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Is Barnes the New Krauthammer?

Reported by Nancy - March 17, 2005 -

On 3/15 Jim Angle covered for Brit Hume again. And again, it was the same old, same old, with a "Happy Afghanistan" report straight from the Pentagon propaganda office, a major distortion of last year's PIPA report b Angle, & Fred Barnes taking Charles Krauthammer's place on the "All-Star" panel as the most snide, obnoxious & nasty commenter.

At 6:02pm (all times ET) Carl Cameron reported on Bush's remarks about Hezbollah (clip of Bush), noting that Bush met with King Abdullah & Assad met with Mubarak. According to Cameron, this implies a "new willingness" by Bush to view terror as the past history, not the future, of the group.

At 6:05pm Bret Baier (still on tour with JCS Chair Gen Myers) in Kabul filed a "Happy Afghanistan" report -- there's "progress in the search for" OBL (although there was also a clip of Myers saying repeatedly "we don't know" where he is). Baier also showed a clip of US-funded TV ads running in Pakistan about the reward for OBL. Continuing to act as a conduit for the Pentagon propaganda office, Baier noted there's a "very significant effort" to develop intel on "senior AQ leaders" & quoted Myers as saying we're "on track" with army training & drug eradication efforts.

At 6:08pm Angle gave today's Iraq body count & noted that Italy will withdraw troops from Iraq beginning in Sept

At 6:11pm Brian Wilson reported on Rep Tom DeLay (R-TX), saying that GOPs support him. Wilson noted that DeLay's "security detail" rushed him past reporters. Wilson also said that Dems "were indeed trying to raise a partisan point" (clip of Rep Nancy Pelosi, D-CA), but GOPs "shuht that down." Wilson admitted that GOP action means that effectively there's no functional ethics committee, but said DeLay insists he's the "victim of attacks" by "Democrats & liberal media."
Comment: Do all US Representatives have a "security detail"?

At 6:13pm Major Garrett reported on Alan Greenspan being "under fire from Democrats", saying that Sen HClinton "accused him of plunging America into deficits" by backing Bush tax cuts (clip of Clinton) but Greenspan defended himself (clip of Greenspan). Garrett offered his opinion that HClinton acted "as if fighting for the ghost of her husband's legacy" & "lashed out" (clip of HClinton [comment: not "lashing out"]). Garrett also showed a clip of Sen HReid calling Greenspan "one of the biggest political hacks" in DC & ended by noting that Greenspan said "private accounts might be a good idea."

At 6:16pm Angle said there's a "simmering battle" over judicial nominees, read some of Reid's letter to Frist & added that GOPs "fired back."

At 6:21pm Angle used the one-on-one interview segment to talk with Sen Lindsey Graham (R-SC) about Social Security. Angle opened by noting that the Senare had voted 100-0 to say that SocSec needs action, & Graham was off & running, saying that the " 'no problem' crowd lost today" & warning that doing nothing would result in "massive tax increases" or massive benefit cuts. Angle asked if "personal accounts" are "a sideshow" & Graham said we "gotta be honest about what can & can't happen," that to "do nothing" now means a "27% benefit cut" then but admitting that personal accts "do not generate enough" to cover the $3.7 T predicted shortfall. Graham apparently favors changing the benefit schedule (change how you "calculate benefits," "not by wages but by inflation" which Angle suggested would make SocSec "more progressive." Graham called SocSec a "safety net" but said he'd keep the wage index for the poor & use the inflation index for everyone else.
Comment: So now it's a safety net for the rich?

At 6:31pm Angle did the "Grapevine" segment: WaPo poll shows skepticisim of SocSecScam growing with 55% against it, but "support for the concept" is growing; Sen JKerry says most Amers were misinformed largely by major media with 77% of Bush voters believing the myths about WMDs -- but Angle claimed that a "minority" actually believed that; PETA advising DCheney re what to do post-retirement.
Comment: Here's a link to the PIPA report so you can see for yourself whether Kerry or Angle is reading those numbers correctly. Hint: Kerry's right.

At 6:33pm Rick Leventhal reported that Harvard Pres Larry Summers got a lack of confidence vote from faculty of the Arts & Sci College (218-185 w/18 abstentions), with critics calling him "autocratic" & saying he "stifled discussion" & objecting to his "leadership style." Leventhal noted that Summers has the support of the 7 members of the Harvard Corp Board.

At 6:36pm Megyn Kendall reported on whether Scalia might be the new Chief Justice. She noted that Scalia says he's not a "strict constuctionist" - defined as giving the Const the meaning it had when it was adopted -- but calls himself "an originalist." Scalia also says the Supreme "Court has liberated itself from the text" of the Const, which is "not a living document."

At 6:41pm Angle showed a clip of Bush, then the "All-Stars" (Fred Barnes, Mort Kondracke, Mara Liasson) weighed in. Angle observed that the Senate vote of 100-0 is saying that SocSec is a "vital national priority" & to do something soon. Liasson thought that was a "fair representation" & noted that Dems don't say "no problem", they say "no crisis." She added that the debate is not whether there are problems, but over "private accounts" & said that "all fixes" are "kinda painful." Kondracke claimed that only 3 Senators (Bennett, Graham & Hagel) have prposed specific plans, saying there's been "nothing" from Dems, & "nothing" from the admin" it's "time to get some ideas out there." Liasson pointed out that Robert Ball has also proposed a plan. Barnes jumped on that, saying "Don't give Democrats a pass, they dont deserve one" & "they've been shamed into doing something" now & Bush "has won on that side." Angle brought up a poll in the WaPo (skepticism growing, 55% oppposed to Bush plan, 56% favor "personal accounts" if you don't mention Bush's name), which Liasson sad is a "bad, bad sign" because "normally he has a lot of personal support" but there's an age-related "fall-off" re "private accounts" & older voters are more likely to vote in mid term elections. Barnes said the poll shows lots of Dems are opposed to accounts only because of Bush, calling it "hyperpartisan." Kondracke thought that "the more people hear about the Bush plan, the more they oppose it" which he attributes to a "failure of communication" because Bush is "not getting thru to people." Barnes summarily dismissed that, saying "he doesn't have a plan."

At 6:50pm the panel discussed the "nuclear option." Barnes was amused by it all, Kondracke claimed it's the Dems "who have broken with tradition here" because "they want to make the filibuster routine" but "it's a violation of Senate rules." Liasson said GOPs will wait to see if Dems do filibuster one of the re-nominees & if they do invoke the "nuclear option" then the Dem "bluff will be called." She said the "only analogy we have is Gingrich" & noted how that backfired. Barnes was offended by this reference & immediately changed the subject, calling Reid "hysterical." Angle asked about the troubles in which Rep Tom DeLay (R-TX) finds himself, & Liasson noted he "has a lot of support from" GOPs & from the White House, so it hasn't reached the "tipping point yet" but there is concern. Kondracke said DeLay is "not in violation yet" adding that he's in Dem & press "crosshairs, not legal crosshairs." Barnes agreed, dismissing it all as "pure persecution" by Dems & press.
Comment: Note that Barnes echoed DeLay, almost verbatim.

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