Monday, January 16, 2006

# Posted 10:53 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

SUNDAY MORNING ROUNDUP: Yesterday was a good one for the talk shows, with Paul Bremer on Meet the Press, John McCain and Dianne Feinstein on Face the Nation, and Arlen Specter and Mark Warner on ABC This Week. There was a lot that deserves to be looked at in greater detail, but for the moment, I will wax professorial and hand out grades:
Paul Bremer: C+. Bremer opened fire on the administration in his recent book, but then tried to back off from almost almost all of his own criticism when Russert asked him about it. Perhaps there was some unstated reason for Bremer's hesitation, but since I'm not aware of it, the impression I got was of a man both confused and less than candid.

John McCain: B+. A very solid performance, but Schieffer throws too many softballs for McCain to even be eligible for an 'A'. Although I must admit, I grade McCain on a much tougher curve since he is so good at handling the media. Also, I was not glad to hear the senator describe Gen. Musharraf as "a steadfast ally".

Dianne Feinstein: B+. Very reasonable Iran, recognizing that the current crisis is "a major test of the international community.

Arlen Specter: B-. It's one thing to insist that abortion shouldn't be the litmus test for a nominee to the Supreme Court. It's another to pretend that having Alito on the court won't change the game when it comes to abortion.

Mark Warner: B. The now-former governor of Virginia has clearly been getting ready for '08 by studying his briefing books on international relations. Now he needs to learn how to make it sound like he's speaking from the heart instead of from a briefing book.
And, of course, how could I not grade the hosts?
Tim Russert: B+. Tim seemed genuinely suprised at the total inconsistency of Bremer's statements. For an old pro, it was like shooting fish in a barrel. But you can't get an 'A' for shooting fish in a barrel.

Bob Schieffer: B. Reliable as always.

George Stephanopoulos: A. Stephanopoulos covered a tremendous amount of ground in his interview with Warner. He also phrased all of his questions in a way that kept spin to a minimum.
I hope to take a closer look at the Warner interview tomorrow. The ex-governornor wasn't shy at all about running in '08, which was refreshing. I think his responses say a lot about where Democratic centrism stands today.
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