2. Most in Military Back Bush, But ABC and CBS Avoid that Reality
Today/Gallup Poll Presumes 90% of Undecideds Go to Kerry
4. Ex-NBC Reporter Recounts Weekend Campaigning with John Kerry
5. Letterman's "Top Ten Punch Lines to Dirty Election Jokes"
"The Bush campaign team had a little fun at Halloween," ABC's Charlie Gibson noted Monday morning over video of top Bush aides dressed for Halloween in hunting outfits which matched what John Kerry donned when he had his goose-hunting phot-op. But CNN anchor Carol Lin was not amused. On CNN Sunday Night, she demanded of a Bush campaign spokesman: "Was this a cheap shot at the Kerry campaign?" She then lectured him that if "you're a technologist who has seen your job outsourced to India, or you're a father or a mother with a son or daughter in Iraq and you see the lead characters, Karen Hughes, Karl Rove, no less, coming out in these outfits to make fun of John Kerry, how do you think those undecided voters are going, going to read these pictures?" MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, on Monday night, sarcastically opined: "No truth to rumors that they found these outfits at the same costume shop where they found President Bush's flight suit for the big 'Mission Accomplished' landing."
Lin's rebuke came during an October 31 session, on the 10pm EST CNN Sunday Night, with Phil Singer of the Kerry/Edwards campaign and Reed Dickens with Bush/Cheney campaign, both of whom appeared via satellite. The MRC's Rich Noyes caught the exchange.
Over video of Karl Rove, wearing a camouflage jacket and hunting hat with flaps hanging down over the ears, going down the steps of an airplane, and a clip of an identically-attired Karen Hughes, Scott McClellan and Dan Bartlett at the bottom of the stairs at the Northern Kentucky Airport, Lin, in Atlanta, announced:
For a picture and bio of Lin: www.cnn.com
On Monday night, the MRC's Brad Wilmouth observed, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann showed the video during Countdown's "Oddball" segment. Olbermann, who incorrectly referred to the video as from "today," asserted: "It's Halloween time on Air Force One, and today Bush aides Scott McClellan, Karen Hughes, Dan Bartlett and Karl Rove got into the spirit by dressing up in hunting outfits. Camo, a none-to-subtle swipe at John Kerry's getup last week during his goose-shooting expedition/'I'm-a-regular-guy' photo-op. No truth to rumors that they found these outfits at the same costume shop where they found President Bush's flight suit for the big 'Mission Accomplished' landing. Mmmmm."
ABC refrained from using the Halloween costume video to take political shots at one candidate. Good Morning America on Monday morning made the Bush aides in the hunting outfits its "Picture of the Morning" toward the end of the 7am half hour. Charles Gibson explained over ABC's video, which showed the group with their hands raised to form W's:
For an AP photo of the Halloween-outfitted Bush aides: story.news.yahoo.com
Though it's illegal to poll the military about their voting choices, a National Annenberg Election Survey found that when those in the active duty military were "asked whom they would trust more to handle the responsibility of commander-in-chief, 69 percent...preferred Bush to 24 percent for Kerry" while 69 percent had a favorable view of Bush compared to just 29 percent for Kerry. But on Monday night, CBS and ABC managed to avoid conveying that presidential preference in stories on Marines in Iraq preparing for an assault on Fallujah. CBS's Kimberly Dozier asserted that "most" of the Marines "didn't even know Election Day was almost here." A Lance Corporal declared: "I really don't have any favorites right now. They both got their pluses and their minuses."
ABC's Jim Sciutto, however, found the Marines very aware of the election with "many" having "voted three weeks ago" by absentee ballot. Sciutto featured a political comment from one Marine who echoed Ralph Nader: "I hope that the people try to make the decision on who to vote for take into consideration that this conflict needs to end. And it needs to end now."
The Marines may be prohibited from expressing a candidate preference, but that shouldn't have stopped ABC or CBS from informing viewers of the known skew toward Bush.
Before an ad break, the MRC's Brad Wilmouth noticed, Dan Rather plugged: "Coming up next on the CBS Evening News, U.S. Marines prepare for a major assault in Fallujah. What does tomorrow's U.S. election mean to them? We'll give you the 'Inside Story.'"
In her November 1 story, Kimberly Dozier reported from Iraq: "Amid preparations for the fight, the battle for the White House seemed very far away. Most didn't even know Election Day was almost here."
Over on ABC's World News Tonight, Peter Jennings announced: "Let's go next to Iraq. There were two subjects of interest there for us today. First, how U.S. forces are going to vote. Many have already voted, of course. And if the Iraqis could vote? Here's ABC's Jim Sciutto."
Sciutto, over video of a Marine compound: "They are 6,000 miles from the nearest polling booth, and preparing every day for what could be an imminent assault on Fallujah. But many of these Marines voted three weeks ago -- by traditional absentee ballot -- or a special one available on the Internet this year [video of Marine using computer to access a PDF of an Alexandria, Virginia form], just for the military."
An excerpt from an October 15 press release/poll report from the National Annenberg Election Survey, a release which, ironically, listed Adam Clymer as the contact name. (Clymer was the New York Times reporter whom George Bush called "a major league asshole."):
....From September 22 through October 5, Annenberg polled 655 adults who have either served on active duty between February and October or who were family members of those who served but were not available to be interviewed. Their answers were compared to the responses of 2,436 adults polled nationally from September 27 through October 3. The survey did not ask the voting preference of the respondents because a 1948 statute prohibits polling members of the armed services about whom they intend to vote for....
Whether they urge anyone to vote for him or not, a variety of measures showed that they preferred Bush to John Kerry. Sixty-nine percent had a favorable opinion of Bush and 23 percent an unfavorable opinion. But only 29 percent had a favorable opinion of Kerry, while 54 percent were unfavorable. (Bush and Kerry both had small favorable balances in the general population.)...
When asked whom they would trust more to handle the responsibility of commander-in-chief, 69 percent of the military sample preferred Bush to 24 percent for Kerry. The civilian group also preferred Bush, but by only a 50 to 41 percent majority. When asked if the country was "going in the right direction" or was "seriously off on the wrong track," 64 percent of the military sample said "right track" and 31 percent said "wrong direction." In the general population a majority said "wrong track"; 55 percent took that view compared to 37 percent who said "right direction."...
When it came to the war in Iraq, 64 percent of the military sample said the situation had been worth going to war over, while 32 percent said it had not. Of those who served in Iraq, Afghanistan or nearby, a smaller share, only 55 percent, said the war had been worth it; 40 percent said it had not. In the general population, 45 percent said the war had been worth it and 51 percent said it had not....
END of Excerpt
For the report on the poll findings: www.annenbergpublicpolicycenter.org
Nine out of ten "undecided" voters will go for John Kerry over George W. Bush? That's the assumption which allowed Gallup to alter its final pre-election poll, from a 49 to 47 percent lead for Bush amongst "likely voters," to a 49-49 tie. "Democrat ties Bush nationally," declared the subhead under a Monday USA Today front page story, about the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, in which reporter Susan Page's lead touted how "Kerry has erased President Bush's modest lead." She explained that "Gallup's formula assumes that 9 of 10 of those [undecided] voters would support Kerry, based on analyses of previous presidential races involving an incumbent." In fact, that level of an extreme split has not occurred in any modern election and, in calculating its final poll tally, the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press estimated that the "undecided vote may break only slightly in Kerry's favor."
An excerpt from the top of Page's November 1 USA Today front page story, "Swing states lean to Kerry: Democrat ties Bush nationally":
Sen. John Kerry has erased President Bush's modest lead and the two candidates head into Election Day tied at 49%-49%, a nationwide USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll shows as an extraordinarily bitter and expensive campaign prepared to end.
Across the dozen battleground states expected to determine the winner, Kerry holds a 5-percentage-point edge -- including small leads among likely voters in the critical states of Ohio and Florida. He trails by a similar margin in the third big battleground, Pennsylvania. (Related link: States pushed to front of race)
But USA TODAY polls nationwide and in six competitive states show a contest that either candidate could win....
Last week, Bush led Kerry 51%-46%.
The new survey of 1,573 likely voters, taken Friday through Sunday, has a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.
"It seems like a scary Halloween for George Bush," Kerry pollster Mark Mellman says. "People in this country clearly want a fresh start."
Matthew Dowd, chief strategist for the Bush campaign, said that the race is close but that Bush is in a good position. He disputes Gallup's assumptions about the 3% of likely voters who said they were undecided.
Gallup's formula assumes that 9 of 10 of those voters would support Kerry, based on analyses of previous presidential races involving an incumbent.
Without allocating those voters, Bush led Kerry 49%-47% among likely voters. Among the larger group of registered voters, Kerry led Bush 48%-46%....
END of Excerpt
For the USA Today article in full: www.usatoday.com
Gallup's Frank Newport and David W. Moore contended: "The allocation of undecided voters is part of the tradition started in 1936 by Dr. George Gallup, who wanted to provide the public with the pollster's best estimate of what the data indicate. This year, the allocation of the undecided vote is based on Gallup's experience in previous presidential elections, showing that in election contests with an incumbent, virtually all of the undecided vote among likely voters will break for the challenger(s). Thus, in this case, with 3% undecided, 2% is allocated to Kerry and 1% to the Nader/other group, resulting in the estimated tie."
For Gallup's rundown: www.gallup.com
The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, the MRC's Rich Noyes noticed, applied a different formula for the undecideds in its final pre-election poll that put Bush ahead of Kerry by 48 to 45 percent amongst "likely voters" with six percent still undecided. Pew noted: "Among all registered voters, Kerry and Bush are in a virtual tie: 46 percent Kerry, 45 percent Bush." Pew explained how they then allocated the undecided vote:
Former NBC News reporter Star Jones proudly recounted on Monday's The View, the ABC daytime show created by Barbara Walters, how she spent the weekend campaigning in Florida for John Kerry. As viewers saw video of her at a podium and a picture of her with Kerry, she recounted which cities she campaigned in and then complained: "People don't realize just how much poverty is in our own country. And there are people with no jobs, there are people with no health care, people who can't afford to buy their drugs."
Jones, one of the five host of The View, spoke up after Walters showed a few pictures from her vacation in South Africa. Jones provided a weekend journal:
For a bio and picture of Jones, an NBC News reporter in the early 1990s: abc.go.com
From the November 1 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Punch Lines to Dirty Election Jokes." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com
10. "With a poll like that, I'm surprised he can gallup at all."
9. "She starts chanting, 'four more minutes! four more minutes!'"
8. "That's not the voting lever, but don't stop pulling."
7. "This isn't how it looks -- I'm just joining a third party."
6. I prefer Bush, but I don't know who I'll vote for."
5. "So that's where Katherine Harris was hiding the Al Gore votes."
4. "Unfortunately, his margin of error was plus or minus three inches."
3. "Get used to it, honey -- we live in a swing state."
2. "I thought you had trouble maintaining an election."
1. "I saw your sister with Mary Cheney -- there was no sign of Dick."
After reading the last one, Letterman seemed appalled: "That's just horrible. I'm horrified."
-- Brent Baker