And Klein’s CNN “opinion-free, middle-of-the-road alternative”? Palin (and Tea Partiers) escapes unscathed. Today American Morning co-host Kiran Chetry seemed loaded for bear, or another moose predator, Sarah Palin. In a political segment (with Republican stalwart Mary Matalin and Democratic strategist Lanny Davis) entitled “Sarah Palin on the Stump,” Kiran a la Carol Costello seemed to be salivating for some piping hot minced Palin meat for breakfast. However, the big trophy game seemed a mite much for her to take down.
Before the discussion, Kiran commented, “Love her or hate her, it’s hard to ignore Sarah Palin. The former Alaska governor VOP [sic] vice presidential candidate is certainly a political lightning rod and she struck again over the weekend when she introduced Senator John McCain at a campaign event.”* Kiran continued, “After a year of sort of sniping between Senator John McCain’s camp and Sarah Palin’s camp, they’re back together….What’s going on, Mary?”
Countering Kiran’s clear implication, James Carville’s better half replied, “Well, the Senator and Governor Palin were never at odds. Campaigns…tend to get tense at the end there and that one did….But, the Senator has always been loyal to her and vice versa.”
Turning to Davis, Kiran persisted, “Well, Lanny,…John McCain was asked several months back to name some GOP…hopefuls that could run for President and he didn’t mention Sarah Palin, his former GOP running mate.” Then noting Palin’s popularity with “these crowds” and citing various polls that indicated that a majority of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents did not want her to run for President, Kiran asked, “What to make of that division there, Lanny?”
Unswayed by Kiran’s spin, Davis responded, “[N]ice to be on with Mary, and we usually agree which is a disappointment to your audience that loves partisanship. I agree with Mary…that John McCain has always taken a gracious high road and so has Sarah Palin….[D]espite the sniping among the staffs, it did not happen between the two of them.”
Then, the Clinton diehard added, “I give Sarah Palin a lot of credit. First of all, she’s always impressed me as a political performer and also a political talent, and I think any Democrat that underestimates her is making a mistake. Secondly, I give her credit for standing up to this Tea Party movement that is opposing John McCain, and… [her] going there tells me…that she’s willing to stand up to what she might consider her base: And, that is a good definition of political courage.”
Seemingly surprised by Davis’ positive evaluation of Palin, Kiran remarked, “Yeah, it’s a little bit confusing, though, because a lot of the things that she said are the exact things that the Tea Party wants to happen: I mean from less government, lower government. In fact, let’s listen to what she said. This is at a rally in Senator Harry Reid’s hometown of Searchlight, Nevada, on Saturday.”
[On the tape, Palin proclaims, "We're not inciting violence. Don't get sucked into the lame stream media's lies about conservative America's standing up for freedom as inciting violence. Violence isn't the answer. It's a bunch of bunk what the media is trying to feed you. Don't let them divert attention from the debate."]
After the footage aired, Kiran continued, “So, she [Palin] seemed to brush off the media and brush off the violence and sort of point the finger at the media. She also…said it was ‘ginned up’ and she referred to the media as the ‘lame stream media.’ Mary, does that work, blaming the media, instead of talking more seriously about some of these quite credible threats that have happened in the wake of health care reform passing?”
Matalin retorted, “Well, I don’t know that they’re necessarily credible. All of that was videotaped, and they’ve yet to appear to be any credible appearances filmed. But, that’s not the issue here. The Tea Party activists, we should be careful not to paint them with a broad brush: They’re not monolithic: They are largely pulled together by their constitutionalism….They want less government or government closer to the people that’s more accountable. And, the main stream press was slow to come to cover them.”
Then, underscoring her disagreement with Kiran’s claim of “quite credible threats,” Matalin asserted, “But, these notions of violence and threats that that has happened, I don’t think is credible. And, secondly, that it never happens to Republicans or conservatives or by the hands of liberal activists is nonsense.”
Appearing to seek some support, Kiran queried, “Lanny, do you take the same thoughts as Mary when it comes to whether or not this is a bigger deal what we’ve been talking about?”
Offering little solace, Davis declared, “I’m sorry to disappoint your audience that wants some fireworks here. But, I do agree with Mary….[T]he Tea Party movement does represent conservative thinking but there are extremists in both sides that both parties need to repudiate, including Sarah Palin. There was evidence of some nasty behavior and she should repudiate that the same way Democrats should among the haters on the left of which there are many.”
Apparently disappointed, a slightly smiling Kiran concluded, “Alright, Mary Matalin and Lanny Davis, great to get your take this morning. Appreciate it.” As Mary and Lanny bid each other adieu, Kiran’s co-host John Roberts sympathetically chuckled in the background before he took the reins again. In response, Kiran’s seemingly forced smiled briefly broadened.
Clearly, Kiran missed her mark this morning. No kill: ergo, no meal. Hunting hint: Reload and shoot straight.
*American Morning – 03/29/10 (@8:11 a.m. ET)