Friday, December 21, 2007

Family Survives Three Days Lost In The Snowy Woods, Holiday Political Ads, And Hurricane Rita Survivors Get The Shaft (Wednesday's Show)

Hi everyone. We're kicking things off with the BREAKING NEWS that this afternoon three children and their father were rescued after spending three days in the cold and snowy California woods. Good news! Yay! This is a much better outcome than James Kim. Anderson Cooper tells us that they had been cutting down a Christmas tree when their ordeal began and then we go to Dan Simon live, who is standing in front of the family's house. From him we learn that just moments ago the kids drove up in a van--still clad in hospital gowns. Anderson then tells us we're going inside, which I'm not completely thrilled about, but he preempts my initial criticism with the following: "Obviously, we give people privacy at a time like this. They seem willing to speak and want to get their story out."

We then go from Dan to a shot inside the house where Alexis, 15, Joshua, 12, and Christopher, 18 are still hospital gown-clad and bundled up with their mother, Lisa Sams, on the couch. What follows is a fairly long interview with Anderson being charming and the kids being adorable. There's much laughing throughout and probably the best exchange is when Anderson asks when they knew they were lost and Christopher replies that it was when they couldn't find the truck. Yes, that would make sense. Later in the interview, Anderson brings in Matt Pearce of Butte County Search and Rescue, Steve Ward of the California Highway Patrol, and paramedic Dave White for the rescue angle. It's fabulous to get a story with a happy ending, and like I said, the family is adorable, but--yeah, there's a but--there are other things that went on today that were more worthy of half a broadcast than this story. I know, I know. Just call me News Scrooge.

Transitioning now to political talk with John King, Jeffrey Toobin, and Jennifer Donohue of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College. Another day, another poll. Now it seems that Clinton is up again in New Hampshire, but John reminds us these things go back and forth. He thinks that the state is different than Iowa in that Iowa seems to be more about the candidate, while New Hampshire focuses more on what the candidate will do. Jennifer tells us there's been an influx of centrists, which is helping both Clinton and Romney. We then get played a clip of Romney slamming Huckabee and Huckabee's not pleased response. Toobin notes Romney has to take Huckabee on like that because he's stealing his thunder in Iowa.

Next up, we have a Joe Johns piece on how the 08ers are just so infused with the Christmas spirit they decided to spread their tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy. And how are they going to do that? Campaign ads of course! Let's see, we've got Edwards being all serious about poverty, Clinton getting cute with policy, Huckabee freaking everybody out with a floating cross, and Giuliani just being, well, weird. God bless us, every one!

Back with the panel, Anderson asks about the effectiveness of these kinder seasonal ads, noting we haven't really seen them before because the caucuses were later. John says that the candidates don't want to disappear during the holidays, but they don't want to attack before the holidays either. But after the holidays? It's on! Toobin seems a bit displeased about these ads. "Oh, please. Those ads are so revolting I can't even stand it. Please, do you think any of those candidates care whether you have a Merry Christmas or not? No, they don't care. They want your vote. That's why those ads are on the air. I mean, I just think this is a new low. They're a bunch of phony bolognas," he says. Really Toobin, don't hold back or anything. For the record, I don't think any of these candidates would care were I to, say, turn bright orange and spontaneously combust. Unless, of course, I could still vote absentee.

Anyway, Jennifer disagrees this is a new low and brings up recent smears against Obama. She thinks seeing some of the candidates with their families might actually make a difference. But Toobin is in full on Scrooge-mode. "Well, you know, shame on the voters then," he says. Bush got reelected in 2004; if the voters don't already have shame, they never will. But Toobin goes on, " I mean, you know, it's bad enough that Christmas has been commercialized. Now it's being politicized, as well." Despite the fact that I feel like Toobin is only a couple of steps away from busting out a Howard Beale moment, I kind of have to agree with his cynical outlook here. I think Toobin has had to watch one damn dancing Santa too many. It's about the baby Jesus, people! As they wrap up, Toobin takes us home: "On behalf of my family, Amy, Ellen and Adam, merry Christmas to you." What would we do without our crazy senior legal analyst?

On now to a Randi Kaye "Keeping Them Honest" piece about how people in Texas are still waiting for money to rebuild after hurricane Rita. To refresh your memory, it's been over two years. Apparently the state has gotten $43 million, but only spent $1 million and out of over 4,000 applicants, only 13 have received homes. The problem? Bureaucracy and not enough employees working on the applications. Bottom line is people are still, still living in FEMA trailers. Unbelievable.

The Shot tonight is this women who literally dresses in holiday lights and dances in front of her house. She goes by the name "Candy Strand," which I have to say, sounds like a porn name. Probably not what she was going for. That'll do it for me. Show was okay. C+


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