Great Moments in Campaign Journalism…

Three moments, actually:

NBC‘s Chuck Todd yesterday on Meet the Press (12/10/11), commenting on Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich:

Well, first of all, those are a couple of nimble debaters. They are pretty good. I think we have seen it. This is the final two.

I’m old enough to remember when Todd had the campaign narrowed down to a Top Three, way back in August: “We have a top tier. It is Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann.”

ABC host Diane Sawyer, asked to describe (This Week, 12/11/11) the most revealing lesson she learned about the candidates after she moderated a debate this weekend:

The vitality on the stage. We said at the beginning the marathon run it is to run for president. But I have to tell you, first of all, they have great immune systems…. They came out strapping, they came out ready…. I think you can’t always experience on television just the sheer physical vitality of all these candidates.

–The New York Times reports (12/11/11) that a story about Newt Gingrich featured an anonymous source rebutting criticisms of him. Turns out that source was… Newt Gingrich.

Even though Mr. Gingrich publicly insists that he will take the high road with a positive campaign that does not criticize other Republicans, he recently strayed from that vow, offering himself as an anonymous source in a New Hampshire newspaper last week to reply to criticism by John H. Sununu, a former aide to President George H.W. Bush who, as a Romney surrogate, has called Mr. Gingrich “untrustworthy and unprincipled.”

Mr. Sununu told the newspaper, the Union Leader, that Mr. Gingrich supported a tax increase deal that the first President Bush made with Democrats in 1990, then reversed himself. The newspaper, quoting a source identified as “a senior aide in the Gingrich campaign,” elaborately rebutted this account.

[Gingrich spokesman R.C] Hammond said the source was actually Mr. Gingrich, who did not want to be identified to avoid the impression he was getting into a fight with the Romney camp.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.