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Dean Does It Again

Tim Russert is widely viewed as being tough on both parties, but Arianna Huffington is on something of an anti-Russert kick:

"As expected, the latest edition of Meet the Press, featuring RNC chair Ken Mehlman, was another classic example of why host Tim Russert is fast becoming journalism's answer to the 'E-ZPass,' those electronic tags that allow drivers to go through toll booths without having to stop. On the show today, Mehlman was allowed to distort, twist, manipulate, obfuscate and 'disassemble' his way through every stop on the disinformation highway.

"The key to the E-ZPass method, as HuffPost reader Paul Harry points out, is no follow-ups -- or lame follow-ups quickly abandoned. And Mehlman is a master at dealing with those. His technique? Just repeat or slightly rephrase his talking point, and trust that Russert will give up, wave him on, and proceed to the next prepared question."

Um, don't all political guests try to bob and weave?

"Early in the interview, Russert asks Mehlman whether 'the president has hit a wall with his domestic agenda. . . . What's the problem?'

"The RNC chair dances around the question so deftly his moves should be taught at Arthur Murray: 'Tim, I don't think there's a problem,' he responds, and then promptly changes the subject to Ronald Reagan before closing with an RNC commercial:

"'Before we provided prescription drugs for Medicare, we were told it wasn't going to happen. Before the president was able to move forward with No Child Left Behind, we were told it was stalled. We just passed class-action reform for the first time in six years and that, too, was predicted not to happen.'

"If Russert were doing his job, he would have countered with some well-aired problems with these three accomplishments: the Medicare prescription drug plan was promised to cost under $400 billion over ten years but now stands at $724 billion (and, in a stunning giveaway to the drug industry, the government gets no bulk purchasing discount); the No Child Left Behind Act has been such a massively underfunded disaster that 12 states are considering legislation to get out of it; and the class-action 'reform' was just a huge handout to corporate interests."

How dare Russert not act as a Democratic debater!

Finally, no wonder he kept these records secret:

"During last year's presidential campaign, John F. Kerry was the candidate often portrayed as intellectual and complex, while George W. Bush was the populist who mangled his sentences," the Boston Globe observes.

"But newly released records show that Bush and Kerry had a virtually identical grade average at Yale University four decades ago.

"In 1999, The New Yorker published a transcript indicating that Bush had received a cumulative score of 77 for his first three years at Yale and a roughly similar average under a non-numerical rating system during his senior year.

"Kerry, who graduated two years before Bush, got a cumulative 76 for his four years, according to a transcript that Kerry sent to the Navy when he was applying for officer training school. He received four D's in his freshman year out of 10 courses, but improved his average in later years."


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