POLITICS
04/28/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

TV SoundOff: Sunday Talking Heads

Good morning and welcome to another edition of the Sunday Morning Liveblog. Good news, everyone! The Pennsylvania Primary is nearly over. We have almost made it, people! They tried to beat us down, with seven weeks of repetitive, useless chit-chat. My God, two complete iterations of the Carville-Matalin-Murphy-Shrun Conventional Wisdom Bitter Regret and Anger Committee and Chowder Society Unlimited? I thought I might choke up on the steel, too! But we have reached the end of the long wait, the Pennsylvania Primary is nigh, and the importance of always asking Bob Casey and Ed Rendell what they think about everything is finally on the wane. On to Indiana, North Carolina, and certain oblivion!

As always we welcome your comments, feedback, and silent, distant loathing. So leave a comment, or send an email. And please give a welcome to the good people who tune in Chicago's own Ray Hanania at Radio Chicagoland WCEV AM 1450.

Fox News Sunday

"With two days until Penna, what are the keys to victory?" asks Wallace. Uhm...one would be answering this question two months ago. Plus: Pope!

Joining us as surrogates today are Dick Durbin and Chuck Schumer, who are also roommates, here in DC. My pal Rachel Sklar figures Schumer for the Felix Unger in this relationship. These guys are buddies, so expect the flaying to be light.

Schumer begins by walking back Clinton's detestation of MoveOn.org and other Democratic base activists. Of course, they're nice people and we welcome their support. HERE'S SOMETHING YOU NEVER SEE: Fox News correctly clarifying MoveOn's position on the War in Afghanistan. Somewhere, though, Roger Ailes has started a clock counting down to when they can credibly attack MoveOn for leftist, dovey, defeatism (Tuesday morning).

Durbin won't chomp down on comparing Clinton's closed door-fundraiser comments with Obama's, instead focusing on the positive, like Obama's rally in Philadelphia. Wallace ain't having any of this comity and positivity. So Wallace asks if Clinton is a hypocrite for criticizing Obama for criticizing the media when she's done it herself. Schumer says, no, every campaign is frustrated with the media, and that the American people want to hear about the issues.

Wallace is all, HELL NAW YOU ARE BEIN' DISINGENUOUS, SON. His point being that Clinton stood there at the debate, saying, "Yeppers, that's just the type of question the Republicans are going to ask!" Schumer continues a mild critique of the feeding frency. "But since debate, Hillary has been non-stop with this stuff! Are they supposed to believe what you say or what they hear out of their own ears?" Wallace says. Now Chuck's gettin' TESTY. "90% of what she's been talking about is what she is going to do for America." And a mere ten percent, defaming her opponent.

Wallace heard some disturbing news about his capital gains tax getting raised, so he takes some time to whine and cry about it. Durbin says, "Income disparity! Better tax policies for the middle class!" Wallace prattles that his question is not being asked, "How is this not a tax on the middle class?" I'd have to check, but I think I read this week that those who make $250,000/annum account for less than four percent of the population. Hardly middle class.

Wallace says that the math, going forward, does not favor Clinton. Schumer says that Clinton will have mad momentum coming out of Penna. "She'll win by more than people think," Shumer said, "As long as people think a number that's less than her margin of victory. Otherwise, she'll win by less than people think." Durbin says Clinton needs sixty percent of the vote in all the remaining states to win the lead in pledged delegates. (In fairness, I think the answer is actually sixty-five.)

Oooh. It's the "architect" of the failed Bush administration, Karl Rove. Rove spends the first few minutes talking about demographics. Apparently, African Americans tend to support Obama! Thanks, Karl! Have a huge check or something!

Rove says, "You can speak out on the issues AND wear a flag lapel pin!" Why is everyone questioning the patriotism of people wearing flag lapel pins? Uhm, no one's questioning their patriotism...they're questioning their use of a flag lapel pin as a stand in for having a BRAIN.

Also, Rove has done his own poll interpretations and he thinks McCain will beat Obama. "Don't take them seriously," he says, "Except do." He has McCain beating Clinton, too, on the assumption that she's the only one who can "firm up" the Rust Belt because there aren't many, many months between now and the election.

Who's the strongest candidate? Clinton is the more durable, but Obama is more volatile, capable of hitting a higher high or bottoming out in a lower low. Rove gives it to Clinton, on points, but not by much.

Rove is asked about McCain's Veep choices, so Rove reads the Wikipedia pages of some people who might be selected. He says Condi Rice is not going to be the Vice-President, and man, I hope he is right. That woman needs to stop getting promotions in the worst way.

The sound of Karl Rove's voice, by the way, sets one of my cats a-keening. I know, baby. The bad man is gone now. Calm down.

Panel time with Hume and Kristol and Williams and Easton. And they're talking about the Pope. Hume remarks on his "beatific sweetness" - a quality I never thought Hume could possibly recognize. Also: pedophilia!

I'm grateful for the Pope's visit because he's helped soften the news coverage a little bit, just when I needed a break. Here's last Wednesday's MSNBC, summarized: POPE POPE POLYGAMY POPE POPE BITTER POPE GLASSY-EYED POLYGAMY ZOMBIES POPE POPE POPE OMG THOSE POLYGAMY WOMEN ARE MAKING MY SOUL CRY POPE POPE BITTER POPE (pedophilia) POPE KNOW WHAT IT'S NICE OUTSIDE SO I AM TURNING THE TEEVEE OFF...ahhhhhhh, sunshine!

Fox really has a fetish with that camera shot of Kristol looking at Williams with bemused scorn.

Hume asserts that Christianity - and it's hot, TO THE EXTREME offshoot, "Xtianity" - is the fastest growing world religion. Really? Is that true? I thought that Islam was. That's what's so nice about religions like Judaism. They're all: "Eh, we do okay, you know? We do all right." Also: Zoroastrianism. Up with Uhura Mazda!.

By the way, it's April 20, so celebrate the moon landing and enjoy your bongs everybody.

Enough with the Pope! Let's talk about Pennsylvania. Hillary strong in Pennsylvania, but she's got to win the remaining vote by big percentages in order to win. Easton says Obama's doing better, lately, in the race to win superdelegates. He is doing better...but the Clinton camp can take solace in the fact that Obama did MUCH better in March earning SD support than he's done so far in April. Had March's trend continued, Obama would be AHEAD in superdelegates right now. But Clinton arrested her free fall, and Obama's yet to cut the lead under twenty.

Kristol says that Clinton's not going to win the nomination, but that it would be ludicrous for her to not be the vice-president, having won fifteen million votes. "What's the rationale for her NOT being the vice-president?" Uhm...one: they really despise each other? Two...should Clinton fail to get the nomination, her leadership would be more vitally felt in the Senate. Three...they despise each other. Four...the two candidates have beat each other up so much that it just really wouldn't be credible for either to add the other to the ticket.

This Week, with Tiny Debate Failure

Some people have emailed me, asking me if i was going to boycott This Week this week because of the debate. Hell, no! We are about staring into the gaping maw of Sunday's asshattery, not avoiding it! Besides, Tiny Debate Failure is hosting John McCain today, so we'll get to judge whether he has the stomach to question him with as much rigorous irresponsibility about the goofy, problematic issues of his past. (And present.)

Tiny Debate Failure and his show, by the way, are in high-definition for the first time. So, tune in, and see the pock-marked discourse.

TDF asks McCain about his temper. McCain says that his temper is a manufacture issue based on the politics of the past and that the American people are bitter and angry. "Are you sure, Mr. McCain?" TDF asks. "McCain says he's just passionate, and those stories are either untrue or exaggerated." TDF, says, "Okay sir! I won't check on that! Sorry to bother you!"

They move on to the economy. TDF asks, "How do you respond to the idea that you just don't get what needs to be done." McCain says, "I have a whole platform based on tired, Republican platitudes! You know...taxes are bad and stuff. Obama wants to increase your capital gains tax, TDF! Just like you said the other night!" TDF asks how a premium increase for wealthy people's prescriptions not a tax increase. "It just isn't!" McCain says. TDF says, "Okay, I won't press that further."

McCain offers to find TDF, "a hundred billion dollars tomorrow." He will, "scrub every agency of government." I'll be fair to TDF, here, he does rigorously question McCain on his crazy claim that he'll cut a hundred billion dollars out of the budget. He will touch off a K Street orgy. But here's where TDF is a TDF: the most obvious vulnerability in McCain's numbers is THE IRAQ WAR, which he wants to continue, ad infinitum.

MCCAIN: "I can change the way we do business!" I am magical! I can show you a world, shining, shimmering, splendid! Tell me, Tiny Debate Failure, now when did you last let your heart decide? I can open your eyes, take you wonder by wonder, over, sideways and under, on a magic carpet ride.

Elizabeth Edwards, who I support for the Presidency, gets clipped here, criticizing the McCain health care plan. McCain mainly cheats the answer, including a joke about being tortured. "I want the families to make the choices, they want the government to make the choices."

TDF says, "Do you think Obama is a patriot?" McCain says he does but he's upset that Obama compared William Ayers to Tom Coburn. Why? They are both apparently CRAZY. Coburn says that lesbians make it unsafe for children to go to the bathroom. McCain's like, "Why doesn't Obama condemn him!" (Uhm, he did!) But what about Hagee? McCain says it was probably a mistake to accept his endorsement BUT WHATEVER. Too late now! I guess!

Finally, something about war. But Iran, not Iraq. "Is a vote for you a vote for war with Iran?" McCain says no, we'll use sanctions and diplomacy. McCain wants to have a League of Extraordinary Democracies or something.

And now: Iraq. TDF asks if his standard keeps American troops hostage to Iraqi leaders. McCain says, no, they are actually held hostage to my many, many empty platitudes on the matter.

If we successfully make Iraq into a stable democracy that eschews terrorism and becomes our ally, McCain says, you will see dramatic improvements in the region. And if pigs start flying, en masse, out of my ass, it may impact the work of DC-based air traffic controllers.

McCain insists he is not too old "to bring about action." And thus endeth the interview. One day, someone might connect the dots between McCain's support for an open-ended, cash sucking war and his inability to square his economic policies with reality, but it won't be Tiny Debate Failure. Surprise!

Panel time! TDF will be joined by two longtime ABC employees Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts (aka Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs) and toffee-encrusted elite George Will, who will surely not offer his debate performance a fleet of empty attaboys, will they?

Someone obviously told TDF about who Jay-Z is. George Will says the two most revealing questions of the debate were the capitol gains question (surprise!) and the social security question (which wasn't a question! The candidates brought that up themselves!)

Sam Donaldson says that "when you look attack the questioner, you attack the messenger." Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs says that Obama's defensiveness "wasn't appealing." So, uhm...don't defend yourself?

Oh, dear sweet God. Sam Donaldson thinks that "entitlement" is the sole province of Obama voters! Every poll done on the matter has indicated that Obama voters will defect to McCain in much smaller numbers than Clinton's supporters will if the roles are reversed. Now, in fairness, I think these responses are just the heat of fervent support. I think that when this settles out, heads will cool, and whatever resentment people believe they will feel will diminish. Sam Donaldson might be able to grok "entitlement" if he hangs out in the bad signal-to-noise ratio of, say, our comment boards, but there's no real-world factual basis for his comment. Most voters are excited about both candidates.

TDF says that Obama's worst days on the stump seem to be followed by superdelegate announcements. Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs counters that superdelegates may be moved by the action of "Reagan Democrats."

Sam Donaldson gives a riveting testament to McCain's "straight talk" and suggests that it will be a mistake if he flip-flops on issues. Uhm...if he flip-flops?

Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs isn't worried about McCain's temperament. These are old stories! Sam Donaldson says, he's old like me and misspeaks sometimes, but he'll always have Joe Lieberman whispering in his ear and stuff. Donaldson goes on to say that McCain is so awesome!

Now they are gonna talk about the Pope. So, emails. Here's good stuff from Friend to the Liveblog, Chris Blakely:

The more I watch the commercial media, the more I appreciate National Public Radio and CSPAN -- especially CSPAN's The Washington Journal. Unlike last century when news divisions were not judged by turning a profit -- but by the quality of the product -- virtually all network and cable news is far more interested in ratings and profit as opposed to pursuit of truth. In the past, network news was driven by in-depth stories that at the very least were designed to inform and at their very best educated by raising viewer consciousness. As a retired public school teacher, even today, I never miss an opportunity (sorry, occupational hazard) to "educate." I may be in a small minority, but I never tire of learning, and I would much rather be educated than screamed at or preached to. For those who may be interested in this topic, I recommend Helen Thomas's recent book, The Watchdogs of Democracy: The Waning Washington Press Corp and How It Has Failed the Public. Even though Helen's book focuses on the Washington Press Corps, the underlying causes she outlines are the primary culprits diluting the news product.

This morning, once again, we see diluted news product Exhibit A: FOX News Sunday's miniature Terrier (I will never be my father) Chris Wallace. I encourage those who are interested, watch the tape of this morning's two opening segments and note how many times Mr. Wallace interrupted and talked over Senators Durbin and Schumer. Juxtaposed to this was a "civil" interview of Karl Rove "punctuated" by NO interruptions or talk overs. Ever since the Terrier's now famous interview with former President Clinton about which Chris Wallace never tires of portraying himself as the victim, Wallace continues to brow-beat mostly Democratic Congressional leaders when he interviews them.

And Carla Badaracco has some hilarious sartorial suggestions for Mr. Rove:

I've got Fox News on, but on mute, since I refuse to dignify Karl's spin by actually listening, which leads me to.....what's with the neck spillover? Isn't it time for some men's clothing designer to come up with a solution to bloated face/neck poofing out over tight collars? Maybe something soft and ruffly? McCain has the same issue--although without quite the same degree of facial swelling.

Something like this, maybe?

Okay. Time to go to the TiVo, and our old favorite...

Meet The Press

Hey, it's more battle of the surrogates stuff on Meet The Press this morning, but it is, I believe, Clinton campaign's Geoff Garin's first day as the New Version of Mark Penn. Speaking of Mark Penn, how is it that the Knicks are not totally firing Isiah Thomas? According to what I read, he's getting the Mark Penn treatment and will remain with the organization in "some capacity." Why on earth? Is getting partially fired going to be a trendlet this year or something?

Gads. I hate the way Russert pumps up these confrontations: "OBAMA'S AXELROD. CLINTON'S GARIN. SUNDAY! SUNDAY. Sunday. (sunday.). TWO GUYS YOU'VE NEVER HEARD OF. TWO DUDES YOU'LL FORGET BECAUSE OF THEIR LIMITED PERTINENCE TO YOUR WORLD. I'M TIM RUSSERT, AND MY NIPPLES HAVE SWOLLEN TO THE SIZE OF YUKON GOLD POTATOES. THAT'S GOOD EATIN'!"

Russert goes through his numbers. None of this is surprising, but it's good that Russert takes the time to rehash this stuff because it's less time the air needs to be filled with his opining. Hillary is going to win PA, Obama will win NC, Obama's up in Indiana but I'm skeptical, and the same leads in delegate counts persist BECAUSE THERE HASN'T BEEN A PRIMARY IN SEVEN WEEKS, but, sure, Tim...keep us constantly updated on these not-changes and the late-breaking inertia!

And, not surprisingly, I experience my first big, full-body yawn of the morning.

Russert asks Garin how Hillary is going to win. "Step by step," he says, "We're going to let the process play through." Garin says it's good for the Democratic party and that by June 3rd it'll be a close election, and then superdelegates will come along and decide it for Clinton. Russert notes that a ten-point win in Pennsylvania isn't going to be a big game-changing yield. But Garin says: Superdelegates, superedelegates, superdelegates. "Not a backroom deal," he says. Then he says something about the Florida recount...about how it proves that voters want the process "slowed down." Uhm...I think the Florida recount proved that people wanted their votes to count. It's a little absurd that Garin is holding it out as an example of how elections should be run.

Axelrod agrees that the overall race has been positive because Dems are enthused (suck on that, Sam Donaldson!), and that no one should be telling Hillary Clinton to get out of the race (true: kind of a dubious thing to do when she's going to win the next state on the calendar), but: he thinks that Clinton needn't employ the "kitchen sink strategy" to press her case.

Garin says that Obama's still running ads and that their campaign is still talking about Bosnia. Some Obama spokesperson said that Clinton "lacks the moral authority to lay a wreath at the tomp of the unknown soldier." He then asks, when has anyone in the Clinton campaign ever said something like that? Garin then starts madly stammering, like Fred Armisen's "Nicholas Fehn" character.

Axelrod says, of that "wreath" comment, "We repudiate...that was a terrible thing that soldier...said" on their conference call, and that it was reminiscent of some conference call where Obama's health care plan was compared to Nazi Germany, which Howard Wolfson similarly repudiated.

I can tell you readers, these conference calls are every bit as unpleasant to listen to as these two men describe.

Axelrod says that their "negative ads" are a response to a 527 ad, so neener-neener. Plus, didn't the Clinton camp run a negative ad over the weekend? Garin says, no, we didn't. Axelrod says, yes, you did. Garin says, "It's not! It ends, I believe..." And then he just stops talking for some reason. Axelrod is like, "I know you're new...and I love you, you're a good friend of mine...but I think there are some vestiges of the old regime still in play." Garin sort of looks away and down at the floor. This is not going well for him.

Russert brings up a moment from the old regime - the "commander in chief threshold" comment. Garin says that Clinton said Obama was electable during the debate, so why can't everyone just leave him alone? Axelrod's having the better day here. He's not saying anything he hasn't said a million times before, but he recognizes that against Garin, that's all he really needs to do.

Russert throws Garin a life-preserver, asking him something simple: will Clinton will stay in the contest through all the primaries. We know the answer: that is her intention. Garin seems to find some solid ground, reiterating that she's committed to the process, and that it's not time to "fold the tent" until someone hits 2,025 votes. Garin's doing great, ably and reasonably contrasting Howard Dean's position on when the superdels should decide, but then he decides to go back and argue with Axelrod over whether Clinton will bring the appropriate sort of "change" to Washington.

He does a little better, noting that Clinton fared better in the substantive portion of the debate, has advanced "solutions for America," and is not "in the thrall of special interests."

Axelrod concedes that Clinton's performance on Wednesday was better, but that she still lies about how Obama's health plan will leave out 15 million people, even after the Washington Post noted that "[under the Obama plan] you couldn't find a person who wouldn't be able to get health care who wants it." Also, people don't trust her.

Garin counters by saying that Clinton voted against the Bush energy bill and that Obama's taken money from PACs and lobbyists. Clinton is offering positive solutions, and that "the idea that we have to wait" for the special interests to go away for change to happen is absurd. Axelrod points out that there's a reason that the problems Democrats have pledged to fix for the past twenty years remain problems today.

Then there's an extended section where Garin didn't seem to know whether Clinton was going to garnish wages in her health care plan or not. Here's what she said, sort of:

Russert wants to know about the "umbrella of deterrence," which is not the hot new Rihanna remix, but rather a proposal Clinton seemed to advance that would extend our military responsibility to fighting Iran if they attacked a host of different countries in the Middle East, not just Israel. Garin says that Clinton agrees with many experts that Iran is the biggest threat in the region.

But Russert won't let it go, asking if this means the U.S. will send troops to aid Saudi Arabia or Egypt if they are attacked by Iran. Garin says, "Tim, I want to be totally honest here. I am helping Senator Clinton with message. I am not her policy advisor. But I think that what she is saying is that Iran is a threat, and Iran has to know that we take it seriously as a threat, and we're not going to sit by idly if...and let them attack other countries miltarily." Uhm...oh dear. Can Garin really not clarify or explain the position she took in the debate?

Someone needs to explain something to me: I always thought "negative ad" meant you put out an ad that said something like, "Senator Bilgington-Hammock-Crawdad says he's in favor of early childhood education, but what he really loves to do stick small animals inside his microwave and cackle with glee at the gruesome sight whilst splashing around naked in a small wading pool of placenta and goat manure," not, "Hi. Senator Smythington-Crackpipe McGee has proposed his policy, and we disagree with it's efficacy." I mean, is any suggestion that your opponent might not be good at everything a "negative ad?"

For the record, I think that it is okay to support something, like NAFTA, and change ones mind afterwards. What Garin suggests, though, that she decided to support NAFTA because "she was a member of [Bill Clinton's] administration...under those circumstances, you support the president. And when Hillary Clinton is president, everybody will be expected to do that as well." Really? No one can have an opinion? The policy of Yes Men will be in effect?

Then he says that during the time she was in the Clinton administration, she voiced her opposition to NAFTA. Well, which is it? Did she say she was opposed to it? Did she like it then and thinks it only needs to be changed now? Or, is it that "under those circumstances" you support the President? Mr. Garin...you are not helping your candidate with her message!

Axelrod brings up Mark Penn's dealings with the Colombians. "Well," Garin says, "you'll note he's not here today" and that Tom Daschle feels the same way. Garin says that no one in the Clinton camp is suggesting that Obama get rid of Tom Daschle's support. So, Axelrod, asks, if that's true, why did you get rid of Penn? Garin says there was an "error in judgement" and that Penn needed to be "very focused on Senator Clinton's business." But Penn had plenty of off-campaign business that he attended to during his time with the campaign!

Russert asks if Axelrod is worried that the Republicans might create some super-ad containing lots of negative things about Obama. (And he says one of the images would be the candidate with his hands "clasped in front of him during the Pledge of Allegiance" - would it kill Russert to get that right? That image was not of the candidates listening to the Pledge of Allegiance!)

He also thinks that Bill Ayers belonged to the Weatherground Undermen. Which is, it must be said, a cool sounding name.

Axelrod says, no. The GOP is going to string together whatever they can to try to destroy whatever candidate, because their record of leadership over the last eight years can't be defended, so you might as well accept that it's coming and not worry about it. Axelrod says that the "caricatures" will need to be "fought off." And that's forthright and brave, but wouldn't it be great if you didn't have caricatures to fight off? Or less inviting ones? Because it doesn't change the fact that such impressions exist.

Of course, Axelrod's position is pretty simple, either the voters are as smart as he says they are, and they see through the the GOP's smears, or they are not. In the former case, he wins, and in the latter case, he probably loses. There's a certain simple logic to this, but no one would be being unreasonable if they objected to Axelrod's reasoning: he seems to exclude the possibility that smart and discerning voters might pick Clinton for smart and discerning reasons.

Russert gets Garin into the weeds on the whole democratic-activists-and-MoveOn flap, asking him what happened to change Clinton's mind from an earlier position she took, supporting those organizations. Garin gets caught in contradiction, and then doesn't answer another question of Russert's because "he's [only] been here for two weeks." Anyway, Clinton wins primaries and caucuses shouldn't count.

Has the "protracted skirmishing" between the Democrats hurt their chances? Axelrod says no. Garin says no. And Garin and Axelrod say they'll be ready to help whichever nominee is nominated. Rough first outing for Garin, but he ends on a nice conciliatory note.

Still: he's going to have to get a LOT better, much faster, if he wants to do his candidate much good. He can't keep passing off not being able to answer or address questions because he's the new guy. And he has to find a way out of sounding contradictory. And if the Clinton camp has decided that they are against candidates complaining about media double-standards, then their advocates need to largely refrain from doing the same.

Also, please to enjoy Carla Badaracco's depiction of a ruffle-necked Karl Rove. You have to admit, it does lead the eyes away from the neck flab. But, it nevertheless does lead the eyes back towards the evil.

Panel time with David Brooks and EJ Dionne and Michelle Norris.

Russert begins asking David Brooks why he can't keep a single thought in his head for longer than a week. Brooks more or less answers that his empty brain functions like a weathervane, and when a strong gust of conventional wisdom is telling him that there are key distinctions between a hawk and a handsaw, he will write a column describing them. But when the wind changes direction, who knows? Maybe handsaws fly! I'm David Brooks, and I believe what everyone else believes, just "folksier."

EJ Dionne basically agrees with me, and gets down to the root of the matter - traditional campaigning hasn't "changed" Obama, it's just made it necessary for the candidate to renew all of the non-traditional aspects of his candidacy - but that this is something he can do when and if he wins the nomination. For the time being, it's "hammer and tongs" time.

Norris admits that its a challenging balancing act to stay positive but also stay tough when facing McCain.

Brooks believes that Obama needs to confront every problem with a big speech. At least until every other newspaper columnist starts joking that that's how Obama solves ALL of his problems, at which point, Brooks will write a column that reads, "Whoever told Obama to give a bunch of speeches was crazy! Also: organic milk--so bourgeois! But yummy! Life is so filled with perplexing, middle-class contradictions!"

Russert seems to want to focus on the matter of Clinton saying "Yes, yes, yes" to the matter if Obama can win. You'll forgive me if I'm a little bored by that. What else is she supposed to say? Granted, she waited a while to say it - had to be asked again - but let's face it, would it surprise and shame you to learn that these candidates might say something conciliatory on public and, in private discussions with superdelegates, say something different?

Oh, dear. David Brooks is suggesting that we need "presidential simluations" like "war games" to determine who would be the best president. You know, because our Republic has fared so poorly over past two centuries!

Russert brings up a more interesting point - the umbrella of deterrance. Brooks is surprised she offered up the idea that we would enter in a conflict between any two regional powers. Dionne was taken aback by the "massive retaliation" comment. It was, a remarkable assertion to make. Certainly worthy of discussion. BUT EJ DIONNE WANTS TO TALK ABOUT THE POLLS IN PENNSYLVANIA.

If you're interested in the topic, one of our emailers suggests you check out this thread on DailyKos.

Fairly, Dionne's take on the polls is a good one. Those Penna Undecideds have a Clinton flavor to them.

Then, the panel discusses the age old topic, "If Clinton can't really win anything, what's her argument to the superdelegates." No one says anything you haven't heard a thousand times before.

Russert sums it up thusly: "It's really a choice between who the Democrats want to send into battle against the Republican candidate." Uhm...yes, Tim. Yes it is. Hence the two choices and all the voting. Got any more Pronouncements Of The Obvious? How about that recent earthquake? "It's really as if there were different tectonic plates moving under the surface of the Earth, colliding with each other." The NBA Playoffs? "It's really as if sixteen teams were competing in a tournament to determine who the league champion is."

Norris says that Harold Ickes is the "secret weapon," and Dionne concurs, saying he is a "nuclear weapon." So maybe Ickes is part of the umbrella of deterrence. That makes sense. Ickes has always sounded like one of the scariest things you can drop on somebody.

And, after a brief mention of the Pope, we are done with this week's Meeting of the Press. As we said at the outset, in just two days, the Pennsylvania Primary will finally be over. We cannot wait. To all Pennsylvanians: please have as orderly a bloodbath as possible. Thanks for reading, everyone.