Q: We talk about some of the sacrifices running for president. Are you surprised how deep this has cut into your personal life and family? Obviously it’s under a lot of scrutiny now you are giving up a church.
BO: I have to say this was one I didn’t see coming. We knew there were going to be some things we didn’t see coming. This was one. I didn’t anticipate my fairly conventional Christian faith being subject to such challenge and such scrutiny. Initially with e-mails suggesting I was a Muslim, later with the controversy that Trinity generated, and the interesting aspect of this is that as some of you know I have been somebody who really has insisted that the democratic party reach out to people of faith and to take issues of faith more seriously and have written and spoken about this in fairly extensive terms. It is something that I still believe that faith is a powerful force in our lives and should be part of our public conversation. This also indicates the difficulties at least in a presidential campaign around these issues. This isn’t the first time this has happened. Obviously colleagues of mine who are catholic for example have had to deal with their public positions on issues verses the decisions the Holy C has taken predominantly on abortion and contraception. We work these through.
Leave it up to Lee Cowan and NBC news to waste their question on asking how much of a sacrifice it is for Obama and his family to run for President.
Of course we all remember this is the same Lee Cowan who made these very strange declarations:
“When NBC News first assigned me to the Barack Obama campaign, I must confess my knees quaked a bit.” This is the same journalist who in January famously confessed to “Nightly News” host Brian Williams that it’s “almost hard to remain objective” when covering the “infectious” energy surrounding the Illinois senator. [Updated below fold with embed video from January]
Cowan’s latest quote appeared in a NBC advertising section entitled “The Peacock.” The first person article, which recounts Cowan’s excitement over covering the Obama campaign, also featured the correspondent bubbling, “The task seemed daunting. Not only would the Illinois senator land me square in the center of rough and tumble presidential politics, but his campaign was truly historic. I wondered if I was up to the job. I wondered if I could do the campaign justice. I wondered if the experience would swallow me whole.”
The lame softball question from Cowan in today’s news conference reminds one of the famous Bush softball question from April Ryan:
One reporter, April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks, asked, ”Mr. President, as the nation is at odds over war, how is your faith guiding you?” — a God-given cue for Mr. Bush to once more cloak his moral arrogance in the verbal vestments of humble religiosity. ”My faith sustains me because I pray daily,” came the president’s reply. ”I pray for peace, April, I pray for peace.” Far be it from Ms. Ryan to ask a follow-up question about why virtually every religious denomination in the country, including Mr. Bush’s own, opposes the war. She might as well have been Mary Sunshine (Christine Baranski), the sob sister reporter in ”Chicago,” who tosses Roxie an image-burnishing softball at her press conference by asking, ”Do you have any advice for young girls seeking to avoid a life of jazz and drink?”
I thought the media was supposed to be the fourth estate, or perhaps a fourth branch of political power, designed to be that final check on our wonderful government of checks and balances. The media failed to properly fulfill that role in our run up to the Iraq War and they are largely failing now to properly vet Barack Obama. Lee Cowan should be covering Hannah Montana concerts, not Barack Obama’s campaign.