London's Daily Mail claims the cost of Obama's inauguration is approaching $160 million:
By the time the final dance has been held at one of the many inaugural balls the costs for the day will be a staggering £110m.
Not surprisingly, the newspaper provides no attribution for the figure. (The actual cost is closer to $40 million.) But that doesn't matter because Drudge has linked to the Daily Mail's report and we're sure reporters are on the phone as we speak.
Drudge today also linked to an article I wrote at Salon four years ago chastising the press for not asking questions about the cost of the Bush 2005 inauguration ($40 million), which at the time shattered all the spending records and occurred at a time when the war in Iraq was still front-and-center. (Although it cost roughly the same, Bush's bash attracted just a fraction of the crowd expected for Obama's swearing in.)
Drudge claims my article captured the "lefty outrage" at the cost of Bush's 2005 celebration. In truth, a strong majority of Americans (66 percent, including 46 percent of Republicans) thought that, in light of the fresh fighting in Iraq, Bush's inauguration should have been more "subdued."
But thanks for the link anyway Matt, I'm sure Salon appreciates the traffic.
FYI, the $40 million figure for the Bush and Obama inaugurations is in reference to the cost of the swearing in and the activities surrounding that. The extra cost of state and federal security is not traditionally included in media references to the final tab for inaugurations. In the case of Bush in 2005, the cost of security added tens of millions of dollars on top of the final $40 million figure. The same will be true for Obama this year.
UPDATE: Not surprisingly, fact-free warbloggers like Jawa Report are falling for the phony report that Obama's inauguration will cost two or three times what Bush's did in 2005.
You remember, the ones Politico breathlessly announced were awaiting Sen. Hillary Clinton at her SOS confirmation hearing.
Turns out, not so much.
FYI, Howie Kurtz at the WaPo didn't like Clinton's confirmation hearing--too "dull." He especially didn't like her "monotone" voice. (If somebody can recall Kurtz commenting on a male cabinet member's voice during a confirmation hearing, please send a link. Thanks.) It was disappointingly "dull" because of course, confirming the incoming Secretary of State is supposed to be all about providing entertainment for the Beltway press corps, right?
From the Los Angeles Times, January 18, 2005:
As he prepares to launch his second term, President Bush is aiming for nothing less than a legacy that would rank him among America's great presidents.
According to Politico's Michael Calderone, Fox News' Major Garrett is heading to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as Senior White House Correspondent.
So what can we expect from Garrett? Take a look at just a few of the items Media Matters put out during the 2008 election and you'll get the idea...
More on Major Garrett.
Thanks to T.A. for the hat tip.
From TNR's Michael Crowley, after news broke last night that Barack Obama was meeting with conservative columnists [emphasis added]:
I imagine this will generate some outrage from the left--potentially at the idea that Obama is already falling into the Beltway cocktail-circuit trap, or perhaps out of mere loathing for the crew in question (although the four fall into different categories, and Will and Brooks in particular have written some pretty nice things about Obama). But I think liberal outrage would be misplaced here.
Just as a general rule of journalism, isn't it a better idea to comment on events that have actually happened, rather than to comment on events that might take place. Although admittedly, the second approach makes life a lot easier for pundits.
Nonetheless, Crowley writes an entire piece about how blogger outrage, which he predicted would appear (it really hasn't), was all wrong. Beltway pundits love to do this; assign all sorts of motivation and blame to 'angry' liberal bloggers, regardless of whether it's accurate or not. Sorta like when they blamed bloggers for spreading the Palin fake pregnancy story during the campaign...
WaPo's Ruth Marcus is upset that Labor Secretary-designee Hilda Solis didn't answer a question "about giving private employers more leeway to implement comp and flextime arrangements." Marcus:
it's important to point out: Democrats had little tolerance for nonanswers when Republican nominees were doing the bobbing and weaving. It is an imperfect comparison, but recall their consternation -- and ensuing "no" votes -- when Michael Mukasey, in his confirmation hearing to be attorney general, said he did not have enough information about the precise technique involved to say that waterboarding was torture.
Yeah, I'd say it's an "imperfect" comparison. One is about whether private employers have more leeway to implement comp time arrangements; the other is about whether the United States of America tortures people.
We took a long look this week at Palin's recent charge that during the campaign the mainstream press picked up the "faked" pregnancy rumor from "liberal bloggers" and ran with it. Neither claim is true. The press ignored the story until the McCain camp called attention to it. And liberal bloggers actively avoided the topic.
But it turns out Palin is even upset with media outlets who tried to debunk the pregnancy story. See Alex Koppleman at Salon.
Politico's Roger Simon: "How come Roland Burris has had such an easy time getting to the U.S. Senate while Caroline Kennedy has had such a hard time?"
Simple Answer: Roland Burris was appointed by a sitting governor to fill a vacant seat. Caroline Kennedy has not been.
Air America host Cenk Uygur notes that despite the constant haranguing Fox News hosts do about how the liberal talk radio network has not talent, can't score ratings, and doesn't make money, the facts say otherwise:
In 2008, former Air America host, Al Franken was elected the next Senator from Minnesota. Current Air America host Rachel Maddow was given her own television show on MSNBC, where she instantly doubled the ratings and even beat legendary Larry King on CNN (and also tripled the ratings of current Fox host Glenn Beck when he was on CNN Headline News in the same time slot).
And also this:
Did you know that Fox News lost $90 million a year for its first five years of operation? Air America has never come close to losing that kind of money.
Halperin, on CNN last night: "If you are president like Bill Clinton and like George Bush, who is polarizing, if the country remains polarized, this kind of stuff looks horrible and will alienate both sides."
But neither Bill Clinton nor George W. Bush is really all that "polarizing." Throughout Bill Clinton's second term, the American people approved of his job performance, by pretty healthy margins. Not everyone approved, of course, but his approval ratings were high. That the Beltway chattering class could never understand that people basically thought Bill Clinton was a good president doesn't make it any less true.
And George Bush? There has long been broad consensus that his presidency has been an unmitigated disaster. Again, Beltway journalists like Mark Halperin seem to struggle with this, but the American people have been quite clear for nearly four years: they don't like Bush, don't like the job he has done, and would like him to go away. The latest CNN poll found 72 percent of Americans disapprove of Bush. 72 percent! Bush isn't polarizing; indeed, he has made good on his promise to be a uniter: He has united Americans against him.