ABC’s ‘This Week’ (American Idol Style)

ABC’s Jake Tapper was host of Sunday’s “This Week”. Here’s what our always candid “Idol” judges had to say about this major contender. The hype is on – will he, should he, get the job? We happily welcome HuffPost’s Jason Linkins back to the panel (he was absent last week).

HuffPost’s Jason Linkins (editor of “Eat the Press”): I’ll tell you what I like about today, Jake. I like that followers of your Twitter feed got a little real-time action. One thing that this cookie cutter tryout doesn’t afford the “auditionees” to do is take a chance to do innovations of their own. Every week, it’s someone new slotted into the slot, and made to run the show the way GSteph did. But there’s such room to expand on the format of these shows! I prefer to think of those periodic tweets as a little, tiny hint that you’d run a different sort of show.

If I’m wrong, don’t point that out! It would do neither of us any good!

As for the show itself, I tell you what, you got the two people I least look forward to on Sunday: David Axelrod and Lindsey Graham. Gah. Axelrod is like a sad, mustached marshmallow Peep that’s been left out in the rain until it can recite talking points. And Graham is basically known for coming on these shows and unleashing coloratura squalls of whining. But you handled ’em all right. I like the way you just jumped past the whole litigation of how reconciliation gets used and who’s used it. Shows you know your audience is ready to move on from all that. I think you handled Axelrod a little bit better than Graham, but then, I guess part of the fun is letting Lindsey bleat a bunch of nonsense, and then letting the camera cut to you, looking incredulous (there were a number of moments like that!)

(More Linkins after the jump…)

The Washington Examiner’s Yeas & Nays Columnists Tara Palmeri and Nikki Schwab: Jake Tapper, we’re just going to put it out there, you’re a pro. You know the issues, you ask the right questions and then you pose your follow-ups with poise.

You juggled the panel with ease and only made one mildly lame joke (the tickle fights line). Our one complaint – your yes or no questions were provocative, but almost uncomfortable to watch. Jake: this is Washington, nobody is going to just answer yes or no (that’s like asking for a straight up or down vote on the Hill) and watching Axelrod and Graham twist and turn to get out of answering those questions made for awkward TV.

In conclusion, we’d be super surprised if you didn’t land this gig.

(More Palmeri and Schwab after the jump…)

Carol Joynt (writer for New York Social Diary and former producer for “This Week”): Jake, you walked onto the stage like someone who’s already won the competition. I don’t know what you know, but George Will smiled upon you as he has no other contender. I can see why. You did have a command of the role, but as I’ve said with the previous “auditions,” it would be oh so nice to see some shark teeth.

Jason Linkins: But seriously, you can just ask Graham: “Why should any of us believe you can bring a single bipartisan vote to any measure? You can’t can you? Okay, why are you pretending otherwise?” Because seriously, dude, Lindsay Graham isn’t as influential as people think he is!

I was struck by some of the stark tone of your questioning. Twice you posed questions in terms of their consequences for American troops in the field. I’m not saying that was a bad thing, just a rare thing. But then, I realized that this is the show that very dutifully reports on military casualties during the broadcast, and I thought to myself, “Oh, yeah. That’s the sort of question, in an interview, that honors what you’re doing later in the show. So, it was a curve ball that got my attention, but still within the show’s DNA. Deftly done!

Palmeri and Schwab: You pressed David Axelrod on the actual
popularity of the healthcare package and called out Sen. Lindsey Graham for being critical of President Obama’s lack of action immigration reform when his bestie, Sen. John McCain, has been AWOL as well. “What’s his commitment? It certainly doesn’t look unwavering?” you asked Graham of McCain.

…Also, we’d like to give bonus points for this week’s “This Week” to
George Will for his “terminally weird” assessment of Washington:
great quote. And also the researcher who found that clip of Rahm
Emanuel giving advice to ex-Rep. Eric Massa: fantastic.