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MSNBC: 'Fire-Breather' Palin 'Makes Obama Look Like John Adams'

By Media Research Center
September 2, 2008

On Friday's Countdown show, while appearing as a guest, Newsweek's Howard Fineman, also an MSNBC political analyst, contended that, regarding her level of experience, Sarah Palin "makes Barack Obama look like John Adams." Host Keith Olbermann called her "the least experienced vice presidential candidate probably in American history," and repeatedly applied labels to her suggesting extremism, calling her "fanatically anti-abortion," "hard right," "global warming denying," a "rabid conservative," a "red meat conservative," and a "fire-breather."

     Picking up on a joke by Fineman that there are not many "pro-drilling, anti-polar bear, and anti-abortion women" who were Hillary Clinton supporters who would move to support Palin, Olbermann asked Fineman: "Was her real appeal the fact that she is a red meat conservative? I mean, she is, as you suggested, pro-drilling. She's this side of 'melt the Arctic,' this side of 'imprison abortionists,' she's run up the debt, 'purge the lefties' fire-breather."

     Olbermann called Palin "fanatically anti-abortion" in the show's teaser: "The 20-month veteran, the two-term mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, population 9,236, the mayor who won the award for tree care from the National Arbor Day Foundation in 2002, the governor who was for the 'Bridge to Nowhere' before she was against it -- 'the' Sarah Palin? Senator McCain's 'Hail Mary' described as the biggest political gamble of our time, picking an ex-beauty queen governor on the job only 20 months, fanatically anti-abortion and pro-gun, in a desperate play for Hillary Clinton supporters."

     [This item, by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, was posted Monday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     During the show's introduction, Olbermann called her a "rabid conservative" and questioned the level of her experience: "The Republicans have selected the least experienced vice presidential candidate probably in American history -- a rabid conservative, seemingly a vague kind of alternative to Hillary Clinton, except that last March, the Governor claimed Senator Clinton was, quote, 'whining about the primaries.'"

     Fineman soon came aboard and joked about the lack of "pro-drilling, anti-polar bear, and anti-abortion women" who were Clinton supporters: "Well, Keith, there are a lot of pro-drilling, anti-polar bear, and anti-abortion women among those 18 million Hillary supporters, I'm sure. I'm being facetious. I don't think there are that many left. And I don't think this really was about that. I think, in big picture terms, it was about John McCain seeking to change things up, to try to reestablish his maverick credentials because despite her lack of experience, Sarah Palin is a brave, political person, having taken on her own political party the way John McCain used to do."

     The Countdown host then asked: "Well, there's something else here that's sort of being overlooked in the sort of focus, 'Oh, she's a woman, oh, she's a newcomer.' Was her real appeal the fact that she is a red meat conservative? I mean, she is, as you suggested, pro-drilling. She's this side of 'melt the Arctic,' this side of 'imprison abortionists,' she's run up the debt, 'purge the lefties' fire-breather."

     While answering a question from Olbermann about why McCain was giving up being able to use the issue of experience against Obama by picking Palin as his running mate, Fineman made his claim that Obama is substantially more experienced than Palin: "[McCain has] done it at great cost because the whole Republican convention -- I was told, and was reporting for the magazine and on the Web -- was going to be the slogan, 'He's not ready to lead,' meaning Barack Obama. Well, Sarah Palin makes Barack Obama look like John Adams. I mean, it's just, it's no contest."

     A rare bright spot from Olbermann came during an interview with Air America's Rachel Maddow when the Countdown host elaborated a bit on the investigation of Palin over her attempt to have a state trooper who was her brother-in-law fired, which makes Palin's position sound sympathetic because of the state trooper's violent tendencies: "And the investigation that's going on of the governor in Alaska. This is really a non-starter for her critics, as juicy as it might seem on the surface, right? I mean, she may have fired the guy who didn't fire the trooper who had been married to her sister, but the guy was beating up the sister and tasering their 11-year-old kid. I mean, no woman would see that and would not give her a round of applause, and the same goes for a lot of men, too. That's a non-starter politically, right?"

     A bit later, during an interview with Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, Olbermann labeled Palin as "hard right." Olbermann: "The McCain answer to [Obama's] speech last night, which included, by my count, like 19 punches to McCain in that speech, there was a tepid statement last night. Today everything was Miss Wasilla for VP. Did they not, did the McCain camp not need to hit back hard after last night because if he chooses a hard right, global warming-denying, pro-drilling, lifetime NRA member as an answer to Obama's speech, isn't that McCain saying, in effect, 'I agree with everything Barack Obama just said about me'?"



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