Russert Withdrawl


With apologies to John King, interactive map jockey extraodrinaire at CNN, and David Gregory and everyone at MSNBC and NBC who will be covering Election Night,  I am already suffering Tim Russert withdrawl before a single poll has closed (a minute to go).

Gregory is fine, but he is tailored more like a Mad Man agency suit, a buttoned-down presence that doesn’t quite translate to gravitas for me. I’ll take the rolled-up shirtsleeves of a guy who expects to sweat it out with the rest of us.

There is a palapable void where that beefy guy with the infectious grin and low-tech white board used to hold court with unabashed delight in being the center of a whirl of activity

Note to CNN: Lose the hologram. It’s cheesy and you have to keep explaining that the person is not really there. The less smoke and mirrors connected with jouirnalism the more likely people are to believe that you are giving them facts rather than spinning them.

I have been struck by the difference in electoral vote tallies between Fox and CNN. Fox consistently had more states called for Obama than CNN, at one point giving him 200 electoral votes before backing off to 163.

I was also bemused by CNN’s call of Alabama for McCain with only 1% of the vote in and Obama in the lead to boot. I realize that in some cases they are simply waiting for the polls to close to call states that are considered locks, like New York called with 0% of the vote in, but it still comes off as a bit curious.

One loss that the media community will be noting Wednesday is that of New Hampshire Senator John Sununu, who was no fan of content regs, a la carte or network neutrality legislation.

No word yet on the fate of former Senate Commerce Committee ranking member Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) who is running despite being convicted of failling to report work done on his home by a company with business before his committee.

The Alaska polls don’t close until 1 a.m.

I just watched John King work the map like a virtuoso, but they have put some of those interactive bars on the demo breakout  board a bit too high for CNN political analyst Bill Schneider, who could not quite reach it in a couple of tries.

Karl Rove has been routinely villified as some kind of Bush administration Rasputin, but the former architect of Bush campaign wins came across as more Martha Stewart than Machiavelli, humming the Texas state song, complete with "hook ‘em horns" hand signals when Texas went to McCain, and presenting the Fox poltical crew with Fox News cookies in the shape of hi-def TV monitors.

Best line of the night came from Republican strategist and CNN contributor Alex Castellanos. When the crepe began to be hung on the McCain campaign and the election started to appear to be breaking big for Obama with the calling of Ohio for the Democrat (No Republican has ever won the presidency without Ohio), Castellanos chimed in: "All we need is nine votes on the Supreme Court and we can pull this thing off."

Most moving moment: Fox’s video of the Rev. Jesse Jackson in Chicago’s Grant Park, tears streaming down his face at the news that Obama had been elected president. It made me wonder if it was some part joy and some sorrow for what might have been in his own political life.