While We Were Drinking: This Time We Really Were Drinking
Neal wisely avoided a hangover, not-so-wisely watched three hours of evening chat shows.
News peg of the night: Bush took 72 hours to make anything resembling a definitive statement on missing Iraqi weapons... Democratic talking point: The weapons!.. Republican talking point: What weapons?.. Story no one mentioned much, but that will shortly explode like a suicide bomber: Yasser Arafat on his deathbed.
7:04 PM - Hardball With Chris Matthews (7PM, MSNBC): Head vs. Head, Jamie Rubin, ex. Asst. Secretary of State, Richard Falkenrath, Bush/Cheney talking head.
Chris Matthews: Karl Rove usually creates spin on an event instantly, why did the White House wait 72 hours until reacting to the 380 tons of missing explosives?
Falkenrath: "Bush never bases his information on just one story." Riiggghhhhttt. Rubin: "The Bush campaign keeps on trying to shoot the messenger - Blaming the Iraqi government, International Atomic Energy Commission and the media but never themselves."
8:08 PM - The O'Reilly Factor (8PM, FNC): Interview, Dan Bartlett, White House Communications director. Bartlett explains the perfectly sensible, not at all desperate White House position on Qaqaa:
a) There were so many weapons floating around Iraq, we weren't possibly supposed to keep track of all of them.
b) By criticizing the military decisions that led to no one keeping tabs on the big mound of Qaqaa, Kerry is just grasping at headlines.
c) When Iraqi President Ayad Allawi accused the United States of not doing enough to prevent the ambush of 50 Iraqi soldiers this weekend, "what Allawi is REALLY concerned about is terrorists like Zarqawi."
8:20 PM - Countdown With Keith Olbermann (8PM, MSNBC): Interview, Susanna Meadows of Newsweek. Olbermann and Meadows dish the dirt on celebrity endorsements of candidates and how, like, some people would rather sit at home eating Cheetos then vote, and how it's possible to go to the polls and eat more yummy Cheetos within the same day.
Meadows: "If you're 18 years old, lazy and not inclined to vote, hearing Ashton Kutcher speak about voting might just make you do it."
8:25 PM - Olbermannism of the night: "You don't know my backyard. It's a very interesting backyard."
8:30 PM - O'Reilly guest Matthew Cooper uses big words and stuff, "Democrats have ostentatiously shown off their collection of airplanes for their lawyers."
8:31 PM - Paula Zahn Now (8PM, CNN) features that guy who wrote that book that became that movie with John Travolta, Joe Klein. He argues that the administration messed up badly with Al Qaqaa, took a long time to figure out a spin to put on it and is now totally screwed and running like a wee baby who was caught eating all the pies.
8:36 PM - Olbermann guest Jenny Eliscu of Rolling Stone explains what we've known all along: "P. Diddy's 'Vote or Die' campaign is just a campaign to wear t-shirts saying 'Vote or Die'".
8:42 PM - Bill O'Reilly uses the term "beefing up".
9:01 PM - Larry King Live (9PM, CNN) has a four-way battle of the annoying talk show regulars: Representing the New York Times: Maureen Dowd and William Safire. For Team Senate: Sens. Joseph Biden and Richard Shelby.William Safire: Why did the Al Qaaqa story suddenly surface in the last week of the campaign? Who leaked it?
Larry King: Uhh.... The Iraqi government were the first to break the news.
William Safire: I don't believe you, Larry. I'm going to say it's Mohammed Al-Baradai of the International Atomic Energy Commission, well, because I can.
9:15 PM - Rep. Peter King appears on Hannity and Colmes (9PM, FNC). The Lawn Guyland congressman states that the "responsibility of troops on the ground is to follow the directions of their leader, the administration has nothing to do with it." Less than 30 seconds later, uses that to justify claim that Kerry is insulting American soldiers. Then....King: "Kerry takes the word of a UN official over the word of his commander in chief. That's disgraceful!"
Allen Colmes: Mr. King, that statement is untrue...
King: "NO ITS NOT!"
9:23PM - Back to Larry King, William Safire reads his crystal ball: "If Kerry wins, Joseph Biden will be in a life or death struggle with Richard Holbrooke to become Secretary of State."
9:33 PM - Guest Dick Morris discusses the latest swing state polls on Hannity and Colmes.Morris: "Kerry may have a plan for America, but he doesn't have a clue of how to win the election."
Hannity: "Let's go deeper, Dick."
9:40 PM - Commercial on MSNBC for a home heart defibrillator, presumably for the 90% of Americans who sat home eating Cheetos last election day. If these had been around back in high school, I could have had so much fun being a total bastard. Damn.
9:43 PM - Capping off the night with psychotic radio talk show host Laura Ingraham and milquetoast Democratic talking head Steve Murphy.Ingraham: If Bruce Springsteen had to stump for Kerry in Wisconsin, he's screwed. Well, she says that using Springsteen lyrics from when he got all crappy and ditched the E Street Band, but you get the idea.She goes on to rant about the New York Times, on and on and on.... Steve Murphy just sits there like a prison bitch.
Murphy: Kerry has the swing states in his hands.
Ingraham: Kerry is a traitor! There were no weapons at Al Qaqaa! Monday morning quarterbacking! Robble Robble Robble!
Murphy starts to speak, gets cut off...
Ingraham: "What Kerry says now is as outrageous as what he said in 1971"
CONCLUSION: Democrats win once again. The story from Iraq is hurting Bush more and more by the day and there's really no positive way the White House can spin it... The "if you believe in Qaqaa, you hate our troops" line is hurting the Republicans badly, but they keep on repeating it like a mantra...