Not everyone offered a balanced set of experts to assess Obama’s first 100 days on Wednesday morning. On CBS, The Early Show had a debate of sorts between media liberals: Newsweek editor/CNN host Fareed Zakaria and PBS host Tavis Smiley. Smiley played the liberal feet-to-the-fire hardliner, and Zakaria scolded him for being too harsh. Both thought Obama was a vast improvement over Bush. By contrast, NBC’s Today offered an interview to Newt Gingrich, and another to Obama aide Valerie Jarrett. Jarrett’s answer to Lauer’s Gingrich quote of the day is bizarre:
LAUER: You know there’s no doubt that there have been some sweeping changes ushered in by this President in these 100 days. Not everyone, as you might expect, is happy with that. Let me read you something from an op-ed written by our next guest on this program, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich who says, “In just 100 days President Obama has been devastatingly effective in swiftly moving forward the most radical government-expanding agenda in American history.” So what do you say to those people who say these 100 days have been filled with way too much spending and big government?
JARRETT: Well you know what, that’s very interesting coming from Newt Gingrich. If you look back over the last eight years, President Obama inherited the largest federal deficit in our nation’s history. So I would say quite the opposite. What he’s doing is trying to pump money back into the economy, that’s gonna jumpstart our economy. If you look at what’s happened over the last eight years with the lack of regulations, you know basically the private sector ran amok because we didn’t provide the kinds of checks and balances that we needed to do at the federal level. So that’s what President Obama is doing. So I would completely disagree with Newt Gingrich.
Lauer deserves credit for serving up Gingrich to Jarrett (even if that should be the normal procedure). But he changed the subject to Arlen Specter without a follow-up, such as “The deficit for fiscal year 2008 was $455 billion. Your White House estimate for this year’s deficit is $1.75 trillion, which almost quadruples that number. How does that entitle you to complain that you ‘inherited’ a record deficit?”