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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Best Political Team on Television

by digby

This morning I watched CNN spend at least 15 minutes interviewing Andrew Breitbart about a congressman's penis after which they interviewed legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin about the interview.

Yesterday the main story was this:

JOHN KING, HOST: Thanks Candy and good evening tonight from one of America's historic treasurers, the Gettysburg National Military Park. It's a fitting place to spend any Memorial Day and on this national holiday, well a heavy rush of presidential politics.

The Sarah Palin mystery tour rolled into town just a short time ago, but no public events yet and we don't know when she will appear because her aides simply won't tell us. But as she made her way here, her stops included Ft. McHenry (ph), Star Spangled Banner (INAUDIBLE) and as she traveled she is being more than a little cagey on the subject of whether this is just a rolling civics lesson or a 2012 campaign preview.


SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER GOVERNOR OF ALASKA: You know I believe that there are many more out there who have much more to add and competition breeds success. I would hope that there is going to be vigorous debates and a lot of (INAUDIBLE) competition (INAUDIBLE).


KING: Also this day, President Obama leads the traditional wreath laying at Arlington National Cemetery then announces another major change in his national security team. With America fighting three wars, we'll explore whether the new War Council signals a new approach.


BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm announcing my choice for the successors today because it's essential that this transition be seamless and that we stay focused on the urgent national security challenges before us.


KING: But, first up, like it or not, she's back. Sarah Palin is on a bus tour that mixes landmarks of America's past and battlegrounds of her political presence. New Hampshire and Iowa in the days ahead, for example, but on this day George Washington's Mt. Vern, the National Archives in Washington, D.C. and here at the turning point of the Civil War. Some of you I know are already rolling your eyes.

I've been getting e-mails and tweets all day. There is no question Governor Palin is a master of media manipulation. But spend a little time in this little town and you'll also get a taste of the Palin factor. Look at these pictures we can show you right now. Families waiting for hours some of them eight or nine hours, 100-degree heat almost here to get a glimpse at the biggest remaining wild card in the 2012 presidential race.


JASON CORRADO, LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK: I think she brings a perspective that is a little bit closer to home for most average Americans. I don't think that she seems to have lost touch with what most people are concerned about right now. I think some of the candidates are not able to connect as well as she can.

JEANNE TULL, SELMA, TENNESSEE: I like her. I would just like to see her. I think a lot of her. I have a lot of respect for her. I have a lot of respect for her Christian values and her convictions. She seems like a family person and I like that.


KING: Now, Governor Palin likes to call us the lame stream media and her organization refuses to give us a schedule of her planned route or stops. So it makes it a little fun, or frustrating to cover her depending on your perspective. I call it fun. She did of course allow a FOX News crew and host to travel in her entourage and that begs one of the big questions about all this.

Has she privately assured FOX she is not running and that this is just about self-promotion or does the network have a different standard for Governor Palin than it put in place for its other candidate contributors like Newt Gingrich or Mike Huckabee. Let's dissect her message and her motives with three veterans of Republican politics.

CNN contributor Erick Erickson is the editor of the influential conservative site RedState.com. Susan Molinari is a former Republican congresswoman from New York and John Brabender is a top Republican campaign strategist who knows this state of Pennsylvania in particular quite well.

Palin and Breitbart understand something about the political press that others do not --- they are driven by tabloid values. Give them some juicy gossip and they are as happy as can be.