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  • Paging Will Bunch ... Will Bunch to the white courtesy phone ...

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    During an online discussion today, Washington Post reporter Perry Bacon touted "the Reagan years" as an example of "low spending by the government":

    Indianapolis, Ind.: Is the GOP message of no spending by the federal government, which to some extent rests on the idea that the last eight years didn't happen, working. It would seem to me to be a tough sell, no matter who was the Democratic president.

    Perry Bacon Jr.: I think Republicans like that message, and Jindal and others want to make sure base Republicans are fired up. The last eight years weren't a great test of low spending by the government; Republicans would argue the Reagan years were a better example and more politically successful.

    This is complete bunk. Federal government spending increased under Ronald Reagan. Increased significantly more than it did under, for example, Bill Clinton.

    It's obvious why conservatives tell fairy tales in which the wise and noble Ronald Reagan kept government spending in check: they think it helps their political and ideological fortunes. It's less apparent why reporters like Perry Bacon repeat these myths.

  • UPDATE: That love note to Drudge from Politico's Thrush

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    Last night after the President's address to a Joint Session of Congress, we noted the following:

    Politico's Glenn Thrush is up with an awfully meaty post following the President's first address to a Joint Session of Congress tonight. It says, in full:

    46 minutes

    It took President Obama 46 minutes to mention terrorism, the military or foreign affairs.

    By Glenn Thrush 09:57 PM

    I kid you not. He seems to be saying, "Please Matt Drudge, please link to me, pretty please..."

    Well, this morning Thrush put up the following defense:

    46 minutes (redux)

    I took some heat last night/this morning for a quick blog post noting that it took President Obama 46 minutes to mention foreign affairs or terrorism.

    A couple of outlets (Media Matters and the Washington Monthly) interpreted the item as an implicit criticism of Obama's priorities.

    It wasn't. I made no judgment, just wanted to point out how thoroughly domestic issues and the economic crisis dominated the speech -- a stark contrast to the Bush years.

    But the criticism is worth noting. There's still a lot of concern on the left that Obama might still be attacked, Rove-style, for being soft on terrorism-defense-homeland security. At the moment, it seems pretty unlikely given that Obama's nearly exclusive focus on the economy perfectly mirrors public opinion. But, hey, you never know.

    By Glenn Thrush 11:05 AM

    As you can see, Thrush denies that his comment was criticism, saying that he "just wanted to point out how thoroughly domestic issues and the economic crisis dominated the speech."

    Fine. I'll take him at his word.

    But it certainly raises the question of why Thrush has yet to note that Gov. Bobby Jindal's speech did not mention Iraq or Afghanistan, and that his discussion of foreign policy -- which appeared three quarters of the way through his remarks -- was limited to two paragraphs:

    As we take these steps, we must remember, for all of our troubles at home, dangerous enemies still seek our destruction. Now is no time to dismantle the defenses that have protected this country for hundreds of years or to make deep cuts in funding for our troops.

    America's fighting men and women can do anything. If we give them the resources they need, they will stay on the offensive, defeat our enemies, and protect us from harm.

    That's It.

    If it's actually worth noting "how thoroughly domestic issues and the economic crisis dominated" President Obama's address, wouldn't the same hold true for Governor Jindal's response?

    H/T B.D. and M.G.

  • When Drudge headlines backfire

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Here's the big one today:

    WAS IT SOMETHING HE SAID?

    See, when Drudge posted the headline/graph Wednesday morning, Feb. 25, and the graph only showed stock activity between 10 am and 11 am, it was supposed to be a ha-ha moment: Obama addressed the nation about the economy last night and the market opened way down. I guess readers are supposed to see a direct connection between the two because conservatives have decided that Obama's entire presidency is going to be judged, hour-by-hour, by the stock market.

    But uh-oh. Look what happens around 2pm. The stock market recovered its losses for the day. Did the rebound have anything to do with Obama or his rhetoric today? No. Just like the early decline didn't have anything to do with Obama. (Unexpected declines in housing prices did, though.)

    The truth is, the longer Drudge keeps the graphic up on his site the more people will see the absurdity of the exercise.

    UPDATE:

    Drudge gives in around 3:30 pm and changes the headline to "STOCKS REBOUND"

    UPDATE:

    The comedy continues. At 4 pm Drudge goes back to WAS IT SOMETHING HE SAID? Is he going to do this for four years?

    FYI: The graphic above continually updates and is now showing the latest Dow movement, and does not reflect the activity at the time Drudge first posted on Wednesday, Feb. 25.

  • It took two people to write this?

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    From the New York Daily News' Kenneth R. Bazinet and David Saltonstall the article headlined, "Shades of inauguration as President Obama begins with gaffe':

    President Obama delivered a smooth speech Tuesday night. But just like Inauguration Day, it began with a gaffe. After Obama ended his high-fiving march to the podium, the rookie President started to launch into his address. "Madam Speaker," he began. What he forgot is that the House speaker always introduces the President first. And Nancy Pelosi wasn't about to let her moment pass - she quickly cut him off to give her formal introduction.

    Did Obama suffer a gaffe at Inauguration Day when Chief Justice John Roberts messed up the oath? Not really. Was Obama's start to his speech Tuesday night in any way newsworthy? Of course not.

  • The Washington Times, loyal to the end

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    It might seem like nobody liked Bobby Jindal's speech last night. Few seem able to muster higher praise for it than Politico's insistence that Jindal "didn't exactly lay an egg" - and that came in the midst of an article that quoted several people trashing the speech.

    In situations like this, the RNC must be relieved it has an in-house newsletter to keep the troops' spirits high. I refer, of course, to the Washington Times. Here's how the Times assessed Jindal's speech:

    In an inspirational tone reminiscent of the president's speech, Mr. Jindal tried to assure Americans - and potential voters - that the country has the ability to overcome its current troubles.

    But the Times was apparently unable to find anyone else who shared that view. The paper quoted only two people other than Jindal in the article - both conservatives - but neither praised Jindal's speech.

    The result was a bizarre article in which a paid Republican party spokesperson offered a relatively neutral assessment of Jindal -- "a rising star and is a part of a new generation of leadership within the Republican Party" -- while a theoretically-neutral newspaper offered praise that even staunch conservatives don't seem to be willing to agree with.

  • Does ABC's The Note read ABC's own polling?

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    From today's edition of The Note [emphasis added]:

    Add to that Obama's broader problem: that he remains far more popular than the ideas he needs to sell.

    Really? According to ABC's own polling information:

    Sixty-four percent of respondents supported the administration's $787 billion economic stimulus package and the same percentage backed his proposal to prevent housing foreclosures.

  • Funding for solar power? Sounds like something Hitler would do.

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Wall Street Journal editorial board member Holman Jenkins didn't like Barack Obama's comments about developing renewable energy sources:

    Put away the "energy independence" conceit. This notion, a favorite of Tojo and Hitler, was debunked by Churchill, who reasoned that true energy security came from a diversity of suppliers, not the foolish pursuit of self-sufficiency.

  • Politico comes to Jindal's defense

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    In a rather odd turn of editorializing that completely contradicts the assembled facts in a news article, the Politico's Andy Barr collected lots of quotes for a piece article about Gov. Bobby Jindal's response to Obama's speech last night; all the quotes claimed Jindal blew it.

    But then Barr brushed the analysis aside to announce [emphasis added]:

    While Jindal may have missed a prime opportunity to establish himself as a leading Republican presidential contender in 2012, he didn't exactly lay an egg.

    Really? Here's what people in Barr's own article said about Jindal's ' performance:

    *"I think he had a really poor performance tonight, I'm sorry to say."

    *"The delivery was not exactly perfect."

    *"His basic message was sound but his language was hackneyed and his performance was wooden."

    *"His speech came across as unserious in content and condescending in its tone."

    There was not a single quote in the article that defended or praised Jindal. But don't worry governor, Politico says you didn't lay an egg.

  • UPDATED: Politico's Thrush, ABC's Klein compete for Drudge link

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    Politico's Glenn Thrush is up with an awfully meaty post following the President's first address to a Joint Session of Congress tonight. It says, in full:

    46 minutes

    It took President Obama 46 minutes to mention terrorism, the military or foreign affairs.

    By Glenn Thrush 09:57 PM

    I kid you not. He seems to be saying, "Please Matt Drudge, please link to me, pretty please..."

    Not to be outdone, Rick Klein makes the same pointless assessment during his live blogging of the speech on ABC's The Note:

    9:58 pm ET: Took a LONG while to get to foreign policy, no?

    I wonder how long it will take Drudge to read these love notes and post his own note in return -- in the form of a link.

    Bring on the traffic... daddy's gotta pay the bills (through online ad impressions.)

    UPDATE: It looks like Thrush and Klein may be trolling the Twitters for help in their quest for Drudge's affection.

  • Will media repeat Jindal's false attack on Obama, or correct it?

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    According to Ben Smith, Bobby Jindal will accuse Obama of pessimism tonight, saying:

    A few weeks ago, the President warned that our nation is facing a crisis that he said 'we may not be able to reverse.' Our troubles are real, to be sure. But don't let anyone tell you that we cannot recover - or that America's best days are behind her.

    Smith didn't mention this, but Jindal's claim is false. Obama didn't say "we may not be able to reverse" the crisis; he said if we continue to do nothing, it may reach a point where it cannot be reversed. And he didn't say "we cannot recover" or that "America's best days are behind her." Simply didn't happen.

    Here's Obama's February 5 op-ed:

    What Americans expect from Washington is action that matches the urgency they feel in their daily lives -- action that's swift, bold and wise enough for us to climb out of this crisis.

    Because each day we wait to begin the work of turning our economy around, more people lose their jobs, their savings and their homes. And if nothing is done, this recession might linger for years. Our economy will lose 5 million more jobs. Unemployment will approach double digits. Our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse.

    That's why I feel such a sense of urgency about the recovery plan before Congress. With it, we will create or save more than 3 million jobs over the next two years, provide immediate tax relief to 95 percent of American workers, ignite spending by businesses and consumers alike, and take steps to strengthen our country for years to come.

    UPDATE: Salon's Alex Koppelman is all over this:

    That's misleading, at best, though it's a cute little frame. ("Obama doesn't believe in you!") In context, it's clear that the quote Jindal refers to means almost exactly the opposite of what he says it does.