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Happy Hour Roundup

* Here's why Shirley Sherrod may have thought White House wanted her fired:

An administration official offered a new explanation to me just now for why Sherrod made this claim, which has driven much of the coverage: While USDA official Cheryl Cook was telling Sherrod by phone she had to resign, the USDA's White House liason was in the room.

The official argues that Cook may have told Sherrod of the presence of this "White House liason," a USDA employee who oversees political appointees to the agency, as per procedure in such situations. The use of that phrase may have led Sherrod to think the White House was directly involved.

"When Cook called Sherrod, we have reason to believe she said during one of those phone calls, `The White House liason is in the room with me,'" the official tells me. "This would be a logical explanation for why she said the White House wanted her to resign."

The White House has insisted it played no role in the firing decision. Obviously some will approach this latest with caution because it's anonymous, but it's possible this could clear up a lingering mystery.


* Robert Gibbs wants media soul searching: Gibbs tells me he hopes that the Shirley Sherrod mess will prompt some media self-examination. He emails over a follow up quote to my post below on his point that the media is too willing to take its cues from the right:

"Just as the Department of Agriculture and this Administration will review its actions, I also hope it starts a conversation in the media about how it operates."

We shall see...


* Wow! John Boehner offered an unvarnished view of the Tea Partiers during a lunch with reporters today:

Some folks at these rallies, Boehner said, are "anarchists who want to kill all of us in public office," but some are Democrats, others disenfranchised Republicans and most of them are angry at the way the country is heading.

Hmm, I seem to recall that some people on the left got slammed pretty hard for making that same point.

* Three of Boehner's brothers lost jobs in this recession.

* When Obama signed the most sweeping overhaul of Wall Street regulations in generations into law today, the words he chose are well worth pondering, because they could frame the political debate for a long time to come.

* GOP Rep. Dean Heller of Nevada takes a shot at Sharron Angle for suggesting unemployment benefits have spoiled Americans:

"Three hundred dollars a week I don't think is spoiling my constituents or any constituents in the state of Nevada...I think she ought to explain more what she meant by that."

* Want to meet the government officials making the real-time decisions on the Gulf spill cleanup? Check out this snazzy new guide to who's who.

* House liberals are trying to bring back the public option -- as a way to reduce the deficit everyone says they care so much about.

* Glenn Greenwald, on Shirley Sherrod's denunciation of Fox as racist: "They really picked the wrong victim this time."

* E.J. Dionne dryly notes the moral of the Sherrod story: The instinct towards innocent-until-proven-guilty should not be "obliterated by sheer terror over what Glenn Beck might say."

* And GOP Rep. Darrell Issa may investigate the White House's Sherrod firing, though he isn't yet sure whether there's anything to investigate.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  |  July 21, 2010; 6:07 PM ET
Categories:  Financial reform , House Dems , House GOPers , Political media , Senate Dems  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: White House to media: You lap up Breitbart's nonsense, too!
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"And GOP Rep. Darrell Issa may investigate the White House's Sherrod firing, though he isn't yet sure whether there's anything to investigate."

Translation: He isn't sure an investigation would hurt the White House more than the right-wing machine in this case.

Posted by: jimeh | July 21, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

"House liberals are trying to bring back the public option"

Would that it were so.

Posted by: wbgonne | July 21, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

So the liason would have been the person who was in contact with the WH and relayed it's wishes to Cook. I'm pretty sure that's what a liason is for.

Posted by: Truthteller12 | July 21, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

I can't agree with E.J. Dionne that there is an "instinct" toward "innocent until proven guilty." I would argue that we insist on that legal presumption of innocence precisely to restrain the natural human impulse to believe the worst about another person, especially someone we don't know, or already know but don't like.

Posted by: bearclaw1 | July 21, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

More WaPo Drivel.
Screw you Greg, you sold out.

Posted by: Thozmaniac | July 21, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

also, it turns out that, guess what? the rightwing republicans are not so good at finance and are still fractious:

'Right. What makes this story serious is the fact that it has multiple angles, all of them bad news for the RNC. We have (1) the in-fighting among RNC officials, with the chairman going up against his own treasurer; (2) potentially illegal accounting tricks; (3) weak RNC fundraising in advance of a critical election season that necessitated the illegal accounting tricks; (4) another distracting scandal for Steele to deal with, just a few weeks after the last one; and (5) the fact that the controversy itself steps all over the Republican message of fiscal responsibility.'

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 21, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Gibbs: "Just as the Department of Agriculture and this Administration will review its actions, I also hope it starts a conversation in the media about how it operates."

Conversation topic at big media outlets #1:

Blame the Internet.

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 21, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Greg, I heard Michael Crowley from Time on NPR this morning referring to the idea that "Republicans are working to block legislation that would help the economy because it will help them in the Nov elections" as a theory. He was very vague and dismissive about it, as though it were a wild conspiracy theory instead of cold, hard political reality.

Did Karl Rove erase major media players' memories of him? He TOLD them the GOP was now going to take this kind of scorched earth approach, and they refuse to call him and the GOP out.

It's irresponsible and disgusting. A smart high school reporter could do his job. Maybe even Luke Russert.

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 21, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

"House liberals are trying to bring back the public option"

Would that it were so.

Maybe they should campaign on it. Couldn't hurt. They need to address the deficit or plan to lose bad in November...

Posted by: soapm | July 21, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

The liason may have been there in such a high profile incident to witness the event-not necessarily to provide a one-way conduit.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | July 21, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

I verily believe that Obama’s White House staff has lied to the American public in stating that the White House did not demand Ms Sherrod’s resignation. Ms Sherrod clearly stated that a high ranking superior at USDA told Sherrod to pull her car over to the side of the highway Sherrod was driving on to email her resignation because the Breitbart video clip was going to be on the Glenn Beck show. Obama was aware of what happened. He was briefed on the matter and agreed with what Secretary of Agriculture called a “firing” of Sherrod.
Already publications like the Washington Post are assisting in the cover-up of the White House’s complicity in the lynching. Greg Sargant’s “may have” purported explanation piece lacks journalistic integrity. Mr Sargant is another apologist for Barack Obama’s cover-up. Sargant should be called to task by the Post ombudsman for his functions as political operative of Obama. Journalists should get the facts first and then report.
Bob Gibbs and Tom Vilsack’s obfuscation of the truth and their failure to address the straightforward thrust of questions aimed at whether ANYONE AT THE WHITE HOUSE SPOKE TO ANYONE AT USDA ABOUT MS SHERROD AFTER THE BREITBART VIDEO CLIP AIRED AND BEFORE SHE WAS ASKED TO RESIGN, were repeatedly dodged. Sargant is apparently complicit it what appears to be a cover-up
The real big problem facing the nation is Barack Obama’s unconscionable ineptitude at the art of governing. The Sherrod “lynching” is just another example of Obama’s unconscionable ineptitude at the art of governing. Those actions, as admitted to by the Obama administration, constitute irrefutable admissions that Obama and his cronies intentionally violated due process clause of the Fifth Amendment to US Constitution after swearing to uphold the Constitution. Ms Sherrod lost her property rights to continued government employment without due process of law. Her firing amounted to a “lynching” for her exercise of her First Amendment right to free political speech. Lynching is defined as: “To punish (a person) without legal process or authority, especially by hanging, for a perceived offense or as an act of bigotry.”
President Obama and his crony AG Eric Holder have no respect for the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment. Here is what the AP reported on April 7, 2010 about Obama ordering the lynching of radical Muslin cleric Anwar al-Awlaki:
“WASHINGTON - The Obama administration has authorized the killing of a radical Muslim cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen believed to be hiding in Yemen and thought to have shifted from encouraging attacks on the U.S. to participating in them, according to published reports.”
Anwar al-Awlaki may be inciting terrorism, but he as an American citizen, is still entitled to the protections of the due process clause. Ordering his killing is a crimee. Obama was not elected Emperor for life, he was elected to protect and defend the US Constitution.
It smells like a cover-up.

Posted by: gorasaab | July 21, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

The LAT reports that DoJ has decided not to pursue charges against Bush DoJ officials who perpetrated the USAtty firings.,0,4504619.story

Posted by: jzap | July 21, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

As long as we're bringing up Faux Tan Man Boehner, how about some Boehner Blanket Bingo?

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | July 21, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Anybody catch the background on David Vitter's primary challenger? He's another "family values" guy.

From TPM yesterday:

If you're a political candidate, sleeping with your estranged stepson's estranged wife, it's helpful if you can fall back on an excuse like "well, at least she's not one of several prostitutes."

And, indeed, that's the fallback position Chet Traylor is left with today, only a month to go before Louisiana Republicans will face the decision of whether Traylor or incumbent Senator David Vitter will be the GOP candidate in November. The Springer-esque details are laid out in a News Star article today and, while they certainly harm Traylor's reputation as a scandal-free alternative to Vitter, they don't involve prostitutes, or knife attacks against women. So, there's that.

The time line is as follows:

Democratic State Rep. Noble Ellington claims that Traylor was "significantly involved" in the long-ago dissolution of Ellingon's marriage to Peggy McDowell, who went on to become Peggy McDowell-Traylor.

Traylor denies having anything to do with his now-deceased wife's divorce, leaving us to wonder which man -- Traylor or Ellington -- is telling the truth, with no way to confirm either story.

McDowell-Traylor later died, leaving behind two sons -- Ryan and Noble Ellington -- but no will. The sons are now suing Traylor for blocking access to information about their mother's estate. But at least one of those sons has another reason to dislike his ex-stepfather. Turns out Traylor is now romantically involved with Ryan Ellington's estranged wife, Denise Lively -- though all parties take pains to confirm that Lively's relationship with Traylor began after her separation from Ellington.

If we've done our genealogy correctly, that means Traylor is now dating his deceased wife's daughter-in-law, who's about to divorce Traylor's stepson. That may not be family values conservatism in the strictest sense. But at least nobody's a prostitute, and nobody's resorted to physical violence.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 21, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

I saw that, suekzoo1. Family Values Republicans, everyone. Moral Majority, and such as. Also.

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | July 21, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Great, now everytime I see the name John Boehner, I can't help but think of one of the best quotes about "Ronaldus Magnus" I've ever stumbled upon.

"Ronald Reagan isn't old. He's just prematurely orange." - Gerald Ford

Broken record over here, but there's two steps Dems can take that I think believe would really help mobilize the base, and appeal to persuadables in time for November.

1st step: Take any cuts to Social Security benefits off the table. This idea is simply indefensible. What budget are the so - called "deficit hawks" looking at?

2nd step: Medicare Choice (for the eleventy bazillionth time) baby. It's straightforward. And it's a positive way to deal with the long - term deficit.

Democrats could run on the progressive, widely popular plan to make Social Security solvent for generations (lift cap on amount of income taxed) and strengthen Medicare .

It would be bold. But really, would the GOP want to run against that... Medicare Choice and Social Security Forever? I really doubt it.

There could be "Rx Independence" (hokey name, sure there is something better) too through public funding of clinical trials. We have met a big chunk of the deficit, and it is PhRMA.

What about a big ass jobs program, also known as infrastructure (using that term very broadly)> I'd like to see the GOPers run against American competitiveness and job creation through... (wait for it)... creating jobs! What a concept.

Posted by: michael_conrad | July 21, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

One more idea for the whole base mobilization thing.

POTUS totally busts out a ShakesPalin during a walk and talk with (insert name of journalist here).

Better yet, have Secretary Clinton and POTUS finish each others ShakesPalin. Instant classic.

Okay, so maybe only a limited number of people would get it. But they would totally geek out. I'd be one of them.

Gibbs. Gibbs can do a ShakesPalin, right. Or toss it over to Goolsbee. He'd nail the delivery. Just don't let Vilsack go anywhere near it. That guy will totally botch it, guaranteed.

Posted by: michael_conrad | July 21, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

It seems that the right wingers are now saying that the White House and media should have known better than to accept that breitbart was acting in good faith and posting an accurate, well researched and properly sourced story.

I think I have to agree with them.

Good faith is not something that the White House has any reason to expect or any basis to believe coming from the GOP.

Posted by: cmccauley60 | July 21, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Rachel Maddow just ran a pretty long segment showing yesterday vs. today clips from the Fake News crowd. It was excellent! Of course, yesterday they were all outraged at Shirley, and today they are outraged at Obama for over-reacting.

Olbermann came back from vacation for a Special Comment, that I have to say, was terrific. He really put it to Fake News and Brightfart, but took NBC to task also for having given Brightfart air time today. He had some pretty spot-on comments for Obama, too. Fired up? Not so much...

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 21, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse


Yeah, tonight's prime time MSNBC lineup was amazing.

I'm still awaiting Greg to ask around to his media contacts as to whether they see this as a revelation, and will no longer take their editorial cues from FOX...or if they will simply blow it off.


Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | July 21, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

In case anyone's still thinking the media will have some revelation after this whole Sherrod brouhaha, please look at the Post's own analysis:

and note that they barely slip any blame on the news media. It's almost all Breitbart, USDA, NAACP, and Obama. Nothing regarding the cold, hard fact that the MSM perpetuated the lie for hours, and pressed the WH to react without checking any facts at all.

Posted by: dkp01 | July 21, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

I'd be happy to be wrong (y'all can drive a truck through that one) but I suspect Greg's "media contacts" are JournoList alums. They would love to see the Feds shut down Fox per their e-mail klatch. Not very sporting or Constitutional of them, eh?

Fox will always drive the electronic news because they do something that print and boutique/specialty (MSNBC 4sure) media don't: grow audience, sponsors, and most important, make money. Legions of indies, and lots of Dems watch.

Remember, barely anyone on earth, much less the US, knows who Maddow is. Most people only know of Olby because of his ESPN gig and subsequent meltdown(s).

Before you all go straight to insult mode: the TaoHouse has no TV. So I've watched Fox maybe ten times. That's why it was tough for me to talk soccer with BG & béisbol w/ lms.

ShakesPalin is kinda cute. Here's the real thing, apropo for Gibbsy, Axe, Vilsack, and the Denial Desk at the WH:

"What's the matter, you dissentious rogues,
That, rubbing the poor itch of your opinion,
Make yourself scabs?"

If you tickle me do I not laugh? {{{sngiggle}}}

Posted by: tao9 | July 21, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

openleft'ers and hamsher are idiots.

They are lovin' this mistake by Vilsack. It gives 'em another excuse to bash Obama.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | July 22, 2010 1:03 AM | Report abuse

"They would love to see the Feds shut down Fox per their e-mail klatch"

Ahh yes, because everyone on there was conspiring to force the Feds hand to shut them down!

You listen to the right wing too much.

3-4 unrelated statements on a listserve have somehow been turned into some super secret conspiracy of the left to change the public's perception of events!

3-4 random people were going to change news events on a grand scale just from making statements!

Posted by: mikefromArlington | July 22, 2010 1:07 AM | Report abuse

Exactly which is the greater evil:

Breibart using edited video designed to take her message of racial tolerance and warp it into a racist aside mercilessly smearing an innocent and fine person.

Faux news who were head and shoulders above the rest of the msm sheep in pouncing on the now totally discredited tape and asking "Is Obama appointing scary black racists to discriminate against whites?"

[UPDATE! Now the fauxies are blaming the obama administration for taking their fradulent reporting seriously enough to act on it. REALLY???

You can't make this stuff up!]

The MSM sheeple who did their best monkey see monkey do imitation and pointed to the video without:

Contacting the speaker and asking about the context of that 2.5 minute remark

Asking why anyone should take video spewed by Breibart seriously after the savaging of ACORN that Breibart orchestrated with heavily edited video, the attempted tampering with the phones in fla also to be recorded and edited into a story, and the general truthiness of most of the post on his site.

Contacting the subjects of the story to find out if they were indeed victims of discrimination by Ms Sherrod.

in other words, the MSM acted as stenographers dancing to the faux news pied piper and not reporters.

The obama administration that over reacted to a relentlessly hyped story and tried to get out in front of the inevitable class 5 media tornado direct from farringtwingnutistan, and has since come to its senses and apologized for its thoughtless actions.

I of course vote for Breibart as the worst, but in some ways the MSM, who constantly lecture the DFH's about sourcing and reliable information, are even stupider (if less evil). I am probably biased, but a mistake and a quick retraction and apology, while nothing to write home about, doesn't seem like the worst infraction of the day.

Which angle will get the most play in tomorrows news cycle? Somehow the media as stenographer thread I think will end up on the editing room floor.

Posted by: srw3 | July 22, 2010 1:29 AM | Report abuse

"While USDA official Cheryl Cook was telling Sherrod by phone she had to resign, the USDA's White House liason was in the room."
But we shall believe that the WH played no role in the decision, by at least passively endorsing it? Hmm, the role of a liason is to keep the other side informed, and to give them the chance to weigh in, or not? Does the WH wanna say he/she failed on that job?

Posted by: Gray62 | July 22, 2010 4:21 AM | Report abuse

"Maybe they should campaign on it. Couldn't hurt."
Oh, but it WOULD hurt! They campaigned on the public option in 2008. They certainly don't want to remind the voters now that they not only failed, but actually sold out to the insurance companies!

Posted by: Gray62 | July 22, 2010 4:24 AM | Report abuse

"It gives 'em another excuse to bash Obama."
Obama needs that bashing. It's obvious by now that he reacts on kicks by moving into the direction of the kicker. So, progressive attacks are a way to ensure more left wing policies by the WH. Let's not forget, the left has been nice to the grandstanding loudmouth ("change", my, uh, my) for a long time, but that didn't bring any results at all.

Posted by: Gray62 | July 22, 2010 4:28 AM | Report abuse

Fox who?

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | July 22, 2010 4:49 AM | Report abuse

Oy. *Breitbart*? Gimme a break.

Rule no. 1. Thou shalt not pay *any* attention to what he says.

2. Watch *your own a** first. There are *rules* (and common sense) in dealing with, oh, boring sh*t like firing a person.

3. Media? Grow a pair. Why did you get that expensive degree? Nice loft you have...

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | July 22, 2010 5:21 AM | Report abuse

"Just as the Department of Agriculture and this Administration will review its actions, I also hope it starts a conversation in the media about how it operates."

Isn't Fox's role in propagating this fraud something the FCC should investigate? You can abuse the public airwaves in this way with impunity?

Posted by: rhallnj | July 22, 2010 6:19 AM | Report abuse


"Ahh yes, because everyone on there was conspiring to force the Feds hand to shut them down!"

Golly, Man, you can admit it: y'all and all the the JournoListers would LOVE to see FOX shut down or hamstrung. (See directly above @ 7/22-6:19pm)

It's OK! Follow your bliss.

I never wrote "conspire," and you're dodging my point: Fox drives the sheep of the other networks, they either have to follow the lead, or !!refudiate!! in kind (to constantly shrinking viewers.)

Posted by: tao9 | July 22, 2010 7:23 AM | Report abuse

tao said: "I suspect Greg's "media contacts" are JournoList alums. They would love to see the Feds shut down Fox per their e-mail klatch."

As Michael points out, you don't know what you are talking about here.

"Remember, barely anyone on earth, much less the US, knows who Maddow is."

Which is why Rubio is presently running a TV ad based entirely on the ad hominem premise that his ideas must be right "because Rachel Maddow thinks they are wrong".

As to popularity as a measure of quality or worth, I invite you to consider the Nielson numbers on viewers of online pornography as compared to viewers of online Christian broadcasts.

Posted by: bernielatham | July 22, 2010 7:46 AM | Report abuse

Kurtz almost never fails to fail...

Posted by: bernielatham | July 22, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse

"Remember, barely anyone on earth, much less the US, knows who Maddow is."

Which is why Rubio is presently running a TV ad based entirely on the ad hominem premise that his ideas must be right "because Rachel Maddow thinks they are wrong".

"No one knows Rachel" must also be the reason Scott Brown ran fundraising ads earlier this year claiming she was going to run against him in 2012.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 22, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Robinson gets the two key truths here:

"After the Shirley Sherrod episode, there's no longer any need to mince words: A cynical right-wing propaganda machine is peddling the poisonous fiction that when African Americans or other minorities reach positions of power, they seek some kind of revenge against whites.

A few of the purveyors of this bigoted nonsense might actually believe it. Most of them, however, are merely seeking political gain by inviting white voters to question the motives and good faith of the nation's first African American president. This is really about tearing Barack Obama down."

Posted by: bernielatham | July 22, 2010 7:56 AM | Report abuse

tao9, maybe the rest of the media will learn from this: FAUX and their fellow wingnut travelers cannot be trusted.

P.S. Fox News' response to Sherrod fallout: Ignore, whitewash, mislead

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | July 22, 2010 8:03 AM | Report abuse

@Sue - right, I'd forgotten that earlier instance. Thanks.

Here's Newt demonstrating that there's no term limits on his moral depravity...

"The time for double standards that allow Islamists to behave aggressively toward us while they demand our weakness and submission is over," Gingrich wrote. "The proposed 'Cordoba House' overlooking the World Trade Center site - where a group of jihadists killed over 3,000 Americans and destroyed one of our most famous landmarks - is a test of the timidity, passivity and historic ignorance of American elites."

Posted by: bernielatham | July 22, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse


There is also Rand Paul not only announcing his candidacy for Senate, but also appearing the day after his primary win on Rachel's show....must be because no one knows who she is... LOL

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 22, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

It ought to be noted that the FinReg bill just passed (like the prior Obama administration initiatives) is really an astounding feat. There seems little question that this President is immensely capable and strong-willed and is going to make a mark on the country as profound as anything Reagan managed.

But note also that the sort of noise coming from the right serves not as an attempt to de-legitimize this President but to distract from the measure of his accomplishments.

Posted by: bernielatham | July 22, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

All, Morning Roundup posted:

...and Bernie, agreed, that Eugene Robinson column is key, as you'll see when you go to morning roundup...

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 22, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

@sue - Yes, good point. And I suppose we ought to note the David Vitter thing (wtih apology) last week too. But tao has, it appears, a registered poetic licence.

I'm a big fan of what Maddow is doing. I consider her the best thing to happen to tv news/journalism in a very long time. It's interesting that she is clearly getting more negative attention from the right now than Olbermann or anyone else in tv news.

Posted by: bernielatham | July 22, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Correction: above post at 8:25 ought to read (graph 2) "serves not ONLY as"

Posted by: bernielatham | July 22, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

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