Off Script: Glenn Beck Calls Soldiers Addressed By Obama “Props”

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Obama’s speech to soldiers at Elmendorf Air Force base may have been praised by many in the media, but it did not win over Glenn Beck as a fan. Yesterday, Beck’s show was briefly interrupted by the speech. When he returned, he “went off the script” to deliver a stinging rebuke to Obama — and all politicians — who use soldiers as “props.” Wait, Glenn Beck has a script?

In all seriousness, Beck took pains to be even-handed in what could have been yet another anti-Obama screed. Rather than spitting out a one-off about how Obama was such a terrible guy for using soldiers as “props,” he launched into a broader message about Astroturfed diversity being used in photo-ops:

It’s really not for President Obama, it’s for all politicians. Does anybody — when you see a politician speak now, and you see these people standing behind them, does anybody look — and I don’t do it with the soldiers. But I always do it when regular people are there. I go, OK, there is the Asian, there is the elderly person, there is the African-American, there is the handicapped person …

Politicians are using us as props, and I’m sick of it. Especially when it comes to the soldiers. They are not props. As a guy with a soldier that is currently serving in my family, and somebody with honor … they are not props.

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As we discussed last month when the New York Post tried to whip up ‘white-coat-gate‘ into a national story (see above photos, from the Post’s website), it’s really not news when politicians use a little stagecraft to ramp up their photo ops. Which is why the Post failed miserably in their efforts. As our Tommy Christopher wrote at the time, “Absent this report, would people have assumed that the assembled doctors were suited up to perform examinations on the President?  The fact that the coats were for visual effect is obvious.”

Obvious or not, there’s something to be said about the way that the artifice of photo-ops can feel exploitative, and Beck said it loud and clear.


Going Rogue: Palin Charged $50,000 By McCain Campaign In Vetting Fees (Updated)

palin_mccainNews about Sarah Palin’s much-anticipated memoir is slowly trickling out. The AP has apparently got its hands on an early copy and can confirm some of the rumors: it was not smooth sailing between Palin and McCain’s campaign staff; Palin still harbors some ill-will towards Katie Couric. But here’s a new one: Palin was apparently on the receiving end of a $50,000 bill from the McCain campaign for the costs of vetting her. A disclosure which is amazing on a number of levels (I, for one, was unaware that the cost of vetting was the responsibility of the vetee) not the least of which is that is begs the question: what vetting?

More from the AP piece below, you can read in full here. Also, released today some clips from Palin’s interview with Oprah, during which she only had nice things to say about Levi Johnston (video below excerpt).

**Update via Marc Ambinder:

Without having read the book, and without knowing precisely what the AP is summarizing, it’s hard to know what this charge entails. (Note: the AP originally reported that Palin was given a bill for $500,000.)

It’s not legal for general election matching funds to pay for pre-emptive legal defense; the McCain campaign did not believe it was legal for GELAC funds — a separate account that paid for fundraising complaince — to pay for the investigations either. But vetting is a poor word to choose. The McCain campaign footed the bill for Art Culvahouse’s investigation of Palin before she was elected. Palin was urged by campaign lawyers to set up a legal defense fund to pay for the investigations and ethics complaints that had nothing to do with her presidential bid.
“I can confirm that she was not billed for any vetting costs by the campaign,” said Trevor Potter, the campaign’s general counsel. “I do not know if she was billed by her own lawyer for his assistance to her in the vetting process, but from the excerpt that has been read to me by the AP, it sounds as if that is what she is describing.”

From the original AP story:

Written with Lynn Vincent, “Going Rogue” is folksy in tone and homespun. For example, Palin says her efforts to award a license for a massive natural gas transmission line through Alaska was turning a pipe dream into a pipeline. She writes in awe about how the McCain campaign had hired a New York stylist who had also worked on Couric.

Taken aback by all the fussing, she wondered who was paying for the fancy clothes — family members were told it was being taken care of or was “part of the convention.”

Palin shares behind-the-scene moments when the nation learned her teen daughter Bristol was pregnant, how she rewrote the statement prepared on her behalf by the McCain campaign — only to watch in horror as a TV news anchor read the original McCain camp statement, which, in Palin’s view, glarmorized and endorsed her daughter’s situation.

Palin laments that she wasn’t allowed to bring up loads of family members to the stage while McCain gave his election night concession speech, the vice presidential candidate having found out minutes earlier that she wouldn’t be permitted to give her own speech.



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Related: Filmmaker John Ziegler has personally interviewed Sarah Palin and has a much different take on Going Rogue and the AP report about it. Read it here.


Oprah And Sarah Palin Dish On Their ‘Interesting’ Interview

alg_sarah_palin_oprahThe eagle has landed! Translation: the Sarah Palin, Oprah Winfrey interview is a wrap. The much-anticipated sit-down between the talk show queen and the former VP-contender was taped yesterday in Chicago. Later in the evening Palin posted this update to her Facebook page:

Willow, Piper, and I are in Chicago and just wanted to let you know that I had a great conversation with Oprah today. We taped the show for Monday, November 16th, and enjoyed it so much that we went way over on time. The rest will air on Oprah.com. Oprah was very hospitable and gracious, and her audience was full of warm, energized and (no doubt) curious viewers.

Sounds promising. Meanwhile, Oprah posted her own update on the “interesting” interview via video (below), noting that “lots of people didn’t want me to have her on, lots of people did. Lots of her supporters didn’t think she should come here, but she did.” According to Oprah, the subjects covered include the campaign, Bristol, Trig, the Palin marriage, and Levi Johnston. Says Oprah: “We talked about everything, there’s nothing we didn’t talk about.” (Maybe she used our earlier post as a primer.)

It will be interesting to see what tone this interview takes. Oprah can be tough when she wants to, but I wonder if she won’t also demonstrate a great deal of empathy to Palin as a powerful woman seemingly under siege from a number of sides. It will also be interesting to see whether Palin makes any fresh headlines over the next few days now that the interview has been completed.




They’re Already Here: The Real “V” Cult

rep1While the White House remains unconcerned with the comparisons being drawn between themselves and the villainous alien lizards of ABC’s “V” (although Jake Tapper confirms delivery of the “V” premiere to Robert Gibbs’ office), there are those who believe that reptiles in disguise live among us (a key plot point in “V”), and always have. They claim to have video of an actual Reptilian alien. Welcome to Truthism.com, “Your #1 Source for Truth.”

I first ran across Truthism.com a few years ago, and spent an hour or so laughing at the comic genius on display. The site, which looks like it was designed during the OJ Simpson trial, spends a great deal of time arguing for skepticism, before insisting that only an idiot would not believe that the Earth is run by Reptilian aliens that disguise themselves as humans. The site seems like a goof, but it’s not. The Reptilian mythology permeates ancient alien websites.

While not the most compelling proof that Reptilian aliens created mankind and rule them to this day, this is some pretty airtight logic:

Most importantly, doesn’t it seem rather odd to you that, in the 5,500 years of recorded history, there has never been an official school of thought that states, “The current ruling elite of Earth created humanity,” or one that states, “Aliens created humanity”? Well, the reason why these two schools of thought have never come to fruition is because Earth’s alien rulers would never dare allow such concepts (in other words, the truth) to be openly discussed in academia.

Still not convinced? Truthism.com has video of what they say is an actual Reptilian alien (you can go to the site to see 2 other versions in hilarious slo-mo):



OK, that was a little unnerving. While skepticism is warranted, would it hurt to open up a DHS file on the Reptilians? I’m just saying.


Your Moment Of Glenn: Beck’s ‘Extreme’ Return

Well, having his appendix removed last week definitely didn’t dull Glenn Beck’s propensity for incendiary opening segments (though he does look a bit trimmer). Beck was on a tear tonight, about a number of things including who the media chooses to label extremists and who they don’t. Namely alleged Ft. Hood shooter Nadil Hasan, whom Beck more or less verbally tried and convicted in the first ten minutes of his show. Apparently Beck has only taken the “speedy” part of the 6th Amendment to heart in this case, due process is perhaps a luxury for others.

Mostly though Beck feels as though we are being endangered by our own political correctness: “I’m not playing their politically correct game anymore! This man was a Muslim, extremist, terrorist, end of story. Born in America, bred here in America…Know what I find amazing, this man was not afraid to speak his point of view, he was protected, but you’re not.” Video below.


David Plouffe Responsible For Edwards’ Infamous $400 Haircut

John+Edwards+PrettyBack in the spring of 2007, long before the world learned about Rielle Hunter, the candidacy defining revelation regarding Democratic presidential contender John Edwards was that he spent $400 on a haircut. Once revealed this little tidbit of information was quickly picked up in the media, and then blown up, so that in the months going forward Edwards had to battle his dogged pretty-boy image as much, or more. as he was explaining past controversial decisions made in the Senate. The haircut story was first broke by Ben Smith at the then only three-month-old blog Politico (perhaps an small early warning sign of scooping power they would develop down the line). Yesterday Smith revealed the source of haircut tip: wonder-boy Obama campaign adviser David Plouffe. Says Smith:

Obama’s campaign had a particularly capable opposition research shop, a source of tips to many reporters, not all of them on policy. And Plouffe, in passing, outs the campaign as the source of a brief item I did in April 2007 off an Edwards campaign expenditure — probably driving as much traffic, chatter and grief as anything that short I’ve ever written.

“We did much less of this [opposition research] than other campaigns did,” Plouffe writes a bit self-servingly, “but there were times we indulged — it was our researchers who found John Edwards’s infamous $400 hair cut expenditures.”

It’s maddening when people assume political reporting is driven by opposition research when you’ve actually dug up something yourself, but in this case, I’m in no position to contradict Plouffe’s account.

So yeah, the Obama campaign, even in the very early days, understood the art of savvy, undermining campaigning. This can’t be a real shock to anyone. They didn’t win the election by playing nice all the time. How this same savvy campaigning will apply to future elections will be interesting to see. Last night on Hardball a combative Chris Matthews (who earlier took Plouffe to task for referring to the abortion debate as merely an important tree in the larger forest of the health care bill: “To a lot of people the forest is life and death, by the way!”) asked Plouffe why the White House only appears to be going after the likes of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh instead of actual, elected GOP party leaders like John Boehner. Says Plouffe (video below):

I just think it’s the reality. The truth is that the Palin, Limbaugh, Beck wing of the party are calling many of the shots now. They purged a moderate woman out of that race in New York last week, I think they’re not going to stop there…that’s where the energy is. And I think that’s really what the American people are faced with, a Republican party that either doesn’t want to cooperate because of politics not principle, or they’re largely just offering warmed over Bush policies which have been soundly rejected.


If that still holds true in another six months or so, we’ll have a good idea where the inevitable Sarah Palin haircut stories are coming from.

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President Obama’s Fort Hood Memorial Speech And Twitter Reaction (VIDEO)

obama_11-10President Barack Obama spoke today the Fort Hood memorial for 15 minutes, in a speech that is already garnering strong praise from around the media world.

All broadcast networks took in live, as did the cable news channels. The video is below, as is some reaction from Twitter.



The View From Twitter

    Mark Knoller: It’s a very moving moment. The silence of the dead is deafening.

    Brian Stelter: RT @ChuckTodd: That’s going to be a speech that’s remembered and quoted from for quite some time.

    Mark Knoller: Command Sergeant Major Donald Felt now sounding the Final Roll Call – including the silence when the name of a fallen soldier is called.

    Chuck Todd: That’s going to be a speech that’s remembered and quoted from for quite some time; struck a balance of commander and consoler; not easy.

    Marc Ambinder: RT @TheRickWilson: The signifiers in this speech (”no faith” “same extremists” “same war”) all telling, proper and better than expected.

    Marc Ambinder: I realize I just had my Chris Matthews chill up the leg moment, but hey — the speech was just damn good.

    Mark Knoller: Obama followed by Master Sergeant Natasha D. Harley, 1st Cavalry Division – singing “Amazing Grace.”

    Marc Ambinder: #Ft. Hood — Obama’s speech — full text. http://tinyurl.com/yjkrdqa

    Mark Knoller: Obama closes speech: “we say goodbye to those who now belong to eternity. We press ahead in pursuit of the peace that guided their svc.”

    Mark Knoller: Obama says of today’s mililtary: “We need not look to the past for greatness, because it is before our very eyes.”

    Chuck Todd: From the beginning, the Obama admin has linked Pakistan and Afghanistan together, hammering home point countries are connected.

    Marc Ambinder: I agree. RT @chrisgolden: This is the best speech Pres. Obama has given, domestically, since his Inauguration

    Rachel Sklar: Oh gosh this Fort Hood memorial is so sad. Obama’s rundown of the victim is heartbreaking. Huge huge waste, tragedy.

    Chuck Todd: Telling line from POTUS: “In Afghanistan and Pakistan, the same extremists who killed nearly 3,000 Americans continue to endanger America”



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