National Security Advisor General James Jones (Retired) was John King's first guest this morning on State of the Union. King asked Gen. Jones about war in Afghanistan: new strategy and troop levels. Many of King's questions focuses on Gen. McChrystal's actions and public comments. In response to Sen. McCain's criticism that he is playing politics with decisions regarding Afghanistan and the troops, Jones responded that McCain knows that he doesn't play politics (period). Neither he nor the President is playing to any sort of base with decisions regarding the troops.
In the second segment of the interview, they discussed Iran and the new nuclear facility that Iran has built. The General stated that they are still working towards meeting the January 2010 deadline of closing Guantanamo Bay. When asked about the "don't ask; don't tell" policy, the General said that the President has a lot on his "desk" right now, but he intends to do something about this "when the time is right." What keeps Gen. Jones up at night? Weapons proliferation.
Next on the program were Senator Barbara Boxer (D) and Senator Jon Kyl (R). King asked the Senators about General Jones comments; the troops in Afghanistan; and the New York Times article stating that Iran has the ability to make a bomb.
The second part of the interview with the Senators turned to the ethics investigations of Senator John Ensign (R) (an affair, a possible cover up, and possible improper lobbying). Neither Senator would comment on the investigation. They then turned to the economy and job creation. Senator Boxer defended the climate bill that is currently being looked at in the Senate. King asked for a yes/no answer on the Senate health care bill and (surprise) didn't get it from Sen. Boxer (he did get a much longer answer). Sen. Kyl isn't happy that the Republican amendments to the bill have not been included.
In the American Dispatch, King went to North Dakota: the place that has the lowest unemployment rate at just 4.3% (compared to 15.2% in Michigan). King visited a Bobcat plant which is still in business, but has not been immune to the economic turn down.
A taped Reliable Sources with Howard Kurtz this morning. Kurtz started the hour with a discussion about David Letterman's blackmail and sex scandal. The panel included Lisa Bloom, Amy Argetsinger, and Ben Mankiewicz.
Continuing the sex scandal theme, the next topic: the capture of Roman Polanski and the celebrity outcry over it.
The next panel included: Byron Pitts, Amanda Carpenter, and Joan Walsh. They discussed Obama's trip to back the US bid for the Olympic games and the harsh criticism that the President received when the US didn't win. The discussion then moved to the extreme language being used against politicians (the President) and made by politicians.
Kurtz then spoke with (Baltimore native) Byron Pitts about his book Step Out On Nothing: How Faith & Family Helped Me Conquer Life's Challengees. Pitts was illiterate at age 12 and stuttered until he was in college.
John King was back at the top of the hour for the Sound of Sunday.
The hour started off with James Carville and Mary Matalin. (I believe that in the above screen cap, Carville is laughing at King's tag line: we've been watching all the other Sunday shows, so maybe you don't have to.) King asked them about Gen. Jones' response to Gen. McCrystal's comments, McCain's comments about Gen. Jones playing politics, and who will the President listen to.
In the second part of the panel discussion, they covered the ethics investigation of Senator Ensign, other ethical issues facing both parties and the health reform bill.
King then mentioned that he moderated a panel at the First Draft of History event that was held at the Newseum in Washington on October 2, 2009. Steve Schmidt and Bob Shrum were the panelists and King asked Schmidt about Gov. Palin's book. Schmidt, who was McCain's campaign manager, did not have favorable views of the former Governor. Clips from the panel are available at the Atlantic's website.
King asked Carville and Matalin to respond to Schmidt's comments. To wrap up the discussion, King asked them about comments Senator Graham made on Fox News this morning about Glenn Beck not representing the Republican party. Carville's opinion of Beck: He wouldn't know the difference between a football, a bat and a hockey court. This guy is not -- he's just all -- he's just all weeping. (Source: CNN Transcript, State of the Union with John King October 4, 2009)
And my completely frivolous comment for the week: I loved Carville's shoes.
The CNN Diner segment this week came from TNT's Diner in West Fargo, North Dakota. King spoke with Craig Olsen, Jamie Higensen, John Stratman about health care reform legislation, why is the unemployment rate so low in North Dakota, and the troop levels in Afghanistan.
The hour continued with Ed Henry, Gloria Borger, and Joe Johns joining King in the studio.They discussed the comments that Gen. Jones made about Gen. McCrystal's comments about the troop levels in Afghanistan as well as would leaving the Taliban in Afghanistan leave the US vulnerable to future al Qaeda attacks.
The second segment focused on domestic issues: unemployment/ economy and Gen. Jones' "punt" when asked about changing the "don't ask; don't tell" policy. King saved the topic of the President and the Olympics for the Lightening Round where Ed Henry summed it up by referring to it as the "Audacity of Nope."
The Last Word went to Michigan's Governor Jennifer Granholm (D). The Governor's state has the highest unemployment rate in the country. What can the federal government do to help with job creation? Auto suppliers in her state are having a hard time finding capital in order to diversify their production lines into parts that support the solar and wind industry. Fuel efficient vehicles are going to be more expensive and the Governor is looking for federal government incentives. And of course, King couldn't help asking her about the playoff spot still in the question for the Detroit Tigers. The Governor expects to see the Tigers playing the Yankees for the division playoffs. Boston native, King took a bit offense that answer.
The Behind The Scenes preview of State of the Union returned this week. Taped at TNT's Diner in West Fargo, North Dakota, King talked about the upcoming program.