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CB's Notebook


August 25, 2011
Citizen Rupert

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Posted online July 25, 2011; print edition of August 8, 2011

By Carl Bernstein

Parliament's remarkable three-hour hearing on July 19, focusing on the role of Rupert Murdoch and top News International executives in the immense phone-hacking scandal, proved an epic Westminster moment. It's now possible to see with historic clarity how a cunning press lord and a gang of enabling thugs, under a cloak of journalistic high-mindedness, managed to capture and control the three essential institutions of contemporary British life: the political system, the media, and the police. A transfixed audience of millions learned how a bullying owner of old-fashioned printing presses and satellite television networks could break Britain's civic compact. It was absolutely riveting--and deeply depressing.

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July 18, 2011
Murdoch's Watergate?

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Posted online July 9, 2011; print edition of July 18, 2011

By Carl Bernstein

The hacking scandal currently shaking Rupert Murdoch's empire will surprise only those who have willfully blinded themselves to that empire's pernicious influence on journalism in the English-speaking world. Too many of us have winked in amusement at the salaciousness without considering the larger corruption of journalism and politics promulgated by Murdoch Culture on both sides of the Atlantic.

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October 10, 2008
The Palin Pick -- The Devolution of McCain
This commentary has appeared on AC360/CNN.COM, Huffington Post, and Real Clear Politics. By Carl Bernstein In one of our many conversations as we crisscrossed the country during his campaign for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination, John McCain said to me, "I've always tried to act on what I thought was the best for the country. And that has guided me.... The only thing I can do is assure people that...

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October 9, 2008
Ayers and the McCain-G. Gordon Liddy Symbiosis

Does John McCain "pal around with terrorists?"

Certainly McCain's continuing "association" and relationship with the convicted Watergate burglar and domestic terrorist G. Gordon Liddy might suggest that is the case, if we are to apply the standards drawn by the McCain campaign.

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October 3, 2008
What the Palin-Biden debate really told us

This commentary first appeared on AC 360/CNN.COM, October 3, 2008.

By Carl Bernstein

Who won the Palin-Biden debate? Barack Obama, I suspect.

Who was the big loser? In an historic fortnight that had already underscored his erratic nature, John McCain.

The fact that Palin was able to string her sentences together last night – which she couldn’t manage to do in her unscripted interviews with Katie Couric — shows only how low McCain has strapped his presidential quest.

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August 27, 2008
Behind the convention cheers - Obama’s discipline

This commentary first appeared on AC360/CNN.COM on August 28, 2008

By Carl Bernstein

By Carl Bernstein

Barack Obama is getting the convention he wants, under extraordinarily difficult circumstances. The convention he is building reflects him and his priorities: it’s thoughtful, not just red-meat; and he’s in surprising control of the message, given the forces he’s dealing with. Indeed, the convention-building and the message may be far more sophisticated and effective than we instant commentators were prepared to discern. Witness the opening night grousing on-air about the convention’s supposed thematic absence, and aversion to instant butchery of the opposition.

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August 25, 2008
The convention’s a big story unfolding

This commentary first appeared on AC360/CNN.COM on August 25, 2008

By Carl Bernstein

A few observations as the convention is about to convene:

This is Barack Obama’s convention. It will have his stamp on it, including ushering the Clintons off center-stage and into supporting roles-however reluctantly.

It is also a Democratic Party convention, with threads of history and some immutable principles since the 1960s-especially regarding civil rights, women’s rights, and a certain perspective on economic issues. The Clintons are (whatever their shortcomings) a big part of that story, especially the successful parts: Bill Clinton is the only Democrat to be elected twice to the presidency since FDR.

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June 4, 2008
Hillary Clinton’s concession call to Barack Obama: “I am prepared to help”

This commentary appeared on AC360/CNN.COM published June 4, 2008

By Carl Bernstein

Senator Hillary Clinton personally assured Barack Obama today that she recognizes he has won the Democratic nomination for president, and that “I’m prepared to help in any way I can,” according to a person familiar with their conversation.

Though she would prefer to be on his ticket as the vice presidential nominee, said this person, Senator Clinton has said her only requirement as the campaign goes forward is that “she be a player in the whole process. She doesn’t necessarily want to leave the Senate, but she does want to be sure that key people from her campaign will have a role in Obama’s presidential campaign and—if he wins the presidency—his administration.”

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May 11, 2008
Analysis: Could Clinton land the VP nomination?

This commentary first appeared on AC360/CNN.COM on May 11, 2008.

By Carl Bernstein

Friends and close associates of both Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are now convinced that, assuming she loses the race for the presidential nomination, she is probably going to fight to be the vice presidential nominee on an Obama-for-president ticket.

Clinton "is trying to figure out how to land the plane without looking like surrender," a prominent figure in the Obama camp said Friday. This means, in all likelihood, bringing her campaign to a close in the next few weeks and trying to leverage her way onto an Obama ticket from a position of maximum strength, said several knowledgeable sources.

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May 2, 2008
The Question of Hillary Clinton's Guilt-By-Association Tactics

This commentary first appeared on the Huffington Post on May 2, 2008

For several weeks, the Clinton campaign has been distributing literature and disseminating incendiary notions -- which figured significantly in Pennsylvania, and are now central to the candidate's message in Indiana and North Carolina -- assailing Barack Obama for his association with Bill Ayers, a former member of the Weather Underground, the radical, violent organization responsible for bombing several government buildings in the early 1970s.

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