Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

On "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," Obama hears about blanguage. Axelrod on Clinton "Osama" ad.


PHILADELPHIA, PA.-- Pool report from Sen. Barack Obama's taping of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart."

Pool Report #2
Pittsburgh Video Center, Pittsburgh, Pa.
6:45 p.m. Obama tapes an appearance on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” by video hookup. Obama campaign moving partial transcript shortly.

Highlights at the top:

*Obama told Stewart during their interview that after starting out 20 points behind Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania, “The polls are now showing us about 6 to 8” points behind.

*Stewart told Obama what the real concern voters have is: “The Rev. Wright controversy, the flag pin controversy. . . Will you pull a bait-and-switch, sir, and enslave the white race. Is that your plan? And if it is your plan, be honest, tell us now!” Obama’s response (laughing, not mad): “That is not our plan, Jon, but I think your paranoia might make you suitable as a debate moderator.”

For the rest, your pooler will divide this report into two sections – my mostly unsuccessful attempt to get a quote from Sen.Obama re. the Clinton campaign’s ad invoking Osama Bin Laden, and then the Jon Stewart appearance.

Part I
On the way into the studio, I asked Obama why he felt it important to respond to the late-breaking Clinton ad with an ad of his own and what he thought of her ad. “Are you supposed to be doing this with the pool?” he asked, and laughed. Then he sat down and had the earpiece put in. I asked him if he’d give us a comment after the taping and he said, “Maybe, it depends on how well behaved you are.” But then after the taping, I was whisked off ahead of him and didn’t get to bug him again.

In between, I asked strategist David Axelrod again about the Clinton ad. His response: “The irony of it is, she supported the president on the war and that’s one of the main reasons why Osama bin Laden is still free. And then you know to include him in this ad and emulate the sort of fear-mongering that we’ve seen over the last eight years is really ironic. She didn’t have the judgment to see that we were diverting our attention from bin Laden and now she’s using Bin Laden in an ad to say that she is the one who is ready to be president?”

Part II
(The way the studio was set up, you couldn’t hear Jon Stewart’s questions from the room Obama was in unless you had an earpiece, which I was not provided and you couldn’t hear Obama’s answers or see his face from the control room. So this is cobbled together from tapes we rolled in each room.)

Prior to the interview with Stewart, Obama sat in front of the camera (which was not rolling at the time) with an earpiece in listening to the show being taped. He swung his right leg back and forth and at times chuckled, grinned and laughed.

Stewart and the show’s senior black correspondent and comedian Larry Wilmore talked about the speculation about whether Obama had been giving Clinton “the finger” after the debate last week. Cut to video. “Are you shi—ing me?” Stewart said. “THIS is a flip-off.” And he demonstrated. “What if he was just scratching his face?” Stewart asked.

Wilmore joked, “Black people’s face don’t itch.. . black people have a whole set of physical gestures only we can understand.” Wilmore called it “blanguage” which he defined as a “secret black language.” Obama was laughing uncontrollably (still off camera).and briefly did his own subtle finger face itch. Obama’s smiled waned a bit when Wilmore went on to this joke: “Look at Rev. Wright. All he said was G-D America and everybody went crazy. He could have said the same thing in blanguage and nobody would have been the wiser.”

Here’s what Obama told Stewart about the Pennsylvania primary once their interview started:
*“It is a mad dash but the people of Pennsylvania have been terrific.”

*“We think there’s going to be high turnout tomorrow.” He said after starting 20 points down “the polls are not showing us about 6 to 8” points behind.

*Obama said Clinton’s tough campaigning did him “a favor” . . . . “She has put me through the paces,” he said. If he wins the nomination, he said, everything’s “going to be old news” by the general election.

Margaret Talev
McClatchy Newspapers


Poor, poor Barry. Does he expect the media to give him a pass the entire way through to the Presidency. In the minds of his leftist backers, he is being picked on or they want you to believe that. An ole political strategy that the Democrats have perfected is "Tell a lie often enough and with force and soon it will be believed".

Margaret Talev is to be commended for challenging the Messiah (and that's why I call him that--he or his organization or his 'bloggers' (I think Elizabeth Edwards coined the word 'trolls'?) intimidate journalists or other bloggers who challenge him on his 'message'--no deviation, please.
Everyone should MEMORIZE this paragraph:
" On the way into the studio, I asked Obama why he felt it important to respond to the late-breaking Clinton ad with an ad of his own and what he thought of her ad. “Are you supposed to be doing this with the pool?” he asked, and laughed. Then he sat down and had the earpiece put in. I asked him if he’d give us a comment after the taping and he said, “Maybe, it depends on how well behaved you are.” But then after the taping, I was whisked off ahead of him and didn’t get to bug him again."
What will happen when and if he assumes the presidency? Real Journalists to Guantanamo? We already have an Arab cameraman rotting there. But no screaming from the left, from Keith Olbermann about that. They only scream when somebody other than Messiah seems destined to win.
Michael Moore and Jon Stewart are on the Messiah Ship of Fools. Let's finish with Jon Stewart, first. Where's the FCC? The FCC? To host a candidate the night (and day) before the election, another attempt to rehabilitate himself from FINGERING a fellow candidate (a more statesmanlike one) who painted Petreus into a corner the other week (Alert Move's still ignored) --that should be a violation of the Fairness Doctrine. Oh wait! We don't have one! (Alert Free press =--oh wait! The only unfair debates they care about are the ones who make Obama be accountable.
So of course 'naughty' pool journalists must be hustled away from candidate.
And Michael Moore's diatribe against Hillary is unconscionable. It's interesting he's not paying attention to the tidbit in the (horribly biased with its adjectives--but not facts) article about Michelle Obama's so called 'humble roots'--Daddy making 40 grand plus is pretty darn good. But why didn't Mike point out that Michelle's U of C hospital also allowed an insured man to die--a lot like one of the examples in his excellent Sicko.
I had so much respect for all three men--Stewart ( for taking on big media's biased and stupid practices), Obama (for saying he'd end the war, gun control, environmentalism--all words, turns out, no action), and Moore (for being, well, real).
I realize all politicians, and people who want to interview them have feet of clay. I know who HIllary is. I'm liking her more and more as this campaign continues. But the guys---they're acting like the Three Stooges!

One part of the Daily Show (the SAVE OBAMA IN PA edition) and the aftermath is seeing Axelrod talk about bin Laden. Why don't BOTH candidates discuss what Benazir Bhutto said a month before she was killed: That she needed to watch out for the same guys who'd murdered bin Laden a month prior were after her.
How about some comedy about THAT?
How about a documentary about THAT from Michael Moore?
Why are white liberal males over 30 in the bag for Obama?

Stewart's performance on CNN was a great moment.
It didn't last.
Pulling this pre-election and election day stunt should be sanctioned--but Obama doesn't have a media reform plank in his platform, does he?
Given Obama's censorial treatment of the McClatchey reporter (thanks for posting Lynn) it seems hard to believe he'll do that (present or waffles on the war votes, guns, nukes).
Voted FOR the 2005 Cheney energy bill, didn't he? 29 new nukes. GE has nukes. And MSNBC.
MSNBC edited the finger tape (and this is news, sorry boys) to make it look less sexist and offensive. I do this gesture. I know what it means.
So Stewart uses the MSNBC (turn down the volume trick--distort the ORDER of the tape trick) video instead of the raw tape?
And Stewart lets him call debate moderators paranoid? On the very day Obama decides he will NOT do the debate on CBS now that things about his background finally leaked out courtesy of the chicago media (better late than never?)
John, whadda ya thinking?

Wow....a truly accurate and unbiased report. Great! My complements! That was one of the best Daily Show episodes and your behind the scenes take is cool

Obama is not electable. He is hiding somethings that eventually will come out. Either the media will expose it , or the Republicans will!

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on April 21, 2008 7:44 PM.

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