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Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's New Ambassador: NBC's Brian Williams --7/29/2008


1. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's New Ambassador: NBC's Brian Williams
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams acted as a conduit for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's propaganda message of conciliation as NBC Nightly News led Monday with about seven minutes of comments from the Iranian leader's interview with Williams in Tehran, such as how "for more than 50 years now the policy of American statesmen has been to confront the Iranian people." Williams seemed quite pleased with himself, introducing the interview excerpt: "It was clear in just the opening few minutes of the conversation that the Iranian President had a message he wanted to impart to the U.S. and to the wider world. In various answers to our questions, he talked about common ground with the United States. The Associated Press today described his words spoken to us as 'unusually conciliatory,' and said he raised hopes for a breakthrough. The White House response was that his words need to be considered with a healthy dose of skepticism."

2. CNN's Jack Cafferty Exclaims Obama Trip Was 'Almost Flawless'
CNN commentator Jack Cafferty, back from a short vacation, gushed shamelessly about Barack Obama's week-long trip to the Middle East and Europe on Monday's The Situation Room: "Barack Obama's overseas trip -- it was almost flawless." He then heralded the Democrat's enthusiastic reception internationally and how the past week was a blow to his Republican opponent: "We saw foreign citizens waving American flags instead of burning them, or having the host country's military holding back angry protesters, and, while Obama was away shoring up his foreign policy credentials, it seems the week turned out to be devastating one for John McCain."

3. Early Show on CBS: 'Nasty' McCain Ad Shows 'Gloves Are Off'
At the top of Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Russ Mitchell teased a segment about a new McCain campaign ad criticizing Barack Obama for not visiting wounded American soldiers in Germany: "...it is 99 days until election day and John McCain this weekend took off the gloves off with an ad criticizing Barack Obama for among other things, going to the gym while on his trip overseas last week." The segment later began with a report by correspondent Bill Plante, who described: "... it's now just 99 days to the election. But those 99 days promise a pretty rough ride. This new TV ad from the McCain campaign targets Obama's decision to cancel a visit with U.S. troops in Germany." Plante then played a brief clip of the McCain ad and followed up with the Obama campaign's defense: "The Obama campaign's return shot, quote, 'John McCain is an honorable man who is running an increasingly dishonorable campaign.' Back from a tour abroad focused on foreign policy and rock star TV coverage, Obama is talking this week about pocket book issues." After Plante's report, Mitchell talked to Republican strategist Kevin Madden and former Clinton Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers about the ad. Mitchell asked Madden: "How nasty is this likely to get over the next few months?"

4. CBS Relays Obama-Backer Buffett's Specious Claim Rich Under-Taxed
Missing a golden opportunity to correct a specious presumption behind of Barack Obama and his liberal supporters that the wealthy are under-taxed, CBS reporter Chip Reid on Monday night highlighted how "ending the Bush tax cuts for people making more than $250,000 a year and using the money for a tax cut for the middle class" is one of Obama's highest priorities and one supported by "Warren Buffett, the richest man in the world who, despite his billions, says the rich are not taxed enough." Reid, who later in his story asserted "critics wonder how" McCain could possibly balance the budget "given his support for extending all of the Bush tax cuts," failed to inform viewers of how the wealthy increasingly pay far more than their fair share of income taxes. The Tax Foundation reported on July 18 that new 2006 IRS tax data revealed "both the income share earned by the top 1 percent of tax returns," those earning $388,806 or more, "and the tax share paid by that top 1 percent have once again reached all-time highs." Gerald Prante pointed out those top 1 percent "paid about the same amount of federal individual income taxes as the bottom 95 percent of tax returns." The top 5 percent, those over making $153,542 or more, earned 36 percent of all the reported income, but they paid just over 60 percent of the total income taxes collected.

5. ABC's GMA Gushes Over 'Reluctant Media Star' Caroline Kennedy
According to ABC reporter Jan Crawford Greenburg, the co-chair of Barack Obama's vice presidential search committee, Caroline Kennedy, is a "a reluctant media star, stepping into the spotlight to back a man she says reminds her of her father [President John F. Kennedy]." Appearing on Monday's "Good Morning America" to discuss Kennedy's role in the selection process, Greenburg gushed, "Caroline Kennedy was, for a brief moment, the princess of Camelot." The ABC correspondent even closed the segment by eagerly speculating as to whether the Illinois senator would take a cue from George Bush's 2000 choice: "Now, think about this: Eight years ago George Bush ended up choosing the head of his VP search team Dick Cheney to be his running mate. So, if Obama took a page out of that playbook, imagine this ticket, Obama/Kennedy."

6. PBS's NewsHour Acknowledges Pro-Obama Bias in Campaign '08
Barack Obama's overseas trip has garnered an incredibly large amount of media attention, especially with the three broadcast network anchors going along for the ride. But lately, some are beginning to recognize the "Obamania" present within the mainstream media, including members of the media themselves. On the Friday, July 25 edition of PBS's News Hour with Jim Lehrer, PBS joined in on the acknowledgment that media coverage of Obama has been unprecedented and overwhelming as Senior Correspondent Judy Woodruff discussed the media coverage of John McCain and Barack Obama with Andrew Tyndall, publisher of the Tyndall Report, and Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism. Rosenstiel, responding to a request by Woodruff to size up the coverage of Obama's trip, observed: "This is more akin to a presidential trip than a candidate trip." Tyndall then chimed in and contended that the broadcast network anchors following Obama smelled of a coronation: "Well, the thing I think that really emphasizes Tom's point about it being treated as a head-of-state trip rather than a candidate trip was the extraordinary decision by the broadcast networks to send their anchors along to interview him on the way....the fact that they sort of dignified this trip with their presence had a little smell of a coronation about it really before the election has actually happened."

7. ABC's Behar Denounces Pelosi for Not Impeaching Bush and Cheney
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's liberal policies are not sufficient for The View's Joy Behar. Why? Pelosi does not support impeaching the President and Vice President. On Monday's show Behar hammered Speaker Pelosi on impeachment, chastising Pelosi for ruling "against impeaching George Bush and Dick Cheney." Behar then called for impeachment so "the world and American can really see the crimes that they've committed." Behar: "You've ruled against impeaching George Bush and Dick Cheney. And now Kucinich is trying to pass that. Why do you, why do you insist on not impeaching these people so that the world and America can really see the crimes that they've committed?"


Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's New Ambassador:
NBC's Brian Williams

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams acted as a conduit for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's propaganda message of conciliation as NBC Nightly News led Monday with about seven minutes of comments from the Iranian leader's interview with Williams in Tehran, such as how "for more than 50 years now the policy of American statesmen has been to confront the Iranian people." Williams seemed quite pleased with himself, introducing the interview excerpt:
"It was clear in just the opening few minutes of the conversation that the Iranian President had a message he wanted to impart to the U.S. and to the wider world. In various answers to our questions, he talked about common ground with the United States. The Associated Press today described his words spoken to us as 'unusually conciliatory,' and said he raised hopes for a breakthrough. The White House response was that his words need to be considered with a healthy dose of skepticism."

Though, based on a look at the posted transcript, less than a third of the session made it onto the Monday night newscast, NBC made sure to include Ahmadinejad's praise, possibly tongue-in-cheek, of Williams (through a translator): "It's very interesting. Before this meeting that is going to take place, you are aware of what other people are going to do, apparently. This tells me that you are a very able reporter and very active. Congratulations are very much in order. Before something happens, apparently you know what's going to happen. This is interesting."

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

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video to provide this transcript of the beginning of the Monday, July 28 NBC Nightly News:

BRIAN WILLIAMS, IN OPENING TEASER: On the broadcast tonight, from Tehran, behind the wall. Our conversation with Iran's President Ahmadinejad. He granted us an exclusive interview here today, and he arrived ready to make news.

...

WILLIAMS: And good evening from Tehran, which is in itself a rare broadcast event for any American television network. We came here today for an exclusive one-on-one interview with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It was our third meeting with him in three years' time, and our second on-the-record interview. And it was clear in just the opening few minutes of the conversation that the Iranian president had a message he wanted to impart to the U.S. and to the wider world. In various answers to our questions, he talked about common ground with the United States. The Associated Press today described his words spoken to us as "unusually conciliatory," and said he raised hopes for a breakthrough. The White House response was that his words need to be considered with a healthy dose of skepticism. Here now some of our conversation here in Tehran today on the grounds of the presidential compound.

The questions from Williams aired in the NBC Nightly News interview excerpt:

- Is your message to the world, is your message to the United States one of confrontation or cooperation?
[AHMADINEJAD: Well, this question which I am asking from American statesmen, when it comes to the Iranian people, what road do they want to choose? What approach for more than 50 years now the '€" the policy of American statesmen has been to confront the Iranian people. And our people, to a large extent, have become acclimated with this situation, and we have tried to work around it.
Today, we see new behavior shown by the United States and the officials of the United States. My question is: Is such behavior rooted in a new approach; in other words, mutual respect, cooperation, and justice? Or this approach is a continuation in the confrontation with the Iranian people but in a new guise?
If this is the continuation of the old -- process, well, the Iranian people need to defend its right, its -- its interests as well. But if the approach changes, we will be facing a new situation. And the response by the Iranian people will be a positive one.]

- So you don't deny there has been a substantial shift in U.S. position toward Iran. Sir, the question, would you be willing to meet that with a substantial shift of your own in attitudes, policies toward the United States?

- Is Iran's goal to have nuclear power or to be a nuclear power, in the sense of possessing weapons? It is obviously the great fear of Israel and others in this region, and it seems to stop the prospect of talks and better relations again and again. The group in Geneva seems to be asking you, by this coming Saturday, whether or not you are willing to suspend activities. And, one more time, I want to allow you the opportunity to answer.

WILLIAMS, AFTERWARD: Some of our interview earlier today with the man in the trademark tan jacket, the president of Iran. As we mentioned, the reaction from the administration at the State Department and the White House was mostly skepticism. White House Press Secretary Dana Perino saying, quote, "We have to approach this with a big grain of salt." We have posted the entire interview on our Web site tonight. Again, that's nightly.msnbc.com.

MSNBC.com's transcript of the entire interview: www.msnbc.msn.com

CNN's Jack Cafferty Exclaims Obama Trip
Was 'Almost Flawless'

CNN commentator Jack Cafferty, back from a short vacation, gushed shamelessly about Barack Obama's week-long trip to the Middle East and Europe on Monday's The Situation Room: "Barack Obama's overseas trip -- it was almost flawless." He then heralded the Democrat's enthusiastic reception internationally and how the past week was a blow to his Republican opponent: "We saw foreign citizens waving American flags instead of burning them, or having the host country's military holding back angry protesters, and, while Obama was away shoring up his foreign policy credentials, it seems the week turned out to be devastating one for John McCain."

[This item, by Matthew Balan, was posted Mondday evening on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Cafferty then outlined all of McCain's missteps over the past week: "We heard McCain refer to the nonexistent 'Iraq-Pakistan border;' he got his timing wrong on the surge and the Sunni awakening against Al Qaeda in Iraq; he called Iraq 'the first major conflict since 9-11' -- I guess Afghanistan doesn't count; and, are you ready for this? McCain acknowledged that 16 months for a U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq is 'a pretty good timetable.'"

Up against this list of gaffes, Cafferty only mentioned how "Obama did take some heat for canceling plans to visit wounded troops at a U.S. military base in Germany and rightfully so. He probably should have gone."

After reading some recent poll results that have Obama several points ahead of McCain, Cafferty asked as his "Question of the Hour," "Did Barack Obama's overseas trip change your opinion of him?" He ended the segment by rewording his original point: "It was not exactly a perfect game, but it was -- it was close."

The full transcript of Cafferty's segment, which began 8 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour of Monday's The Situation Room:

JACK CAFFERTY: Barack Obama's overseas trip -- it was almost flawless. It's the first time in eight years that an American politician was greeted so enthusiastically overseas. We saw foreign citizens waving American flags instead of burning them, or having the host country's military holding back angry protesters, and, while Obama was away shoring up his foreign policy credentials, it seems the week turned out to be devastating one for John McCain. McCain spent the week stumbling around the U.S. making one gaffe after another about foreign policy, which is supposed to be his strong suit. We heard McCain refer to the nonexistent 'Iraq-Pakistan border;' he got his timing wrong on the surge and the Sunni awakening against Al Qaeda in Iraq; he called Iraq 'the first major conflict since 9-11' -- I guess Afghanistan doesn't count; and, are you ready for this? McCain acknowledged that 16 months for a U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq is 'a pretty good timetable.' Go figure. And of course, it's ironic that it was John McCain who kept urging Barack Obama to go overseas in the first place.
Obama did take some heat for canceling plans to visit wounded troops at a U.S. military base in Germany and rightfully so. He probably should have gone. Nevertheless, the polls are reflecting just how good a week it was for Barack Obama. CNN's poll of polls now shows Obama leading McCain by 6 points, 45 to 39, and the Gallup daily tracking poll shows Obama jumping ahead of McCain by 9 points.
Here's the question: Did Barack Obama's overseas trip change your opinion of him? Go to CNN.com/CaffertyFile [and] post a comment on my blog. It was not exactly a perfect game, but it was -- it was close.

Early Show on CBS: 'Nasty' McCain Ad
Shows 'Gloves Are Off'

At the top of Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Russ Mitchell teased a segment about a new McCain campaign ad criticizing Barack Obama for not visiting wounded American soldiers in Germany: "...it is 99 days until election day and John McCain this weekend took off the gloves off with an ad criticizing Barack Obama for among other things, going to the gym while on his trip overseas last week." The segment later began with a report by correspondent Bill Plante, who described: "... it's now just 99 days to the election. But those 99 days promise a pretty rough ride. This new TV ad from the McCain campaign targets Obama's decision to cancel a visit with U.S. troops in Germany." Plante then played a brief clip of the McCain ad and followed up with the Obama campaign's defense: "The Obama campaign's return shot, quote, 'John McCain is an honorable man who is running an increasingly dishonorable campaign.' Back from a tour abroad focused on foreign policy and rock star TV coverage, Obama is talking this week about pocket book issues." After Plante's report, Mitchell talked to Republican strategist Kevin Madden and former Clinton Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers about the ad. Mitchell asked Madden: "How nasty is this likely to get over the next few months?"

[This item, by Kyle Drennen, was posted Monday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Prior to asking that question, Mitchell asked Myers: "Dee Dee we saw that ad in Bill Plante's piece from John McCain this weekend, criticizing Barack Obama for, among other things, going to the gym while on his trip last week overseas. Are the gloves definitely coming off at this point?" That gave Myers the opportunity to proclaim: "Boy, aren't they? It's early, I think in the minds of a lot of Americans who think this doesn't start until Labor Day. But I think that was a sign that this camp -- the McCain campaign is increasingly struggling for a way to change the dynamic and to get the focus off Obama as a world leader and back here where he feels he has a change to, again, shake it up."

During the segment Mitchell also focused on new poll numbers showing an Obama lead: "...a new poll came out this morning that has one camp, I'm sure, giving high fives, the other saying rut row...I want to begin by talking about the results of a new Gallup poll out today that shows Barack Obama nine points ahead of John McCain."

At the end of the segment, Mitchell asked both Madden and Myers to give two vice presidential choices for the respective candidates. Madden suggested Mitt Romney or Tim Pawlent on the Republican side. However, Myers used the opportunity to bash the McCain campaign one more time and Mitchell offered little protest: "Well, rather than give you two names, I think it's much more important for John McCain to do something that, again, is a, kind of a home run. I think the stakes are much lower for Barack Obama. He is the focus of this campaign." Mitchell replied: "Okay. Alright Dee Dee I gave you -- I asked you two names, you give me that. But that's okay." Myers explained: "Yeah, well, because it's more important." Mitchell added: "Alright, it's okay."

Here is the full transcript of the July 28 segment:

7:00AM TEASER:
RUSS MITCHELL: Also, it is hard to believe, but it is 99 days until election day and John McCain this weekend took off the gloves off with an ad criticizing Barack Obama for among other things, going to the gym while on his trip overseas last week. We're going to talk about that and a new poll came out this morning that has one camp, I'm sure, giving high fives, the other saying rut row. We've got two of our political experts here this morning.

7:12AM TEASER:
MITCHELL: Coming up, only 99 days left until election day and the presidential campaigns are going into high gear.

7:16AM SEGMENT:
RUSS MITCHELL: Election day, November 4th, is closer than you think and that's sending both presidential campaigns into overdrive. CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante is outside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, a place Barack Obama and John McCain hope to call home come January. Bill, good morning.

BILL PLANTE: Good morning to you, Russ. If you think that the '08 presidential race has been going on forever, like since the beginning of last year, take heart, 20 candidates and too many debates later, it's now just 99 days to the election. But those 99 days promise a pretty rough ride. This new TV ad from the McCain campaign targets Obama's decision to cancel a visit with U.S. troops in Germany.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: He made time to go to the gym but canceled a visit with wounded troops. Seems the Pentagon wouldn't allow him to bring cameras.
PLANTE: The Obama campaign's return shot, quote, 'John McCain is an honorable man who is running an increasingly dishonorable campaign.' Back from a tour abroad focused on foreign policy and rock star TV coverage, Obama is talking this week about pocket book issues.
BARACK OBAMA: Tomorrow I'm going to actually be calling some of my top economic advisers together to start thinking about how do we take some short-term steps to shore up the economy, but also how do we take those long-term steps.
PLANTE: McCain continued his focus on Obama's unwillingness to support the troop surge in Iraq.
JOHN MCCAIN: Senator Obama doesn't understand. He doesn't understand what's at stake here. And he chose to take a political path that would have helped him get the nomination of his party.
PLANTE: 99 days left to reach the voters. Many of whom haven't yet begun to pay close attention.
MIKE ALLEN: The campaigns know that in this final stretch people could make up their minds at any moment. So every day counts, every mistake counts.
PLANTE: Next on the calendar, the Democrats Denver convention, the last week of August. And the Republicans in St. Paul the first week of September. But as they say on TV, wait, there's more. Three presidential debates, one vice presidential debate. And if you live in one of the so-called battle ground states, about three months of non-stop political ads on TV. Russ.

MITCHELL: Alright. Bill Plante at the White House, thank you very much. And joining us here in New York is Republican strategist Kevin Madden and in Washington is former White House Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers. Good morning to both of you.
KEVIN MADDEN: Good morning.
DEE DEE MYERS: Good morning.
MITCHELL: I want to begin by talking about the results of a new Gallup poll out today that shows Barack Obama nine points ahead of John McCain. Kevin let me ask you, If you're advising John McCain this morning, what are you telling him is the first thing he needs to do this morning?
MADDEN: Well, you have to make this campaign right now, you have 99 days left and this is where you really draw the contrast. And the most important contrast that John McCain can draw is the one on experience. He has to make this campaign over the next 99 days a referendum on Barack Obama's inexperience. That way he can say to the American public, 'at the end of the day you're going to be judging who's ready to be president. I'm ready to be president.'
MITCHELL: Dee Dee Myers let me ask you, in the world of mistakes, what mistakes should Barack Obama definitely avoid at this point?
MYERS: Well, obviously, any mistakes, but certainly any mistakes that do kind of underscore the fact that John McCain is more experienced on foreign policy. But as I think we saw last week Barack Obama's very comfortable on the world stage. He had a very good trip, I think people looked at that and could easily imagine him as commander in chief. That doesn't solve the problem, nor the -- or the issue for him, but he needs to do more of the same. Look, I'd rather be playing Barack Obama's hand right now than John McCain's. McCain needs to get his campaign together, he needs to find a more optimistic tone and he needs to do something to change the dynamic of this race.
MITCHELL: Dee Dee we saw that ad in Bill Plante's piece from John McCain this weekend, criticizing Barack Obama for, among other things, going to the gym while on his trip last week overseas. Are the gloves definitely coming off at this point?
MYERS: Boy, aren't they? It's early, I think in the minds of a lot of Americans who think this doesn't start until Labor Day. But I think that was a sign that this camp -- the McCain campaign is increasingly struggling for a way to change the dynamic and to get the focus off Obama as a world leader and back here where he feels he has a change to, again, shake it up.
MITCHELL: Kevin, how nasty is this likely to get over the next few months?
MADDEN: Well when was the last time we saw a presidential campaign that didn't get very tough? I mean, again, this is the 99 days where you're going to see contrast emerge. And they're really going to try and point out each other's differences as much as they point out where they agree. And I think that what you're going to see is a lot of Republicans are going to worry that John McCain may, like Dee Dee said, may start to look too angry. So instead he has to give Americans a reason why they should vote for John McCain, he has to hammer home a very optimistic economic message. And he also has to talk about what he's going to do for the future on everything from education, to health care, as well as national security, which is his strong point.
MITCHELL: Kevin, give me two names, very quickly. Who's in the front row of the vice presidential sweepstakes? Republican side.
MADDEN: I think if I were to say, the top two would probably be Mitt Romney, my former boss, because of the economy, he's very strong on the economy. And Tim Pawlenty, because he has such a strong personal relationship with John McCain.
MITCHELL: Dee Dee, on the Democratic side, give me two names.
MYERS: Well, rather than give you two names, I think it's much more important for John McCain to do something that, again, is a, kind of a home run. I think the stakes are much lower for Barack Obama. He is the focus of this campaign.
MITCHELL: Okay. Alright Dee Dee I gave you -- I asked you two names, you give me that. But that's okay.
MYERS: Yeah, well, because it's more important.
MITCHELL: Alright, it's okay. Dee Dee Myers and Kevin Madden. Thank you so much. We appreciate it.

CBS Relays Obama-Backer Buffett's Specious
Claim Rich Under-Taxed

Missing a golden opportunity to correct a specious presumption behind of Barack Obama and his liberal supporters that the wealthy are under-taxed, CBS reporter Chip Reid on Monday night highlighted how "ending the Bush tax cuts for people making more than $250,000 a year and using the money for a tax cut for the middle class" is one of Obama's highest priorities and one supported by "Warren Buffett, the richest man in the world who, despite his billions, says the rich are not taxed enough." Reid, who later in his story asserted "critics wonder how" McCain could possibly balance the budget "given his support for extending all of the Bush tax cuts," failed to inform viewers of how the wealthy increasingly pay far more than their fair share of income taxes.

The Tax Foundation reported on July 18 that new 2006 IRS tax data revealed "both the income share earned by the top 1 percent of tax returns," those earning $388,806 or more, "and the tax share paid by that top 1 percent have once again reached all-time highs." Gerald Prante pointed out those top 1 percent "paid about the same amount of federal individual income taxes as the bottom 95 percent of tax returns." The top 5 percent, those over making $153,542 or more, earned 36 percent of all the reported income, but they paid just over 60 percent of the total income taxes collected.

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

An excerpt from the Tax Foundation's "Summary of Latest Federal Individual Income Tax Data," by Gerald Prante posted on July 18:

The latest release of Internal Revenue Service data on individual income taxes comes from calendar year 2006, a year in which the economy remained healthy and continued to grow, increasing individual income tax collections along with overall average effective tax rates.

This year's numbers show that both the income share earned by the top 1 percent of tax returns and the tax share paid by that top 1 percent have once again reached all-time highs. In 2006, the top 1 percent of tax returns paid 39.9 percent of all federal individual income taxes and earned 22.1 percent of adjusted gross income, both of which are significantly higher than 2004 when the top 1 percent earned 19 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI) and paid 36.9 percent of federal individual income taxes....

From other IRS data, we can see that in 2006, 92.7 million of the tax returns came from people who paid taxes into the Treasury. That leaves 43 million tax returns filed by people with positive AGI who used exemptions, deductions and tax credits to completely wipe out their federal income tax liability. Not only did they get back every dollar that the federal government withheld from their paychecks during 2005, but some even received more back from the IRS....

The top-earning 25 percent of taxpayers (AGI over $64,702) earned 68.2 percent of the nation's income, but they paid more than four out of every five dollars collected by the federal income tax (86.3 percent). The top 1 percent of taxpayers (AGI over $388,806) earned approximately 22.1 percent of the nation's income (as defined by AGI), yet paid 39.9 percent of all federal income taxes. That means the top 1 percent of tax returns paid about the same amount of federal individual income taxes as the bottom 95 percent of tax returns....

END of Excerpt

For the Tax Foundation report: www.taxfoundation.org

The first half of Reid's story, about the economic policies of the presidential candidates, from the Monday, July 28 CBS Evening News:

CHIP REID: In Washington today Barack Obama huddled with his economic team, people who've served Presidents from Carter to Clinton, even George W. Bush.
BARACK OBAMA: We have to change course and we're going to have to take some immediate action.
REID: One of his first priorities: Ending the bush tax cuts for people making more than $250,000 a year and using the money for a tax cut for the middle class, a position with broad support in this room and on the phone.
OBAMA: Warren, are you on?
WARREN BUFFET, AUDIO: I'm here. I'm here.
REID: "Warren" is Warren Buffett, the richest man in the world who, despite his billions, says the rich are not taxed enough. But Obama has also called for more spending on everything from universal health care to a new economic stimulus package, and with the deficit now soaring, even these great minds may have trouble finding the money. John McCain has also surrounded himself with some of the best minds in business, including Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett Packard and Meg Whitman, former head of E-Bay. Today they briefed reporters on the importance of cutting taxes on business to create jobs. Lying
FIORINA, AUDIO: Small business is the engine of growth in this economy.
REID: McCain says he'll balance the budget by the end of his first term, but critics wonder how that's possible given his support for extending all of the Bush tax cuts....

ABC's GMA Gushes Over 'Reluctant Media
Star' Caroline Kennedy

According to ABC reporter Jan Crawford Greenburg, the co-chair of Barack Obama's vice presidential search committee, Caroline Kennedy, is a "a reluctant media star, stepping into the spotlight to back a man she says reminds her of her father [President John F. Kennedy]." Appearing on Monday's "Good Morning America" to discuss Kennedy's role in the selection process, Greenburg gushed, "Caroline Kennedy was, for a brief moment, the princess of Camelot."

The ABC correspondent even closed the segment by eagerly speculating as to whether the Illinois senator would take a cue from George Bush's 2000 choice: "Now, think about this: Eight years ago George Bush ended up choosing the head of his VP search team Dick Cheney to be his running mate. So, if Obama took a page out of that playbook, imagine this ticket, Obama/Kennedy."

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

Of course, it should be pointed out that Caroline Kennedy endorsed Obama back in January. This "reluctant media star" has since made speeches for the Senator, done fund-raisers and now has a position on the campaign.

And despite the fact that most analysts predict John McCain will make his vice presidential choice first, Greenburg managed to only spend 13 seconds of the two minute plus segment discussing his selection.

A transcript of the July 28 segment, which aired at 7:18am, follows:

ROBIN ROBERTS: Moving now to the race for '08. There is growing speculation this morning that both John McCain and Barack Obama are closing in on naming a running mate, but how they go about choosing that person may be as interesting as who they choose. On the Obama team, Caroline Kennedy is making headlines for her role in the selection process and our Jan Crawford Greenburg has the details from Washington. Good morning, Jan.
JAN CRAWFORD GREENBURG: Hello, Robin. You know, Senator Obama's VP staff starts to work today in Chicago and the co-chair of his VP search team, Caroline Kennedy, is in Washington today. She's got some meetings, a fund-raiser later tonight at this Georgetown mansion. She is playing a key role in advising Senator Obama and helping him decide who his VP will be. She is a reluctant media star, stepping into the spotlight to back a man she says reminds her of her father.
ABC GRAPHIC: VP Decision Near? Caroline Kennedy's Growing Influence
CAROLINE KENNEDY: Over the years, I've been deeply moved by the people who have told me that they wish they could feel inspired and hopeful about America the way they did when my father was president.
GREENBURG: Caroline Kennedy was, for a brief moment, the princess of Camelot, now she is helping Barack Obama find a running mate.
WALTER MONDALE (Former Vice President, Carter administration): I think he trusts Caroline Kennedy.
GREENBURG: Walter Mondale was vice president to Jimmy Carter. He says Obama needs someone like Kennedy.
MONDALE: So they can talk about the things the things that you talk about, you know, what's wrong with this person, how do you think -- do you think I could work with them?
GREENBURG: Obama said yesterday he's getting close to a decision.
SENATOR BARACK OBAMA: I think there are a number of great candidates out there. I'll be selecting one soon enough.
GREENBURG: Some of the names on Obama's short list: Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, Delaware Senator Joe Biden, Virginia Governor Tim. Kaine and as Obama himself again said yesterday, Hillary Clinton. Republican John McCain also has a short list. Mitt Romney, Tom Ridge, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and Rudy Giuliani.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Are you getting close on a decision?
SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN: We're still in the process.
GREENBURG: The Democratic convention is first on the calendar and with the VP choice imminent, Caroline Kennedy and Barack Obama will be back in Washington today. Now, think about this: Eight years ago George Bush ended up choosing the head of his VP search team Dick Cheney to be his running mate. So, if Obama took a page out of that playbook, imagine this ticket, Obama/Kennedy. Diane, Robin?

PBS's NewsHour Acknowledges Pro-Obama
Bias in Campaign '08

Barack Obama's overseas trip has garnered an incredibly large amount of media attention, especially with the three broadcast network anchors going along for the ride. But lately, some are beginning to recognize the "Obamania" present within the mainstream media, including members of the media themselves.

On the Friday, July 25 edition of PBS's News Hour with Jim Lehrer, PBS joined in on the acknowledgment that media coverage of Obama has been unprecedented and overwhelming as Senior Correspondent Judy Woodruff discussed the media coverage of John McCain and Barack Obama with Andrew Tyndall, publisher of the Tyndall Report, and Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism.

Before the guests appeared, Woodruff recounted the media attention given to Obama's overseas trip, noting that the press corps following Obama was "larger than usual" and that late night comics had even poked fun at the adoration members of the media have shown for Obama.

Rosenstiel, responding to a request by Woodruff to size up the coverage of Obama's trip, observed: "This is more akin to a presidential trip than a candidate trip."

[This item, by MRC intern Lyndsi Thomas, was posted Monday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Andrew Tyndall then chimed in and contended that the broadcast network anchors following Obama smelled of a coronation: "Well, the thing I think that really emphasizes Tom's point about it being treated as a head-of-state trip rather than a candidate trip was the extraordinary decision by the broadcast networks to send their anchors along to interview him on the way. It's entirely unprecedented that a premier candidate should be treated with this type of coverage. That really is reserved for heads of state. And even though I think the tone of the interviewing was actually really quite hard-edged by all three anchors, the fact that they sort of dignified this trip with their presence had a little smell of a coronation about it really before the election has actually happened."

Following up on this, Woodruff asked if it was a mistake for the three broadcast network anchors to follow Obama. Tyndall concurred, asserting, "The regular campaign correspondents could have covered it perfectly well and taken care of all the journalistic business that needed to be taken care of."

Reiterating the findings of a recent Project for Excellence in Journalism study, Rosenstiel also explained that Obama has received significantly more coverage than John McCain and, accordingly, the media have given Obama an advantage:
"One of the things that is the backdrop behind this is, in the first six weeks of this general election phase, in our estimate, 78 percent of the stories that we've studied have featured Obama as a significant presence in the stories, and 51 percent have featured McCain. Obviously, stories can feature both candidates in a significant way. That's a 50 percent advantage for Barack Obama. Exposure doesn't guarantee success, but it is a necessary ingredient to success, and Obama has more of that ingredient right now. And this trip helps, even if its questions are tough, if you handle those questions effectively."

In response to a probe by Woodruff about the responsibility of journalists to equalize coverage of the two candidates, Rosenstiel argued that even if Obama is more newsworthy than McCain, the media must be careful to not tilt the situation in favor of Obama:
"I think there is a problem potentially if the press creates what is, in effect, an un-level playing field. Unlike other news events, the news media are, in a sense, the job interviewers on behalf of the public in a presidential campaign. And I think we have to worry, as journalists, if we disadvantage one candidate consistently over a long period of time....
"But I do think that, even if newsworthiness justifies a lot of this, there is another concern that journalists have to be worried about, which is, in effect, tilting the situation so that McCain doesn't have as fair a shot."

And, ending the segment on the note that Obama is getting unprecedented treatment by the media, Tyndall declared: "The phenomenon that we're talking about here is not that McCain is being ignored, that he's not able to get his word out in the mainstream media. It's that this thing, Barack Obama, is head and shoulders a different category of treatment of a candidate that we've ever seen before. So it's not that McCain is getting the short end of the stick. It's that -- you know, Obama is not getting a stick. He's getting a different category. He's getting a log, not a stick."

To read the entire transcript of the segment: www.pbs.org

ABC's Behar Denounces Pelosi for Not
Impeaching Bush and Cheney

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's liberal policies are not sufficient for The View's Joy Behar. Why? Pelosi does not support impeaching the President and Vice President. On Monday's show Behar hammered Speaker Pelosi on impeachment, chastising Pelosi for ruling "against impeaching George Bush and Dick Cheney." Behar then called for impeachment so "the world and American can really see the crimes that they've committed." Behar: "You've ruled against impeaching George Bush and Dick Cheney. And now Kucinich is trying to pass that. Why do you, why do you insist on not impeaching these people so that the world and America can really see the crimes that they've committed?"

After going through a long laundry list of the Democrats' agenda, Pelosi noted the President needs to approve legislation and there is not adequate evidence that the administration committed a crime.

[This item, by the MRC's Justin McCarthy, was posted Monday, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Barbara Walters noted Congress' dismal approval ratings. Elisabeth Hasselbeck brought up the success of the surge. Pelosi, in predictable Democratic talking points, refused to concede success because of the alleged failure to meet political reconciliation.

Relevant portions from the July 28 ABC program:

ELISABETH HASSELBECK: When Katie Couric was interview him [Obama] he still didn't admit in clear terms that the surge was a success, the surge that he indeed did oppose, and we would be in a different situation had he been making the decisions there. Do you still feel that same way that the surge was not a success?
HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI: We had this conversation before Elisabeth. The surge's purpose was to have a military time frame where there would be military security to enable the government of Iraq to make the political changes necessary for reconciliation. I said it before when I was here and I'll say it again: Even with all of the time that has elapsed, they still have not done that.
HASSELBECK: The sectarian violence is down, the civilian deaths are down. I think we need to acknowledge-
PELOSI: The security has, has been improved, but the purpose of the surge was to pass the laws to bring the reconciliation, so we can bring our troops home safely soon honorably and responsibly. And that has not happened. Now the government of Iraq is saying "we want you to go home." So maybe the time has come for us to sit down with them and figure that out.

[...]

JOY BEHAR: You've ruled against impeaching George Bush and Dick Cheney. And now Kucinich is trying to pass that. Why do you, why do you insist on not impeaching these people so that the world and America can really see the crimes that they've committed?
[applause]
PELOSI: Well, I think that it, I think it was important, when I became Speaker -- and by the way, a very important position, President, Vice President, Speaker of the House -- I saw it as my responsibility to try to bring a much divided country together to the extent that we could. I thought that impeachment would be divisive for the country. In terms of what we wanted to set out to do, we wanted to raise the minimum wage, give the biggest increase in veterans benefits to veterans in 77 year history, the veteran, pass research in stem cell, the stem cell research, all of that. This week we're going to pass equal pay for equal work. It has been a long time in coming [applause], pay equity. We're going to pass legislation for product safety, for toys that children put in them. There's an agenda that you have to get done, that you have to try to do it in a bipartisan way. The president has to sign it. If somebody had a crime that the president had committed, that would be a different story.
BEHAR: Can they still do it after he is out?
BARBARA WALTERS: When, when we first, when I interviewed you last year, you had just begun, and you were going to clean up the mess, remember?
PELOSI: We did.
WALTERS: You, you look around this country, 75 percent of the country, forget George Bush, thinks that Congress is doing a lousy job.
HASSELBECK: I think it's 91 percent now.
PELOSI: Well, I don't disagree with that because largely it's predicated on ending the war in Iraq. That's the main question, and we were not successful. In our House of Representatives, I'm very proud of our members because they voted overwhelmingly over and over again to bring the war to an end, to bring the troops home safely and soon, send it to the Senate, and it hits a dead end. But in terms of that particular standard, I would say I disapprove as well. But we do, we passed some of the things I just mentioned, the energy bill. We worked in a bipartisan way, and ovation, agenda, we have to create jobs, expand health care, protect the American people, and educate our children. And you can't do that if you're trying to impeach the President at the same time, unless you have the goods that this President committed these crimes.
BEHAR: They did it to Clinton.
PELOSI: But they didn't have the goods and it was wrong, and it was wrong, and it was wrong when they did that. Not that I- I have total disagreement with president on the war, the reason why we went in, which was based on a false premise. But that's a different story than saying "can we try to get something accomplished for people," have concerns about the economy and the rest.

-- Brent Baker