." By contrast, the Early Show reacted quite differently when Joe the Plumber dared to question Obama during a campaign stop last October.
In his question to Obama, Asegueda complained about being stuck in a job at McDonald’s for the past few years. Chen asked Asegueda: "I want to know what happened after you voiced your problem to the president?" He replied: "When I voiced my problem to the President of the United States, I was so shocked at the answer he gave me. The answer that he gave me was so -- so sincere and so motivational to me that it just -- I had such a surreal feeling that I've never had in my life." In reality, Obama simply offered talking points about tax credits for college students, hardly "motivational." [audio excerpt available here]
In excerpts aired on Tuesday's World News, of Terry Moran's interview with President Barack Obama for Nightline, Moran was as sycophantic toward Obama as he was during the campaign, lamenting Obama “got no honeymoon” and bemoaning the new President had been “too nice” to Republicans. “Mr. President,” Moran rued in overlooking the ongoing honeymoon from the media, “you got no honeymoon. Not a single Republican vote in the House on your first major piece of legislation.” Moran speculated: “I wonder in coming into the presidency, maybe you were too nice? If I'm a Republican Senator or a Republican Congressman, I think you're a very nice guy but maybe I don't have enough reason to fear you.”
Earlier, Moran cued up Obama: “How close do you think the country is to the kind of economic catastrophe that you're warning about?” In the ABCNews.com transcript, which does not include the “honeymoon” lament, the tri-anchor of Nightline suggested the banks should just be nationalized: “There are a lot of economists who look at these banks and they say all that garbage that's in them renders them essentially insolvent. Why not just nationalize the banks?” (That did not air on World News, but was part of what Nightline ran later.)
Audio: MP3 clip which matches the video (45 secs, 275 Kb)
Earlier today my colleague Tim Graham noted how on February 5, Time magazine's Michael Grunwald compared GOP critics of the Democratic stimulus package to the geese that downed US Airways Flight 1549:
It's hard to take Republican leaders too seriously when they criticize the recovery plans for the economy; it's sort of like those geese criticizing the evacuation plans for US Airways Flight 1549.
Well, Grunwald's quip got a larger audience today as a co-host of ABC's "The View" regurgitated the line on the Feb. 10 edition of that program:
"I think it's a weaker deal than he thinks," MRC's Rich Noyes told Fox Business Network's Brian Sullivan, referring to President Obama's hopes for passage of the stimulus package. Noyes appeared on Fox Business Network's "Cavuto on Business" program shortly after 6:30 p.m. EST to discuss President Obama's campaigning for his stimulus package.
While Obama campaigned on the vague notion of "change," now that he's president, the stimulus bills under consideration have "fairly weak public support" compared to his personal approval ratings, Noyes noted. The NewsBusters senior editor cited a CBS News poll -- which went unreported that network's airwaves -- that found as Noyes put it, "a majority for the stimulus, but it's weak majority.":
NOYES: Sixty-two percent think the best thing about it would be the tax cuts. Only 16 percent are in favor of the government spending as being able to be helpful. This is something where the public is against massive spending because they're cutting back everywhere, they see business cutting back everywhere. That's his problem, his next phase in this political program is going to be another big spending program to deal with the banks.