On Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough mocked Sen. Barack Obama's work as a community organizer, saying, "Most people are like, 'what's a -- what's a -- get a job -- what's a community organizer?' " and later asked The New York Times' John Harwood, "What did you do when you were a young man, John Harwood? Were you a community organizer?" Rather than note that two days earlier, his own newspaper had published a front-page article providing details that answered Scarborough's question about what Obama did as a community organizer, Hardwood responded that he "played Little League baseball" and "saw a Beatles concert."
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During the July 9 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, co-host Joe Scarborough mocked Sen. Barack Obama's work as a community organizer for the Chicago-based Developing Communities Project (DCP), where he rose to the level of executive director before leaving to attend law school. Scarborough said: "Barack Obama's campaign ad is great, but he says 'I was a community organizer.' Most people are like, 'what's a -- what's a -- get a job -- what's a community organizer?' " Later in the segment, Scarborough asked New York Times political writer and CNBC chief Washington correspondent John Harwood, "What did you do when you were a young man, John Harwood? Were you a community organizer?" But rather than note that two days earlier, his own newspaper published a front-page article providing details that answered Scarborough's question about what Obama did as a community organizer, Harwood responded by saying that he "played Little League baseball," "played tennis," "was a Cub Scout," and "saw a Beatles concert."
In a front-page July 7 New York Times article -- part of its series "The Long Run," described by the Times as "a series of articles about the lives and careers of contenders for the 2008 Republican and Democratic presidential nominations" -- reporter Serge Kovaleski described Obama's work getting churches to join the DCP, setting up and preparing residents for meetings with public officials, and working on issues such as employment, water contamination, and asbestos in public housing.
Kovaleski also reported that Obama has referred to his career as a community organizer as "the best education I ever had, better than anything I got at Harvard Law School" and noted that Obama "devoted about one-third of the 442 pages in his memoir, 'Dreams From My Father,' to chronicling that Chicago organizing period."
During a later Morning Joe segment, Scarborough said, "You know, I was a community organizer." Co-host Willie Geist then asked, "You were?" When Scarborough replied, "Yeah. I was," Geist said: "Wow, you remind me of Lincoln that way." NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell then asked Scarborough, "What did you organize?" Scarborough replied: "Communities." Moments later Scarborough said: "That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. You know, next time I run for any office at all, I'm just going to -- 'he was a community organizer.' " Geist said, "It works, apparently." Scarborough then said, "Yeah, it's great. Not exactly sure what that means." After Mitchell asked, "In your case?" Scarborough replied, "Yeah, in my case, exactly. It means nothing. It means something in Barack Obama's case."
From the July 9 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:
SCARBOROUGH: John McCain has such a better narrative in a 30-second ad. I mean, Barack Obama's is great, but he says "I was a community organizer."
SCARBOROUGH: Most people are like, "what's a -- "
SCARBOROUGH: "What's a -- get a job -- what's a community organizer?" Where you have McCain, and the grand, epic sweep of all these years. So, you look at the -- we were talking yesterday about the teleprompter -- you look at the advantages on each side: the 30-second ads, the town hall meetings.
SCARBOROUGH : McCain's great there. Those grand speeches -- and I mean, it seems like this is how it's going to be breaking down.
MITCHELL: Well, this is the -- this is --
BUCHANAN: But that's where McCain -- see that ad goes right to those people in central Pennsylvania. They will look at that McCain ad and they'll say, "this was a serious guy even as a young man. He's doing serious things." And this other fella, it suggests he's sort of, yeah, he gives good speeches, community organizer, and he's not deadly serious. He's going after the Hillary Democrats, McCain is. That's directed right at them.
SCARBOROUGH: And what did you do when you were a young man, John Harwood? Were you a community organizer?
HARWOOD: Played Little League baseball.
HARWOOD: Uh, played tennis.
MITCHELL: Boy Scouts? Cub Scouts?
HARWOOD: I was a Cub Scout. Pack 76.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, John, we're going to have leave it there, OK? You really saved the world, didn't you? John, I love you. Thank you. Please come back --
HARWOOD: I saw a Beatles concert when I was in the fourth grade.
SCARBOROUGH: You know what? It wasn't a misspent youth after all. That's all that matters. All right, John Harwood, as always, we love having you on.
GEIST: One of you will come to Denver. One of you will come to Minneapolis. I don't know what you're going to do. Maybe you're going to hang out with us.
SCARBOROUGH: Hang out -- we're gonna hang out.
GEIST: You'll report for us, but more importantly, you'll socialize with us.
MITCHELL: At the coffee shop.
GEIST: Will hit the -- with Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Not with me. I will of course be -- I will do my job, and then I will do what I do when I'm on the road. I will go --
GEIST: What is that?
SCARBOROUGH: -- into the hotel room and have my Bible study --
SCARBOROUGH: -- and then I will -- we have the orphans. We help the orphans in the morning. That's what I do. Willie, you would --
MITCHELL: Community service.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, I was a community organizer.
GEIST: You were?
SCARBOROUGH: Yeah. I was.
GEIST: Wow, you remind me of Lincoln that way.
MITCHELL: What did you organize?
GEIST: Get your videos up.
SCARBOUROUGH: That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. You know, next time I run for any office at all, I'm just going to -- "he was a community organizer."
GEIST: It works, apparently.
SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, it's great. Not exactly sure what that means, but --
MITCHELL: In your case?
SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, in my case, exactly. It means nothing. It means something in Barack Obama's case. Well, Willie, thanks for nothing.
GEIST: I thought that was -- nothing.
SCARBOROUGH: It was a short nothing, but it was good.