MediaWatch: September 1992

Vol. Six No. 9

Woodruff vs. First Lady


Last month, when PBS anchor Judy Woodruff interviewed Hillary Clinton, Woodruff mentioned the now infamous Harvard Educational Review article and asked: "How important is it that that not enter in, and should it enter in?" During PBS/NBC joint coverage August 18, First Lady Barbara Bush didn't get softballs from Woodruff, but the First Lady fought back.

Woodruff's questions came from the Democratic playbook: "I want to ask you about some of the statements that have been made here at this convention over the last few days starting with this one."

Mrs. Bush interrupted: "You said you weren't going to ask all these same old questions." But Woodruff went on, "Now these questions you've never heard before...Republican Party Chairman Rich Bond saying the views of the Republicans are America, Democrats' views are not America... Well I didn't hear a Democrat say that you're not American if you're Republican?" Democrats "were absolutely vicious and nobody called it a dirty attack. So I'm not going to apologize for Rich Bond," Bush responded.

Unfazed, Woodruff demanded: "Campaign official Charles Black and Pat Buchanan have both said in the past 24 hours those who favor rights for homosexuals have not place in the Republican Party... Were you pleased to have that message going out over television?"

"I'm not sending that message," Bush said. Woodruff continued: "U.S. Treasurer Mrs. Villalpando, who just said yesterday, who joked that Gov. Clinton is a skirt chaser... does that have a place in this campaign?"

The First Lady took Woodruff to task: "Look you're saying nothing nice... where were you during the Democrat convention defending us?" Woodruff returned to her inquiry: "But Mosbacher who said in the last day or so that Gov. Clinton's alleged marital infidelity is a legitimate campaign issue."

After a final attempt to get Mrs. Bush to respond, Bush let loose: "You didn't listen to the Democrat Convention I think... I'm not sure you've been [sic] to the same political year I've been to, Judy. Now c'mon, be fair." Mrs. Bush got in the last word: "I'm going to listen to your questions. I'm going to monitor you."