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TV SoundOff: Sunday Talking Heads

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Good morning and welcome to your Sunday Morning Liveblog and I say "good" morning only as a pleasantry to you, the readers, because it is not a good morning. No, no. Not by a long shot. See, from what I understand, Meet The Press is being aired at the ungodly hour of EIGHT IN THE MORNING. First, this does not blend well with my lifestyle. Second, to have to face Tim Russert first thing in the morning? Not fun.

This is happening, though, because of tennis, which I have no beef with and am not mad at. Okay tennis? We're still cool. Today is the French Open, which, if I recall correctly, is the Grand Slam that takes place on clay, which leads to a whole bunch of weird people from, like, Argentina and Spain that you've otherwise never heard of winning. That's because the French Open favors these so-called Clay Court Specialists.

Two things. One: Clay Court Specialists would be an AWESOME band name. Second: we should spur the development of a fourth playing surface. We have clay, concrete and grass represented by the Grand Slam events. It's time for an innovative new surface, like wicker or almond butter or moon bounce. If you have any ideas, please let me know. And let's sell this to the folks at the Australian Open, since the Aussies are the least set in their ways and more willing to be innovative because they are all descended from brutal criminals and pirates.

As usual, feel free to leave a comment or send an email about today's shows or how we are going to bravely change the face of tennis for a new century. Don't worry. I won't expect them for another hour or so, because surely most of you are still asleep. And now, Tim Russert.

Meet The Press

Apparently we are going to receive a full-tilt pounding this morning from NBC News' "Dream Team" of newspeople, including Ron Allen, Lee Cowan, Kelly O'Donnell, Andrea Mitchell, Chuck Todd, and David Gregory. If it were up to me, I'd switch Kelly for Norah and give David Gregory a sedative and lay him in a bathtub, but you go to war with the NBC "Dream Team" you have, I guess.

Hillary Clinton gave her concession speech yesterday. Did she do what she had to do? David Gregory says, "I think so." Why the hesitation? He doesn't name a single thing she did wrong. Mitchell says that between Tuesday and Sunday, what happened was that Charlie Rangel became the Clinton Wrangler and got her focused on exiting the race. If she says so. "There was such anger among her supporters," Mitchell says, "She had no intention of giving her speech on Saturday." That said, it was a "perfect coming together," in Mitchell's opinion.

Ron Allen says there was "emotion" and "pain" and her supporters never believed they would lose. Lee Cowan watched Obama watch Clinton on the internet, and deemed the whole matter "fine." O'Donnell says McCain saw the week of attention to the Democratic endgame was good for him, because it took attention away from the fact that he says something palpably stupid every single effing day.

Chuck Todd kicks some science: "The biggest myth of this campaign has been the belief that the Clintons controlled the apparatus." So, they lost the "outside game," or "voters", along with the "inside game." Then Todd stands up and yells, "THASS RIGHT. I'm the KING of political coverage! SAY MY NAME, TIM RUSSERT! SAY MY NAME!"

That didn't really happen, it's just more interesting than whatever the heck David Gregory just said.

Ron Allen says that it was "important" that Obama won Iowa, which really BLOWS THE DOORS off the conventional wisdom that the Iowa Caucus is a big joke that doesn't matter!

Apparently, James Carville once compared Obama to a "stallion" that threatened to break out of his stable, loins pulsated with thick equine musculature, and really, this stuff should stay between Carville and his therapist-slash-plastic surgeon.

Tim Russert is amazed by how well the Obama campaign has used technology like cell phones and the internet. "They held up cell phones at rallies, and sent 'text messages' to each other. These are messages or PURE TEXT. Very TEXTUAL. Extremely MESSAGEFUL. Later, I saw the campaign using this remarkable 'fire' concoction to keep warm, whereas I had to slice open the guts of frostbitten NBC News interns and crawl inside to keep warm."

Andrea Mitchell says that Hillary Clinton "wouldn't have had the sense" of watching something on the internet, because she was from a different generation where people waited for political news to come by horse and buggy and everyone compared the events in their lives to inappropriate historical moments. "Why, Miss Clementine! I swear it's hot enough outside to day that you could cook an egg on the angry forehead of Sirhan Sirhan moments before he shot Robert Kennedy!"

Chuck Todd makes fun of McCain sending Obama a letter instead of an email, because McCain is even older and from a generation where people wrote letters on sheepskin with ink and quill and then burned everything they wrote because it all contained stuff that could get Karl Rove indicted.

Now they are deliberating over whether or not Clinton should be Obama's running mate. I'm a little surprised that no one can imagine a robust avenue of teaming up between Obama and Clinton that does not involve the vice-presidency. She'd wield more potent, White House supportable power from the Senate (where she also wouldn't be a blind yes-man). I think that Obama and Clinton should consider whether there is an outside-the-box way to play their relationship that strengthens each without exposing one another's weaknesses.

Of course, no one is going to make this decision anytime soon. I think that there won't be decision made on vice presidents until my birthday. Which is July 28, by the way! Should you want to send presents! Meanwhile, Chuck Todd says that the Obama campaign has got to mend fences with Bill Clinton, because Bill Clinton thinks they made him out to be a racist. Apparently, all those crazy things Bill said that sabotaged his wife's campaign were said because David Plouffe reached up Bill Clinton's ass and turned him into a muppet of ill-chosen words and invective.

Anyway, Zbigniew Brzezsinski told Morning Joe that a Clinton vice-presidency would be a "high-risk" for dysfunction, because the Clintons would be a "government in exile" and a "government in waiting." David Gregory says that it would violate the Obama campaign's commitment to "no drama." And also, they've attacked each other again and again.

But Ron Allen gets wistful and says Hillary's much different now than she was when she was laying the heavy wood to Obama.

Tim Russert suggests that Bill Clinton goes on some sort of "Appalachian Redemption Tour" which, to me, is a TERRIBLE idea. Really. That's the sort of thing that Bob Casey and Jim Webb should be doing. Bill Clinton should only be speaking to people who enjoy being scolded and having fingers waggled in their faces, so let's keep him working the Folsom Street bondage and discipline circuit.

Chuck Todd agrees that Clinton drives a massive amount of "news of the wrong kind," but that fences need to be mended all the same. Anyway, Bill Clinton said two weeks ago that he was making his last campaign appearance of his life, and he never really figured out that he could, if he wanted to, help Al Gore and John Kerry by making campaign stops for them, so why should anything change.

Now we go on to the Obama/McCain race. Chuck Todd shows us his maps. He is always showing us maps. Props for a map that has Virginia colored in, including the Eastern Shore, which often gets left off. Todd says that a third election decided by one state would be unprecedented, an electoral landslide is more likely.

What does McCain think? He thinks that if he spends enough time in New Hampshire, skulking around, and targets the neighboring states, that he has a chance.

Lee Cowan insists that Obama is going to compete everywhere, and there are ruby red states I'd target right now, like North Carolina and Georgia, which Bob Barr might put in play, provided the Libertarian Party plans on running some sort of noticeable campaign. Barr is totally getting the Colbert bump, by the way.

Now Russert is making fun of McCain for standing in front of a green wall, so easily replaced, green screen style, with the images from the iconic pornos of yesteryear - pornos which, like sliced bread and transportable ice cream, are still younger than John McCain.

Chuck Todd points out that both Obama and McCain came to the fore on the national security issue, while both are currently being asked to account for economic policy. Todd favors the candidate who does a better job at "feeling the pain" of people from Bluecollarstan. I say that whoever can successfully link economic downturns with failed strategy in Iraq is going to have a huge advantage.

Andrea Mitchell says that is McCain keeps on coming up with crapola like the "gas tax holiday," Obama is going to ride him like a pony. O'Donnell says that McCain's "I hate the wars" advertisement is a nod to anti-war sentiment. He hates wars, but wants to prolong them forever. Sort of like the way he hates lobbyists, but can't seem to stop hanging around with them.

In today's MEET THE PRESS Moment, we reminisce over Robert Kennedy's appearance on the show. I'm going to pause, pretend like I've only just woken up, and flip the channel to...

Fox News Sunday

Before we get on to Fox, take a look at this spoof of the Google News page, which is set up to be nothing but good news. My favorite part: under "Entertainment," the main headline is "Serenity sequel tops box office six weeks running." That would be good news indeed! Also, you know: "President Obama signed the Universal Health Care Act into law this morning on the White House north lawn."

Dare to dream, right? Really, right about now, I'd be happy to hear on the news that it was not 97 degrees out and that the DC government has decided to not turn the city into a divided zone of mini-police states.

A commenter asks about news coverage of the shadowy Bilderburg Group and their meeting in Chantilly, Virginia, where the world's most powerful douchebags have gathered to lubricate one another's nethers with the tears of third world children and eat komodo dragon souffle and braised bald eagle in a hopes-and-dreams reduction sauce. Well, you don't get to stay a shadowy cabal if everyone on the news is covering you! But Raw Story has a report on it, as does Wonkette, who has posted this riveting video of protestors. All I'd say is that you'd think the most powerful people in the world could do a lot better than a downmarket hotel in Chantilly, Virginia.

Okay, Fox. Governor Fistfight between Pawlenty and Kaine! The two men seem chummy for campaign surrogates. Wallace makes a dumb "American Idol" joke. Show's over! Pick a new co-branding strategy! Kaine is pretty enthused about Obama's performance in Virginia, so much so that Kaine's famous eyebrow raises itself triumphantly. Pawlenty thinks that McCain being down eleven points in Minnesota is just awesome for McCain. No worries!

Kaine says that the "deep affection" people have for Senator Clinton will bring them on board with Obama. Pawlenty mounts the whole "Obama is out of the mainstream" argument, which these days sadly sounds like a hoary, "old Washington" line.

Chris Wallace thinks the economy is going to be "the central issue" in the campaign. McCain has better hope so! Because everything is headed in the wrong direction where his stance on Iraq is concerned. Something that won't get discussed this Sunday, despite being huge news, is the testimony of Iraqi parliamentarians in Bill Delahunt's House Subcommittee this week. It was eye-opening stuff. Get familiar with it. Go get yourself some Spencer Ackerman, too. The next time you find yourself talking with someone on Iraq, drop some wisdom into the conversation.

Oh, and naturally, I'm kidding on the economy being McCain's strong suit. I don't know what the man's strong suit is!

Pawlenty says that the notion that people would blame Bush for the bad economy is a "false premise." And that McCain is the real "change candidate!" Because he supported the surge and likes the environment. Are we going to keep getting pounded over the head with these two narrow examples of where McCain has differed with Bush? How has he differed with Bush lately? Other than making sure they are never in the same room together.

Kaine parries Wallace on the wisdom of raising taxes by mentioning that Obama is going to alleviate the tax burden of the middle class. Wallace asks Kaine about what advantages are offered by Obama's energy policy, to which Kaine winningly replies that just HAVING an energy policy would be a step in the right direction. At the same time, "clean coal," which forms such a central part of Obama's energy policy, is bad environmental policy and a total pander.

Kaine does a better job parrying Pawlenty's contention that Obama hasn't done much to reach across the aisle, rattling off a bunch of examples off the top of his dome. This is the next challenge for Obama surrogates, by the way. Gotta head off that whole "Barack's just about high-flown ideas" by cracking that Blueprint For Change publication and boning up on the brass tacks. Some of Obama's surrogates are much better than others.

Pawlenty: "McCain likes surge! Likes environment! Hates pork barrels." I'm going to have to start drinking everytime I hear a McCain supporter boil his whole reason for existing down into those three sentences.

Jeez. I am now on my sixth cup of coffee and my head is still filled with gauze and stuffing.

Now Pawlenty and Kaine are asked about the Vice-Presidency. Kaine says "it isn't about me...I'm not expecting it...it would be hard to say no." Wallace wants Kaine to basically say, "YEAH! I WANTS IT! GIMME THE VEEP!" Kaine, like every person ever on a VP shortlist, plays coy.

Wallace wants to know if Hillary Clinton is the automatic frontrunner for the Veepsies? Kaine says, "Blah blah her speech yesterday was great woo. Not going to say anything. CERTAINLY not gonna step off the reservation here and speculate on THAT."

Pawlenty also said some crap about not expecting the VP job, probably because he went away to Sedona with Charlie Crist and Bobby Jindal and Mitt Romney to form the John McCain Action SuperCool Trio And Their Fraudbot Puppyhate Mitt!

Pawlenty thinks Obama should travel to Iraq with McCain because it's the only way to learn about Iraq. How would Pawlenty know? Has Pawlenty been to Iraq? (Actually, yes.).

Kaine gamely attempts to walk everyone around Obama's recent "undivided Jersusalem" remark by reiterating that it's a "final status" issue that will ultimately be negotiated by Israel and Palestine, but still, I remember Obama saying that and thinking, "Wow. He just took one of the big points of compromise off the table."

Pawlenty: Yahhhh! Obama keeps modifying his stances!

Kaine: Blahhhh! McCain keeps saying really stupid things.

On healthcare, credit Kaine, if only briefly, for responding to a market-based critique of government health care programs by noting that an extension of the health-care franchise benefits the engine of capitalism by keeping American workers productive and competitive, as well as noting that McCain's policies are the ones that has widened the health care gap in the first place, so there should be no expectation that more of the same is going to do anything but continue to exacerbate the problem. This puts Pawlenty back on Typical Conservative Nimrod Footing: "But the federal govvamints be SCURRY! I'm all a'SCURRED at the govvamint giving people MEDI-SINS!"

BRIEFLY: I understand that liveblogging is going to lead to the occasional keystroke error, but I am totally perplexed by why I consistently type Tim Russert's name as "Time Russert." I'm really sorry about this, y'all. When I get a moment, I'll go in and fix these instances. But to psychoanalyze it for a moment, I am forced to conclude that watching Tim Russert (and I just did it again!), first and foremost, reminds me of my own mortality, and that I will never get the time spent watching his show back, ever, not ever, now matter how much I beg.

Friend of the liveblog Chris Blakely emails to let me know that he missed MTP by the way, which is way he is going to have an awesome Sunday, and I am not.

Commenters are making me glad I chose to TiVo THIS WEEK, also, though I'd like to say for the record that I like Bob Schieffer's FACE THE NATION very much and plan to give it some love in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, Fox Panel Time. Hume says that Clinton's speech was a "very unusual event" and he was shocked to see so many digital cameras and cell phones and it scared him because he lives with bats in the Hume Cave. Hume says that her massive support puts her "in the hunt" for the Veep spot. Mara Liasson feels that the Democratic party division is not a deep division and is patch-up-able.

Bill Kristol is laying in wait to say something stupid, but apparently, he's been too busy sending Hillary Clinton emails:

Dear Senator Clinton:

As I pored over some book at some airport library, I was reminded, once again, that I am a divisive, deeply stupid douchebag who's come a long way with just a leering, feline smile and a sackful of criminally bad policy ideas. I hope you will keep running your campaign which I do not support so that you will continue to maybe damage the other campaign I don't support. Otherwise, the only means by which I will experience pleasure will be using my belt to nearly choke myself, which has already resulted in a crippling lack of oxygen to my brain. But it is so much fun. Funnnnnnnnnnn...

Sincerely,

Bill Kristol

Hume thinks that Obama needs to keep making "renewed" gestures toward Clinton to shore up the base. Liasson isn't as sure that Clinton supporters won't come home, but that Obama still needs to target his key vulnerabilities. Kristol says that the "Clinton spell is broken" and there will be no more Bushes and Clintons and that our "long national nightmare will be over."

This drawn-out primary process has led many in the media to believe that a bunch of big revelations that pertain to the general election have been revealed, but that's only because they've had so little else to talk about. I don't believe that the Democratic primary process offers that many points of intersection with the general election - a game with fundamentally different rules, odds, stakes, and strategies.

It's weird, but I sort of think that the very fact that Obama can look over the field today and see that there are a couple demographic and a couple geographic areas he needs to target as an advantage. And that's about the only thing we cal pull from the primary season that's in play going forward. Meanwhile, McCain has watched as a more seasoned and competent opponent in Hillary Clinton has thrown all the best ammunition there is to throw at Obama already and lose. Plus, McCain hasn't been able to crack 46% nationally, like, ever. So, at the same moment where the number of voters who are just a-scared of Obama are at their peak, McCain would be lucky to find himself simply tied in the polls with him.

That's a pretty bad GE profile to have. You wouldn't be thought a fool to think "Bob Dole Rides Again." Obviously, McCain could do a lot to turn this around, but he comes to the high stakes table with less money and less organizational support than Obama. And right now, thinking about this from McCain's perspective sort of reminds me how there was a moment last year where I thought my beloved Washington Redskins might beat the Patriots, but then really, really didn't.

Hume says that going ahead, Obama frames the race, and that McCain is just "the safe alternative." McCain's best hope is to highlight Obama's record and his tenuous connections to people Hume deems as "radicals." Liasson says that McCain has it in him to break firmly with Bush, but hasn't done that and won't do it.

Kristol totally harshes on Rove's map and predicts a crazy 269-269 tie that would move to the House of Representatives and make everyone freak out and totally wet their pants. Juan Williams thinks that McCain's tendency to flounder and flutter through all his public appearances is going to hurt his chances.

Hume says that McCain isn't totally dead in the water on the economy, because he's not seen as responsible for the downturn, but that nevertheless he'll be seen as a member of the party in power and the "referendum voters" will favor Obama. But he also thinks that the rising costs in gas will help McCain because Americans are generally in favor of more drilling and a re-look at nukes. Of course, three words that Obama's already won on: GAS TAX HOLIDAY.

This Week, With George Stephanopoulos

Speaking of holidays, it appears that we have inadvertently stumbled into one. All my teevee is doing right now is flickering an image of GS and the the THIS WEEK logo. Okay! It sounded like he said, "backlick." Then nothing. OMG. I am now liveblogging the Stephanopocalypse!

OK. We are two minutes into the Stephanopocalypse, and so far, we've heard GS say "back lick" and now a brief snatch of what sounded like applause. Then nothing. Then someone says, "us." As in "Help us?" "Save us?" Then, nothing.

It is now the third minute of the Stephanopocalypse. I just heard a noise, only for a half a second, that sounded unmistakably like the word "Foop." Then, "Fsss." And the screen flickers. We have now received the "Please Stand By" screen.

Four minutes into the Stephanopocalypse, and I can say, without hesitation, that this is the best episode of THIS WEEK I have ever seen.

Now the Stephanopocalypse has entered it's fifth minute. The "Please Stand By" screen remains, making the most trenchant political points ABC News has made in months.

Here in the sixth minute of the Stephanopocalypse, I am encouraging all you readers to nominate the Please Stand By screen for this year's Peabody Award.

Seven minutes of Stephanopocalypse? More like Seven Minutes In Heaven!

The Stephanopocalypse has now lasted eight minutes, and the Please Stand By screen is so quiet, peaceful, and contemplative that having this TiVoed is like owning your own Mark Rothko painting.

It is now minute nine of the Stephanopocalypse. This is how the world ends in M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening.

OH NOES. THE STEPHANOPOCALYPSE IS OVER. Those were the nine of the happiest minutes of my life. And the show has started over again! Drat!

BY THE WAY! A commenter writes: "Watching the tennis Nadal just cleaned Federer's clock 6-1, 6-3, 6-0." See! CLAY COURT SPECIALIST I THINK!

OY. Today's guests are a particularly Stephanopocalyptic John "Treebeard" Kerry and Lindsey "Dave Foley With Jowls" Graham.

We get started, however with Clinton's speech, and Diane Feinstein. Not surprisingly, DiFi says that Obama needs to use Clinton to bridge whatever gap needs to be bridged. I've always been of the mind that the best thing one can do is to turn deficits into opportunity, so I'll reiterate my hope that Obama and Clinton forge a team-up that's genuine and different and maximizes their strengths.

DiFI says that Clinton's commitment is to push the Obama campaign forward, but she favors a Clinton vice-presidency. And she thinks that the strength of Clinton as a VP would be a movement of women riding a wave of anti-press backlash. "If you really want a winning ticket, this is it." To which my wife says, "Oh. Okay. I guess I didn't realize Diane Feinstein was an idiot."

DiFi says that she never considered the possibility that Obama naming another woman as vice-president would be received by Clinton supporters as an insult, probably because she's not yet fully aware of just how frustratingly reductive certain people's definition of "feminism" seems to be.

Meanwhile, we shoot on over to a debate between Treebeard and Jowly Dave Foley.

What about the economy, GS asks. How can McCain be different from Bush? Jowly Dave says what's important is that McCain will be different from Obama. "This isn't Wharton versus the London School of Economics," says Jowly Dave - though we would like to see those two schools face each other in some field of competition, like jousting. Jowly Dave basically tells rich people that they are doomed and that poor people need to start looking for oil and gas in their backyards, along with unicorns.

Meanwhile Treebeard rebuts with some Treebeardery about wishes being the father to a fact and the cousin to a concept that mothers an idea, and that idea is CHANGE. Or something. "Obama wants to give every worker $1,000...and not continue the irresponsibility" of Bush. And McCain once said he didn't know jack diddly squat about the economy, because he's dumb, and Treebeard has a "long list" but no one wants to hear it.

Jowly Dave says that Obama will hurt the corporations. Would someone think of the corporations. And then he says some crazy crap about how in the Obama world, there are "good Americans who deserve a tax cut and bad Americans that don't need a tax cut." And in McCain's world, there are Good Americans who can sit at home without worrying about dying in his endless crazy war, and Bad Americans who have no other choice but to go over to Iraq and vie to be the last man to die for a mistake.

Treebeard basically says that Jowly Dave is talking some crazy nonsense. McCain keeps sending jobs overseas and blaming homeowners for the housing crisis and kissing lobbyists on the mouths.

Jowly Dave says we are going to have "offshore explorations" and that they will save our economy.

But who is the real reformer? Has Obama stood up to his party? Treebeard says that the Democrats HATED Obama for making things all ethical and preventing lobbyists from setting up giant gooey fondue pots of molten gold and dodo eggs. Whereas McCain is a loobyist loving lobby-lover in the lobby.

Jowly Dave's all "Phil Gramm is McCain's friend and Tony Rezko built Obama's house with baby seal skins and LIES." Then he says that he's had a lot of disagreements with McCain and that the American people really need to experience what it's like to be browbeaten by McCain because it is really something, it really just makes you want to curl up in a ball and wish for death. Obama, Jowly Dave says, is "all talk" and never said anything that "the left didn't want to hear," though I'd remind Jowly Dave that he basically won the nomination because he broke with his party, his chief opponent and the former Presidential candidate, Treebeard himself, on the critical matter of recognizing that the Iraq War was a complete Charlie Foxtrot on a fundamental strategic level and can't be redeemed by a mere change in strategy.

But Jowly Dave insists that McCain was a leader at putting even more Americans in harms way. PUT THEM IN HARMS WAY, he yelled at Bush until he broke down. And "that's why we're going to win," says Jowly Dave.

GS tells Treebeard that Obama sort of bailed on some bills, like the immigration bill. Treebeard says, yeah, I think I'll dodge that question, and GS allows it. So from there, Shouty McCain is bad and the Middle East is going to heck in a handbasket. Jowly Dave says that Obama should have been in the Gang of 14 which kept the Senate from "blowing up," but if you ask me, I think Obama was right to come out in favor of the Senate blowing up. A brave stance against the Senate remaining in some sort of not-blowed-up form is just what the country needs.

Then Jowly Dave lies about Iraq. And Stephanopoulos threatens to unleash the two of them again at some point in the future, when we least expect it.

Meanwhile, it's panel time with Jay Carney and Claire Shipman and George Will And Jonathan Capeheart.

Will says that Clinton did what she needed to do to begin to close the rift, and then Will sort of presumes that Obama is going to win the general by saying that she won't have another chance until 2016. Jay Carney reminds him that, technically, she can run again in 2012.

Why not concede Tuesday night? Will says she deserved the time, given what she was parting with, Shipman thinks that the time helped people sort of mellow out. Capeheart says why not bask? The next woman to run for president has had a wide path blazed ahead of her.

Will's point about sexism - Clinton had the votes of the most sexist people in America. He also says that when Obama won the caucasian vote in Iowa, that was the key to bringing African Americans along. So nobody gets the voters they think they deserve for the reasons they think they deserve them.

Now they are talking about Mark Penn, who Hillary Clinton should absolutely not give any more money to. DO NOT PAY MARK PENN!

Stephanopoulos: "The Clintons were the change candidate in 1992 and they couldn't figure out why they weren't being perceived that way in 2008." Uhm, they weren't perceived as the change candidates in 2008 because they ran as established insiders branded by experience. They made specific references to how awesome things were a decade ago. Hillary said she'd be "ready on day one" because "day one" was going to look like any number of days she had already lived. They were the candidates on inevitability. They couldn't get their head around why no one perceived them as change candidates? Man, if the Clintons really can't figure that out, then we are all better off with them not in the White House.

Yes, Capeheart: inevitablility does not equal change.

Will says the Dream Ticket is a nightmare: she solves no electoral problem and brings nothing but baggage. And he is really down on the McCain brand, today. When asked how Obama is going to heal the rift with women without Clinton on the ticket, he says, "John McCain is going to take care of that in no time! Tax cuts? War? He's pro-life? My goodness! If that doesn't unify the aggrieved women, what would?"

Shipman thinks that Clinton on the ticket is one of the things that will drive up support for McCain. Carney agrees. Stephanopoulos disagrees, go figure.

Then they break down into a general discussion of who should be the Obama Veep. Carney likes all three Virginians - Webb, Warner, and Kaine. Will says Sam Nunn buoys his national security cred and potentially flips Georgia, and Ed Rendell helps with Bitter Bluecollarstan.

Shipman says McCain will need to be a lean machine to win, and lean machines cannot be putting up crapulent speeches in front of the green background if they want to be thought of as competent. Will says that Obama can spend cash in many, many more states than McCain, and that running a flip-California campaign especially would be a huge money trap for McCain.

Will hits McCain one last time for the road: "The only way to beat [Obama] is to go negative, and the people who do that are these so-called 527s, and Saint John of Arizona does not like 527s!" Saint John of Arizona? Has Will been reading liberal blogs?

And now, thanks to the earlier Stephanopocalypse, THIS WEEK is over. And so is, I think, this week's liveblog. Those nine minutes of nothing were nine of the happiest minutes of my life, y'all. I hope that maybe one of you out there with THIS WEEK on TiVo might burn those nine minutes onto DVD and send them to the Newseum, because they really should be commemorated somehow. Anyway, enjoy your Sunday, and tune in next week, where we'll likely have more rampant and uninformed Vice-President speculation than you can shake a stick at.

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