OxBlog

Monday, May 08, 2006

# Posted 9:56 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

FUN WITH NANCY PELOSI: I don't give out many 'A's, so I thought I should provide some highlights from Tim Russert's interview with the Future Speaker to justify giving Timbo an ace:
REP. PELOSI: ...I think that [CIA Director Porter Goss'] dismissal was triggered by what has been happening on the scandal front for the Republicans with the third in command, who was hired by Mr. Goss to, to be involved in these card games and whatever else it was.

MR. RUSSERT: Do you have any evidence to base that judgment?

REP. PELOSI: Just a strong political instinct and the timing of it all.

MR. RUSSERT: That Porter Goss is caught up in...

REP. PELOSI: No, no, not—he isn’t. But the CIA and person that he appointed, who was a questionable appointee to begin with, is caught up in that, and it’s a reflection on his leadership and his management.

MR. RUSSERT: But you have no evidence of that?

REP. PELOSI: I have no thought that Mr. Goss is caught up in any of this, no.
If this were the BBC, Russert would've made Pelosi repeat her admission that she has no evidence to back up her silly remarks at least three more times. But on Meet the Press, subtlety is fully respectable.
MR. RUSSERT: I saw in the USA Today in December of ‘05 this story, and I’ll read it to you and our viewers. “House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi switched gears and embraced a call to begin an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq,” which is quite striking, because in May of 2004 you were on this program, and I asked you specifically, “Should there be withdrawal of U.S. troops by a date certain,” and this is exactly what you said. Let’s watch.

(Videotape, May 30, 2004): REP. PELOSI: No. I do not. I believe that because of the mess that has been made in Iraq we have to stay to stabilize Iraq. We have to secure the situation, because now, although it wasn’t the case before the war, now it has become a hotbed of terrorist activity.(End videotape)...

MR. RUSSERT: But you said that, in ‘04, that you were concerned about stabilizing Iraq, securing Iraq, that it has become a hotbed of terrorism activity. Has anything changed?

REP. PELOSI: No.

MR. RUSSERT: Do you think it’s secure? Do you think it’s stable?

REP. PELOSI: No.

MR. RUSSERT: Do you think it’s a hotbed for—of...

REP. PELOSI: Yes.

MR. RUSSERT: Then why would you withdraw troops?
Game, set, match.
MR. RUSSERT: ...you told The Washington Post that there will be investigations if the Democrats regain control of the House. The chairman of the Judiciary Committee would be someone named John Conyers. I went up to his Web site and this is what’s on his Web site: “Stand with Congressman Conyers. Demand an investigation of administration abuses of power and make recommendations regarding grounds for possible impeachment.”

REP. PELOSI: Democrats are not about impeachment. Democrats are about bringing the country together. This is what we have to do.

MR. RUSSERT: But that’s the man who would be chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
REP. PELOSI: Yeah, but that is not where the decision would be made...

MR. RUSSERT: Well, should John Conyers take his Web site down, talking about impeachment?

REP. PELOSI: John Conyers does what he does on his Web site. John Conyers is an enthusiastic advocate. I am the leader.
Well, at least she didn't say "I am the decider." But if she can't control Conyers now, what chance will she have once he's the committee chairman?
MR. RUSSERT: But wait, wait a minute. But what about the leader of the Democrats in the Senate, Harry Reid, in terms of money from Jack Abramoff?

REP. PELOSI: What about him?

MR. RUSSERT: Well, let me show you. This is the Associated Press: “Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid portrays convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s activities as involving only Republicans. But Abramoff’s billing records and congressional correspondence tell a different story. They show Abramoff’s lobbying team billed for nearly two dozen contacts with Reid’s office in a single year. ... Reid also wrote at least four letters to the Bush administration helpful to Indian tribes Abramoff represented, often collecting donations from Abramoff-related sources around the same time. And in the midst of the contacts, Abramoff’s firm hired one of Reid’s top legislative aides to lobby for the tribal and Marianas clients. The aide then helped throw a fund-raiser for Reid at Abramoff’s office.”

Here’s the numbers in terms of lobbyist contributions: from 2004 to 2006, lobbyists gave Republicans $20 million dollars, Democrats 17.8.

REP. PELOSI: Yeah.

MR. RUSSERT: You get your money—both parties get their money from lobbyists.

REP. PELOSI: Well, let me say this: Our party is standing for honest leadership and open government.
Not exactly a ringing defense of Harry Reid, eh? And then right back to an assertion that her party is for honesty and openness. Not exactly credible, methinks.

By the way, I wasn't aware of this latest twist in the Reid-Abramoff story, but Pelosi really seemed to be caught off guard. If you happen to know whether the AP story about Reid and Abramoff is accurate, please post your thoughts below.

Anyhow, if you still haven't had enough of Nancy Pelosi, there's plenty more in the transcript. I sorta wish she would run for president in 2008.
(12) opinions -- Add your opinion

Comments:
I'm with that.Russert did a good job and Pelosi did not. But on the Goss thing I don't think it was such a big deal. What she was trying to say was that Goss was pushed out over Hookergate but because of his relationship with Foggo NOT that he was actually at the hooker parties. But still without a little knowledge of the backstory it comes off pretty bad.
 
Pelosi is hardly the only one asserting a connection between Hookergate and Goss' departure.

Regarding the Reid/Abramoff story, I need to see more facts here. It has long been well-established that Abramoff took money from damned near everyone. But he only gave money to Republicans. Only Republicans. Russert's figure of $20M vs. $17.8M was labelled as "lobbyist" giving, not Abramoff giving. It appears that Russert was being deceptive here, and Pelosi, being a bit of a hack herself, fell for it.
 
The point about Conyers was that individual members don't control the docket... the leadership does. So Conyers can't impeach anybody.

Trying to Fisk is just not good for careful reading or thoughtful commentary.

The Iraq thing is embarassing... but since you don't post her reponse, it's hard to say. Givn the sloppiness on the rest, it's hard to give benefit of the doubt.

One possibility is that like most Americans, there's been so little proof that troops are improving the security situation on the ground, that maybe we should remove them from beeing Jihadist target practice while they deliver supplies to the Green Zone, and rebuild infrastructure that will just be blown up.

Not giving her a chance to answer it classy and all, but "game-set-match is very often said by people who don't see the whole board. The "the facts on the ground have changed" hole in this assertion is sider than a truck.
 
"wider" than a truck.
 
"They show Abramoff’s lobbying team billed for nearly two dozen contacts with Reid’s office in a single year. ... Reid also wrote at least four letters to the Bush administration helpful to Indian tribes Abramoff represented, often collecting donations from Abramoff-related sources around the same time"

The whole Indian tribe this is fairly simple: the tribes had traditionally been affiliated with the Democratic party, but under Abramoff's direction, they were slowly being diverted to the GOP. It is quite deceptive to describe them as an "Abramoff client" under these circumstances. Furthermore, just what is the allegation here? Are Democrats not supposed to do business with any Indian tribes once somebody who is corrupt starts soliciting bribes from them? I'm confused.

Unless you want to link a contact with an "Abramoff client" to some kind of illegal activity, this entirely line of questioning is either a waste of time or simply a smear. We already know that Abramoff himself was a pure GOP creation, and directed his clients as much as possible to give more money to the GOP than they historically had done. We know that he laughed at the Indian tribes who insisted on continuing to donate money to the Democrats. We know that the entire purpose of the Abramoff/DeLay K Street project was to cut Democrats out of the lobbying industry completely, rather than try to compete for lobbyists in the more traditional fashion.
This is a Republican bed. The prosecutors involved in investigating the Abramoff scandal are investigate many Republicans but no Democrats. Why? Well, given that they all work for a Republican AG and a Republican President, I don't think we can say that it's a partisan witch hunt. The simplest reason is: there are no Democrats in the Abramoff ring of corruption! Trying to drag Democrats into it is about as worthwhile as looking for Democrats involved in the Watergate break-in.
 
Game set match?! Are you kidding?

You quote over 180 words from Russert's set-up, and 3 words from Pelosi's reply. She went on to point out that 18 months separated those two remarks, and that circumstances had changed enough to merit a shift in her viewpoint. Maybe some people consider that worthy of ridicule (say, The Decider), but to me that's a responsible way to make judgments (regardless of whether or not I agree with the judgment itself).

I actually watched the entire interview, and while I don't think Rep. Pelosi is the most impressive figure around, if you are going to criticize her (and praise Russert, for that matter), at least quote segments of the interview that accurately represent what transpired. What you've selectively included here certainly does not.
 
Hey, where's Pelosi's response to the Iraq question? I don't know what she said but the correct answer is simple. We haven't made any progress since 2004. So, even if in theory we should bring stability back to Iraq, if it is found that we are not capable of doing it, why should we stay? She should just say that she has realized as has nearly 70% of the public that Bush is too incompentant to bring stability to Iraq.

As for Goss, the hookergate theory has as much evidence as the turf war theory. Scratch that, the hookergate theory has more evidence and is more logical considering the abrupt departure we see here.

And I guess it is irresponsible for a congressman to consider the possibility of impeachment when nearly half and certainly over 40% of the public thinks the Prez should be impeached. How is he not representing a large portion of the public? I'd think it irresponsible not to at least consider impeachment considering the disaster that is the Iraq war and the amount of things the Prez got wrong. Maybe he's just dumb and incompetant, or maybe he's just a big fat liar. The first probably isn't impeachable, but the 2nd may be.

And of course Abrahoff clients gave to Democrats. Before Abrahoff was working for them, they gave way more. When Abrahoff took over Democratic contributions fell and Republicans gained clearly steering dollars to Republicans. Abrahoff only gave to Republicans himself.

Reid worked with those tribes before Abrahoff. Was he supposed to stop being their advocates because they were stupid enough to hire Abrahoff?

I'm no Pelosi fan, but this was one hell of a disappointing take down of Pelosi. I'd say this reflects worse on Russert than Pelosi.
 
I don't watch TV, but I heard the interview on the podcast. I was astonished at how nasty & obnoxious Russert was, cutting Pelosi off repeatedly and trying to twist her words into something she didn't say. I guess he's still trying to get a position at Fox.

In the audio (at least), Pelosi came off as a reasonable, thoughtful leader, trying to avoid being smashed by the bully... trying to raise the level of the discussion. Russert came off as a total prick.

Of course, I'm reminded of the 1960 presidential debates, where listeners thought Nixon had won, and viewers gave the benefit to Kennedy. Perhaps on TV, Russert is able to use facial expressions, camera angles, etc. to soften the apparent severity of his attack and disguise his distortions of her statements.

As various commenters have pointed out, Pelosi's explanation was that 18 more months of Presidential incompetence have changed the facts behind the Iraq debate. If the point where you cut off the quote amounts to "match point", the end of that topic (to mix metaphors) is "checkmate" in Pelosi's favor.
 
I don't watch TV, but I heard the interview on the podcast. I was astonished at how nasty & obnoxious Russert was, cutting Pelosi off repeatedly and trying to twist her words into something she didn't say. I guess he's still trying to get a position at Fox.

In the audio (at least), Pelosi came off as a reasonable, thoughtful leader, trying to avoid being smashed by the bully... trying to raise the level of the discussion. Russert came off as a total prick.

Of course, I'm reminded of the 1960 presidential debates, where listeners thought Nixon had won, and viewers gave the benefit to Kennedy. Perhaps on TV, Russert is able to use facial expressions, camera angles, etc. to soften the apparent severity of his attack and disguise his distortions of her statements.

As various commenters have pointed out, Pelosi's explanation was that 18 more months of Presidential incompetence have changed the facts behind the Iraq debate. If the point where you cut off the quote amounts to "match point", the end of that topic (to mix metaphors) is "checkmate" in Pelosi's favor.
 
David,

With all due respect, you're becoming more disingenuous every day. Whether it's sticking it to the French on their support of Egypt while ignoring your beloved Bush administration's massive financial support of Egypt or your faux shock at the visit of Aliyev to the White House or Rice's kind words for Obiang and finally this bit of nonsense, you're exuding little more than blind partisanism.
 
Lord. Russert was trying to put words in her mouth ala Sean Hannity. Russert does a rachet job for Karl Rove and you fellows call this great reporting?! My wife - a moderate Republican - was impressed at how Pelosi fired back at Russert and then asked me to turn him off as she hates Hannity's garbage and was appalled that it was on Meet the Press.

I will say - you and Andrew Sullivan are getting desparate if this is the best shot you can take at Pelosi!
 
Much obliged for the comments. An extended response is forthcoming. See today's (Wednesday's) post for details.
 
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