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Media Matters: Rudy Giuliani != John Rambo

| Wed Oct. 24, 2007 2:31 PM EDT

giuliani_rambo.jpg

From the best Media Matters item ever:

In an August 23 article on former New York City mayor and Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani's recent campaign swing through New Hampshire, USA Today reporter Jill Lawrence wrote: "Suffice it to say Republicans have never had a presidential candidate like this -- half Woody Allen, half Rambo and 100% cerebral."
This is the first time Media Matters for America has documented a news outlet comparing Giuliani to the fictional character John Rambo, the Medal of Honor-winning former Green Beret portrayed by Sylvester Stallone in numerous action films. However, media figures have repeatedly depicted Giuliani as a tough guy:
* On the June 12 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, MSNBC host Chris Matthews called Giuliani a "street fighter," adding, "He was there on the curb when 9-11 struck. He had soot on his face."


Read on
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A New Twist on the Old Chain Gang

| Wed Oct. 24, 2007 2:23 PM EDT

Somehow this seems so wrong on so many levels...

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has ordered the corrections' department to join the state's massive effort to combat the wildfires raging around San Diego. Not only do the prisons have a bunch of fire trucks to lend to the overtaxed fire departments, but the New York Times reports that more than 2,600 inmates, trained as firefighters, are now out there fighting to save Mel Gibson's house San Diego.

Fake News from PhRMA

| Wed Oct. 24, 2007 1:46 PM EDT

The pharmaceutical industry apparently isn't succeeding in its traditional PR efforts to get reporters and TV shows to say nice things about drug companies, so it's decided to create its own TV news show to get the word out. The Hill reports that former Louisiana congressman Billy Tauzin will be hosting "Healthcare Campfire" on Sundays in DC to put a positive spin on the industry that created Vioxx and fen-phen. The show, designed to look like any morning talk show, is actually a 30-minute infomercial paid for by Tauzin's employer, the industry group PhRMA, and will include guests like Montel Williams, a multiple sclerosis sufferer who's been flacking for PhRMA for a while now, and former White House press secretary Tony Snow. Clearly lots of people will be giving up football to tune in for this one!

Conservative Blog Bans Ron Paul Supporters

| Wed Oct. 24, 2007 1:24 PM EDT

ron_paul_supporters.jpg

Ron Paul can't catch a break. He gets repeatedly disrespected by the media, he gets more contributions from the military than any other Republican presidential candidate but is slimed as a defeatist, and he does well in polls but can't get taken seriously. And now conservatives are turning against him because he's ginning up too much support.

Conservative website/blog hub Redstate is banning Ron Paul supporters. Says some fascist webmaster dude named Leon: "Effective immediately, new users may *not* shill for Ron Paul in any way shape, form or fashion. Not in comments, not in diaries, nada. If your account is less than 6 months old, you can talk about something else, you can participate in the other threads and be your zany libertarian self all you want, but you cannot pimp Ron Paul."

The reason? Swear to god: Leon thinks Ron Paul supporters are actually liberals in disguise. That's just ridiculous. There are conservative supporters of Ron Paul, there are some liberal supporters of Ron Paul, and (whouda thunk it?) there are libertarian supporters of Ron Paul. In addition, there are some people who don't claim a political identity or don't follow politics regularly that have been driven to Ron Paul's minimalism by the overreach and incompetence of the Bush Administration.

But there aren't any fakers, as far as I can tell. I've met a number of earnest Ron Paul supporters, but I've never met a Hillary Clinton supporter or Barack Obama supporter who went undercover at conservative sites and pimped Ron Paul to amuse themselves or to sow chaos.

To assume that Ron Paul's support is really a bunch of liberals in disguise is a particularly odd blend of denial and paranoia. And just look at the picture above. Who is Leon kidding?

Bob Kerrey Says No to Senate Run in Nebraska; Dems Chances Dim

| Wed Oct. 24, 2007 12:59 PM EDT

kerrey.jpg The Democrats' dream of a 60-vote majority in the Senate just got a lot harder to realize. Bob Kerrey, former senator from Nebraska, announced this morning that he will not come out retirement to run for the senate spot Chuck Hagel is vacating.

Without Kerrey in the race, Democrats have little hope of gaining the seat. Election tracker Charlie Cook recently told Time, "If Kerrey does run it's probably 50-50 for the Democrats. If he doesn't run probably it's 10% for the Democrats."

Fox News Speculates: al Qaeda Behind California Fires?

| Wed Oct. 24, 2007 12:41 PM EDT

Be scared, America! Al Qaeda is everywhere, and they know how to commit arson! They might have—maybe, possibly, this is completely baseless!—set the wildfires in California!

Just part of Fox News' campaign to make sure every American voter is very, very afraid at all times. If they need to fill time during their wildfire coverage, maybe they should report on this. But I'll bet they won't.

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Clinton vs. Bush on Terrorism; Also, Kucinich Sees an Alien

| Wed Oct. 24, 2007 12:12 PM EDT

The War Room is really humming today. Via them, here's how George Bush and Hillary Clinton recently chose to deconstruct and explain terrorism. Bush:

"We're at war with coldblooded killers who despise freedom, reject tolerance, and kill the innocent in pursuit of their political vision ... And one of the real challenges we face is, will we have confidence in the liberty to be transformative? Will we lose faith in the universality of liberty? Will we ignore history and not realize that liberty has got the capacity to yield the peace we want? So this administration, along with many in our military, will continue to spread the hope of liberty, in order to defeat the ideology of darkness, the ideology of the terrorists -- and work to secure a future of peace for generations to come. That's our call."

And here's Clinton, asked by Michael Tomasky whether terrorists "hate us for our freedoms" or if they have "specific geopolitical objectives":

Hilarious Poll Numbers Show Republicans Are Screwed

| Wed Oct. 24, 2007 12:06 PM EDT

Tim Grieve over at Salon got his hands on a great poll and mined it for all it's worth. I can't really add much to this:

41: Percentage of Americans who, when asked to name a Republican running for president, couldn't.
Eighty-one percent of Americans polled by the Pew Research Center could name at least one Democrat running for president. And if you need one more sign that the Republicans are just a little obsessed with Hillary Clinton, here you go: When asked to name a Democratic candidate, 78 percent of Republicans named Clinton, but only 57 percent of Republicans could name their own front-runner, Rudy Giuliani.
Overall, 62 percent of Americans could volunteer the name of Barack Obama. Twenty-eight percent remembered that John Edwards is running, but no other Democrat cracked the double-digit barrier.
Asked to name any GOP candidates in the race, 45 percent of Americans named Giuliani; 30 percent said Mitt Romney; 27 percent I.D.'d Fred Thompson; and 24 percent mentioned John McCain. Only eight percent of Americans volunteered the name of Mike Huckabee. Seven percent did the same for Ron Paul.

J.C. Watts Warns of GOP Catastrophe Amongst African-Americans

| Wed Oct. 24, 2007 11:16 AM EDT

watts.jpg One of America's three or four prominent black Republicans, J.C. Watts, has a column today about the Republican Party's refusal to reach out to black voters. While I agree with most everything Watts says here, it doesn't appear that Watts is advocating a party platform friendly to minority rights—he doesn't argue for affirmative action, hate crimes laws, increased numbers of minorities in high-level party positions, or anything else. He just wants a little of the presidential candidates' pandering to be thrown the way of the African-American community. After explaining that John McCain pandered to the religious right and Rudy Giuliani pandered to the NRA, Watts writes:

For longer than I've been involved in the political process, the Republican establishment has claimed to want to provide an alternative for the black community, yet party elite refuse to show up for the game.
The more I ponder some of the boneheaded decisions GOP candidates have made of late, I can't bring myself to believe that they are serious about capturing more than about 8 percent of the black vote.
I have often said one of the reasons more blacks don't support Republicans is because they don't trust the GOP establishment. I can, without fear of contradiction, assure you the Conventional Wisdom Caucus and the Status Quo Caucus and the same-old-tired-establishment consultants are running the GOP front-runners' campaigns -- and aiming to get no more than 1/12th of the black vote.
As evidence, I point to Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo, who was the only Republican presidential candidate to speak at the Urban League convention in July, and the fact that none of the Big Four GOP candidates showed up at Morgan State University (a historically black college) for a candidate forum hosted by National Public Radio commentator Tavis Smiley. Hmmm.
I'm perplexed by these actions because candidates say one thing about inclusion and outreach but they do another. How can you do outreach and not reach out? Not showing up for these events was a grievous and inexplicable error.

But the most damning thing Watts points out is this: "Once in the general election, and safely out of the cloistered world of Republican primary politics, our nominee will want to trot out black faces -- usually black Republicans -- to try to win the black vote. This is insulting when you consider he likely didn't show up at events that were established to reach out to the black community. "

Giuliani Says Innocent Until Proven Guilty - Keeps Accused Priest As Consultant

| Wed Oct. 24, 2007 10:53 AM EDT

Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, despite some protests from the community, is retaining his longtime friend, Monsignor Alan Placa, as a consultant for his 2008 campaign. Placa, who officiated at Giuliana's second wedding, has been accused of sexually abusing two former students and an altar boy. He has been told by the church to discontinue performing his duties as a priest.

One of the people objecting to Giuliani's decision, an alleged victim of Placa's, says that Place abused him repeatedly in 1975 when he was a student at a boys' school on Long Island.

The candidate said of Placa: "I know the man; I know who he is, so I support him. We give some of the worst people in our society the presumption of innocence and benefit of the doubt. And, of course, I'm going to give that to one of my closest friends."