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Lauer Pleads to Gore: 'Save the Planet' by Running for President --12/7/2006


1. Lauer Pleads to Gore: 'Save the Planet' by Running for President
On Wednesday's Today, Matt Lauer pressed Al Gore to run for President so he "could be in a position to save the planet." Lauer told Gore: "What it makes me think is, from your point of view, if you were to run for President you could take this issue to the next level, even during just a campaign. And if you were fortunate enough to win the presidency you'd sit in the most powerful office in the free world with a real chance to make, you could be in a position to save the planet, without putting too much emphasis on it. Wouldn't that be enough of a reason to run for President for you?" Gore naturally said "I appreciate the impulse behind the question," though he rejected another presidential run, leading Lauer to plead: "But as someone who feels as passionately about the subject as you do and your documentary is evidence of that, why pass up the opportunity to have that world stage again?" Lauer also repeatedly plugged Gore's An Inconvenient Truth DVD and pushed the former Vice President to call the President's decision to invade Iraq, "The worst strategic mistake in the entire history of the United States." AUDIO&VIDEO

2. Couric: "Many of Us Ask, 'Is There Way Out of This Nightmare?'"
ABC anchor Charles Gibson and NBC anchor Brian Williams let the Iraq Study Group's conclusion, that "the situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating," speak for itself as they refrained from additional editorializing in opening their Wednesday night newscasts. But CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric inserted her personal views into the top of her newscast as she framed the day's news: "With each death, with every passing day, so many of us ask, 'Is there any way out of this nightmare?'" She proceeded to explain how "today we got an answer from a bipartisan commission headed by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Congressman Lee Hamilton." All three December 6 broadcast network evening shows were anchored from Washington, DC.

3. Olbermann: Troops 'Paid Ultimate Price' for How Bush Runs War
On Wednesday's Countdown, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann reported the recent deaths of ten American troops in Iraq by commenting that they had "paid the ultimate price for President Bush's execution of the war." His comments came as he was introducing an interview with Thomas Ricks of the Washington Post on what the Iraq Study Group report could mean for American troops.

4. Lauer Continues Today's Global Warming Crusade with DiCaprio
Matt Lauer is getting greener by the minute. Fresh off his promotion of Al Gore (see item #1 above), the Today co-host turned to noted environmental activist/actor Leonardo DiCaprio to plug his latest enviro-flick. Initially on to promote his movie on the African diamond trade, Blood Diamond, Lauer couldn't resist asking DiCaprio about his first liberal love, global warming. DiCaprio went on to push his upcoming movie, Eleventh Hour, that featured the "greatest minds in the world," on the subject of global warming. DiCaprio claimed his scientists represented "over 90 percent of the collective thought," on the issue but absurdly lamented they don't get the appropriate amount of time in the media claiming: "But then when it's on the media you have that 10 or five percent and there sitting opposite on a chair and it becomes an argument when they are actually the minority."


Lauer Pleads to Gore: 'Save the Planet'
by Running for President

On Wednesday's Today, Matt Lauer pressed Al Gore to run for President so he "could be in a position to save the planet." Lauer told Gore: "What it makes me think is, from your point of view, if you were to run for President you could take this issue to the next level, even during just a campaign. And if you were fortunate enough to win the presidency you'd sit in the most powerful office in the free world with a real chance to make, you could be in a


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position to save the planet, without putting too much emphasis on it. Wouldn't that be enough of a reason to run for President for you?" Gore naturally said "I appreciate the impulse behind the question," though he rejected another presidential run, leading Lauer to plead: "But as someone who feels as passionately about the subject as you do and your documentary is evidence of that, why pass up the opportunity to have that world stage again?"

Lauer also repeatedly plugged Gore's An Inconvenient Truth DVD and pushed the former Vice President to call the President's decision to invade Iraq, "The worst strategic mistake in the entire history of the United States." First Lauer pressed Gore on the Iraq Study Group's findings: "So it's being described by some as 'cut and stay,' as opposed to 'cut and run.' Does it do enough to acknowledge the results of the midterm election and, and the message that voters were sending this administration, if these are listened to, these recommendations?"

[This item is adopted from a posting, Geoffrey Dickens, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

(Windows Media and Real video, as well as MP3 audio, of Lauer's pleading will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert.)

The following is the transcript of the entire interview that occurred during the 7am half hour of the December 6 Today show:

Matt Lauer: "Let's get more now reaction from former Vice President Al Gore whose documentary about global warming called An Inconvenient Truth is now available, by the way, on DVD. Vice President Gore, good to have you here."
Al Gore: "Good morning, Matt."
Lauer: "So you know, probably, what we know about this Iraq Study Group's report. What stands out in your mind?"
Gore: "Well I haven't read it yet. I've read some of the newspaper accounts. There are a lot of very good people who are part of the group but whether it's a lowest-common denominator committee result or not I really don't know. The fact is this is a very bad situation. Our country has to find a way to get our troops out as quickly as possible without making the situation worse, even worse in the manner of our leaving."
Lauer: "So it's being described by some as 'cut and stay,' as opposed to 'cut and run.' Does it do enough to acknowledge the results of the midterm election and, and the message that voters were sending this administration, if these are listened to, these recommendations?"
Gore: "Well the, the report this morning is actually one of several studies. There's one in the Pentagon. There has reportedly been one the White House itself is ginning up."
Lauer: "The NSA."
Gore: "And they're all basically saying the same thing, Matt. This is an utter disaster, this was the worst strategic mistake in the entire history of the United States and now we, as a nation, have to find a way in George Mitchell's words to manage a disaster. But I would urge the President not to, to try to separate out the, the, the personal issues of being, of being blamed in history for this mistake and instead recognize it's not about him, it's about our country and we all have to find a way to get our troops home and, and to prevent a regional conflagration there."
Lauer: "So, so two quick things then, would you pull, if you were president, would you pull U.S. troops out now even if it was seen as a military defeat?"
Gore: "Well if I were President I would have the full flow of information and have and test each of these options to see what kind of give. This, this is the equivalent of a car wreck and when it is in the process of happening you make, you make judgments in the moment. Now, in fact, the option of winning militarily, according to former Secretary Rumsfeld is, is gone. The, the stated goal of a military victory has gone the way of weapons of mass destruction. No longer exists."
Lauer: "This is obviously gonna be a huge issue in 2008 for whoever's running for President, Iraq and radical Islam. Another issue that you want to see as a major issue is the environment, in particular, global warming. Are you hearing any one out there who may be thinking of running for President spending enough time and energy talking about this issue to satisfy you?"
Gore: "Global warming?"
Lauer: "Yeah."
Gore: "No, not yet but it's early. And here's the linkage between those issues Matt. We are, I mean the climate crisis is caused by the burning of all these fossil fuels and our entanglement in the Persian Gulf region, where the biggest proven reserves are to be found, is linked to it. Here's a second linkage. There were clear warnings before the decision to invade Iraq that it was gonna be a catastrophe. This was predictable. And the, the head of the Army said, 'We don't have enough troops.' Others said this is a terrible mistake. And now what we're seeing with this report and all of the others is a situation that really where there are no good outcomes because the warnings were-"
Lauer: "So you're saying the global warming, the warnings are now and if we don't heed that advice we're gonna have the same situation?"
Gore: "Except infinitely worse, because, imagine on a global scale a nearly irretrievable situation. We still have time to avoid the mistakes that are creating this climate crisis."
Lauer: "What, what it makes me think is, from your point of view, if you were to run for President you could take this issue to the next level, even during just a campaign. And if you were fortunate enough to win the presidency you'd sit in the most powerful office in the free world with a real chance to make, you could be in a position to save the planet, without putting too much emphasis on it. Wouldn't that be enough of a reason to run for President for you?"
Gore: "Well I appreciate the impulse behind the question. I am not planning to run for President again. I'm involved in a different kind of campaign to change the minds of the people here, in our country, and around the world on why the climate crisis is the most serious crisis we've ever faced and why we have to move into a completely different way of approaching it."
Lauer: "But as someone who feels as passionately about the subject as you do and your documentary is evidence of that, why pass up the opportunity to have that world stage again? Because although you're a former Vice President, being a sitting President would give you a much higher and much more powerful platform."
Gore: "Well again I, I appreciate that very much. I, I'm not making plans to do it. I have no intention to do it. I haven't completely ruled it out-"
Lauer: "Will you rule it out?"
Gore: "-at some point in the future."
Lauer: "You won't sit here and say, 'Matt I will not run in 2008?'"
Gore: "No but that's merely because I'm, I was in it for a long time. I'm in the process of sort of shifting gears on this but I do not, I seriously do not have any intention of doing it and this, this climate crisis is my focus. I want to change people's minds on this so that the people who do run, in both parties, will encounter Americans who say, 'Look you have got to make this your top priority.'"
Lauer: "The New York Times said earlier this week that, 'Barack Obama has the potential of upending the race more than any other Democrat short, perhaps of,' you. Alright? So A.) Is Barack Obama the man to meet and the man to beat and, and what are the chances that someone reaches out to you and makes a phone call and gets you to upend this race?"
Gore: "Well I think it's still too early. I can't use that answer much longer."
Lauer: "Right."
Gore: "But I do think it's still too early to evaluate the potential candidates who, who are planning, who look as if they're planning to run. And I hope that all of them, in both parties, will address the climate crisis. I think that this Iraq disaster is, is not gonna wait until 2008 or 2010 or whatever they're talking about here and this is unfolding very rapidly. This is even worse than a civil war. But the climate crisis, again, is infinitely more serious and we need to make it a bipartisan issue. We need to engage people around the country. There are house parties all around the country on December 16th on, focused on getting more people to see this DVD. And if you want to host a house party you can go to Algore.com. This is a bipartisan effort to change the way we deal with the most serious issue we've ever confronted."
Lauer: "Former Vice President Al Gore. Appreciate you being in the studio today, thanks very much."
Gore: "Thanks very much, Matt."
Lauer: "And if you're interested in seeing An Inconvenient Truth, as we mentioned it is now available on DVD."

Couric: "Many of Us Ask, 'Is There Way
Out of This Nightmare?'"

ABC anchor Charles Gibson and NBC anchor Brian Williams let the Iraq Study Group's conclusion, that "the situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating," speak for itself as they refrained from additional editorializing in opening their Wednesday night newscasts. But CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric inserted her personal views into the top of her newscast as she framed the day's news: "With each death, with every passing day, so many of us ask, 'Is there any way out of this nightmare?'" She proceeded to explain how "today we got an answer from a bipartisan commission headed by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Congressman Lee Hamilton." All three December 6 broadcast network evening shows were anchored from Washington, DC.

[This item was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Couric's lead in full, following her opening teases of upcoming stories:
"Hi, everyone. The U.S. military confirms that ten more American soldiers were killed in Iraq today, some in combat, others by roadside bombs. With each death, with every passing day, so many of us ask, 'Is there any way out of this nightmare?' Today we got an answer from a bipartisan commission headed by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Congressman Lee Hamilton. The so-called Iraq Study Group has 79 recommendation it says will not guarantee success in Iraq, but will at least improve the chances."

ABC's Charles Gibson began World News:
"Good evening. The Iraq Study Group, working for nine months now to find a new approach to the war in Iraq, issued its report today. There were 79 recommendations for a change in course. But the report also read a bit like a report card on the Bush administration's conduct of the war. And the marks were not good. We will cover all aspects of the report tonight, but we start with the very blunt assessment of the war and the conditions in Iraq right now, as presented by the group's Co-Chairmen, former Secretary of State James Baker and former Congressman Lee Hamilton."
Lee Hamilton: "The situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating..."

Brian Williams opened the NBC Nightly News:
"Good evening. Behind us here in Washington today ten prominent Americans appeared before reporters after working for nine months on a plan for the U.S. in Iraq. Between them they have hundreds of years of government experience, Republicans and Democrats who today delivered a blunt, bipartisan and grim assessment. Tonight from Washington our coverage of the report. Also the reaction to it here and in the Arab world. Tonight we will have my interview with the Chairmen of the Iraq Study Group, a conversation that took place just minutes after we learned that ten more Americans were killed in Iraq just today. That means the death toll so far in December is now 28. While the work of the commission is done and the report is now in bookstores, all eyes are focused now across town from here: The White House and the President who has steadfastly defended this increasingly unpopular war. We have this day covered here tonight, beginning with our chief White House correspondent David Gregory."

Olbermann: Troops 'Paid Ultimate Price'
for How Bush Runs War

On Wednesday's Countdown, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann reported the recent deaths of ten American troops in Iraq by commenting that they had "paid the ultimate price for President Bush's execution of the war." His comments came as he was introducing an interview with Thomas Ricks of the Washington Post on what the Iraq Study Group report could mean for American troops.

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

From the December 6 Countdown:
"On this, the same day the Iraq Study Group released its report, ten more Americans paid the ultimate price for President Bush's execution of the war. The collective price America's military is paying and how the Iraq Study Group may change it is our number three story in the Countdown tonight."

Lauer Continues Today's Global Warming
Crusade with DiCaprio

Matt Lauer is getting greener by the minute. Fresh off his promotion of Al Gore (see item #1 above), the Today co-host turned to noted environmental activist/actor Leonardo DiCaprio to plug his latest enviro-flick. Initially on to promote his movie on the African diamond trade, Blood Diamond, Lauer couldn't resist asking DiCaprio about his first liberal love, global warming. DiCaprio went on to push his upcoming movie, Eleventh Hour, that featured the "greatest minds in the world," on the subject of global warming. DiCaprio claimed his scientists represented "over 90 percent of the collective thought," on the issue but absurdly lamented they don't get the appropriate amount of time in the media claiming: "But then when it's on the media you have that 10 or five percent and there sitting opposite on a chair and it becomes an argument when they are actually the minority."

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

The following is the full exchange that occurred in the 8:30am half hour of the December 6 Today:

Matt Lauer: "When, when I looked over to, to get ready to talk to you, you're kind of recent history and your schedule of events coming up it, it's fairly obvious that you are starting to dedicate more and more of your time to causes and in particular the environment, global warming. How much of an impact do you think you've had already and, and, and what are you planning for the near future in terms of what you can bring to that, that discussion?"
Leonardo DiCaprio: "Well I'm currently working on a documentary called The Eleventh Hour which really was inspired because you know I've, I've done a lot of work on the issue, on the issue of global warming in the past and I feel like when it's presented in the media you have the, you have the consensus of the greatest minds in the world, the greatest scientists Nobel Laureates speaking about the issue and they are over 90 percent of the collective thought. But then when it's on the media you have that 10 or five percent and there sitting opposite on a chair and it becomes an argument when they are actually the minority. You know what I'm saying? So I want to be able to present some of these, some of these great minds to have a palette in which they can talk about the issue of global warming without out it being an argument any more."
Lauer: "And how important is it for you to start to change the perception and it's only in some quarters but the perception of Hollywood as being a place of consumption and excess and, and start people thinking about and maybe it's, it's by people like you and a George Clooney standing up to get people thinking that Hollywood can be a great motivator for change?"
DiCaprio: "I think it can too and you know I've heard the argument that, you know, who are we as these Hollywood artists to-"
Lauer: "Just go act and shut up?"
DiCaprio: "-to just go out, yeah, exactly. But you know we're also citizens as well and, and it's, and everyone has the right to not listen to us but if I feel like if I can draw, you know, a certain amount of young people or anyone to hear my voice on an issue like global warming or educate them in any possible way it's just something I personally want to do."
Lauer: "It's nice to see you working on what your passionate, you feel passionately about and also to keep turning out these great movies."
DiCaprio: "Thank you so much."

-- Brent Baker