Media figures have claimed or suggested that President-elect Barack Obama is only now admitting that he may have to scale back his campaign agenda as a result of the weak economy. In fact, Obama repeatedly said prior to the November 2008 election that some policies he proposed on the campaign trail might need to be delayed because of economic conditions.
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough falsely suggested that assertions in The Wall Street Journal about the Minnesota Senate race were the result of "reporting," including the Journal's reference to "double counting" in the race. But in claiming that there was "double counting," the Journal did not cite reporting and echoed an accusation by the campaign of the incumbent, Republican Norm Coleman.
On Morning Joe, shortly after Mika Brzezinski remarked that the weather was "so cold" that "[i]t'll freeze your car door shut," Joe Scarborough recounted, "I tried to turn the key, and it was ... locked." Then, in response to Brzezinski's comment, "Oh, American car. That's the problem," Scarborough declared: "The American car -- you know what? It's probably some Japanese engineer that made the key hold -- just sabotaged us. Kinda like blowing up things at Pearl Harbor."
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?"
In the absence of any allegations of wrongdoing by President-elect Barack Obama or his staff in connection with the scandal involving Gov. Rod Blagojevich, media figures continue to warn that a "cloud" hangs over Obama or assert that the scandal threatens to cast a "cloud" over Obama's presidency.
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.' "
Debunking the false claim, advanced by many in the media, that autoworkers employed by U.S. auto manufacturers receive $70 or more per hour in wages and benefits, Bob Shrum said on Morning Joe that "there's this one crazy statistic" that autoworkers are "paid 70 bucks an hour." Mike Barnicle added: "The $77 an hour thing is not true. It's the compilation of all the benefits." Joe Scarborough later stated, "[J]ust so everybody knows, when we talk about $77 or $45, we're not only talking about the money, the benefits, everything else, retirement, we're also talking about the money to -- the legacy costs of the existing retirees."
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."
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.
Andrea Mitchell said it was "a great irony, a sad irony, for John McCain" that Hispanic voters are "shifting to Barack Obama" even though McCain "lost his Republican base ... partly on supporting immigration reform." But Mitchell did not note that McCain reversed his position on immigration reform, aligning himself more closely with the GOP base, or that McCain stated that he would not support his own reform bill if it came up for a vote in the Senate.
Joe Scarborough falsely claimed that, during a 2001 radio interview, Sen. Barack Obama said that "the Warren Court was not, quote, 'radical enough.' " In fact, Obama didn't say the Supreme Court under Chief Justice Earl Warren was not "radical enough." Scarborough also falsely claimed that during the interview Obama said "the Warren Court did not go far enough, that actually one of the great tragedies was there was no redistribution of wealth." In fact, the "traged[y]" Obama identified during the interview was that the civil rights movement relied too much on the courts in its efforts to bring about political and economic justice.
On Morning Joe, Pat Buchanan misrepresented Senate votes by Democrats on the confirmations of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito, saying, "Roberts probably got 25 Democrats, Alito probably got a dozen." In fact, four Democrats voted to confirm Alito, while Roberts received 22 votes from Democrats.
MSNBC's Morning Joe echoed the Drudge Report by displaying the on-screen text "Gallup shock" and selectively citing only one of three findings from an October 13-15 Gallup daily tracking poll of the presidential race -- the one that showed Sen. Barack Obama holding his smallest lead over Sen. John McCain.
On Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough falsely asserted that Sen. Barack Obama said during the October 15 presidential debate that Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) "drew appropriate comparisons" in a statement invoking George Wallace and a church bombing in criticizing "the negative tone of the McCain-Palin campaign." In fact, Obama said that Lewis "inappropriately drew a comparison between what was happening [at McCain-Palin rallies] and what had happened during the civil rights movement, and we immediately put out a statement saying that we don't think that comparison is appropriate" [emphasis added].