In a NBC/WSJ poll to be released tomorrow, “only 21% approve of President Bush’s job in handling the economy — his lowest number ever as president on that question.” Additionally, the poll found that 81% of Americans “believe the US is currently in a recession.”
Tomorrow, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) will be a guest on Fox News’s The O’Reilly Factor, a venue that the Washington Post’s Howie Kurtz writes “might not seem the most hospitable environment” for the senator, considering Bill O’Reilly’s frequent criticisms of the Clintons.
In preparation for this segment, O’Reilly tonight asked Karl Rove for what he should ask her. Rove, not surprisingly, told O’Reilly that he should pit Clinton against Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and ask: “Why did you let Sen. Obama begin his campaign and make a central element his desire for bipartisanship and remain silent about your efforts at bipartisanship?”
O’Reilly, however, said that even that question was “way too smart for me”:
That question is way too smart for me. I have stupid questions, but they’re fun. You’re going to watch, right?
Once again, Fox News failed to disclose Rove’s ties to Sen. John McCain, marking the 84th day without disclosure since Rove became a Fox News analyst. And the Rove Watch continues…
Transcript: Read more
Phillip Weis went to college with Geoffrey Garin, Hillary Clinton’s new top pollster, and recalled him as having been quite the radical. And thanks to the Crimson‘s extensive archives, you can actually read his old op-eds calling for, among other things, the violent overthrow of the government. Which is not, obviously, a good reason to vote against Clinton but it does put her campaign’s Ayers-related attacks in a certain perspective.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) released additional details of his health care plan today. In terms of key principles, there was nothing new. Sen. McCain is still not concerned about achieving universal coverage, and he continues to want to put a greater burden on individuals to take on health insurance companies by themselves and hope that they can get needed care.
Today, the Center for American Progress Action Fund released two new analyses of the McCain plan (you can read the whole reports here and here). The only two key things you need to know are the numbers 158 million and 56 million:
• 158 million is the number of people who could lose their existing health care coverage under the McCain plan. McCain believes that individuals should find health insurance by themselves, and he will give them a small tax credit to help cover the cost. To pay for this, McCain ends the tax break given to those who purchase insurance from their employer today. This means that all 158 million people with employer-sponsored coverage today could eventually be forced to find a new health plan.
• 56 million is the number of people who are at risk of not getting health insurance at all under the McCain plan because of their chronic condition. The individual market is notorious for denying coverage to those with preexisting conditions. By creating a system that tries to push people towards individual coverage, McCain’s plan could leave out in the cold the 56 million Americans with employer insurance who have one or more chronic diseases like hypertension, arthritis, and asthma.
Overall, the McCain plan today was just more of the same old conservative rhetoric. His promises to help cover those with pre-existing conditions have turned out to be empty. The McCain plan still doesn’t help cancer patients like Elizabeth Edwards. Far from improving health care, John McCain will only make it much worse.
Last month, Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly attacked Bill Moyers on his TV show, calling him “a charlatan who epitomizes the left-wing media in this country and doesn’t even pay his employees’ health insurance.” But last night, O’Reilly ate his words and issued a correction:
First, one correction. A few days ago I said that Bill Moyers does not pay health insurance for some of his employees. The Moyers people say that is not true, and at this point, I believe them. I regret the error. We’re not fans of Mr. Moyers, but he does deserve to be treated fairly.
O’Reilly claimed he made his mistake only “a few days ago.” But, in fact, his false attack against Moyers occurred over a month ago.
Q: Will we see more scrutiny of his campaign finances and practices, or will Obama/Wright continue to suck up all the oxygen?
MURRAY: This is driving Democrats crazy right now, but just wait. Once the primary battle is over, Sen. McCain will get his fair share of scrutiny.
Asked about the statement from Murray in his weekly discussion, the Post’s Howard Kurtz said this attitude is the wrong one:
KURTZ: We don’t have unlimited resources, but I think we need to be covering McCain as vigorously now as in the fall. I mean, it’s not like he’s laying on a beach somewhere, he’s out there campaigning. One pet peeve of mine is when reporters don’t cover an issue because the candidates are avoiding it, thus allowing them to set the agenda.
They titled their piece, “Bush rhetoric on energy strays from the facts.” Some people might call that making stuff up, but who can complain about a story that begins:
President Bush put politics ahead of the facts Tuesday as he sought to blame Congress for high energy prices, saying foreign suppliers are pumping just about all the oil they can and accusing lawmakers of blocking new refineries.
Bush renewed his call for drilling in an Arctic wildlife refuge, but his own Energy Department says that would have little impact on gasoline prices.
And then goes on to compare Bush’s “spin” with the facts. Kudos to AP’s H. Josef Hebert, who has been at this game a long time.
Robert McFarlane was National Security Advisor under Ronald Reagan and is officially down as a supporter of John McCain, but Jacob Heilbrunn reports that McFarlane thinks know-nothing neocons will run the show in a McCain administration, “According to McFarlane, ‘the youngsters’ would run foreign policy the first year and then likely be ‘fired’ by the second after they mess up.” So that’s the grown up defense of McCain. He’s the kind of guy who’s likely to appoint a bunch of people who screw up, and then fire them. More:
My ears perked up when I heard this assessment because it confirms what I’ve been hearing elsewhere: while Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft, and other realist elders are consulted by McCain, his heart is with the younger neocons, the “beavers,” in the words of one McCain supporter, who draft the speeches and get the grunt work done.
I would suggest that this isn’t just a question of personnel and the neocons having groomed a younger generation that the realists haven’t. McCain’s choice of personnel reflects his own ideas about national security, honor, national greatness, etc. The realists McCain knows are all older guys who are sort of out of the game because McCain was a realist a long time ago in the 1980s when I was in grade school and these old dudes were practitioners. But his conversion happened a while back, and he’s been quite consistent in his adherence to neoconnish ideas (and, indeed, he’s shaped the direction of the movement and not just signed on to it) presumably because he thinks they correctly depict the post-Soviet security environment.
He’s wrong but it’s not like he hasn’t thought about this stuff or is some small-time governor being manipulated by his devilish speechwriters. These are his ideas and they’re bad ideas and lifelong Republicans who don’t like these ideas and don’t want to see them implemented should support his opponent.
Center for American Progress Action Fund senior fellow Elizabeth Edwards, who has in the past pointed out that Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) health care policies would exclude people with preexisting conditions like herself, appeared on MSNBC today to discuss the issue. Noting that employer-based health care typically costs families about $12,000, Edwards explained that McCain’s paltry $5,000 tax credit proposal is woefully inadequate:
If Sen. McCain thinks that individuals — who are at a bargaining power disadvantage from big companies buying lots and lots of polices — are going to go out and by comparable policies for $5,000 it shows that he is completely out of touch with what is happening in the health care system in America today.
As The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn put it, McCain’s “great new plan isn’t new or great. And it still wouldn’t help Elizabeth Edwards get decent insurance.”
Recently, CNN’s senior business correspondent Ali Velshi has been promoting coal-based liquid fuel as a response to high oil prices, even though it leads to climate disaster. Yesterday, the Wonk Room noted that Velshi has even implied coal is cleaner than himself. This afternoon, Velshi continued his obsession with liquid coal in a discussion with CNN’s Glenn Beck. Beck is a self-described “big dumb rodeo clown” who believes the United States is a “suicidal superpower” for not turning coal into gasoline:
This can be done — coal to oil — at $55 a barrel. That’s about half of what we are paying right now for oil. We can have cheap oil that is actually good for the nation because it is all home grown. We’re sitting … just Montana is the Saudi Arabia of coal.
Montana does indeed have vast coal reserves. But coal-based fuel is in fact a dangerous and expensive prospect once the high costs of its pollution are factored in — especially its carbon dioxide global warming emissions.
Velshi then noted that his “clean coal” boosterism has raised questions about his journalistic integrity:
Well you know, South Africa, most of the gasoline it uses is produced from coal. I did something on this the other day and the number of e-mails and comments I got about how I’m shilling for the coal industry . . .
After Beck scoffed, “Oh please,” Velshi then made his most accurate pronouncement about coal to date:
I don’t think it’s clean. It’s not cleaner. It just happens to not be oil.
Glenn Beck — whose response to the threat of climate change is to complain that polar bears eat people — was terribly alarmed by Velshi’s moment of truth:
Now hang on just a second. We can sequester the CO2 now. We can make it cleaner than it has been.
In fact, there is not a single coal plant producing electricity or fuel that sequesters carbon dioxide anywhere on the planet. Although we definitely can make coal cleaner, the coal industry is doing everything it can to ensure that the American taxpayer foots the bill. If Velshi were truly interested in the economics of coal, he would host financial analysts that discuss the economic risks of coal power, not global-warming deniers like Glenn Beck.
Transcript: Read more