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ABC: Missed Chance to Show "Good Faith"; NBC: Bush "Fumbled" --1/5/2005


1. ABC: Missed Chance to Show "Good Faith"; NBC: Bush "Fumbled"
Last week and continuing this week the broadcast network morning shows have devoted time to making the case that the U.S. has been too stingy with aid for tsunami victims and that President Bush was too slow to express sympathy. On today's (Tuesday) Good Morning America, Diane Sawyer quizzed Colin Powell in Thailand: "There's all kinds of second guessing going on that America missed a great opportunity, particularly in an intensely Muslim area to show good faith in the beginning." When Powell touted how he was the first to offer help to the Thai government, Sawyer shot back: "But other countries were giving more." On Thursday's Today on NBC, Matt Lauer proposed: "Here we have a monumental disaster affecting some nine or eleven countries, an entire region of the world and the President waits three days to make an appearance and talk about it. Was it a political fumble?" Lauer even brought up spending on Iraq.

2. CBS's Plante Recites Slow Bush Response, Hope of More Than Bombs
CBS's Bill Plante concluded his Monday Evening News and Tuesday Early Show stories, on President Bush's naming of former Presidents Bush and Clinton to raise money for tsunami aid, by reciting a time line of the Bush administration's supposedly laggard response and then concluding with how the announcement was allegedly predicated on "the hope that the U.S. hasn't missed the chance to show South Asia, especially its Muslims, that it has more to offer than bombs and bullets."

3. Bush Named Dad & Clinton to "Take the Heat Off" on Fed Spending
President Bush asked former Presidents Bush and Clinton to raise private funds to "take off some of the heat" from the federal government? So Katie Couric suggested on Tuesday's Today, a contention similarly forwarded by CBS's Harry Smith. Couric proceeded to take the opportunity to describe Bill Clinton as "a noted deficit hawk," as she worried about the cost of the war in Iraq.

4. Stephanopoulos Harangues Powell on U.S. Stinginess, Hails Annan
ABC's George Stephanopoulos, on Thursday's Nightline, repeatedly pressed Secretary of State Colin Powell about the supposed stinginess and slow response of President Bush to the tsunami. But on Sunday's This Week, Stephanopoulos acted in awe of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, treating him as the authority to judge the adequacy of the U.S. response, seeking assurance that the U.S. would not "bypass" the UN and he hailed the UN: "Are you confident now that everyone in the core group, that all the industrialized nations recognize the leadership role of the United Nations here?" Stephanopoulos also yearned for the UN to take advantage of the tragedy to restore its leadership role: "Could this crisis...become an opportunity for the UN to prove to the world what it can do?" In contrast, he had pressed Powell with how "critics have said" that "this was a missed opportunity to show compassion." And Stephanopoulos lobbied: "When you look at all of the developed nations in the world, as a percentage of our GDP, we still are the lowest. Shouldn't we have a goal of increasing that?"

5. Ceci Connolly: U.S. Stingy, Scolds Bush for Delay in Speaking
On Fox News Sunday, Washington Post reporter Ceci Connolly argued that the U.S. is too stingy with foreign aid and scolded President Bush for taking four days to say "we're sorry." Connolly recited how the federal government gave "$926 million tax dollars" to Floridians for last year's hurricanes and how "we're spending $18 billion on rebuilding" in Iraq, but complained that "the U.S. development aid budget right now is about one-tenth of one percent of our gross national income. That's not a lot of money." She soon kvetched: "It took the President four days to make sympathy telephone calls to the leaders of the four countries hit hardest by this tsunami, to pick up the telephone and say, 'we're sorry, we feel for you.' That symbolism is what's hurting the United States right now."

6. Newsweek's Clift: "'Bush-Orwell '04: Ignorance is Strength'"
Newsweek's Eleanor Clift used the McLaughlin Group's year-end awards shows to take some shots from the left at what happened during the campaign. Clift recalled how she "saw a bumper sticker the other day that said 'Bush-Orwell '04: Ignorance is Strength.'" For her "Bummest Rap" she chose the attacks on John Kerry's Purple Hearts, "one of the slimiest and yet effective attacks in modern politics." Asked to name who was "Most Overrated," she picked President Bush for "leading us to military defeat abroad and financial ruin at home and yet is praised as a strong leader."


ABC: Missed Chance to Show "Good Faith";
NBC: Bush "Fumbled"

ABC's Diane Sawyer & Colin Powell Last week and continuing this week the broadcast network morning shows have devoted time to making the case that the U.S. has been too stingy with aid for tsunami victims and that President Bush was too slow to express sympathy. On today's (Tuesday) Good Morning America, Diane Sawyer quizzed Colin Powell in Thailand: "There's all kinds of second guessing going on that America missed a great opportunity, particularly in an intensely Muslim area to show good faith in the beginning." When Powell touted how he was the first to offer help to the Thai government, Sawyer shot back: "But other countries were giving more."

On Thursday's Today on NBC, Matt Lauer brought aboard Newsweek's Howard Fineman and the BBC's Katty Kay to discuss the timing of Bush's comments. Lauer proposed: "Here we have a monumental disaster affecting some nine or eleven countries, an entire region of the world and the President waits three days to make an appearance and talk about it. Was it a political fumble?" Fineman agreed it was. Turning to Kay, he wondered: "Have we blown it, at least in the early stages?" Kay, too, agreed and fretted about Bush's supposed delay in speaking out.

Lauer managed to bring in Iraq: "Howard, in the next couple of days you're gonna hear all kinds of comparisons and we're already hearing them right now that, that the $35 million pledged so far by the U.S. amounts to about what the military spends in four hours during a typical day in Iraq."

# The January 4 GMA opened with a taped interview by ABC's Diane Sawyer, conducted outside in Thailand, of Secretary of State Colin Powell. The MRC's Brian Boyd took down the start of the session. Sawyer set it up: "This morning Secretary of State Colin Powell, Governor Jeb Bush had a chance to come here to see if the people in these distant regions can get the help they need. And I talked with them just minutes ago. This morning the Secretary and the President's brother got their first hand account of the disaster. With the U.S. now giving $350 million in aid questions persist about the US initial offer, which was small, just $15 million."

Sawyer's first two questions to Powell: "As you know, there's all kinds of second guessing going on that America missed a great opportunity, particularly in an intensely Muslim area to show good faith in the beginning."
Powell: "Hang on, hang on. A little while ago the Thai foreign minister and I gave a press conference and what he said was the first person to call him, the first person to call the Thai government was me, last Sunday night. And I said to him, 'What do you need?'"
Sawyer: "But other countries were giving more."
Powell: "No, Diane, that's not right. We have to get this right because everybody keeps lingering on this story. The Japanese initially gave a fairly modest amount. It was only at the end of the week when they realized the scale of the disaster that they go up to $500 million. And so, the United States has been in the lead. Our ships were launched, our disaster teams were launched, task forces were set up, money started to flow immediately."


# Five days earlier, on the Thursday, December 30 Today, Matt Lauer set up a segment caught by the MRC's Geoff Dickens:
"On Close Up this morning is the United States doing enough to help out in Asia? Some critics are saying the $35 million the U.S. has pledged so far is not nearly enough while others are accusing President Bush of simply waiting too long to speak out about the disaster. NBC News analyst Howard Fineman is Newsweek magazine's chief political correspondent and Katty Kay is the Washington correspondent for the BBC. Good morning to both of you."

Lauer proposed to Fineman: "Howard, let me turn to you right now. We've just come through an election cycle where the President and the team he has assembled around him have shown just how keen their political instincts can be when they're focused and here we have a monumental disaster affecting some nine or eleven countries, an entire region of the world and the President waits three days to make an appearance and talk about it. Was it a political fumble?"
Fineman: "Well they won't admit it but the answer is yes. George Bush believes in actions not words, he says talk is cheap. But sometimes talk is invaluable, Matt, especially in the global village that we live in now. The internet, home video, all of that has changed the way the world operates. This is a President who takes his vacations seriously. He once told me that his idea of relaxation is bass fishing on a row boat in a middle of a lake. You can't do that as President. You can't do that."
Lauer: "Yeah but Howard did he underestimate the scope of this tragedy?"
Fineman: "Yes I think he did. I think many people did initially. Also for Americans they don't know that much about this part of the world as Katty knows from personal experience. Europeans are familiar with this region, we're not. No excuse for this President. I think he needed to be out there symbolically. If we're in the battle for the hearts and minds of the world, especially the billion Moslems in the world he needed to pay close attention especially in this region. Aceh the province of Indonesia that's hardest hit here is a, is a, has a very strong Islamic separatist movement. Is symbolic, is important symbolically in the, in the Moslem world."
Lauer: "Right."
Fineman snidely suggested: "George Bush knew nothing about that I dare say."
Lauer: "Yeah let's talk about this. So a missed opportunity Katty? I mean we do have this region of the world with an enormous Muslim population and, and in the overall and larger war on terror we are trying to win these hearts and minds. Have we blown it, at least in the early stages?"
Kay: "Look you can't overstate how little America is liked around the world at the moment particularly in the Muslim world. This is an area of the world where it would be so useful for the President to get people on board in fighting the war on terrorism to get cooperation when it came to intelligence, to come to law enforcement, to exchanging information. Goodwill goes a very long way in diplomacy and for the President to have come out on Monday. He didn't need to come out with a dollar statement because we didn't know at that time how much money was going to be needed but he would have lost nothing by coming out on Monday evening and saying, 'Our hearts, the American hearts are with the people of Asia. We will do everything we can to help them.' It really wouldn't have cost very much."
Lauer: "Right. Let me, let me, let me backtrack for a second and say we're maybe getting ahead of ourselves in that we're only four days or five days into this tragedy and, and the U.S. can still do an awful lot. Katty do you think money is going to talk? We pledged $35 million so far. A lot of people are critical that that amount is too little. If we go and, and go to the limit and go to the mat and pledge a lot of money to help rebuild this part of the world will it have a great impact?"
Kay: "Well America has pledged $35 million. Spain has pledged, a much smaller country, has already pledged $60 million. More does need to be pledged. My concern is that there needs to be patience and a long term commitment here. This is not a tragedy that's gonna go away in the next week or two and the Americans and the American government needs to have a long term commitment to rebuilding the lives of these people in Asia. This isn't something that you can walk away from in just a few days. And there is an issue of patience that Americans, as Howard was saying, are not very aware of this region it seems a very long, long way away. Perhaps they don't know people who've been personally touched but don't forget about the Asians. They're gonna need to rebuild their lives and it's gonna take a very long time and a lot more money than the American government has so far pledged."
Lauer: "Howard in the next couple of days you're gonna hear all kinds of comparisons and we're already hearing them right now that, that the $35 million pledged so far by the U.S. amounts to about what the military spends in four hours during a typical day in Iraq. Are those comparisons fair?"
Fineman: "Well not entirely if you believe George Bush's view of what the stakes are in Iraq. But the stakes are very important here too. Because the United States is a leader in the planet. We, George, the President of the United States is the, basically the President of the planet in certain respects. There's no part of this globe that he can't care about including if not especially this one. We're joining as he said yesterday with Japan and Australia and India for a long range repair effort here. I think it's gotta be taken seriously and I think it will but money is a problem..."

CBS's Plante Recites Slow Bush Response,
Hope of More Than Bombs

CBS's Bill Plante concluded his Monday Evening News and Tuesday Early Show stories, on President Bush's naming of former Presidents Bush and Clinton to raise money for tsunami aid, by reciting a time line of the Bush administration's supposedly laggard response and then concluding with how the announcement was predicated on "the hope that the U.S. hasn't missed the chance to show South Asia, especially its Muslims, that it has more to offer than bombs and bullets."

Plante reported in a piece, noted by the MRC's Ken Shepherd, which aired during the 8am news update on the January 4 Early Show: "The comment by a UN official early last week that the rich nations were being stingy helped to put a political cast on the aid question. The White House worked to dispel that perception."
Scott McClellan, White House Press Secretary: "The President immediately began acting on this."
Plante countered, with dates and matching video on screen: "The big waves hit on December 26th, and the U.S. made its first pledge of $15 million the next day. But the President didn't talk publicly about the disaster until December 29th, and it wasn't until December 31st that Washington, lagging behind other Western nations, raised its commitment $350 million. Talking to Harry Smith earlier this morning, the former Presidents predicted that private contributions would raise even more."
Former President George H.W. Bush: "So it will come from all quarters and it should. The Americans are very generous, and they care a lot."
Plante: "And there seems no question that this new effort will raise a lot of private money, but there's more to this than just compassion, there's also the hope that this will signal to the nations of south Asia, particularly the Muslims, that America has more to offer than bombs and bullets. Julie?"

Sans the Tuesday morning 41 clip, Plante offered the same story on Monday's CBS Evening News, though with a slightly different last line: "There's more to this than just compassion, it's also about the hope that the U.S. hasn't missed the chance to show South Asia, especially its Muslims, that it has more to offer than bombs and bullets."

Bush Named Dad & Clinton to "Take the
Heat Off" on Fed Spending

President Bush asked former Presidents Bush and Clinton to raise private funds to "take off some of the heat" from the federal government? So Katie Couric suggested on Tuesday's Today, a contention similarly forwarded by CBS's Harry Smith. Couric proceeded to take the opportunity to describe Bill Clinton as "a noted deficit hawk," as she worried about the cost of the war in Iraq.

The two ex-Presidents made the rounds of the morning shows this morning from their homes in Houston and New Castle, New York. On the Early Show, CBS's Harry Smith asked: "President Clinton, is this a sign, because of this private fundraising effort, that there is a limit to how much the United States will spend in this effort?"

Later, over on NBC's Today, Katie Couric pursued a similar line, as taken down by the MRC's Geoff Dickens:
Couric: "Clearly looking to private citizens even corporations for badly needed funds. Is this in any way, President Bush, designed to take off some of the heat from the federal government in terms of what it will be donating to the victims?"
Bush: "To pick up, I didn't hear your question Katie-"
Couric: "To take off, is it, is it designed to take off some of the heat from the federal government in terms of what it will be donating to the victims? In other words to, to supplement what the U.S. government is donating?"

Couric soon asserted: "President Clinton do you, are you ever concerned? I know you're a noted deficit hawk. You worked very hard to reduce the deficit during your administration. The deficit in some people's view is, is really getting out of control. The cost of the war in Iraq. Richard Lugar said on Sunday said on Sunday this could go into the billions of dollars in terms of what the U.S. government parcels out. Are you concerned about that?"

Stephanopoulos Harangues Powell on U.S.
Stinginess, Hails Annan

ABC's George Stephanopoulos, on Thursday's Nightline, repeatedly pressed Secretary of State Colin Powell about the supposed stinginess and slow response of President Bush to the tsunami. But on Sunday's This Week, Stephanopoulos acted in awe of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, treating him as the authority to judge the adequacy of the U.S. response, seeking assurance that the U.S. would not "bypass" the UN and he hailed the UN: "Are you confident now that everyone in the core group, that all the industrialized nations recognize the leadership role of the United Nations here?" Stephanopoulos also yearned for the UN to take advantage of the tragedy to restore its leadership role: "Could this crisis, as horrible as it is, become an opportunity for the UN to prove to the world what it can do?"

In contrast, he had pressed Powell: "You say you spoke to the President on Monday. Why did it take so long for him to come out publicly?" Stephanopoulos raised how "critics have said" that "this was a missed opportunity to show compassion." Stephanopoulos was unimpressed with the promised $35 million: "I'm surprised you stopped at millions. I mean, when Hurricane Mitch hit in 1998, the U.S. gave almost a billion dollars. Isn't this going to be billions?" And Stephanopoulos, disregarding Powell's points about the huge amount donated by Americans and the role of the U.S. Navy in delivering relief, lobbied: "When you look at all of the developed nations in the world, as a percentage of our GDP, we still are the lowest. Shouldn't we have a goal of increasing that?"

The MRC's Jessica Anderson, in her last days of single-hood, took down highlights from the two interviews conducted by Stephanopoulos.

-- ABC's Nightline, December 30. The interview was taped in an ornate State Department room.

Stephanopoulos' first question, joined in progress: "...The kind of chaos you saw there [in India] is only one of the challenges facing the rest of the world as it tries to figure out how to help, and those efforts took off today. Stung by criticism that they were slow off the mark, the world's richest nations began a benevolent bidding war. France doubled its pledge to $57 million, Britain tripled its pledge to $95 million, Sweden promised $75.5 million, and when I asked the Secretary of State about the U.S. contribution, he said that it could eventually reach the billions. Right now, of course, the U.S. pledge is just $35 million, so Secretary Powell came to the Treaty Room in the State Department, prepared to beat back the charge that the U.S. has been slow off the mark and stingy."
[Powell]
Stephanopoulos: "You say you spoke to the President on Monday. Why did it take so long for him to come out publicly?"
Powell: "I don't think it look long. He was public right away with statements coming out of the White House that the United States would be involved...."
Stephanopoulos: "But you've heard what the President's critics have said. They said that this was a missed opportunity to show compassion."
Powell: "It's not a missed opportunity, George, and let's not get down this road. The United States is the most generous nation in the world with respect to dealing with these kinds of emergencies, and the opportunity has not been missed. In fact, we are working with the countries in the region, with the countries that are affected....There's no missed opportunity here. The United States is responding. This is going to take many, many millions of dollars, not only from the United States, from the international community. It's going to be a significant cost to us and to the international community, and we have demonstrated in the past that we will meet these obligations."
Stephanopoulos: "I'm surprised you stopped at millions. I mean, when Hurricane Mitch hit in 1998, the U.S. gave almost a billion dollars. Isn't this going to be billions?"
Powell: "No, George, I'm not stopping anywhere. It may well be billions, but I don't know what yet [sic] the United States's contribution will be. What we have to do is make a needs assessment and not just grasp at numbers or think we're in some kind of an auction house where every day somebody has to top someone else....I don't know what that contribution will be yet until we have a needs assessment, and so I cannot tell you where it's hundreds of millions or billions or how much the whole international community will put down on the table for this...."
Stephanopoulos: "You mentioned Indonesia, the most populous Muslim nation in the world. How important is it for the United States to take this opportunity, if it hasn't been missed, to prove to the Muslim world that we are on their side?"
Powell: "I think it will have that effect, but you know, it's not just because they're Muslims that we're on their side. We're on the side of people who are in need and we have come to the assistance of Muslims repeatedly in years past, in recent years past....So we have nothing to apologize for, with respect to what we have tried to do to help Muslims over the years. And this is another example of our willingness to help, but we're doing it because we're compassionate people, a generous people, a giving people, and not to try to get political advantage because we're showing off to a particular group. Indonesia is a friendly nation to the United States. All of the countries that were hard hit are friends of the United States. Some are allies of the United States, such as Thailand. This is an opportunity for us to help our friends and allies."

Stephanopoulos, following a commercial break: "You know, I can tell you bristle at this notion that the United States hasn't done enough or it was too little, too late, and this idea that we've been stingy. But when you look at all of the developed nations in the world, as a percentage of our GDP, we still are the lowest. Shouldn't we have a goal of increasing that?"
Powell: "George, I would like to see much more money available, but we are the most generous nation on the face of the earth. Now, as you measure it as a percentage of GDP, you could make the case that we're not as high as others, but as you measure it as actual money going out the door to help people, we are the most generous nation on the face of the earth...."


-- ABC's This Week, January 2, played back a taped interview conducted by Stephanopoulos with Kofi Annan in New York.

Stephanopoulos: "Has the UN ever had to deal with anything like this?"
Annan: "This is the largest disaster we've had to deal with...."
Stephanopoulos: "And the exploding crisis has been met in recent days by this outpouring of compassion and aid from the world. How would you characterize the response of the world to this crisis so far?"
Annan: "I think this has been perhaps one of the most generous responses that I have seen or we have seen in a long time...In seven days we've got more money in response to the tsunami crisis than we did for all the humanitarian appeals we issued in 2004."
Stephanopoulos: "That would suggest that the world had not done enough for these other disasters."
Annan: "We call them the 'orphaned disasters.' They are not on the headlines, they are not on TV, and they are ignored and overlooked...."
Stephanopoulos: "What is the most immediate need right now?"
[Annan]
Stephanopoulos: "There was some suggestion when that core group was set up that it was an attempt to bypass the United Nations. Are you confident now that everyone in the core group, that all the industrialized nations recognize the leadership role of the United Nations here?"
Annan: "Yes, I think they all do. They all do because I have spoken to the core group...."
Stephanopoulos: "Have you spoken to President Bush about this?"
Annan: "I haven't spoken to, I spoke to him before Christmas, but I haven't spoken to him about this. I've been working with Secretary Powell on this and as you know, he was here yesterday to pursue the discussions."
Stephanopoulos: "And Secretary Powell is now on his way to the region, and I know that many of the nations in the region have invited you to go to a pledge meeting on January 6th. Are you prepared to go?"
[Annan]
Stephanopoulos: "And when you look beyond the immediate crisis, what kind of an appeal are you going to be making? What needs to be done over the long term?"
[Annan]
Stephanopoulos: "And how do you avoid the problem we've seen so many times with natural disasters. You see this outpouring of compassion, but then the immediate crisis passes, the cameras go away, the money dries up, and the aid doesn't reach its intended target. How do you avoid that this time?"
[Annan]
Stephanopoulos: "And how long do you think this process, this reconstruction process is going to take?"
[Annan]
Stephanopoulos: "This comes at the end of what you called a horrible year for the United Nations -- the shadows of the Oil For Food scandal. Given that, how do you convince the world this time that you can handle an effort on this scale with competence, with credibility and without corruption?"
[Annan]
Stephanopoulos: "It also made the UN a target, and I guess what I'm asking you, can you prove with this, the handling of this crisis, that you can achieve those results without the corruption?"
[Annan]
Stephanopoulos: "From all of your experience with crises in the United Nations as Secretary General, your previous work in Kosovo and Bosnia, in Rwanda, what lessons do you draw, positive and negative, from those experiences that you can bring to bear on this crisis?"
[Annan]
Stephanopoulos: "Could this crisis, as horrible as it is, become an opportunity for the UN to prove to the world what it can do?"
[Annan]
Stephanopoulos: "Mr. Egeland described himself as the bad conscience of the world. Is that how you see your job now?"
Annan: "To some extent. we both have that job, but since he's a humanitarian coordinator and is often, both of us, speaking out for the poor, the voiceless and the weak, trying to get assistance to them, you tend to become conscience of others and nobody wants you to be their conscience and sometimes it can be irritating for them."
Stephanopoulos: "But yet that irritation at least seems to have had an effect this week."
Annan: "Sometimes helps."

Ceci Connolly: U.S. Stingy, Scolds Bush
for Delay in Speaking

On Fox News Sunday, Washington Post reporter Ceci Connolly argued that the U.S. is too stingy with foreign aid and scolded President Bush for taking four days to say "we're sorry." Connolly recited how the federal government gave "$926 million tax dollars" to Floridians for last year's hurricanes and how "we're spending $18 billion on rebuilding" in Iraq, but complained that "the U.S. development aid budget right now is about one-tenth of one percent of our gross national income. That's not a lot of money." She soon kvetched: "It took the President four days to make sympathy telephone calls to the leaders of the four countries hit hardest by this tsunami, to pick up the telephone and say, 'we're sorry, we feel for you.' That symbolism is what's hurting the United States right now."

The MRC's Megan McCormack took down much of Connolly's rant which started after Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace set up the January 2 panel discussion: "In the midst of a terrible tragedy this week, something strange happened, and that's that we got into a debate about the international community and whether it's doing enough, how fast it's doing it...How did that happen and is it a good debate or not?"

Washington Times reporter Bill Sammon noted that aid commitments increased as the magnitude of the disaster grew and so he dismissed the controversy as "much ado about nothing."

Connolly jumped in: "Well, I think it's a great debate to have. And it's unfortunate that it has to come in this circumstance, but it's healthy. And, you know, to put a little bit of this into perspective, Florida during the four hurricanes lost a little over a hundred people total. We gave $926 million tax dollars in cash assistance to that state just for relief. In Iraq, as you mentioned earlier in the program, we're spending $18 billion on rebuilding effort there. The U.S. development aid budget right now is about one-tenth of one percent of our gross national income. That's not a lot of money. And even the $350 million that's now being discussed is about buck twenty a person. Those are not huge sums of money for a country that's as wealthy as ours is."

Charles Krauthammer, a syndicated columnist, countered that the U.S. is the most generous nation in the history of the world and that the one-tenth of a percent number is misleading because it excludes private aid and the U.S. military which is delivering the aid. Even Juan Williams of NPR disagreed with Connolly as he recounted the high level of private aid not counted in the one-tenth of a percent figure and that by any measure the U.S. is "tops" in "absolute dollars."

Connolly remained unpersuaded: "This is not -- this is not necessarily an attack on whether or not individual Americans are generous or not generous. This is about how we spend our tax dollars and our government money. And when you think about the entire federal budget and where we spend money, this is a fraction of one percent goes to development aid to those poor countries historically. That is a sliver of what we spend. There is a second important point here which is not just dollars. And that has to do with symbolism. And you heard both senators [earlier guests] talk about Indonesia is the most populous Muslim country on the planet. It took the President four days to make sympathy telephone calls to the leaders of the four countries hit hardest by this tsunami, to pick up the telephone and say, 'we're sorry, we feel for you.' That symbolism is what's hurting the United States right now."

Newsweek's Clift: "'Bush-Orwell '04:
Ignorance is Strength'"

Newsweek's Eleanor Clift used the McLaughlin Group's year-end awards shows to take some shots from the left at what happened during the campaign. Clift recalled how she "saw a bumper sticker the other day that said 'Bush-Orwell '04: Ignorance is Strength.'" For her "Bummest Rap" she chose the attacks on John Kerry's Purple Hearts, "one of the slimiest and yet effective attacks in modern politics." Asked to name who was "Most Overrated," she picked President Bush for "leading us to military defeat abroad and financial ruin at home and yet is praised as a strong leader."

Amongst Clift's award recipients on the program aired over the December 25 weekend:

-- "Best Politician"
Clift: "President Bush, who did everything to lose and still won. And I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said 'Bush-Orwell '04: Ignorance is Strength.'"

-- "Bummest Rap"
Clift: "The attack on John Kerry that he didn't he didn't deserve his purple medals, one of the slimiest and yet effective attacks in modern politics."

On the program which aired over the January 1 weekend:

-- "Most Overrated"
Clift: "President Bush, who is leading us to military defeat abroad and financial ruin at home and yet is praised as a strong leader."



# Editor's Note: There was no CyberAlert or CyberAlert Special on Monday due to my being incapacitated since last week by illness. I am now beginning to recover, but probably won't do another CyberAlert until Thursday. This "catch-up" edition should have enough material to entertain and inform for two days.


-- Brent Baker