Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Decision Afghanistan

I had no intention in watching the discussion of the President's speech with Wolf & company but when I saw who was on the panel I could not switch the channel. Anderson Cooper joined Wolf at 9 PM ET taking over for Campbell Brown and AC then took over the whole kit and caboodle when it was time for AC360. The panels for the night were brilliant. At the political table were Alex Castellanos, Paul Begala, Mary Matalin and Donna Brazile.At the correspondents table was Christiane Amanpour, Nic Robertson, Barbara Starr, Michael Ware, Chris Lawrence and Fareed Zakaria. And the middle table was for the analysts...Gloria Borger, David Gergen, Roland Martin and Dr. Sanjay Gupta (who primarily talked about the medical situation on the ground in Afghanistan) .During the evening John King was at the magic map and was joined during AC360 by a very animated and informative Michael Ware. In the 10 PM hour the political pundits were gone as were Starr and Borger. Peter Bergen had joined the conversation along with Joe Johns.In the three hours I watched interviews were conducted with Senator Lindsey Graham, Former Ambassador to Afghanistan Zalmay Kahlilzad, Representative Barbara Lee, Ed Henry with Tyler Gordy (West Point cadet) and Dennis Kucinich (one of the more interesting moments of the night was when David Gergen refused to discuss Kucinich's remarks).Clips were show of AC's reporting in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2009. Also the clip from Michael Ware's close call with an IED while in Kandahar was re-aried as was AC's 360 Dispatch from September in Afghanistan. While all these reports were relevant they weren't nearly as interesting as the discussion between the panelists.

Extras have been few and far between this week but Julie did find a few personal Tweets from AC today about his adventures in the halls of CNN. I know Barry Manilow was appearing on Joy Behar's HLN program tonight but I'm not sure if that's why Howie was there too.

It's tough to blog a program when it is 3 hours all on the same subject. But I am glad I watched, I learned a lot and enjoyed the conversations. ~Phebe

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Jaanza said...

I'm glad you watched and paid attention, Phebe, I didn't. The TV was on CNN the whole night but I was all over the house on a de-cluttering project.
When I did stop and watch for a minute or two, it was difficult to get into the topic, even though I know it's very important. And wow, more people on the floor to talk to than there are players on a football team.
Nonetheless, that's a terrific screengrab of Jon King and Michael Ware at the magic map; King looks very dapper and professional, Ware looks like he wouldn't be caught dead looking so dapper and professional.

Backtracking - yesterday's show was very good, lots of variety and it was all done well. The Salahi's are the new Balloon-boy family and they'll milk their 15 minutes for more than it's worth.

Can I tell a dogs and Christmas tree story? I'm in a Christmas tree mood because my de-cluttering was to make room for the Christmas stuff. However, there's no tinsel in my story, just several dozen small Christmas candy canes.
When I was a kid, we had an artificial Christmas tree and one year my sister Lynette decided to put 60-80 unwrapped small candy canes on it.
While she was doing this, the dog Houston - a poodle mixed with who knew what - paid no particular attention and gave us no reason to worry.
Everybody went to bed. So did Houston who always slept in Mary and Lynette's room.
The next morning, everybody gets up and Lynette calls for Houston to get up too, to go downstairs and in the backyard and do his business. Houston wouldn't budge, he just laid there looking very guilty.
We went downstairs and saw why. The tree was tipped over and there's a pile of dog vomit in the tree and amongst the ornaments, a mess of dog vomit with pieces of peppermint candy cane still evident.
Do you know how hard it is to clean dog vomit off of Christmas ornaments and plastic pine needles?
It's very hard, in fact, we gave up.
My parents bought a real tree, we put the undameaged ornaments on it and a new artificial tree was bought at the after-Christmas sales.
We forgave Houston but never put candy canes on the tree again.

I apologize for the long story that has nothing to do with 360 but I'm not informed enough today to comment much on the show.

judy said...

I must confess, I did not stay with CNN the entire nite. I watched the President's speech at West Point and thought the cadets all looked glued to his every word. Loved seeing them snapping photos of him at the end. You could just feel the admiration even if they didn't agree.
I did watch a short portion of 360 when AC asked David Gergen his response. I thought, maybe wrongly, that he asked for his take on Dick Cheney's remark pertaining to Obama's war strategy, and Gergen refused to reply. I think AC might be getting more "fiery" when inteviewing, and that's a good thing.
Although, the panel was made up of brilliant people, Barbara Starr was ignored. I felt sorry for her, although I didn't see the entire program. She does report from the Pentagon, so I'm certain she had much to contribute.
Michael Ware does not dress appropriately. His knowledge does not make up for his "lack of adherence to formal attire." JMO

judy said...

@Jaanza: I just now read your comment and I said pretty much the same thing about Michael Ware in a different way.
Enjoyed your dog story. Sounds just like something my cat would do!

On_Love_Street_With_Jim_Morrison said...

360 was good last nite. Normally I am not too fond of re-hash shows, but last nite was great. Good discussions. Last nite was an example of a good re-hash show. I liked that Sanjay was apart of it.

I liked seeing Anderson's 360 dispatch last nite. He truly is at his best and in his element. Nice seeing a piece from him again.

@Judy,I like the way Michael Ware dresses. He's being himself. I think he would look stiff and out of place in a suit.

aries moon said...

It was good and a little surprising to see and hear from the reporters who don't usually participate in CNN's big political panel events - there were some people I could've done without and some who clearly had a better grasp of the potential impact of the President's decision, but overall it was an impressive line up. The one sour note was David Gergen's odd reaction to Dennis Kucinich's remarks on the show - it bordered on rude and unprofessional.

I liked reading AC's non work-related tweets since he generally doesn't make a habit of tweeting randomly about his day.

Nebraska Fan said...

Did anyone else catch AC's comment on Michael Ware's clothes? Fareed Zakaria said something about someone having as much knowledge about an area in Afghanistan as Michael Ware, and AC said, "Yeah, but so-and-so didn't wear his pajamas!" Everyone laughed. I think everyone accepts that's just how MW is and they don't try to change him.

I also enjoyed the panelists tonight and was impressed. David Gergen's comment really surprised me, too - very unusual for him. He seemed a little antsy or bothered. I am a huge fan of his. If you ever get a chance, read his book - it is excellent.

MichellenLomita said...

@Jaanza I loved your dog story. I pictured the Christmas tree mess, and poor doggie! Thanks for making me smile.
We saw the best CNN talent on last night's panel, but I couldn't get into it and felt depressed at the end. Michael Ware was right when he said Obama was just speaking rhetoric. No concrete reasons to justify sending our troops over there to risk their lives. I think AC accepted and respected David Gergen changing topics. David is very knowledgeable and probably has more experience covering politics than anyone on the panel. Anderson looked extra handsome and professional moderating. He was very poised--perfect hand gestures and posture.

Really something that the guy who murdered the police officers was taken out yesterday. Swift, clean justice. Very Well-Done.

Parker said...

WOW!! I’m not certain what program you all were watching, but I for one was for the better part of the 3 hours or so that Anderson took over rather impressed with all the discussions that took place, and I got to say I have to correct some of the misconstrued remarks some of you have referred to in your respective posts and really think it’s important to correct those misconceptions that were expressed.

1.) David Gergen’s response to Anderson with regards to Dennis Kucinich’s remarks/conversation with AC. Guess what, David was absolutely right to respond the way he did and here’s why....

I can not believe an American member of Congress the likes of Mr. Kucinich would have the audacity to suggest that “we” the west and Europe are not under any threats from Al-Qadea. He specifically said that a couple of times – well guess what Mr. Kucinich do you consider the 7/7 London Bombings insignificant, do you consider the Train Bombings in Spain not a threat, what about the European Hotel Bombings in Bali, Indonesia, or the home-grown terrorists whose plots were squashed due to the Intelligence gathering & interception by various Intelligence Agencies in the US. For Kucinich to suggest the US or Europe is home free of these radicals and threats is utterly ridiculous and it was absolutely the right statement for David to make when he requested they move on from Kucinich. Why give the man any air time at when he has no knowledge, absolutely no clue as to the threats that we face in today’s world.

As for David not answering the question pertaining to former VP Cheney, I think David was totally frustrated and absolutely disgusted with Kucinich it may have been an oversight on his part to respond specifically to the Cheney question. But if Anderson had pressed him on it, I’m sure he’d have responded. Additionally, I think Anderson too, was taken aback and a little ticked off at the lack of intellectual knowledge on issues of terrorism by this Congressman to hear him suggest that Al-Qadea isn’t a threat to us!!! Anderson was getting rather feisty & aggravated during the exchange, as he had every right to be. I too would be ticked off if I had that conversation with Kucinich!!

2.) @ Nebraska Fan – the reference to the Michael Ware’s PJ outfit was with regard to a traditional Muslim outfit worn by Arab men and the bottom half looks like PJs. Fareed Zakaria indicated that had met with the President for lunch and he was impressed with the President’s knowledge of Afghanistan, and thought that the President could give Michael Ware a run for his money with all the President’s knowledge of the various tribal regions of Afghanistan that Michael & John King were making reference to on the magic wall. & that’s when Anderson said but nobody looks better in PJs the way Michael does, referring to a clip they had shown earlier of a bomb attack that Michael witnessed when he wore that traditional outfit. I do not think it was in any way to put down by Anderson as to Michael’s appearance.

3.) I for one thoroughly enjoyed ALL the panel discussions, and I highly doubt it, but if any of you happen to watch Larry King after Anderson & AC360 at midnight – Larry had Peter Bergen, Michael Ware and Nic Robertson on for at 15 minutes and they had some fantastic dialogue and conversations with Larry. It was really nice to see 3 CNN International Journalists with different perspectives come together to discuss these events and to understand their points of view without them pointing fingers. It was really great!!

BTW – for those of you interested – Lance Armstrong will be on Campbell Brown tomorrow, as well as on Jon Stewart tonight!! Lance was in the CNN building this morning after an appearance on Regis & Kelly!!

Nebraska Fan said...


Thanks for fixing my mixup on the pajama comment. I just thought it was a reference to him being so casually dressed (like he always is) but done in a funny, kindly way! Anderson really seems to like and respect him.

aries moon said...

My issue with Gergen was that he just brushed off what Kucinich said, as outrageous as it may have been, rather than simply state why he felt it was out of line, it may have made for an interesting discussion. There have been many times that Gergen/AC and other panelists have discussed in depth some of the more ludicrous statements by political figures, Sarah Palin, for example. It just seemed a bit abrupt and out of character for Gergen, even in the face of what Kucinich said.

judy said...

@ACAnderFan: Ware doesn't have to conform by wearing a suit. He could wear a sports jacket. CNN is the only channel that would put up with his noncompliance.
@aires moon: I agree with you. David Gergen should have answered the question asked of him, one way or the other.

Tedi B said...

I kind of liked the Gergs non comment. I don't care much for Dennis Kucinich, but he has the right to speak. I guess Gerg just didn't want to respond to what he believed were ridiculous comments. I actually thought by not answering it was a bit more classy than trashing him. Gergen is a very respectful person and I believe he handled it ok.

Parker said...

@ aries moon - the impression I got from David was - statement/or lack there of was he'd rather not waste percious time discussing the Congressman's ridiculous if not bizarre and nonsensical thought process.

Why waste time on a conversation like that when there were more important discussions to be held? JMO.

Phebe said...

I wanted to comment yesterday but the time just got away from me. Good discussion on this post, thank you everyone.

@Jaanza, I loved the dog story... thank you for sharing. And no I do not know a way to clean up dog vomit from a Christmas tree. Maybe we should ask Martha Stewart?

@Judy, I noticed Starr got little air time too. What a shame since she's one very smart lady.

@ACAnderFan, I love AC's Dispatches too but I find the inclusion the last few nights gratuitous.

@Aries Moon, I couldn't agree more about Gergen. If he didn't want to discuss Kucinich's remarks he should have stated why.

@Parker, well said...as always.

@kitzel123, You got your sport coat wish on Wednesday night. :)