Michael Rovito, who we wrote about earlier, was on CNN this afternoon to defend John McCain’s charges against him that he had engaged in “‘gotcha’ journalism” when he asked Sarah Palin questions about Pakistan and Waziristan at a Philly cheesesteak joint Saturday. After Betty Nguyen, CNN news anchor and member of Our Stupid Media, asked Rovito, who is a grad student at Temple University and most definitely not a journalist, twice if he had indulged in “‘gotcha’ journalism” during his encounter with Palin, he responded thusly:
“I don’t even know what that means, but of course not. I’m not a journalist. I’m just a tax-paying citizen. And if we cannot ask a question of our veep and presidential candidates and if we do we get scorned for being a ‘gotcha’ journalist—again, I don’t know what that means—but then it’s a sense of, I don’t know, it’s almost tyrannical in a way. Like I think that comment, just speaking objectively, was kind of a blow to the integrity of journalists and tax-paying citizens who have questions that we want our vice presidential and presidential candidates to answer. I mean, I don’t get this”
So you would think Nguyen would understand that he was a citizen asking Palin some legitimate, educated questions and would appreciate his defense of the integrity of her profession, getting that he was implying that good journalism, by nature, should have a “gotcha” component, right? Think again…
NGUYEN: “Well, what he’s trying to say, I mean, with this gotcha moment, did you try to set her up and play stump the candidate?”
ROVITO: “Of course not. No.”
Jesus Drunken Christ on a bar crawl, “stump the candidate”? Where have I heard that before? Hmmmm...
And to close things out, Nguyen, looking like she was ready for a pat on the head and a bone-shaped biscuit, proudly announced that Rovito had claimed that he’s not a “‘gotcha’ journalist.” Quality reporting had been completed and we closed yet another chapter in the massive novel(ty) that is Our Stupid Media.
John McCain is so gosh-darn patriotic and mavericky that he’ll do anything to save our economy. Why, he’d even dress up in a tutu and perform Swan Lake on the White House lawn if that would help. Steve Douchee and one of the Fox Barbies ask him if he’ll consider selflessly suspending his campaign again to show leadership:
McCain is so darn bipartisan that he only mentions tax-and-spend, economy-destroying liberal Obama on Fox News—right after calling for bipartisanship on the MSNBC (Marxist Socialist National Broadcasting Corporation). He’s got yer “Country First” swingin’, my friends.
Katie Couric: Over the weekend, Gov. Palin, you said the U.S. should absolutely launch cross-border attacks from Afghanistan into Pakistan to, quote, “stop the terrorists from coming any further in.” Now, that’s almost the exact position that Barack Obama has taken and that you, Sen. McCain, have criticized as something you do not say out loud. So, Gov. Palin, are you two on the same page on this?
Sarah Palin: We had a great discussion with President Zardari as we talked about what it is that America can and should be doing together to make sure that the terrorists do not cross borders and do not ultimately put themselves in a position of attacking America again or her allies. And we will do what we have to do to secure the United States of America and her allies.
Couric: Is that something you shouldn’t say out loud, Sen. McCain?
John McCain: Of course not. But, look, I understand this day and age of “gotcha” journalism. Is that a pizza place? In a conversation with someone who you didn’t hear … the question very well, you don’t know the context of the conversation, grab a phrase. Gov. Palin and I agree that you don’t announce that you’re going to attack another country …
Couric: Are you sorry you said it?
McCain: … and the fact …
McCain: Wait a minute. Before you say, “is she sorry she said it,” this was a “gotcha” sound bite that, look …
Couric: It wasn’t a “gotcha.” She was talking to a voter.
McCain: No, she was in a conversation with a group of people and talking back and forth. And … I’ll let Gov. Palin speak for herself.
Palin: Well, it … in fact, you’re absolutely right on. In the context, this was a voter, a constituent, hollering out a question from across an area asking, “What are you gonna do about Pakistan? You better have an answer to Pakistan.” I said we’re gonna do what we have to do to protect the United States of America.
Couric: But you were pretty specific about what you wanted to do, cross-border …
Palin: Well, as Sen. McCain is suggesting here, also, never would our administration get out there and show our cards to terrorists, in this case, to enemies and let them know what the game plan was, not when that could ultimately adversely affect a plan to keep America secure.
Couric: What did you learn from that experience?
Palin: That this is all about “gotcha” journalism. A lot of it is. But that’s okay, too.
McCain and Palin were incorrect in referring to this as “‘gotcha’ journalism,” but it was a “gotcha” question (in that asking her anything tougher than “what color is the sky?” is a “gotcha” moment) . Sarah Palin, the woman who could potentially face down tough, experienced and wise world leaders, was totally schooled at a Philly cheesesteak joint by this twenty-something Temple University grad student (left):
Michael Rovito, who has admitted to not being a McCain/Palin supporter and is not a professional journalist (his MA is in urban studies), totally schooled Palin in front of hungry journalists and forced both her and McCain to later awkwardly backpedal on her gaffe with both Couric and George Stephanopoulos.
Rovito, who knows more about current world events than the possible next VP of the United States and—did I mention this yet?—totally schooled her, was supposed to appear on CNN yesterday but got bumped due to coverage of the bailout bill. He did make his way onto the local Fox affiliate in Philadelphia and unbossed blogged about it:
So Fox’s Terry Lee Halkett interviewed Rovito on air to ask him his impression of his discussion with Palin. Rovito said he was stunned when Palin adopted Obama’s position rather than McCain’s. Was it possible, Halkett asked, that Palin was just distracted or didn’t hear his question correctly? Rovito didn’t think so. He said he didn’t want to seem partisan, but…
“I had the impression she was clueless.”
I’m trying to track down video of the interview and also find out if Rovito was rescheduled today to appear on CNN. Check back later.
RELATED: One of Rovito’s Temple classmates has an interesting take on the “Cheesesteak Gaffe” here.
If I had to make a short list of the worst professional polibloggers, the Los Angeles Times’ resident doddering old tool (and Laura Bush’s former press secretary) Andrew Malcolm would be a shoo-in:
After Sarah Palin VP debate, Joe Biden to step aside for Hillary Clinton?
It’s been one of the most persistent rumors on the internet since John McCain smartly snuffed Barack Obama’s convention afterglow by doing what the Democrat considered and rejected: naming a woman as his vice presidential partner.
Not only is he way late to the race reporting on this idiotic, unfounded email rumor, but he pens a header for his post that implies that it’s a done deal (ignoring, in the process, the irony that it’s Palin dropping out that’s far more likely) and then proceeds to “investigate” the story like, ya know, it’s real and stuff. I wonder how many times Malcolm has emailed his social security number to “customer servises” at “Citybank”? What a buffoon.
Others have complained that in this clip Chris calls the Republicans “mavericks” and thus gives them some credit for crushing the bailout bill. In fact, he’s doing just the opposite. He is simply turning the phrase inside out and revealing its essential uselessness and vapidity in a political context. He says up front that you can call them the “party of mavericks”—and they can call themselves that—but mavericks can’t be led, and can’t lead. He lays it all at the feet of John McCain and explains to the rather moronic talking dress who is interviewing him that the Republicans had an obligation to get the votes for the bill and the fact that they didn’t is a failure of their leadership and a failure of McCain’s leadership. And he puts it just that bluntly—McCain can’t lead, this was his test, and he flunked it. It’s well worth seeing.
I’ve been steering clear of writing about the bailout because economics isn’t my strong suit. My brief analysis is that I don’t like that the events of today were decided by know-nothing grassroots “populists*,” John McCain phoning it in, Nancy Pelosi’s bad-hair-day speech, drool-cupped house Republicans bellowing “let’s done make things worserer!”, and John Boehner’s extra-fluffy fainting couch.
* Before anyone jumps all over me for this, I realize there are a lot of smart citizens (and fellow progressives) who were against this bailout for educated and principled reasons. I just believe that a vast majority of the angry voters who were calling up their congresscritters to complain about the bill were dull-eyed dimwits egged on by wrong-about-everything nutters like Limbaugh and Hannity.
UPDATE: This Kos diary makes sense to me, but your mileage may vary. And the title of this diary explains succinctly who has the temperament and intelligence to be the next president of the United States and who very clearly doesn’t.
Honestly, if that Palin shows up, conversant and unfazed, it’d be better for the ticket than her trying to launch attack lines. If Al Gore’s disasters in 2000 taught us anything, it’s that televised debates are not the times to try on new personalities.
The GOP has already set up a difficult, potentially no-win scenario for themselves here. Sure, if Palin is more on-point than she has been in her national TV interviews, she’ll benefit. But the GOP has spent far too much time building up Joe Biden as a “gaffe-o-matic” (which he sort of is) and a bumbler whom Obama should regret choosing as his VP. Palin herself mocked the choice and said Obama should have chosen Hillary Clinton. Instead of being built up as the debating savant that he is (did he lose any of the primary debates?) he’s that sad sack who’s going to get mauled by the Sarahcuda.
Wise words and I hope the GOP doesn’t take Dave’s advice, because I think he’s right. My guess is that Steve Schmidt and Rick Davis are still going to try to stuff her full o’ previously unknown facts and drill sergeant the fuck out of her to “stay on message,” resulting in a somewhat similar word jumble performance to the ones we saw with Gibson and Couric, as described beautifully here by Political Animal commenter:
She was truly awful. It was like they filled her Mixmaster with talking points and turned it on high without ever putting on the lid.
John McCain today on This Week with with George Stephanopoulos being asked about how helpful he was in the bailout negotiations after he “suspended” his campaign and returned to Washington:
STEPHANOPOULOS: So what role did you play? How were you helpful, do you believe, in the process?
MCCAIN: I will let you and others be the judge of that. I did the best that I could. I came back because I wasn’t going to phone it in.
Yep, he wasn’t going to phone it in, except for yesterday when he ... phoned it in:
After interrupting his presidential campaign to come back to Washington on Thursday morning to try to push forward a $700 billion bailout deal, Mr. McCain remained in his condominium in Arlington, Va., until 12:30 p.m. Saturday, when he emerged and made a one-minute trip in his motorcade to his campaign headquarters around the corner. [...]
By mid-afternoon, Mr. McCain’s closest adviser, Mark Salter, told reporters that Mr. McCain would not go to Capitol Hill on Saturday but would make phone calls to try to push the deal along. “He’s calling members on both sides, talking to people in the administration, helping out as he can,’’ Mr. Salter said.
UPDATE—ANOTHER LIE:CNN has more, including a pic of McCain phoning it in and a list of all of the people he phoned it in to. According to Mark Salter he was calling members of “both sides,” but the list the McCain camp provided is all Republicans:
According to the McCain campaign, the Republican nominee called President Bush, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, Sen. Mitch McConnell , Sen. Judd Gregg, Sen. Jon Kyl, Leader Boehner, Rep. Blunt, Rep. Putnam, Rep. Cantor, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, Rep. Tom Davis, Rep. Chip Pickering, Rep. Heather Wilson, Rep. John Shadegg, Rep. Flake, and Rep. Marsha Blackburn on Saturday.
I guess it’s hard to reach across the aisle when you’re just phoning it in.
Will the McCain-Palin campaign rip a page from the script of The Birdcage and attempt to distract voters from the campaign’s falling fortunes by staging a pre-election shotgun wedding between two teenagers on the tundra? According to TPM, this British paper seems to think so:
In an election campaign notable for its surprises, Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential candidate, may be about to spring a new one—the wedding of her pregnant teenage daughter to her ice-hockey-playing fiancé before the November 4 election.
Inside John McCain’s campaign the expectation is growing that there will be a popularity boosting pre-election wedding in Alaska between Bristol Palin, 17, and Levi Johnston, 18, her schoolmate and father of her baby. “It would be fantastic,” said a McCain insider. “You would have every TV camera there. The entire country would be watching. It would shut down the race for a week.”
Honest to godz, nothing from the McCain-Palin campaign would surprise me at this point. Will McCain dress in fatigue pants, a black wife-beater shirt and a headband ala Rambo and parachute into Waziristan with a knife between his teeth to personally hunt down Osama bin Laden? Wouldn’t surprise me. Will Palin cancel the debate with Biden to instead kill a moose and half a dozen wolves with her bare hands on live TV while dressed as Xena, Warrior Princess and? It could happen.
How would the proposed shotgun wedding play? Well, who knows. You’d hope that after an incredible week in which WaMu ATMs failed to disgorge cash to the portly, smug remnants of conservative intelligentsia, after the fidgety, darty-eyed moron who is the titular head of this nation gave two addresses that failed to reassure a frightened citizenry, as multi-gazillion-dollar congressional bailout talks roiled on the rocks of egomaniacal, partisan meddling, as some unfortunates foraged for edible roots in foreclosed, weed-choked gardens and angry protesters converged on Wall Street, people would be looking for serious answers instead of bread and circuses.
But bread and circuses masquerading as an electoral process is what we’ve got—an absurd big-top farce in which Machiavellian strategists conspire in one ring, and packs of overly barbered poodles twirl around on their hind legs and yap into microphones in the second and troupes of shady lobbyists juggle bags of cash in the third.
Heck, the media could spend at least a week discussing whether or not the bride-to-be will wear white! I say the McCain campaign goes there. They can say all the wedding planning keeps Palin from being available to the media and her preoccupation with the upcoming event is why she sounds like a blithering idiot during interviews. Millions of heartland mothers would identify with that, right?
I’m about fifty pages in and can’t put it down. For those who haven’t read it, the story is about the Carlisle Indians who (before the end of the book) will defeat the number one ranked football team, the U.S. Military Academy. Icon to icon, it will be Jim Thorpe versus Dwight David Eisenhower.
This is much more than a sports book, however. It begins with the telling of how white man encroached upon the red man, but had to retaliate brutally because—well, because the Indians retaliated brutally to the encroachment. Eventually, Richard Pratt, a military guy, has this idea that the Indians could be turned into white people by forcing upon them the acculturation with white society. And I do mean forcing. “Kill the Indian, save the man” was Pratt’s favorite exclamation.
In any event, the book was published in May of 2007 and quickly became a best seller. The author has an interesting way of describing some of the events. Check out this passage (and remember, the United States started this conflict with the Native Americans):
Seriously, I don’t know who won. Obama was solid, vigorous, knowledgeable, direct, and fearless—but McCain was engaged and scrappy. I guess it’s a question of whether you favor sharp-witted maturity (Obama, the grown-up) or the sneering contempt of a wily old bastard (McCain). My guess: McCain gains a bit, just because he’s been looking like a buffoon lately and he didn’t look like one tonight, but any bounce dissipates soon.
This was my favorite part [hat tip udjo y.], but I think Obama could have used a few more zingers. It’s too bad this will be the last debate about national security because I think this one that I just wrote for him would have killed...
And, Jim, you know while we’re talking about our current financial crisis and national security in this debate, I think it’s time that we considered saving the taxpayers money by rolling back production of some of the armaments that went out of style with the end of the Cold War. And judging from John’s sleeve length over there, I’d say he’d probably support arms reduction, too.
MORE: What happened to the old Joe Klein and can we make sure the hostage release money is never delivered?
UPDATE: Wow, Luntz’s focus group weighed heavily in favor of Obama. I guess while there were high expectations for Obama (and low ones for McCain), Barack also had to convince a lot of undecideds that he was “presidential” last night and he clearly did that. Good roundup by the Politico staff here. This pretty much says it all:
Declared Obama the winner: ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, pollster Frank Luntz on Fox, Slate’s John Dickerson, TIME magazine’s Mark Halperin, CBS News instant poll and CNN post-debate poll.
Declared McCain the winner: Politico’s Roger Simon (“The Mac is back”), Fortune magazine’s Nina Easton, The Weekly Standard’s William Kristol and Fred Barnes, Fox News Texting Poll and Drudge online poll.
MORE: Okay, we decided not to go. Too far of a walk in the rain. Just read this great post by Nate Silver. You should, too. [hat tip Allan in comments]