Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Veepstakes, Paris Hilton's Ad, Fact-Checking The Candidates, Caylee Anthony Update, And Iraq's Oil Money

Hi everyone. Do I even need to tell you we're starting with politics? Though really, I shouldn't complain. After all, it was the not too distant past when they used to kick things off in all manners of inconsistency: one night leading with the war and the next night starting with a celeb's latest antics. So, I shall take what I can get. And apparently, what I can get is politics, with tonight's lead angle being the Veepstakes. This is actually really important, but until anyone has an real clue of who might be chosen, I just don't care. It's not like I have a say in the matter.

Our first piece is from Candy Crowley and we get a rundown on those lucky politicos who have VP "buzz." In regards to the number two spot on the Obama ticket, it seems Hillary Clinton has lost her buzz. But Tim Kaine and Evan Bayh have seen their buzz quotient recently increase. Don't ask them about it though because denial is the name of the game. On the republican side, Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty have tongues a-wagging, though I think Romney is pretty roundly hated--probably makes him perfect.

Our inevitable subsequent "strategy session" consists of Candy, Dee Dee Myers, and Ed Rollins. Of note is that Obama is going on vacay! What will the newsers do with all their time?! We also learn that both candidates are in a statistical tie when it comes to being seen as a risky choice for president. No word on the riskiness of Paris Hilton.

Speaking of she who shall not be named, we next get a piece from Ed Henry on that Paris ad that mocks McCain. And what do we learn? The dude's, like, really old. This is a fact that apparently Obama is trying to exploit, but not overtly. This whole thing cracks me up because you know this Paris ad has to be like manna from heaven for cable news. They get to talk about Paris Hilton (and run b-roll of her partying it up, apparently) and it's actually related to a relevant news story! Quite the win-win for them.

A little news break now and we find out that, once again, Joey is the "Beat 360" winner. Anderson says his entry is going to give him bad karma. Heh. Subtle. Okay staffers, I think you need to go all Survivor on Joey's ass (or, uh, dump a really big workload on him). Let's see some alliances. In other non news, I love Erica Hill's purple blouse/necklace ensemble. I forgot to mention it last time she wore it. And no, I'm not keeping track of Erica's clothes; I just like purple. Finally, in all the hubbub of Anderson calling out the trashiness of Living Lohan, many people seem to have overlooked him telling Blake Lively that she, "smells nice." Bwah! I swear, only Anderson Cooper could get away with that.

Next up, we have my new favorite part of the show. We hear the candidates in their own words and then there's a fact-check (yay!). Obama starts us off and he's coming at us from Indiana where the topic of conversation is again energy. He's promising to get us off of oil from the Middle East and Venezuela in 10 years, as well as initiating investments that will create 5 million jobs. I believe I brought this up a few days ago. And now here comes Tom Foreman with my fact-check. Apparently, like with most of these promises, things aren't as rosy as they seem. First of all, we only get 20 percent of our oil from the Middle East anyway. So, Obama's not actually lying there or anything; he's just leaving a big fact out--ahh, a true politician. Also, the windfall profits tax may very well backfire and the 5 million jobs gained might be lost in the old industry, like coal and oil. Well, maybe we'll only break even on jobs, but maybe they'll be safer jobs.

The microphone is now passed to McCain who's in Ohio talking jobs--scratch that--complaining about Obama. The junior senator is going to tax us all to death . . . blah, blah, blah. After that, he finally gets to his own stuff, saying, "What we need today is an economic surge. Our surge has succeeded in Iraq militarily. Now we need an economic surge to keep jobs here at home and create new ones." Wow. Just wow. This guy is something else. John "the surge" McCain. No topic too irrelevant to bring it up. Anyway, then he goes on to say we need to stop taxing businesses so much. Tom subsequently returns to tell us McCain is right about the taxing because the US has the second highest tax rate on corporate profits in the world and experts believe it's a big reason companies are fleeing the country. As for the accuracy of his attacks on Obama's tax policy? Uh, not so much. At the end of the segment Anderson says, "Tom, thanks very much, keeping the candidates honest every night." Um, if by "every night" he means two nights now, then yes, that's right.

Transitioning now to a Randi Kaye piece on the case of missing Caylee Anthony. Most of this we already know, but now Cindy Anthony is claiming the decomposition smell that was in Casey's car was just rotting pizza. Right. Also, now the cops are saying they found Caylee's DNA in the car, so not looking good. Like last night, we follow up the piece with analysis from Lisa Bloom. She tells us that a local radio station did a test and found that a pizza put in a trunk for 12 days has no smell. This is confusing to me because yesterday there was no mention of the pizza comment. But if a radio station did a test that lasted 12 days, obviously the pizza excuse has been known for quite a while. So . . . what the hell? Am I not understanding this right or is this reporting that is less than to be desired?

Lisa also speculated that Casey might be mentally ill and though I hate speculation, I think she's on to something. Or maybe Casey's being blackmailed somehow. But whatever, that's enough of this story. I'm sure we'll be getting much more of it though because poor 360 just got walloped in the demo ratings last night. And Greta's probably planning to move her show to Florida as I type this.

Moving on now to Joe Johns live who brings us some Iraq news. Well, some Iraq money news. You know how we were told Iraq's oil money would pay for the war? Apparently Iraq is actually drowning in oil money. Yet we continue to pay through the nose. The "official reason" is that Iraq is short staffed, which . . . makes no sense. Sigh. I'd love to see a lot more reporting done regarding Iraq reconstruction and the money situation. I've read some good pieces, but for the most part, I think it's the most underreported issue regarding the Iraq war. Here's a great piece Matt Taibbi did for Rolling Stone last year. Be sure to watch the video at the site too.

Erica Hill then gives us the headlines and first up is an update on the 2001 anthrax case. Anderson actually teased this earlier, leading me to believe we would be getting something more than a 20 second headline. Guess they don't call it a tease for nothing, huh? "The Shot" tonight is a cute little annual festival in Peru where revelers dress up their guinea pigs in snazzy little costumes . . . and then eat them! Bad Peruvians, bad! Anderson is equally horrified, leading Erica to crack, "And now finally we're getting some sympathy. The turtle man was great, but, oh, don't hurt the guinea pigs. Just because the turtles don't dress up." That's right Erica, you keep him honest!

Anderson then gets a bit defensive about his turtle feelings. "I care about turtles," he assures us. Okay, you care about turtles, but do you like turtles? After this we're on to Anderson giving his website spiel, which he is clearly growing tired of: "You can see the most recent shots, is the address right there. You can see everything right there. Do I have to read the rest of it? I hope not." Just say, "Go to, where you will find the meaning of life." Done. Erica reminds him it's his show and he doesn't have to do anything. That's right! Take on a Lohan? Diss on turtles? Get on with your bad self, Anderson!

And . . . that'll do it. Could have gone for some international or harder news over missing girl and veepstakes, but they've got the fact-checking going on and a mention of Iraq money, so at least they're starting to do better.


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