Appearance Alert
MRC's Bozell to appear on Fox News' 'The Kelly File' at 9:40pm ET

Stress Wright's Claim Remarks Distorted, Not Obama Agrees w/ Him --4/25/2008


1. Stress Wright's Claim Remarks Distorted, Not Obama Agrees w/ Him
Barack Obama's pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, suggested in an interview with Bill Moyers that Obama agreed with his comments which stirred a furor in March, but instead of framing their stories around evidence Obama may be in sync with Wright's paranoid and America-hating rants, the network evening newscasts on Thursday stressed Wright's claim his sermons were unfairly distorted. CBS's Jim Axelrod relayed how Wright asserted "parts of his sermons were publicized by Obama's opponents to damage Obama, but that they fundamentally misrepresented Wright's ministry and Wright himself." NBC anchor Brian Williams related how "Wright says he does not think he's been treated fairly," before reporter Andrea Mitchell began with Wright's insistence "his sermons were taken out of context to hurt Barack Obama." Leading into a soundbite from Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart, who in March hailed Obama's speech on race as "a very important gift the Senator has given the country," Mitchell asserted "some analysts agree that Wright was taken out of context."

2. ABC Discusses Obama and Race; Ignores Wright and Bitter-Gate
On Thursday's Good Morning America, correspondent Claire Shipman discussed race and Tuesday's Pennsylvania primary and managed to skip two key reasons as to why white voters may have chosen Senator Clinton over Barack Obama. Shipman never mentioned Jeremiah Wright, Obama's incendiary reverend and a man who made controversial comments about white people, among other groups. She also glossed over and minimized Obama's comments about small town Americans being "bitter" and clinging to guns, God and xenophobic sentiment. Now, considering that many of these rural voters were white, this would seem to be an important component to a discussion of the issue. During the segment, however, racism was the only explanation Shipman explored. She intoned: "And some new data does suggest what nobody really wants to think, that race may be an issue." The correspondent later added: "Are some Democratic voters pulling the lever for Hillary Clinton because they don't want to vote for a black man?"

3. CBS's Smith Continues to Lament 'Nasty' NC GOP Campaign Ad
Following a story on Wednesday's CBS Evening News when fill-in anchor Harry Smith described how an anti-Obama ad run by the North Carolina GOP was proof of the campaign getting "nastier," on Thursday's Early Show Smith continued that theme as he exclaimed: "And the tone of the remainder of the campaign season may be getting even nastier." Correspondent Chip Reid followed with a report on the North Carolina Republican ad and framed it this way: "A lot of that nastiness is being aimed directly at Barack Obama, and it's not just coming from Hillary Clinton and her campaign. You know there's an absolutely crucial primary in North Carolina in less than two weeks. And now the North Carolina Republican Party is going after Obama with a new hard-hitting negative ad."

4. Election Year Donation? NBC's 30 Rock Sitcom Smacks Republicans
Will NBC's prime time entertainment shows function as the equivalent of DNC-TV this election year, snidely bashing Republicans in the guise of wry cultural commentary? Just last month, an episode of NBC's Medium featured an ex-POW state senator from Arizona as a murdering cannibal. And on last Thursday's episode of 30 Rock, the sitcom featured a stridently anti-Republican plot in which a fictitious conservative corporate executive (played by Alec Baldwin) launches a celebrity ad campaign to keep African-Americans from voting because, as a black character argues: "No matter what, [black Americans] are gonna always vote Democrat." The 30-minute program was filled with potshots against the GOP and conservatives, including the idea that the tortured ex-POW John McCain is being backed by "The Committee to Re-Invade Vietnam." The corporate executive portrayed by Baldwin, "Jack Donaghy," is a ridiculous parody of a conservative businessman, blurting out comments such as "My cologne is distilled from the bilge water of Rupert Murdoch's yacht," and "Not thinking is what makes America great."

5. Letterman's 'Top Ten Signs Hillary Clinton Is Exhausted'
Letterman's "Top Ten Signs Hillary Clinton Is Exhausted."


Stress Wright's Claim Remarks Distorted,
Not Obama Agrees w/ Him

Barack Obama's pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, suggested in an interview with Bill Moyers that Obama agreed with his comments which stirred a furor in March, but instead of framing their stories around evidence Obama may be in sync with Wright's paranoid and America-hating rants, the network evening newscasts on Thursday stressed Wright's claim his sermons were unfairly distorted.

CBS's Jim Axelrod relayed how Wright asserted "parts of his sermons were publicized by Obama's opponents to damage Obama, but that they fundamentally misrepresented Wright's ministry and Wright himself." NBC anchor Brian Williams related how "Wright says he does not think he's been treated fairly," before reporter Andrea Mitchell began with Wright's insistence "his sermons were taken out of context to hurt Barack Obama." Leading into a soundbite from Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart, who in March hailed Obama's speech on race as "a very important gift the Senator has given the country," Mitchell asserted "some analysts agree that Wright was taken out of context."

None of the stories aired any of Jeremiah Wright's infamous allegations. ABC's David Wright came the closest in recalling that "Wright does not disavow controversial remarks he has made in his church, some of which are sharply critical of the U.S., its history and its policies."

Indeed, in a sermon the Sunday after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Wright suggested America spurred and deserved the attacks: "We bombed Hiroshima! We bombed Nagasaki! And we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye....We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back into our own front yard. America's chickens are coming home to roost."

Wright's inane paranoia about AIDS: "The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color."

ABC and NBC ran the Jeremiah Wright soundbite, from the interview to air on Friday night's Bill Moyers Journal on PBS, in which Obama's pastor attributed Obama's March 18 speech to politics, but only NBC's Mitchell hinted as to its meaning, late in her piece: "Now, Reverend Wright told Moyers, Obama's speech was political." The clip of Reverend Wright:
"I do what I do. He does what politicians do. So that what happened in Philadelphia where he had to respond to the soundbites. He responded as a politician. I don't talk to him about politics. So here at a political event he goes out as a politician and says what he has to say as politician."

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

Transcripts of the stories on the Thursday, April 24 evening newscasts:

# CBS Evening News:

KATIE COURIC: Barack Obama, meanwhile, spent the day at home in Chicago, but his controversial pastor broke his silence today. Jim Axelrod is in Washington. And Jim, Jeremiah Wright really went on the offensive.
JIM AXELROD: Yeah, Wright told journalist Bill Moyers, in an interview that will be broadcast tomorrow night on public television, that parts of his sermon -- specific parts of his sermons -- were publicized by Obama's opponents to damage Obama, but that they fundamentally misrepresented Wright's ministry and Wright himself.
JEREMIAH WRIGHT ON PBS: I felt it was unfair. I felt it was unjust. I felt it was untrue. I felt that those who were doing that were doing it for some very devious reasons. [edit jump] I think they wanted to communicate that I am unpatriotic, that I am un-American, that I am filled with hate speech, that I have a cult at Trinity United Church of Christ, and, by the way, guess who goes to his church? Hint, hint, hint. That's what they wanted to communicate.
AXELROD: Now, obviously this interview will revive a story the Obama campaign badly wanted to see die, and we will hear more from Wright as well, because he's going to be in Washington to speak to the National Press Club next Monday. Katie.
COURIC: All right, Jim Axelrod. Thank you, Jim.


# ABC's World News:

CHARLES GIBSON: We begin tonight with presidential politics, and what has been a major controversy surrounding Barack Obama's campaign: His relationship with his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright. Ever since brief clips of Wright's sermons hit the airwaves and the Internet, they've become fodder for attacks on Obama. For his part, the candidate has condemned Wright's controversial political statements. But now the pastor, himself, is speaking out. ABC's David Wright is down in Washington tonight. David?

DAVID WRIGHT: Good evening, Charlie. This is the first time that Jeremiah Wright has appeared in public since the controversy erupted. He spoke with Bill Moyers of PBS. And the interview comes at a time when Barack Obama's political enemies are using his association with the pastor against him. In the interview, recorded yesterday in New York, Wright is unrepentant.
JEREMIAH WRIGHT ON PBS: When something is taken, like a soundbite for political purposes, and put constantly over and over again, looped in the face of the public, that's not a failure to communicate. The message that is being communicated by the soundbites is exactly what those pushing those soundbites want to communicate.
BILL MOYERS: What do you think they wanted to communicate?
JEREMIAH WRIGHT: I think they wanted to communicate that I am unpatriotic, that I am un-American, that I am filled with hate speech, that I have a cult at Trinity United Church of Christ. And, by the way, guess who goes to his church? Hint, hint, hint. That's what they wanted to communicate. They know nothing about the church. They know nothing about our prison ministry. They know nothing about our food-share ministry. They know nothing about our senior citizen's home.
JEREMIAH WRIGHT IN ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE: God never fails!
DAVID WRIGHT: Wright does not disavow controversial remarks he has made in his church, some of which are sharply critical of the U.S., its history and its policies.
BILL MOYERS: Did you ever imagine that you would come to personify the black anger that so many whites fear?
JEREMIAH WRIGHT: No, I did not.
DAVID WRIGHT: Hillary Clinton has warned that Republicans will use Wright against Obama. Indeed, this week, Republicans in North Carolina, unveiled this ad, seen here on YouTube, exploiting Wright, which they say they plan to run, despite the objections of GOP nominee John McCain. Moyers asked Wright for his reaction to Obama's speech on race relations in Philadelphia.
BARACK OBAMA ON MARCH 18: Reverend Wright's comments were not only wrong, but divisive. Divisive at a time when we need unity.
BILL MOYERS: How did it go down with you when you heard Barack Obama say those things?
JEREMIAH WRIGHT: It went down very simply. He's a politician. I'm a pastor. I do what I do, he does what politicians do. [edit jump] So that what happened in Philadelphia, where he had to respond to the soundbites, he responded as a politician.
DAVID WRIGHT: Now, the full interview will be broadcast on PBS tomorrow at 9. And we'll be seeing a a lot more of Reverend Wright in the coming days: On Sunday he's at the NAACP. On Monday, at the National Press Club. As for the Obama campaign, they say they had nothing to do with either the timing or the content of Wright's remarks. He's his own man, obviously. They would have preferred to keep a low profile. Charlie?


# NBC Nightly News:

BRIAN WILLIAMS: There's been a development in presidential politics tonight. Barack Obama's former pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, has given his first interview since that firestorm over parts of his sermons on the Internet shook up the campaign. Wright says he does not think he's been treated fairly. The story from NBC's Andrea Mitchell.

ANDREA MITCHELL: Finally speaking out, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright told Bill Moyers on PBS, his sermons were taken out of context to hurt Barack Obama.
JEREMIAH WRIGHT ON PBS: I think they really wanted to communicate that I am unpatriotic, that I am un-American, that I am filled with hate speech, that I have a cult at Trinity United Church of Christ. And by the way, guess who goes to his church? Hint, hint, hint. That's what they wanted to communicate.
BILL MOYERS: What did you think when you began to see those very brief soundbites circulating as they did?
JEREMIAH WRIGHT: I felt it was unfair. I felt it was unjust. I felt it was untrue. I felt those who were doing that were doing it for some very devious reasons.
MITCHELL: Obama first defended his former pastor who had married him and his wife and baptized their children. He said he had never heard any offensive sermons, but finally gave a speech criticizing his most fiery remarks.
BARACK OBAMA, MARCH 18: Reverend Wright's comments were not only wrong but divisive. Divisive at a time when we need unity.
MITCHELL: The issue still didn't die down.
HILLARY CLINTON ON MARCH 25: You know, we don't have a choice when it comes to our relatives, we have a choice when it comes to our pastors.
MITCHELL: Now, Reverend Wright told Moyers, Obama's speech was political.
JEREMIAH WRIGHT: I do what I do. He does what politicians do. So that what happened in Philadelphia where he had to respond to the soundbites. He responded as a politician. I don't talk to him about politics. So here at a political event he goes out as a politician and says what he has to say as politician.
MITCHELL: Some analysts agree that Wright was taken out of context.
JONATHAN CAPEHART, WASHINGTON POST: You can't teach the nation about African-American churches and African-American church-going in 15 minutes.
MITCHELL: Supporters hope Wright's explanation will humanize the pastor and answer his critics. But it could revive an issue the campaign had hoped had died down and add fuel to the race issue in this campaign. Andrea Mitchell, NBC News, New York.
WILLIAMS: By the way, you can see the entire interview with Reverend Wright on Bill Moyers Journal tomorrow night at 9 PM on PBS stations.

ABC Discusses Obama and Race; Ignores
Wright and Bitter-Gate

On Thursday's Good Morning America, correspondent Claire Shipman discussed race and Tuesday's Pennsylvania primary and managed to skip two key reasons as to why white voters may have chosen Senator Clinton over Barack Obama. Shipman never mentioned Jeremiah Wright, Obama's incendiary reverend and a man who made controversial comments about white people, among other groups.

She also glossed over and minimized Obama's comments about small town Americans being "bitter" and clinging to guns, God and xenophobic sentiment. Now, considering that many of these rural voters were white, this would seem to be an important component to a discussion of the issue. During the segment, however, racism was the only explanation Shipman explored. She intoned: "And some new data does suggest what nobody really wants to think, that race may be an issue." The correspondent later added: "Are some Democratic voters pulling the lever for Hillary Clinton because they don't want to vote for a black man?"

(Of course, it should be pointed out that Shipman's ABC colleague, George Stephanopoulos, in May of 2007, famously stated on his This Week program: "I guess I think that anyone who's not going to vote for Barack Obama because he is black isn't going to vote for a Democrat anyway." For more, see a May 14, 2007 CyberAlert posting: www.mrc.org )

During a tease for the piece, co-host Diane Sawyer wondered if "there's a hidden message in the [primary results]." Continuing this theme, University of Maryland professor Ronald Walters was featured briefly to suggest that the reason Clinton is still in the campaign is because she doesn't believe that Obama will be able to pass the "race" test.

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

The ABC reporter did dispute an assertion by Obama campaign manager David Axelrod that white working class voters could be assumed to go for the GOP candidate. Shipman contended, "And writing off a whole voting block could seem as elitist as Obama's controversial 'bitter' comments about the same group." However, there was no real discussion of the impact of Obama's "bitter" remark and no mention at all of Reverend Wright's inflammatory remarks.

A transcript of the segment, which aired at 7:10am, follows:

7am tease
DIANE SAWYER: And race in the race to '08. We take a hard look at Barack Obama and whether there's a hidden message in the numbers.

7:10am
DIANE SAWYER: And we turn now to the presidential campaign. For the Democrats, rolling toward Indiana and North Carolina in two weeks. And Senator Obama who has the advantage in the popular vote and the pledged delegates wants to show that he can seal the deal in a state with blue collar workers and blue collar voters and a lot of rural voters as well. So, what is his campaign going to do? What is his campaign about? Senior national correspondent Claire Shipman has decided to take a look at numbers and address the highly charged questions about race.
CLAIRE SHIPMAN: Diane, it is clear now that after Pennsylvania, Barack Obama is struggling with the white working class in some states despite an enormous amount of spending. And some new data does suggest what nobody really wants to think, that race may be an issue.
SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON: Why can't he close the deal?
SENATOR BARACK OBAMA: The way we're going to close the deal is by winning.
SHIPMAN: That's the public question, but the unspoken issue now bubbling into public discourse-
[Clip from radio's "The Michael Baisden Show]
CALLER (The Michael Baisden Show): The main issue is race. And you cannot stop it.
MICHAEL BAISDEN: So does that mean, Bruce, that he doesn't have a chance?
CALLER: If America is truly, honestly, ready to be honest, I don't think so.
SHIPMAN: Are some Democratic voters pulling the lever for Hillary Clinton because they don't want to vote for a black man? Jon Stewart joked about the race issue.
["Daily Show" clip]
JON STEWART: Will you pull a bait and switch, sir, and enslave the white race? Is that your plan?
OBAMA: That is not our plan, Jon.
SHIPMAN: But it may be more than late night fodder. 13 percent of white voters in Pennsylvania said race was an important factor for them. 75 percent of them voted for Hillary Clinton. Now, that's similar to the women who said gender matters, 14 percent. And 77 percent of them broke for Hillary. But here's what is critical: Those white voters who called race an important factor were asked whether they support Obama or McCain in the general election. Only 54 percent of the Democratic voters said Obama. The rest said they would support McCain or they wouldn't vote, the implication that race for them would trump party loyalty.
PROF RONALD WALTERS (University of Maryland): The reason why Hillary Clinton is staying in this race is she feels that he will not be able to pass this test. And it's not the test of intelligence. It's not the test of politics. It's the test of race. SHIPMAN: The Obama campaign tried to downplay the matter.
DAVID AXELROD (Campaign manager): The working -- white working class has gone to the Republican nominee for, for many elections. So, this is not new that Democratic candidates don't rely solely on those votes.
SHIPMAN: But that's not right quite. And writing off a whole voting block could seem as elitist as Obama's controversial "bitter" comments about the same group. And within hours, Bill Clinton jumped on those remarks.
BILL CLINTON: And, today our opponent's campaign strategist said, well, we don't really need these working class people to win. And I'll tell you something, America needs you to win and, therefore, Hillary wants your support.
SHIPMAN: Still, many say the numbers could reflect a tough primary race and that minds will change.
WILLIAM GALSTON (Brookings Institution): I would expect that a fair number of the white voters who now say it's, you know, Hillary Clinton or the highway, will in fact end up casting their votes for Senator Obama if he is the nominee.
SHIPMAN: And it's also important to remember, we are talking about a small number of voters here, potentially insignificant in the general election but it is something to watch, Diane.

CBS's Smith Continues to Lament 'Nasty'
NC GOP Campaign Ad

Following a story on Wednesday's CBS Evening News when fill-in anchor Harry Smith described how an anti-Obama ad run by the North Carolina GOP was proof of the campaign getting "nastier," on Thursday's Early Show Smith continued that theme as he exclaimed: "And the tone of the remainder of the campaign season may be getting even nastier." Correspondent Chip Reid followed with a report on the North Carolina Republican ad and framed it this way: "A lot of that nastiness is being aimed directly at Barack Obama, and it's not just coming from Hillary Clinton and her campaign. You know there's an absolutely crucial primary in North Carolina in less than two weeks. And now the North Carolina Republican Party is going after Obama with a new hard-hitting negative ad."

Read the April 24 CyberAlert on Wednesday's Evening News coverage here: www.mediaresearch.org

The ad, directed at the two North Carolina Democrats vying for the nomination for governor of the state in the May 6 primary, plays a clip of Barack Obama's pastor Jeremiah Wright saying "God damn America!" and then criticizes both Democratic candidates for their endorsement of Obama: "Now Beth Perdue and Richard Moore endorse Barack Obama. They should know better. He's just too extreme for North Carolina."
[This item, by Kyle Drennen, was posted on Thursday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

After playing the ad, Reid went on to describe how Obama is being "hammered from both sides": "Now, John McCain denounced that ad, but meanwhile, Hillary Clinton is continuing to go after Obama...Obama, for his part, though, is insisting that he's going to continue to try to at least to take the high road...So, as he gets hammered from both sides, we'll see, Harry, how long he can keep that positive tone."

Here is the full transcript of Thursday's Early Show segment:

7:00AM TEASER:
MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: The race for the White House gets nastier. And with no end in sight, can a revived Hillary Clinton shape a strategy to win the nomination?

HARRY SMITH: The Democratic candidates have now turned their attention to the May 6th primaries in Indiana and North Carolina. But does Senator Clinton, who is behind in delegates and money, have a real shot at winning the nomination? We're going to take a look at this question in just a couple of minutes. The answer may surprise you.

7:01AM SEGMENT:

HARRY SMITH: First, though, the battle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama turned rather rough in Pennsylvania. And the tone of the remainder of the campaign season may be getting even nastier. CBS News Capitol Hill Correspondent Chip Reid is live with more on that this morning. Good morning, Chip.

CHIP REID: Well, good morning, Harry. A lot of that nastiness is being aimed directly at Barack Obama, and it's not just coming from Hillary Clinton and her campaign. You know there's an absolutely crucial primary in North Carolina in less than two weeks. And now the North Carolina Republican Party is going after Obama with a new hard-hitting negative ad.
NARRATOR: For 20 years Barack Obama sat in his pew listening to his pastor.
JEREMIAH WRIGHT: And then wants us to sing 'God Bless America?' No, no, no. Not God bless America. God damn America!
NARRATOR: Now Beth Perdue and Richard Moore endorse Barack Obama. They should know better. He's just too extreme for North Carolina.
REID: Now, John McCain denounced that ad, but meanwhile, Hillary Clinton is continuing to go after Obama. Her basic argument is that she believes she is the stronger candidate, the one who can defeat McCain in November. She says Obama can't beat McCain in November. Obama, for his part, though, is insisting that he's going to continue to try to at least to take the high road.
BARACK OBAMA: I know that people like to talk tough and use a lot of rhetoric about fighting and obliterating and all that stuff. You know, I've always believed that if you're tough, you don't have to talk about it.
REID: So, as he gets hammered from both sides, we'll see, Harry, how long he can keep that positive tone.
SMITH: There you go. Chip Reid with us live in Washington this morning, thanks. Following Hillary Clinton's victory in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, the latest CBS News delegate count shows Barack Obama with 1,715, Hillary Clinton with 1,585. There have been plenty of calls for Clinton to drop out, but has her political obituary been written prematurely? Tuesday night, Hillary Clinton could not have been more clear.
HILLARY CLINTON: Some people counted me out and said to drop out. But the American people -- well, the American people don't quit, and they deserve a president who doesn't quit either.
OBAMA: And our time for change has come.
SMITH: Since Barack Obama's string of 11 victories following Super Tuesday, his camp tried to argue his nomination was mathematically inevitable.
PATRICK LEAHY: I don't see her as being the nominee, just because of the way the numbers are going.
SMITH: But there is a possible road map to a Clinton victory.
KATHLEEN FRANKOVIC: Neither she nor Barack Obama will have a majority of the total delegates to the Democratic convention based on pledged or elected delegates only. Both of them need to count on the votes of the 795 superdelegates.
SMITH: Of those 795 superdelegates, 309 remain publicly undeclared. More than enough for Clinton to make up for her deficit among pledged delegates. The Clinton campaign hopes to convince superdelegates that with her proven ability to win big states like California, Ohio, and now Pennsylvania, and Obama's inability to win the nomination outright, that she's the better choice to beat John McCain.
FRANKOVIC: She needs to carry most of the superdelegates who have yet to make a commitment to either Clinton or to Obama, but what's even more interesting is that those Democratic superdelegates who've made a commitment or say they're supporting someone don't have to stay with that person. They're free to change their mind and change their mind again.
SMITH: Change their mind and change their mind again. Joining us now from Washington, CBS News Political Consultant Joe Trippi. Joe I want to bring your attention to the front page of The Wall Street Journal this morning. "Clinton win stirs doubts on Obama." Enough doubts that if she continues to win over the next couple of weeks that these superdelegates could, in fact, go her way? What do you think, Joe?
JOE TRIPPI: I don't think so. I mean think, look, she cracked the door open to that with the win in Pennsylvania, but it's still a very, very uphill fight, Harry. She would have to win two-thirds of the superdelegates that are left. There's 300 of them left. She'd need 200. Obama only needs 100 of them. I mean, she did crack the door open. But most of these superdelegates think, are hoping that she'll get out of the race, I think, so they don't have to make the decision.
SMITH: She's not going anyplace, though.
TRIPPI: I know.
SMITH: And hang on, what if she gets close in North Carolina and what if she wins in Indiana? All of a sudden she's going to say 'I've got the mo' here. You've to come my way. I'm the one who can beat John McCain.'
TRIPPI: I think you just put -- Harry, you just put your finger on where -- where the real critical fight is right now. If she can win Indiana and upset Barack Obama in a state he's supposed to win, North Carolina, then, yeah, now she didn't just open the door a little bit, she's knocked it open and some of those superdelegates could start to move her way. But that's a very tough thing to pull off. But with this momentum out of Pennsylvania, she may be able to do it.
SMITH: Yeah, and if you're Barack Obama, in our 30 seconds that we have left right now, what do you do to swing the tide back in your direction?
TRIPPI: He's got to start getting blue collar white men to vote for him in Indiana and North Carolina. If he can do that it takes all the doubts that Clinton's made on him, takes him right off the door -- right off the table, I mean.
SMITH: There you go. Joe Trippi, as always, thanks for your expertise sir, do appreciate it. Have a good morning, we'll talk to you again soon.

Election Year Donation? NBC's 30 Rock
Sitcom Smacks Republicans

Will NBC's prime time entertainment shows function as the equivalent of DNC-TV this election year, snidely bashing Republicans in the guise of wry cultural commentary? Just last month, an episode of NBC's Medium featured an ex-POW state senator from Arizona as a murdering cannibal. And on last Thursday's episode of 30 Rock, the sitcom featured a stridently anti-Republican plot in which a fictitious conservative corporate executive (played by Alec Baldwin) launches a celebrity ad campaign to keep African-Americans from voting because, as a black character argues: "No matter what, [black Americans] are gonna always vote Democrat."

The 30-minute program was filled with potshots against the GOP and conservatives, including the idea that the tortured ex-POW John McCain is being backed by "The Committee to Re-Invade Vietnam." The corporate executive portrayed by Baldwin, "Jack Donaghy," is a ridiculous parody of a conservative businessman, blurting out comments such as "My cologne is distilled from the bilge water of Rupert Murdoch's yacht," and "Not thinking is what makes America great."

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

Baldwin has not been exactly shy about his partisanship. Some might remember that in 1998 he ranted about stoning Republican Congressman Henry Hyde and his family to death: www.mrc.org
In 2000, Baldwin threatened that if George W. Bush was elected President "it would be a good time to leave the United States." See: www.mrc.org

A few months after the 9/11 attacks he railed that the Florida recount "has done as much damage to our country as any terrorist attack could do." See: www.mrc.org

In 2005, he frothed that "the leadership class of the Republican Party is a conservative Christian loony bin....a bunch of sociopathic maniacs who have their lips super-glued to the ass of the conservative right." See: www.mrc.org

MRC intern Lyndsi Thomas took down the key parts of the April 17 episode of 30 Rock, which began with Donaghy attempting to round up celebrity talent for a McCain fundraiser, only to discover that the best his aide could come up with was "Bucky Bright" (played by Tim Conway), a child star from the '40s and '50s.

"Good God," Baldwin's character exclaims. "When did the party become so boring? The Democrats have all the good celebrities."

So Donaghy recruits "Tracy Jordan," the African-American star of the fictional NBC show that Donaghy oversees, to make a Republican commercial designed to help the party bring in minorities. Jordan, played by Tracy Morgan, is at first resistant:

JACK DONAGHY: Tracy, my friend. Have you ever considered becoming the celebrity face of the Republican party?
TRACY JORDAN: What? Hell, no. Black people supporting Republicans? Does hot support cold? Does rain support the earth?
DONAGHY: Now that misperception is precisely why the GOP needs better celebrities, and a black celebrity such as yourself would really make us look good.

After Donaghy pitches the GOP as the party of lower taxes, gun ownership, states' rights and Abraham Lincoln, Jordan wavers: "The Republican party sounds pretty attuned to my unique way of life. But I'd be turning my back on my people to support it. You put me in a quandary, Jack Donaghy."

After a dream in which he meets the ghost of Richard Nixon (also played by Baldwin) and learning that Sammy Davis, Jr. was a Republican, Jordan signs up, but his first attempt at a pro-Republican commercial is a failure.

Right at the outset, Jordan stumbles on Donaghy's culturally insensitive script: "My fellow black-mericans '€" hey, Jack. Can I just say black Americans? There's no such thing as black-mericans." Donaghy supportively replies, "That's great, that's why you're here."

"My fellow black Americans," Jordan continues, "Dr. King once had a dream, a dream that we all share: To build a 200-foot high wall to keep Mexico out. And he also hated the estate tax." Jordan's black friend "DotCom" shakes his head in disgust: "Unbelievable."

Jordan tells Donaghy: "Jack, I don't know about this. The Republican party means less taxes, more guns, and the end of the gun tax. But everybody isn't forward-thinking like I am. No matter what, black-mericans are gonna always vote Democrat."

Donaghy agrees: "They will, won't they? Unless-"

The next scene cuts to the final commercial, in which Jordan pitches: "Black people: don't vote! Just don't do it! In the amount of time it'd take for you to vote, you could play three games of pool. Three! And that's fresh. I'm Tracy Jordan, and I improved this message." A female announcer the intones: "Paid for by the Committee to Re-invade Vietnam."

Donaghy looks to Jordan: "Sure feels good to make a difference, doesn't it."

Jordan agrees. "Yes, it does." He holds up a screwdriver. "Now if you'll excuse me, Nixon asked me to take some stuff out of his Wikipedia page."

NBC's page for 30 Rock: www.nbc.com

Letterman's 'Top Ten Signs Hillary Clinton
Is Exhausted'

From the April 24 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Signs Hillary Clinton Is Exhausted." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com

10. Spends most of her time campaigning in Sleepy's mattress stores

9. Barely has enough energy to lie about battling Bosnian snipers

8. Last night, spent 2 hours debating a coat rack

7. Agreed not to dispute Florida and Michigan delegates in exchange for a nap

6. Announced a new tax break for kitties

5. Greeted Philadelphia voters with, "It's great to be back in Tacoma!"

4. She's mismatching her pantsuits -- man, she must be exhausted!

3. When asked how she'd fight terrorism, she said two words: "Iron Man"

2. 3 AM phone call? "Let the machine get it"

1. So tired, she actually crawled in to bed with Bill

-- Brent Baker