Mac, he's a new guy, he got all worried when his morning show wrap-up wasn't posted by COB Friday. Ha! Welcome to Wonkette, Mac. We make our own rules. What you missed: Fox & Friends, chat orgy, the most hilarious question not asked on Fox, and David Frum admitting he can't read Rumsfeld's mind.
Top story is Bush's political capital, and how he plans to spend it (first up, remake social security and the tax code), but no one seems to have booked any guests to talk about it. Marines and Iraqi soldiers prepare to go into Fallujah. Elizabeth Edwards was diagnosed with breast cancer the same day her husband conceded. Yasser Arafat's in a coma and probably near death. And a military fighter jet STRAFED AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. Either my shift-key got stuck or that's an eyebrow-raiser.
7:07 CNN. American Morning
Bill Hemmer interviews Karl Rove expert Wayne Slater. I can't tell if Slater likes Rove or not, but he's obviously giddily fixated on him. He explains Rove's essential talent: looking at the available voting groups and putting the right ones together to ensure victory. Applied to 2004, that was fiscal conservatives and evangelical Christians. At that points, our second-stringer wondered, "Fiscal conservatives?" Hemmer asks if Rove was behind Bush's 2000 visit to Bob Jones University. Slater: "I know he was -- I was there!" Rove's reasoning: He worked for Bush Senior and saw his failure to invigorate Christian conservatives, and convinced the son not to make the same mistake. Hemmer: How much power does Rove have now? Slater actually laughs a sinister laugh and says, "Enormous!" He says Rove will now segue from political strategy to influencing policy.
7:11 NBC. Today.
Matt Lauer talks to Newsweek's Howard Fineman about Bush's probable cabinet shuffling. Fineman says it probably breaks down like this:Ashcroft -- definitely out, ill, would hinder desired new Patriot Act bill, replaced by Larry Thompson or Alberto Gonzalez.Overall, says Fineman, Bush likes continuity and prefers team players to star names (particularly after clashes with Powell).
Powell -- in for a while at least, but probably not the duration, replaced by Condi Rice or Senator John Danforth
Rumsfeld -- wants to stick around for a while so he can sort out Iraq and go out "on a high note." Your second-stringer Mac says: good luck with that.
7:15 ABC. Good Morning America
Diane Sawyer is putting on her best outraged journalist face to interview (via satellite) the Dupuis family, citizens of Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey, where an Air National Guard fighter jet on a simulation mission accidentally fired 25 rounds into the roof and the parking lot of the local intermediate school. (School wasn't in session; no tykes were strafed.) Mike Dupuis is President of the Little Egg Harbor school board, and he's sounding a conciliatory note, saying he's been assured there's a full investigation under way and that the event was an anomaly. Sawyer doesn't like that sort of reasonable language, so she asks the wife, Christine, and then the daughter, Erin, if that explanation is good enough for them. Both let her down by saying they're pretty sure this was a one-time accident, and that the Air National Guard will make sure it never happens again. Doesn't this family understand we want tears and rage? What am I supposed to do with a measured, reasonable response?
7:17 CNN American Morning
Karen Tumulty of Time Magazine is talking to Kelly Wallace about Elizabeth Edwards's breast cancer diagnosis: "After you've lost a child [Wade Edwards, who died at age 16 in a car accident], pretty much nothing can throw you." She says Edwards keeps her husband honest when he's surrounded by handlers, and will be a major force in whatever the Senator does next. No news here, exactly, but straight-up moving.
7:21 NBC. Today
More on Edwards here: Dr. Alisan Goldfarb emphasizes that stress on the campaign trail cannot exacerbate breast cancer. Wait... she sounds like she's refuting something. There isn't anyone out there saying John Edwards made his wife sick by forcing her to campaign for him, is there? Right?
7: 23 FNC. Fox & Friends
Evil-ender and previous Bush speechwriter David Frum on Bush cabinet shake-ups. His breakdown looks pretty much the same as Howard Fineman's on the specifics (Ashcroft out now, Rumsfeld out after he finishes making Iraq a Happy Peanut-Butter-Cup-Land) but way different on the generalities: Bush wants symbolic change as well as actual change. He made different promises this year than in 2000, so he needs a different staff to implement them. Mike Jerrick rather bizarrely asks, "Shouldn't he have mentioned something about cabinet changes in the campaign?" Frum: Uh... no. People don't vote for a cabinet. Also, Frum delivers The Unintentionally Awesome Quote of the Day: "I don't know what's going on in Donald Rumsfeld's mind."
7:28 FNC Fox & Friends
Ambassador Dennis Ross, longtime Middle East peace broker (that's a hell of way to be known, huh?) tells the Fox and her friends that Arafat won't be buried in Jerusalem. E. D. Hill asks about the funeral, wherever it will take place: "Won't there be a lot of undesirables there?" Ross only winces a little bit, explains that most likely know to stay away while the Palestinians mourn. He says Arafat, despite many of his deeds, remains a father-figure to Palestinians, but "they'll get beyond that."
7:38 NBC. Today
Head vs. Head! Nancy Pelosi (D - California) says we should simplify the tax code, but not contribute to the deficit in the process. Mitch McConnell (R - Kentucky) says the only way to bring down the deficit is to restrict spending and grow the economy. He says Bush has a five-year plan to cut the deficit in half, so does that mean they're imagining Frist will get the home run? Lauer doesn't seem to like McConnell, so he asks him the most hilarious question I've heard in a while not asked on Fox: "Senator, will we be sitting here in three and a half years, wondering what went wrong?"
7:40 MSNBC Imus In The Morning
Imus sure loves his historians, doesn't he? He interviews an Unflattering Photograph of Douglas Brinkley, who breaks with the CW and defends Teresa, saying she campaigned tirelessly for Kerry, including thirty trips to Iowa. Brinkley goes on to say that no one should rule out Kerry in '08. Imus: "That seems kind of unrealistic to me."
7:43 CBS. Early Show.
Dr. Phil again! Apparently he's plugging an upcoming show centered around a "drinking experiment," where thirty volunteers allowed his camera crew to follow them around while they got drunk in a controlled environment and ended up miserable at the end of the night. (I guess the lesson is, don't get drunk in a "controlled environment." Is Wonkette listening?) My friend Sean says: "So wait - if they stick a bunch of young people together and force them to drink and film - won't that just basically end up being porn?" Phil says, "I hope parents grab their teenagers by the ear and force them to watch this." Phil, if you're pitching to the kids, send my friend Sean.
7:50 CNN. American Morning
Kelly Wallace interviews Palestinian spokesman Saeb Erekat, who hopes Israelis will allow Arafat to be buried in Jerusalem. He criticize Israelis seen dancing and hugging at the news of the coma, and asks for some respect. Since Sharon doesn't have anybody on TV, it looks like Israel's gonna wait out the mourning process and see who rises to the top before reacting.
8:09 FNC. Fox & Friends
Incestuous Head vs. Head vs. Head! Did Fox lose some guests at the last minute or something? E.D. Hill, Brian Kilmeade, and Mike Jerrick just sort of argue among themselves for a while. They start fighting about whether oil was a factor in the decision to go to war in Iraq, they briefly skid into whether Rumsfeld will resign, and finally splat into a protracted discussion of Alexandra Kerry's see-through dress at the Cannes Film Festival. It's sort of like paying to see your most ADD friends sit around and shoot the shit.
8:18 CNN. American Morning.
Hemmer's talking to Tony Perry of the LA Times about the upcoming Fallujah offensive. He says this has to be an Iraqi victory, only supplemented by Marines. Can Iraqi soldiers fight their countrymen and occupy them? Ominously, Perry says fewer insurgents have fled since the last time the US made moves toward Fallujah.
8:27 FNC Fox & Friends.
James Hirsen of Newsmax finally saves the Fox and the friends from themselves by coming on to talk about the celebrity factor in national elections. Overall he follows the CW - celebs didn't help Kerry - but he cites a few interesting exceptions: Barbra Streisand and Rob Reiner, having learned from past mistakes about the hazards of being too visible, raised a lot of money early on and then stayed behind the scenes.
8:37 MSNBC Imus In The Morning
Imus begins interview with Surprisingly Flattering Photo of Fox Sports's Terry Bradshaw by asking: "Does it bother you to see men kiss?" Bradshaw: "Come again?" Bradshaw says he's never actually seen two men kiss, but that he gets uncomfortable just thinking about. Imus squanders the obvious follow-up: Do you mean uncomfortable... IN YOUR PANTS? Instead they talk about sports.
OVERALL: There's no clear argument-narrative this morning, so I can't call a winner (except for the wider "Bush Owns The World" verdict). Today's Lessons: Let's review, folks - stress doesn't cause breast cancer, porn beats ear-tugging, and if you're flying a fighter jet, and you happen to pass over a New Jersey junior high school - DON'T SHOOT!