Using Sleazy Race Charge to Discredit Obama's Critics; Touting Jimmy's Latest Ugly Jab

Vol. 22, No. 20

Touting Jimmy's Latest Ugly Jab at America


"This morning in Atlanta, former President Carter spoke up and spoke out about what he has seen emerging in some of the public protests against President Obama....We talked about what some see as a heightened climate of racial and other hate speech since the election of President Obama. A certain number of signs and images at last weekend's big tea party march in Washington and at other recent events have featured racial and other violent themes, and President Carter today said he is extremely worried by it."
- Brian Williams setting up his interview with Carter, Sept. 15 NBC Nightly News. [Audio/video (0:46): Windows Media | MP3 audio]

"In a season of angry protests, there are ugly signs that some of it is not rooted in bailout fatigue or suspicion of big government. Mixed in the anti-Obama crowds over recent weeks, racial slurs against the President of the United States. All that, plus an unprecedented interruption of the President's speech to Congress, prompting Jimmy Carter's blunt comments first broadcast on Nightly News last night."
- NBC's Andrea Mitchell on the September 16 Nightly News.

Using Sleazy Race Charge to Discredit Obama's Critics


"They've waved signs likening President Obama to Hitler and the devil; raised questions about whether he was really born in this country; falsely accused him of planning to set up death panels; decried his speech to students as indoctrination; and called him everything from a 'fascist' to a 'socialist' to a 'communist.' ...And all that was before Mr. Obama's speech was interrupted by a representative who once fought to keep the Confederate flag waving over the South Carolina state house. Add it all up, and some prominent Obama supporters are now saying that it paints a picture of an opposition driven, in part, by a refusal to accept a black President."
- ABC's Dan Harris on World News, September 15. [Audio/video (0:51): Windows Media | MP3 audio]

Anchor Wolf Blitzer: "Within the [tea party] movement you're going to find individuals outraged over taxes, health reform, gun control and more. But, most disturbing, a very small but vocal minority, they're targeting President Obama's race...."
Reporter Elaine Quijano: "Within the larger tea party movement that's gained steam across the country, a small but passionate minority is also voicing what some see as racist rhetoric....[Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence] Page says the vehement racial resistance that's emerged is another sign any notion of a post-racial society after Barack Obama's election was wishful thinking."
- CNN's The Situation Room, September 14. The onscreen graphic asserted: "Racial Tinge to Tea Movement."

"I was at some town meetings this summer, most recently in Arkansas, and this is an awful lot about race. You just can't avoid it....They're being egged on by the demagogues in the Republican Party, by Boss Rush Limbaugh. And I call him the boss because there isn't a single Republican elected official who's willing to call him out on his lies."
- Time's Joe Klein on the Chris Matthews Show, September 13. [Audio/video (0:56): Windows Media | MP3 audio]

Ruing Tea Party's "Demeaning" Anti-Obama "Vitriol"

"The atmosphere was rowdy at times, with signs and images casting Mr. Obama in a demeaning light. One sign called him the 'parasite in chief.' Others likened him to Hitler. Several people held up preprinted signs saying, 'Bury ObamaCare with Kennedy,' a reference to the Massachusetts senator whose body passed by the Capitol two weeks earlier....While there was no shortage of vitriol among protesters, there was also an air of festivity...."
- New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny, September 13 article.

"A Touch of Greatness" in Obama's Big Government Push


"It was, to say the least, a broad and forward-thinking speech. On the rhetoric and the phrasing and the pacing and the design of the speech itself, there seems to have been a touch of greatness."
- MSNBC's Keith Olbermann after Obama concluded his health care speech, September 9. [Audio/video (0:27): Windows Media | MP3 audio]

"This might have been the most emotional speech I've seen President Obama give. He was right on the edge of anger, it seemed at times, especially when he was rebutting some of the charges made about his plan. And I don't think I've ever seen him get caught up emotionally in the way he did in those final couple of paragraphs, where there was even a catch in his voice - not even in his Inaugural Address back in January. This is very close to President Obama's heart."
- ABC's George Stephanopoulos following Obama's speech, September 9.[MP3 audio (0:36)]

"There were ghosts in that chamber tonight, the other Presidents who tried to reform the health care system and failed. From Teddy Roosevelt, to Harry Truman, to Bill Clinton who came to Congress 16 years ago this month with his plan....There was another ghost in the chamber tonight, the spirit of Senator Ted Kennedy, who fought for decades for universal care....At the end, President Obama sought to draw on the grand rhetorical tradition of President Kennedy and others, trying to summon the country to a great and necessary endeavor."
- ABC's Terry Moran reporting on Obama's speech to Congress on Nightline, September 9.

Resistance Is Futile


"The great news tonight is this bill is on track for passage. Historic change is coming to the United States."
- Newsweek's Jonathan Alter on MSNBC after Obama's speech, September 9.[MP3 audio (0:07)]

So He's a Centrist Now?

"As much as about health care, it was also about re-branding the President himself as a centrist and a pragmatist."
- NBC White House correspondent Chuck Todd after the President's health care speech, September 9.

Appalled by "Ugly" Display of Dissent


"The irony of a congressman trying to heckle a President in the midst of a speech that was, among other things, about the need for civility, is just one ugly sign of the mindless meanness that has settled over our politics."
- CBS's Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation, September 13. [Audio/video (0:31): Windows Media | MP3 audio]

"The fallout continues from that extraordinary moment in the United States Congress....A congressman last night calling a President an outright liar to his face - just the latest indication of how ugly the debate over reforming health care has gotten."
- CBS's Katie Couric opening the September 10 Evening News.

Republicans = "Angry" & "Unhinged" White Males


"Look at the image of the Republican Party, all white males with short haircuts. They look sort of angry. No women, no minorities, and it looks like they've sort of become unhinged."
- MSNBC anchor David Shuster during the 4pm ET hour of live coverage, September 10. [Audio/video (0:23): Windows Media | MP3 audio]

Seeing the "Advantages" in an "Enlightened" Dictatorship

"Watching both the health care and climate/energy debates in Congress, it is hard not to draw the following conclusion: There is only one thing worse than one-party autocracy, and that is one-party democracy, which is what we have in America today. One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century."
- New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman in a September 9 column, "Our One Party Democracy."

Look Who's Setting CNN's Agenda


"To heckle a President, to shout in the middle of a speech - would he have done that if it was a white President? I don't think so. I think this is a southern guy who thinks, 'I can do whatever I want when it's a black guy speaking.'...Also, the folks who did not want the President of the United States to speak to their children....I remember hearing parents talk when I was a kid, you know, they didn't want black people just talking to their kids. That's what this reminded me of."
- HBO's Bill Maher on Real Time, September 11.

"A Member of Congress calling the President a liar, town hallers yelling at lawmakers, carrying guns to rallies, refusing to let kids hear the Commander-in-Chief. And on and on and on. What's behind it? Is it racial? Yeah, I said it. And we're going to talk about it....I was watching Real Talk, Real Time with Bill Maher and I was, like, 'Finally, someone's talking about this. Finally, someone is talking about this.'"
- CNN anchor Don Lemon during the 7pm ET hour of Newsroom, September 12.

Glad Teddy Torpedoed Bork's Nomination

"If it weren't for the Senior Senator, an authoritarian extremist named Robert Bork would now be in his 22nd year on the United States Supreme Court. Conservatives are still weeping about this. Tough. A country with a Robert Bork deciding on the issues of its liberties would be a smaller, more vicious place. The Senior Senator stopped that from happening. What'd your senator do today?"
- Boston Globe Magazine staff writer Charles Pierce writing about the late Senator Edward Kennedy in a missive to The Nation's Eric Alterman posted August 28 on Alterman's "Altercation" blog.

Post Touts Staffers Glowing Praise of Obama: "Three-Dimensional Chess"

"People who brief him say he is able to game out scenarios before the experts in the room, even on foreign policy, national security and other issues in which he had relatively little expertise before running for president. Obama is approaching the issues as a game of 'three-dimensional chess,' said John O. Brennan, an assistant to the President for homeland security and counterterrorism. 'It's not kinetic checkers....There are moves that are made on the chess board that really have implications, so the President is always looking at those dimensions of it.'"
- Carrie Johnson and Anne E. Kornblut in a front-page Washington Post story, August 28.

Van Jones = GOP's "First Scalp"


"I want to start off with the Van Jones resignation. I don't think most Americans had heard of him before this, but can the Republican Right claim its first scalp in this administration?"
- Anchor Lester Holt on the September 6 Nightly News. [Audio/video (0:18): Windows Media | MP3 audio]

"I think it's a sad day to see a man of good work get so little credit. I mean, there's no balance to understanding just how many good things he's done."
- CNN senior political analyst David Gergen on Anderson Cooper 360, September 7, talking about the resignation of White House advisor Van Jones. [MP3 audio (0:49)]

Flashback: When Time Touted "Perfect Person" Van Jones

"By fusing economic opportunity and social justice with climate change, Van Jones is working to build pathways out of poverty through the creation of green jobs. He is the perfect person to help redefine our country's perception of what it means to be green."
- Actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio writing about Jones earlier this year for Time magazine's "Time 100" listing of "the people who most affect our world" released April 30.

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