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Elder statesman Colin Powell, a Republican, former head of the Joint Chiefs (under Bush father) and former Secretary of State (under George W. Bush) made a stunning announcement in Washington, endorsing Senator Barack Obama for President. He said one of the key reasons that prompted his choice was the selection of Sarah Palin by Senator John McCain as his running mate. Meanwhile, Palin herself took a break from the campaign not to conduct her first press conference, but to make an appearance on Saturday Night Live, where her world view was mercilessly mocked. Pepe Escobar argues that in a race where all the lines are blurred between what’s real and what’s fake, this is hyper reality gone mad.

Story Transcript

COLIN POWELL, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: He has both style and substance. He has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president. I think he is a transformational figure. He is a new generation coming onto the world stage, onto the American stage. And for that reason, I will be voting for Senator Barack Obama.

PEPE ESCOBAR, SENIOR ANALYST, TRNN: How do you top that, coming from the US’ most respected elder statesman?


Courtesy: NBC

TINA FAY (AS SARAH PALIN), SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE: First off, I just want to say how excited I am to be in front of both the liberal elite media as well as the liberal regular media. You, guy.

REPORTER (ACTOR), SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE: Yeah. At a rally in North Carolina this week, you said that you’d like to visit the, quote, “pro-America” parts of the country. Are there parts of the country that you consider un-American?

FAY: Oh, you know, that was just my lame attempt at a joke. But yes, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, California.


ESCOBAR: But wait.

GOV. SARAH PALIN (R-AK), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you. Thank you. Now, I’m not going to take any of your questions.

ESCOBAR: So much for a real Palin press conference. Let’s see what Colin Powell has to say about all this.

POWELL: I don’t believe she’s ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president. And so that raised some question in my mind as to the judgment that Senator McCain made.

ESCOBAR: And what about Powell’s take on Palin’s pro-American areas of America?

POWELL: He’s thinking about all villages have values, all towns have values, not just small towns have values. I’m also troubled by not what Senator McCain says but what members of the party say—and it is permitted to be said—such things as, “Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.” Well, the correct answer is he is not a Muslim; he is a Christian; he’s always been a Christian. But the really right answer is: what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country?

ESCOBAR: There’s more: robo-calls and McCarthyism.


Courtesy: FOX NEWS

AUTOMATED PHONE CALL, MCCAIN-PALIN CAMPAIGN AND RNC: You need to know that Barack Obama has worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, whose organization bombed the US Capitol, the Pentagon, a judge’s home, and killed Americans.

FOX NEWS HOST: Senator, back in 2000—.

MCCAIN: [inaudible] absolutely true.

HOST: Can I ask a question?

MCCAIN: No, no. But before you do, that is absolutely true.


Courtesy: MSNBC

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN): I wish the American media would take a look at the views of the people in Congress and find out are they pro-America or anti-America. I think people would love to see an exposé like that.

ESCOBAR: Colin Powell put it in a very elegant way, but this is essentially what he was saying: “Ayers” is code. It allows McCain, Palin, and their army of surrogates to use the words “Obama” and “terrorist” in the same sentence, and then they flood the country with robo-calls and commercials. This is the McCain campaign last, desperate stand: fear. Obama is black, and he may be a terrorist. The whole world is watching this circus. And, by the way, the whole world votes blue—it’s Obama by 87 percent. So, according to Palin logic, the world is palling with terrorists. And what do these wicked foreigners see when they look at the American presidential election campaign? They see comedy shows eating candidates alive in a way that serious US corporate media doesn’t have the balls to. It was up to David Letterman to grill John McCain.


Courtesy: CBS

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, LATE NIGHT WITH DAVID LETTERMAN: Did you not have a relationship with Gordon Liddy?

MCCAIN: I met him.

LETTERMAN: Did you attend a fundraiser at his house?

MCCAIN: Gordon Liddy?


LETTERMAN: You said “pals around with terrorists.” Okay. So that’s, let’s say—alright, we’ll give her William Ayers. They palled around. And William Ayers was 29, but they palled around.

MCCAIN: There’s millions of words said in the campaign.


ESCOBAR: But when it came to Sarah Palin herself to pal around with the Saturday Night Live gang, she got punked. She was scripted by the writers in Saturday Night Live as a chorus line extra. She didn’t have the guts or was not willing to make fun of herself, just like Obama and McCain did at the Alfred E. Smith Dinner in New York last week. So this is hyper-reality gone mad. The sitting president, whom Colin Powell served, is in a movie. But the fake president, Josh Brolin, is more real than the original fake. The candidate for vice president is on TV all the time, but the fake candidate, Tina Fay, is more real than the original fake. So thank God for catharsis. If you’re not qualified to be president, at least you may consider other career opportunities.


Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

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Pepe Escobar, born in Brazil is the roving correspondent for Asia Times and an analyst for The Real News Network. He's been a foreign correspondent since 1985, based in London, Milan, Los Angeles, Paris, Singapore, and Bangkok. Since the late 1990s, he has specialized in covering the arc from the Middle East to Central Asia, including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He has made frequent visits to Iran and is the author of Globalistan and also Red Zone Blues: A Snapshot of Baghdad During the Surge both published by Nimble Books in 2007.