Welcome to Campaign 2000: Bush Nastiness v. Gore Outreach
"As for George Bush the younger, there's every reason to expect that the millions spent on negative attack ads and phone banks used against McCain will soon be dialing up and against Al Gore."
- Dan Rather introducing a story on the March 8 CBS Evening News.
"For his part Al Gore wasted no time reaching out to Bradley's backers, bidding for voters cut for McCain and the view that the Bush agenda is, in Gore's view, outside the American mainstream."
- Rather introducing the next story on Al Gore.
Accusatory Bush v. Crafty Gore
"One of the things you said in your speech last night, was you accused the Clinton-Gore administration of demagoguery when it comes to Social Security and of giving Americans a White House where there is no controlling legal authority. Is that the sort of campaign this is going to be?"
- NBC reporter David Bloom to George Bush, March 8 Today.
"Just a few minutes ago we heard the Vice President sort of craftily associate George W. Bush with the extreme right wing of the GOP. As George W. Bush tries to slide to the middle, will we repeatedly hear Al Gore say not so fast?"
- Katie Couric to Tim Russert, same show.
Imus Zinged Brokaw
Don Imus: referring to how Al Gore reacted the night before to a question about Maria Hsia from
Tom Brokaw: "He acted like he barely knew this Maria Hsia, didn't he? Like he was ready to drag her up out of a park someplace."
Brokaw: "Oh, I know, yeah, it was: Did I miss that? It was as if he were saying, Did she get convicted? He said, It's still in the courts. It's no longer in the courts! The jury has ruled! Guilty! Five counts!"
Imus: "Well, if he's watching NBC News he missed it."
Brokaw: "Yeah, well that's true."
Imus: "And he only saw 19 seconds of it with Dan [Rather]."
Brokaw: "Yeah, I know."
- March 8 exchange on MSNBC's Imus in the Morning. Neither NBC Nightly News or Today mentioned Hsia's conviction for money laundering on March 2. On March 13 Nightly News gave it four seconds.
The Anti-Gun Lobby Called CBS
"The President blamed the current stalemate on heat from the NRA. The heat being reflected back on the gun lobby now includes this: In Michigan a 19-year-old man was arraigned today for involuntary manslaughter. His gun was allegedly used by one first grader to kill another. Her funeral is tomorrow. The suspect in yesterday's suburban Pittsburgh shooting spree is being charged with two homicide counts and may also face hate crime charges. In Hiawatha, Kansas, last night, a teenager shot and killed a deputy sheriff, then died in a shootout with police. CBS's Jim Stewart reports tonight on the push and the prospects for even modest new gun control laws."
- Dan Rather, March 2 CBS Evening News.
"President Clinton met today with congressional leaders, pushing them for new gun control laws in response to more shocking gun violence. It's been a week since a six-year-old Michigan girl was shot dead by another six-year-old. As CBS's Diana Olick reports, the little girl's death has many wondering what, if anything, more can be done and asking why Congress hasn't done anything for months."
- Dan Rather opening a story on the CBS Evening News, March 7.
"Across the country, the new year has had a bloody beginning. From Pittsburgh to Michigan to Memphis, the combination of guns and life gone wrong has triggered a national debate. But while Washington wonders what to do, almost every day there is fresh evidence that Americans are dying for something to change."
- Bob McNamara concluding a story on the CBS Evening News, March 8.
Brokaw: We're All Independents
"Now to your larger question about are reporters biased, now I really don't think that they are. I think that most of us are registered, as I am, which is decline to or as independents. I never have revealed who I've ever voted for. But I can tell, it crosses back and forth between party lines. And I think most people feel that way who are reporters. You know, if one of us begins to really tilt the coverage toward one candidate, there are a hundred others behind us who will be pointing that out to you, or you'll be able to go to another channel or another newspaper or another radio station, and find out the other side of the story."
- NBC anchor Tom Brokaw on CNN's Larry King Live, March 6.
Jeb Bush = Selma Racist Thugs
"Backed by a Republican-led legislature, few believe Bush will be swayed by the protests and passions of people who didn't put him in office in the first place. But like the demonstrators in Selma 35 years ago, who were beat back with night sticks and tear gas, those who gathered today said they'll be back here or in court."
- Conclusion of March 7 CBS Evening News story by Byron Pitts on protesters in Tallahassee marching against a move to eliminate racial quotas in state college admission and state contracts.
Women Love "Choice" to Kill
"Mrs. Bush, as you know, women are critical in these presidential elections so far. Republicans have not been doing well among women in the last few cycles in large part because of the whole question of choice. Your husband is strongly anti-abortion. Do you think he can continue to win the support of women in the fall, despite that?"
- Tom Brokaw to Laura Bush during interview simulcast on Dateline NBC and MSNBC on Super Tuesday night, March 7.
Equating Legal and Illegal Acts
"Yeah, everybody gets religion after they get their hands out of the cookie jar. And in his case you've got Connie, I mean Johnny Chung and Charlie Trie and Maria Hsia, who was convicted last week of five counts of felony violations of the federal campaign laws. So that could be an issue that will come up in the presidential campaigns when they begin to debate next fall if Al Gore raises his finger and begins to wag it at George Bush for the soft money. And especially the Bush friends that he has in Texas going around financing all those attack ads. So I think that, that may be a neutral issue, if you will, between George Bush and Al Gore."
- Tom Brokaw during MSNBC's Super Tuesday coverage, March 7.
"We are going to begin with unregulated money and the Republican presidential campaign. It is called soft money by some people. It's what you may give in unlimited amounts to support a political campaign, because it's illegal to give more than $1,000 to a candidate directly. We begin there tonight because two very wealthy men in Texas are spending more than $2 million of their own money to help George W. Bush defeat John McCain, and Mr. McCain, as you know, has made the effect of money in politics his campaign priority."
- Peter Jennings opening ABC's World News Tonight, March 3.
Bush Sold His Soul to Hard Right
"His strategy: to soften the hard right edge he sharpened in South Carolina. Labeled intolerant there, in Los Angeles today he visited the Museum of Tolerance, dedicated to Holocaust victims."
- Reporter Bill Whitaker on George W. Bush, March 6 CBS Evening News.
Dan Rather: "One issue that is sure to come up in the fall campaign that has already surfaced is Bush cozying up to the self-described religious right, including the Reverends Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell."
Richard Schlesinger: "....Pollsters and pundits and politicians like to describe the primary season as a search for the soul of a party. Now the question is: Did George Bush sell his soul to the wrong group?"
- March 13 CBS Evening News.
Far-Right Bush vs. Moderate Al
"I think that one of the advantages that Al Gore has right now is that he has a unified Democratic Party and George Bush, to get the nomination, had to move in a direction that he didn't want to, which was to move to the harder-right within the Republican Party and get identified as a Pat Robertson Republican."
- Tom Brokaw on the Late Show with David Letterman, March 10.
"Gore (unlike Bush) had managed to make it through the primary season without straying too far from the center. And now Gore will be more than happy to tuck the conservative Democrat label under his belt and carry it with him into the fall, when it will be a handy way to parry G.O.P charges that he's a screaming liberal."
- Time reporter Eric Pooley, March 13.
Locating Herself on the Spectrum
"[Helen] Thomas said the two Republican candidates, John McCain and George W. Bush, are 'about as far right as you could get without dropping off the edge.'"
- Story on UPI White House reporter Helen Thomas's speech in Wisconsin, March 8 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Larry King's Kiss and Tell
Larry King: "I was just telling Anne [Heche] that I've never been kissed by a man, except Brando. Brando kissed me on the lips."
Actress Sharon Stone: "That's something."
- Exchange on CNN's Larry King Weekend, March 4.