It’s Not News That Glenn Beck Doesn’t Like John McCain

beckcouricWord has gotten out that on tonight’s episode of @katiecouric, Katie Couric’s new web-only show, Glenn Beck will declare that McCain would have been worse than Obama. Newsrooms around the country have flung stacks of paper in the air in disbelief, wondering how this could be. Before the show has even aired, the media narrative has emerged that this is some kind of cunning, headline-grabbing ploy by Beck. CBS, for its part, has effectively used the ‘controversy’ as a marketing tool, plugging it on their website.

It’s a catchy angle, but here’s the thing; if you go back and look at what he’s said, Beck has never really liked John McCain.

On the prospect of voting for McCain: “You close your eyes, you pull the lever and you cringe when you think back about it.” Glenn Beck, 7/29/08.

During the 2008 Presidential Election, back when Beck was an HLN anchor, he was a Romney man. When it became clear that Romney didn’t have a shot, he never really cottoned up to McCain. When Wolf Blitzer interviewed him in February, shortly after Romney endorsed McCain, Beck said that he was “a little disappointed” by the endorsement, and he wouldn’t even answer the question of whether a good conservative should endorse McCain or Clinton/Obama when it came down to an election.

That wasn’t just a case of post-letdown blues. On July 29th, Beck wrote a column for titled “Still looking for a candidate I can support,” in which he essentially blew off McCain and hinted that a third-party protest vote might be the best option for conservatives. “[McCain is] massively frustrating on far too many things to make voting for him anything other than an excruciating-eating-a-spider-Fear-Factor type of experience. You close your eyes, you pull the lever and you cringe when you think back about it,” he wrote.

As late as October 27th, the eve of the election, Beck still hadn’t fallen into the McCain camp; when he interviewed Romney on his show, he called Obama openly “Marxist,” but pointedly had nothing good to say about McCain.

Here’s a full transcript from the revealing interview with then-CNN cohort Wolf Blitzer on February 18, 2008, which reporters on the popular “Glenn Beck” beat should probably read:

BLITZER: You haven’t jumped aboard the McCain bandwagon, yet, Glenn…

BECK: No. No.

BLITZER: Is that what you’re saying?

BECK: Wolf, I’ve taken about 1,400 looks at John McCain. Really not that interested. Has he got anything new?

BLITZER: Well, what’s the alternative? Let’s say it comes down to McCain versus Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. What does a good conservative do?

BECK: You know, I’ve been really wrestling with this and I — and a lot of people don’t believe my answer, but it’s true. I don’t know what I’m going to do, at this point. I don’t think I’ll know until I close that curtain, quite honestly. I am tired of — I used to be a guy who said well, it’s better than the alternative.

But you know what? We have spent so much time — on both sides of the aisle — saying well, this is better than that. Well, at some point, these keep moving so close together that this becomes that. And then it doesn’t make a difference. And I think we’re almost there.

BLITZER: Well, were you disappointed that Romney decided yesterday to formally endorse McCain?

BECK: No, not disappointed, just — well, I guess — yes, maybe a little disappointed because I don’t — I don’t understand it. It could be that, you know, the best scenario that I have in my head — and I don’t know. I don’t know the governor. I didn’t talk to the governor about his decisions. He doesn’t consult me.

But the best thing I can come up with is he knows how much trouble we’re in economically. And with Huckabee wanting to spend an additional $54 billion, Hillary Clinton wanting an additional — I don’t even know what it is — $190 billion and Barack Obama another $200 billion and some, with John McCain coming in and saying I’m going to spend an additional $7 billion, he’s priced to move.

BLITZER: And so that’s encouraging on that, on the spending…

BECK: Yes.

BLITZER: … on the spending level.


Yes. I mean maybe — maybe that — because that’s, you know, Romney’s gift is knowing how to work with the economy and being, you know, somebody who can turn things around. And maybe that’s why he threw his support there.

I was disappointed on the other option which, I think is, you know, look at me, I’m a good little elephant — because the Republicans all stand in line. It seems like oh, it’s your turn to run for president.

BLITZER: How important would be McCain’s vice presidential running mate? The conventional wisdom over the years is nobody votes for a vice president, they vote for president. How significant, though, would McCain’s pick be?

BECK: I think it depends. Usually, I don’t really care about the vice president. But with George Bush, it did make a difference with a lot of Americans. It made a difference to me that it was Dick Cheney.

But it would be — it would have to be the right vice president. For instance, if he decided, you know, well, the economy is really important and, you know, I’ve read Greenspan’s book, I need somebody who’s better on the economy, so I’m going to go for Romney, I wouldn’t buy it because I don’t think he likes Mitt Romney.

And so I don’t — I don’t see him saying hey, Mitt, come on into the office here, I need to talk to you about the economy. If I believe that the two have a real relationship and he is offsetting McCain and would be able to say, wait a minute, Mr. President, this is not the direction to go, then maybe it would make a difference.

But, in the end, the president has to make decisions quickly. He has to make them from his gut. And John McCain’s gut and my gut just don’t — don’t line up.

BLITZER: All right…

Bill Clinton Attempts To Counter Obama’s Media Blitz With One Of His Own

Picture 10Media blitz tours are apparently all the rage for former Presidents. Or at least former Democratic Presidents — George W. has been mostly AWOL in Texas since departing Washington last January. And Bill Clinton appeared to be staging a small one of his own last night with appearances on Larry King and The Daily Show last evening, and ABC this morning.

If I were Maureen Dowd I would point to Bill Clinton’s cable rounds last night, particularly his Daily Show spot (below), as some sort of competitive decision on his part to share in President Obama’s magical tour spotlight, because the timing of the dual late night appearances does seem a little strange. And alas, Clinton’s recollections of his trip to North Korea, especially, appear to be lost in this morning’s headlines about Obama’s late night spot. As does his take on the current race debate — so ably exploded on the media scene last Sunday by Modo, herself, before being fanned by the other former Democratic President from the South, Jimmy Carter.

“Well, we only have one President at a time, so I put on whatever expression he thinks I should.”

First: Clinton’s take on race, which interestingly was not touched on during his Daily Show spot. Clinton told Larry King that while he wouldn’t deny that “some of the extremists are racially prejudiced” that not everyone who opposes health care and all the conservatives are racists. Moreover, if Obama “were white the same people who oppose him now would oppose him then. We should disaggregate lingering problems of discrimination from the attacks to which the President is subject…We have to win this on merits.”

Nest, while Obama was Top Ten-ing away with Letterman, Clinton stopped by The Daily Show last night, ostensibly to talk about the Clinton Global initiative, now in it’s fifth year. But the juiciest part of the interview was when talk turned to Clinton’s role as ‘Batman’ (aka his trip to North Korea) and his recent lunch with Obama. “What’s the sort of expression you have to put on your face for that meeting,” asked Stewart. “Well we only have one President at a time, so I put on whatever expression he thinks I should.” Ha! Actually Clinton was very humble about his roles working for the current President, as well as past, and threw a rather more objective (battle-worn?) light on the health care debate later in the interview (below). Perhaps Obama should consider taking Bubba on the road. Something tells me Clinton could give Glenn Beck a run for his money.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive – Bill Clinton Extended Interview Pt. 2
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Healthcare Protests

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive – Bill Clinton Extended Interview Pt. 3
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Healthcare Protests

Bill Clinton on Larry King

Obama on Letterman: “I Was Actually Black Before The Election”

APTOPIX ObamaLast night President Barack Obama topped off his El Completo Ginsburg with an appearance on David Letterman — and this time, there were no Special Olympics jokes.

I’m referring, of course, to that other time Obama went on a late-night show as a sitting president — his visit to Jay Leno’s couch back in March. Why is that relevant now? Well, because Obama learned from that incident, and as a result he was at the top of his game on Letterman: Relaxed, comfortable, loose….but not too loose.

Loose enough to do the top ten (with a Megan Fox joke! The hits for our favorite tag just keep coming!) and loose enough to get Dave laughing right out of the gate. Loose enough to crack a joke about a heart-shaped potato…but tight enough to nail his all-important, clearly pre-planned one-liner about race which he knew would be the big takeaway. “I was actually black before the election,” now has roughly 15K+ results in Google (25K if you add iin “I was black before the election”).


There was some serious talk, too — “unemployment is going to be a serious problem for at least another year” — but he promised that “I’m confident, that over time, we’re going to come back stronger than before.” Notable in that exchange: He used the phrase “Stay the course.” Hard to hear that without noticing.

As usual, it blew up TwitterHoward Kurtz thought Letterman was too soft on Obama; Mark Knoller tweeted the whole thing out beforehand.

He also talked about Afghanistan (”"I’m going to be asking some very hard questions”), the heckling of late (”One of the things you sign up for in politics is folks yell at you”) CBS highlights video is below, followed by the Top Ten, as read by Obama; here’s the account from the AP, from USA Today, WaPo,

Watch CBS Videos Online

“Top Ten Reasons Why President Obama Agreed To Appear On The Show”
(video here)

10. Heard the lady with the heart-shaped potato was gonna be here.
9. Thought it would be fun to watch someone else get heckled.
8. Something to do with that whole cash for clunkers deal.
7. Every president since Teddy Roosevelt has done it.
6. Someone offers you 600 bucks you take it ladies and gentlemen.
5. We told him Megan Fox would be here.
4. Needed some time to hang out before check in time at his hotel.
3. I have no idea.
2. Said yes, without thinking, like Bush did with Iraq.
1. Wanted to congratulate Dave on the big Emmy win.

If you didn’t get the joke, Letterman did not win the Emmy. Jon Stewart — who hosted Bill Clinton last night — did.

One more thing: The David Letterman show is one more thing that Barack Obama has with Megan Fox. Video here.

Photo by AP’s Charles Dharapak

Obama Tells Letterman U.S. Should Have Finished The Job In Afghanistan

david-letterman-barack-obama1President Obama is currently in Midtown (pictures below!), which according to a number of our readers is a madhouse at the moment, taping his David Letterman appearance to air tonight.

CBS’s Mark Knoller is apparently in the audience or backstage (or has a super excellent source!) and his tweets this hour are providing a nice preview of what’s to come tonight. Also: Spoiler Alert!

“In monologue, Letterman said he hadnt seen Obama since he invited Letterman and Sarah Palin to have a beer at the WH.”

# Obama did apologize on Letterman for the traffic jams associated with his visit and other world leaders attending the UN opening session.1 minute ago from web


# In monologue, Letterman said he hadnt seen Obama since he invited Letterman and Sarah Palin to have a beer at the WH.23 minutes ago from web

# #1: Wanted to congratulate Dave on big Emmy win. (Letterman didn’t win. ha ha)26 minutes ago from web

# #4 reason Obama did Letterman: needed place to hang out till check-in time at hotel.27 minutes ago from web

# #9: Obama thought it would be fun to see someone else get heckled.28 minutes ago from web


# On the lighter side, Letterman did Top Ten Reasons Obama Agreed to Appear on the Show: #8: part of cash for clunkers pgm.29 minutes ago from web

# Obama tells Letterman US can find a uniquely American health care system. Obama says it baffles the mind that some in US dont have h/c.30 minutes ago from web

# Obama says govt health care plan doesn’t seem bad to Canadians. He says “they’re perfectly happy” with it.31 minutes ago from web

# Asked about opposition to his health care plan, Obama says suggesting it’s fascist “probably misreads the situation.”32 minutes ago from web


# Obama says his central objective in Afghanistan is to “take out” the folks responsible for the 9/11 attacks so they cant do more harm.33 minutes ago from web

# On David Letterman, Obama says US should have finished the job in Afghanistan, given the enormous stakes US has there.34 minutes ago from web

# Now heading from Troy, NY to NYC where Obama will be taping the Letterman show this afternoon.about 4 hours ago from web

‘You Broke My Heart, Gov.’ And Other Possible NY Post Headlines

obamapatterson.480.1Barring some sort of ‘jackass’ remark during tonight’s taping of Letterman it’s pretty much a given that this picture of President Obama greeting New York Governor David Paterson on a tarmac earlier today will be the front page of tomorrow’s New York Post (the real one).

On Sunday George Stephanopoulos asked the President whether he ever stepped back and thought ‘Wow, I’m going to have to step up my game’?” It’s entirely possible that at some point today was he was thinking “wow, my office needs to figure out its timing!” because, honestly, whose idea was it to inform Gov. Paterson he was not welcome to run for Governor again right before the President flew to New York for his big Letterman/UN moment. Did they really think it wasn’t going to get out? Paterson’s best (and arguably only) chance at reelection is to pit himself against an interfering President! Of course he’s still going to run now.

Back to tomorrow’s Post. ‘Obama To New York Gov: Drop Dead’ is probably a bit too strong to make it to print. Considering the shout out Obama gave to the state’s attorney general ‘Cuomo and Get It’ might not be too far off. I still like Godfather theme best, but if you have other ideas we’re taking suggestions.

Andrew Sullivan Is A One-Man Print Bailout Machine

sullivan_350First of all, it is a measure of how the mainstream media still views the online world that the NYT piece about Andrew Sullivan’s plea for Atlantic print subscribers is titled “A Blogger Makes a Pitch for Supporting Print’ [emphasis ours]. I mean honestly! Considering Andrew Sullivan is on some Sunday morning talk show practically every weekend and averages 160,000 visits a day, he’s probably infiltrated the mainstream enough that by not using his name in the hed the Times has just depleted the SEO value of their article. Anyway!

What the Times story is actually about is that last week Sullivan apparently asked (pleaded with?) his readers to subscribe to the print version of The Atlantic and within two days the “appeal pulled in 75 percent of the subscriptions that the Web site draws in a typical month.” Wow! Andrew Sullivan is the new Barack Obama of the print world. Now doesn’t every magazine wish they’d seen the writing on the wall and invested in an Andrew Sullivan five years ago?

The larger point here is that the power of individuals, and individual branding — an anathema to traditional journalism, which is all about the larger brand — may be the future of print. Imagine if every powerful media figure/blogger reached out and asked his or her personal audience to subscribe to one print publication. I have no doubt many would comply. Maybe someone should designate a weekend for it and turn it into the online version of NPR or PBS’s pledge drive! Seeing as Obama has said he’s open to considering whether newspapers should be given non-profit status, this might just be the next step — a blogger supported print industry. And then perhaps with every print subscription you’ll be allowed access behind whatever paid-content firewall your favorite blogger has put up.

Obama on Univisión: Lost in Translation

Obama UnivisionSo what did President Obama say to Univisión? It was hard to tell.

As I began to watch the interview he gave to Jorge Ramos, I found myself moving closer and closer to the TV, as if I were deciphering a strange language. The premier Spanish network had made the awful choice of dubbing instead of subtitling the interview.

It took me back to my childhood, watching Hollywood films on Chilean TV on endless school afternoons—suffering because cowboys, pirates, lawyers and superheroes shared the same toothpaste-commercial voices. Later on, my brother and I turned this nonsense into a game: who could name more films or series in which this same overdubbing artist had taken over a famous actor.

But the miseries of being born on the wrong side of English stop being funny when you are trying to understand what the President is saying on relevant matters, and another voice paired with a lousy sound mix make it impossible. (The internet version sounds much better.)

Yet, the problem is not only that sound mixing may be tricky and the dubbing artist may remind you of the Latin American translation of Homer Simpson (which it did). Univisión’s choice was regrettable because what makes dubbing movies simply wrong (beautifully explained by Dolores Prida in the Daily News) applies to politics, too: much of what is being said resides in accents, pauses and inflections.

So yesterday I didn’t really watch President Obama talk to the millions of Hispanics who regularly tune into Univisión—a historic occasion, indeed.

It was something else. And I hated it.

And this is not to say that the interview wasn’t good. Jorge Ramos is a solid interviewer and displayed his skills by asking Obama three times if he had the votes to approve health care reform, pressing him to clarify his stance on health benefits for illegal immigrants; reminding him of the economic cost of forcing immigrants to use emergency rooms; questioning his switch from talking about “undocumented immigrants” to “illegal immigrants;” and reminding him of his promise of immigration reform during his first year in government.

Particularly on the last two topics, Ramos dealt significant blows to Obama: his change of words to refer to illegal immigrants is a sensitive topic among many Hispanics, and his answer (that he was merely replying to the attacks from the right in their own terms) was not convincing; on the latter, it is by now obvious that his promise of immigration reform in 2009 will not be fulfilled.

In other words, Ramos made the President tumble in the eyes of Hispanics.

But it was all lost in translation, and by that point, most of Univisión’s audience (who can most likely read subtitles and understand English at the same time) may have switched to another outlet—one in which they could hear their President with their own ears.