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Howard Wolfson is a Disaster at Standing Up for Democrats - That Must be Why Fox Hired Him

Reported by Melanie - August 2, 2008 -

On Thursday (July 31, 2008) Karl Rove and Howard Wolfson, Hillary Clinton's former communications director and now a "Fox News Contributor," appeared on Your World w/Neil Cavuto in a two-part segment about whether Barack Obama was "playing the race card." Given that it was a two-parter, there was plenty of time to bash Obama and unfortunately, Wolfson was just about as effective at bashing him as Rove was. He certainly was not at all good at standing up for him. Can there be any wonder why Fox hired him, joining the likes of the laughable Susan Estrich and Bob Beckel? It was painful and embarrassing to watch what Wolfson let Rove and substitute host Alexis Glick get away with.

Rove went first (and last, of course), launching the discussion by saying that when Obama said he didn't look like the people on our paper money, he was obviously talking about race, and that "should not have been injected into the campaign."

Instead of defending Obama, Wolfson said the McCain camp obviously "watched our primary on the Democratic side very carefully and they know that any accusation of racial divisiveness can be very, very harmful for a candidate's prospects." (Thanks Howard!) The McCain camp heard something Obama said, and they "had to respond quickly to make sure that nobody got the impression that they were engaged in those kind of racial politics." (Nothing like patting the McCain camp on the back, huh?)

The discussion moved to the Spears/Hilton ad (formally titled "Celebs") and whether or not the McCain camp should have aired it. Rove said they wanted to say that Obama's "new position" as the presumptive noninee "may be going to his head...and they're trying to dwell on it." And they wanted to point out, as they did in the second part of the ad, which "is very powerful," that Obama is "on the wrong side" of the energy issue.

Wolfson didn't respond - and he didn't insist that he be able to - and Glick distracted him with: can "we not address the issue of race in this country?" Wolfson said yes, but "candidates who have a misstep in this area can really pay a heavy price." So what does that mean? Did Obama have a misstep or McCain? We'll never know.

Glick then turned to a new Quinnipiac poll showing tightening in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania and asked Rove, what the Obama campaign isn't "getting right right now." Rove said, "There's a trend line going here." "I think we're seeing an adverse reaction to the foreign trip," but it's "the kind of thing that over the long haul has durable weaknesses in it," and his "newfound status has gone to his head."

Again, Wolfson wasn't offered a chance to respond, nor did he insist that he be able to.

With that, Fox went to a commercial break and returned by airing some of David Letterman's top ten indications that Obama is overconfident after which Glick addressed Wolfson: "Is there an ego issue building or is it being blown out of proportion?"

Wolfson said late night comics are going to make fun of Obama about his "supposed ego," but anyone who runs for president has a big ego and they'll make fun of both Obama and McCain for their "foibles."

Rove (being given a chance to respond to Wolfson) said, "This has resonance because it fits with his actions;" there's "a touch of arrogance here, he's very smart and he knows it." Remember his comment before the Pennsylvania primary about those "little people that I met in rural Pennsylvania who cling to their guns their faith and their zenophobia?" That lost him rural Pennsylvania "big-time."

Again, Glick didn't offer to let Wolfson respond to what Rove said, nor did Wolfson insist on doing so. You'd think he would want to set the record straight about what Obama said in his "bitter" comment, particularly that Obama absolutely did not use the words, "little people."

Glick turned to Wolfson and said, "Some would say" McCain is very confident too, "but clearly rolling up his sleeves and getting in the trenches seems to be working for him," so what does Obama need to do? (Always assume that on Fox, the anchor advocates on behalf of the GOP. So in this case we have what is supposed to be, well, in the ideal world the anchor would be neutral and it would be one-on-one but in this case it's two against one but given Wolfson's pitiful performance, we've essentially got three people bashing Obama and giving kudos to McCain (or at the very least, letting him off the hook).)

Wolfson said Obama has been working hard for l8 months, and "I think he's got to continue to act like he's rolling up his sleeves, getting up early and working hard for the White House." And I "do think he's got to be careful about not assuming that he already is the president" but there has been a "leadership vacuum at l600 Pennslvania Avenue," and in some ways "Obama has filled some of that, especially with his trip overseas, but he obviously has to be careful about it." (Obama needs to continue to "act" like he's rolling up his sleeves? And what's with Wolfson essentially agreeing that Obama IS "assuming that he already is the president?" Makes you wonder if Wolfson is a Democrat much less a "Democratic strategist.")

Below is video of the last part, which illustrates how absolutely awful Wolfson is. Listen to what Rove says and watch Wolfson's body language. Look at the lifeless, unenthusiastic expression on his face - he looks like he's about to fall sleep - and note that he doesn't jump up and down when Rove says, that he totally disagrees; that we have had a strong leader "who has made tough decisions like the surge which has made victory in Iraq possible," but Obama's biggest problem is "he needs to have some there there." As for working in a bipartisan fashion and leadership, "he has done neither of those things. He has not provided leadership on any issue and he has not worked across party lines with Republicans to achieve things." He's "got to put some substance there." He has got to be more about him than Obama as "an historic figure and his soaring rhetoric. There's no there there." If Walter Mondale had not used the phrase "where's the beef, it'd be a great line to use here." What does Wolfson do? He chuckles.

Yo, Wolfson, yeah, you slowly - it was almost imperceptible - shook your head but, anybody home? At the very least, you could have gotten this in: Senate Passes Obama-Hagel Provision Aimed at Preventing Nuclear Terrorism. Talk about working across party lines and "keeping Americans safe™."

And that was that. When Glick said "alright guys," thanks, Wolfson broke into a big goofy smile.

Comment: Thanks for nothin' Howard. You should know that if Fox hires you as a "Fox News Contributor," it's an insult, not a complement. It means you're no good at what you're supposed to do. Fox likes 'em like that.