ABC Hypes Michelle Obama's 'Star Power' in Wisconsin, Skips Any Mention of GOP Challenger
According to Good Morning America's Sharyn Alfonsi, the White House
is hoping the "star power" of Michelle Obama will be enough for the
Democrats to beat the Republican senatorial challenger in Wisconsin. Of
course, Alfonsi on Thursday failed to even mention the name of Ron
Johnson, the man who currently holds a seven point lead over incumbent Russ Feingold.
Co-host George Stephanopoulos offered banal assertions such as "Her pitch is more personal than partisan. White House officials tell me she's having a good time out on the campaign trail."
Alfonsi featured two clips of Feingold gushing about the First Lady, none of Johnson. The journalist fawned to the Democrat, "Do you think [Mrs. Obama is] a greater asset than the President?" Alfonsi should get credit, however, for at least referring to Feingold as a "prominent liberal."
ABC followed the same tactic on September 29 when Barack Obama visited Wisconsin for a campaign rally. That Jake Tapper segment also featured no mention of the Republican nominee.
On Thursday, Alfonsi asserted that Barack Obama's approval rating is 50 percent, 18 points lower than his wife. However, Real Clear Politics has the average at 44.8.
In a lighter moment, after Stephanopoulos introduced the segment, ABC cut to a pre-taped package. The co-anchor could still be heard on mic as he complained, " I didn't want prompter there."
A transcript of the October 14 segment, which aired at 7:18am EDT, follows:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to turn now to Michelle Obama. The First Lady is out on the campaign trail. Her pitch is more personal than partisan. White House officials tell me she's having a good time out on the campaign trail. Right now, we go to Sharyn Alfonsi on how the charm offensive is going over. [Camera cuts to pre-taped package, Stephanopoulos caught still on mic.] I didn't want prompter there.
ABC GRAPHIC: The Closer: First Lady Hits Campaign Trail
MICHELLE OBAMA: When I think about the issues that are facing our nation, I think about what it means for my girls. I think about what it means for the world that we're going to leave behind for them and quite frankly, for all of our children.
SHARYN ALFONSI: The First Lady's stump speech included more than a half-dozen mentions about being a mom or a parent.
MICHELLE: OBAMA: [montage] As a self-described mom-in-chief-, my girls- Like every parent- more as a mom- My girls, my children.
ALFONSI: That tact has served her well. The First Lady's favorability rating, 68 percent. And in a more recent poll, her husband's? 50. So, the White House is now dispatching Michelle Obama to help struggling candidates in eight, key states over three weeks. Hoping she can rally the base and infuse struggling candidates with cash. Tickets for fund-raisers with the First Lady range from $250 to $30,000. Meaning it's more expensive to mingle with her than the President.
SENATOR RUSS FEINGOLD: I'm constantly hearing my sisters and other people say, "The one I really want to meet is Michelle Obama."
ALFONSI: Senator Russ Feingold, a prominent liberal, is in an ugly battle in Wisconsin. Facing anti-incumbent backlash, he skipped a rally with the President earlier this year.
BARACK OBAMA: Hello, Milwaukee.
ALFONSI: But the First Lady? Do you think she's a greater asset than the President?
FEINGOLD: No. I think the President is number one. But she's a close second.
MICHELLE OBAMA: My husband can't do this alone. He needs strong leaders, like Russ to help him. We have come too far to stop putting the American dream that I know and my husband knows, that Russ knows, back within reach for all of us. We've come too far.
ALFONSI: And the First Lady is going to be on to Colorado later today. And then, on to New York, where she'll be campaigning alongside Patti Labelle and Sarah Jessica Parker. They're hoping that star power will drive out the votes. George?
- Scott Whitlock is a news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.