On Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough again claimed that Al Franken "can steal" enough votes in the Minnesota Senate race to emerge victorious, marking at least the sixth time Scarborough has invoked "steal[ing]" votes since the recount began. Scarborough later denied that he was "saying Al Franken's stealing votes" but was instead "just saying how easy would it be for Al Franken to steal 150 [votes]." He added: "I'm like a scientist. This is a theory that I'm trying out there."
Previously having stated that Democrat Al Franken "only needs to steal 130 more votes to win" his race against Republican Sen. Norm Coleman for Minnesota's U.S. Senate seat, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough again raised the subject of "steal[ing]" votes on the December 16 edition of Morning Joe -- at least the fifth time he has made such comments since the recount began on November 19. After co-host Mika Brzezinski reported that Franken is behind Coleman by 188 votes, Scarborough asked Pat Buchanan, "Buchanan, can you steal 188 out of 1,500? That's easy, right?"
Here's a list of news orgs that have reported that one of Sen. Norm Coleman's big donors is under investigation for possibly try to funnel money his way:
New York Times, Houston Chronicle, Washington Times, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, UPI, Hotline, Salon, washingtonpost.com, usnews.com, CNN.
A news org that still hasn't yet touched the story? AP.
Joe Scarborough responded to Media Matters' highlighting of his assertions that Al Franken "only needs to steal" a small number of votes to win his Senate race, by saying: "Can I have my Media Matters moment here, because it drives them crazy when I say this. How many -- how many votes does Al Franken have to steal to get elected in Minnesota? OK, there, I've said it. Now you guys can write another article. That's my little present to you." He continued: "Now, for the record, Media Matters, I've never accused Al Franken of stealing votes. I just asked Pat Buchanan, 'Hey, how many -- he needs 250 votes. Would those votes be hard to steal?' And, of course, Pat said, 'No, I've got those in the back of my station wagon, Joe.' "
Again downplaying President-elect Barack Obama's victory, Karl Rove claimed on Today that the "call for change gave Barack Obama the presidency of the United States with 2.1 percent more than Al Gore got." In fact, in 2000, Gore received 48.38 percent of the popular vote, and according to unofficial election results posted on National Public Radio's website, Obama has received 52.7 percent of the popular vote, which is a difference of 4.32 percentage points.
Referring to the Minnesota Senate race recount on Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity claimed Al Franken is challenging ballots "because he's trying to litigate his way into the Senate seat." But as of November 24, according to the office of the Minnesota secretary of state, Franken and Sen. Norm Coleman have challenged roughly the same number of ballots.
Discussing the recount in the Minnesota Senate race between Al Franken and Sen. Norm Coleman, Fox News' Bret Baier asserted that the Franken campaign has been "dogged" in challenging questionable ballots and then aired a photograph of a ballot challenged by Franken, stating: "Franken is challenging this ... ballot, although the bubble beside Coleman's name appears to be clearly marked." However, Baier did not note or display any of the published examples of ballots that the Coleman campaign has challenged which "appear to be clearly marked" for Franken or another candidate besides Coleman.
Attacking Media Matters on his radio show for noting that his previous claim that Sen. Norm Coleman "was certified the winner" in the Minnesota Senate race was false, Bill O'Reilly repeated the falsehood, claiming: "[W]hat I said was, Coleman's victory was certified by the state because it was. He had 215 more votes, which is absolutely true." In fact, the Minnesota State Canvassing Board did not "certif[y]" a "victory" for Coleman or Al Franken, having authorized an automatic recount of ballots for that race; Minnesota election law states that "no certificate of election shall be prepared or delivered until after the recount is completed."
On Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough again suggested that Al Franken is willing to "steal" votes in order to prevail against Sen. Norm Coleman. In making the suggestion, Scarborough again gave no evidence of any wrongdoing by Franken. Gov. Tim Pawlenty stated as recently as November 16 that "[a]s of this moment, there is no actual evidence of wrongdoing or fraud in the process."
Echoing Sen. Norm Coleman's campaign, Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that Coleman "was certified the winner" in the Minnesota Senate race against Al Franken, adding, "Coleman won by a mere 215 votes." In fact, the Minnesota State Canvassing Board did not certify a winner in the Senate race, having authorized an automatic recount of ballots for that race.
A few minutes ago, MSNBC's David Gregory spent about thirty seconds telling viewers about the recount in the Minnesota Senate race. In those thirty seconds, Gregory said very little -- but he did tell viewers the recount will occur "at a total cost of about $86,000 to Minnesota taxpayers."
It's odd that Gregory would focus on the recount's cost, particularly given that it wasn't a detailed report -- the cost of the recount was one of very few bits of information Gregory gave viewers. The cost just isn't newsworthy. Media outlets don't typically emphacize how much elections cost; they certainly don't emphacize how much individual aspects of elections cost. (When was the last time you saw a newscaster announce "election workers rolled voting machines out of storage this morning, at a cost to taxpayers of ..."?)
And that's all this recount is: it is one part of the elections process. Its cost is, simply put, irrelevent. Elections are worth doing correctly no matter how much they cost. Not only that, but $86,000 is, even in the midst of a struggling economy, an utterly trivial amount of money for the state of Minnesota to spend in order to get the results of an election right.
How trivial? The $86,000 cost comes out to 1.7 cents per Minnesota resident. One point seven cents. It's a mere three cents per vote. Anybody out there think making sure each vote is counted correctly isn't worth three cents? Anyone at all?
So why is David Gregory making a point of stressing the cost of the recount, if that cost is completely trivial (and would be worth spending if it were ten times as much)?
What we do know is that Norm Coleman, clinging to a 200 vote lead, has stressed the cost of the recount in arguing that it should not proceed. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune has reported "Coleman urged Franken to waive his right to a recount, saying that the prospect of changing the result was remote and that a recount would be costly to taxpayers (about $86,000)."
Awfully nice of Gregory to carry Coleman's water like that, isn't it?
Discussing the possibility of Democrats gaining a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, Joe Scarborough stated, "So, with [Sen. Ted] Stevens losing, Democrats have 58 [senators and Senator-elects]. They've got this run-off in Georgia, which could get them to 59. ... If Al Franken steals enough votes in Minnesota, they get to 60. I'm not saying he stole any votes, I'm just saying, as a Republican from Florida, I mean, it's a close race. Steal some votes, you get over the top." In fact, Minnesota Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty has repeatedly said there is no actual evidence of fraud in the vote count of the state's Senate race.
Time repeated an "accus[ation]" by Sen. Norm Coleman's campaign that Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie has " 'breach[ed] neutrality' by saying that the State Canvassing Board will probably consider taking up ... tossed absentee ballots" in advance of a recount in the Senate race between Coleman and Al Franken. But Time did not note that Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty approved of the composition of the board Ritchie named to certify the vote and oversee the recount or that a lawyer for Coleman's campaign reportedly said that the "state should feel good about who's on the panel."