Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Sunday

January 6, 2013

George Weeks: Granholm to end TV 'very fun adventure'

Ex-Gov. Jennifer Granholm has been one of the most visible personalities on Current TV, the low-visibility cable network co-founded by former vice president Al Gore that has been bought for a reported $500 million by the Pan-Arab news channel Al-Jazeera backed by the government of Qatar.

Her prominence on Current TV was underscored last week when conservative radio personality Rush Limbaugh chortled that Granholm would have to start wearing a Muslim "burka and veil."

Former Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, quipped that the Granholm program, called "The War Room" focused on elections, could now be called "The Jihad Room."

Clever lines, but Granholm says by terms of her deal with Current TV she had long planned to leave the show for other pursuits.

She said Wednesday on her Facebook page "We were told today that Al Jazeera is the buyer for Current TV. My agreement with Current was for the duration of the election (and the sale). It has been a very fun adventure; we are blessed with a wonderful team.

"We'll continue to broadcast The War Room for the next few weeks through the transition, but after that I'll be going back to teaching, speaking and other things. Thanks to all of you who have been watching, and especially thanks to those who helped achieve a key goal: helping to re-elect the president!"

That last partisan line about re-electing Barack Obama is significant. Granholm was an election spear-carrier speaker for him not only at the Democratic National Convention, where she was a pumped-up cheerleader (critics said too pumped), but also was an Obama advocate on such forums as NBC's Meet the Press, where she was a panelist.

She also periodically criticized Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Michigan-related issues.

Obama likes appointees who are effective at delivering the administration message. Granholm would be that in the cabinet or elsewhere, but emphasizes that in her discussions with Obama that has been no talk of such specifics.

Asked Saturday to check on the latest update from Granholm on options, former Granholm Press Secretary and current consultant Liz Boyd said only "she has no shortage of opportunities in addition to teaching and speaking engagements."

Granholm and her husband, Dan Mulhern — co-authors of a 2011 book on the governorship — have been teaching at the University of California.

In response to request for an update on my earlier report that they have been looking for lakefront property in Michigan, Boyd said they "are saving up to purchase the perfect lakefront property when they find it" — including an inland lake.

If Granholm does not join the Obama administration, a return to parttime in the corporate world is likely. Before joining Current TV, she resigned from Dow Chemical's board of directors in 2011.

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