The Des Moines Register's endorsement of Sen. John McCain praised him for "taking stands based on principle, not party dogma," citing his positions on immigration reform and President Bush's tax cuts, among others. However, as noted in several reports, McCain has shifted his position on immigration reform and actually reversed his position on the tax cuts.
In a blog post, ABC's Jake Tapper wrote: "Some Obama supporters have asked why former Sen. Bob Kerrey, D-Neb., who endorsed Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., today, mentioned her opponent Sen. Barack Hussein Obama's middle name in remarks published in The Washington Post." Tapper's headline read: "Why Did Bob Kerrey Mention Obama's Middle Name -- 'Hussein.' " While the question is justified, Tapper himself has made unprompted references to Obama's middle name in two prior blog posts and a Nightline report.
On The Chris Matthews Show, Matthews falsely asserted that Mark Penn "raised drugs again when I had him on Hardball." In fact, that entire Hardball segment was devoted to the controversy over remarks made by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's then-campaign co-chair about Sen. Barack Obama's past drug use, and Penn was not the first to "raise" the issue. On the December 14 edition of Hardball, Matthews accused Clinton's campaign of engaging in "dirty politics"; Matthews and his guests went on to say "cocaine" a total of 10 times during the show.
A Washington Post article by Dan Balz described Rudy Giuliani as "[a]t odds with the majority of his party on abortion, guns and gays," but failed to note that Giuliani has shifted his position on these issues, moving toward more conservative stances on them, since launching his campaign for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.
On Meet the Press, Mitt Romney claimed Hillary Clinton "put politics ahead of people" because "she was one of 28 [senators] to vote against alternative methods" of stem cell research. In fact, while Clinton voted against legislation that would have provided funding for alternative research measures, but restricted embryonic stem cell research, she voted for a bill that contained provisions providing for research relating to "alternative method technologies" and also expanded funding for embryonic stem cell research. Romney also touted a recent "breakthrough" on "alternative methods of creating stem cells without having to create new embryos" while failing to note that the senior American scientist involved in the "breakthrough" has emphasized the need to continue embryonic stem cell research. Meet the Press host Tim Russert did not challenge Romney on his claims.
On the December 13 edition of Tucker, Norah O'Donnell asserted that during the same day's Hardball, Clinton adviser Mark Penn "once again brought up cocaine -- twice" in relation to Sen. Barack Obama and later claimed that Penn "on his own brought up cocaine." In fact, the entire Hardball segment was devoted to controversial remarks regarding Obama's past drug use made by Clinton's campaign co-chair, who later resigned. Chris Matthews explicitly asked Penn at least three distinct questions about the topic, and Penn had offered at least two specific responses before he used the word "cocaine."
The Washington Post's Robin Givhan wrote: "One of the most distinctive elements of Barack Obama's public style comes down to what he so often is not wearing: patriotism on his sleeve." Givhan continued: "No flag pin on the lapel. No hand on heart during the national anthem. And he generally shuns bold red ties." In the piece, Givhan offered no explanation as to how a "bold red tie" is a "usual symbol of nationalism and politics," or how Obama's alleged avoidance of "bold red ties" constitutes a statement on patriotism.
In an article on "what you might not know about" Sen. Barack Obama, The Washington Post's John Solomon wrote that, as a state senator, Obama "declined to take a position" on parental notification legislation, "voting 'present' instead of 'yes' or 'no.' " Solomon continued: "But five years earlier, he had filled out an issues questionnaire ... opposing such notifications." But Obama's "present" votes were reportedly part of a strategy he had worked out with the Illinois Planned Parenthood Council, which opposed the measures.
Echoing the media's common characterization of Sen. John McCain as "principled" and "honest" -- and ignoring the various instances in which McCain has fallen in line with the Bush administration or the Republican Party establishment -- Des Moines Register editor Carolyn Washburn, moderator of the recent Republican debate, asked McCain: "Your reputation as a maverick has put you at odds with your own party leadership from time to time. Give us an example of a time you wished you had compromised to get something done instead of holding firm on your ideals."
On his radio show, Bill O'Reilly took a call from a listener who said, "It sounds like [Oprah Winfrey is] voting for [Sen. Barack Obama] because he's black." O'Reilly responded: "I don't think your assessment is wrong." In a recent speech, after naming several specific actions Obama has taken, Winfrey said: "We need a president with clarity and conviction, who knows how to consult his own conscience and proceed with moral authority. We need Barack Obama."
Responding to a question from CBS' Katie Couric, Rudy Giuliani asserted that "Iran is moving toward accomplishing the worst nightmare of the Cold War -- nuclear weapons in the hands of an irresponsible regime. And then they're threatening the use of these weapons." Although the most recent National Intelligence Estimate on Iran concluded with "high confidence" that Iran had "halt[ed]" its nuclear weapons program in 2003, Couric did not challenge Giuliani's assertion or ask him a follow-up question about his answer.