2. ABC's Gibson on Hillary Candidacy: "A Lot of Us Can't Take No"
Re-running the 2000 presidential campaign, on Monday night, in relaying late-breaking news that Al Gore would endorse Howard Dean, reporters and anchors on ABC, CBS, CNBC, CNN and NBC all emphasized how Gore won the popular vote in 2000.
ABC's Peter Jennings intoned: "Former Vice President Al Gore, who actually won the popular vote in the last election..." CNBC anchor John Seigenthaler announced: "Former Vice President Al Gore, who lost the race for President even though he won the popular vote, has decided to back Howard Dean." CNN's Aaron Brown stressed how, "if nothing else," Gore "can say he received more votes in a losing campaign than George W. Bush did in a winning one."
A rundown of how the networks on Monday night, December 8, reminded viewers that Gore really won the most votes in 2000:
-- ABC's World News Tonight. Anchor Peter Jennings: "Former Vice President Al Gore, who actually won the popular vote in the last election -- Gore versus Bush -- has decided to endorse Howard Dean for the Democratic nomination this time. This is very big news for the Dean campaign because he has run well outside the Democratic establishment."
-- CBS Evening News. Wyatt Andrews: "Gore's seal of approval, remember, comes from the man who won the popular vote for President in the 2000 election and will reverberate with the voters Dean now needs the most: centrist and Southern Democrats."
But Gore has moved left since 2000, as CNN's Candy Crowley noted Monday night and ABC's George Stephanopoulos and NBC's Tim Russert pointed out on Tuesday morning.
-- CNBC's The News with Brian Williams, but without Brian Williams. Anchor John Seigenthaler's opening teaser: "Tonight on The News, surprise announcement. The man who won the most votes for President last time plans to vote for Howard Dean this time. Tonight, what the Gore endorsement really means. Has the Democratic nomination just been decided?"
Seigenthaler opened the program, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "But we begin tonight with today's big endorsement in the race for president and the question, 'Just what impact will it have on the race for the Democratic nomination?' Former Vice President Al Gore, who lost the race for President even though he won the popular vote, has decided to back Howard Dean."
-- CNN's NewsNight with Aaron Brown. Brown noted in the set up to 14 minutes of coverage at the start of his hour: "But when CNN reported this afternoon that former Vice President Al Gore -- who if nothing else can say he received more votes in a losing campaign than George W. Bush did in a winning one -- when we reported that Gore would endorse Dr. Dean the possibility of the race shifting seemed real. At best it was hugely disappointing news to several long time Gore friends, including his running mate Senator Joe Lieberman. We have a series of reports tonight, beginning with CNN's Kelly Wallace."
-- NBC Nightly News. Anchor Brian Williams: "In the often over-programmed world of presidential politics, there aren't many surprises left these days. Tonight we learned about one of them. At a news conference tomorrow in New York, former Vice President Al Gore, who won the popular vote in the last presidential election, will endorse former Vermont Governor Howard Dean for President."
The morning after ABC's George Stephanopoulos and NBC's Tim Russert begged Senator Hillary Clinton to get into the presidential race, or at least consider joining the ticket, on Monday's Good Morning America co-host Charles Gibson maintained that Clinton's appearances on the Sunday shows had raised, "once again, the 'will she or won't she' question." Gibson conceded that "it seems like a lot of us can't take no for an answer."
Setting up a session with Stephanopoulos, Gibson acknowledged that "I know she's said no a thousand times -- she said it to you yesterday," but he couldn't let go of the possibility: "George, she's raising her profile, it seems to me, remarkably. She was on all three shows yesterday, she took the highly-publicized trip to Afghanistan and to Iraq, and then she upstaged all the other nine presidential candidates recently at a big Iowa dinner, so what's up?"
Stephanopoulos suggested she wants to be "a player," but Gibson remained befuddled over why she won't get into the presidential campaign: "If she's such an overwhelming favorite in the polls, which would say to me she could probably have the nomination if she wanted it, why doesn't she want it? Does she think the Democratic nomination this year is a losing proposition?"
As recounted in the December 8 CyberAlert, on Sunday, Stephanopoulos and Russert grew excited and repeatedly tried to entice Senator Clinton into the presidential derby, eliciting laughter from Clinton for their efforts. Stephanopoulos fantasized about a pollster telling her that with her on the ticket the party wins and without her it loses, "will you accept?" Clinton retorted: "That is not going to happen George," prompting an excited Stephanopoulos to eagerly exclaim: "That's not a no!!! It could happen!" NBC's Tim Russert presented her with the scenario of a deadlocked convention which turns to her. Russert followed up ten times as he tried to persuade her to run. Examples: "So no matter what happens, absolutely, categorically, no?", "But you would never accept the nomination in 2004?" and, ever hopeful, "I think the door is opening a bit!" For details: www.mediaresearch.org
Gibson: "We're going to turn next to politics, particularly Senator Hillary Clinton. What was she doing yesterday all over the Sunday news shows, all of them raising once again the 'will she or won't she' question."
Viewers then saw this excerpt from the December 7 This Week:
Back live on GMA, Gibson introduced Stephanopoulos: "So joining us now from Washington, This Week anchor George Stephanopoulos. George, it seems like a lot of us can't take no for an answer, and I know she's said no a thousand times -- she said it to you yesterday -- but George, she's raising her profile, it seems to me, remarkably. She was on all three shows yesterday, she took the highly-publicized trip to Afghanistan and to Iraq, and then she upstaged all the other nine presidential candidates recently at a big Iowa dinner, so what's up?"
The two went on to discuss the dynamics of the Democratic primary campaign.
# NBC's Tim Russert is scheduled to appear tonight, Tuesday, on CBS's Late Show with David Letterman. Former President Jimmy Carter is scheduled to appear on NBC's Tonight Show with Jay Leno. I'll stick with Letterman.
-- Brent Baker