McCain's damage control after Gramm's comments and Barack Obama's sarcastic riposte that the United States does not need a second Dr Phil were covered by NBC's Kelly O'Donnell and ABC's David Wright. In a gesture of evenhandedness, NBC paired Gramm's comments with those by Obama backer Jesse Jackson Wednesday--although Jackson's expressed desire to castrate Obama hardly qualifies as the words of a backer. Lee Cowan observed that Jackson's words may have succeeded in differentiating Obama from the civil rights leader, his fellow Chicagoan. NBC political director Chuck Todd speculated to Cowan that the rift may be a positive inasmuch as Jackson is "a polarizing figure." CBS did not assign a reporter to either Gramm or Jackson, but had political analyst Jeff Greenfield debrief anchor Katie Couric on both.
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