Sunday, July 25, 2004

Updated on July 25 at 12:30 pm, revised at 2:15 pm

Tim Russert gives Barack Obama a pass on Meet the Press; No Surprize, so do Schieffer and the Wolfman;

Cong. Rahm Emanuel; General Borling, Judy finds a Two Percenter in the Bullpen? Rewarding Rod? Now, it's Judy's turn to cry?

More on Russert/Obama later, after I watch the tape, but my initial impression, based on watching the program as it aired, is that Tim Russert gave Barack Obama a pass this morning on his program, "Meet the Press." Russert asked some good, tough first questions, but not many tough follow-ups. Also, NBC seemed to screw up the initial feed, that is-- the program opened with a few minutes of 9/11 Commission Co-Chairmen Keane and Hamilton and then switched mid-stream to Democratic Convention Keynoter and U. S. Senate Candidate Barack Obama. [If you missed this, NBC usually repeats the program at 2:35 am on Monday morning- so set your recording device. Russert may not be as good as I am, but then again, who is?]

I only saw part of Face the Nation as it aired and will have to go back to watch to that tape, but Bob Schieffer and his assistants have not asked a tough question to a Democrat since 1968, so I don't think we will find anything other than softballs there.

The Wolfman (Blitzer) is scheduled to have Barack on his show [Late Edition, CNN] today, and that will air shortly (about) 12:30 pm-- but I don't expect much of a challenge for Barack there. Wolfman is another soft-baller.

Oh yes, then there is the Illinois GOP Leadership Triad , where the latest buzz is (1) State GOP Chairman Judy Baar Topinka would perhaps like, as a replacement for Jack Ryan, General John Borling (6th of 8 candidates, 2% in the March primary, and the 2 star General who conceded to me that he failed as a Commander when he was apparently unable to prevent his campaign manager Rod McCulloch from inaccurately [based on what we know today] reporting on in March, 2004, the sealed child custody records of Jack Ryan) and (2) according to Rich Miller's Capitolfax of yesterday, the Edwardsville, IL downstate developer Robert Plummer is ready to kick in $5 million to get elected to the Senate. Good luck, Bob- Have Money, will run. We, like most, don't know much about Robert, but we will take a look. Plummer has at least one of the desired specification traits that any good executive recruiter would include on his list [See Blog entry, revised July 23 at 1:30 pm, below, on the desired traits that should have guided Judy and Bob in their search for, in their recruiting of, and their thinking about a strong Senate Candidate to replace Jack Ryan-- some of which could have and should have done before they helped push Jack to announce that he would withdraw].

Back to General Borling, would making him the replacement Senate candidate be one way for Judy and Bob to reward the General and his campaign manager, Rod Muculloch, for what they view as a job well done? That is, Judy and Bob certainly know how to follow the admonition of Democratic Congressman Rahm Emanuel (D- Chicago; 5th Dist.) quite well, "Reward your friends and punish your enemies." And, of course, the General is a pro-choicer on the issue of abortion, which should please Judy Baar. And, Bob Kjellander, although saying he is Pro-Life, has also indicated, from the outset of the replacement process, that he would be comfortable with either a Pro-Lifer or a Pro-Choicer, so long as that is what the "process," produced.

One month after Jack Ryan gave Judy Baar and Bob Kjellander what they apparently had been hoping for-- a chance to bypass the primary process with one of their own, and Judy and Bob still can't find a credible choice among their own. And, now, they need to defer the process a week, so they don't miss any of the exciting moments of the Democratic National Convention?

Yep, Barack could win this one falling out of bed, and he just may.

Jeff Berkowitz, host and producer of "Public Affairs," can be reached at