He finally backs Romney, but can't bring himself to utter the words
Could Rick Santorum possibly have delivered a more tepid endorsement of Mitt Romney than reducing it to an e-mail?
What, he couldn't access his Twitter account?
Isn't this one notch above breaking up with someone by text message?
Jeff Swensen / Getty Images
Obama aides defend Biden on same-sex issue.
It is a fine political art, seeming to take a position without really doing so. But after Vice President Joe Biden came out in support of gay marriage on a Sunday talk show appearance, the Obama team has taken the opportunity to attack Mitt Romney—as the president himself stays tight-lipped.
I have no doubt that Barack Obama would come out for gay marriage tomorrow if he thought he could get away with it. For the president to say he’s “evolving” is his wink-wink way of assuring his supporters that he privately agrees with them but has to keep his lip zipped until after he’s safely reelected.
Joe Biden has now taken half a step further, hiding behind the fact that he is merely vice president of the United States.
After her agreement on the Chinese dissident blew up, it looks like Clinton managed to make a second deal. Howard Kurtz on how she may have defused the Beijing blowup.
It wasn’t easy for Hillary Clinton to hammer out a deal with Chinese leaders for the freedom of dissident Chen Guangcheng. But what made it doubly difficult was that she had to do it twice.
Rep. Chris Smith tells Howard Kurtz that the Obama administration and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not keep Chen safe in the U.S Embassy
The process was marked by missteps and misunderstandings and could still fall apart at the last minute. The secretary of state’s team was left feeling caught between Beijing’s hardline regime and the shifting moods of the blind activist, according to administration officials who declined to be identified. Clinton had worked hard to ensure that it was safe for Chen to leave the protective custody of the U.S. Embassy, only to see that agreement fall apart and her mission seemingly in tatters.
If all goes well, Chen will soon leave his native country for a period of study at New York University, a face-saving arrangement to defuse the crisis. But the Obama administration is still being extraordinarily cautious, with officials determined not to relax until Chen’s passport is stamped and he is on a U.S.-bound plane.
How the right is trying to neutralize Obama's hipness
The right has come up with a new line of attack against Barack Obama: He’s too cool.
You read that right.
Suddenly, it was an act of unpresidential affrontery for Obama to go on Jimmy Fallon’s show. Never mind that presidents and presidential candidates have been doing the late-night thing for two decades, back to Bubba’s sax-playing moment with Arsenio. Never mind that Mitt Romney recited a silly Top Ten list on Letterman and pretended to be reading Kim Kardashian’s tweets. Never mind that George W. Bush went on Oprah. Obama was a bad boy.
Five contests, lots of media, zero drama.
It has all the trappings of a big election night: five primaries, live television coverage, pundits telling us what it all means.
But what if it doesn’t mean squat?
Let’s face it: the GOP presidential race ended weeks ago. You know it, I know it, and every working journalist knows it. Maybe not Newt, but most other sentient beings. If this were a boxing match, the refs would have stopped it long ago.
Romney greets supporters at an election-night rally in Manchester, N.H. (Jae C. Hong / AP Photo)
A former presidential candidate goes way off the reservation
Why is Jon Huntsman going rogue?
Having utterly flopped in the Republican primaries, the former Utah governor now seems intent on trashing the party.
Here are the possibilities:
Forget liberal bias. A new study reveals that the press covered Romney twice as favorably as Obama during the primaries—and declared the GOP race over weeks ago, reports Howard Kurtz.
During the bruising Republican primaries, there was one candidate whose coverage was more relentlessly negative than the rest. In fact, he did not enjoy a single week where positive treatment by the media outweighed the negative.
Howard Kurtz on why President Obama received the most negative press during the primaries
His name is Barack Obama.
That is among the findings of a study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, a Washington nonprofit that examined 52 key newspaper, television, radio, and Web outlets.
The candidate is carefully avoiding most national interviews outside of Fox. Howard Kurtz on why Mitt resents the media—and what his isolation is costing him.
It wouldn’t be fair to say that Mitt Romney is hiding from the national media, exactly. Why, on Thursday morning he went on Fox & Friends, fielding such tough questions about his challenge to President Obama as: “You’re beating him with independents. How are you going to outdo him in that department?”
Mitt Romney speaks during a press conference after a campaign rally, Jan. 17, 2012 (Joe Raedle / Getty Images)
And Romney did sit down—with his wife, Ann, which seems to have been the point—for a chat this week with Diane Sawyer, which focused on Ann Romney’s role, a handful of issues, and why he once transported the family dog on the car roof.
But as he makes the pivot to general-election nominee, Romney remains a remote figure to most of those who are covering him. And some Republican campaign veterans say that makes political sense.
Hilary Rosen set off a storm by denigrating Ann Romney, but how real was it? Howard Kurtz on the politics of anger.
I’m not letting Hilary Rosen off the hook for her dumb swipe at Ann Romney, but the howls of outrage are getting to be a bit much.
You’d think the CNN prognosticator had gone to the Romney mansion, leapt over a couple of Cadillacs, and hit the candidate’s wife in the face with a cream pie.
Mark Von Holden, WireImage / Getty Images
It was merely the latest example of the manufactured outrage business. Somebody in public life makes a stupid remark, and grown adults practically faint, so stricken are they by the offending words. It’s faux political theater of the kind that can grip cable-news outlets for days.
A fired producer insists he’s no “sociopath.”
After a week of intrigue, I came face to face—well, via satellite at least—with the Fox News mole.
Joe Muto was a $60,000-a-year associate producer for Bill O’Reilly when he started posting anonymously at Gawker. Within about 24 hours, Fox caught him, fired him and is threatening to sue him.
Why would he do such a thing?
In an interview on CNN’s Reliable Sources, I began by calling Muto a “weasel” and a “traitor”—throwing his own words back at him—and asked him why he blew up his career.
Her popularity is up, her guard is down, and her image as a shrew is a relic of the past. What’s changed for the secretary of State—and what are the implications for 2016?
Hillary Clinton bears the battle scars of a lifetime: the attacks on her ambitious role as first lady, her gargantuan health-care plan, her standing by her man after the Monica mess, her brittle presidential campaign that fumbled away a 30-point lead.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton checks her PDA upon her departure in a military C-17 plane from Malta bound for Tripoli, Libya October 18, 2011. (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)
But suddenly she is awash in waves of positive press, even being described as “cool,” and the 2016 whispers are growing louder.
“Many people are saying, ‘Gee, she’s a pretty tough woman who’s taken a lot of hits and really come back,’” says James Carville, the Cajun strategist who helped Bill Clinton win the White House two decades ago. “The fact is she’s done a good job, she’s overcome adversity despite the personal disappointment. It’s a classic story.”
The media find a veepstakes favorite
The Great Mentioner has settled on a running mate for Mitt Romney.
Geez, that was fast.
Rob Portman, start writing your convention speech.
Never heard of Portman? Doesn’t matter, you will, whether he winds up being chosen or not.
A quiet campaign is under way to portray the candidate as an average family man. Howard Kurtz on the media’s role in softening Romney’s image.
The story about a 35-year friendship between Mitt Romney and Benjamin Netanyahu was striking for reasons that had nothing to do with international diplomacy.
Mitt Romney declaring victory in the Wisconsin presidential primary in Milwaukee on April 3 (M. Spencer Green / AP Photo)
To be sure, it was interesting to learn that the future presidential candidate and future prime minister met in 1976 when both worked for the Boston Consulting Group. But the real head-snapper in the New York Times piece last weekend came in the seventh paragraph.
“We can almost speak in shorthand," Mr. Romney said in an interview. "We share common experiences and have a perspective and underpinning which is similar.”
What we lose when a media giant leaves the scene.
The passing of Mike Wallace has got me thinking about the passing of a journalistic generation.
Mario Suriani / AP Photo
Wallace was unusual, to say the least, in that his career spanned seven decades and he helped create—and came to define—investigative reporting on television. But in recent years I have gone to memorial services for, or memorialized in print, such industry giants as Walter Cronkite, Don Hewitt, Peter Jennings, Daniel Schorr, Tim Russert, and Johnny Apple. And the likes of Charlie Gibson and Barbara Walters (mostly) have headed into retirement.
This is not a lament that things have gone to hell in a handbasket since some mythical golden era. There are tremendously talented journalists today, and they must operate in a faster-paced, multimedia environment. Anthony Shadid of The New York Times, who died recently in Syria, was as fine a foreign correspondent as has ever traveled the globe.
"60 Minutes" star Mike Wallace, pioneer of the ambush interview, died Saturday. Howard Kurtz reflects on his time with the broadcast legend, and how Wallace changed the face of television.
Mike Wallace was a force of nature, and I’ve been on the receiving end of his gale-force personality.
The iconic CBS newsman, whose death at 93 was reported Sunday, was of course famous for ambush interviews and hidden-camera investigations, but he could take things too far. In 1994 I reported that he had secretly taped a conversation with a reporter, Karon Hall, who thought she was just providing background information to the program and did not want to go on the air. CBS wound up reprimanding Wallace for “a violation of journalistic ethics.”
The next time I spoke to him on the phone, he greeted me with thusly: “Hello, you prick.” But he said it good-naturedly, having realized he was wrong.
Few expected Mississippi’s senior senator to stand for reelection. Now he’ll be bringing the Republican Party’s civil war to another state, facing an insurgent from the right next June.