Politics is often about having…finesse…style…flair..the ability to make it sound like the sun is shining when it’s raining or that it’s raining when the sun is shining. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has proven he has none of these abilities in his ham-handed use of talking points provided to GOPers by pollster Frank Luntz on how to stop financial reform (points provided before there was even a bill).

The best way to see how poorly McConnell did it — even people who plargiarize in colleges try to find creative ways about it so they are left with some semblance of deniability — is to at some of these videos below.McConnell’s credibility problem is apparently increased by the fact that he met Wall Street bigwigs about stopping the bill because the Wall Street bigwigs don’t want to preclude future bailouts and McConnell is arguing that the bill will provide endless bialouts…which is not what it will do. But here are videos so you can decide for yourself if McConnell was using Luntz’s list more than CNN’s Rick Sanchez uses Rick’s list — or if it is just some coincidence of great minds people thinking alike.

Liberal talker Rachael Maddow’s segment is truly devastating since rather than a diatribe she shows how McConnell seemed to be ripping and reading from Luntz’ memo using videos of McConnell. She starts out on McConnell and says “Where did they get this stuff?” And then? Watch it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gzh1NEPReyU

Sen. Chris Dodd blasted McConnell in the Senate for using Luntz’s talking points. He also quotes from the memo in detail. It is worth noting that on one progressive talk show Dodd made a point of praising some other GOpers in the Senate and segmenting them from McConnell, whose use of the Luntz points clearly anger him:

The DNC put out an ad that uses parts of cable reports and actually shows printed parts of the memo next to McConnell video clips:

CNN’s report stands back a bit and still is not one that McConnell will want to run to bolster his next re-election campaign. It also has Democratic strategist Paul Begala. It’s notable that CNN called McConnell’s office and he didn’t respond. As a former fulltime newspaper journalist, I can tell you that when a source does not respond on a big story it usually means they would rather not keep it alive — for obvious reasons. When sources feel wronged, they reply and comment quickly. If they don’t reply it means they hope it’ll wind the story down and that by not commenting they are somehow defusing it. On the other hand, GOP strategist and CNN commentator Alex Castellanos, a thoughtful GOP analyst, frames the issue far better than McConnell and does provide some food for thought:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4voVhoPVy0&feature=related

FOOTNOTE: If more Republicans talked like Castellanos, they’d be able to expand their coalition. But Castellanos’ comments don’t obscure what seems apparent: McConnell was using talking points, talking the points as much as he could. He didn’t have a (dreaded) teleprompter– but he might as well have.

JOE GANDELMAN, Editor-In-Chief
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