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Moore On The Floor

This column drom The New Republic was written by Ryan Lizza.

Michael Moore did not get the memo from Kerry-Edwards headquarters. Bush-bashing has been banned for the week, but just after 10:00 this morning, the orotund documentarian, in town at the invitation of the Congressional Black Caucus, which is giving him an award tomorrow, could be found milling about the sparsely populated floor of the FleetCenter trailed by a scrum of cameras mostly from foreign press outlets, including Al Jazeera.

(Asked by the network for an exclusive interview later, Moore excitedly replied, "Oh Yeah. Sure.")

Moore, who was recently on the cover of Time magazine and whose film, Fahrenheit 9/11 has grossed over $100 million was mostly complaining about how the media has ignored him and the issues the movie raised. "They haven't been telling the truth for four years," he complained of the American press. "Why won't our journalists ask the hard questions?" Pointing at some American scribes, he urged, "We need you to do your job. Your children aren't there [in Iraq]."

Next he fielded the process question that every reporter asks ad nauseam here this week: What does John Kerry have to do this week? Putting on his pundit hat, but declining to use the Kerry campaign's word of the week -- "strength" -- Moore advised the senator "to remind the American people that the last four years have been a series of fictions." (I was at a breakfast with Kerry campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill and strategist Tad Devine this morning, and I can report that that is not their plan.)

By my count, Moore only made one claim that was flat-out wrong (not bad). Speaking of the many horse-race numbers that show Bush and Kerry in a dead heat, he said, "When you look at those polls, remember that they are only polling likely voters." Actually, many of these surveys are of course polling registered voters or even just adults, and they largely show the same dead heat race. But whatever.

The highlight of Moore's stroll was his detour over to CNN's floor-level set, where anchor Bill Hemmer was being interviewed by a print reporter.

Moore ambled up beside Hemmer and began repeating, "Some people want you dead? Why would you say that?" Apparently, Hemmer had asked Moore that question in a recent interview. After trying to ignore him, Hemmer simply responded, "Just a minute, Michael." Michael decided not to wait.

"A lot of our kids are dead because those f---ers haven't done their job," he barked and walked away for a TV interview.

Ryan Lizza publishes a blog on The New Republic.

Ryan Lizza