Friday, October 03, 2008

Bailout Bill Passes House, Dial Testing, Fact-Checking The Debate, And Pondering Palin

Hi everybody. Success! After initial failure and then much arm-twisting, the House has approved the sweetened version of the bailout bill. But don't go blowing all your money on gummy bears and ringtones again just yet. The stock market still took a dive today and the latest job report shows the worst losses in five years. So, uh, yay? I'm telling you people, we should just go back to bartering.

A Jessica Yellin piece recaps the original bill failure and we learn that since that vote, 33 Democrats and 26 Republicans switched to the "yes" column. The bill is still roundly disliked by, well, basically everyone, but House members held their nose and voted for it anyway because of intense pressure from all sides, including both presidential candidates. After Jessica's piece, Anderson Cooper asks his favorite question again, which I saw coming before he even got the words out of his mouth. Regarding the financial crisis: "Jessica, have any of these folks in Congress, Senate or the House, Republicans or Democrats, have any of them taken any personal responsibility?" Jessica's answer can be summed up as so: um, no.

Anderson thinks the American people would be forgiving if politicians just owned up to not doing a good enough job, but that's assuming that this all happened simply because people weren't being diligent or whatever. I mean, can I forgive a bad day or even a bit of laziness? Sure. But I don't think that's what happened here. This is about a flawed ideology, power, and money. It wasn't a whoops; it was self interest coming before what's right and I'm sorry, that's harder to forgive. Besides, with so many places to point fingers, no way is one individual going to volunteer to take the blame, because you can bet that everyone else will be more than happy to let them take all the blame. Anderson pledges that they're going to be keeping people honest about this all next week. And while 360 is keeping the politicians honest, I guess I'll be keeping 360 honest. Whew, honesty-keeping is hard work.

Next up, we've got Ali Velshi coming at us live and he tells us that the Dow seemed to find the bailout vote confusing, and therefore went all over the place. I can relate. So okay, we've got this bill now, but the economy? Still sucko. One positive thing is that the credit freeze thawed just a little today, though the news of 159,000 jobs lost in September has, shall we say, freaked people out. So, things are looking up, or not looking up, or who the hell even knows anymore?

Moving on to a Joe Johns piece on just what exactly was in that bailout bill. Apparently, Congress needed an extra $110 billion to convince them to fork over $700 billion. Makes sense to me. The bill is filled with tax breaks for items like wooden arrows, automobile speedway traps, and rum. Mmkay. Look, though some of the add ons sound ridiculous, this stuff isn't necessarily bad--a local economy somewhere is being improved. My problem is with the way these things get latched onto unrelated bills that must pass. It's ridiculous. I'd say they should write a bill to stop the practice . . . but they'll probably just fill it with pork.

Transitioning now to Anderson informing us that McCain, that "maverick" fond of saying "never surrender," is, well, surrendering in Michigan. He's cutting and running, if you will. Waving the white flag. Maybe he should consider a surge. This leads us into an Ed Henry piece on how both presidential candidates are walking the line of being supportive of the financial bailout, without putting too much pep into it as to tick off voters. We get a clip of McCain spouting his oft-regurgitated lie that Obama voted to raise taxes 94 times. Surprisingly, Ed smacks this crap down, noting that many of the votes had to do with the budget, thus making McCain's charge misleading. Thank you, Ed. Following Ed's piece, we're joined by Jennifer Donahue, David Gergen, and Candy Crowley.

Next up, Anderson does a little teasing of the VP debate, noting Sarah Palin's folksiness and he gives us a few winks. Bwah! There's been a lot of winking on my TV today. The TVNewsers love it when they have an opportunity to make a funny. Anyway, we then have a Randi Kaye piece that focuses on the dial testing that CNN did during the debate. Massive pimping in package form. Gotta love it. As I noted last night, only 32 subjects makes the whole thing pretty irrelevant, but I have to admit, it's hard to stop watching the moving lines. As we learned in the last debate, attacks don't play well. Also, after all the endless speculation about the need for a woman on the ticket, it turns out that women responded better to Biden. And Palin's aw shucks golly gee folksiness? Didn't work, though men did like the "drill baby, drill." I'm going to go ahead and just take a pass on the obvious joke here.

A massive flaw in the dial testing is that it's all about generalities and facts don't matter. Both candidates said a lot of things that sounded good, but weren't actually true. And what about when they're talking about things that are a real bummer? Like I said, the whole thing is irrelevant. Going back to Palin's folksiness, it seems to me that her whole, "Can I call you Joe?" thing was a lot more calculated that it might have appeared. Because you know she was just waiting to say that, "say it ain't so, Joe," line. After Randi's piece, we get a couple of clips from the "spin" room. Leading Anderson to say, "I don't know why we even interview anyone in the spin room because it's just pure spin, they even named the room "spin". Why even go in there?" Right on. But I don't really think anyone is twisting CNN's arm. To be fair, I don't think they interviewed anyone there for air last night. That's something at least. Right?

On now to Tom Foreman with our fact-checking portion of the evening. Let's get to it, shall we? Okay, first of all, Palin charged that Obama hasn't admitted that the surge worked, which is patently false. He did admit it worked, though I would quibble over whether or not that is true. Biden claimed that McCain will not even sit down with the government of Spain, our ally. Not true, says Tom, noting that McCain did not commit one way or another. What Tom doesn't mention, is that the day after McCain's bizarre interview with the Spanish paper, his spokesperson confirmed he would not have a White House meeting with the Spanish president. Now, this still leaves the door open for a non White House meeting or meeting with other Spanish officials, but as the New York Times notes, McCain's position is "unusually cool towards an ally." Biden still stretched the truth or misspoke, but the other stuff was worth pointing out.

Biden also claimed that McCain wants to deregulate the health care industry like what's been done to banking. From Tom: "McCain wants some deregulation but nothing like the extensive lack of oversight being blamed for many banking problems." Wow. Vague much? This actually has to do with purchasing health care across state lines. Let explain it to you. Another Palin charge is that Biden said paying higher taxes is patriotic. Tom tells us this is misleading: "Biden says making more than a quarter million a year should pay more to help out middle class Americans and helping the economy recover is what he calls patriotic." Palin's claim that Obama raised taxes 94 times also gets a mention, but Ed Henry already took care of that. Don't rely on just this little piece, people. AC360 Review has you covered. I already linked to the Times fact-check, but be sure to also check out the AP, Washington Post, ABC, and

Back to the panel now, The Gerg tells us that Palin has promised to do more media. Wha? I haven't heard that. I'll believe it when I see it. And I'll be interested to know if her definition of "media" extends beyond Fox News and conservative radio. The Gerg also calls Palin "feisty" and gets all giggly, which I have to say, makes me a little nauseous. Oh noes! Have we lost The Gerg to the folksiness? Well, no, actually we haven't because he states point blank later on that Biden won. For right now though, he and Jennifer go at it back and forth over the bailout bill. And when I say "go at it," I mean politely disagree. You see people, that's how a disagreement is done. Not like this. Speaking of Papa Bear, I can't decide if this is hilarious or unbelievably disturbing. Probably a little of both.

Next up, the 360 kids have me laughing out loud. I didn't expect them to go here, but oh they did. Okay, so this freak over at the National Review apparently lurves Palin and really lurved her debate performance, or as Anderson says, "stimulated the base." The writer's name is Rich Lowry and his piece is just begging to be quoted . . . and mocked:
I'm sure I'm not the only male in America when Palin dropped her first wink sat up a little straighter on the couch and said, hey, I think she just winked at me. Her smile, by the end, when she clearly knew she was doing well, it was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America. That's quality that can't be learned; it's either something you have or you don't, man, she's got it.
While we're being read this jaw-dropping restraining order-worthy bit of tripe, the show has pictures of Lowry and Palin up on screen, surrounded by little hearts, with appropriate music to boot. Bwah! Exactly what does he mean when he says he "sat up a little straighter"? No, don't tell me. Ewww. And, uh, Rich? Usually when you think someone on the TV is winking at you specifically, well, we generally call that mental illness. And to Sarah, I don't really like you that much, and I think you're completely unqualified, but from one woman to another, stay away from Rich Lowry! Seriously. Ick.

Moving on now to the news that Palin actually did another interview. With Fox News. How surprising. Anyway, we finally learn why Palin couldn't name anything she read or a Supreme Court case. It's Katie Couric's fault of course! All Palin wanted to do was talk about being a vice president and then Katie had to mess it all us with her questions and expectation of answers. That bitch. Palin is so defriending her from Facebook. Aw, buck up Sarah, at least a famous person loves you. Anyway, we learn that she actually reads the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and the Economist. And no, I don't believe her. After this we have more panel.

"The Shot" tonight is a classic. So, you know how The Best Political Team on Television works their little butts off on debate night to bring us the very best analysis and latest breaking news? Yeah, well, sometimes not so much. Because Gizmodo totally busted Jeffrey Toobin using his laptop to keep tabs on a baseball game. When Anderson teased this, he didn't tell us which pundit was doing the slacking, but c'mon, you knew it was Toobin. At least I did. Not to say Jeffrey's a slacker; he just doesn't live and breathe politics like some of those sitting at the table. A healthier way to live, I say.

Anderson is so amused by this, he gets Jeffrey on the phone and we are informed we are rudely interrupting a baseball game. "Is this the first time you've done this?" asks Anderson. Jeffrey doesn't answer and repeats the question instead. "You did something that was -- like you repeated the question, which is a clear buying for time," says Anderson. Ha! I think he was going to drop Palin's name here, but decided against it. Jeffrey tells us he doesn't remember if he's done it before. Riight. Okay, Mr. Senior Legal Analyst. He's just channeled Sarah Palin AND Alberto Gonzales. Well played, sir. Well played.

Today was the last day of the work week and you know what that means: Floor Crew Friday! Although, Erica Hill is in the house, so it's a bit different than last time. Frank is doing the camera for us since Tony has selfishly decided to take a day off. I guess he, like, has a life or something. Pshaw. Erica introduces us to Jerry and someone she calls Mr. Crankypants, but speaking of cranky, my computer decided to do a whole lot of freezing. Erica, however, has finally FINALLY gotten a new laptop. Yay! Happy dance. I am moderately disturbed by how long it took CNN to do that. Kevin then comes over to tease Erica about being #35 in People Magazine's 100 Most Beautiful People issue of 2006. There's a lot of pretty on this show.

And that statement transitions me seamlessly into another segment where Erica ambushes Anderson. But he doesn't get to talk to us because Charlie Moore ruins it with his annoying need to run the show. Although, there's a part of me that thinks Anderson is now using his IFB in the same people-blocking way that he uses his phone. Okay, that's probably not true, but let's just say I don't think he's crying over his lack of microphone. Did you notice that Anderson is back to calling the live-blog "blogging" after his weird detour to "chatting" the other night? He's just keeping us on our toes, people. And I noticed that he actually did post in the live-blog, just without a picture, which makes me wonder if he's been doing that all along, while I've been saying he's not blogging. If so, Anderson I am sorry I doubted your blogging prowess (though we do miss your regular blogging.)

The show was pretty good. I shall leave you with some Sarah Palin debate hilarity provided by adennak:


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