State of the Union with John King was back in Washington, D.C. this morning. King managed to speak with 10% of the nation's governors in one program. (And they probably talked about another 10% who weren't on the program.)
The first guests were two governors: Gov. Haley Barbour (R- Mississippi) and Gov. Deval Patrick (D - Massachusetts). Gov. Barbour is prepared to take funding from the stimulus bill, but not all of it. He's not willing to change their policies regarding unemployment benefits.
King used the frontpage of the Boston Herald in his discussion with Gov. Patrick and mentioned that his first job was delivering that paper many years ago. Gov. Patrick is faced with needing to raise taxes (via a gas tax) in order pay for projects and services. Gov. Patrick made an interesting statement concerning the lack of bipartisanship with the stimulus bill: Is the Congress ready for bipartisanship? He alluded that there was a disconnect between what people out in the field (ie outisde Washington) and the politicians. To quote a phrase that we frequently hear from Gloria Borger, "You think!"
King questioned the governors about the state of their national guard units. Are they ready to send more troops overseas? Gov. Barbour indicated that they are meeting their recruitment goals. Gov. Patrick commented that he is concerned about equipment that goes over and either doesn't return or is returned in bad repair.
The next guest to come to the table, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R), Senate Minority Leader. Sen. McConnell was echoing an argument that we heard on the campaign trail that lifting the Bush tax breaks on the wealthiest Americans means that the Democrats want to tax small businesses. Sen. McConnell wants to tackle social security instead of eliminating the tax cuts. Sen. McConnell defered to the ethics committee when asked about whether Sen. Burris should remain in the Senate.
James Carville (D) and Ed Rollins (R) discussed the speech Pres. Obama is scheduled to make before Congress on Tuesday night. Carville, who happened to be sporting purple Mardi Gras beads, believes that this speech will be more important than President Obama's inaugural address. When discussing the $1.2T decifit, Rollins suggested that Obama inherited it, but that it would be much more as we continue.
John King was in Michigan this week and interviewed GM Auto workers. He also spoke with Sherrill Freeborough who owns a Saturn dealership. If GM eliminates the brand over the next few years, Freeborough will have to find another car line to sell at her two dealerships.
10 AM: Reliable Sources
Howard Kurtz took a look at Sen. Burris' sudden refusal to talk to the media with former CNN host, Tucker Carlson, Lynn Sweet and Ryan Lizza. I think that Carlson and Lizza could have argued about the role of the media and whether or not the Congressional leadership should have seated Burris for hours.
The next topic for the panel was about FOX News' frequent use of the word "socialism" when discussing the Obama administration's policies. Lizza made a comment about how Pres. Obama has saved FOX since they now have someone to attack (after having been so meek during the Bush administration.) Carlson did a good job of not answering a question Kurtz asked about MSNBC:
KURTZ: Does MSNBC, where you recently worked, do anything comparable to what Fox does in terms of pounding a message?
CARLSON: I don't know. I haven't worked for Fox. But every network has a meeting in the morning, a story meeting. Every newspaper has the same, the budget meeting, where they figure out what the big stories are and how they're going to attack them, and different channels take it in a different perspective.
The next panel (Dahlia Lithwick and Amy Holmes) discussed the Bristol Palin interview. Amy Holmes (R) made an interesting comment: "What was so peculiar about this, in the interview, Greta asked her, "So when did you tell your parents you were sitting down with me to do this?" And she was like, "Oh, yesterday." So, what was the context? Was it because Bristol is doing a book negotiation? Is it because she felt she was maligned and misunderstood? And Greta never really put it in a context so that we can understand, why are we listening to Bristol Palin right now?"
Kurtz finally got to interview Bernard Goldberg this morning. Reminder- he's the one that cancelled on Kurtz last week. Goldberg is the author of "A Slobbering Love Affair" which takes a look at the media's coverage and reaction to Pres. Obama's campaign. Kurtz asked him, "So are you saying that journalists for mainstream news organizations deliberately and consciously set out to elect an African-American?" Here's the short version of Goldberg's answer: "And to sum it up really in a sentence, I think in elite liberal circles, certainly inside the media, race trumps gender, and that's why they slobbered over Barack Obama, and took Hillary Clinton the back room and beat her with a rubber hose."
ABC's Robin Roberts spoke with Kurtz about the Oscars. Kurtz was having fun needling the serious journalist, Roberts, about working the red carpet. He wasn't able to find out who she will be wearing tonight.
Donna Brazile (D), Kevin Madden (R), and Gloria Borger got to be on the first panel. The top topic was the state governors who are threatening to not accept some of the funds being offered in the stimulus bill. The also discussed Pres. Obama's plan to cut the deficit and to eliminate Bush's tax cuts for those making over $250K; nationalizing the banking system; and the Governor's conference that is taking place this week in Washington, D.C. When discussing the governors who might be running for President in the future, Kevin Madden had this to say, "Well, first of all, my mother is so disappointed in me, because I'm 37, the same age as Bobby Jindal, and I'm not governor of any state yet."
While in Michigan, King also spoke with Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D). She's more than willing to take any federal stimulus money that is refused by another state.
The second political panel included Jessica Yellin, Barbara Starr, and Ed Henry. They discussed what the President needs to do on Tuesday night when he addresses Congress and the American people. They also discussed the war, Pentagon spending, and troop levels in Afghanistan. The economy is over shadowing the discussion of foreign policy and issues- both in what is expected in Tuesday night's speech and in the media coverage.
This week, the diner conversation was in Lansing Michigan with three people who voted for Pres. Obama. No review from John King on the food... has he found a diner that he didn't like?
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger joined King in the D.C. studio. Unlike some of the Governor's Republican colleagues, he's welcoming the stimulus money. He also believes that despite rhetoric that he used during the campaign, it is now time to support the President and come together as Americans (not Democrats or Republicans). What happens to the Governor once his term ends? He wouldn't answer that question.
The last time King spoke with the Governor, there was a discussion about an Obama cut out and the Governor getting back into the bedroom. King followed up to find out how that was going.
Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan defended the Obama housing plan. King questioned Donovan about the what the Administration will do about the Gulf Coast: 6870 trailers and mobile homes; 318 households in hotels.
Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) from Montana got to have the last word. He had an interesting comment regarding the difference between state and federal governments: "In Washington, D.C., they debate, governors deliver."
Ever wonder what is being discussed as they go into commercial? Well, as we got closer to the end of the show, they started to forget to turn the microphone off as they went into commercial breaks. King said to Schweitzer, "You get the last word. You own Sunday." Then after the interview, "That's the fastest four minutes in television. You got a lot done."
The return of the podcast. When Reliable Sources was absorbed into State of the Union with John King, the weekly podcast of the program disappeared. This week, it returns! Reliable Sources Video Podcast and direct link to today's podcast. Based on Kurtz's recent tweets, I think that both Kurtz and Reliable Sources fans are glad to have this back. Looking for a podcast of today's State of the Union with John King? Well, it is still under former management. To find it on the CNN Podcast website, click on the link for the Late Edition podcast. The direct link to today's podcast. Don't grumble too much... this is only the sixth program and the program's website and podcasts are both up and running. A label on a podcast link is minor in comparison.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: State of the Union with John King will be broadcasting on Tuesday from 12:00 PM ET - 1:00 PM ET on CNN.com/LIVE. CNN's coverage of President Obama's address to Congress starts at 8:00 AM ET on CNN.com/ LIVE.