Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dow Closes Up, Candidates On The Trail, Magic Mapping, Early Voting, And An Update On The Jennifer Hudson Tragedy

Hi everyone. Well, here we are. One more week. Eeek! That is the noise I make when I am very excited, yet on the verge of an ulcer. Let's calm ourselves with some Dow dealings first, shall we? The show kicks off with the BREAKING NEWS that things went well today on Wall Street. Very well, actually. Ali Velshi mans his usual position at the big wall and maps out the day, which ended with the second biggest point gain in history. Woo hoo! Ali then explains why this all happened, but to me it just sounds like a lot of words that can possibly be summed up as, "I'm not exactly sure."

Okay, now that we've had our little economy update, it's time to dive into the election. Anderson Cooper tells us that Obama is still holding on to his eight point lead in CNN's poll of polls and we do a little listening in to a live Obama rally going on in Virginia. Then it's on to a piece by Candy Crowley, who must be so ready for a coma right about now. Seriously, you think she's got her vacation booked already? One more week, Candy! Anyhoo, both candidates are in the currently rainy state of Pennsylvania (or rainy at the time, anyway), but while Obama seems to have the work ethic of the U.S. Postal Service, the McCain camp decided the weather wasn't quite to their liking, thus canceling their rally.

They probably didn't want Palin's duds to get all wet. I hear tell they're quite expensive. Besides staying indoors, the "maverick camp" gave Obama another assist today when a McCain official noted that Obama's health care plan is "way better" for young workers. Apparently he didn't get the memo about not saying true things out loud. So, there's another plus for Obama. And with a 30 minute commercial, Daily Show appearance, and campaigning with Bill Clinton all coming down the pike, his future's so bright, he might have to wear shades. Though not in Pennsylvania. It's raining, 'member?

Next, Anderson tells us that Florida's Republican governor, Charlie Crist, is extending early voting hours in his state. Wait, that sounds suspiciously like a good thing. It was so funny watching this story ricochet around the progressive blogosphere because everyone was like, "Yay . . . wait, what's he up to?" We're so paranoid! The best I can tell, the only thing he's up to is doing the right thing. So good on you, Crist! And I love the quote on Politico from a Florida Republican: "He just blew Florida for John McCain." Is that an admission that the only way they can win is to suppress the vote?

On now to an Ed Henry piece on sad and pathetic John McCain. Everyone knows now about the Republican infighting, so he jokes about how "mavericks" won't always agree, and gee isn't that fun? But his heart's not even really in it. In fact, he almost had me feeling sorry for him. That is, until he started in on calling Obama the 'Redistributionist in Chief.' Which, by the way, is way too long. You can't even chant that properly. And for the love of God, how does a man who formerly opposed the Bush tax cuts keep getting away with saying this crap? Hello! Media, are you out there? Bueller?

Coming back from commercial, we get a clip of Palin from the trail, saying the following: "Joe Biden calls higher taxes patriotic. And to, Joe the plumber, he said, to him, it sounds to him like socialism." Anderson then tells us, "In point of fact, Joe Wurzelbacher never said that to Senator Obama. He first said it two days later in a TV interview." And now I'm confused. Because initially I thought he was pointing out an inaccuracy in Palin's statement and I was excited to be able to be all, "yay, Anderson!" after I've been beating up on him so much lately. But looking at Palin's quote again, I don't think she was implying that Joe the Plumber said that to Obama; she's saying it sounded like socialism to Joe the Plumber. And maybe Anderson is fully aware of this and said that line just because. In any regards, whether the misunderstanding is mine or Anderson's, it made me sort of defend Palin and Joe the Plumber, which, I have to say, kinda makes me hate myself.

Next, we have one of those segments where we're played extended clips, so we can hear the candidates in their own words. It'd be all well and good if there was a fact-check to follow. There is not. So, you know, basically blah, blah, blah, blah. That was pointless.

Speaking of pointless--well, sometimes pointless--it's strategy session time. We've got Roland Martin in the leftie chair, Kevin Madden in the rightie chair, and David Gergen in the voice of sanity chair. The Gerg starts talking about the polls tightening and I get a little nauseous, but then he notes that the fundamentals still favor Obama and I untense a little. Anderson wants to know why Obama is not farther ahead after spending so much more money than McCain. Roland says it's because we're a split nation. And, you know, racism (my words). Just say it, Roland. I mean, there's still a portion of the country that believes Obama is a Muslim and they definitely don't view that as a good thing. Then, just like last night, Anderson asks if the socialism charge (smear, really) is working. *Sigh* So ridiculous. Kevin claims that Obama's policies are "very much left-of-center of where most Americans are." Yeah? Prove it. Oh wait, I forgot that this is cable news, where you can spout any crap you want and no one stops you.

So, this Joe the (non)Plumber guy? I think I've gone from being annoyed with his existence to kinda hating him. We get played a clip of his press conference (yes, press conference) where he, big shocker, endorses John McCain. You know, because he wants to vote "for a real American." Seriously, what a dick. Also? Now Joe is apparently weighing in on foreign policy. "Is there nothing Joe the plumber is not an expert in?" asks Anderson. Ooh, snarky. He totally just killed his chance for a big Joe the Plumber interview. Such a shame.

We have Miles O'Brien at the Magic Map again tonight. I'm beginning to worry that John King is tied up in his basement. Kidding! Anyway, Miles starts going through a scenario of how McCain could win and I have to stop watching.

Back to the panel now, and the talk begins on the subject of undecideds. I'm sorry, anyone who is undecided at this point has something wrong with them. Make a decision! How do these people function in their daily lives? Can they even go into a Baskin-Robbins, or will the choice of 31 flavors make their head explode? Anderson then moves on to the news that anonymous sources out of the McCain camp have moved beyond calling Palin a diva, with someone now referring to her as a "whack job." Man, that's cold. Kevin notes that it's really easy for a single person to just drop an anonymous quote, when probably 99.9% of people working on the campaign are giving it their all. He actually has a good point, though there's a part of me that thinks the advisers are laying the groundwork to blame her for the future (hopefully) McCain loss. Roland just thinks the whole campaign is dysfunctional and schizophrenic.

The Gerg is more muted, calling it "demoralized" rather than dysfunctional. When it comes to going after Palin, The Gerg thinks they need to "cut this crap out." And yeah, I did giggle when The Gerg said "crap." Because I'm 12. Anderson then brings up Joe the Plumber and how he's "basically pontificating on every subject under the sun." Heh, I don't think Anderson's a fan. Says The Gerg: "I thought last night, Anderson, we had reached the limits of absurdity, in talking yet one more time about Sarah Palin's wardrobe. But tonight I think we even went higher." Bwah! Aw, sweet Gerg, there is no absurdity ceiling! And we still have a week more of crazy to go.

Last night I said the pundit panel needed to come with stiff drinks. I'm telling you, our favorite analyst is going to need one before this is all over. Anyway though, Kevin doesn't think that Joe the Plumber in actual man form is really helping their cause, but Joe the Plumber as a symbol is great for them. See, didn't I tell you that the GOP valued caricatures over actual people? "Unfortunately, Joe the plumber, the symbol, is an actual guy who continues to talk and say this stuff," says Anderson. Bwah! Yep, sooo not getting that interview. I'm sure he'll be crushed.

Next up, we have a Gary Tuchman piece coming at us from Nevada, where democracy-loving citizens are getting their vote on early. Actually, a full 31 states have early voting, though mine is not one of them. I'm a little torn on this because the practical side of me would want to get it done, while the political junkie part of me would want to do it on the day. You know, because it's special! But apparently my conundrum has been taken out of my hands. In Nevada, many people are opting for early because the state seems to have made the process very convenient. Forget making your trek to the local elementary school (which I will be doing), in the Silver State you could be voting at the mall or even the grocery store. Anywhere, really. Okay, not anywhere. Gary gives us some exceptions, which include Nevada's brothels. Yeah, I can see that. Because, I mean, private voting booths in brothels? You know that's not going to end well.

Gary visits a McCain/Palin phone center in Vegas and, no joke, runs into Meghan McCain, Sarah Palin's brother, and Joey Ramone's (yes, the punk rocker) wife. Much more of this campaign and we're all going to be singing "I Wanna Be Sedated." After his piece, Gary informs us that some states aren't opting for early voting due to costs, concerns about security of the vote, and good old-fashioned nostalgia. Ah, so I'm not the only one. He also tells us about a 19-year-old he just talked to who is voting in her first election. She told Gary that the voting she just did in the mall was as easy as voting for American Idol. There's something just wrong about comparing the election of the next world leader to picking a singer on a reality show, but yay new voter! "I actually can't figure out how to text for those phone votes. So this would probably be easier for me," says Anderson. Bwah! As much as he's fused to that BlackBerry, I find that hard to believe. And he tried to vote for American Idol? Oh Anderson, I think we need to talk.

The last piece of the night is an update from Erica Hill on the tragic murders of Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother, and nephew. Officials are now confirming that the little boy was shot dead, but they won't specify where the killing occurred. Hudson's brother-in-law, William Balfour, has been named as a person of interest. After her piece, Erica notes that there's talk that this could have been spawned due to an unpaid car payment, but at this point that's all just speculation.

"The Shot" tonight is a video of synchronized presidential debating, brought to us by those crazy comedy kids at 23/6. It really is kinda amazing just how disciplined they are with their talking points, huh? Although, I have to say, I found this choice by 360 to be a little ironic, given how earlier in the show they played us long clips of the candidates (with no fact-checking!), so we could hear them in their own words. They say the same thing over and over! We don't need to hear it again, we need to know if it's true.

Anyway, no "Beat 360" tonight due to time constraints, though we are shown the picture (of a cat) and Anderson tells us to go to the web for the captions. "Or the cat-ion," says Erica. Wah, wah, wah. "Oh, you're good, Erica," says Anderson. And then: "Coming up at the top of the hour, the latest on our breaking news. A wild day on Wall Street spread around the globe. It will give your nest egg -- I don't know, whatever. That's the breaking news." Bwah! And you know there is some dude out there somewhere going, "what? Give my nest egg, what?!"

On now to the webcast, which I should totally start recapping like it's a soap opera. When last we left our heroes, we learned Frank had held a Halloween soiree, and there was a promise of pictures. But would we get to see those pictures, or would Erica deem them too risque for a cable audience. Dun dun dun! Stay tuned. Or, actually, you don't need to stay tuned because I'm totally going to tell you right now. Yes, after waiting the whole hour we saw a couple pictures. Well, sorta. I mean, we're looking at a teeny kinda dark webcast and trying to see pictures on Erica's laptop, so really, Frank could have been engaging in all kinds of debauchery and I'm not sure I would have been able to see it. Quick reminder, the famously funny Jack Gray is set to make his debut on the webcast on Wednesday. Since I want to see him, my computer is almost surely going to breakdown between now and then. If not, I'll have the recap. That'll do it.


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