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Stephanopoulos Pleads for Clinton and Obama 'Time-Out' --3/10/2008


1. Stephanopoulos Pleads for Clinton and Obama 'Time-Out'
While members of the media are often pleased when Republicans fight amongst themselves, it's apparently not so fun to see Democrats do the same thing. On Friday's Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos appeared and pleaded for calm in the increasingly contentious battle between Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The ABC journalist and former top aide to Bill Clinton proclaimed: "Well, the bottom line is that it's time for a time-out." Later in the March 7 piece, as though refereeing a fight, he declared: "I think there's going to have to be a pulling back from this kind of rhetoric." Co-host Robin Roberts shared that assessment. Earlier, she lamented: "You're just watching this and you're shaking your head a little bit...I mean, it just seems like it's getting a little bit out of hand."

2. Countrywide's Mozilo: 'Deeply Tanned' or Just Born Italian?
During a story suggesting that Angelo Mozilo, the former CEO of the mortgage company Countrywide, is unworthy of his millions of dollars and perhaps enjoys too much time lying in the sun, ABC's Dan Harris, possibly not picking up on the former CEO's Italian ethnicity which could be the source of his skin's dark complexion, remarked that Mozilo's "deeply tanned face" could become the "face of the mortgage mess." The story ran on Friday's World News with Charles Gibson, substitute hosted by George Stephanopoulos, with Harris beginning his report: "This may well become the deeply tanned face of the mortgage mess. The face belongs to Angelo Mozilo, the once-celebrated CEO of Countrywide, now facing allegations of predatory lending and rapacious greed." Harris also ended the report seeming to lament that Mozilo is not facing foreclosure on any of his homes: "If the sale [of Countrywide] goes through, Mozilo will walk away with about $40 million. And with not one of his homes in foreclosure."

3. Cafferty Suggests Bush 'Relationship' With Big Oil Behind Prices
On Wednesday's The Situation Room, CNN's Jack Cafferty suggested that blame for high oil prices rests not only with Bush administration policies, but also with its "relationship with the oil companies." During a discussion of John McCain and President Bush's recent meeting, Cafferty, who once pushed the liberal conspiracy theory that Big Oil deliberately lowered gas prices before the 2006 elections to help Republicans get elected, once again demonstrated his lack of understanding of the world oil market as he suggested that a "relationship" with oil companies could impact world oil prices: "Oil was $28 a barrel when George Bush was sworn in. It's $104 right now and could go to $120 soon. Now, why do you suppose that is? It wouldn't have to do with the policies of the Bush administration or the relationship they have with the oil companies, would it? Come on."

4. Belzer Hopes Obama Redefines 'Warmongering, Intolerant,' America
The weekend before last, on Fox News' Geraldo At Large, actor/comedian Richard Belzer declared his hope for Barack Obama to redefine America from the "warmongering," "far right," "intolerant," atmosphere-"raping", poor-"demonizing" nation that it's become under the Bush administration. Prompted by host Rivera to reveal his choice in the 2008 campaign, the Law and Order: Special Victims Unit star took off on the following anti-Bush/pro-Obama tirade: "We've been redefined for seven years now as a war-mongering, far right, intolerant nation who's raping our own atmosphere and demonizing the poor and letting the banks rob us blind. I think if, any incremental move away from that would be a Godsend. And I think Obama will, at the very least, put the brakes on this madness and in some ways heal it..."


Stephanopoulos Pleads for Clinton and
Obama 'Time-Out'

While members of the media are often pleased when Republicans fight amongst themselves, it's apparently not so fun to see Democrats do the same thing. On Friday's Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos appeared and pleaded for calm in the increasingly contentious battle between Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The ABC journalist and former top aide to Bill Clinton proclaimed: "Well, the bottom line is that it's time for a time-out."

Later in the March 7 piece, as though refereeing a fight, he declared: "I think there's going to have to be a pulling back from this kind of rhetoric." Co-host Robin Roberts shared that assessment. Earlier, she lamented: "You're just watching this and you're shaking your head a little bit...I mean, it just seems like it's getting a little bit out of hand."

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

In a tease for the segment, Roberts asserted: "It's not good for either side." Fellow co-host Chris Cuomo concurred and added, "It doesn't seem good...And even more troubling for the Democrats, are they paving the way for a Republican victory?"

Stephanopoulos did, at one point, question the oddity of Clinton's assertion that Obama is acting like Ken Starr: "What the Obama campaign will say is when you bring up Ken Starr, you're not only hurting Barack Obama, but you're hurting yourself. I mean, why do Democrats want to go back to those days in the 1990s?" Of course, it should be pointed out that Stephanopoulos was in the Clinton White House through the President's reelection, just prior to when the vicious attacks on Starr were being launched.

And while the GMA hosts and guests mentioned that the squabbling between the two Democratic contenders could be good for the GOP, the general tone seemed to be that the fighting is bad and it needs to be stopped. No consideration was given to the idea that many conservatives and Republicans don't want the verbal sniping to stop and, in fact, would like to see it continue for as long as possible.

A transcript of the segment, which aired at 7:13am on March 7, follows:

7:01am tease
ROBIN ROBERTS: I don't have to tell you that the race for '08 continues to intensify. You have Senator Obama demanding that Senator Clinton release her tax returns. And then one of her advisors fires back by accusing him of imitating Ken Starr.
CHRIS CUOMO: And then, not to be outdone, one of his advisers -- One of her advisors says -- No, one of his advisors says that she's a monster. Right?
ROBERTS: It's not good for either side.
CUOMO: It doesn't seem good. And the big question becomes, who is this helping? Who is this hurting? And even more troubling for the Democrats, are they paving the way for a Republican victory?

7:13am
ROBIN ROBERTS: For the bottom line on all the latest Democratic strategy, we're joined by chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos and, of course, the host of "This Week."
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Hey, Robin.
ROBERTS: Hey. You're just watching this and you're shaking your head a little bit. Ken Starr. Monster. All this. I mean, it just seems like it's getting a little bit out of hand.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, the bottom line is that it's time for a time-out. These guys have been going at it for, what, 18 months. Their nerves are frayed. They're exhausted and they're making mistakes. I think you're seeing that. They're going over the line. Now, the Clinton campaign will say what Samantha Power said is part of a pattern. What the Obama campaign will say is when you bring up Ken Starr, you're not only hurting Barack Obama, but you're hurting yourself. I mean, why do Democrats want to go back to those days in the 1990s? So, I think-- I think there's going to have to be a pulling back from this kind of rhetoric. But, these issues that are being raised are going to be raised right up through Pennsylvania, which is April 22.
ROBERTS: And still a long way to go. And Senator Obama has -- He talked to Charlie Gibson yesterday and kind of indicated he may be willing to fight back a little bit. Take a look.
SENATOR BARACK OBAMA: We're going to have to make sure that we're not just letting a bunch of charges go unanswered. You know, if Senator Clinton wants, for example, to talk about issues of transparency and vetting, than I think it's important for her to release her tax returns as I have, and as many presidential candidates in the past have.
STEPHANOPOULOS: He was stunned over the last three days going into Texas and Ohio by that barrage, those kitchen sink attacks that came after him. He's saying now we're going to fight fire with fire. He's going to push for this release of tax returns. I would expect that the Obama campaign is also going to play off an article in USA Today this morning, which says that some of the records from the Clinton White House are not going to be released as well. They'll be focusing on that. But what Barack Obama has to worry about most are his attacks on his national security experience that are now coming from both Senator Clinton and John McCain. This is what people are paying attention to. If they don't think he's a credible commander in chief, they won't elect him.
ROBERTS: Also, what people are talking about again, again and again, Florida and Michigan. What to do about Florida and Michigan and Senator Clinton made a statement yesterday, she said I would not accept a caucus. I think that would be a great disservice to the two million people who turned out and voted. I think that they want their votes counted. She wants Florida seated. We had Howard Dean here yesterday talking about that goes against the rules that are set right now.
STEPHANOPOULOS: This is turning into a huge controversy that has to be dealt with by the Democratic Party right now. You can't not count Florida and Michigan. So, officials in the state are thinking about, how do we have a do-over vote? The problem is-- I talked to the state party chairman in Florida yesterday. I talked to Michigan officials yesterday. They're not going to agree to anything that first isn't agreed to by both candidates. And until both candidates figure out a way, along with the parties to pay for it, those are very big hurdles.
ROBERTS: I'm sure you'll continue to discuss this with Howard Dean.
STEPHANOPOULOS: On Sunday morning.
ROBERTS: On Sunday on your program This Week. George, thanks very much.

Countrywide's Mozilo: 'Deeply Tanned'
or Just Born Italian?

During a story suggesting that Angelo Mozilo, the former CEO of the mortgage company Countrywide, is unworthy of his millions of dollars and perhaps enjoys too much time lying in the sun, ABC's Dan Harris, possibly not picking up on the former CEO's Italian ethnicity which could be the source of his skin's dark complexion, remarked that Mozilo's "deeply tanned face" could become the "face of the mortgage mess." The story ran on Friday's World News with Charles Gibson, substitute hosted by George Stephanopoulos, with Harris beginning his report: "This may well become the deeply tanned face of the mortgage mess. The face belongs to Angelo Mozilo, the once-celebrated CEO of Countrywide, now facing allegations of predatory lending and rapacious greed." Harris also ended the report seeming to lament that Mozilo is not facing foreclosure on any of his homes: "If the sale [of Countrywide] goes through, Mozilo will walk away with about $40 million. And with not one of his homes in foreclosure."

[This item, by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, was posted Friday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Even before reporting that Mozilo is being investigated for possibly illegally selling some of his stock holdings, ABC was already portraying negatively his large bonuses and other wealth. Stephanopoulos introduced the story:
"Today executives from three giant mortgage loan companies were called on the carpet by members of Congress. They've been criticized for taking multi-million dollar bonuses while their companies lost millions on subprime loans. No one is getting more scrutiny than Angelo Mozilo, who heads America's largest mortgage lender, Countrywide."

After beginning his report possibly mistaking Mozilo's natural complexion for a "deep" sun tan, and relaying accusations of "predatory lending" and "rapacious greed," Harris seemed to take exception with the number of homes owned by the former CEO:
"Even before thousands of his customers went into foreclosure, Mozilo's lavish compensation -- this is just one of his homes -- attracted criticism. Several years ago, when investor Rich Ferlauto raised questions about Mozilo's large pay package, Mozilo personally confronted him."

After airing complaints by Democratic Senator Charles Schumer that while, under Mozilo's leadership, Countrywide seemed to be reaching out to help minorities buy homes, that in reality, according to Schumer, "if you picked up the rock, you'd see all kinds of worms crawling underneath," and after covering allegations that Mozilo may have illegally sold some of his stock, Harris concluded his report seeming to wish that Mozilo were also facing a home foreclosure like some of Countrywide's customers: "Countrywide and Mozilo are now facing protests and lawsuits. And the company is now being sold. If the sale goes through, Mozilo will walk away with about $40 million. And with not one of his homes in foreclosure."

Cafferty Suggests Bush 'Relationship'
With Big Oil Behind Prices

On Wednesday's The Situation Room, CNN's Jack Cafferty suggested that blame for high oil prices rests not only with Bush administration policies, but also with its "relationship with the oil companies." During a discussion of John McCain and President Bush's recent meeting, Cafferty, who once pushed the liberal conspiracy theory that Big Oil deliberately lowered gas prices before the 2006 elections to help Republicans get elected, once again demonstrated his lack of understanding of the world oil market as he suggested that a "relationship" with oil companies could impact world oil prices: "Oil was $28 a barrel when George Bush was sworn in. It's $104 right now and could go to $120 soon. Now, why do you suppose that is? It wouldn't have to do with the policies of the Bush administration or the relationship they have with the oil companies, would it? Come on."

[This item, by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, was posted Sunday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

On the August 30, 2006 The Situation Room, in response to a report predicting that gas prices were on a downward trend because of the end of the summer driving season, Cafferty similarly voiced a liberal conspiracy theory: "You know, if you were a real cynic, you could also wonder if the oil companies might not be pulling the price of gas down to help the Republicans get re-elected in the midterm elections a couple of months away." He later added: "The interesting thing to watch on that story about gas prices is what happens to them right after the midterms, John."

For more, check the August 31, 2006 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Wednesday, March 5 The Situation Room on CNN:

JACK CAFFERTY: And wait until the economy gets a little worse -- and it will in the next three or four months -- and we wind up in a good deep recession about late summer. McCain's going to have a lot of work to do.
WOLF BLITZER: Well, can he disassociate himself, distance himself from the President?
CAFFERTY: I don't know. Oil was $28 a barrel when George Bush was sworn in. It's $104 right now and could go to $120 soon. Now, why do you suppose that is? It wouldn't have to do with the policies of the Bush administration or the relationship they have with the oil companies, would it? Come on.

Belzer Hopes Obama Redefines 'Warmongering,
Intolerant,' America

The weekend before last, on Fox News' Geraldo At Large, actor/comedian Richard Belzer declared his hope for Barack Obama to redefine America from the "warmongering," "far right," "intolerant," atmosphere-"raping", poor-"demonizing" nation that it's become under the Bush administration. Prompted by host Rivera to reveal his choice in the 2008 campaign, the Law and Order: Special Victims Unit star took off on the following anti-Bush/pro-Obama tirade:
"We've been redefined for seven years now as a war-mongering, far right, intolerant nation who's raping our own atmosphere and demonizing the poor and letting the banks rob us blind. I think if, any incremental move away from that would be a Godsend. And I think Obama will, at the very least, put the brakes on this madness and in some ways heal it. Another thing, if I may Geraldo, being a man of color, I think the rest of the world, if they see that America elects a man of color I think they'll breathe a big sigh of relief and not think that we're this warmongering, rich white guy country."

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

Earlier CyberAlert item on Belzer's far-left views:

# Belzer Ties Reagan to Iraq 'Heist,' Calls Giuliani 'Fascist Thug'

The right wing's "big heist" in Iraq led by bankers who "are screwing everyone" all "started with Ronald Reagan crushing the poor, crushing the unions," actor/comedian Richard Belzer bizarrely claimed Friday night on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher before proceeding to smear Rudy Giuliani as a "fascist thug with a comb-over trying to suppress his speech impediment."

See the January 28 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org


# Belzer Knows Better About Iraq than Uneducated Soldiers in Iraq

When Congresswoman Ileanna Ros-Lehtinen contended Friday night, on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, that servicemen she's met in Iraq are "saying 'we're proud of our mission, we know what we're doing over here. We don't want you guys in Washington to lose it over there,'" actor/comedian Richard Belzer condescendingly fired back, claiming that to "ask them" is "bulls**t" since, apparently unlike him, "they don't read twenty newspapers a day." Ros-Lehtinen cited the knowledge of her Marine officer stepson, but Belzer, who plays "Detective John Munch" on NBC's Law & Order: SVU, retorted: "Doesn't mean he's a brilliant scholar about the war because he's there." A quite agitated Ros-Lehtinen sputtered: "Oh, you are though! You are though? Okay." To which Belzer affirmed: "Well I have more time..." The Republican Congresswoman from Florida noted that her stepson is a college graduate, leading Belzer to snidely denigrate the military: "You think everyone over there is a college graduate? They're 19 and 20-year-old kids who couldn't get a job." He went on to argue: "It's this patronizing thing that people have about if you're against the war everyone's lumped together. You know, the soldiers are not scholars, they're not war experts." That was too much for host Bill Maher: "You're going to lose even me..."

See the March 20, 2006 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org

The following is the full exchange as it occurred on the March 2 edition of Fox News' Geraldo At Large:

GERALDO RIVERA: I haven't heard that you've endorsed anyone. You did endorse John Kerry in 2004 and you wrote some pretty scathing, some hot stuff on the blog about the Republicans then. I haven't heard too much about who you are endorsing this time around. Why?
RICHARD BELZER: Well I'm ready, I mean I voted in the New York primary for Obama. And I think Obama it's, it's beyond politics at this point. I think that they say he's a rock star but it's beyond rock star. He's clearly touching something in people's hearts and souls and minds and he has a shot at redefining who we are. We've been redefined for seven years now as a war-mongering, far right, intolerant nation who's raping our own atmosphere and demonizing the poor and letting the banks rob us blind. I think if, any incremental move away from that would be a Godsend. And I think Obama will, at the very least, put the breaks on this madness and in some ways heal it. Another thing, if I may Geraldo, being a man of color, I think the rest of the world, if they see that America elects a man of color I think they'll breathe a big sigh of relief and not think that we're this warmongering, rich white guy country.
RIVERA: Let me ask you this Richard, though, do you think, a lot of his support, so far, is based on the energy of young people, some of the first time voters. Do you think that, that energy can sustain for eight long months [to] the general election?
BELZER: I partially disagree with you Geraldo. I think in, in, the thing that's really inspirational is that young people are getting involved as never before. But when I talk to people. I've spoken to Republicans, not a lot, but some who are gonna voter for Obama. There are a lot of Democrats that used to say, "Well I'm voting, if I vote, you know with my head I vote for Hillary. With my heart -- it's Obama." Now Obama has combined the heart and the head. He proves everyday with his unflappability, his grasp of the issues that he is capable of being president. He's more experienced than Abe Lincoln was when he became president. John Kennedy was considered a frivolous playboy. He evolved into a great president. So I have every confidence that this man will surround himself with all the right people. Not every candidate knows everything and I think he's smart enough to know that.
RIVERA: Richard Belzer that's a really eloquent endorsement. I appreciate you coming on the program. I knew it would be good. Thank you very much.

-- Brent Baker