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CBS Resurrects Swift Boat 'Smear' in Defense of Obama's Flip-Flop --6/20/2008


1. CBS Resurrects Swift Boat 'Smear' in Defense of Obama's Flip-Flop
The broadcast network evening newscasts stories Thursday night all described Barack Obama's decision to opt out of public financing as a "flip-flop," a "reversal" and/or a "direct contradiction" of a pledge, but CBS's Dean Reynolds relayed Obama's rationalization -- that "he's opting out of the system to have enough money to fight the unlimited spending and what he called the 'smears' from unregulated Republican-allied organizations" -- and then, with 2004 anti-John Kerry ad clip on screen, forwarded his own example of a supposed past smear from the right: "Such as the Swift Boat group which attacked John Kerry in 2004." On FNC, however, reporter Carl Cameron pointed out what didn't fit the CBS prism (nor ABC's or NBC's) in which outside groups only unfairly attack liberal Democrats: "Right now it's Obama who's getting the most outside help. He met with AFL-CIO leaders today who pledged more than $50 million to defeat McCain and the anti-war group MoveOn.org is running this attack ad nationally." Viewers then saw the MoveOn ad with a mother and a baby: "John McCain, when you say you would stay in Iraq for 100 years, were you counting on Alex? Because if you were, you can't have him."

2. NBC: Michelle Obama Dresses 'As Brightly As Her Husband's Smile'
In what was, more or less, a puff piece about Michelle Obama on Thursday's Today show, Lee Cowan took Obamagasms to new heights when he described Michelle's fashion sense: "In victory and in defeat Michelle Obama had always been there, dressed as brightly as her husband's smile, determined though, not to steal the spotlight but to put her signature touch on what's become their campaign."

3. ABC's Snow: 'Women's Rights Groups' Say Women Will Reject McCain
Good Morning America reporter Kate Snow resorted to typical liberal terminology while asking Cindy McCain on Thursday about abortion and "women's rights groups." After observing that her husband, Senator John McCain, has been courting females, Snow simplistically asserted: "But women's rights groups say once [women voters] discover he's anti-abortion, they may change their minds." So, pro-abortion organizations equal "women's rights groups?" The interview, which took place in Vietnam where Mrs. McCain has been working with a charity organization, did feature friendly subjects, such as the children of the politician's wife and other topics. But Snow also offered questions that appeared designed to trap McCain. Speaking of Barack Obama, Snow queried: "Would you feel safe with Barack Obama as your President?" After mentioning the lack of interviews Cindy McCain has participated in, the ABC correspondent blurted: "And if [people] say, oh, she's just sort of up there and posing, what would you say to people who think that?" In contrast, Good Morning America has delivered numerous softball pieces on the spouses of Democratic presidential candidates.

4. NYT's Stanley: ERA Loss Reduced GOP Spouses to Passive Housewives
New York Times Reporter Alessandra Stanley watched Michelle Obama's performance as co-host of the morning chat panel The View for her Thursday "TV Watch" report, "Michelle Obama Highlights Her Warmer Side," and came away raving about Obama's "all but flawless performance." But before that, Stanley worked in some snipes against Republicans. After stating unconvincingly that Michelle Obama had "endured far more virulent attacks by her critics" than had Cindy McCain, Stanley succumbed to smug liberal stereotyping and, in a stretch bizarre even for her, reached back to the Equal Rights Amendment to explain why Republican presidential spouse are so passive: "As the Equal Rights Amendment faded as a cause and conservatism made a comeback, Republican spouses became ever more careful to stay three steps behind their men and the times."

5. NPR Presses Pelosi From the Left with Code Pink Criticism
NPR's Morning Edition broadcast an interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday, lamenting her from the left. Co-host Steve Inskeep reported that a new vote on war funding "means Democrats get a reminder of something they have not accomplished. For a year and a half now they've tried and failed to end the war." Would that really be an "accomplishment"? While the story aired current and dated declarations from Pelosi that Bush has his "head in the sand" to conditions in Iraq, NPR's interviewer, KQED/San Francisco correspondent Scott Shafer, never asked if improvement in Iraq might have changed just which politicians look like they have a "head in the sand" to current conditions. But then, Shafer has a partisan background: he worked as a press secretary to San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos and as chief of staff to Gray Davis when he was the state of California's comptroller.


CBS Resurrects Swift Boat 'Smear' in
Defense of Obama's Flip-Flop

The broadcast network evening newscasts stories Thursday night all described Barack Obama's decision to opt out of public financing as a "flip-flop," a "reversal" and/or a "direct contradiction" of a pledge, but CBS's Dean Reynolds relayed Obama's rationalization -- that "he's opting out of the system to have enough money to fight the unlimited spending and what he called the 'smears' from unregulated Republican-allied organizations" -- and then, with 2004 anti-John Kerry ad clip on screen, forwarded his own example of a supposed past smear from the right: "Such as the Swift Boat group which attacked John Kerry in 2004."

On FNC, however, reporter Carl Cameron pointed out what didn't fit the CBS prism (nor ABC's or NBC's) in which outside groups only unfairly attack liberal Democrats: "Right now it's Obama who's getting the most outside help. He met with AFL-CIO leaders today who pledged more than $50 million to defeat McCain and the anti-war group MoveOn.org is running this attack ad nationally." Viewers then saw the MoveOn ad with a mother and a baby: "John McCain, when you say you would stay in Iraq for 100 years, were you counting on Alex? Because if you were, you can't have him."

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

From the Thursday, June 19 CBS Evening News:

DEAN REYNOLDS: Obama indicated he's opting out of the system to have enough money to fight the unlimited spending and what he called the 'smears' from unregulated Republican-allied organizations, such as the Swift Boat group which attacked John Kerry in 2004.
OBAMA, IN WEB VIDEO: We face opponents who have become masters at gaming this broken system.

From FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume, anchored by Jim Angle:

CARL CAMERON: A flip-flop Obama tries to justify by arguing he'll need it to counter what he predicts will be millions in attack ads by independent GOP groups trying to help McCain.
OBAMA, IN WEB VIDEO: We've already seen that he's not going to stop the smears and attacks from his allies running so-called 527 groups, who will spend millions and millions of dollars in unlimited donations.
CAMERON: But McCain's denounced the attack ads from outside groups and insisted they stop. Right now it's Obama who's getting the most outside help. He met with AFL-CIO leaders today who pledged more than $50 million to defeat McCain and the anti-war group MoveOn.org is running this attack ad nationally.
WOMAN IN MOVEON AD, HOLDING A BABY: John McCain, when you say you would stay in Iraq for 100 years, were you counting on Alex? Because if you were, you can't have him.

I'd also note that it would be illegal for McCain or his campaign staff to "coordinate" with a 527 group, which would include doing anything to stop them from exercising their free speech rights -- beyond, of course, McCain's legislative efforts to outlaw political speech.

NBC: Michelle Obama Dresses 'As Brightly
As Her Husband's Smile'

In what was, more or less, a puff piece about Michelle Obama on Thursday's Today show, Lee Cowan took Obamagasms to new heights when he described Michelle's fashion sense: "In victory and in defeat Michelle Obama had always been there, dressed as brightly as her husband's smile, determined though, not to steal the spotlight but to put her signature touch on what's become their campaign."

[This item, by Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Thursday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The above Cowan observation came during a set-up piece for an interview segment with Doris Kearns Goodwin, in which Today co-anchor Meredith Vieira strategized with the presidential historian about how Michelle can improve her image. While the segment did mention Michelle's "For the first time in my adult lifetime I'm really proud of my country," gaffe at times it sounded like an E! red carpet fashion breakdown:

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN: I hope they're not talking about a physical makeover though. Because, you know, it was funny, she's got those pearls, she's got that sleeveless dress, making her look much like Jackie Kennedy. When, when Jackie was in the race in 1960 these handlers, these same strategists thought, "She's much too chic. Too sophisticated. The country won't like her after Mamie Eisenhower. Let's keep her off the campaign trail." What a mistake.
MEREDITH VIEIRA: Yeah well you know Doris, the cover of the Daily News, I actually have it. "Stylish Michelle Wows 'Em In Her $148 Dress," which is now flying off the racks after her appearance, which is really the start of this makeover for her, when she sat down with the ladies of The View.

The following is a complete transcript of the segment as it aired on the Thursday, June 19 Today show:

MEREDITH VIEIRA: And now to the race for the White House and a look at Barack Obama's wife Michelle. She is her husband's most passionate advocate who can wow some people, but she's also sometimes a lightning rod for criticism. And now both Obamas are trying to reintroduce themselves to the nation, but even that comes with some controversy. Here's NBC's Lee Cowan.

[On screen headline: "Image Control, Re-Introducing Mr. & Mrs. Obama."]

LEE COWAN: In victory and in defeat Michelle Obama had always been there, dressed as brightly as her husband's smile, determined though, not to steal the spotlight but to put her signature touch on what's become their campaign.
MICHELLE OBAMA: I grew up on the Southside of Chicago.
COWAN: While polls show Michelle is better known than John McCain's wife, Cindy, Michelle's also viewed as more controversial.
MICHELLE OBAMA: I have to be greeted properly. Fist bump, please.
COWAN: To combat that image the campaign, though, isn't pulling her back, they're putting her out front, selling the Michelle Obama brand.
MICHELLE OBAMA: That I wear my heart on my sleeve.
COWAN: Her debut appearance on The View Wednesday, was "vintage Michelle," says her staff. "Honest and straightforward."
MICHELLE OBAMA: But when you put your heart out there, there's a level of passion that you feel and it's a risk that you take.
COWAN: There are now front page profiles of her in the New York Times, and she's even on the cover of US Weekly.
MYRA GUTIN, FIRST LADY HISTORIAN: It's a way to soften her image a little bit, to re-present her to America.
MICHELLE OBAMA FROM FEBRUARY 18, 2008: For the first time in my adult lifetime I'm really proud of my country.
COWAN: It was that comment, some say, that made her sound unpatriotic. Others say she seems too independent, or too sarcastic, but apparently not above advice. Michelle Obama recently sent a letter here, to First Lady Laura Bush, thanking her for coming to her defense over the whole "proud" comment. And she says she's taking some cues, saying the reason she thinks Laura Bush is so popular is because she doesn't feel the fire. But the fire still burns the brightest on her husband. Barack Obama's appearances before the media are now choreographed more carefully than ever. This week reports surfaced that volunteers at an Obama rally in Detroit told Muslim women with head scarves to move out of camera range. The campaign quickly apologized for the volunteers and sent out pictures to prove that it is not campaign policy for Muslim supporters to be kept away from Obama at photo-opportunities. For both Obamas, whiles fresh faces seem pretty welcome sight on the political scene, fresh also means unknown. And managing their introductions is now a full-time job. For "Today," Lee Cowan, NBC News, Washington.

VIEIRA: And Doris Kearns Goodwin is a presidential historian. Doris good morning to you.

[On screen headline: "The New Michelle Obama, Changing Role Of The First Lady."]

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN: Good morning, Meredith.
VIEIRA: You know when Michelle Obama first hit the national stage she was called, impressive and refreshing, now some people say that she's unpatriotic, an angry black woman, the kind of person that sort of wags her finger at people. And the campaign is saying she needs to re-introduce herself to the American public. In, in, in your estimation how does she do that? From your perspective?
GOODWIN: Well I think, I think the most important thing right now is for her to get out there and just talk and talk and talk. You know that endless loop of those 15 words she said about being really proud of America are really what a lot of people know about her and that's all. I mean when they talk about a makeover I think it just means telling her story about coming from the Southside of Chicago, a descendant of slaves, working hard, getting to Princeton, getting to Harvard, being the mother of children. I think the more we know, then the less that little comment will stick up like a mountain. I hope they're not talking about a physical makeover though. Because, you know, it was funny, she's got those pearls, she's got that sleeveless dress, making her look much like Jackie Kennedy. When, when Jackie was in the race in 1960 these handlers, these same strategists thought, "She's much too chic. Too sophisticated. The country won't like her after Mamie Eisenhower. Let's keep her off the campaign trail." What a mistake.
VIEIRA: Yeah well you know Doris, the cover of the Daily News, I actually have it. "Stylish Michelle Wows 'Em In Her $148 Dress," which is now flying off the racks after her appearance, which is really the start of this makeover for her, when she sat down with the ladies of The View. And during the interview she said, you heard a little of it before, "The challenge I have is that I wear my heart on my sleeve and when you put your heart out there, there's a level of passion you feel and it's a risk that you take." So how does she get her story out, without alienating people? And stay true to herself?
GOODWIN: Well I think what it's gonna mean is that she will have to take that risk. In this world of our Internet there may be some mistaken language, but if she tries to put a girdle on her and become something she's not, it's not gonna work. I mean Eleanor Roosevelt said things, at times, that may have seemed embarrassing but she was who she was. And I think the important thing for every First Lady coming in there or any potential First Lady is they've got to with their strengths. You know I met Michelle, I met Michelle Obama in 2004 before he made his famous speech. And I came home and I told my husband, this is [an] incredibly impressive person, in her own right. And she's funny and she's, you know, she can be sarcastic at times. But if she loses that, you lose who you are. So I say let her make some mistakes, have that war room there, ready to correct them, but not lose that sense of vitality that she truly has.
VIEIRA: She also said that she would be taking cues from the current First Lady, Laura Bush. Talked about the fact that she doesn't add fuel to the fire. What does that mean?
GOODWIN: Well I think what it means is that Laura Bush has allowed her to be on center stage and has been careful about what she does, in a certain sense. But she can also take a cue from Laura in the fact that, remember Laura said at the beginning, "I promise that I'm not ever gonna have to make a speech," and she's become a much more active, very dignified and very effective First Lady. The role of First Lady gives a platform, as Lady Bird Johnson once said, to anyone there to really do something for your country. And even if you're gonna have more professional women coming into the White House they're gonna want to use their resources and talents to do something. So I think the key is to retain your dignity, to let your husband be center stage, not be a distraction but to be yourself and let the country see that full personality that I think Michelle Obama clearly has.
VIEIRA: Alright, Doris Kearns Goodwin, thank you, as always, for your perspective.
GOODWIN: You're welcome.

ABC's Snow: 'Women's Rights Groups' Say
Women Will Reject McCain

Good Morning America reporter Kate Snow resorted to typical liberal terminology while asking Cindy McCain on Thursday about abortion and "women's rights groups." After observing that her husband, Senator John McCain, has been courting females, Snow simplistically asserted: "But women's rights groups say once [women voters] discover he's anti-abortion, they may change their minds." So, pro-abortion organizations equal "women's rights groups?"

The interview, which took place in Vietnam where Mrs. McCain has been working with a charity organization, did feature friendly subjects, such as the children of the politician's wife and other topics. But Snow also offered questions that appeared designed to trap McCain. Speaking of Barack Obama, Snow queried: "Would you feel safe with Barack Obama as your President?" After mentioning the lack of interviews Cindy McCain has participated in, the ABC correspondent blurted: "And if [people] say, oh, she's just sort of up there and posing, what would you say to people who think that?" In contrast, Good Morning America has delivered numerous softball pieces on the spouses of Democratic presidential candidates.

[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Thursday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

On February 4, 2008, GMA reporter Deborah Roberts fawned over the "fascinating," "straight talking," "charming" Michelle Obama. She also provided not-exactly hard-hitting questions such as "Are you tired?" See a February 4 NewsBusters post for more: newsbusters.org

On May 19, rather than pose provocative questions about the abortion stance of a candidate, co-host Robin Roberts offered empathy about the supposed negative attacks that will be directed towards the political couple of Barack and Michelle: "Should you get through this process and you have the general election ahead of you, that this is what you can expect more and more of. Are you prepared for that?" See a May 20, 2008 CyberAlert posting for more: www.mrc.org

In 2007, over the span of nine days, GMA presented two segments on the wedding anniversary of Elizabeth Edwards and her then-presidential candidate spouse John Edwards. (One story gushed over their yearly visit to Wendy's to celebrate the special day.) See a August 10, 2007 CyberAlert posting for more: www.mrc.org

So, perhaps the next time an ABC reporter profiles Michelle Obama, maybe he or she will be consistent and question Mrs. Obama about her husband's liberal stance on abortion and how conservative leaning women might feel about that.

A transcript of the June 19 segment, which aired at 7:11am:

SAWYER: So, there was Michelle Obama and now what about the other side of the aisle? ABC's Kate Snow is the only network correspondent traveling with Cindy McCain in Asia on her charity tour with "Operation Smile." And Kate sat down one on one with this other possible, perspective, future first lady.
ABC GRAPHIC: Cindy McCain One-on-One: Her Mission & the Campaign
KATE SNOW: This is the Cindy McCain you don't see on a campaign stage, no pearls, no designer suit. At a hospital near the coast of Vietnam helping "Operation Smile" screen children to see if they qualify for a life-changing surgery. She got involved years ago after adopting a daughter from Bangladesh who needed the same operation. When you're there and you look at the faces of those kids, what happens? What do you think?
CINDY MCCAIN: It reminds me of my daughter and it also reminds me of what a simple $286 surgery can do to a child, change their life forever. A child that would probably be kept in a closet or kept in the back part of a house and never really be seen by family, friends or neighbors, and cannot only come out but have a productive and fulfilled life.
SNOW: Cindy McCain hasn't done a lot of interviews until recently. The latest ABC News poll found fewer Americans had a favorable opinion of her than of Michelle Obama and more than a third said they had no opinion of McCain. There seems to be this sort of mystery about you. People don't -- people don't know you.
MCCAIN: I don't think I'm very mysterious. I've just -- I've led my life differently and I have never been -- I'm not the candidate. I've never been front and center. I do the things that I enjoy and do the things that are important to me and do them in the way that I like to do them.
SNOW: And if they say, oh, she's just sort of up there and posing, what would you say to people who think that?
MCCAIN: Come get to know me. I'll talk to them.
SNOW: Her husband, the senator, has been actively courting female voters but women's rights groups say once they discover he's anti-abortion, they may change their minds. So, why should women support her husband?
MCCAIN: Well, supporting our troops the way he does, supporting our young men and women right now who are serving so gallantly is very pro-woman because every mother, wife, sister, aunt feels the way I have felt. The things that he does doesn't make him any more pro-woman, pro-man, pro-anti-anything. He's about America. He's about making America strong. If America is strong, it's good for all of us.
SNOW: Would you feel safe with Barack Obama as your president?
MCCAIN: I would feel safe with my husband as president. I think Barack Obama is a fine man. I think Michelle Obama is a fine woman. This is about who would be better and I think my husband would be better.
SNOW: Were you insulted when Michelle Obama said that she's proud of her country for the first time?
MICHELLE OBAMA: For the first time in my adult lifetime, I'm really proud of my country.
MCCAIN: It wasn't about being insulted at all. I don't know where -- why she said that. I-- You know, everyone has their own experience. I don't know why she said what she said. All I know is that I've always been proud of my country.
SNOW: If she were first lady, she says she would encourage Americans to get up off the couch and volunteer. Her own work with "Operation Smile" inspired by the daughter that gave her life new meaning. Take me back to 1991 when you walked in that orphanage and you saw her. Do you remember that moment?
MCCAIN: I had been working there somewhat for a few weeks, and I always kept going back to her. You know, at the end of the day, beginning of the day, whatever we were doing in other parts of it I'd always wind up somehow at her little bassinet and would hold her and play with her so when it came time to leave there was just something there. I mean I knew. She chose me. On the way from Bangkok to L.A.,I realized I couldn't give her up. But then again, I hadn't told my husband either. He was remarkable because I stepped off the airplane and handed him a new baby and he never missed a beat.
SAWYER: And Mrs. McCain told Kate there, three things she can't live without, her husband, her children and a good brownie. And if you've looked at her you're thinking it's one brownie she does, right? Not the whole pan like everybody else.
ROBERTS: Like the rest of us.

NYT's Stanley: ERA Loss Reduced GOP Spouses
to Passive Housewives

New York Times Reporter Alessandra Stanley watched Michelle Obama's performance as co-host of the morning chat panel The View for her Thursday "TV Watch" report, "Michelle Obama Highlights Her Warmer Side," and came away raving about Obama's "all but flawless performance." But before that, Stanley worked in some snipes against Republicans. After stating unconvincingly that Michelle Obama had "endured far more virulent attacks by her critics" than had Cindy McCain, Stanley succumbed to smug liberal stereotyping and, in a stretch bizarre even for her, reached back to the Equal Rights Amendment to explain why Republican presidential spouse are so passive: "As the Equal Rights Amendment faded as a cause and conservatism made a comeback, Republican spouses became ever more careful to stay three steps behind their men and the times."

[This item, by Clay Waters, was posted Thursday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: www.timeswatch.org ]

Stanley contended: "It is a familiar pattern. Democratic candidates' wives -- from Rosalynn Carter and Kitty Dukakis to Hillary Rodham Clinton and Teresa Heinz Kerry -- are almost invariably characterized by opponents as too feisty and too outspoken, a little too radical for mainstream America. Betty Ford was an early exception to the Republican rule of bland, self-effacing homemakers; as the Equal Rights Amendment faded as a cause and conservatism made a comeback, Republican spouses became ever more careful to stay three steps behind their men and the times. And some have become so intent that they are accused of playacting."

Times Watch doesn't remember Barbara Bush as being a particularly retiring first lady, and neither does Stanley, who covered the 1992 presidential campaign and described Bush's "peppery session with reporters" regarding the status of abortion as a plank in the Republican Party platform.

Stanley continued in her Thursday piece on Michelle Obama:

In this election, the two candidates' wives could not be more different, but each is haunted by the legacy of a famous predecessor. Mrs. McCain, who is very rich, very thin and exquisitely dressed and carries herself with Bergdorf Goodman hauteur, is not at all like Laura Bush or Barbara Bush; she is a blond version of Nancy Reagan circa 1980.

Early on, Mrs. Obama was likened to Jackie Kennedy for her youth and fashion style, but lately, the strong and assertive African-American career woman is experiencing the kind of antifeminist hazing that Mrs. Clinton endured in the 1992 campaign when she made her "baking cookies" faux pas.

END of Excerpt

For the June 19n article in full: www.nytimes.com

NPR Presses Pelosi From the Left with
Code Pink Criticism

NPR's Morning Edition broadcast an interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday, lamenting her from the left. Co-host Steve Inskeep reported that a new vote on war funding "means Democrats get a reminder of something they have not accomplished. For a year and a half now they've tried and failed to end the war." Would that really be an "accomplishment"?

While the story aired current and dated declarations from Pelosi that Bush has his "head in the sand" to conditions in Iraq, NPR's interviewer, KQED/San Francisco correspondent Scott Shafer, never asked if improvement in Iraq might have changed just which politicians look like they have a "head in the sand" to current conditions. But then, Shafer has a partisan background: he worked as a press secretary to San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos and as chief of staff to Gray Davis when he was the state of California's comptroller.

[This item, by the MRC's Tim Graham, was posted Thursday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Shafer made no acknowledgment anything has changed since 2006, that the surge happened and violence is way down, but only that the death toll surpassed 4,000:

SCOTT SHAFER: In November of 2006, the day after Democrats won a majority in the House, Nancy Pelosi -- then poised to become speaker - expressed hope that the war was about to wind down.
NANCY PELOSI : We must not continue on this catastrophic path. And so hopefully we can work with the president for a new direction, one that solves the problem in Iraq.
SHAFER: But today, 18 months into her speakership, there are more U.S. troops in Iraq than the day Pelosi took the gavel. And the death toll has passed 4,000. Sitting in her office at the U.S. Capitol near a window that perfectly frames the Washington monument, the San Francisco Democrat expressed her frustration about the war.
PELOSI: The president has a tin ear to the voice of the American people. They spoke. He didn't care. He has a blind eye to what's happening on the ground in Iraq. He's got his head in the sand.
SHAFER: How disappointed are you that you haven't been able to do more in terms of ending the war?
PELOSI: Very disappointed. It's the main issue. Everything else is eclipsed by the war. All of our accomplishments are eclipsed by the war, because we didn't end the war. And the war has an impact on other issues.

Shafer then went on to highlight criticism of Pelosi from the far left, which NPR, as usual, only classified as "anti-war." He cited Medea Benjamin of Code Pink, but made no mention of the disruptive protest group. Pelosi was pressed to defend how liberal the House Democrats were, even the "conservative" Blue Dog Democrats:

SHAFER: The San Francisco district Pelosi represents is one of the most liberal in the nation. But as speaker, Pelosi's constituents are the other 235 Democrats in Congress, including the most conservative members, known as the Blue Dogs. Antiwar activist Medea Benjamin says liberals feel betrayed after being encouraged by Pelosi's antiwar rhetoric before the 2006 election.
MEDEA BENJAMIN: And what we see now, it's been part of a political game. Talk a hard line, put the blame on Bush, but make sure the money keeps flowing, at least until the presidential election.
SHAFER: Benjamin thinks Pelosi has failed to pressure the conservative Blue Dog Democrats into supporting troop withdrawal deadlines -- a charge that makes Pelosi bristle.
PELOSI: We have a very progressive caucus. And when we come to voting for a definite timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, our Blue Dogs have been with us. They have not strayed from this.
SHAFER: Pelosi has a point. Last year, Congress did pass legislation bringing most of the troops home by the end of 2008. But President Bush vetoed it. He's threatening to veto the current war funding bill too, presuming the House goes along with the Senate's $165 billion version. It sets no deadlines for bringing home troops. But it includes more domestic spending than Republicans and Blue Dogs want. The speaker needs every Democratic vote, because she'll get little help from the Republicans.

At least, Shafer did include a Republican view, but it wasn't a Republican view on the success of the surge, but merely a critique of Pelosi's relationship with Bush:

RICH BOND: I think she maybe gets a D.
SHAFER: Former Republican National Committee chair Rich Bond gives Pelosi low marks, because he faults her for a troubled political partnership with the president.
BOND: Speaker Pelosi has no relationship with the president of the United States. It's toxic, and that really doesn't serve either side.
SHAFER: That toxicity between Pelosi and the minority party leave some Republicans calling her Czar Nancy. Still, she rejects the notion that she and Bush don't have a good working relationship.
PELOSI: Oh, I think I have a very truthful and candid relationship with the president. He knows I have to do what I have to do, and I know he has to do what he had to do.

Shafer wrapped up with standard-issue talking head Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute defending Pelosi by saying ending the war with 100,000-plus Americans under fire is "not a practical reality in the world."

NPR's page with audio of the interview: www.npr.org

Shafer's biography on the KQED website noted that he "started his radio news career in the early 1980s as a reporter for KPFA in Berkeley and KFBK in Sacramento," two stations in the radical-left Pacifica Radio network. Then, there was Shafer's Democratic-aide history: "From 1988 to 1992, Shafer served former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos as Deputy Press Secretary and then Press Secretary, and from 1992 to 1994 he served then-State Controller Gray Davis as Chief of Staff. He left a position as principal in the San Francisco public relations firm Staton, Hughes & Shafer to join KQED 88.5FM in 1998."

The bio: www.kqed.org

You could certainly see how Pelosi would see Shafer as a friendly interviewer, even if he was pressing her to please Code Pink instead of pressing her on whether the surge's success should change her characterization of the Iraq War.

-- Brent Baker