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ABC Goes Live in Prime Time to Carry Triumphant Obama Speech --6/4/2008


1. ABC Goes Live in Prime Time to Carry Triumphant Obama Speech
ABC, which on May 14 was so excited about the John Edwards endorsement of Barack Obama that its 6:30 PM EDT feed of World News went live to Obama introducing Edwards -- complete with a Bruce Spingsteen song as Edwards bounded on stage -- on Tuesday night cut into Boston Legal at 10:08 PM EDT/9:08 PM CDT to go live for 14 straight minutes of a triumphant Barack Obama at a rally in the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. (CBS stuck with Without a Trace and NBC with Law & Order: SVU, though both ran Special Reports earlier to report Obama had secured the Democratic nomination.) After cutting away from Obama, ABC aired just over two minutes of excerpts from Hillary Clinton's earlier non-concession address and then a minute-and-a-half from Republican John McCain. Anchor Charles Gibson trumpeted at the start of the Special Report: "Barack Obama, and his wife Michelle, have just been introduced to a rather raucous rally there to greet him on what is an historic night. On this night, June 3rd, 2008 an African-American has been nominated to be, or will be nominated to be, candidate of a major party for President of the United States....It is just over 50 years since America officially desegregated its schools. And now, an African-American nominated for President."

2. Couric Provides Forum for Female Clinton Backers to Vent
With the end of liberal Democrat Hillary Clinton's "historic campaign for the presidency" seemingly very near, CBS anchor Katie Couric devoted more than four minutes Tuesday night to wondering: "What will the many women who supported her do?" (Based on her reporting, that likely includes her.) Noting that "women helped propel Clinton to a big win in Pennsylvania," Couric explained: "We asked seven of her supporters from that battleground state about her campaign and what they're thinking now." Amongst the comments featured from the seven liberals, a teacher blamed media hostility toward Clinton -- "It bothers me to think with the kind of coverage that we've had" -- for how "young men or other young women" inexplicably "say, 'I hate Hillary,' and just the venom that comes out of them." Couric inquired of the group: "What has Hillary Clinton's candidacy taught you?" several saw sexism, as one woman replied: "We still have a long ways to go when it comes to sexism, and we will have a female President in the near future." Another didn't see any hope for women candidates: "If she doesn't win this time, I don't know when -- at least, it won't happen in my lifetime -- when there would be any other candidate who would be as well qualified."

3. 'High Level' MSNBC Source: Olbermann Tainting 'Face of NBC News'
A "high level source inside MSNBC" tells the TVNewser blog that network stars like Tim Russert and Chris Matthews are "upset" and "pissed" that the far-left Keith Olbermann is tainting the network's credibility with his "activism," such as blogging for the hard-left Daily Kos site. "What's it going to be like in the general election now that everyone knows we're the in-house network of Barack Obama," TVNewser's Steve Krakauer quoted the MSNBC insider as fretting. The source suggested Olbermann was allowed to get away with his activism because the network fears the Countdown host would quit: "They are convinced that he will walk. He behaves like a man who has nothing left to lose. He is not central to MSNBC, he is the center of the MSNBC ratings strategy. We hang the entire schedule on him."

4. With Exit From Race, ABC's GMA Fawns Over 'Iconic' Clintons
Now that all signs point to Hillary Clinton's exit from the presidential race, Tuesday's Good Morning America chose to laud both Bill and Hillary Clinton as "iconic" and speculate, yet again, about an Obama/Clinton "dream ticket." Over the span of just ten minutes, various GMA personalities cooed over video of Bill Clinton on a plane gently placing a hand on his wife's face and shoulder. Co-host Diane Sawyer and reporter Kate Snow each separately lauded this as a "tender moment." In a second segment, Sawyer seemed entranced as she played the video again and haltingly narrated: "When we see that iconic scene on the plane where he's reaching out to her and she's so tired -- she's so clearly tired there." Former top Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos appeared on the program to shill for the "dream ticket" of Obama/Clinton. Perhaps having some kind of inside information, the This Week host asserted he's been "betting" on such a pairing all year. Advocating for the wife of his old boss, Stephanopoulos proclaimed: "I think it's the best ticket for the Democrats. I think if Barack Obama picks her, they have the best chance of winning."

5. Gergen on CNN: Magazine Story on Bill Clinton Skips Good Works
During a segment on Monday's Anderson Cooper 360, CNN senior political analyst (and former Clinton adviser) David Gergen, responding to Todd Purdum's just-released article in the July issue of Vanity Fair on Bill Clinton, acknowledged that the former President "does have a temper, and he goes off like Mount Vesuvius," but then went on to criticize Purdum's article, complaining it "does not give enough weight to what he has done in the non-profit sector," specifically referring to the Clinton Global Initiative. Clinton called Purdum, formerly with the New York Times, a "scumbag," "sleazy," and a "really dishonest reporter." He also accused the Vanity Fair editor of trying to "nail Hillary for Obama. It's the most biased press coverage in history."

6. NBC's Engel Charges in New Book: U.S. 'Invaded the Wrong Country'
Invited on to promote his new book, War Journal, NBC's Middle Eastern correspondent Richard Engel claimed, on Tuesday's Today show, that it wasn't "an opinion piece." However, in the book, Engel reveals a definite point of view as he called the Iraq war "a war of opportunity," and charged: "The U.S. invaded the wrong country....I don't know how you recover from invading the wrong country, no matter how you spin it."

7. Harris Responds to HBO Film: Gore Fought Statewide Recount
In an appearance on Monday's Hannity and Colmes on FNC, former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, and the attorney who represented her during the 2000 legal actions, Joe Klock, responded to the HBO movie Recount, about the 2000 Florida recount of the presidential election, as she charged that the movie ignored Harris's early attempt to implement a statewide recount in Florida, a move which was fought by the Al Gore campaign. According to Klock, Gore "wanted no part of" a statewide recount, instead preferring to "count in their four carefully-selected counties," which were predominantly Democratic. The segment began with a clip of actress Laura Dern negatively portraying Katherine Harris in the movie Recount. Harris responded: "I'm quite accustomed to being mocked in terms of my appearance, but when the truth is so flagrantly disregarded...we had to respond."

8. Top Ten Things Overheard at Hillary Clinton Campaign Headquarters
Letterman's "Top Ten Things Overheard at Hillary Clinton Campaign Headquarters."


ABC Goes Live in Prime Time to Carry
Triumphant Obama Speech

ABC, which on May 14 was so excited about the John Edwards endorsement of Barack Obama that its 6:30 PM EDT feed of World News went live to Obama introducing Edwards -- complete with a Bruce Spingsteen song as Edwards bounded on stage -- on Tuesday night cut into Boston Legal at 10:08 PM EDT/9:08 PM CDT to go live for 14 straight minutes of a triumphant Barack Obama at a rally in the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. (CBS stuck with Without a Trace and NBC with Law & Order: SVU, though both ran Special Reports earlier to report Obama had secured the Democratic nomination.) After cutting away from Obama, ABC aired just over two minutes of excerpts from Hillary Clinton's earlier non-concession address and then a minute-and-a-half from Republican John McCain.

Anchor Charles Gibson trumpeted at the start of the Special Report: "You're looking at a picture from St. Paul, Minnesota, the Xcel Center, in Minnesota, Barack Obama, and his wife Michelle, have just been introduced to a rather raucous rally there to greet him on what is an historic night. On this night, June 3rd, 2008 an African-American has been nominated to be, or will be nominated to be, candidate of a major party for President of the United States....It is just over 50 years since America officially desegregated its schools. And now, an African-American nominated for President."

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Tuesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

At 9:00 PM EDT, NBC's Brian Williams declared Obama the "presumptive nominee" and hailed it as "the stuff of history tonight." Tim Russert agreed: "History's the most important and operative word, Brian, the first time a major political party in the United States of America has nominated an African-American..."

A few minutes later, CBS's Katie Couric announced: "This is a pretty historic day."

The May 15 CyberAlert item, "Nets Excited by 'Major' Edwards Endorsement to 'Create One America,'" recounted:

Trumpeting the "major endorsement" from John Edwards for Barack Obama, the day after Obama was trounced by 40 points in West Virginia all three broadcast network evening newscasts led Wednesday night with the "dramatic" announcement of the "political prize" that gives Obama a "major boost." Katie Couric returned at the end of the 6:30 PM EST CBS Evening News feed to reiterate "our top story tonight" as she effused over live video of Edwards speaking at the rally: "John Edwards endorses Barack Obama, saying he's one man who knows in his heart that it's time to create one America, not two."

ABC was so excited that its 6:30 PM feed of World News went live at about 6:40 PM to Grand Rapids, Michigan for 90 seconds of Obama introducing Edwards, complete with a Bruce Spingsteen song as Edwards bounded on stage. Gibson then acknowledged: "Timed for maximum exposure, timed to coincide with the evening newscasts, timed to give Barack Obama a needed boost after his bad defeat yesterday in West Virginia. George Stephanopoulos, this is the kind of publicity that you can't buy."

Indeed, no need to pay for it when ABC News is eager to give it to you for free. Gibson had teased his show: "Tonight, political prize. Barack Obama win a major endorsement from John Edwards." Couric had hailed "a major endorsement for Barack Obama" before asserting "Obama took back the spotlight this evening dramatically when he won an endorsement both candidates wanted badly." On NBC, Brian Williams touted: "Tonight, the campaign of Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination has received a major boost."

For the entire previous CyberAlert rundown: www.mrc.org

Couric Provides Forum for Female Clinton
Backers to Vent

With the end of liberal Democrat Hillary Clinton's "historic campaign for the presidency" seemingly very near, CBS anchor Katie Couric devoted more than four minutes Tuesday night to wondering: "What will the many women who supported her do?" (Based on her reporting, that likely includes her.) Noting that "women helped propel Clinton to a big win in Pennsylvania," Couric explained: "We asked seven of her supporters from that battleground state about her campaign and what they're thinking now."

Amongst the comments featured from the seven liberals, a teacher blamed media hostility toward Clinton -- "It bothers me to think with the kind of coverage that we've had" -- for how "young men or other young women" inexplicably "say, 'I hate Hillary,' and just the venom that comes out of them." Couric inquired of the group: "What has Hillary Clinton's candidacy taught you?" several saw sexism, as one woman replied: "We still have a long ways to go when it comes to sexism, and we will have a female President in the near future." Another didn't see any hope for women candidates: "If she doesn't win this time, I don't know when -- at least, it won't happen in my lifetime -- when there would be any other candidate who would be as well qualified."

To illustrate, the unfair media treatment of Senator Clinton, CBS played some soundbites from cable news, including Tucker Carlson on MSNBC, "When she comes on television, I involuntarily cross my legs," and this from Chris Matthews, long-ago made "infamous" by Clinton operatives: "The reason she's a U.S. Senator, the reason she's a candidate for President, the reason she may be a frontrunner, is her husband messed around."

After the taped segment with the liberal women, Couric highlighted how a CBS News poll found more think Hillary Clinton than Barack Obama faced impediments: "We asked, 'Who faces more obstacles in presidential politics?' -- 46 percent said a woman candidate, 32 said a black candidate."

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Tuesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Couric has certainly pitched in to advance Hillary Clinton's cause. Check out these CyberAlert posts from earlier this year documenting some of her efforts:

The March 5 CyberAlert item, "Couric Scolds Voter Disturbed by Clinton's 'Emotional Outbursts,'" recounted:

On Tuesday's CBS Evening News, in a taped piece in which Katie Couric spoke with Columbus, Ohio-area "blue-collar" voters, she talked to the husband and wife owners of a restaurant and scolded the husband when he cited Hillary Clinton's "emotional outbursts" as a reason to not vote for her. The man observed that "Hillary's made emotional outbursts" and worried what would happen "if she's put in a tragic situation where, God forbid, we have another terrorist attack or something like that." To which, Couric retorted: "But some of the male candidates, like Mitt Romney, have gotten misty eyed as well."

And as she walked inside a Honda plant, Couric described Ohio's "working class" voters as "often culturally conservative -- against abortion rights, gun control, and hawkish on defense." Of course, she could just as easily have phrased that as "against abortion rights and for gun rights" or "pro-life and pro-gun."...
For the entire article: www.mrc.org

The February 11 CyberAlert posting, "Couric Injects Silly Girl Talk in Clinton Interview on 60 Minutes," reported:

60 Minutes on Sunday night ran back-to-back interview segments with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and while Steve Kroft's session with Obama provided a friendly forum in which Kroft admired how "through twelve long months of mind-numbing, muscle-aching, adrenaline-fueled monotony and exhaustion, there has been barely a misstep" by Obama, it was devoid of anything approaching the giddy girl talk about mainlining coffee and high school boys Katie Couric put into her segment with Clinton.

Couric set up the story by trumpeting how Clinton "remains focused, energized and anything but defeatist." She soon wondered: "How do you do it? I mean, the satellite interviews, the speeches, the travel, the debates, the schmoozing, the picture taking, 24/7?" In seeming awe, a giggling Couric followed up: "But I'm talking about pure stamina" and marveled: "Do you pop vitamins, do you mainline coffee?" Later, as the two stood in a high school classroom, Couric cooed: "What were you like in high school? Were you the girl in the front row taking meticulous notes and always raising your hand?" Clinton denied that, prompting this exchange full of laughs and giggles:

COURIC: Someone told me your nickname in school was Miss Frigidaire. Is that true?

CLINTON: Only with some boys. [laughs] COURIC: [giggling] I don't know if I want to hear the back story on that!

CLINTON: Well, you wouldn't want to know the boys either. [bursts out laughing]...

For more: www.mrc.org

The January 10 CyberAlert item, "Couric Urges 'Humanized' Clinton to 'Reveal More of Yourself,'" relayed:

Telling Hillary Clinton "some observers believe" that when she got "emotional" -- as "your voice cracked and your eyes welled up" -- that "humanized you and made you much more attractive to women voters," CBS's Katie Couric on Wednesday night cooed: "Will you be willing now to reveal more of yourself and be less reserved?" As if the "emotional" moment Monday in New Hampshire exposed the real, sensitive Hillary Clinton while the "reserved" Hillary persona of the last 15-plus years doesn't match reality. For the interview aired on the CBS Evening News, Clinton invited Couric to her home in New Castle, New York. Clinton described the incident as "Hillary unplugged" and insisted it showed "I don't see politics as a game," but as a way of "getting in a position to actually help people."

Couric did, at least, challenge a Clinton premise: "How can you be a real change agent when you were involved in a two-term administration in the '90s. You're yesterday's news, they think in a way?"...

For the rest of the article: www.mrc.org

Online version of the session with the women, with video and text (with some portions that aired and missing some portions which aired): "Where Will Sen. Clinton's Supporters Turn? Katie Couric Speaks With Seven Clinton Supporters About the Campaign." See: www.cbsnews.com

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth provided a transcript of what aired on the Tuesday, June 3 CBS Evening News:

KATIE COURIC: Turning again to politics now, with Hillary Clinton looking at the end of her historic campaign for the presidency, what will the many women who supported her do? In the Democratic primaries before tonight, Clinton won more than half the female vote. Women helped propel Clinton to a big win in Pennsylvania. So we asked seven of her supporters from that battleground state about her campaign and what they're thinking now.

SANDRA MILLER, FORMER COUNTY COMMISSIONER CLIP #1: I think from the very beginning she's been mistreated.
MILLER CLIP #2: I know I watched a lot of interviews and so forth where Senator Clinton was referred to as "Mrs. Clinton" whereas Senator Obama was "Senator Obama."
MEREDITH CIAMBRELLO, TEACHER: It bothers me to think with the kind of coverage that we've had, that we've been speaking of, that it's influencing the voters. And when I talk to young men or other young women, and they say, "I hate Hillary," and just the venom that comes out of them. And I wonder where is that coming from.

CLIPS FROM TV SHOWS:
TUCKER CARLSON, ON MSNBC: When she comes on television, I involuntarily cross my legs.
WILLIE GEIST: I know you do.
MICHELLE MALKIN, FNC: The famous photo from the weekend of Hillary looking so haggard, and, what, looking like 92 years old, if that's the face of experience, I think it's going to scare away a lot of those independent voters.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, ON MSNBC: The reason she's a U.S. Senator, the reason she's a candidate for President, the reason she may be a frontrunner, is her husband messed around.
END OF CLIPS

KATHLEEN O'DELL, SALES MANAGER: I think we have a little different standard with sexism than we do with, say, racism. I mean, there have been people who go to her rallies and stand up, the guy who stood up and said, "Hey, iron my shirt."
UNIDENTIFIED AUDIENCE MEMBER: Iron my shirt, iron my shirt!
O'DELL: Consider that if somebody had showed up at an Obama campaign and had a banner saying something about his race or about somebody's religion, we'd be up in arms. Everybody would be like, you know, how disgusting.
COURIC: What do you wish she had done differently?
O'DELL: First of all, I think she underestimated Obama tremendously, the mood of the country. She picked people who were very loyal to her, who weren't maybe as savvy at running caucus states. The Internet, I think she got killed on the Internet.
COURIC: Some people have said that, you know, if she couldn't run a better campaign, if she couldn't surround herself with better people during the process, what does that portend for her ability to run the country?
DEBBIE PELLEN, STAY-AT-HOME MOTHER: I think it's a fair comment, but some people that he seems to be surrounding himself with, I think they're great PR people. But I don't think that's a good indication of how they're going to be with policy.
COURIC: If Hillary Clinton gets out of the race, what then?
JENNIFER MILLER, ART INSTRUCTOR: I'll vote for Barack Obama if Hillary doesn't get in.
DOREEN RUFFE, STAY-AT-HOME MOTHER: I'm thinking that, but I would have to see what happens between now and November.
DAPHNE MROZ, EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT: I will definitely vote for another Democrat in office.
O'DELL: Right now, I'm staying home. I don't want to be taken for granted.
PELLEN: I will definitely vote for Obama.
COURIC: What about your husband, Debbie?
PELLEN: My husband will look at it and say, "But we're at war, Deb. And you know what? This person's untested. At least somebody has a record. He had a record versus no record."
COURIC: And your husband's a Democrat?
PELLEN: Democrat, registered Democrat.
COURIC: Do you know of any Hillary Clinton supporters who would be so angry about the outcome, and about the way she's been treated, that they would opt to vote for John McCain, almost as a protest?
SANDRA MILLER: Absolutely. That anger is just building and building. They have expressed to me that if she is not the candidate, they will vote for McCain.
COURIC: What has Hillary Clinton's candidacy taught you?
JENNIFER MILLER: We still have a long ways to go when it comes to sexism, and we will have a female President in the near future.
SANDRA MILLER: I would disagree that we're going to have another female candidate, or a female President, in the near future if Senator Clinton is not successful.
MROZ: If she doesn't win this time, I don't know when -- at least, it won't happen in my lifetime -- when there would be any other candidate who would be as well qualified.
RUFFE: In terms of the sexism, I try and stay away from that. I'm trying to teach my three kids you can do anything you want. And my oldest wanted to be President when she was six. And I kept saying you can.
O'DELL: I think we have come really far. I mean, we are this close. And if it wasn't for this other really great story, she would be the nominee.
COURIC, BACK AT ANCHOR DESK: By the way, a new CBS News poll shows many voters nationwide believe Clinton faced an uphill battle because of her gender. We asked, "Who faces more obstacles in presidential politics?" -- 46 percent said a woman candidate, 32 said a black candidate.

'High Level' MSNBC Source: Olbermann
Tainting 'Face of NBC News'

A "high level source inside MSNBC" tells the TVNewser blog that network stars like Tim Russert and Chris Matthews are "upset" and "pissed" that the far-left Keith Olbermann is tainting the network's credibility with his "activism," such as blogging for the hard-left Daily Kos site. "What's it going to be like in the general election now that everyone knows we're the in-house network of Barack Obama," TVNewser's Steve Krakauer quoted the MSNBC insider as fretting. The source suggested Olbermann was allowed to get away with his activism because the network fears the Countdown host would quit: "They are convinced that he will walk. He behaves like a man who has nothing left to lose. He is not central to MSNBC, he is the center of the MSNBC ratings strategy. We hang the entire schedule on him."

[This item, by the MRC's Rich Noyes, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

A network spokesperson dismissed the complaint, telling TVNewser: "Your source is ill-informed and the assertions are laughable."

Excerpts from the June 3 posting, which went up before Tuesday night's primary coverage began:

Tonight may be the last of the primaries, but the discussion of the cable news coverage will no doubt continue for months to come. MSNBC has bore the brunt of much of the criticism, from a candidate, a competitor, and many voices in between. Now, TVNewser speaks with a high level source inside MSNBC, who sheds light on some of the inside rumblings.

"Every Tuesday night Keith is up there as the face of NBC News. That's a problem," says our source. "[Tim] Russert is upset about it. Russert has spent 20 years building credibility. All of a sudden he's taking questions from Keith Olbermann, the Daily Kos blogger?"

The insider says Olbermann's election night partner has reservations as well: "Chris Matthews is quite pissed about it. He knows a lot about politics and he takes it seriously. He's so close to it that he's not that political. He's not an activist '€" Keith's an activist. That's the difference."

...

With the primaries finished, the focus moves to the general election. "What's it going to be like in the general election now that everyone knows we're the in-house network of Barack Obama?" asked our insider.

"There's a huge difference between rooting for one side in a Democratic primary, and another one to take sides in a general election and go out and openly root for a candidate. You can't do that," said the insider. "You think Russert is going to put up with that? Election night coverage in November with Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann?

"The key is his willingness to quit," says our source about Olbermann. "And he means it. He has convinced management of that. They are convinced that he will walk. He behaves like a man who has nothing left to lose. He is not central to MSNBC, he is the center of the MSNBC ratings strategy. We hang the entire schedule on him."

TVNewser's post, with a denial from NBC News Senior Vice President Phil Griffin: www.mediabistro.com

With Exit From Race, ABC's GMA Fawns
Over 'Iconic' Clintons

Now that all signs point to Hillary Clinton's exit from the presidential race, Tuesday's Good Morning America chose to laud both Bill and Hillary Clinton as "iconic" and speculate, yet again, about an Obama/Clinton "dream ticket." Over the span of just ten minutes, various GMA personalities cooed over video of Bill Clinton on a plane gently placing a hand on his wife's face and shoulder.

Co-host Diane Sawyer and reporter Kate Snow each separately lauded this as a "tender moment." In a second segment, Sawyer seemed entranced as she played the video again and haltingly narrated: "When we see that iconic scene on the plane where he's reaching out to her and she's so tired -- she's so clearly tired there." Former top Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos appeared on the program to shill for the "dream ticket" of Obama/Clinton. Perhaps having some kind of inside information, the This Week host asserted he's been "betting" on such a pairing all year. Advocating for the wife of his old boss, Stephanopoulos proclaimed: "I think it's the best ticket for the Democrats. I think if Barack Obama picks her, they have the best chance of winning."

See the May 27 CyberAlert for more examples of GMA touting the "dream ticket." Go to: www.mrc.org

[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Both Sawyer and Stephanopoulos preemptively trotted out the historic nature of Obama's nomination. Stephanopoulos announced, "It is a moment of history," while Sawyer later concurred "It is a historic day." Undoubtedly, the first African American presidential nominee is historic. But it hasn't happened yet and the ABC reporters just seemed giddy that the nasty Democratic fight will soon be over.

During a preview for the two segments, Sawyer and news anchor Chris Cuomo had an exchange that summarized the tone of the show's reporting. Speaking of Obama, Cuomo enthused, "What an exciting moment for his campaign." Sawyer, referencing the end of the New York senator's presidential bid, reflected sadness: "And also, of course, while [Obama] celebrates, what about the Clintons?" This was one of the many times that GMA proceeded to play the "tender moment" between Bill and Hillary Clinton.

A partial transcript of the first segment, and the complete second segment, which aired at 7:03 and 7:06am on June 3:

DIANE SAWYER: This morning, does a chapter of history close today and a new one begin? Is this Barack Obama's morning?
SENATOR BARACK OBAMA: I was looking forward to meeting with her at a time and place of her choosing.
SAWYER: As the last primary votes are counted, a tender moment [Video of the Clintons on their plane] as the Clintons head back home and a former president lashes out at the media.
BILL CLINTON: This is the most biased press coverage in modern history. It's just another way of helping Obama.

....

CHRIS CUOMO: And for the race, it all comes down to this. Barack Obama is now 36.5 delegates from the finish line. What an exciting moment for his campaign. And those delegates are expected to come in today. So, our team will have all of the angles covered for you.
SAWYER: And also, of course, while he celebrates, what about the Clintons? I want to play again that scene that you just saw in our open this morning. [Plane video plays again of Clintons embracing.] There it is. On the plane, on the way home. You see former President Clinton with his hand on her back and she yawns. Who wouldn't yawn? 501 days since this campaign started.
CUOMO: Yeah. We took a look at what happened since the beginning, almost six million babies have been born since this started.
SAWYER: Such a long road to this day. A long road.

....

CUOMO: But let's begin with the race to '08 and the official end of the Democratic primary season. The question now is, what will Hillary Clinton do and when will she do it? Our Kate Snow traveled back to New York overnight with the Clintons. She's outside their home this morning in Chappaqua. Good morning, Kate.
KATE SNOW: Good morning, Chris. Some very intense discussions under way, behind these white gates, behind me here. This is the Clinton home. She will be trying to figure out today whether she stays in the race, whether she drops out. Whether she suspends her campaign indefinitely. Her top advisers say they don't expect her to concede to Barack Obama tonight, but this race is almost over. Last night on the plane, a tender moment between Bill and Hillary Clinton. [Video of the plane again.] The whole family was on stage at her last event in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Senator Clinton, speaking wistfully about living the American dream.

7:06am:

DIANE SAWYER: And for the bottom line, let's go now to chief Washington correspondent, host of This Week, George Stephanopoulos. So, George, is it going to happen? Is Senator Obama going to declare victory in the primaries?
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: It is going to happen, Diane. He is going to go out, sometime shortly after 10pm eastern time tonight, after those Montana polls close and declare victory. The super delegates are coming his way. Claire is exactly right. They're hoping to be able to say that it's these voters in Montana and South Dakota that have put him over the line but tonight. But the super delegates are going to come in today. He will declare victory tonight. It is a moment of history.
SAWYER: So, If he says, I am the nominee, what is she going to do?
STEPHANOPOULOS: All eyes are going to turn back to Senator Clinton. We see that she's meeting all day today with President Clinton, with her other supporters. She's going to face something of a difficult decision. I imagine that he's going to telling her, take your time. Don't be rushed into anything. You're tired right now. Don't make any decisions under pressure. But she is going to face pressure to say something by tomorrow, Thursday at the latest.
SAWYER: When we see that iconic scene on the plane where he's reaching out to her and she's so tired -- she's so clearly tired there. As well as you know them, do you think that this is a scene -- are these people going to suspend the campaign or are they going to end the campaign?
STEPHANOPOULOS: And that is the clear question right now. First of all, he's, I'm sure, saying to her on that whole plane ride, is how proud he is of her for the work she's done over these last 18 months. They probably shared some anger at the media And we saw a little bit of that yesterday as well. But the real debate is going to come down, do you suspend or do you get out? They might try to have it both ways where she formally suspends the campaign but gives a fulsome speech endorsing, endorsing Barack Obama again sometime this week.
SAWYER: And you said that Rahm Emanuel is probably going to be the broker for all of this for the campaign debt. What else?
STEPHANOPOULOS: He's one of the people best placed to be the broker. As you know, he's a very close aide, a former aide to President Clinton, very close friend to Barack Obama. Another possible agent here would be Bob Barnett, the Washington lawyer who was a loyal friend of Hillary Clinton, was also book agent for Obama. What they're going to be talking about are things like how does Obama help retire the campaign debt? What kind of a policy role does Senator Clinton play in the campaign? And then, you know, and this is still on the table, the dream ticket. I mean, and I think one of the things they're going to be talking about today is how hard does she push with her 17 million votes for that place on the ticket?
SAWYER: So, what do you bet?
STEPHANOPOULOS: I've been betting on this all year, Diane.
SAWYER: One more bet for old times sake, here.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I think it's the best ticket for the Democrats. I think if Barack Obama picks her, they have the best chance of winning. I know there's a lot of resistance in the Obama camp. But if she is not going to get it, she is going to have to be very convincing in saying she didn't want it.
SAWYER: And you think she may want it?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Sure.
SAWYER: In fact, she might be available. All right. Thanks so much, George. And we've heard earlier, what, six million babies have been born since the campaign started.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That's a long time, isn't it?
SAWYER: And we thought we would point out a couple other things. The candidates have spent about $200 million each since this started. And here is a map showing you where they've been over the last year and a half. Senator Clinton attending more than a thousand campaign events. Senator Obama attending nearly 800. It is a historic day. Thanks again, George.

Gergen on CNN: Magazine Story on Bill
Clinton Skips Good Works

During a segment on Monday's Anderson Cooper 360, CNN senior political analyst (and former Clinton adviser) David Gergen, responding to Todd Purdum's just-released article in the July issue of Vanity Fair on Bill Clinton, acknowledged that the former President "does have a temper, and he goes off like Mount Vesuvius," but then went on to criticize Purdum's article, complaining it "does not give enough weight to what he has done in the non-profit sector," specifically referring to the Clinton Global Initiative.

Clinton called Purdum, formerly with the New York Times, a "scumbag," "sleazy," and a "really dishonest reporter." He also accused the Vanity Fair editor of trying to "nail Hillary for Obama. It's the most biased press coverage in history."

[This item, by the MRC's Matthew Balan, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

For Purdum's piece, "Bubba Trouble: The Comeback Id," go to: www.vanityfair.com

Gergen participated in a panel discussion which included CNN correspondent Candy Crowley and another of CNN's senior political analysts, Gloria Borger. Host Anderson Cooper asked Gergen for his thoughts on Clinton's "lashing out" in response to the Vanity Fair article. After acknowledging the former President's "Mount Vesuvius" temper, he explained that Bill Clinton "typically, in the past, has done it in private. And I think this -- in this campaign, for the first time, we have seen him do it in public or two or three occasions." Despite these outbursts, Gergen thought that the idea of Barack Obama/Hillary Clinton "dream ticket" "makes more sense than I originally thought it did, but...comments like this really do not help"

All three panelists unanimously extolled the journalistic credibility of Purdum at some point during the segment, which began at the top of the 10 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program. Gergen suggested that Clinton "really doesn't feel that way of Todd Purdum, of The New York Times, after all, Todd Purdum, who is married to his first press secretary, Dee Dee Myers." Crowley, during her answer on the matter, stated that she knew Purdum and that "he's a great reporter." Borger replied: "I agree with everyone here that Todd Purdum is a very -- you know, is a very serious journalist."

After all three had weighed in on the matter, Gergen tried to sympathize with Clinton concerning one key point that, as Tim Graham noted in his earlier blog, the former President has claimed that he "helped save the lives of 1,300,000 people in his post-presidency:"

GERGEN: Let me just say one other thing, Anderson, if I might.And that is, the article, I do think -- I do think the Clinton people have -- and Bill Clinton's people have a fair point that the article does not give enough weight to what he has done in the non-profit sector. The Clinton Global Initiative is actually an extraordinarily important initiative, very similar to what Jimmy Carter has done, in a different way, in his own way. I think it has provided enormous help in places in Africa. I think -- I think he's thrown himself into this. And what we have seen of Bill Clinton on the trail is only a piece of who Bill Clinton has become, you know, the pieces we have seen of him campaigning for Hillary, and I think he has thrown himself into this race for Hillary. But he has had this other portfolio.
COOPER: Todd Purdum said earlier to Wolf Blitzer, well, look, you know, plenty of people have written articles about all of that stuff in the Clinton Initiative, and, sure, there's plenty of good work. That's not what this article is about.
GERGEN: Well, but if you're going to assess Bill Clinton's post presidency, it does seem to me that that portion of his life, which is 55-
COOPER: Needs to be a full portrayal.
GERGEN: -60 percent or 70 percent, probably, of his time in the last six or seven years.

NBC's Engel Charges in New Book: U.S.
'Invaded the Wrong Country'

Invited on to promote his new book, War Journal, NBC's Middle Eastern correspondent Richard Engel claimed, on Tuesday's Today show, that it wasn't "an opinion piece." However, in the book, Engel reveals a definite point of view as he called the Iraq war "a war of opportunity," and charged: "The U.S. invaded the wrong country....I don't know how you recover from invading the wrong country, no matter how you spin it."

Engel tried to deny the book's slant in an exchange with Today co-host Meredith Vieira:

MEREDITH VIEIRA: You know this is not a political treatise, but you do take a position about the war. You call it "a war of opportunity." And you write: "The problem was that the U.S. invaded the wrong country, destroying an odious government that was not responsible for 9/11. I don't know how you recover from invading the wrong country, no matter how you spin it." As a journalist, did you worry that you were crossing a line when you said that?
RICHARD ENGEL: There are concerns. When, when I do reports for, for this program and for others, you have to tell it as it is. You have to say this is what happened today. These are the trends going on. But when you try and look back and you see what has happened over the last five years, patterns do start to emerge and I think it would be wrong to try and say that there aren't any patterns when you see how before the war has been changing from one stage to another. So, I try and point them out. And I think it's, it's an on-the-ground look at the war and not, not so much an opinion piece.

[This item, by Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org

A little later in the interview, Vieira did point out that Engel writes in the book that things are "getting better" in Iraq, but oddly enough that's a bit of news that's rarely reported on NBC News' airwaves. In fact, neither NBC's Today show or Nightly News, as the June 3 CyberAlert noted, has yet reported that in May the fewest number of U.S. servicemen were killed in Iraq in any month since the war began. See: www.mrc.org

The following is the full interview as it occurred in the 8:30am half hour of the June 3 Today show:

MEREDITH VIEIRA: Fighting the war in Iraq is tough business. So is covering it.

[BEGIN MONTAGE]
BRIAN WILLIAMS: With us here today, Richard Engel, who has covered the war in Iraq since the-
MEREDITH VIEIRA: NBC's Middle East correspondent Richard Engel is in Baghdad.
RICHARD ENGEL: I started by asking the President about-
ANN CURRY: NBC's Richard Engel-
ENGEL: Controversy centers on a window-
[END MONTAGE]

VIEIRA: For the first past five years, NBC's Middle East bureau chief Richard Engel has lived in a war zone. As a reporter on the front lines, there is little that he hasn't seen.
ENGEL: An IED just exploded next to our vehicle. Inside here, it still smells like gun powder.
VIEIRA: He's dodged bullets on several occasions.
ENGEL: There is still a lot of fire coming at us, some of it is exploding in the car that was hit by an improvised explosive device.
VIEIRA: Escaped kidnaping attempts.
ENGEL: Car stopped in front. Another car pulled up to try to and sandwich me in.
VIEIRA: And has seen too many dead bodies to count. But even with those harsh realities of war, Richard wouldn't think of living anywhere else, driven by his passion for the region and his ambition to tell its stories. And Richard Engel has documented his journey in a new book War Journal: My Five Years in Iraq. Richard, good morning. It's so nice to have you here with us.
RICHARD ENGEL: Thank you very much. It's my pleasure.
VIEIRA: Thank you. You know you, you moved to Iraq back in February 2003, a month before the U.S. invasion but that's not where you start your book. First chapter is dated, September 15th, 2003, al-Dawr, Iraq. That is the day that you and other journalists were taken to the spot where Saddam Hussein was captured. Literally a hole in the ground that you entered to see what that was like.
ENGEL: It was shocking.
VIEIRA: Why did you want to start your book there with that particular anecdote?
ENGEL: Well I think Saddam Hussein's story really is very revealing and telling about the whole journey of Iraq. That this dictator, America's enemy, was found on the run, hiding in a hole. Iraqis couldn't even believe it at the time, that this person who they had seen, a lot of them hated, but at least seen as put on a pedestal was discovered with this beard, hiding from the Americans. Then he was put on trial by the Americans in his former palace, sentenced to death by an Iranian-backed government, the same people who had tried to execute him. So things, his story, alone, I think, encapsulates a lot of the, the struggles and the transformation that Iraq has gone through. I could have started it earlier. I've been living in the region about, about 12 years now, but I thought starting with Saddam and continuing 'til, up until about now, the surge period, shows a, shows a very dramatic change.
VIEIRA: And when you entered Iraq, you know, you saw this as an opportunity, really, because there were so few journalists there at the time. And you were basically a gung-ho war correspondent but discovered along the way that correspondents who are covering wars go through stages.
ENGEL: There are, I'd been living in, I lived in Cairo for four years, learned Arabic and then I did three years in Jerusalem, covering the West Bank and Gaza Strip and then decided the war in Iraq was about to happen. It was clear troops were already starting to arrive in the region. And I thought well, this is going to be the one. This is going to be the game changer. I have to get there. Took some money, about $20,000 and went into Iraq, was staying at people's house and waiting for the invasion to begin. And at this stage, I was probably in what I've called, "stage one." I'm invincible. I'm ready. I'm excited. You're living on adrenaline. Then as the war goes on and the insurgency begins, you start to go into the next stage where you think, "You know what? This is dangerous. I could get hurt over here." And that really starts to sink in. Then the war continues and friends start to get kidnaped or killed and you see bodies on the streets and they early stages of a civil war. And you think, "You know what? I've been over here so long, I'm probably going to get hurt."
VIEIRA: Yeah.
ENGEL: And then, at a certain stage, you hit rock bottom and you feel, "I've used up my time. Stage four. I'm going to die in this conflict." And that's a dark place to go into. You know, you occasionally, go in and then you pull out. And it's no place, it's no place you want to spend a lot of time. And then it fluctuates.
VIEIRA: It fluctuates, yeah. You know this is not a political treatise, but you do take a position about the war. You call it "a war of opportunity." And you write, "The problem was that the U.S. invaded the wrong country, destroying an odious government that was not responsible for 9/11. I don't know how you recover from invading the wrong country, no matter how you spin it." As a journalist, did you worry that you were crossing a line when you said that?
ENGEL: There are concerns. When, when I do reports for, for this program and for others. You have to tell it as it is. You have to say this is what happened today. These are the trends going on. But when you try and look back and you see what has happened over the last five years, patterns do start to emerge and I think it would be wrong to try and say that there aren't any patterns when you see how before the war has been changing from one stage to another. So, I try and point them out. And I think it's, it's an on-the-ground look at the war and not, not so much an opinion piece.
VIEIRA: You also talk about how people's perceptions of the war and interest in the war, here in the United States have changed. That's how you end the book. You say, "Now we have crews and bureaus here but the world has moved on. People don't want to hear about Iraq anymore. It's frustrating. Sometimes I wonder why I have done all this." So, when you ask yourself that question, five years later, what is the answer?
ENGEL: The problem was and I'll put you in the mind-set where I was. I first arrived in Baghdad and as I was watching "Shock and Awe," from the Palestine Hotel, watching the Saddam statue come down, and be torn down by, by Iraqis and with, with the help of U.S. troops. I, everyone, it was such a moment of excitement. Everyone want to know every sound, and picture and image that we could get out of Iraq. Now five years later, we have a huge infrastructure in the country, but the interest level has dropped dramatically.
And that's one of the most frustrating things when you're in Baghdad and you want to tell a story and people don't want to listen. Even two years ago, when I would comeback on visits like, like this to see my family and friends in the states, I couldn't go out to dinner without people saying, "Well, what's going on? Who are the Sunnis and Shiites and what's Muqtada al-Sadr's story?" Now nobody asks any more. People don't want to hear it, even on a, on a personal level. So you do start to reflect. And has it been worth it, has it been, all the sacrifice? And I think it has. And I think it's a very important story that hasn't ended yet. And I think it's important-
VIEIRA: And the irony is-
ENGEL: -we need keep focusing on.
VIEIRA: And the irony is that things are actually getting better, as you point out in your book. Richard Engel, always a pleasure to have you here.
ENGEL: Thank you very much.
VIEIRA: Wonderful reporting. The, the book is called, War Journal: My Five Years in Iraq.

For how Engel confronted the President on the Iraq war: www.mrc.org

Harris Responds to HBO Film: Gore Fought
Statewide Recount

In an appearance on Monday's Hannity and Colmes on FNC, former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, and the attorney who represented her during the 2000 legal actions, Joe Klock, responded to the HBO movie Recount, about the 2000 Florida recount of the presidential election, as she charged that the movie ignored Harris's early attempt to implement a statewide recount in Florida, a move which was fought by the Al Gore campaign. According to Klock, Gore "wanted no part of" a statewide recount, instead preferring to "count in their four carefully-selected counties," which were predominantly Democratic.

The segment began with a clip of actress Laura Dern negatively portraying Katherine Harris in the movie Recount. Harris responded: "I'm quite accustomed to being mocked in terms of my appearance, but when the truth is so flagrantly disregarded...we had to respond. In fact, in the closing scene of this film, when two of Gore's lead campaign consultants were leaving by the airplane, they said, 'You know, we should have gone after that statewide recount at the beginning.' Had the author of this film...bothered to do the research, then, perhaps, he would have learned that indeed we did that from the very start."

[This item, by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, was posted Tuesday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Sean Hannity elaborated: "In a nutshell, you had ordered and asked the Florida Supreme Court, if I recall, and you tell me if I'm wrong here, to order a statewide recount. You wanted them to use uniform counting standards. You did so one week after election day. But it was the Gore campaign that, you know, cherry-picked four heavily Democratic districts that wanted different standards of deciding. Isn't that true?"

Klock answered: "We filed that action at 3:00 in the morning on November 15, and by 9:00 in the morning, the Gore people were all over it. They wanted no part of that. They only wanted to count in their four carefully-selected counties. There was such an outrage about it, and then later that day, the Supreme Court dismissed it without prejudice."

Harris added: "If Al Gore had allowed us, and if the Florida Supreme Court had not intervened and rewritten the law, which they're not supposed to do, we could have certified, which is a mere procedural action, and then after that, they could have petitioned any justice for a recount statewide, with uniform standards. And they would have had the time to complete the statewide recount, which we wanted to do."

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Monday, June 2 Hannity and Colmes on FNC:

KATHERINE HARRIS, FORMER FLORIDA SECRETARY OF STATE: I'm quite accustomed to being mocked in terms of my appearance, but when the truth is so flagrantly disregarded -- Joe Klock, who was actually the attorney during the recount -- we had to respond. In fact, in the closing scene of this film, when two of Gore's lead campaign consultants were leaving by the airplane, they said, "You know, we should have gone after that statewide recount at the beginning." Had the author of this film, who was the actor in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, bothered to do the research, then, perhaps, he would have learned that indeed we did that from the very start.

...

SEAN HANNITY: This is too important, now. I didn't see the movie before I interviewed Kevin Spacey, but I did pick up from the trailer and other parts that they had attacked you, and I asked him about that. After seeing the movie, it was so biased and so radically left wing, I want to bring Spacey back and tell him where he was wrong because here's the truth: In a nutshell, you had ordered and asked the Florida Supreme Court, if I recall, and you tell me if I'm wrong here, to order a statewide recount. You wanted them to use uniform counting standards. You did so one week after election day. But it was the Gore campaign that, you know, cherry-picked four heavily Democratic districts that wanted different standards of deciding. Isn't that true?
HARRIS: You're absolutely right. Joe?
JOE KLOCK, ATTORNEY FOR KATHERINE HARRIS: We filed that action at 3:00 in the morning on November 15, and by 9:00 in the morning, the Gore people were all over it. They wanted no part of that. They only wanted to count in their four carefully-selected counties. There was such an outrage about it, and then later that day, the Supreme Court dismissed it without prejudice.
HARRIS: Let me say this very simply. If Al Gore had allowed us, and if the Florida Supreme Court had not intervened and rewritten the law, which they're not supposed to do, we could have certified, which is a mere procedural action, and then after that, they could have petitioned any justice for a recount statewide, with uniform standards. And they would have had the time to complete the statewide recount, which we wanted to do.
HANNITY: But the ironic part is you wanted a statewide recount.
HARRIS: I did. I thought-
HANNITY: You wanted every vote counted. And they're the ones that selected the Democratic counties. They're the ones that wanted-
HARRIS: Well, let me say this. Let me just say this. We just wanted it to proceed in an orderly and fair fashion. That's why I hired independent counsel to assure that. But the key point here is this: Had they allowed me to certify on time, there would have been time for the statewide recount. I was elected to follow the law. I swore that oath. And by doing so, I was protecting Al Gore's legal rights. His political team was concerned that, because of the virtue of that certification, it would harm him politically. So he listened to his political advisers, instead of Dexter Douglass, his Florida counsel, who said that I should, indeed, certify on time according to the rule of law and as the law was written.

Top Ten Things Overheard at Hillary Clinton
Campaign Headquarters

From the June 3 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Things Overheard at Hillary Clinton Campaign Headquarters." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com

10. "I can't believe the campaign's over already"

9. "Hillary's changing into her concession pantsuit"

8. "This is more depressing than a Mets game" - He did not say that!

7. "So they're nominating the guy with the most delegates, superdelegates, and states won? Outrageous!"

6. "Did you hear -- the marquee melted on Letterman"

5. "Help us, Iron Man!!"

4. "The Senator is in intense negotiations with Jim Beam"

3. "There's a guy here to repossess the watercooler"

2. "It's not the end -- you can always get fat and make a global warming documentary"

1. "Is Obama still hiring?"

-- Brent Baker