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Olbermann: Bush a 'Compulsive Liar' Who Is Helping al-Qaeda --10/6/2006


1. Olbermann: Bush a 'Compulsive Liar' Who Is Helping al-Qaeda
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann delivered another of his "Special Comment" rants on Thursday night -- this one his longest yet, clocking in at just over 11 minutes. Olbermann began the diatribe, which concluded the October 5 Countdown, by saying his topic was "lying," specifically how President Bush is making false claims about Democrats. Olbermann asserted: "A President who comes across as a compulsive liar is nothing less than terrifying." He alleged that Bush "has savaged the very freedoms he claims to be protecting from attack" through his "terrifying attempt to hamstring the fundament of our freedom -- the Constitution -- a triumph for al Qaeda, for which the terrorists could not hope to achieve with a hundred 9/11's." He accused Bush: "You want to preserve one political party's power. And obviously you will sell this country out, to do it. These are lies about the Democrats, piled atop lies about Iraq, piled atop lies about your preparations for al Qaeda." Olbermann also denounced Vice President Cheney for how he "lives on, in defiance, and spreads -- around him and before him -- darkness, like some contagion of fear." Sounds more like Olbermann. AUDIO&VIDEO

2. ABC News Pounds 'X-Rated' Foley While ABC Airs Teen-Adult Gay Sex
Talk about a double standard. On the one hand, ABC News breaks stories pushing disgust at Mark Foley's "X-rated emails" with teenagers, and suggests Dennis Hastert should resign for being unable to stop them. But wait: ABC Entertainment rolls out the adult-on-teen gay sex scenes on ABC's smutty Desperate Housewives for fun and profit. How serious is ABC and Disney about the sexual exploitation of teens by adults? Doesn't it make money presenting it as saucy?

3. ABC on Studds: Only 'A Strong Sense of Loyalty' from Voters
When the story broke in July of 1983 on the sexual affairs with House pages by U.S. Reps. Daniel Crane (R) and Gerry Studds (D), ABC did not fuel days of speculation about whether Speaker Tip O'Neill would resign. (Fun fact: when Studds was censured, Speaker O'Neill did not cast a vote. Three Democrats voted against Studds being censured.) By the time Studds ran in a primary re-election campaign in September 1984, ABC aired a report telling the nation that Studds faced only "a strong sense of loyalty" and forgiveness from the voters in Massachusetts.

4. ABC Ignored Democrat Reynold's Teen-Sex Scandal Until Conviction
Congressman Mel Reynolds, the Illinois Democrat convicted of 12 charges, including sex with 16-year-old Beverly Heard and asking her to take pornographic photographs of a 15-year old, was indicted on August 21, 1994. ABC, the current scourge of congressional teen-sex scandals, reported nothing -- until Reynolds was convicted a year later, on August 23, 1995.

5. NYT's Friedman: "It Is So Important that the Republicans Lose"
The latest New York Times column by Thomas (tax-on-gas) Friedman, a frequent guest expert on network news shows -- including the CBS Evening News on Katie Couric's first night -- isn't quite as blunt as the text box that teases it ("The Republicans must lose, or our democracy will") but it's pretty close. In his October 4 column, "If I Had One Wish," Friedman yearned: "New York Times columnists are not allowed to endorse candidates, but I checked the rulebook the other day, and there's no rule against rooting for a general outcome. So here is my fervent wish: For the sake of the country, I really hope the Republicans lose the House and the Senate to the Democrats -- by one seat in each chamber."

6. Bush 41 Zings NY Times and Woodward's 'Kitty Kelley Journalism'
Interviewed by ABC's Charles Gibson at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia shortly before receiving, along with former President Clinton, the center's "Liberty Award," former President George H.W. Bush zinged the New York Times and Bob Woodward. In an excerpt aired on Thursday's World News, Bush 41 marveled: "I can't remember the New York Times ever writing anything positive about our son." When Gibson raised how Bob Woodward, in his new book about the Iraq war, State of Denial, "quotes Mrs. Bush as having said that you were losing sleep over whether that was the right thing to do, and your feeling that perhaps it was not," the former President rejected the accuracy of the premise: "In that incident, it was a conversation that Barbara allegedly had with David Boren," the former Democratic Senator from Oklahoma, "who has sent me a letter saying it didn't take place. That's a Kitty Kelley journalism in my view, and he can get away with it," Bush regretted, because "he's a very famous journalist."


Olbermann: Bush a 'Compulsive Liar' Who
Is Helping al-Qaeda

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann delivered another of his "Special Comment" rants on Thursday night -- this one his longest yet, clocking in at just over 11 minutes. Olbermann began the diatribe, which concluded the October 5 Countdown, by saying his topic was "lying," specifically how President Bush is making false claims about Democrats. Olbermann cited how Bush charged that Democrats "don't think we ought to be listening to the


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conversations of terrorists" and "think the best way to protect the American people is wait until we're attacked again." Maintaining that the accusations are baseless, Olbermann asserted: "A President who comes across as a compulsive liar is nothing less than terrifying." But by Olbermann's reasoning that since no Democrat has said exactly what Bush asserted when he made the political points about the implications of Democratic positions, no one should be able to accuse Bush of lying about Iraq since he has never said he lied about Iraq.

Olbermann proceeded to allege that Bush "has savaged the very freedoms he claims to be protecting from attack" through his "terrifying attempt to hamstring the fundament of our freedom -- the Constitution -- a triumph for al Qaeda, for which the terrorists could not hope to achieve with a hundred 9/11's." He accused Bush: "You want to preserve one political party's power. And obviously you will sell this country out, to do it. These are lies about the Democrats, piled atop lies about Iraq, piled atop lies about your preparations for al Qaeda." Olbermann also denounced Vice President Cheney for how he "lives on, in defiance, and spreads -- around him and before him -- darkness, like some contagion of fear." Sounds more like Olbermann.

[This item was posted, with video, Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. The media clips will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert, but in the meantime, to watch the Real or Windows Media video, or to listen to the MP3 audio, go to: newsbusters.org ]

Note: video/audio cuts off Olbermann's last five words.

A transcript (posted by MSNBC.com to which video may be later added: www.msnbc.msn.com ) of Keith Olbermann's "Special Comment," starting at about 8:48pm EDT on the October 5 Countdown on MSNBC, as corrected against the video of what Olbermann actually said on his show:

"And lastly tonight: A 'Special Comment' about lying. While the leadership in Congress has self-destructed over the revelations of an unmatched, and unrelieved, march through a cesspool; while the leadership inside the White House has self-destructed over the revelations of a book with a glowing red cover; the President of the United States -- unbowed, undeterred and unconnected to reality -- has continued his extraordinary trek through our country rooting out the enemies of freedom: the Democrats.
"Yesterday at a fundraiser for an Arizona Congressman, Mr. Bush claimed, quote, '177 of the opposition party said, '€˜You know, we don't think we ought to be listening to the conversations of terrorists.'"
"The hell they did. A hundred seventy-seven Democrats opposed the President's seizure of another part of the Constitution. Not even the White House press office could actually name a single Democrat who had ever said the government shouldn't be listening to the conversations of terrorists. President Bush hears what he wants.
"Tuesday, at another fundraiser in California, he had said that, 'Democrats take a law enforcement approach to terrorism. That means America will wait until we're attacked again before we respond.' Mr. Bush fabricated that, too. And evidently he has begun to fancy himself as a mind reader.
"'If you listen closely to some of the leaders of the Democratic Party,' the President said at another fundraiser Monday in Nevada, 'it sounds like they think the best way to protect the American people is -- wait until we're attacked again.' The President doesn't just hear what he wants. He hears things that only he can hear. It defies belief that this President and his administration could continue to find new unexplored political gutters into which they could wallow. Yet they do.
"It is startling enough that such things could be said out loud by any President at any time in this nation's history. Rhetorically, it is about an inch short of Mr. Bush accusing Democratic leaders, Democrats, the majority of Americans who disagree with his policies of treason.
"But it is the context that truly makes the head spin. Just 25 days ago, on the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, this same man spoke to this nation and insisted quote, 'We must put aside our differences and work together to meet the test that history has given us.'
"Mr. Bush, this is a test you have already failed. If your commitment to 'put aside differences and work together' is replaced in the span of just three weeks by claiming your political opponents prefer to wait to see this country attacked again, and by spewing fabrications about what they've said, then the questions your critics need to be asking are no longer about your policies. They are, instead, solemn and even terrible questions, about your fitness to fulfill the responsibilities of your office.
"No Democrat, sir, has ever said anything approaching the suggestion that the best means of self-defense is to 'wait until we're attacked again.' No critic, no commentator, no reluctant Republican in the Senate has ever said anything that any responsible person could even have exaggerated into the slander you spoke in Nevada on Monday night, nor the slander you spoke in California on Tuesday, nor the slander you spoke in Arizona on Wednesday. Nor whatever is next.
"You have dishonored your party, sir; you have dishonored your supporters; you have dishonored yourself.
"But tonight the stark question we must face is -- why? Why has the ferocity of your venom against the Democrats now exceeded the ferocity of your venom against the terrorists? Why have you chosen to go down in history as the President who made things up?
"In less than one month you have gone from a flawed call to unity to this clarion call to hatred of Americans, by Americans. If this is not simply the most shameless example of the rhetoric of political hackery, then it would have to be the cry of a leader crumbling under the weight of his own lies.
"We have, of course, survived all manner of political hackery, of every shape, size and party. We will have to suffer it, for as long as the Republic stands. But the premise of a President who comes across as a compulsive liar is nothing less than terrifying. A President who since 9/11 will not listen, is not listening -- and thanks to Bob Woodward's most recent account -- evidently has never listened. A President who since 9/11 so hates or fears other Americans that he accuses them of advocating deliberate inaction in the face of the enemy. A President who since 9/11 has savaged the very freedoms he claims to be protecting from attack -- attack by terrorists, or by Democrats, or by both -- it's now impossible to find a consistent thread of logic as to who Mr. Bush believes the enemy truly is.
"But if we know one thing for certain about Mr. Bush, it is this: This President -- in his bullying of the Senate last month and in his slandering of the Democrats this month -- has shown us that he believes whoever the enemies are, they are hiding themselves inside a dangerous cloak called the Constitution of the United States of America.
"How often do we find priceless truth in the unlikeliest of places? I tonight quote not Jefferson nor Voltaire, but Cigar Aficionado magazine. On Sept. 11th, 2003, the editor of that publication interviewed General Tommy Franks, at that point, just retired from his post as commander-in-chief of U.S. Central Command -- of Cent-Com. And amid his quaint defenses of the then-nagging absence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and the continuing freedom of Osama bin Laden, General Franks said some of the most profound words of this generation. He spoke of 'the worst thing that can happen' to this country:
"First, quoting, a 'massive casualty-producing event somewhere in the Western World -- it may be in the United States of America.' Then, the General continued, 'the Western World, the free world, loses what it cherishes most, and that is freedom and liberty we've seen for a couple of hundred years, in this grand experiment that we call democracy.' It was this super-patriotic warrior's fear that we would lose that most cherished liberty, because of another attack, one -- again quoting General Franks, 'that causes our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass-casualty-producing event. Which, in fact, then begins to potentially unravel the fabric of our Constitution.'
"And here we are, the fabric of our Constitution being unraveled, anyway. Habeus corpus neutered; the rights of self-defense now as malleable and impermanent as clay; a President stifling all critics by every means available and, when he runs out of those, by simply lying about what they said or felt. And all this, even without the dreaded attack.
"General Franks, like all of us, loves this country, and believes not just in its values, but in its continuity. He has been trained to look for threats to that continuity from without. He has, perhaps been as naive as the rest of us, in failing to keep close enough vigil on the threats to that continuity from within. Secretary of State Rice first cannot remember urgent cautionary meetings with counter-terrorism officials before 9/11. Then within hours of this lie, her spokesman confirms the meetings in question. Then she dismisses those meetings as nothing new -- yet insists she wanted the same cautions expressed to Secretaries Ashcroft and Rumsfeld.
"Mr. Rumsfeld, meantime, has been unable to accept the most logical and simple influence of the most noble and neutral of advisers. He and his employer insist they rely on the 'generals in the field.' But dozens of those generals have now come forward to say how their words, their experiences, have been ignored. And, of course, inherent in the Pentagon's war-making functions is the regulation of presidential war lust. Enacting that regulation should include everything up to symbolically wrestling the Chief Executive to the floor, if necessary.
"Yet -- and it is Pentagon transcripts that now tell us this -- evidently Mr. Rumsfeld's strongest check on Mr. Bush's ambitions, was to get someone to excise the phrase 'Mission Accomplished' out of the infamous Air Force carrier speech of May 1st, 2003, even while the same empty words hung on a banner over the President's shoulder.
"And the Vice President is a chilling figure, still unable, it seems, to accept the conclusions of his own party's leaders in the Senate, that the foundations of his public positions, are made out of sand. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. But he still says so. There was no link between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. But he still says so.
"And thus, gripping firmly these figments of his own imagination, Mr. Cheney lives on, in defiance, and spreads -- around him and before him -- darkness, like some contagion of fear.
"They are never wrong, and they never regret -- admirable in a French torch singer, cataclysmic in an American leader. Thus, the sickening attempt to blame the Foley scandal on the negligence of others or 'the Clinton era' -- even though the Foley scandal began before the Lewinsky scandal. Thus, last month's enraged attacks on this administration's predecessors, about Osama bin Laden -- a projection of their own negligence in the immediate months before 9/11.
"Thus, the terrifying attempt to hamstring the fundament of our freedom -- the Constitution -- a triumph for al Qaeda, for which the terrorists could not hope to achieve with a hundred 9/11's. And thus, worst of all perhaps, these newest lies by President Bush about Democrats choosing to await another attack and not listen to the conversations of terrorists.
"It is the terror and the guilt within your own heart, Mr. Bush, that you redirect at others who simply wish for you to temper your certainty with counsel. It is the failure and the incompetence within your own memory, Mr. Bush, that leads you to demonize those who might merely quote to you the pleadings of Oliver Cromwell: 'I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.'
"It is not the Democrats whose inaction in the face of the enemy you fear, sir. It is your own --before 9/11 -- and, and you alone know this, perhaps afterwards. Mr. President, these new lies go to the heart of what it is that you truly wish to preserve. It is not our freedom, nor our country -- your actions against the Constitution give irrefutable proof of that.
"You want to preserve one political party's power. And obviously you will sell this country out, to do it. These are lies about the Democrats, piled atop lies about Iraq, piled atop lies about your preparations for al Qaeda. To you, perhaps, they feel like the weight of a million centuries -- as crushing, as immovable. They are not. If you add more lies to them, you cannot free yourself, and us, from them.
"But if you stop -- if you stop fabricating quotes, and stop building straw-men, and stop inspiring those around you to do the same -- you may yet liberate yourself and this nation. Please, sir, do not throw this country's principles away because your lies have made it such that you can no longer differentiate between the terrorists and the critics."

ABC News Pounds 'X-Rated' Foley While
ABC Airs Teen-Adult Gay Sex

Talk about a double standard. On the one hand, ABC News breaks stories pushing disgust at Mark Foley's "X-rated emails" with teenagers, and suggests Dennis Hastert should resign for being unable to stop them. But wait: ABC Entertainment rolls out the adult-on-teen gay sex scenes on ABC's smutty Desperate Housewives for fun and profit. How serious is ABC and Disney about the sexual exploitation of teens by adults? Doesn't it make money presenting it as saucy?

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

From our colleagues at the Parents Television Council, here's a sketch of a gay teen-and-adult sex plot line on Desperate Housewives, from the profit-intensive May sweeps:

Perhaps the most disturbing plot line in this episode involves Bree and her two teenage children Danielle and Andrew. Bree has met Peter, an admitted sex addict, at an A.A. meeting and invites him over for dinner. The kids conspire to get back at their mother for a restriction she put on them. At dinner Danielle dresses seductively and moves her hand up Peter's leg under the dinner table. Peter is startled and leaves abruptly, but returns the next day. Andrew talks with him and realizes that he is open to sex with all people. Andrew, being a homosexual, decides he will seduce Peter. Bree comes home to find her teenage son naked under the covers and Peter coming out of the bathroom '€" apparently after sex. Bree is so disturbed by the event that she drives Andrew far from home, gives him clothes and money, and tells him he is on his own. Andrew accuses her of not loving him because he is gay.

That's online at: www.parentstv.org

Or see the official ABC summary: abc.go.com

But if ABC doesn't call this show "X-rated," then perhaps they ought to tell Brian Ross to use a little less hyperbole in his crusade against Hastert. It makes you wonder how ABC would have handled it if Foley was sending messages to teens talking about the hot plot on Desperate Housewives.

ABC on Studds: Only 'A Strong Sense of
Loyalty' from Voters

When the story broke in July of 1983 on the sexual affairs with House pages by U.S. Reps. Daniel Crane (R) and Gerry Studds (D), ABC did not fuel days of speculation about whether Speaker Tip O'Neill would resign. (Fun fact: when Studds was censured, Speaker O'Neill did not cast a vote. Three Democrats voted against Studds being censured.) By the time Studds ran in a primary re-election campaign in September 1984, ABC aired a report telling the nation that Studds faced only "a strong sense of loyalty" and forgiveness from the voters in Massachusetts.

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

On July 14, 1983, ABC reporter Charles Gibson reported, in a transcript located on Nexis: "In both cases, the relationships were voluntary, there was no favoritism granted to the pages. Thus it was the recommendation of the committee's special counsel, Joseph Califano, that the Congressmen not be expelled or censured, simply reprimanded and by an eleven to one vote, the ethics committee agreed."

Gibson added that "Studds dramatically took the floor of the House to talk of the conflicts between public office and private life."

Studds: "These challenges are made substantially more complex when one is, as am I, both an elected public official and gay. In my judgement the mutually voluntary private relationships between adults which occurred ten years ago should not by any conceivable standard of fairness, rationality, rule or law warrant the attention or action of the House of Representatives of the United States."
Gibson: "Studds said he felt the Committee exceeded its authority, but he accepted its findings to protect others involved. And Studds was congratulated by fellow members as he left the floor, but he and Crane could face formal reprimand from the full House as early as next week. One House employee, a former page supervisor was also accused of having relations with a seventeen year old female page. But Califano says the surprising thing he found in his investigation that covered a ten year period was that just three cases of sexual misconduct were confirmed in this age of sexual awakening and human fraility. Charles Gibson, ABC News, Capitol Hill."

Peter Jennings then added this knife-twisting note to the hypocritical conservative Crane: "One historical note. Back in 1981 when the House was debating a District of Columbia bill that would have legalized most sexual acts between consenting adults, Congressman Daniel Crane was one of those who spoke out forcefully against it. 'We have lost sight of the moral codes,' he said, 'the time has come for all God fearing people to stand up and be counted.'"

Six days later, on July 20, 1983, when Crane and Studds were censured, Gibson sympathetically concluded: "Later in a statement, Studds said all congressmen are in need of a humbling experience now and then. Members on the floor had called it not humbling, but humiliating. Charles Gibson, ABC News, Capitol Hill."

The next fall, as Massachusetts voters prepared to cast ballots in a statewide primary election, ABC aired a story by John McKenzie on September 18, 1984, suggesting all was well with Congressman Studds, despite the sex with the teenage page:
"Gerry Studds has been the Congressman from southeastern Massachusetts for 11 years. People here know Studds, at least they thought they did until last year."
Tip O'Neill: "Resolved, one the Representative Gerry E. Studds be censured."
McKenzie: "He was rebuked by his peers after it was learned that during his first year in Congress Studds had had a homosexual affair with a 17 year old page. Now, openly acknowledging his gay lifestyle, Studds is campaigning for a seventh term. But it's that one affair that continues to plague him, as he was reminded on this radio talk show."
Woman on talk radio: "You have abused your power in Washington. It is a violation of trust. It makes me nauseous. It's embarrassing."
Studds: "Well, I'm certainly sorry to have you so upset. I don't know what else I can say. Let me say something ma'am. Something happened 11 years ago, 11 years ago. It was an incredibly stupid thing that ought not to have happened."
Peter Flynn: "My response has always been it was a morally reprehensible thing to do."
McKenzie: "Plymouth County sheriff Peter Flynn, admits the only reason he's running against Studds in the Democratic primary is because the censure issue has made Studds vulnerable. But here in New Bedford and fishing towns up and down the coast, there is still a strong sense of loyalty to Studds.
Man: "You've got to judge him by what he does in office. What he does on the other side, hey, you just can't throw a guy down a river."
Woman: "We feel like he let us down. But at the same time we do have to forgive each other."
McKenzie: "Although early opinion polls show Studds leading in this race many people here have been undecided, many waiting until today before weighing Studds' personal past against his political future. John McKenzie, ABC News, New Bedford, Massachusetts."

In 1984 and beyond, Studds then went back to appearing on ABC in his usual capacity: arguing against any money for the Nicaraguan freedom fighters.

ABC Ignored Democrat Reynold's Teen-Sex
Scandal Until Conviction

Congressman Mel Reynolds, the Illinois Democrat convicted of 12 charges, including sex with 16-year-old Beverly Heard and asking her to take pornographic photographs of a 15-year old, was indicted on August 21, 1994. ABC, the current scourge of congressional teen-sex scandals, reported nothing -- until Reynolds was convicted a year later, on August 23, 1995.

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

In fact, on May 13, 1994, ABC featured Reynolds in a "Person of the Week" speaking out in favor of two Chicago ladies fighting child molesters:

Peter Jennings: "Their local Congressman is certainly on their side. He also wants to make child molesting a federal offense."
Rep. Mel Reynolds (D), Illinois: "These ladies really illustrate how being active in your community can really make a difference."
Jennings: "If the law is to change, it will need the support of many more state legislators, which means more mothers will have to get involved."

ABC's World News Tonight story on Reynolds being convicted on August 23, 1995, didn't have any fury about how Democrats could allow this sexual predator in their caucus. For their part, ABC seemed more suffused with sadness than outrage:

Diane Sawyer, substitute anchor: "In Chicago, Congressman Mel Reynolds remains free on his own recognizance after his conviction last night of having sex with a minor. His lawyers say they'll appeal. In the meantime, the Illinois Democrat will continue to pick up a paycheck, as ABC's Ron Claiborne reports."
Ron Claiborne: "In the end, it was Mel Reynolds' own words that led to his conviction on charges of having sex with a 16-year-old girl. Jurors said the most powerful evidence against him was police tape recordings of his intimate phone conversations with Beverly Heard, now 19."
Jeslyn Cipriani, juror: "It was the tapes, the transcripts that we heard, Mel and Beverly talking."
Claiborne: "At one point on the tapes, which were made with Heard's cooperation, she and Reynolds discussed what underwear he prefers. He also uses explicit language as he talks about having sex with her and with himself. On the stand, Reynolds denied ever having sex with Heard. He insisted their conversations were only phone sex fantasies. But the jury convicted him of all 12 felony counts, including sexual abuse and sexual assault. He was also found guilty of soliciting child pornography for asking Heard for a nude photo of a 15-year-old girl; and of obstruction of justice, for trying to get Heard to recant her accusations.
"The convictions likely end Reynolds' promising political career. He had risen from a childhood of poverty in rural Mississippi to Harvard, Oxford Rhodes scholar and to Congress."
Gary LaPaille, Illinois Democratic Chairman: "He was amassing a lot of friends. He was amassing a good political operation. And he was standing out above the crowd."
Claiborne: "Reynolds now faces a minimum mandatory four-year prison sentence. But the felony convictions do not mean he must give up his House seat."
Dan White, Illinois Election Board: "Only on a vote of Congress could he be expelled. And that takes a two-thirds vote of Congress to do so."
Claiborne: "Expulsion from the House is rare. Michael Myers of Pennsylvania, who was convicted of taking bribes in the 1980 Abscam investigation, is the only congressman to be removed from office since the Civil War. Today, House Speaker Gingrich said he would not press for a vote to expel Reynolds.
Rep. Newt Gingrich, Speaker of the House: "He hasn't even been-- he hasn't even been sentenced yet. So I think we have to wait and see."
Claiborne: "Traditionally, Congress members convicted of serious crimes do resign. But Reynolds, who is said to be $150,000 in debt and broke, may try to hang onto his seat and the $133,000 a year salary that goes with it. Ron Claiborne, ABC News, Chicago."

Do you sense that the political atmosphere surrounding Reynolds (including the puzzling wait-and-see Gingrich) was a little different back then? ABC had no mention of Mel Reynolds when Bill Clinton pardoned him in 2001.

NYT's Friedman: "It Is So Important that
the Republicans Lose"

The latest New York Times column by Thomas (tax-on-gas) Friedman, a frequent guest expert on network news shows -- including the CBS Evening News on Katie Couric's first night -- isn't quite as blunt as the text box that teases it ("The Republicans must lose, or our democracy will") but it's pretty close. In his October 4 column, "If I Had One Wish," Friedman yearned: "New York Times columnists are not allowed to endorse candidates, but I checked the rulebook the other day, and there's no rule against rooting for a general outcome. So here is my fervent wish: For the sake of the country, I really hope the Republicans lose the House and the Senate to the Democrats -- by one seat in each chamber."

For more on Friedman's gas tax advocacy: www.mrc.org

For Friedman's column, "Times Select" subscription required: select.nytimes.com

[This item was adopted from a posting by Clay Waters on the MRC's TimesWatch site: www.timeswatch.org ]

Friedman continued: "It is so important that the Republicans lose, because if the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Rice team can get away with the grotesque incompetence they have exhibited in Iraq -- a war that was not preordained to fail, but was never given a proper chance to succeed -- it makes this country look like a banana republic...."
"So here's hoping the Republicans lose the House and the Senate and realize that if they don't start acting responsibly they'll suffer an even worse defeat in '08. And here's hoping the Democrats win by just enough to love being back in power, but by such a slim margin they know that if they don't produce something by '08, they'll get defeated again.
"Without restoring a legislative center that can tackle hard issues and demand sacrifices, we're just going to keep kicking problems down the road -- from Iraq to Social Security -- until the road reaches a cliff and we plunge over the side."

Bush 41 Zings NY Times and Woodward's
'Kitty Kelley Journalism'

Interviewed by ABC's Charles Gibson at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia shortly before receiving, along with former President Clinton, the center's "Liberty Award," former President George H.W. Bush zinged the New York Times and Bob Woodward. In an excerpt aired on Thursday's World News, Bush 41 fretted how "there's a lot of Bush-bashing" of his son with "a lot of people out there that have nothing good to say." Bush then marveled: "I can't remember the New York Times ever writing anything positive about our son."

When Gibson raised how Bob Woodward, in his new book about the Iraq war, State of Denial, "quotes Mrs. Bush as having said that you were losing sleep over whether that was the right thing to do, and your feeling that perhaps it was not," the former President rejected the accuracy of the premise: "In that incident, it was a conversation that Barbara allegedly had with David Boren," the former Democratic Senator from Oklahoma, "who has sent me a letter saying it didn't take place. That's a Kitty Kelley journalism in my view, and he can get away with it," Bush regretted, because "he's a very famous journalist."

The National Constitution Center's page for its "Liberty Award" presented Thursday night: www.constitutioncenter.org

A brief bio of David Boren: bioguide.congress.gov

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

A portion of the interview aired on the October 5 World News with Charles Gibson, which Gibson anchored from outside the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia a while after conducting the interview inside the facility:

Charles Gibson: "Tell me which is harder: To be President and to be subjected to the criticisms that come with the job, or to watch your son be subjected to those same criticisms?"
George H.W. Bush: "It's not a close call. Far worse is watching your son come under fire. Far worse. And it's not even a close call. It's not even a close call, when you're responsible for your own acts, when you're President, you take it. Now, I'm just as sentimental, and you know, father who doesn't like it when his kids are criticized. And it comes with the -- I'm not saying it doesn't go with the territory. But you know there's a lot of Bush-bashing, there's a lot of people out there that have nothing good to say about it. I'd hate to single out a newspaper for example but, I can't remember the New York Times ever writing anything positive about our son."

[In the transcript posted by ABCNews.com, Bush continued: "And every, we all know that it's a very liberal paper and all of that. But it's, Barbara says, 'why do you read it, why do you sit in here complaining all morning?' I say I just wanna get it out of the way. And, but it hurts far worse when, when your son is criticized than when I used to be."]

Gibson: "What rankles you the most?"
Bush: "I think it's criticizing him as a person. And it started off that he was a dumb guy. Here's a guy who graduated from Harvard Business School, Yale University, did a good job in both, and for some reason the press picked up that he was dumb. And it just burned me up to a fare-thee-well."
Gibson: "Bob Woodward has written a new book which goes back to the time when the war was beginning, and quotes Mrs. Bush as having said that you were losing sleep over whether that was the right thing to do, and your feeling that perhaps it was not."
Bush: "I'm familiar with this, I haven't read the book, and I don't think I'm going to read the book. But in that incident, it was a conversation that Barbara allegedly had with David Boren-"
Gibson: "Senator Boren."
Bush: "-who has sent me a letter saying it didn't take place. That's a Kitty Kelley journalism in my view, and he can get away with it, he's a very famous journalist."

[The online transcript, which spells misspells Boren as "Borin," does not have Bush saying "who has sent me a letter saying it didn't take place." But the transcript provides this continuation of Bush's assessment of Woodward: "There's no accountability to name sources. And I, I'm sorry, I don't think it's first-class. And I've -- I think I passed that along to Bob Woodward long before this came out. I like the guy, have a very pleasant personal relationship when I see him but I don't like that kind of journalism. Putting quotes on a per -- you know, that's just literary license, that's just liberty. That's not what I think, if you're gonna quote somebody, you gotta name who it is and say -- and if they're in quotes, or even the main principle of the thought, you oughta be prepared to stand behind it."]

The ABCNews.com transcript: abcnews.go.com

-- Brent Baker