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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Highlights from State of the Union: February 1, 2009

State of the Union with John King is into its third week. At the top of the four hour program, King provided a quick overview of what to expect:

JOHN KING, HOST: I'm John King. This is "State of the Union." Unemployment spikes as massive layoffs spread across the country. I'll talk to governors of two hard-hit states, Democrat Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, and Republican Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota.

The House passed the $800 billion stimulus bill this week without a single Republican vote. Opponents say it won't help rescue the economy. As the debate heads to the Senate this week, we'll hear from two senators who say this isn't the change President Obama promised. Democrat Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Republican Susan Collins of Michigan.

And we'll keep our promise to listen to you. I'll go to a factory floor in Peoria, Illinois, where word of thousands of job cuts came just this past week. That's all ahead in this hour of "State of the Union."

Good morning and welcome to our "State of the Union" report this Sunday, the 1st of February.

Before we get to our guests, a quick glance at what we will do this Sunday and every Sunday morning on this program. Here in our 9:00 a.m. Eastern hour, as you heard, interviews with the top newsmakers in the United States and around the world. At 10:00 a.m., Howie Kurtz and "Reliable Sources" takes a critical look at the media. At 11:00 a.m. Eastern, members of the best political team on television, CNN's reporters and analysts, will discuss and debate the day's major stories, including highlights of the Sunday morning talk shows. And at noon eastern, the only live Sunday interview program in America, senators and other newsmakers get the last word.

Source: CNN Transcript

John King spoke with the Gov. Granholm and Gov. Pawlenty about job creation from the proposed stimulus package; whether the stimulus package has the right type of spending in it; buying American; fuel efficiency rates; and Sen. Daschle's back taxes.

The next discussion was with Sen. Ben Nelson and Sen. Susan Collins and included: the stimulus package the House of Representatives is sending to the Senate and Sen. Daschle's tax mistake.

Sen. Nelson had a memorable line during the discussion when he commented about whether the stimulus package contained pork: "And there's no pork in this. Let me say that right away. But there may be some sacred cows."

Newspapers continued to be used during the program and this particular newspaper caught my eye- the one of the left happens to be the Wilmington News Journal which is the paper that I grew up reading each Sunday.

Donna Brazile and Ed Gillespie discussed whether the President made a mistake not getting more involved with the content of the House version of the stimulus package; whether everything in the stimulus package can appropriately be labed as "emergency spending"; Sen. Daschle's taxes; and the new Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele.

Gillespie is currently between jobs now that his services are no longer required at the White House, John King asked him about being a private citizen again:

KING: Ed Gillespie, now a private citizen. How's that going?

GILLESPIE: Pretty well. I have found one job. I'm the assistant driver in the Gillespie household right now.

KING: Assistant driver. I'm sure Cathy Gillespie is happy for the help.


John King was in Peoria, Illinois this week and spoke with several families who had family members laid off from Caterpillar. Here are two clips that CNN has posted to their website:

Layoffs in Peoria:

King goes to Caterpillar:

The 10AM hour was Reliable Sources with Howard Kurtz. Here's the handoff between the two hosts:

The first topic was the Blago media show. Kurtz spoke with Phil Rosenthal, Lisa Bloom, and Dana Milbank. The panel also discussed the possibility of ABC's Nightline being replaced by Jimmy Kimmel; and Dick Armey's comments to Joan Walsh on MSNBC's Hardball. During the Blagojevitch discussion, they did a little role playing with Howard Kurtz filling in for the former governor:

The next panel included Roland Martin, Karen Tumlty, and Michael Medved. Topics this time included the New York Times article that prompted more criticism of Wall Street; whether the media is going easy on President Obama; and the Daschle controversy.

Source: CNN

We also found out that Kurtz got stood up today:

KURTZ: Before we go to break, author Bernard Goldberg was scheduled to appear on this program to talk about his new book on media bias – until Friday, when he abruptly canceled, without explanation, even though his people had approached us.

Now, I assume Bernie respects my work. His book, about the press supposedly being in the tank for Barack Obama, quotes me and my articles several times. There it is. He’s been out flogging the thing with Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Lou Dobbs – people who agree with him. Do you think, maybe, he doesn’t want to leave his pals and face some skeptical questioning? Come on, Bernie, we’ll have a good debate on this issue, one-on-one, without bias. You’re welcome here anytime.


Source: CNN

It is SuperBowl Sunday and Kurtz spoke with sports writer, Larry Fitzgerald, about covering his son, Larry Fitzgerald, Jr. in tonight's SuperBowl.

Halfway through the four hour program and John King returns with a discussion on job losses with Ali Velshi, who was in Washington, D.C. Yes, Velshi got to use King's Magic Wall.

Velshi returns a little bit later to be part of the political panel along with Ed Henry, Jessica Yellin, and Dana Bash. The group discussed Sen. Daschle; the impact of Republican Judd Gregg possibly joining the Obama cabinet; and the stimulus package.

The first political panel today was Gloria Borger, James Carville, Terry Jeffrey, and David Gergen. Topics for the panel were the stimulus package, job creation, Rush Limbaugh's comments on the President's success or failure, Wall Street bonuses, and Sen. Daschle's chances of being confirmed.

John King tried using the Magic Wall a couple of times with mixed results. The map just didn't want to work for King during the introduction to the diner segment. He visited DOCS diner in Roanoke Illinois and spoke with a group of conservatives that did not vote for President Obama. CNN has posted a clip of the discussion on their website. It certainly looks like their breakfast was getting cold!

Roanoke IL's view of Obama:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Sen. John Ensign discussed the stimulus package that will be debated in the Senate this week; Wall Street bonuses; Sen. Daschle; and an executive order that may continue the practice of rendition concerning suspected terrorists.

President Obama had his first network interview with Al-Arabiya. Nic Robertson discussed the interview.

There was more discussion of the stimulus package and how to create new jobs with Steve Forbes and Secretary Robert Reich. Sec. Reich appears to be a follower of Keynesian economics: the stimulus package isn't big enough when you look at the fall of GDP.

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, got to have the last word on the program. I enjoyed Norquist's analogy concerning the stimulus package:

What Obama and Reid and Pelosi want to do is they show up at one side of a lake and put a bucket in and take a bucket of water out, then the three walk around to the other side of the lake, hold a press conference and pour three buckets of water into the lake and announce they're filling up the lake with water.

That's what Robert Reich believes will fill up the lake with water. If you look at that and say, wait a minute, you took three buckets out, you put three buckets in the lake is the same amount, you take $800 billion out of the economy in taxes or debt, then you wander over to the other side of the economy and throw the money up in the air and announce you're stimulating the economy.

Every dollar spent by the government only exists because it was taken out of the economy somewhere else. As pointed out, Japan did this for 10 years, and it was a lost decade. Argentina did it for 30 or 40 years. And it hasn't helped. You don't want to go that direction.

Finally, these two articles from the internet:

Broadcasting & Cable has an article about John King on their website. Here is an excerpt:

Now King is into his first few weeks as anchor of the four-hour Sunday morning program State of the Union With John King. The show mixes newsmaker interviews, analysis and filed pieces. So King is keeping his travel schedule as hectic as ever.

To help facilitate King's travels, the CNN Express—the network's studio on wheels—will become an integral part of the show, according to David Bohrman, senior VP and D.C. bureau chief. “I think [the CNN Express] is going to extend his range so that he can actually go farther than Charleston, W.Va., to cover a story when he's anchoring a show based out of Washington,” Bohrman says.

Traveling and hosting the show means King's life must operate with split-second precision. After last week's show, King raced to the second half of his 12-year old daughter's basketball game. (“My daughter had 8 points and a bazillion rebounds,” he says. “It was awesome.”) He also has a 15-year-old son. And he's newly married, to Dana Bash, CNN's senior Congressional correspondent.

“I don't think my life is all that much different from [that of] a lot of working parents,” King says. “You just have to discipline your schedule and make compromises. My kids are incredibly important. I'm not asking for a gold star because I don't spend nearly as much time with them as I should.”

The interviewed King last month:

When he is tired or has an extra beer, John King’s Massachusetts accent can emerge.

“I can pahk a cah like anybody,” says King, host of CNN’s new Sunday talk show, “State of the Union with John King,” which debuts this weekend. At which point, he says, “I usually start laughing.”

Well-known for manning the network’s magic wall during the recent presidential election, King, a Dorchester, Mass. native, says his new show, airing 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Sunday, will incorporate the interactive wall that allowed him to call up information with a touch of his hand.

“Absolutely,” he says. “We’re building the wall into our studio. It will be a centerpiece of the program. I call it my transporter beam.”

Learning to navigate the wall was complicated, but not impossible. There’s a certain flow required. “The thing I learned is, some things you have to learn the manual and study,” he says. “But the wall? The thing I had to teach myself is just trust myself. My hand is the mouse and there’s different layers of the map and you can take it around the world.”

What if he makes a wrong move and the wall collapses? “You can’t worry about that,” he says. “You learn that occasionally you are going to make a mistake. You correct it as soon as you can, or you accidentally learn something and you go there.”

Replacing Wolf Blitzer on Sunday mornings is another matter. But King won’t emulate Blitzer’s famous beard after a trial run convinced him it wasn’t his style.

King was recently snowboarding and didn’t shave for five days. “I looked in the mirror one morning and it was a unanimous decision that I can’t match Wolf in that department,” he says. “I yield to Wolf on this one.”

But he credits Blitzer for giving him the best example of how to be in this business. “He has a gift of keeping his cool in incredibly tense and stressful situations,” he says. “He is just a gentleman. Those are the best lessons in life.”

Travel was a deal-breaker for King. A show for him had been discussed over the years, but ultimately, he told his bosses, any anchoring job would have to include travel.

“My rule is to travel every week,” he says. “I’m going to get out from behind my desk every week — that’s what I love. It’s just who I am. I would not have agreed to do this if I could not go out and travel the country, or the world.”

King says he has never been comfortable with the egos of Washington, particularly those in broadcast journalism. “I have a healthy ego,” he admits, but then explains that he’s a “blue-collar kid” who was one of seven children. His father was a jail guard.

The broadcaster started out in print journalism. His first reporting job was as an intern for The Associated Press in Providence, R.I., where he made coffee, organized files and scoured the courthouse for cases.

Between his junior and senior years he served as vacation relief and got assigned to help cover the retrial of Claus von B├╝low, who was accused and then acquitted of murdering his wife, Sunny.

“I was a bit player in our coverage,” he recalls.

His first job ever was delivering the Boston Herald. He later moved on to dishwasher and cook for a downtown-Boston German restaurant. “I learned to cook there and I still love to cook,” he says.

He calls competitors, such as NBC “Meet the Press” host David Gregory, friends. “I wish him the best,” he says. “Everyone will say it’s competition, Sunday morning. It is, but it’s not grudgeful.”

Recently married to CNN correspondent Dana Bash, King, 45, says he has given thought to how he interacts with his wife on air.

“She is one of the best reporters I have ever met,” he says. “We’re married and we have to be mindful of that. When we were in a relationship I thought, ‘Are there going to be times when this is awkward?’ I am a stickler for the rules of journalism. There haven’t been any [awkward moments].

“I’m a big fan and big admirer — it’s one of the reasons I was attracted to her in the first place. You know what? You’re going to see her on Sunday morning. If it makes sense to make a joke, we’ll get there.”

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