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Sunday, May 31, 2009

State of the Union for May 31, 2009

John King started off State of the Union with John King on Sunday morning with Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) and the only Senator currently representing Minnesota, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D), to discuss Judge Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court. King asked the guests about Sotomayor's controversial comments, abortion rights, second amendment rights, and the potential of a filibuster in the Senate. King also asked Sen. Hutchison about running for Governor in Texas and reminded Sen. Klobuchar that the last time that she was on the program she predicted that the drama over the second Senate seat in Minnesota would be resolved by Memorial Day (the issue goes to the Minnesota Supreme court this week.)

If you're interested in seeing who sits on the Senate Judiciary committee that will be conducting the confirmation hearings, a list can be found on the Senate's website.

Senator Mitch McConnell (R) was the second guest to talk to John King. The Supreme Court nomination took center stage. A cloture vote to stop a filibuster and the court decisions that could give the Senator pause in supporting the Sotomayor nomination were discussed. Sen. McConnell was asked about the comments made by some high profile non-Senator Republicans who referred to the Supreme Court nominee as "racist." The Senator didn't want to be labeled as the "speech police" but finally (reluctantly?) admitted that he didn't agree with the statements that were made. King went on to ask the Senator about reforms to the health care system, the impact of the latest stimulus plan, and GM's pending bankruptcy.

King brought in the first panel of strategists with Paul Begala and Kevin Madden. Topics included Judge Sotomayor's nomination (identity politics and rules of the Senate debate). I admit- I thought this segment was a bit short and would have enjoyed a few more minutes of analysis from these two.

John King filed a report on same sex marriage in New York. He spoke with Christine Quinn of the New York City Council (who supports same sex marriage), Maggie Gallagher (who opposes same sex marriage), and Professor Suzanne Goldberg of Columbia Law school.

At 10am, Howard Kurtz came in with Reliable Sources. The first segment focused on the Sotomayor nomination with Chip Reid, Jeff Zeleny, Joan Biskupic, and Roger Cossack. The same panel also discussed the Burris audio tape that puts into question his appointment to the Senate.

Blanquita Cullum and Margaret Carlson further discussed the Sotomayor nomination by comparing it to the coverage during Justice Thomas' nomination as well as Justice Alito's confirmation hearings. Cullum made an interesting comment regarding the debate: "If you're in the majority you vote- when you're in the minority you talk."

Andy Kindler and Eric Deggans discussed the transition of hosts on the Tonight Show and the Jon & Kate media buzz. I'm with Kurtz on this one- I'm among the "cultural cluelessness" with the Jon & Kate tabloid headlines. Deggan blogged about going on Reliable Sources on his blog.

At 11am, it was back to John King and the best political team on television. The first panel of the hour was with Donna Brazile and Ed Gillespie. Topics included Judge Sotomayor's comments about her experience as a Latina woman, whether she would be an "activist judge", affirmative action, comments that she is a "racist", her position on Roe v Wade/ the right to privacy, and how fast or slow the Senate should start comfirmation hearings.

The next segment this hour was the CNN Diner which was taped in Queens, New York. The discussion revolved around the Supreme Court nomination, same sex marriage, and the economy.

Ed Henry, Dana Bash, and David Gergen were the "senior" political panel this morning. They discussed Senator McConnell's remark from earlier in the morning, diversity on the court, and the GM bankruptcy.

The next segment was a report from John King on General Motors as he got to see inside their design studio.

The first 40 minutes of the 12pm hour was a recap of the 9am hour. The above screencap caught my eye while watching the program: I don't remember ever seeing two foreign language newspaper front pages spotlighted on the screen behind King. Several newspaper front pages were mntioned during the The Last Word which went to Egypt's Ambassador to the United States, Sameh Shoukry, to discuss the President's trip to the Middle East and specifically to Egypt, the Israeli/ Palestinian issue, and the impression of the US in the Middle East.

This week's Staff Briefing was a bit short (King had a lot going on Friday) and comes from Wolf Blitzer's office:

The podcasts this week:

Another podcast you may be interested in this week is 44 with Ed Henry. John King joined Ed Henry on his weekly radio program (Friday's at 11AM on CNN Radio). If you have never listened to Henry's radio program, it is very different from the typical reporting that he does from the White House- the tone is different and he takes phone calls from listeners throughout the hour. On this past Friday morning, King discussed the Sotomayor nomination. Ed Henry also put his producer on the spot since she used to work with King when he was covering the White House.

Want to get a behind the scenes look at State of the Union? The Cleveland Jewish News Foundation is having a silent auction on June 18th where one of the auction items includes a visit to the Washington D.C. CNN Studios:

Inside the Beltway

You and three guests get a private tour of the inner-workings of the U.S. Capitol Building with Rep. Marcia Fudge, the new representative of the 11th Congressional District of Ohio that encompasses much of the Jewish community. The package also includes a visit for four to the CNN studios during a live broadcast of State of the Union with John King.

Donors: Rep. Marcia Fudge, CNN

John King will also be the keynote speaker at this event.

Marketwatch's Jon Friedman has been profiling the Sunday talk anchors in a series of articles. He recently profiled John King: "CNN's King anything but self-important":

While King is hard-working, energetic and ebullient, the three-hour workload prompts the question: Is this too much for his own good?

"It's a bit of a grind but it's fun," King said. "I have plenty of adrenaline and energy -- and I have Starbucks to back me up on a slow day."

Fair enough. But King's audience might take him for granted.

"I know what you're saying," King conceded. "We're on cable. We have more time [to fill]. God bless those people who watch me from 9 to 1. If you do, I'll send you a T-shirt."

Then he sensibly added: "I'm joking!"

Turning reflective, King said: "It's hard, after 18 weeks, to be certain of anything. We can't make any conclusions now. At the moment, we're feeling happy and encouraged."

You can read the full article here.

A few quick birthday notes: Happy Birthday to Heidi Collins who celebrates her birthday on June 1st.

And it was 29 years ago on June 1, 1980 when CNN first went on the air. I have a clip of CNN's first TV moments in a post that I did late last year: CNN's First Anchors Retire.

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