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Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

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Chris Christie won't run but doesn't mind being asked

   Chris-Christie-Reagan-Library

Chris Christie, the wildly popular northeastern governor -- at least in GOP circles -- spoke in soaring terms on the subject of American exceptionalism Tuesday evening at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Foundation in Simi Valley.

The theme of the official speech was American exceptionalism -- delivered to an audience that included Nancy Reagan, former California Gov. Pete Wilson and conservative activist Andrew Breitbart.

But the theme of the Q&A that followed was about whether the New Jersey governor would jump into the 2012 Republican presidential race.

(Ciick here and here for a two-part video; and here for the full text, courtesy of The Weekly Standard.)

But first, he was asked about a subject that caused some trouble for a declared candidate, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, in the last GOP debate down in Florida. Defending his decision with the Texas Legislature to grant discounted in-state tuition rates to children of illegal aliens, Perry had said:

"If you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they've been brought there by no fault of their own, I don't think you have a heart."

Christie took exception to that:

As for the education expense, I've dealt with this problem in New Jersey, and I need to be crystal clear about it. I want every child to be educated, but I do not believe that, for the people who came here illegally, that we should be subsidizing, with taxpayer money, through in-state tuition, their education.

Let me be very clear, from my perspective, that is not a heartless position. That is a common-sense position.

The next questioner addressed the presidential campaign: "Gov. Christie, you're known as a straight-shooter, not one given to playing games. Can you tell us what's going on here? Are you reconsidering or are you standing firm?"

"Listen," said Christie, "I have to tell you the truth -- you folks are an incredible disappointment as an audience." That got big laughs. "The fact that it took to the second question shows you people are off your game. That is not American exceptionalism."

That got bigger laughs.

But then the governor referred his listeners to Politico.com, which today posted a video compilation of Christie's denials that he's running.

Check it out below:

But that didn't retire the subject.

A few minutes later, after Christie told a story about his entitlement curbs earning him boos from some firefighters, ending with, "Real leaders, they don't read polls; they change polls" -- it came up again.

A former New Jersey resident, now in California, praised the governor, said he made her proud and then told him, "My Italian mother, she told me to tell you, you gotta run for president."

After a big burst of cheers and applause, Christie said, "Well, I'm going to press my luck here and respond to that. If I make you proud to be a New Jerseyan and proud to be an American, and your Italian mother wants me to run for president, what the hell are you doing in California? Get back to New Jersey.

"Let's go. Come home, for God's sake. What are you doing out here? I got a plane, you can come right back now if you want. Yeah, come on, meet me by the side over there, we'll take you home ... Getting more taxpayers, one at a time."

But it wasn't over yet.

The very next questioner, an older woman in the balcony, made an earnest plea for him to get into the race.

"Go home and really think about it," she said at the end. "Do it for my daughter, do it for our grandchildren, do it for our sons. Please, sir, don't ... we need you. Your country needs you."

The crowd roared and rose to its feet, while Christie stood, with a stricken and emotional look on his face. But, stricken or not, he had an answer, and here it is:

"This is all I'll say about this tonight, is that I hear exactly what you're saying, and I feel the passion with which you say it. It touches me. I can tell you, I'm just a kid from New Jersey who feels like I'm the luckiest guy in the world to have the opportunity that I have to be the governor of my state.

"So, people say to me all the time now, when folks like you say those kinds of things, for as many months as it's been said, 'Governor, why don't they just leave you alone? You've already given your answer. Isn't it a burden?'

"What I say to you tonight and say to everybody else who was nice enough to applaud what she said,  is that it isn't a burden.

"The fact of the matter is, anybody who has an ego large enough to say, 'Oh, please, please, please, stop asking me to be the leader of the free world, it's such a burden. If you could please just stop.' What kind of crazy egomaniac would you have to be to say, 'Oh, please stop, stop.'

"It's extraordinarily flattering. But by the same token, that heartfelt message you gave me is also not a reason for me to do it. The reason has to reside inside me.

"And so, that's what I've said all along. I know, without ever having met President Reagan, that he must have felt deeply in his heart that he was called to that moment, to lead our country.

"And so, my answer to you is this, I thank you for what you're saying, and I take it in, and I'm listening to every word of it and feeling it, too. Please don't ever think for a second that I feel like I'm important enough in this world that somehow what you're saying is a problem for me. It's a great, great honor. I'm extraordinarily flattered, and I really appreciate you being willing to stand up and say it with the passion that you did.

"That's why this country is a great place, because of folks like you. So, thank you very much."

And with that, the governor left, perhaps finally putting this issue to rest -- or so he hopes, anyway.

Meanwhile, Rep. Ron Paul, who's on his third presidential run, and Gov. Mitt Romney, who's been running steadily since before the 2007 primaries, have to wonder, Where's the love? as the GOP faithful rush to Perry (at least they did, for a while), beg non-candidates Christie and Sarah Palin to run, and deliver longshot Herman Cain a decisive win in the Florida GOP straw poll.

There still seems to be a hole in Republican hearts.

RELATED:

Herman Cain handily wins Florida GOP straw poll

Rick Perry's underwhelming debates: Do they matter?

GOP debate: Rick Perry vs. Mitt Romney, plus Gary Johnson and some dogs

-- Kate O'Hare

Photos/videos: Chris Christie speaks at the Reagan library. Credits: Fox News (screenshot of Christie); Livestream.com/ReaganLibrary (screenshot of Christie and audience).

Fox News/Google GOP debate becomes most-watched of the year -- on TV and the Web

Fox-News-Google-GOP-Debate-Chris-Wallace-Megyn-Kelly-Bret-Baier

The partnership between Fox News and Google/YouTube for the latest GOP presidential debate Thursday night proved very popular with both TV viewers and Web users.

Fox News racked up the largest ratings for a GOP debate yet this year, with 6.1 million total viewers, and 1.7 million in the target demographic: adults 25-54.

That's a big bump up in total viewers and in the advertiser-approved demo from the last debate, a partnership between CNN and the Tea Party Express on Sept. 12. That one gathered just under 3.2 million total viewers, and just over 1.1 million in the demographic.

The MSNBC/Politico debate at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley on Sept. 7 did 5.4 million viewers, but matched FNC in the demo, with 1.7.

Going back to the last FNC debate -- a partnership with the Washington Examiner -- in Ames, Iowa, on Aug. 11, that drew nearly 5.1 million viewers, with 1.4 in the demo.

To find the target demo dipping below 1 million, you need to go back to the....

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GOP debate: Rick Perry vs. Mitt Romney, plus Gary Johnson and some dogs

   Fox-Google-Debate-You-Tube-Logo

If you believe pollster Frank Luntz's focus group in the post-game analysis on Fox News, Mitt Romney did himself a lot of good in Thursday's two-hour Fox News/Google GOP Debate, held in Orlando, Fla.

Nine candidates faced questions from FNC anchors Bret Baier, Chris Wallace and Megyn Kelly, and from citizens via YouTube and text messages: Gary Johnson, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Herman Cain and Jon Huntsman Jr.

Baier mentioned Google had provided Fox News with a new "boop" sound to indicate a candidate had run over time, since the former bell raised the ire of dog owners (and apparently the volume of their pets' barking).

Speaking of dogs, former New Mexico Gov. Johnson, who hasn't been in a debate since the first one in May, got in the line of the evening, quipping, "My next-door neighbors' two dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than this current administration."

It got a lot of laughs even though some people swear they've heard Rush Limbaugh tell the same yarn.

Not to be outdone in the canine arena, Georgia-born businessman Cain criticized....

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Prepping for tonight's GOP debate with Megyn Kelly of Fox News

   Megyn-Kelly-Fox-News-America-Live
Megyn Kelly may have graduate and postgraduate degrees, but the homework never ends.

The anchor of FNC's daytime "America Live" news show, is preparing to grill GOP candidates as part of the panel for the Fox News/Google GOP Debate, starting at 6 p.m. Pacific on Thursday, Sept. 22.

It'll be carried on Fox News Channel (along with Fox News Radio and Fox News Mobile) and live-streamed on YouTube.com/FoxNews and FoxNews.com.

"The most challenging part of this process," Kelly says on the phone while driving home from work earlier this week, "has been the two-hour meetings we have in the morning from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., because none of of my colleagues has a 1 p.m. show.

"Honestly, you should see my morning -- wake up, feed my baby, take care of my son, try to get my house in order, try to get my kids in order, get out of the house, get to the office, do two hours worth of debate prep, try to squeeze in enough prep for the 10 guest interviews I have to do between 1 p.m and 3 p.m."

Before Kelly turned to journalism, joining FNC in 2004, she earned a B.A. in....

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Gary Johnson added to Fox News/Google GOP debate

  Gary-Johnson-New-Mexico

Gary Johnson has just been added to the roster for the Fox News/Google GOP presidential debate, set for Thursday, Sept. 22, in Orlando, Fla.

The event also features the eight usual participants from the last GOP debate on CNN on Sept. 12 --  Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman Jr., Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.

Plus now add the former New Mexico governor, who hasn't been in a debate since the first one, a Fox News debate in South Carolina on May 5.

Johnson is included over the objections of the cosponsoring Florida Republican Party, because he fit the criterion set by Fox News. That is to have at least 1% of the vote in the most recent editions of the five national polls that included him: Fox News, CNN, McClatchy-Marist, ABC and Quinnipiac.

Still no Thaddeus McCotter, as we noted here.

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-- Kate O'Hare

Media critic Kate O’Hare is a regular Ticket contributor. She also blogs about TV at Hot Cuppa TV and is a frequent contributor at entertainment news site Zap2it. Also follow O'Hare on Twitter @KateOH.

Speaking of 2012, follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle. Use the retweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photo: Gary Johnson addressing "tea party" supporters in May in South Carolina. Credit: Richard Shiro / Associated Press

Hackers post 9/11 hoax tweets at @NBCNews Twitter feed

 
   NBC-News-Twitter-Page

The ScriptKiddies have struck again, hacking Friday afternoon into the official Twitter feed of NBC News. They posted a series of tweets about a fictional airplane attack on ground zero in New York City.

In a statement, NBC said, "The NBC News Twitter account was hacked late this afternoon and as a result, false reports of a plane attack on ground zero were sent to @NBCNews followers. We are working with Twitter to correct the situation and sincerely apologize for the scare that could have been caused by such a reckless and irresponsible act."

Here's what was posted:

NBC-Twitter-Hack

Twitter has now suspended the hackers' account, @s_kiddies.

Vivian Schiller, the chief digital officer for @NBCNews and @MSNBC used her....

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The debt-ceiling debate, @BarackObama & #hashtags: much ado about Twitter

    Barack-Obama-Twitter

As a debt-ceiling agreement has been hammered out, averting default (but not necessarily a credit-rating downgrade), everyone from President Obama to Sarah Palin to John Boehner took to Twitter to make their cases to the American people.

While many Twitter accounts went quiet Sunday (or even a bit earlier) as negotations got down to brass tacks, it's clear social media has become a big gun in the political arsenal -- even if it's one that can misfire.

This past week, the White House instituted a program called "Office Hours," pushing out tweets intended to school users on fiscal policy.

Apparently the administration's emphasis on money talk bored Twitterer....

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Tim Pawlenty tries Twitter to tweak Romney and talk about jobs

   Tim-Pawlenty

Presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty took to his @TimPawlenty Twitter account Friday to issue a challenge to fellow Republican contender Mitt Romney.

He inserted a linkfrom his recent conversation about the debt ceiling vote with CNBC's Larry Kudlow and tweeted around it, "My thoughts on the debt ceiling. What say you @MittRomney? Help us fight back."

The former Minnesota governor is lagging in the polls and fundraising, but he's a big believer in the political power of social media.

In an interview with Mashable.com, Pawlenty said, "The old way was the semi-monopolistic providers of content would pipe the news into you and and cover the angle or spin that they thought was appropriate."

But now, Pawlenty said, "the consumer's more in charge."

Pawlenty has more than 44,000 Twitter followers, more than 1 million views on his YouTube channel (and 895 subscribers) and more than 103,000 fans on his Facebook page (with another 1,500 or so thrown in from a page for Tim Pawlenty 2012).

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Glenn Beck steps onto the world stage from a Web platform, to Jerusalem and beyond

Glenn-Beck-Restoring-Honor-Rally

When Glenn Beck left his daily Fox News Channel show on June 30, he said the media would "pray for the time when I was only on the air for one hour every day." Beck is still on the radio airwaves, but now he's bet the TV farm entirely on the Web.

But first, he had to go to Israel.

On July 12, the self-described libertarian commentator -- now sporting a silver goatee -- addressed the Knesset, the legislative branch in Israel. The full speech was live-streamed on GlennBeck.com.

Now CBN has posted the entire address in sections, along with an interview (click here for that).

Beck probably wasn't in Israel just to talk to the legislature, since preparations are underway for his Restoring Courage Rally, to be held about sundown in Jerusalem on  Aug. 24. Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman is among those expected to attend.

This rally is the third large one Beck has set in motion -- the first two being the 9/12 Project Rally on Sept. 12, 2009, and the Restoring Honor Rally on Aug. 28, 2010, both held in Washington.

The events were outgrowths of specific programs and concepts developed on FNC's "The Glenn Beck Show," Premiere Radio Network's "The Glenn Beck Program" and GlennBeck.com, and then organized independently by viewers and listeners.

Beck announced the Jerusalem event earlier in the year on radio and FNC, but the last push to it won't take place on television -- because Beck's no longer on television.

As he warned the media on his last show, he has replaced his TV platform with a new-media one.

On June 8, he live-streamed a special from GlennBeck.com to launch his new Internet venture, called GBTV, a subscriber-based service offering documentaries and original programming, including a two-hour daily show with Beck, a newscast and comedy.

There's also a cartoon series called "The Adventures of Spooky Dude," inspired by Beck's bete noire, liberal billionaire George Soros. Beck refers to this character as possibly being his "mouse." That's a reference to Mickey Mouse, a character upon which Walt Disney built an empire. GBTV-Spooky-Dude-George-Soros

As you can see, Spooky Dude isn't as cute as Mickey, but he has an equally annoying voice. 

While Beck's daily radio show remains advertiser-supported, the only bit of GBTV programming available for free is the launch special.

The cost of subscription isn't high -- either about $5 or $10, depending on what you want and when you sign up.

The full GBTV schedule launches Sept. 12. That's a date Beck commemorates as the one where Americans came together after the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001, which marks its 10-year anniversary this fall.

Now Beck is wading into the middle of the Israeli/Palestinian issue by speaking to the Knesset and holding an event supportive of Israel in disputed Jerusalem. Fans will be able to watch the rally on ... you guessed it, GBTV (although we suspect one or more TV news organizations will offer at least some coverage).

Provided all goes well in Israel -- or at minimum, Beck emerges unscathed -- the next challenge will be putting the full-fledged GBTV on a paying basis.

GBTV-Glenn-Beck-chalkboards There's no predicting how many former viewers will pay cash and show up in front of their computer screens for the Beck they used to get for free on TV.

It's an interesting, multi-platform, multi-faceted experiment to see whether a TV phenomenon can cut the tether with a regular time slot on the tube and exist on its own in cyberspace.

Beck has evidently poured considerable resources into the project (the launch special is very slickly produced), with facilities in New York and his new home of Dallas.

Regardless of how anyone in the media feels about Beck or his message, it might be a good idea to keep a weather eye on his venture. He may not be the best friend of the mainstream media -- and the feeling is mostly mutual -- but he's taking the plunge into what may become one of its future business models.

RELATED:

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-- Kate O'Hare

Media critic Kate O’Hare is a regular Ticket contributor. She also blogs about TV at Hot Cuppa TV and is a frequent contributor at entertainment-news site Zap2it. Also follow O'Hare on Twitter @KateOH

Don't forget to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photos, from top: Glenn Beck at Restoring Honor Rally (Credit: Alex Wong, Getty Images); "Spooky Dude" and Glenn Beck at chalkboard (www.businessinsider.com/)

Hackers announce fake Obama assassination through FoxNews Politics Twitter account

Twitter-Website

Former Rep. Anthony Weiner falsely said his Twitter account was hacked just before Memorial Day weekend. But over the holiday weekend, it looks like real hackers attacked the @foxnewspolitics verified account, one of several Twitter accounts run by FoxNews.com.

A group calling itself "ScriptKiddies" claimed responsibility for the hack and also declared it has ties to the international hacker collective Anonymous.

The Tweets began appearing just after 2 a.m. ET on Monday, July 4, an hour and date likely calculated to maximize the time the Tweets were up before the account owner noticed or could do anything about it. The fake messages announced the assassination of President Obama during a visit to Iowa, but there were no links to news reports on the incident.

More Tweets detailed the president's condition and promised the shooter would be found.

The language of the messages did not match normal news style, sounding more like the amateur fiction it turned out to be.

Scroll down for an image of the deleted Tweets.

In reality, the president was perfectly safe and spending the day as host of a barbecue for military families and staffers on the White House lawn.

An administrator of @foxnewspolitics, which has more than 38,000 followers, later regained control of the account, logged in and removed the Tweets.

According to one account, Twitter released a statement saying its own servers were not accessed, but instead the email account associated with @foxnewspolitics was compromised by the hacker(s).

A statement at FoxNews.com reported that the network has alerted the Secret Service, quoting spokesman George Oglivie as saying the agency would "do appropriate follow up."

Jeff Misenti, vice president and general manager of Fox News Digital, said, "We will be requesting a detailed investigation from Twitter about how this occurred and measures to prevent future unauthorized access into FoxNews.com accounts."

The statement concluded, "FoxNews.com regrets any distress the false tweets may have created."

Writer Neil Gaiman seemed amused by the incident, Tweeting early Monday from @neilhimself, "And I guess if you're going to hack @foxnewspolitics you might as well announce the assassination of President Obama. Why think small?"

Amid sending out Tweets on Monday informing his followers of the hack and that the assassination reports were false -- and complaining about lost sleep -- Current TV's Keith Olbermann Tweeted from @KeithOlbermann, "Last: it's easy to attack Fox on this but it's the hackers that deserve the scorn; the security of our accounts that merit our anxiety."

We checked the Twitter accounts of several FNC correspondents, and the only one that mentioned it was tech enthusiast Clayton Morris (@ClaytonMorris), who responded to a follower question with "@foxnewspolitics it was hacked."

This silence may be due to the holiday weekend or to the anchors and correspondents being asked to defer comment to the network.

FOX-NEWS-TWITTER-HACKED

RELATED:

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Citigroup hacker attack affected more customers than first thought

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-- Kate O'Hare

Media critic Kate O’Hare is a regular Ticket contributor. She also blogs about TV at Hot Cuppa TV and is a frequent contributor at entertainment-news site Zap2it. Also follow O'Hare on Twitter @KateOH

Don't forget to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photos:  Oli Scarff | Getty Images Europe (Twitter homepage), www.huffingtonpost.com (screenshot of foxnewspolitics.com Twitter feed)

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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