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Networks Hype GOP Division Over Palin, Claim She's 'On the Verge of Overexposure'

On Monday, all three network morning shows eagerly highlighted former First Lady Barbara Bush voicing opposition to a Sarah Palin presidential run while suggesting the former Alaska governor has spent too much time in the public eye. As Harry Smith proclaimed at the top of CBS's Early Show: "It's all Palin all the time. But could the most famous family from Alaska be on the verge of overexposure?"

Later on the Early Show, senior White House correspondent Bill Plante noted: "But there are critics. In an interview with Larry King, former First Lady Barbara Bush weighed in on the possibility of a President Palin." A clip was played of Bush: "I think she's very happy in Alaska and I hope she'll stay there." On NBC's Today, correspondent Norah O'Donnell declared: "Nothing like some controversy to help sell a book, right? Just as Palin gears up for her national book tour and a possible presidential run, Barbara Bush says she likes Palin, but hopes she stays home." Finally, on ABC's Good Morning America, correspondent John Berman announced: "Sarah Palin seems to be everywhere. But, not everyone approves. Why Barbara Bush and other Republicans are saying enough."

While the Early Show only mentioned Bush's criticism, both Today and Good Morning America sought to tout widespread GOP opposition to Palin. On NBC, O'Donnell exclaimed: "Even the conservative magazine, The Weekly Standard, is going negative on Palin. The article says Palin's show 'has secured her a spot in the reality TV Star pantheon. And good for Palin, though there's no compelling reason to suggest the rest of us should tag along behind.'" On ABC, Berman remarked: "Listen to conservative George Will on This Week with Palin's visit to Dancing with the Stars." A clip was played of Will: "It's stirring family values but it's not good training to be president."

Here is an excerpt of Plante's November 22 Early Show report:

7:15AM ET

HARRY SMITH: Between her reality TV show, her new book, and her daughter's 'Dancing With the Stars,' get ready for a full out Sarah Palin media blitz this week. But is that a good thing for a potential presidential candidate? CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante has the latest from Washington. Good morning, Bill.

BILL PLANTE: Good morning, Harry. Well yeah, I mean, it's the kind of attention that a potential presidential candidate could only dream of and of course there are ample hints that have been dropped by Palin that she is after the President's job.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Palin: Off and Running?; Former Governor's High-Profile Week]

Palin's reality show about life in Alaska is enjoying record ratings, her new book comes out tomorrow, and daughter Bristol has reached the finals of 'Dancing With the Stars.' Sarah Palin is center stage and not even talking politics.

KARIN TANABE [POLITICO]: This is a great way for her to have the attention without really having big criticism.

PLANTE: But there are critics. In an interview with Larry King, former First Lady Barbara Bush weighed in on the possibility of a President Palin.

BARBARA BUSH: I sat next to her once, thought she was beautiful. And I think she's very happy in Alaska and I hope she'll stay there.


Here is an excerpt of O'Donnell's Today report:

7:19AM ET

BARBARA BUSH: I thought she was beautiful-

NORAH O'DONNELL: Meanwhile, America's beloved and outspoken former first lady, Barbara Bush, seems to throw cold water on Palin's political ambitions in an upcoming interview on CNN's Larry King Live.

BUSH: I think she's very happy in Alaska, and I hope she'll stay there.

O'DONNELL: Even the conservative magazine, The Weekly Standard, is going negative on Palin. The article [by Matt Labash] says Palin's show 'has secured her a spot in the reality TV Star pantheon. And good for Palin, though there's no compelling reason to suggest the rest of us should tag along behind.'

Like it or not, Sarah Palin and her family are everywhere. Tonight begins the Dancing With the Stars finale- Palin's daughter Bristol is competing to win it all. This Thanksgiving week is no holiday for the Palin household. On Tuesday, the vote for Bristol-

JAY NEWTON-SMALL, TIME MAGAZINE: This is as much a vote for Sarah Palin as it is a vote for Bristol Palin.

O'DONNELL: That very same day, Sarah Palin's book, 'America By Heart,' hits bookstores, and she embarks on her cross-country tour- 16 stops in 14 states- already, the book creating buzz and controversy.


Here is an excerpt of Berman's Good Morning America report:

7:15AM ET

JOHN BERMAN: And with Dancing with the Stars and with her new book America with Heart hitting the stands tomorrow.

HOWARD KURTZ: This is a brilliant strategy for Sarah Palin. It keeps her in the news as a cultural phenomenon. But, at the same time, she doesn't really have to answer the hard questions.

BERMAN: Her fans in the media are eating it up. But, others don't like the taste. Listen to former First Lady Barbara Bush on an interview airing tonight on CNN.

BARBARA BUSH: I thought she was very beautiful. And I think she is very happy in Alaska. And I hope she'll stay there.

BERMAN: Listen to conservative George Will on This Week with Palin's visit to Dancing with the Stars.

GEORGE WILL: It's stirring family values but it's not good training to be president.

BERMAN: And Saturday Night Live got in on the mix too, ribbing her for comparing herself to Shakespeare by mistakenly inventing the word "refudiate," a new addition to the Oxford American Dictionary.

SETH MEYERS: Well, there are a couple differences between Shakespeare and Sarah Palin.

BERMAN: Stinging rebukes? Well, maybe not.

KURTZ: The fact that the establishment Republican and the establishment media don't like what Sarah Palin is doing, only works to her benefit because that plays very well with the Republican base that's going to turn out in those 2012 primaries.

-Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.