Tonight on MSNBC, Countdown aired a video compilation showing the similarity in rhetoric between George W. Bush in 2000 and Sarah Palin in 2008. Keith Olbermann reported that “the people around [Palin] — the top-level campaign staffers crafting her message of change and reform — are almost all from the inner-circle of the same Bush campaigns and administration from which she offers that change.” He concluded, “Small surprise then that even in the very act of claiming her background, her experience qualify her to offer us that change from Bush, she does so sounding almost exactly like Bush.” Watch it:
Progressive Accountability put together its own Bush-Palin video compilation earlier today. Check it out here.
Today, DOJ Inspector General Glenn Fine testified about his recent report on the U.S. Attorney scandal. Harriet Miers, who defied a subpoena regarding her role in the scandal, refused to talk to Fine’s investigators. Fine said she ignored the IG despite the White House in fact encouraging her to speak to them:
JOHNSON: Was Harriet Miers one of those who the White House encouraged to speak to you?
FINE: She was one who we requested to be interviewed…my understanding is all the individuals were encouraged by the White House counsel’s office to speak to us.
Miers, however, refused to talk to Fine’s investigators. “The reason her attorney gave is that an interview might undermine her ability to rely on instructions she received from the White House directing her not to appear for congressional testimony,” he said.
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) said that Miers is “playing games” with investigators. “To us, Ms. Miers says she’s willing to testify but the White House won’t let her. And to you, she says she won’t testify even though the White House says it’s okay,” he said.
Earlier this week, Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) gained widespread attention for her inability to name specifically which newspapers and magazines she regularly reads. “Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me over all these years,” she told CBS’s Katie Couric.
Yesterday on MSNBC’s Hardball, Politico’s Mike Allen suggested that Palin should have lied and said that she reads “The Economist.” “Somebody told me, she should have just said ‘The Economist,’” said Allen. “Everybody lies about reading ‘The Economist.’”
Ironically, Palin was given a chance to redeem herself on that same question in an interview with Fox News today. Her response? “The Economist”:
CAMERON: Well, what do you read?
PALIN: I read the same things that other people across the country read, including the “New York Times” and the “Wall Street Journal” and “The Economist” and some of these publications that we’ve recently even been interviewed through up there in Alaska.
Watch Allen’s comments, followed by Palin’s Fox interview:
UPDATE: The Fox News transcript misquoted Gov. Palin. In the video of the interview, she actually said, “we won’t be bleeding our authority.” We apologize for the mistake.
During the vice presidential debate last night, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said that she agreed with Vice President Cheney’s belief that there is “a lot of flexibility” in the Office of the Vice President and that she was “thankful the Constitution would allow a bit more authority given to the vice president.” Watch it:
In an interview with Fox News’ Carl Cameron this morning, Palin attempted to explain what she meant about “the flexibility of the vice presidency.” “The vice president, of course, is not a member — or a part of the legislative branch, except to oversee the Senate,” said Palin. “That alone provides a tremendous amount of flexibility and authority if that vice president so chose to use it.”
She then claimed that she did not intend on “bleeding” her “authority over to the Legislative or Judicial branch” in order to push McCain’s agenda:
CAMERON: Would you change any of that, (INAUDIBLE) than the Bush/Cheney administration in terms of the power of the executive?
PALIN: Well, again, as I tried to explain last night, our executive branch will know what our job is. We have the three very distinct branches of government. You know, we might won’t be bleeding our authority over to the Legislative or Judicial branch to do our job in the Executive branch as administers.
Palin’s views of the office appear to be so in line with Cheney’s that during her interview with Katie Couric, the only bad thing that Palin could say Cheney had done in office was accidentally shooting his friend in the face.
Watch part of Palin’s incoherent answer to Fox about the powers of the vice presidency:
Conservatives continue to cry “liberal media bias” to explain away the unpopularity of the right-wing agenda, despite the stark economic realities for all but the super-wealthy in America. These tired claims ignore the reality that the right-wing agenda actually benefits the “mainstream media.”
The multinational corporations that run the mainstream media — GE (NBC), Time Warner (CNN), Walt Disney (ABC), News Corporation (FOX), and Viacom (CBS) — stand to benefit hugely under a McCain presidency. The centerpiece of Sen. McCain’s economic plan — actually, the whole plan — is large tax cuts for corporations. It would deliver $1.44 billion in tax cuts to the five largest media companies, according to an analysis by the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
These giveaways are just one part of McCain’s doubling of the Bush tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy which would create the largest deficits in 25 years and drive the United States into the deepest deficits since World War II. McCain and Palin have promised that the $700 billion bailout would not threaten these tax cuts.
On Tuesday night, 69.9 million viewers tuned in to watch the sole vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin.
The Biden-Palin matchup set a new V.P. debate TV audience record, beating the previous high of 56.7 million viewers set by the debate between Rep. Geraldine Ferraro and then-V.P. George H.W. Bush in 1984*.
Biden and Palin’s debate also surpassed the first presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain, which drew an audience of 52.4 million last Friday night.
During the last presidential election in 2004, the vice presidential debate between V.P. Dick Cheney and Sen. John Edwards drew 43.6 million viewers.
Included in the massive $700 billion bailout bill Congress passed and President Bush signed today is a bipartisan mental health parity provision that gives employees the same treatment rights for mental illness as for other physical ailments. “Congress has given hope to the millions of Americans and their families who live with mental illness,” said Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT). But last night on Fox News, the Weekly Standard’s Fred Barnes coldly dismissed the measure, saying “it doesn’t belong” in the bill:
BARNES: I don’t care about the mental health parity, and some of the other things that don’t belong in there. On the other hand, we have a crisis, and we need to do something.
More details on the Mental Health Parity law here.
A majority of New York City voters (54 percent to 42 percent) now favor extending term limits to 12 years from 8 so they can elect Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to a third term, even though nearly two thirds (65 percent to 29 percent) favor the basic concept of term limits, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released on Friday morning. [...] Even when the term limits question was phrased a different way, emphasizing procedural fairness, 52 percent said Mr. Bloomberg deserved four more years to finish his work as mayor, while 44 percent said changing the rules in the middle of the game was unfair. [...] The poll found a remarkably high approval rating, 75 percent to 19 percent, for Mr. Bloomberg’s job performance. Approval was highest among white voters (83 percent to 13 percent) but also solid among black voters (69 percent to 23 percent) and Hispanic voters (68 percent to 25 percent).
On the other hand, I hadn’t previously realized that one of the contenders to replace Bloomberg is named “Marty Markowitz” which I think is a great New York name. In all seriousness, I don’t want to come off as unduly in the tank for Bloomberg here. Obviously, I haven’t lived in New York City for some time and have only a limited familiarity with the issues and little-to-any familiarity with his opponents. Very possibly, someone else would be a better mayor. But I think that person should make the argument on the merits. And, yes, “Bloomberg is an unprincipled, power-hungry jerk who opportunistically changed the term limits law when he decided he wanted to stay on” counts as a potentially effective argument against re-electing him. Nevertheless, there’s still no good reason to artificially limit the number of terms to which a mayor can be elected.