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Tim Russert's Miraculous Idea: Maybe The Media Can Play A Responsible Role In Election-Year Debate

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Wonder of wonder and miracle of miracles! Tim Russert, perhaps swept away in all the Hope and Change that's sweeping the nation tonight, has had himself an epiphany of epic proportions, speaking words so remarkable that I nearly fell out of my chair in disbelief. Digg this: Tim Russert believes that there just might be a role that the media can play in keeping the election year focus geared towards big issues that are important to the American people, as opposed to the usual panoply of flag lapel pin nonsense! He actually said this!

Actually, he said this:

But in an interesting way...it's a role I think the media can play in really trying to keep pushing this back to this big debate on big issues and not get caught up in a lot of this minor squirmishing that goes on and videotape that gets released where we just run wild with it and sit back and say, what happened? Why did we not cover some of these big differences like Iraq, like Iran, like negotiating around the world, like health care?

I know! Tim Russert, forswearing "running wild" with videotape? This suggests that Meet The Press could undergo a radical format change! Cover Iraq? Iran? Health care? YES YOU CAN!

Of course, only time will tell! Russert has really put down a marker of his own tonight. He's made us all a promise that we can only hope he'll prove himself man enough to keep. I can tell you this: should Russert fail, he has now set himself up with his own gotcha quote. We'll see, we'll see. (And we'll note with irony that this quote included the title of Scott McClellan's book!)

[WATCH. REMEMBER.]

MATTHEWS: What about John McCain perhaps being attended by his bad angels? Some time in October deciding that he has to win this campaign in the worst way. Isn't there a tremendous opportunity against a guy named Barack Hussein Obama to run a very tough negative campaign and win, perhaps not in a happy country, but just win it in the worst way. Isn't that opportunity just sitting there for him?

RUSSERT: Well, I think you heard Senator Obama talk about wedge issues of patriotism and religion, trying to put that down as a marker. I've heard Mike Murphy, a former McCain adviser, saying that he thinks that Senator McCain should not be criticizing Senator Obama as much as he has, but be much more optimistic and not be seen or perceived as angry. But I don't think that's the kind of campaign Senator McCain wants to run. There may be some so-called independent groups, 527s, who might take a different tack. But in an interesting way, based on our previous conversation, it's a role I think the media can play, in really trying to keep pushing this back to this big debate on big issues and not get caught up in a lot of this minor skirmishing that goes on and videotape that gets released where we just run wild with it and sit back and say, what happened? Why did we not cover some of these big differences like Iraq, like Iran, like negotiating around the world, like health care? There's profound differences between McCain and Obama in health care.

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