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RUSH: Here’s this audio sound bite. I actually got two of them. It happened on PMSNBC today. For some reason they’ve got Super Tuesday. PMSNBC is running another telethon for the Democrat Party, and this morning, Tim Russert spoke with the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza about last night’s CNN-YouTube debate, and Russert said to Cillizza, ‘These after-debate focus groups, what do they tell you, and what about the disparity that appears between what people told focus groups in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, and what some of the pundits are saying watching the same debate?’

CILLIZZA: Well, you know, it’s — it’s that disparity that keeps me up at night, to be honest, Tim. You know, I worry because I watched the debate and I thought Senator Obama did well, I thought he did better than he had in previous debates, but I still thought senators Clinton and Edwards did better, and then as Chuck pointed out, we do have all these focus groups that said Obama did better. There appears to be some sort of chasm between the public perception and what, folks, like myself, you know, in Washington think. It worries me because I’m always worried as a journalist about missing the boat, you know, missing that Howard Dean rise —


CILLIZZA: — or whatever it is, so I’m going to try and pay real close attention over the next couple days about what that’s about.

RUSH: You’re not. I don’t believe that for a second. You’re not worried about as a journalist about ‘missing the boat.’ You’re worried about people that don’t see it your way. What’s wrong with them? That’s the attitude. ‘What wrong with these people? We’re the professionals here. We’re the experts. We’re the journalists. We’re the Drive-By Media. We’re supposed to tell ’em who did best!’ By the way, Hannity & Colmes last night had Frank Luntz on there last night. He had a focus group, too, and that focus group came in there, I think if I got this right, the focus group came in there predisposed to Hillary. After the debate they all thought Obama just skunked her, and that’s what Cillizza is saying here. I told you why in the first hour today. He knew the audience. ‘Can’t we all just get along? I want to go talk to these people that dislike us and find out why and then hope that I can make them like us, and then we can all live in peace and we can disband the military!’ That’s the audience for watching this thing last night, and Obama gave them that. You know, Hillary is full of nuance, you can’t help when you look at Hillary, you know she’s talking about herself. She’s got a likability problem that everybody acknowledges, and she’s got a problem being real. It didn’t help, Jimmy, you noticed this last night, got that camera right behind her. It stopped us dead in our tracks watching this debate last night. I was distracting. Here’s the next exchange between Russert and Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post.

RUSSERT: In fact, Chris Cillizza, there have been numerous reports that all 3,000 YouTube questions were available on the website before the debate, so the candidates or their campaign staffs had access to all the questions.

CILLIZZA: Right. It’s sort of like an open-book test in truth. You know, all the answers are there. You just have to, eh, spend the time to find them. Uh, I think, look, someone Clinton’s staff — and I would guess on Obama’s staff and Edwards’ staff, too — probably went through the vast majority of them.

RUSH: The answers were there? No, the questions were there. But I didn’t know that. Did you know that? Did you know you could…? That makes this thing an even sorrier excuse! If you know what the possible questions are, and to have inane answers like we got last night, pshew! Maybe they didn’t look at them. If they did it was more pathetic than I thought. Scott, Peoria, Illinois, you’re next on the EIB Network.

CALLER: Hey, Rush. It’s a thrill to be on your show.

RUSH: Thank you, sir. I know.

CALLER: Hey, I didn’t watch last night. I’ve watched things like this in the past. But I think I’ve got a good feel for what these powder-puff, feel-good questions were about, and I think everybody is under the premise that they’re trying to figure out who the best Democratic candidate is, but after thinking about this now, I don’t think that’s the point at all. I think this is like you said in the earlier dialogue here that this is a campaign for the Democratic Party. It’s not about which candidate.

RUSH: Yeah, because, ‘Which candidate?’ is decided. We know it’s going to be Hillary. We just know this. Sweat it there’s an 80% chance that she’s next president. I haven’t revised that. Did you see Newt Gingrich unload on the Republicans? Did you hear about this? (whistles) I’ll share it with you when we come back. I think Scott’s a good point. Right now it’s a commercial for the Democrat Party, and it’s maybe not by design, but it is primary voters that they’re aiming at, but I guarantee you, Kucinich is trying to stand out. He’s a poor little guy doing everything he can to stand out. Chris Dodd tried to stand out a little bit less. I was surprised Edwards was so weak. He was not the strong woman last night that I thought that he was going to be.

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