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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Highlights from State Of The Union on March 22, 2009

Highlights from State of the Union with John King returns this week.

The first “word” (interview) this morning was with Christina Romer, the chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisors. The topics were a discussion of the toxic asset purchasing program, outrage over AIG, and future regulatory reforms. Paul Begala later mentions in the program that he thought that she did very well, but I just wasn't impressed with her answers and maybe she wasn't the right person to speak for the administration.

King used the magic wall to bring up graphs of several economic indicators. He came close to having one of those TV moments- it sounded like on the way to the wall he almost tripped on a chair. Live TV can be dangerous on a Sunday morning.

Budget economic forecast

Senator Judd Gregg spoke with John King about AIG and the budget. He warns of government bankruptcy if spending remains at the level in the proposed budget.

The first panel of the morning included Dana Perino & Paul Begala. They discussed Obama's gaffe on the Tonight show & budget deficits.

John King visited New Orleans this week. He visited the Lower 9th Ward and reported on a health clinic that has been setup in what used to be home. His column about the trip appears on

A few side notes, King talks about his visit in a video posted on CNN's website .

And Dave Walker of The Times-Picayune had an article on the paper's website this morning about King's visit.

Louisiana is the touchdown state for this week's edition of "State of the Union with John King," airing from 8 a.m. to noon Sunday (March 21) on CNN.

(And, yes, we're getting two-timed by CNN. Anderson Cooper was just here Tuesday for a live "360" stand-up and stories from Chalmette. These things happen in threes. Who's next, Larry King? "Let's take a call. River Ridge, you're on with the Octomom!")

Anyway, John King regularly ventures out into the field for "Union," and segments this Sunday will include a sit-down (and oil-rig field trip) with U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, a visit to a 9th Ward health clinic, a visit to CNN contributor James Carville's Tulane University class for a guest lecture by Newt Gingrich, and some coffee talk with civilians at Cafe du Monde.

"We put our travels into the show every week," King said by phone from the Baltimore airport immediately upon disembarking from his flight from New Orleans.

"This week will have more of our travels than other weeks. It was a very diverse trip. It's like a good Cajun meal. There's lots to chew over."


King said his takeaway, based on the reporting he did here, was that the city and state may be dodging the worst of the global economic crisis.

"Your state's the only state in the country where the unemployment rate went down last month," King said. "For the worst of reasons, New Orleans has already had its recession.

"Money is flowing in. You have a stimulus plan of sorts in that there is reconstruction money coming into the state. The take of everyone (I talked to) was that times are tough everywhere, but perhaps you're not getting it quite as badly as Michigan, Ohio and Indiana because you dealt with the trauma of Katrina.

"Again, it's for the worst of reasons, but it somehow makes you stronger and better able to deal with (the busted international economy)."

It was the first trip back to New Orleans for King since his February 2008 visit for the NBA All-Star Game.

A fiend for the Washington Wizards like his CNN colleague Wolf Blitzer, King said the passage of a year between visits here revealed progress.

"Psychologically -- absolutely, without a doubt," said King, who significantly grew his brand during the recent campaign season by mastering CNN's giant iPhone graphics toy (technically, a Multi-Touch Collaboration Wall). "There's very clear progress from year to year.

"There's also some giant question marks."

With Salazar, King did a helicopter flyover of the city.

"You see a lot of green," King said. "Which was quite striking, because a lot of that green is where houses used to be." 

At 10AM, Howard Kurtz was on with Reliable Sources. He started with his interview Steve Kroft from CBS News' 60 Minutes about Kroft's interview with the President.

Kurtz's first panel included Jim Geraghty (National Review), John Aravosis (, and CNN's Jessica Yellin and they discussed the media's coverage of AIG bonuses.

The next panel, Mark Leibovich, Jeff Jarvis, & Julie Mason, discussed Obama's Tonight show appearance, Obama's college hoops picks, gossip about the white house staff (“the US Weekly approach to Washington journalism” as Kurtz put it), Greta's husband advising Palin, & Jarvis plugged his book, “What Would Google Do”.

Kurtz talked with Rep. Aaron Schock who was “stalked” by TMZ. Kurtz grilled the Congressman about his acceptance of the TMZ video as way to get to his constituents.

The program was turned over to John King at 11AM for a discussion with James Carville and Bill Bennett. The discussion included AIG, the economy, and government spending.

King showed a clip of the Former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich lecturing at Toulane University in James Carville's class. Bill Bennett immediately pipped up that he had real PhD and wanted an invitation to Carville's class as well. Gingrich made the statement that the people on Sunday morning talk shows were always wrong and didn't know what they were talking about. King showed more clips from his visit to Carville's classroom later on in the program.

The segment wrapped up with their picks for the NCAA basketball tournament: King & Carville: Louisville; Bennett: Duke.

King had a breakfast discussion in New Orleans this past week at Cafe du Monde where they discussed the economy and the recovery of New Orleans.

The next panel discussion included Ed Henry, Jessica Yellin, and Dana Bash. They talked about the toxic asset plan, budget deficit, and AIG bonuses along with Sen. Dodd's involvement.

King also spoke with Christiane Amanpour about relations with Iran. Amanpour was reporting from Afghanistan.

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm (D) got the last word on the program. The discussion was about the economy, how Washington's acts impacts the citizens of Michigan, and AIG bonuses.

One final note, Happy Birthday to Wolf Blitzer who celebrated his 61st birthday on Sunday.

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