|What a letdown.
I was all prepared to give Brian Williams a chance as the temporary moderator of MTP, which has been part of the Sunday staple in our house for a decade, any my life for long before that. The guests promised to be interesting: Miss Lindsey Graham vs. one of my favorite presidential contenders, Joe Biden. Well ... in two words... it sucked.
Perhaps Biden wasn't properly prepared, but he seemed completely unable to coherently defend Barack Obama's decision to opt out of public financing, even conceding that Obama's decision probably contributes to breaking the system. Putting aside, if I can, the fact that Williams spent at least 20 minutes on this subject, much more time than it deserves, why didn't Biden simply turn to McCain's smirkly little defedress, and tell her the following:
"First of all, Lindsey, I can guarantee you that the moms and dads watching us today who are worrying about how they'll aford the mortgage or where they're gonna get $100 to fill up their gas tanks next week aren't too worried about the fact that Barack Obama isn't gonna use their tax money to run his campaign."See how easy that was? Three simple freaking talking points, none of which was uttered by Joe Biden, who has been so spectacular in responding to everything from Rudy "noun, verb and 9/11" Giuliani, to the McCain stance on Iraq.
"Second, John McCain is hardly in a position to lecture Barack Obama about keeping his word when he has flip-flopped on everything he used to say he believed in, whether it's tax breaks for the rich, torture, or offshore oil drilling."
"And third, Brian, wasn't it David Shuster at your network who reported that John McCain has jumped in and out of the campaign finance system himself, first using a promise to stay in the system to get a loan, then trying to wriggle out of public financing when he thought he'd raise more money? Brian and Lindsey, you both know that the Democratic National Committee even filed a lawsuit against my friend John McCain's campaign, precisely because he has broken his word repeatedly on this issue."
It was an unfortunate miss by Biden, but an even greater one by the once crack researchers of "Meet the Press," who apparently spent the week digging only for quotes that would make Obama look like a flip-flopper, rather than information about the public financing stances of both sides.
Luckily, as I have been hoping, Tom Brokaw will take over hosting duties on MTP, at least through election day. Brokaw is clearly the only person at NBC with the stature to assume Russert's seat. Temporarily suspending his retirement, he starts his new gig next week.
Labels: 2008 election, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, mainstream media, Meet the Press, NBC News, presidential candidates, Sunday talk shows