If you've read this far, you are no doubt desperate to know the crucial role that Obama's vital team partner and loyal sidekick Vice President Joe Biden is playing in this historic legislative maneuvering over healthcare. After all, he was a senator when Obama was in elementary school.
Well, actually Biden's not doing much, it seems. And he doesn't have anything to say about the healthcare storm.
Washington activities are so important and so urgent that JB is silent (lest he screw it up with something spontaneous?).
According to his official White House weekend schedule, Biden's taking another entire weekend off to catch up on whatever he catches up on up in Delaware
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - If the U.S. Congress fails to agree on a healthcare bill soon, the opportunity for a sweeping overhaul of the $2.5 trillion system will be lost for a generation, Vice President Joe Biden warned on Tuesday.
Biden was speaking just hours before Democratic lawmakers were to meet at the White House with President Barack Obama, who is pressing them to reach agreement and pass a bill on his signature domestic policy issue.
Biden said if the bill did not pass in this Congress "it is going to be kicked back for a generation."
He also said he expected independent Senator Joe Lieberman, who caucuses with Democrats and is a key vote on the healthcare overhaul, would vote in favor of the final bill.
Lieberman has threatened to join Republicans in opposing the bill, complicating Democratic efforts to gather the 60 votes needed to overcome Republican opposition.
"I think Joe's judgment is wrong in this," Biden said in an interview on MSNBC. "I'm confident Joe is going to see the light, I'm confident he is going to vote for a final bill, but there is an awful lot of gamesmanship going on right now."
As if the media's attention paid Barack Obama's recent greeting of the Japanese Emperor Akihito with a bow wasn't stupid enough, here comes LA Times blogger/former Laura Bush press secretary Andrew Malcolm to dumb things down even further:
What makes this one especially dumb? Obama wasn't bowing in the photo Malcolm was referring to. He was leaning forward while speaking, just like roughly everybody does every day.
Which Malcolm turns into this: "Obama leaning way over to stress his point isn't technically a bow..."
Like the difference between a bow and leaning forward in your seat while talking is a technicality.
Los Angeles Times reporter -- and former Laura Bush flak -- Andrew Malcolm struggles with many aspects of his current career, but reporting on polls may give him the most trouble.
Lately, the erstwhile Bush aide has appeared to be auditioning for a gig with Sarah Palin by -- among other things -- repeatedly offering absurd apples-and-oranges comparisons of Palin's favorability rating with President Obama's job approval rating.
But Malcolm outdid himself today, shoe-horning in a sentence about Palin's favorability rating into a blog post about public skepticism that Obama has done enough to deserve the Nobel Peace Prize:
Almost nearly not quite one-in-five Americans believes that President Obama has accomplished enough to deserve the Nobel Peace Prize that he had to go to Norway in December to collect.
Doing the math from those numbers, that means that during the past eight weeks or so the proportion of fellow countrypersons who think the Chicago Democrat is undeserving of the global-peace-prize distinction has gone from an overwhelming 67% majority up to a gargantuan, ground-shaking tsunami landslide majority of 80%.
Perhaps having something to do with the same award-winning U.S. president having just ordered another 30,000 combat soldiers into the increasingly unpopular and peaceless battle for Afghanistan. A subject Obama might address in his address. (Text here later.)
Meanwhile, the favorability rating of Republican Sarah Palin, an unemployed itinerant author, have climbed back up to 46% from a summertime low of 39%.
So now Malcolm is comparing Palin's favorable ratings to the number of people who think Obama deserves the Nobel? That isn't apples and oranges, that's apples and ... I don't know, rattlesnakes, maybe. Or frisbees. Something very much unlike an apple, anyway.
Meanwhile, that Palin favorability rating Malcolm thinks is so darn impressive? It's 46 percent -- with a 46 percent unfavorability rating. Palin's unfavorable rating is just one point lower than John Edwards'. Her net fav/unfav is significantly worse than that of Vice President Joe Biden, who Malcolm mocks daily. Palin's numbers, in other words, are not good. Malcolm has to invent bogus comparisons in order to make them look good. (Well, that's not quite true: He could simply note that she has lower unfavorable ratings than Dick Cheney.)
Lordy, Lordy, Lordy, look what the LA Times' Andrew Malcolm did again.
Malcolm is once again trying to compare President Obama's approval ratings with Sarah Palin's popularity ratings - despite being called out on this blog for doing that just two weeks ago - to claim there is only a 1-point gap in their favorability ratings.
"Shocker polls: That Sarah Palin-Barack Obama gap melts to 1 point" reads Malcolm's headline.
Problem is, it's not true.
Lordy, Lordy, Lordy, look what the pollsters just brought in.
A pair of new surveys revealing that President Obama is still declining and has hit a new low in job approval among Americans just 56 weeks after they elected him with a decided margin.
And -- wait for it -- Republican Sarah Palin is successfully selling a whole lot more than books out there on the road. Even among those not lining up in 10-degree weather to catch a glimpse of pretty much the only political celebrity the GOP has these days.
Obama's new Gallup Poll job approval number is 47%. Last month it was 53%.
Regular Ticket readers will recall how in this space in late November we pointed out that Obama's closely watched job approval slide was coinciding with Palin's little-noticed rise in favorability. And it appeared they might cross somewhere in the 40s.
Well, ex-Sen. Obama, meet ex-Gov. Palin.
The new CNN/Opinion Research Poll shows Palin now at 46% favorable, just one point below her fellow basketball fan.
Malcolm is comparing Obama's Gallup approval number with Palin's CNN favorability rating.
In other words, Malcolm's picking more cherries than Cedric Ceballos.
In fact, CNN hasn't asked about Obama's favorability since October 16-18, but at that point, it was at 60%.
Nor has Gallup asked about Palin's favorability since October 1-4, but at that point, it was at 40%.
So we know as much as we did two weeks ago.
Which is that Palin is nowhere near as popular as Obama - and Andrew Malcolm is still a hack.
LA Times reporter (and former Laura Bush press secretary) Andrew Malcolm, last seen helping the GOP smear Sen. Al Franken with a doctored photo, has a new blog post about Franken's first legislative initiative. The post nicely illustrates how Malcolm's work tends to be pointless at best, and malicious at worst.
Malcolm doesn't bother with any actual "facts" about Franken's proposal, to provide service dogs for wounded military veterans. Instead, Malcolm assigns a frighteningly large (and quite false) price tag to the proposal:
Franken wants to establish a three-year federal pilot program to study ways the animals can help the humans and measure those benefits. The estimated cost of the freshman Democrat's pilot dog program: $15 billion.
Ha! Hilarious. So what's the real price tag? Back to Malcolm:
It's only $7.4 billion.
No, not really.
Oh, wow. Another joke -- and just as hilarious as the first! Look out, Carrot Top, Andrew Malcolm is going to put you out of business.
So what's the real price tag? Malcolm never says. He just leaves the reader assuming it's something unacceptably large. And that, basically, is Malcolm's entire post: a couple of stupid jokes perpetuating the stereotype of Democrats as big-spenders, accompanied by no actual facts. Because, you know, it's hilarious that someone would want to provide assistance and companionship for wounded military veterans. Hilarious.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee is passing around a doctored photo of Al Franken wearing a diaper. Asked why they would distribute a doctored photo of a United States Senator, an NRSC spokesman replies: "you'll note the link is to the Los Angeles Times, one of the largest newspapers in the country - if there's a question about the authenticity of the photo, you should direct your question to the LA Times."
Or that by the time Malcolm penned that post last fall, it had been clear for two years that the photo was doctored?
UPDATE: Malcolm did not respond to an email about his use of the doctored photo. But the photo has now been replaced with an alternate photo of Franken, and his blog post now includes an update reading "UPDATE: Because of serious questions over the authenticity of the previous photo here showing Franken in diapers allegedly in an on-air SNL skit, it has been removed."
The update gives no indication of how Malcolm came to use a doctored photo in the first place, or of why it took him more than nine months to remove it, even though the very first reader comment on the post, at 4:18 pm on September 21, 2008, raised questions about the photo's origin. Nor did the update address the use of the photo by Republican operatives who cited the Los Angeles Times. Nor did it indicate that the fake photo seems to have originated with Republican operatives.
In my column last week, I explained that Los Angeles Times reporter and former Laura Bush press secretary Andrew Malcolm took a few liberties with polling data in order to make things look bleak for President Obama.
Today, Malcolm is back at it. Malcolm headlined his post about a new Washington Post poll "9 of 10 Americans worry about Obama's spending deficits: Poll." Later, he wrote "Currently, 90% of Americans are worried to some degree about the exploding federal spending deficit."
Actually, he made that number up. The Post poll found 87 percent are concerned about the deficit. 87 is not 90. Granted, it's awfully close, and not substantively different. But reporters can't just go around changing poll results to fit their whims.
Far more substantively: Malcolm's headline misstates the poll results. Malcolm claims the poll found that 90 percent of Americans "worry about Obama's spending deficits." Actually, the poll didn't attribute the deficits to Obama (or to spending, for that matter -- deficits are not only about spending, they're about tax cuts, too.)
Malcolm's implication that Americans overwhelmingly worry about Obama's handling of the deficit (reinforced by his later assertion that "particular unhappiness focused on his handling of ... the federal deficit") is flatly contradicted by the poll's actual findings, in which the public is split down the middle on that question: 48 percent of Americans approve of the president's handling of the deficit, and 48 percent disapprove.
It is, however, consistent with Malcolm's assertion last week that "As the months roll by, the results, added together, the clock is running out on Obama's ability to blame the last administration for all ills; the sense of his ownership of the nation's problems appears to be growing in the American mind." That assertion, by the way, was directly contradicted by the polls Malcolm was citing, which is probably why he didn't include any actual poll numbers to buttress the assertion.
But that's not all.
Malcolm stipulates that "Obama's personal popularity remains high," though he doesn't give an actual number. Or even a made-up number that is a few points lower than the actual number. In any case, he is again misrepresenting the poll, which did not ask "personal popularity" (whether people have a favorable or unfavorable impression of Obama.) It asked whether they approve of the job he is doing. Here's the actual question: "Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president?" The poll found 65 percent approve.
But Malcolm is trying to convince readers that though Obama is personally popular, his policies and job performance are unpopular. So he falsely claims the poll found 90 percent concern about Obama's deficits (rather than 87 percent concern about the deficit.) And he changes the approval question, too, portraying it as a question about "personal popularity" rather than job approval.
The moral of the story: If Andrew Malcolm writes about poll results, you should assume that he's either lying, or he doesn't know what he's talking about. Or both.
Los Angeles Times blogger Andrew Malcolm and CNN.com's Rebecca Sinderbrand quoted statements in a blog post by McCain deputy communications director Michael Goldfarb, in which Goldfarb wrote that "there is a genuine affection for her here at McCain HQ" and that Clinton is an "impressive candidate" who "inspired a generation of women." But neither noted that before joining the McCain campaign, in his prior capacity as online editor of The Weekly Standard, Goldfarb regularly engaged in the kind of personal smears that McCain has denounced.