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Lord of the Bash

Reported by Nancy - March 31, 2005 -

Last night (3/30) on Special Report, Brit Hume his interview segment to talk with Jeff Birnbaum about an article Birnbaum wrote in the Wall St Journal. Birnbaum is an occasional member of the "All-Stars" (not a permanent fixture, like Fred Barnes) but on this occasion had the floor to himself. The pretext was a discussion about Social Security, but the real agenda was to bash the AARP.

According to Hume's intro to the segment, Bush's SocSec "proposal" [comment: which may or may not be a "plan" -- pundits on Fox are agonizing over exactly what to call it], uses "private investment to generate larger returns." But Hume didn't want to talk about that. Nope, Hume wanted to talk about AARP's opposition to the plan/proposal/scheme/scam. He asked Birnbaum what AARP is doing, & Birnbaum said that AARP was "there in force in Iowa" (when Bush spoke there), they're running radio, TV & newspaper ads -- "all attacking private accounts" -- & "that's just for starters" because they're also holding "forums in every state with a swing vote senator" & everywhere a GOP holds a town hall meeting, AARP volunteers show up to protest Bush's plan & "talk up the AARP version." Hume asked how the AARP plan adds up & Birnbaum said it proposes "add-on private accounts" & a "menu of possible optiions." Hume feigned surprise & commented that sounded just like Bush's plan/whatever, & Birnbaum emphatically agreed that it's "EXACTLY like the President's" plan/whatever.

Hume asked how does AARP "stack up" as a "potent" DC lobby & Birnbaum said that Fortune magazine had done annual surveys of lobbying groups & "for years, AARP was #1," the "most powerful" lobby on SocSec & Medicare. Hume took that opening & pointed out that AARP was "with" Bush on adding a "prescription benefit" to Medicare, then asked whether Bush can get private accounts done without AARP support. Birnbaum said Bush can't.

There was some discussion about the structure, membership ("10 times more members than the NRA" according to Birnbaum) & organization of AARP (Hume called the leadership the "lords of the AARP") & of the group's finances. Birnbaum claimed AARP has "already spent $15M this year" on ads re Bush's SocSecScam.

Comment: I can't wait until Hume interviews someone who will document all the same kind of info -- the pro-Bush rallies, the ads, the membership, the structure -- of groups like Club for Growth. As if ...

At 6:32pm, when Hume did the Grapevine segment, he managed a few more bashes:
1-about the EU accepting PWolfowitz as head of the World Bank, Hume said the "President of Luxembourg -- thank goodness! --" also backs Wolfowitz.
2-about a report that "humans have used up 2/3 of the world's resources" by Robert Watson (World Bank), Hume said that the author had a "somewhat controversial track record" & cited a variety of predictions/assessments Watson has made that didn't come true, openly smirking as he did so.
3-about the Secret Service denying that it forcibly removed 3 people from a Bush event, Hume said "all 3 are members of a local anti-Bush group" & that they were wearing anti-Bush T-shirts under "business" clothes [comment: so it was appropriate to "forcibly remove" them?]
4-about Citizens for Ethics & Responsibility in Washington (CREW) Hume said that after GOPs targeted the group it "refused to release" the names of board members, then reversed itself & did release them. It turns out that one board member is a "big money" Dem donor, & one is a "former pollster" for BClinton [comment: how dare they have Dems on their board of directors!].

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