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New Today Co-Host an Anti-War Protester: "War Built on Lies" --4/6/2006


1. New Today Co-Host an Anti-War Protester: "War Built on Lies"
Meredith Vieira, the replacement for Katie Couric as co-host of NBC's Today this fall -- Wednesday's New York Times reported that "NBC has nearly concluded an agreement with Meredith Vieira of ABC to replace Ms. Couric as co-host of the Today morning show" -- marched in an anti-Iraq war protest back in August of 2004. On the Monday, August 30, 2004 edition of the ABC daytime show she quad-hosts, The View, the former CBS 60 Minutes reporter told viewers that she attended the anti-Bush protest held in New York City on the Sunday before the Republican convention opened, insisting: "I didn't go anti-Bush or pro-Kerry. I'm still so upset about this war and I'm so proud I live in a country where you can protest." She showed a photo of herself marching with her pre-teen daughter and her husband, Richard, who was the senior political producer at CBS News for most of the 1980s. Behind her in the photo: A protest sign featuring a "W," for George W. Bush, with a slash through it. Earlier in 2004, she declared of the Iraq war: "Everything's been built on lies. Everything! I mean the entire pretext for war." When guest Ann Coulter charged that "liberals hate America," Vieira called that "stupid."

2. Andy Rooney on Couric: No One at CBS News "Pleased She's Coming"
In an appearance by phone on Wednesday's Imus in the Morning radio show simulcast on MSNBC, CBS's Andy Rooney told Don Imus that "everybody likes Katie Couric," but "I don't know anybody at CBS News who is pleased that she's coming here."

3. Nets Champion "Revolutionary" Bay State Mandated Health Insurance
A day after the Democratic legislature of Massachusetts passed a mandated health insurance plan, and tellingly the day of a front page New York Times story ("Massachusetts Sets Health Plan for Nearly All") touting the bill which Republican Governor Mitt Romney plans to sign, all three broadcast network evening newscasts led Wednesday by championing the proposal and characterizing it as a national model. ABC and NBC provided critics with just a sentence while CBS ran a totally one-sided promotional story. ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas teased: "Tonight, one state's revolutionary attempt to create universal health care. If a state can do it, why can't the country?" Vargas claimed: "Most people think medical costs are too high and would like a universal insurance system to cover everyone." CBS Evening News anchor Russ Mitchell celebrated the government mandate, "Imagine this: Virtually everyone guaranteed health insurance coverage. It's happening in one state, and it could be a model for the rest." Over on the NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams dreamed: "Health insurance for everybody. Is it possible? Tonight, one state about to make it the law. If it works, will the same thing happen where you live?"

4. Stephanopoulos Wonders If DeLay Feels "Kinship" with Bill Clinton
Tom DeLay's contention that he was a target of "politics of personal destruction" led ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent George Stephanopoulos to recall the plight of his old boss, Bill Clinton, as a victim of the same tactics. He wondered if DeLay now felt "kinship" with Clinton? In a taped interview with DeLay aired on Wednesday's Good Morning America, Stephanopoulos proposed to the former House Majority Leader who has announced his decision to resign from his seat: "You know you use the phrase 'politics of personal destruction,' you say you've been scrutinized by Democrats and I know you probably don't like this comparison, when I hear those phrases I think of President Clinton. You feel more of a kinship now with him given what you've been through?" DeLay rejected the formulation: "Not at all. President Clinton broke the law, he lied to a grand jury. I have not done anything against the law."


New Today Co-Host an Anti-War Protester:
"War Built on Lies"

Meredith Vieira, the replacement for Katie Couric as co-host of NBC's Today this fall -- Wednesday's New York Times reported that "NBC has nearly concluded an agreement with Meredith Vieira of ABC to replace Ms. Couric as co-host of the Today morning show" -- marched in an anti-Iraq war protest back in August of 2004.

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On the Monday, August 30, 2004 edition of the ABC daytime show she quad-hosts, The View, the former CBS 60 Minutes reporter told viewers that she attended the anti-Bush protest held in New York City on the Sunday before the Republican convention opened, insisting: "I didn't go anti-Bush or pro-Kerry. I'm still so upset about this war and I'm so proud I live in a country where you can protest." She showed a photo of herself marching with her pre-teen daughter and her husband, Richard, who was the senior political producer at CBS News for most of the 1980s. Behind her in the photo: A protest sign featuring a "W," for George W. Bush, with a slash through it.

Earlier in 2004, she declared of the Iraq war: "Everything's been built on lies. Everything! I mean the entire pretext for war." And, with war impending in March of 2003, Vieira argued that anti-war protests "should be consistent and repeated every day, I believe." On other episodes of The View Vieira has also made clear her opposition to the death penalty and when guest Ann Coulter charged that "liberals hate America," Vieira called that "stupid" and


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became defensive: "But some people wrap themselves in the flag -- I mean, that's what some liberals are against." Then she charged: "Just like McCarthy: 'I'm just being patriotic.'"

[This item was posted, with two 2004 video clips, Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. The video and audio clips will be added to the posting of this CyberAlert item, but in the meantime you can watch or listen by going to: newsbusters.org ]

[UPDATE, 11:40am EDT Thursday, April 6: On today's The View Vieira, who also hosts the syndicated Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? game show, made it official, confirming her agreement with NBC to co-host Today.]

Below are excerpts from past MRC CyberAlert items from which the quotes above were drawn:

# Monday August 30, 2004 CyberAlert, PM edition:

Meredith Vieira Marched in NYC Protests Against Iraq War

Meredith Vieira, the former CBS 60 Minutes reporter and current co-host of ABC's The View, announced to viewers Monday that she attended the Sunday anti-Bush protest in New York, insisting: "I didn't go anti-Bush or pro-Kerry. I'm still so upset about this war and I'm so proud I live in a country where you can protest." Barbara Walters added that the current focus on Vietnam and John Kerry "doesn't make any sense."

After a discussion about co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck's upcoming Tuesday night speech at the Republican National Committee on fighting breast cancer, Vieira proclaimed: "I don't know if you saw the cover of the New York Post, but I believe this is me right here on the cover [which had a picture of hundreds of people]. I went to that demonstration yesterday, not because I'm, you know what, I didn't go anti-Bush or pro-Kerry, I'm still so upset about this war and I'm so proud I live in a country where you can protest and it was really [applause]....I went with my daughter, Lily, and my husband, Richard. My sons didn't want to protest. They chose to not go, or even just experience it. I wish they had because it was peaceful, the New York City police department, phenomenal. They did such a wonderful job. They had 40,000 of them out there and the people that demonstrated I would say, by and large, there were a few probably, I didn't see anybody that was out of hand at all."

Star Jones: "Aren't you impressed that your kids made choices? You know, one son decided ideologically he just disagreed with you, and he didn't want to be there so that nobody could misinterpret his presence."

Vieira: "Absolutely, and the other one said that as he was doing Game Boy, so I'm not sure what he really felt. But Lily went and it was just a really wonderful thing. And there were a lot pro-Bush folks along the side who were also saying, giving their two cents, so it was interesting just to experience."

Barbara Walters: "It was interesting when you mentioned the war, that here it is, and instead of discussing the Iraq War that much, we're discussing Vietnam war 35 years later. Doesn't make any sense."

Vieira replied: "I know, I know."

END of Excerpt

For the CyberAlert item in full: www.mediaresearch.org


# Friday June 18, 2004 CyberAlert:

Vieira Declares "Entire Pretext for War" Was "Built on Lies"

Meredith Vieira, a veteran of CBS News and ABC News, on Thursday's [June 17] The View, the ABC daytime show she now quad-hosts, declared that, in the wake of how the 9-11 Commission supposedly contradicted the Bush administration on the links between al-Qaeda and Iraq: "Everything's been built on lies. Everything! I mean the entire pretext for war."

Vieira, a former 60 Minutes correspondent who now hosts the syndicated version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, issued her vicious charge, which matches the most virulent hate speech of the far left, after Barbara Walters asserted that part of the rationale for going to war against Hussein "was the tie, right, between al-Qaeda and Iraq and now we know that's not true. And the President continues to say, and the Vice President, are you not better off -- I think, you know, since, now that Saddam Hussein is not there? That's the defense-"

Vieira jumped in: "Who knows anymore because everything's been built on lies. Everything! I mean the entire pretext for war."

Another quad-host, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, defended Bush, in the show's up top "Hot Topics" segment, by asserting that given what was assumed at the time, "we had to act." Former Good Morning America staffer Joy Behar countered: "But they were lying to us." Bahar urged viewers of the June 17 program: "Go see that Fahrenheit 9/11. It will tell you a lot about what's going on."

END of Excerpt

For the CyberAlert item in full: www.mediaresearch.org


# December 17, 2003 CyberAlert:

ABC's Barbara Walters Comes Out Against Executing Saddam Hussein

ABC's Barbara Walters has come out against executing Saddam Hussein, arguing on the ABC daytime show The View on Tuesday [December 16] that "we condemn the suicide bombers, we condemn those who have no regard for life, and Lord knows this man deserves, you know, the greatest punishment, but I just sort of feel this would be a chance for us to show the regard for life that this man didn't have." Another host, former ABC and CBS reporter Meredith Vieira, agreed with Walters...

Walters: "But I think we condemn the suicide bombers, we condemn those who have no regard for life, and Lord knows this man deserves, you know, the greatest punishment, but I just sort of feel this would be a chance for us to show the regard for life that this man didn't have."

Vieira: "But we don't have it in this country. How can you say that? We have the death penalty here."...

Star Jones: "I'm not an advocate for running out and stabbing people in the heart, but I don't think I'll lose one night's sleep if they execute Saddam Hussein, right?"

Joy Behar, while audience applauds and cheers: "Well, no one's gonna care!"

Vieira, as audience continues to applaud and cheer: "I do, I don't believe in it, I don't believe in it."

END of Excerpt

For the CyberAlert item in full: www.mediaresearch.org


# June 26, 2003 CyberAlert:

Ann Coulter Sends ABC's The View Crew Into a Tizzy

Ann Coulter's guest-hosting slot on ABC's daytime show The View on Wednesday [June 25] sent the regular tri-hosts into a tizzy as they denounced Coulter's criticisms of liberals. To Coulter's assertion in her new book, Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism, that liberals hate America, former CBS News correspondent Meredith Vieira shot back: "Well, it's stupid."

Former NBC News reporter Star Jones was so adamant about defending liberals that she boasted: "I'm a card-carrying Democrat."

Later, Jones suggested Coulter was just mad at Hillary Clinton because of how many books Clinton has sold and Jones sing-songed to Coulter: "Hater. Hater."

During a discussion of a study that claims women are as sexually aroused by pornography featuring two women or a man and a woman, to the dismay of the View crew, Coulter quipped that "the last time" she saw "two women get it on" was "the Katie Couric interview with Hillary Clinton."

The MRC's Jessica Anderson took down a hunk of the gabfest at the beginning of the June 25 The View, ABC's daytime show created by Barbara Walters, for whom Coulter was filling in.

Meredith Vieira explained: "In your last book you said liberals have been wrong about everything in last half century. You ticked us off over that one, alright. And now in this new bok you say that liberals hate freedom...I want to talk about your politics because in Treason you say, yes, that liberals hate America."

Ann Coulter: "Right."

Vieira: "Well, it's stupid. What do you mean liberals hate America?"

Coulter: "Well, for one thing, I mean, part of the point of my book is to get back to asking that question. I mean, I find it interesting that that is the one thing we cannot talk about: which party is more patriotic, the relative patriotism. Liberals, Democrats feel perfectly comfortable saying that Republicans are not as good on civil rights, on civil liberties, they aren't as good on women's issues. Why is the one issue that is simply off the table for debate, the relative patriotism of the two parties? Let's at least get back into that debate again. Surely you can acknowledge that it is possible to be more or less patriotic?"

Vieira: "Based on what?"

Joy Behar: "Yeah, based on what?"

Coulter: "Based on, for example, the burning hatred of the American flag from the left. I mean, that is how liberals describe someone they want to denounce; they cite his affection for the flag, 'flag-waving yahoos.'"

Star Jones: "I love the flag. I'm a card-carrying Democrat." [Audience member yells "Woo!" at this declaration, at which point the audience begins to applaud as Jones continues]

Jones: "My biggest, the biggest, most wonderful thing in my life is my citizenship, so that's one down -- keep going. I love the flag!"

Coulter: "It could well be that you belong to the'€""

Vieira: "But some people wrap themselves in the flag -- I mean, that's what some liberals are against, to argue their point."

Behar: "Yeah, but they cover up their evil with the flag, and that is a sin."

Vieira: "Just like McCarthy: 'I'm just being patriotic.'"

Behar: "Yeah."

Coulter: "Well, that's why much of my book discusses McCarthy. I mean, this is how liberals have taken this issue off the table."

Behar: "We're not talking about the dummy and the ventriloquist, Charlie McCarthy."

Vieira: "Eugene."

Behar: "We're talking about Eugene McCarthy who was a senator.

Coulter: "Joe McCarthy."

Vieira: "Joe McCarthy, Joe McCarthy '€" sorry, that's what I said."...

END of Excerpt

For the CyberAlert item in full: www.mediaresearch.org


# March 6, 2003 CyberAlert:

Ex-CBS Reporter Vieira Wants Anti-War Marches "Every Day"

Former CBS News correspondent Meredith Vieira proclaimed on Wednesday's ABC daytime show on which she is the leading quad-host, The View, that anti-war protests "should be consistent and repeated every day, I believe."

On the March 5 edition of The View, a show created by Barbara Walters, ex-actress Linda Carter filled in for Walters and this exchange took place in the midst of a discussion about the inevitability of war:

Carter: "We are on a train that has left the station, I'm sorry."

Joy Behar, to Meredith Vieira: "Didn't I tell you that, remember you said to me on the air, you said 'these marches are going to turn him [Bush] around.' And I said, 'no they're not' and you disagreed with me."

Vieira conceded: "I did. I thought if enough people, but there was that one day where people demonstrated. What was it, the 15th, where you had millions of people and we haven't seen it again. It should be consistent and repeated every day, I believe."

From 1989 to 1991, Vieira was a 60 Minutes correspondent after a few years in other CBS News positions. In addition to working on The View, Vieira is now the host of the syndicated version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

END of Excerpt

That CyberAlert item is posted at: www.mediaresearch.org

Andy Rooney on Couric: No One at CBS
News "Pleased She's Coming"

In an appearance by phone on Wednesday's Imus in the Morning radio show simulcast on MSNBC, CBS's Andy Rooney told Don Imus that "everybody likes Katie Couric," but "I don't know anybody at CBS News who is pleased that she's coming here."

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[This item, modified from a short posting Wednesday afternoon by the MRC's Brian Boyd on NewsBusters, included video and audio clips which will be added to the posting of this CyberAlert article. In the meantime, go to: newsbusters.org ]

The April 5 exchange:

Don Imus: "So what do you think of these changes at CBS News?"
Andy Rooney: "I'm not enthusiastic about it. I think everybody likes Katie Couric, I mean how can you not like Katie Couric. But, I don't know anybody at CBS News who is pleased that she's coming here."

Nets Champion "Revolutionary" Bay State
Mandated Health Insurance

A day after the Democratic legislature of Massachusetts passed a mandated health insurance plan, and tellingly the day of a front page New York Times story ("Massachusetts Sets Health Plan for Nearly All") touting the bill which Republican Governor Mitt Romney plans to sign, all three broadcast network evening newscasts led Wednesday by championing the proposal and characterizing it as a national model. ABC and NBC provided critics with just a sentence while CBS ran a totally one-sided promotional story. ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas teased: "Tonight, one state's revolutionary attempt to create universal health care. If a state can do it, why can't the country?" Vargas claimed: "Most people think medical costs are too high and would like a universal insurance system to cover everyone." Reporter Nancy Weiner soon trumpeted: "Many experts say after years of failed attempts in several states, and by the federal government the Massachusetts version of universal health care, which stresses individual responsibility, could serve as a national model."

CBS Evening News anchor Russ Mitchell celebrated the government mandate, "Imagine this: Virtually everyone guaranteed health insurance coverage. It's happening in one state, and it could be a model for the rest." Over on the NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams dreamed: "Health insurance for everybody. Is it possible? Tonight, one state about to make it the law. If it works, will the same thing happen where you live?" He soon wondered: "If this works, why not the rest of the nation? It's been called 'mandatory health care,' 'universal health care,' and, while it has its critics, it's also being called a potential and revolutionary solution to a huge problem: the millions of uninsured Americans."

[This item was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To post your comments, go to: newsbusters.org ]

In the Massachusetts plan, individuals who don't buy insurance and companies which do not provide it, will face tax penalties and fines while the poor will go on the state dole with the state paying for their health insurance, thus making the state a major purchaser of private health insurance. Wednesday's Washington Post, like the New York Times, put the passage on its front page. The story, "Mass. Bill Requires Health Coverage: State Set to Use Auto Insurance As a Model," noted the bill passed by Politburo margins: "154 to 2 in the House and 37 to 0 in the Senate."

For the April 5 New York Times article: www.nytimes.com

For the Washington Post story: www.washingtonpost.com

In a "Policy Analysis" report issued Wednesday, "Individual Mandates for Health Insurance: Slippery Slope to National Health Care," the Cato Institute's Michael Tanner warned: "An individual mandate crosses an important line: accepting the principle that it is the government's responsibility to ensure that every American has health insurance. In doing so, it opens the door to widespread regulation of the health care industry and political interference in personal health care decisions. The result will be a slow but steady spiral downward toward a government-run national health care system." See: www.cato.org

Of course, that potential is what excites journalists.

In the overwhelming positive stories, ABC's Nancy Weiner included one soundbite from a critical small businesswoman and NBC's Mike Taibbi offered a sentence about the burden on small business and fears the middle class will end up subsidizing the new system. CBS's Trish Regan didn't bother with any critical voice or cite any downside.

Both ABC's Weiner and CBS's Regan went out of their way to emphasize how the plan is supposedly not liberal. Weiner featured a representative from the Center for Studying Health System Change ( www.hschange.com ) who insisted: "This was not the liberals cramming something down everyone's throats because Governor Romney, a Republican, was very much a leader." And viewers of CBS's Regan piece heard this from someone with the Institute for Health Policy Solutions ( http://www.ihps.org/index.shtm ): "It would be a mistake to think of this as some crazy liberal pinko kind of Massachusetts, 'Taxachusetts,' the important thing is this is a moderate proposal." (Both of those featured, from groups which clearly find the current health care system deficient, were quoted in the April 5 New York Times article.)

Transcripts of the April 5 ABC and CBS stories, as well as NBC's introduction, as collected by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth:

# ABC's World News Tonight. The tease from anchor Elizabeth Vargas: "I'm Elizabeth Vargas. Tonight, one state's revolutionary attempt to create universal health care. If a state can do it, why can't the country?"

Vargas opened: "Good evening. We begin with a bold experiment in health insurance that could change the way you pay your medical bills. After terrorism and the war in Iraq, health care is the major concern for Americans. Most people think medical costs are too high and would like a universal insurance system to cover everyone. Forty-five million people in the U.S. have no insurance [number on screen], and repeated attempts by the federal government to come up with a solution have all failed. Which is why the state of Massachusetts is getting so much attention tonight. ABC's Nancy Weiner reports from Boston."

Nancy Weiner: "Under a new bill, Massachusetts will become the first state in the country to require all of its residents to have health insurance."
Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA): "We have found a way to get every citizen health insurance."
Weiner: "With the new system, residents who make less than $9,500 a year will get free health insurance -- no premiums, no deductibles. Families with low incomes but above the poverty line will pay premiums on a sliding scale. But still, no deductibles. And for the fast majority of residents who do have health insurance, lawmakers predict cutting the roles of the uninsured will bring down premiums for everyone. Forty-year-old Faith Burdell, who is legally blind and can't work, says health costs currently eat up most of the little money she has."
Faith Burdell, Massachusetts resident: "I think I'd be able to afford a gallon of milk, whereas before I wasn't able to always get a gallon of milk at the store."
Weiner: "The new law would require small business owners who don't provide their employees with health insurance to pay into a state fund, $300 per worker."
Betty Ann Wasilunas, Hair Salon owner: "You want me to, you know, start picking up people's insurance? I think it's out of this world. I think it's crazy."
Weiner: "People who can afford health insurance but refuse to get it, will get penalized, too, with higher income taxes. Many experts say after years of failed attempts in several states, and by the federal government-"
Hillary Clinton in 1990s: "We want our health care system back."
Weiner: "-the Massachusetts version of universal health care, which stresses individual responsibility, could serve as a national model."
Paul Ginsburg, Center for Studying Health System Change: "This was not the liberals cramming something down everyone's throats because Governor Romney, a Republican, was very much a leader."
Weiner concluded from in front of the gold domed Massachusetts state house: "How does the state plan to pay for all this? With federal Medicaid funds. Plus, the $1 billion a year the state spends already on free care for the uninsured."

Vargas then turned to George Stephanopoulos and Dr. Tim Johnson. To Johnson, she asked: "Tim, how might the Massachusetts plan affect the cost and the quality of medical care in that state?"
Tim Johnson was unsatisfied: "Well, we really don't know, and that's a key question. I'm proud of my state for trying to take on this enormous problem, but there's not much in the pudding that addresses medical costs, that is the costs of those who deliver the care, and the quality of that care. And in the long run, any reform bill that does not address those two issues is really no reform at all. So we've got a lot to learn to see how this works out in real life."
Vargas: "So, very quickly, if this plan would work nationally on a federal level, what about in other states individually? Could it work in other places?"
Johnson: "Well, I think the conditions that George pointed out are going to make it difficult for many other states to do it. Massachusetts has a very low number of uninsured and a long history of liberal social policies. So I think it's quite a unique situation. But other states are going to have to try it because, as George points out, the federal government is not doing anything."


# CBS Evening News. Russ Mitchell, in opening teaser: "Good evening. I'm Russ Mitchell. Imagine this: Virtually everyone guaranteed health insurance coverage. It's happening in one state, and it could be a model for the rest. So we'll begin there tonight."

Mitchell, with "Massachusetts" next to one side of his head and "Insuring Everyone" on the other side, led: "Health care costs are rising by the day, and more than 45 million people in this country have no insurance to cover it. Now, one state is doing what no other state or the federal government has been able to do: Provide near-universal health coverage. The Massachusetts legislature approved it with overwhelming bipartisan support. And it could become a model for the rest of the country. Here's Trish Regan."

Trish Regan: "President Clinton promised it but did not deliver, states have wrestled with it unsuccessfully for decades, and now Massachusetts has apparently done it. It's about to become the first in the nation to provide nearly universal health coverage. Under a bill approved by the legislature, the state will require every citizen to be insured. Governor Mitt Romney pushed for the program."
Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA): "I thought it would be impossible."
Regan: "He considers health coverage essential, like car insurance."
Romney: "Well, when people drive a car, we insist that they have automobile insurance because we don't want to have a huge accident occur and have the other driver, or other taxpayers have to pick up the bill. Well, individuals also have a responsibility."
Regan: "Currently, Massachusetts spends an estimated $1 billion a year covering its half million uninsured residents."
Romney: "We concluded that, in fact, if we took the money we're spending giving people free care who don't have insurance and instead use that money to help them buy insurance, we can keep from shifting the cost of the uninsured onto people who are already covered."
Regan: "Here's how the plan is expected to work: All residents will be required to either buy insurance through an employer or through the government. Those who can't afford a plan will be subsidized. They can buy insurance through the state for as little as $2.30 a month. If someone chooses not to buy a plan, there will be tax penalties, up to $1,200 a year."
Stuart Altman, Institute for Health Policy: "It would be a mistake to think of this as some crazy liberal pinko kind of Massachusetts, 'Taxachusetts,' the important thing is this is a moderate proposal."
Regan: "Stuart Altman has worked on health care policy for nearly every President since Nixon."
Altman: "I think every state should take a look at it, and I think many states will look at it very positively, and I would suspect that, I would hope that also the federal government would take a look at it."
Regan: "The bill takes effect in July of 2007, right around the same time that Governor Mitt Romney will be deciding whether to run for president in 2008, and you can bet health care will be a major issue in that race."


# NBC Nightly News. Brian Williams teased: "Health insurance for everybody. Is it possible? Tonight, one state about to make it the law. If it works, will the same thing happen where you live?"

Williams led his newscast: "Good evening. Depending on where you live, there's a good chance it's mandatory that you insure your car. And, in a strange way, that is exactly what's behind a new bill in Massachusetts, only it's about staying well. It's also likely about to become law in that state that its citizens must have health insurance. Those who can't pay themselves will have help. But more than that, if this works, why not the rest of the nation? It's been called 'mandatory health care,' 'universal health care,' and, while it has its critics, it's also being called a potential and revolutionary solution to a huge problem: the millions of uninsured Americans. We'll begin there tonight with NBC's Mike Taibbi."

Stephanopoulos Wonders If DeLay Feels
"Kinship" with Bill Clinton

Tom DeLay's contention that he was a target of "politics of personal destruction" led ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent George Stephanopoulos to recall the plight of his old boss, Bill Clinton, as a victim of the same tactics. He wondered if DeLay now felt "kinship" with Clinton? In a taped interview with DeLay aired on Wednesday's Good Morning America, Stephanopoulos proposed to the former House Majority Leader who


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has announced his decision to resign from his seat: "You know you use the phrase 'politics of personal destruction,' you say you've been scrutinized by Democrats and I know you probably don't like this comparison, when I hear those phrases I think of President Clinton. You feel more of a kinship now with him given what you've been through?" DeLay rejected the formulation: "Not at all. President Clinton broke the law, he lied to a grand jury. I have not done anything against the law."

The MRC's Brian Boyd caught the exchange during the session run during the 7am half hour of the April 5 GMA. A transcript of the interview taped outside of ABC:

Stephanopoulos: "You got an amazing welcome when you came back to Capitol Hill. Did it make you for even for a moment, want to reconsider?"
Tom DeLay: "No, no. I've taken a long time to make this decision, most specifically in the last four to five weeks. I've spent a lot of time in prayer. I think this is what I'm suppose to be doing."
Stephanopoulos: "When I was walking over here, just before I got here a Democratic staffer said 'Ask Mr. DeLay why is he breaking our hearts by leaving?' Do you think if you would have stayed in this race, Democrats would have taken control of Congress in November?"
DeLay: "I don't know about that. They certainly had a chance in my seat."
Stephanopoulos: "But President Bush got 64 percent in that district, it's your district. How could a Democrat win?"
DeLay: "Well, it shows you that the politics of personal destruction and character assassination takes its toll."
Stephanopoulos: "Your former press secretary pleads guilty, going to prison. Your former deputy chief of staff pleads guilty. A criminal enterprise is being run out of your office. How could you not know?"
DeLay: "It's very easy not to know. You've been around here, you've worked on the Hill, you know that a leader's office is a whirlwind all day long. And you have to trust the people that work for you."
Stephanopoulos: "So when the Wall Street Journal writes you were at best a terrible judge of character, you don't buy that, either?"
DeLay: "Not at all. I mean, am I suppose to look inside the soul of every person?"
Stephanopoulos: "It's got to make you angry."
DeLay: "No, it disappoints me. It hurts, to be honest, it really hurts."
Stephanopoulos: "You know you use the phrase 'politics of personal destruction,' you say you've been scrutinized by Democrats and I know you probably don't like this comparison, when I hear those phrases I think of President Clinton. You feel more of a kinship now with him given what you've been through?"
DeLay: "Not at all. President Clinton broke the law, he lied to a grand jury. I have not done anything against the law."
Stephanopoulos: "What are the chances a year from now we wake up, there's a headline that says 'Congressman DeLay Indicted'?"
DeLay: "Zero."
Stephanopoulos: "Absolutely zero?"
DeLay: "Look, I hired lawyers to investigate me as if they were prosecuting me. They spent all fall, four months, looking at everything I have done over the last 21 years and they have found nothing. We have always tried to be honorable in our service, ethical in our service, we've been passionate about what we believe in, but we've never done anything wrong."
Stephanopoulos: "A phrase being thrown around all day is 'fall from grace.' Does this feel like a fall from grace to you?"
DeLay: "Not at all. I have the grace of the Lord with me every day, all day long. And that's why I'm totally at peace with this decision. I have a sense of joy about it because I walk with the Lord, he guides me. And so, I haven't fallen from his grace."
Stephanopoulos: "And which of Christ's teachings are you most focused on going forward?"
DeLay: "Probably right now the one I struggle with the most is loving your enemies. I'm working on it."

Back live on GMA, Stephanopoulos wrapped up: "Now, he's still working to defeat his enemies. He told me that he was going to hit the campaign trail in the fall for conservative candidates. And he actually predicted that Republicans will pick up seats in November. It is hard to find anyone else here, Democrat or Republican, who agrees with that."

-- Brent Baker