The ambush schedule of presidential and vice presidential debates has been announced with moderator names: PBS’ Jim Leher on October 3rd in Denver; CNN’s Candy Crowley in Hempstead, New York; CBS’ Bob Schieffer October 22nd in Boca Raton, Florida and ABC’s Martha Raddatz meets the Veeps on October 22th in Danville, Kentucky. Sounds like another ambush in the making. Ryan will decimate Biden. By the way, in Chicago, Obama’s hometown, The Won speaks at a fundraiser for “younger supporters” and the room is half empty. Here’s some scoop:
Lehrer can offer a different flavor. During live coverage of the Democratic convention on August 25, he gauzily reacted to Jimmy Carterâ€™s florid praise of Barack Obamaâ€™s race speech in March: â€œIf it happens that he is elected, or even his just being nominated, will send positive ripple effects throughout the country on the race issue.â€
In 2000, Lehrer moderated all three presidential debates. In the third one, a town hall debate, Lehrer approved mostly liberal questions from the â€œuncommittedâ€ audience. Eight questions came from the left, only two could be counted as conservative, and five were requests for information without an ideological tone.
But as the debates progressed, how could viewers miss how the questions started tilting seriously to the left? Shaw asked the potential veeps liberal questions about racial profiling (“you are black for this question”) and whether homosexuals have “the same rights as other Americans.”
Lehrer could have balanced Shaw by asking about the federal takeover of police departments by the Clinton-Gore Justice Department, or about gay advocates trying to banish the Boy Scouts of America from public schools and halls.
Lehrer chose to do the opposite: He repeated the questions to Bush and Gore. In the second debate, Lehrer chose to balance questions about subsidized health care for the elderly — by suggesting younger Americans needed subsidized health care, too.
Lehrer also pitched this beaut to Gore: “How do you see the connection between controlling gun sales in this country and the incidence of death by accidental or intentional use of guns?”
But the most dramatically skewed debate was the third, town hall-style debate. Lehrer announced that the pool of questioners was drawn from “voters who were identified as being uncommitted by the Gallup Organization.” Each of the 130 potential questioners wrote out inquiries on a little card. Lehrer explained: “My job, under the rules of the evening, was to decide the order the questions will be asked and to call on the questioners accordingly.” If the 15 questions that Lehrer chose are in any way indicative of mainstream political opinion, the “uncommitted” voters are stuck between voting for Gore … or Ralph Nader. Six questions were neutral, as in the question about parents struggling with the filth Hollywood puts out. One — one — came from the conservative perspective. The other eight may as well have been Gore campaign press releases.
Schieffer next insisted: â€œDoesnâ€™t fairness dictate that the wealthiest people should not be paying the lowest taxes because thatâ€™s what happening many times?â€
Countering a point made by Romney, Schieffer maintained: â€œYou say that of course the wealthiest people pay the largest share,Â but donâ€™t they also pay at a lower rate when you figure in capital gains and all of that?â€
[BAKER]Â In fact, they do not. AsÂ USA TodayÂ noted in January, Romneyâ€™s 14 percent income tax rate is â€œa higher tax rate than the majority of taxpayersâ€ pay and â€œthe average effective tax rate for taxpayers with AGI of $1 million or more is 25%, according to the Tax Foundation analysis.â€
In â€œTax bracket vs. tax rate: Theyâ€™re two different things,â€ reporter Sandra Block explained: â€œThe average effective federal tax rate for American taxpayers is 11%, according to an analysis of 2009 IRS data by the Tax Foundation, a non-profit research organization. For individuals with adjusted gross income of $50,000 or less, the average effective tax rate is less than 5%, according to the Tax Foundation….â€…
From the Sunday, August 12Â 60 Minutes:
BOB SCHIEFFER: You said yesterday, Iâ€™m going to quote you, Mr. Ryan, â€œAmerica is a place where if you work hard, and play by the rules, you can get ahead.â€ But the fact is, a lot of people donâ€™t think thatâ€™s true anymore. They donâ€™t think the rules are fair. They think corporations and rich people are getting all these breaks and theyâ€™re getting stuck with paying the bills. They see some of the wealthiest paying the lowest tax rates. How are you going to fix that?
PAUL RYAN: What I see is a new amount of crony capitalism and corporate welfare which both parties have been engaged in, but the President has brought this to a whole new level, where President Obama is picking winners and losers based on connections, based on fads like Solyndra and basically giving handouts to businesses, giving preferences to tax code. We want to get Washington out of the business of picking winners and losers. We want entrepreneurs to have the barriers removed from in front of them, so that people can work hard and succeed. We want to turn the American idea back on. We want a system of upward mobility, and what we think we need to do is bring fairness back to the system of getting government bureaucracy and political clout out of the system. Those are the kinds of reforms weâ€™ve been talking about.
An embarrassing performance Sunday for CBSâ€™s Bob Schieffer in the debut of the new hour-long format forÂ Face the Nation. At least he should be embarrassed by the contrast in how he played sycophant to Vice President Joe Biden, treating him as an oracle of wisdom, while not being nearly so coddling with Newt Gingrich who he corrected and challenged. Schieffer cued up Biden to pontificate:
Whatâ€™s your take on that?
What did you mean by that?
What do you make of all of that?
Whatâ€™s your take on that?
To Gingrich, however, he argued with the former Speakerâ€™s points.
Schieffer reminded Biden of how â€œyou really called him [Romney] out the other day for saying the President was out of touch.â€ The CBS host prompted the Vice President to elaborate: â€œWhat did you mean by that?â€
In a particularly uninspired â€œquestion,â€ Schieffer inquired: â€œAre you enjoying this Republican primary? I know you said one day, â€˜God love them, I hope they have another twenty debates.â€™â€
Bringing up President Obamaâ€™s admission to Russian President Medevdev that heâ€™ll have â€œmore flexibility after the election,â€ Schieffer noted Romney â€œsaid it was alarming.â€ Schiefferâ€™s question: â€œWhat do you make of all of that?â€
Candy Crowley with Rick Santorum (video)
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Sunday accused CNNâ€™s Candy Crowley of adopting Democratic talking points in a question about oil industry tax loopholes.
â€œSenator,â€ she said on State of the Union, â€œjust in terms of the fairness issue, which you know is very important to Americans, and to politicians, one hopes, the oil companies are making record profits and yet taxpayers are paying for these loophopes for oil companies, which are basically tax breaks. And so, just on the face of it sir, it certainly does seem to a lot of Americans that people who are making record profits shouldnâ€™t be taking taxes that weâ€™re paying on April 15 to get their tax breaks.â€
The Republican senator responded, â€œWell, you know, with all due respect Candy, youâ€™re using all the Democratic talking points, and thatâ€™s all quite interesting and it polls well, but â€¦ the issue is the price of gas at the pump. If you raise taxes on the producers, you drive the prices even higher.â€ Source: TMP
â€œHarry Reid is disgrace. But you expect this from Harry Reid,â€Â The Weekly Standardâ€™s Stephen Hayes zinged on FNCâ€™sÂ Special ReportÂ Friday night before turning his ire on a certain Washington, DC-based anchor for CNN for advancing Reidâ€™s baseless allegation that Mitt Romney didnâ€™t pay any income tax for ten years.
â€œThe disappointing cohort in this, to me, is journalists,â€Â Hayes contended as he recalled how â€œI saw another network anchor [CANDY CROWLEY] ask a Romney supporter [JOHN SUNUNU] about this accusation,Â saying Harry Reid is a really honorable man.â€
Hayes excoriated the unnamed journalist for telling the guest, as Hayes paraphrased, â€œthereâ€™s one way to settle this question and thatâ€™s for Mitt Romney to put his taxes out.â€ Hayes scolded:Â â€œThat is exactly what that kind of a baseless, absurd charge is going to bring about and heâ€™s having to answer questions about it all day. Itâ€™s ridiculous.â€
By late afternoon, it emerged that the shooterâ€™s name was Major Nidal Malik Hasan. But that night, CBS and NBC completely avoided mentioning that the shooter was a Muslim. ABCâ€™s Charles Gibson suggested he was a “Muslim convert,” which wasnâ€™t right, but at least he wasnâ€™t playing hide-and-seek with the facts. ABC reporter Martha Raddatz spoke for the media in choosing this tidbit: “As for the suspect, Nidal Hasan, as one officer’s wife told me, â€˜I wish his name was Smith.â€™”
The coverage grew more factual the next morning, with all the networks noting Hasan was Muslim, and that he shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) as he opened fire. ABCâ€™s Diane Sawyer, though, repeated Raddatz: “We heard Martha Raddatz say last night that the wife of a soldier said â€˜I wish his name had been Smith,â€™ so no one would have a reflexive question about that.”