Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Florida Vote Decision, Bear Stearns Bail-Out, 'Surge' Reality Check, And Bill Clinton Up Close (Monday's Show)

Hi everyone. Happy New Week! We've got Soledad O'Brien holding down the fort for Anderson Cooper tonight, who is possibly on his way to somewhere dangerous (those commercials for Wednesday are kind of unclear). Or maybe he's just chillin and enjoying some of those vacation days he wanted. Anyhoo, I'm digging the new opening they've got going on where they show all the contributers during the rundown.

We're kicking things off with some news from the craziest state of the nation. That's right, Florida. In a Joe Johns piece we learn that there will be no primary do-over. Perhaps nervous about becoming the butt of the nation's electoral jokes onces again, Florida democrats aren't too keen on holding a potentially chaos-causing election. Been there, done that. So the ball gets thrown back in the DNC's court...and they're not playing. The "no delegates for you" position is apparently holding strong. So basically, we're in the same place we started. Excellent. As you might imagine, Clinton, having "won" the state, is none too happy. Obama? He's a little happy. But given this is Florida, we're probably not yet to the bottom of the crazy barrel. The drama continues.

For discussion of all this, we're joined by Jeffrey Toobin, Candy Crowley, and Gloria Borger. Gloria reiterates that Clinton is unhappy and that's because, according to Toobin, the status quo favors Obama. He thinks they'll try to divide the delegates evenly, but however they do it, one candidate will be helped and the other hurt. Candy doesn't think there's any way they'll seat the delegates in a way that would change the results of the election because that would make the party implode. I wouldn't worry there. I mean, the democrats are so good with keeping the party together. Just ask Will Rogers. As Toobin points out, seating the delegates so that it changes the election is basically the only way Clinton can win--unless she flips a bunch of superdelegates, I guess. After Florida talk, the panel moves to the topic of the speech Obama is going to give tomorrow due to the recent pastor controversy. Candy thinks the speech will be really important, but they said the same thing about Romney's Mormon speech. Remember that? No, you don't, do you? See? Of course Romney's not in the race anymore, so...read that how you want.

Next up, we have a Tom Foreman"Keeping Them Honest" piece, which is intro-d by an out-of-control graphic. Okay then. It seems it's about time to start talking about the "R" word: recession. Things are not going well. The Fed just had to bailout Wall Street big wig Bear Stearns, which is causing shock waves through the financial markets. But thank God investors have people like Jim Cramer (seriously, watch the clip) to turn to for advice when things get shaky. Don't feel bad for everyone. Bear Stearns executives won't be slumming it anytime soon; they're going to walk away with millions. Securities attorney Robert Weiss says the executives "wound up getting paid a fortune for failing." Hm, don't worry fellas, it sounds like you're perfectly qualified for a spot with the Bush Administration. If only there was some overzealous hotshot to take on these Wall Street types and look out for the little guy. Oh wait...

In tonight's "What Were They Thinking?" we have a market vandal. A buck naked market vandal. Ooh, that makes it much more amusing. So, this dude goes into this Pennsylvania market sans clothes and starts throwing chairs, knocks over a pizza oven, and damages a meat-wrapping machine. There's definitely a joke somewhere involving that last one, but this is a family review. After the throwing, the dude went on a little joyride on a forklift. Still naked. That is so unsanitary. Did I mention there was drunkenness involved? I know, you never would have guessed.

Moving on now to an interview with Lou Dobbs on the economy. Hide the children (and the illegal immigrants)! Actually, Lou seems to have left his throbbing vein at home and is being surprisingly calm and quiet. He talks about how the big shots get saved by the Fed, but the little guy gets no such help. Soledad wonders if maybe that's because the government wants to head off a domino effect. Lou replies that "there's something called a moral hazard" and this basically means that when companies go greedy and get corrupt they should actually have to face some consequences, just like the average Joe does. Amen to that. Soledad then asks what we can do. Um, bend over? Because that's how this is going to go. Lou wants us to bug our Congresscritters, you know, because they've just been so helpful with everything else. Things are looking Enrony out there folks. I think it's time for a refresher on what went down with those guys. And since Wall Street currently has all your money, watch the documentary for free!

Transitioning now to a John King piece from Iraq. He's traveling with John McCain and the senator has just made his eighth trip to the country. As I'm sure you know, McCain is all about the surge and how it's working. John tells us things are better there, but still not good. This morning I happened to catch a little bit of an interview John did with McCain on American Morning and I'm starting to get frustrated with reporters never challenging him on some of his talking points. For one thing, stop letting him talk about Al Qaeda as if it's all one group. There's Al Qaeda in Iraq that constitutes a very small percent of the people we're fighting and then there's the real Al Qaeda that attacked us and they're on the Pakistan border. And when McCain says they're going to follow us home, please ask him who. Al Qaeda in Iraq? Do they even have the capability for that? It's the other one we have to worry about and they are not in Iraq. So please reporters, stop with the conventional wisdom that this is McCain's strong issue and actually challenge him on it.

On now to discussion with Michael Ware, Peter Bergen, and Gloria Borger. Peter, long time no see. Soledad brings up that McCain is going around telling people Al Qaeda might increase attacks to tilt the election. Peter thinks that idea is "ludicrous," (ooh, denied!) noting they care about our foreign policy, not our elections. As for the surge, Michael tell us that it is working in a way, but the decrease in violence is not just due to the extra troops--the deal that was cut with insurgents, Muqtada al Sadr calling a truce, segregating the country with blast barriers...they've all played a role. Michael, have I told you lately that I love you? What can I say; I'm a sucker for context. Gloria says McCain has been consistent on Iraq. Yes, he has, but that's not necessarily a good thing. Again, there are hard questions not being asked. And what about those Iraqi forces? Michael tells us their numbers are growing, but they're still infused with militias and there's no national unity. So...not good. "America broke this place. This place is on its knees, yet America cannot walk away without enormous cost to itself and its own interests," says Michael. And so it goes.

Next up, we have a Gary Tuchman piece on the campaign trail in Pennsylvania with Bill Clinton. He's like a rock star. Make that a rock star with the flu. Aw. Campaigning is hard work. So anyway, I'm sure we remember that earlier in the campaign there was a more outspoken version of Clinton on the stump, but after the negative press, he's obviously been told to simmer down now! And simmer down he has. Actually, Gary paints a kind of lonely picture, telling us the former prez plays a lot of cards. That's almost sad. But yay to 360 for not digging up all those clips of angry Clinton like you did last time. That was tacky; this was much better. After his piece, Gary joins us live and whips out a sports metaphor: "It's almost like a World Series game in the bottom of the 9th inning. The star player comes up, the slugger. He's not going to swing very hard, because he has to protect the plate. And in essence, Bill Clinton is protecting the plate for Hillary Clinton." Ha ha. These kids and their metaphors.

The Shot tonight is this big 20 pound lobster that somebody won in a raffle on Super Bowl Sunday. The winner actually donated the big guy to an aquarium, which was very nice. I would have had to think a bit about that. Because I love me the lobster. We then find out that Erica Hill is a former lobster murderer! Apparently she used to work at a seafood restaurant and was tasked with killing the critters. Hm, I wonder how that skill transferred to the news business. Also? What do you want to bet she gets at least one crazy hate email from a lobster-lover?

I have to say, Soledad is seriously kicking Anderson's butt when it comes to the live-blogging. She's a blogging fool! Also, when Anderson blogs, all the fangirls come out of the woodwork, but when Soledad is on, suddenly there are all these fanboys. It's cute. And while I'm talking about Anderson, last blog I forgot to mention that I thought he did a really good job with the Obama interview. I feel bad sometimes always criticizing, so I like to get in the praise too. Not that he actually, you know, knows of my existence, but hey, it makes me feel better. Also? Do I need to put out an APB on the back row blogger? Or are we letting those blog posts just RIP? Anyway the show was good. Good mix. B+


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