Clinton confidant dismisses MSNBC as no longer fair and balanced

Here’s another item that casts light on Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) battle with the media. Over the weekend, she tweaked ABC’s George Stephanopoulos for being a former President Clinton aide who apparently, as a journalist, no longer has opinions. Last week she appeared for the first time on Fox News’s “O’Reilly Factor” and discussed atrocities of other networks.

And now, one of her closest confidants, Lanny Davis, a former top adviser to her husband (and a regular contributor to The Hill’s Pundits Blog), is bashing and accusing MSNBC of abandoning promises to do something about bias.

Davis says he spoke with a “member of senior MSNBC management” who “told me personally that they were aware that they needed to do something to bring credibility back to MSNBC in terms of balance.”

The former Clinton adviser points to MSNBC hosts Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann as culprits. Though he says he personally likes the men, citing a 25-year-old friendship with Matthews, he thinks their shows are deplorably one-sided.

Davis says he takes no issue with Matthews and Olbermann being anti-Clinton. His problem, he says, is that they offer no counterpoint. “There’s no question in my mind that Chris Matthews talks differently about women than he does about men,” he says, citing the words “aggressive” and “tough” that Matthews uses to describe Clinton.

Davis ran into Matthews at a reception; he says the host told him, “I’m going to be better.” But he isn’t sure he meant it. “Do I think he is shamelessly biased and doesn’t care about being biased? Absolutely. Even after he admits to wanting to be better, he doesn’t do better.”

Davis says the network has become totally biased, certainly against Clinton. “It has become a completely shameless, one-sided, personal attack-oriented evening network. The great news organization [helmed] by Brian Williams portrays itself as fair and balanced. … My gut is he [Brian Williams] has just washed his hands of it.”

Davis was invited onto Matthews’s show before his conversation with Matthews, but hasn’t been invited on either show since. “Why is it I’m invited on CNN and FOX all the time?” he asks.

“No, I would not go on either Olbermann or Matthews ever,” Davis says, later clarifying that he’d need assurances of fairness for that to happen.

“The charges that we do not book anyone representative of the Clinton campaign are ridiculous,” said MSNBC spokeswoman Alana Russo, citing that Clinton had been on “Morning Joe” yesterday morning and “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” 10 days ago.

Russo listed Clinton supporters who had appeared on MSNBC, including Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, Harold Ickes and Howard Wolfson. “We book surrogates from both campaigns all the time. Kiki McLean and Hillary Rosen were on “Hardball” in the past week and [Chris Matthews] has said he’d be delighted to have Sen. Clinton appear.”


Sen. Craig is butt of another bathroom stall joke

An animal rights group is accusing Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) of stalling a bill to prevent horses from being turned into dinner.

Get it? Stalling. It works on more than one level.

a), Horses live in stalls. And b), Craig famously ran into trouble while in a bathroom stall in the Minneapolis airport. He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, although he subsequently sought unsuccessfully to rescind that plea. An undercover police officer accused Craig of soliciting sex in a men’s restroom. Craig, who is not running for reelection, said he had a wide stance.

The stalling pun comes from the National Horse Protection League, which sent out an e-mail alert urging horse lovers to pressure Craig and other senators to allow a vote on the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act.

“Why won’t Sen. Craig get out of the stalls? When will he learn his lesson?” said Soraya Gheissari, executive director of the National Horse Protection League.

“He needs to release the hold on this legislation so we can effectively protect horses from this gruesome practice.”

The bill prohibits “the shipping, transporting, moving, delivering, receiving, possessing, purchasing, selling, or donation of horses and other equines to be slaughtered for human consumption.”

The e-mail alert fingers Craig for threatening to place a hold on the act, and pokes fun at Craig’s legal trouble.

Gheissari says more than 50 percent of the people who received the e-mail signed the petition and sent it along to their senators.

The group calls the campaign tongue-in-cheek.

Craig’s spokeswoman Susan Irby did not return calls on the matter.


Larry King still watching diet; matzo is key staple

They cuffed and squeezed him, and his blood pressure came out to 172 over 61 — a decent reading for CNN’s Larry King, who, in his 75th year of life, wasn’t always so healthy.  

And that’s putting it mildly.

Before his quintuple bypass surgery 11 years ago, he ate poorly, never exercised and smoked three packs of cigarettes a day. He even smoked in the shower and on the way to his own surgery.

King, who recently renewed his contract with CNN until 2011, visited George Washington University Hospital late last week — the place he came for treatment after his heart attack. He was there to promote the Larry King Cardiac Foundation, which he created after his own experience so the uninsured working poor could afford surgery. King’s son, Larry King Jr., who watched his mother, Annette, die from lung cancer, runs the foundation. He also sets an example of healthy eating for his dad by having oatmeal every day.

King phones every patient the foundation helps.

“I thought I was invincible,” said King, who had his blood pressure taken at tent set up at the Foggy Bottom Metro stop, where he was promoting his foundation. “The only thing that woke me up was having a heart attack.”

At the time, King was put in the same cubicle where President Reagan was after he was shot. “I was scared to death,” King recalls. “I had none of that otherworldly stuff — I had fright.”

Nowadays King eats scooped-out bagels, Cheerios, Quaker Oat Squares and a lot of matzo. “The Jews ate it when it when they were running away from Pharaoh, and I’m running away from heart disease.” His treat: Jelly Bellys.

When King awoke from his surgery, he was freezing cold, but happy. “I praised the heavens,” he said. “I walked stairs that day. I took a 20-block walk a week later.”  

Huffington relives memories in home she shared with ex-husband

Arianna Huffington relived bittersweet memories while touting her latest book at a reception hosted by Democratic mega-donor Beth Dozoretz at her Northwest Washington home Sunday night.

Huffington, publisher of the Huffington Post website, told some 100 guests, including CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Judy Woodruff, Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) and former Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman, that she had lived in the house before her divorce from then-Rep. Michael Huffington (R-Calif.).

Huffington noted that she sold the house to Dozoretz, one of Bill and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonStopping Robert Mueller to protect us all Hillary Clinton hits Trump, pulls out Russian hat during Yale speech Giuliani: Mueller plans to wrap up Trump obstruction probe by Sept. 1 MORE’s top fundraisers, and her husband Ron shortly after her own marriage broke up. Huffington said she poured out her heart to Beth Dozoretz over the kitchen table as they finalized the sale.

But Huffington, whose book Right Is Wrong attacks the Bush administration and the media for uncritical coverage of right-wing zealots, diplomatically avoided repeating any of her harsh criticism of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in her HuffPost commentaries, in light of her host’s support of Clinton.

After all, as she pointed out, “I’m sleeping in my former bedroom tonight.”

Huffington also spoke before the Senate Press Secretaries Association Monday morning.

Before the talk, she told SPSA Association President Greg Keeley, spokesman for Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoWatchdog to probe EPA email preservation Overnight Energy: EPA moves to roll back chemical plant safety rule | NASA chief says humans contribute to climate change | Pruitt gets outside lawyer House lawmakers to unveil water resources bill on Friday MORE (R-Wyo.), that she is a former Republican.

While introducing her he joked, “As a former Republican, I am delighted to welcome Arianna Hufington to the SPSA.”

Keeley remarked, “It was a little awkward as president of the SPSA and a GOP staffer  introducing Arianna and reading the title of her book Right is Wrong — How the Lunatic Fringe Hijacked America, Shredded the Constitution and Made Us All Less Safe.  However it was all done in very good humor.  She laughed out loud during my intro and was very gracious.”

Mysterious bipartisan bonding

Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) spent this past weekend visiting Rep. Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.) in Tennessee, but Doyle won’t say what he was doing there. Doyle and Wamp were discussing their getaway last Thursday. Doyle was heard griping about how long the layover in Charlotte, N.C., would be as Wamp tried to soothe him, saying, “It’s a good time to have dinner.”

What are these two lawmakers doing together? “I’ll tell you, but I might have to kill you,” said Doyle.

Doyle’s spokesman also would not reveal details. “A deep dark mystery, I’m afraid,” wrote Matt Dinkel in an e-mail.

ITK contest: E-mail in your best guess as to what Doyle was doing visiting Wamp in Tennessee this past weekend and we’ll publish the best answers.