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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Highlights... State of the Union April 26, 2009

On State of the Union with John King this morning, it is day 97 of the Obama administration. The first guest on this morning's program was Senior White House Advisor, Valerie Jarrett. The topics of the interview included: Swine flue outbreak, the torture memos, the bailouts, partisanship in Washington, and diversity in the White House. Jarrett was very clear during the interview about what she would and wouldn't say. For instance, when asked about prosecutions of those responsible for torture 1:

KING: Who should be prosecuted for what. If it's not those who acted on the advice they were given, who were told it was legal, what are we talking about here? Are we talking about the attorney general in the previous administration, the CIA director, Secretary Rumsfeld?

JARRETT: You and I aren't talking about anything. We are going to leave that all up to the attorney general. As you know, the Senate Intelligence Committee is having hearings as well. That is the appropriate place I think for any further investigation. And then the rest we leave to the attorney general.

KING: You have a fascinating job because you have the trust of the president and you have become his conduit to many of the CEOs around America right now. He is dealing with the auto bailout. He is dealing with the financial institutions and the banks. He is in negotiations now over credit card reforms.

And you are the person who is often in touch with these CEOs, getting their advice and telling the administration things, seeking their input. One of the questions on the table is these stress test for all of the banks.


John King spoke with Senators Dianne Feinstein (D), Lindsey Graham (R) and Joe Lieberman (I) about the torture memos, Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

James Carville and Mary Matalin: both political strategists, one a Democrat, the other a Republican, husband and wife, and back again on CNN together. Topics discussed: Gov. Palin's comment regarding President Obama's first 100 days, state of the Republican Party, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's campaign debt. The two wanted to continue on with the discussion as John King attempted to go to a commercial break. Here's a snippet from the discussion about Secretary of State Clinton's campaign debt 1:

KING: Let me -- let me close on a lighter note, and that is, to James, you are a friend of now-Secretary of State Clinton. You were trying to help her retire her campaign debt when she was Senator Clinton...


... running against now-President Obama. And the Clinton campaign organization, trying to reduce its debt, has put out a letter offering people who contribute three potential prizes.

One is a day with former President Clinton in New York City. One is tickets to the "American Idol" season finale. And the third is, spend a weekend in Washington, D.C. with James Carville and Paul Begala.


Mary, you've got the checkbook there?


MATALIN: Oh, well, as you can see, I'd rather be here at Jazz Fest and the Zurich Classic and the Bubba Gump Run. And good luck in Washington with your crazy, loony lefties.


CARVILLE: I don't know.

MATALIN: That's a prize. What's the second prize, James?

CARVILLE: I always insist, the last two words, with Secretary of State Clinton and any conversation we have -- and they have always been, "Yes, ma'am."


So, whatever she wants, I'm delighted to do.

KING: James Carville and Mary Matalin, we are -- we are thrilled to have you back with us, together. We will see you again on "State of the Union" in the near future. Enjoy what looks like a beautiful morning, there in New Orleans.

Howard Kurtz's Reliable Sources started off with a heated discussion on the torture coverage with Dan Lothian, David Frum, Joan Walsh, Chris Cillizza. The next topic was 100-day mania. Frum had an interesting comment 1:

FRUM: Well, when I was asked in the beginning of the administration about press coverage, I predicted that at 100 days, it would subside from the rapturous to the merely worshipful, and it's impressive to see that the press has managed to sustain the rapture for a hundred days.

Here's the thing that people forget about the 100 days. The phrase does not originate with FDR. It originates with Napoleon Bonaparte. A hundred days was the period from Napoleon's escape from Elba to the Battle of Waterloo and the restoration of the Bourbons. In other words, it commemorates overarching hubris ending in total disaster.

Ben Mankiewicz, Steve Lopez, and R. B. Brenner discuss the two movies coming out that have journalists as the main characters: State of Play and The Soloist.

Kurtz talked with Perez Hilton via Skype about his comments on Carrie Prejean's answer at the Miss USA pageant.

In case you missed Reliable Sources, CNN has posted the program to their website:

Former White House insiders: David Gergen, John Podesta (D), Ken Duberstein(R) joined King to discuss Mahmoud Ahmadinejad latest comments about Israel, the torture debate, and the first 100 days.

John King was at Jamm's Restaurant in Las Vegas and discussed Obama's first 100 days as part of his CNN Diner segment.

This week's behind the scenes staff briefing:

Ali Velshi took a look at the administration's first 100 days concerning the economy.

The next panel, consisting of three former or current White House correspondents, Dana Bash, Gloria Borger, and Dan Lothian, discussed: the torture memos, first 100 days, and budget politics.

John King was in Las Vegas last week and spoke with Mayor Oscar Goodman (D) about President Obama's comments about Las Vegas early in his administration as well as the stimulus package.

King's next guest was the official White House photographer, Pete Souza. King talked to Souza about what it was like to have full access to the President. Souza was also the photographer for President Reagan and describes himself as a "visual historian." Here's a clip of the interview: *UPDATED*

The program ran a bit long (about 30 minutes) this morning as it covered the White House Press briefing on the Swine Flu outbreak. King discussed the outbreak with Elizabeth Cohen and Fran Townsend.

In case you missed anything, the following podcasts are available on

State of the Union with John King premiered just a few days prior to President Obama taking office, so as the President comes up on his first 100 days in office, so does the Sunday morning program. Throughout this morning's program, King took a look back at some of the interview and reports that aired. From the start of the program, there has been an emphasis of getting outside the beltway and King has visited 17 states (only 33 states and a hand full of territories to go). Let's take a closer look at how the program has done based on a few statistics:

  • There have been 15 Sunday morning programs (some followed by an abbreviated 8PM ET version) and one one-hour special on
  • There have been 111 guests. 2 Who's been on the program the most:
    • Overall:
      • 10 appearances: Dana Bash and Donna Brazile
      • 9 appearances: Gloria Borger and James Carville
      • 8 appearances: David Gergen and Ed Henry
    • Breakdown of the politicians:
      • 8 Governors
        • 16% of the Governors from the 50 states
        • 4 Democrats
        • 4 Republicans
        • Gov. Jennifer Granholm has appeared three times
      • 9 Representatives
        • 2% of the US House of Representatives
        • 5 Democrats
        • 4 Republicans
        • none making repeat visits
      • 16 Senators
        • 16% of the US Senators
        • 7 Democrats
        • 1 Independent
        • 8 Republicans
        • 5 have been on the program twice
      • 5 Mayors
    • 4 Military Experts (either currently serving or retired)
    • 1 Foreign Leader (this is probably the biggest difference between Late Edition and the current Sunday program)
  • The program has an established format along with regular segments like the CNN Diner, John King's reports from outside the beltway, and a look at what was said on the other Sunday morning programs. The first hour focuses on the big interviews, second hour is Howard Kurtz' Reliable Sources, the analysts come in during the third hour and then four hour typically includes a recap of parts of the first hour along with the last word.
  • State of the Union and Reliable Sources both have Facebook pages that get updated through the week.
  • Howard Kurtz and State of the Union both have active Twitter accounts (John King doesn't seem to be convinced that tweeting a good idea.)
  • State of the Union has a website that is updated weekly.
  • Reliable Sources has a website, but no updates.
  • Both programs have a video podcast that is updated weekly.
  • State of the Union has an audio podcast that is updated weekly.
  • State of the Union frequently gets promoted on both CNN and
  • Howard Kurtz does self promotion on Twitter each week.

I'm not handing out any grades tonight... I'll leave that to you.

1Source: CNN Transcripts of State of the Union with John King, April 26, 2009. 9 AM, 10 AM, 11 AM, 12 PM hours.

2 Guest tally does not including the CNN Diner or out of the beltway reports that had interviews with multiple people.

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