CBS's Bob Schieffer on Wednesday night offered the hindsight that everyone
knew the Democratic gubernatorial candidates in Virginia and New Jersey
would lose, they did lose and so the losses mean nothing. "I think
what we saw last night were snap shots. I don't think we saw
predictors," Schieffer declared on the CBS Evening News in absolving
President Obama of any culpability. "I don't think they told us
much except that people are very frustrated out in the country." And
that, apparently, has nothing to do with Obama.
Schieffer recited what happened with remarkable prescience: In Virginia, "they run someone for Governor [Creigh Deeds] who is a rural candidate who's little-known in Northern Virginia and who could not seem to connect with the African-American voters. So he got beat and he got beat bad. Most people thought that was going to happen and it did." Up Interstate 95 in New Jersey, Governor Jon Corzine "was just so unpopular that I think he just didn't have a chance from the get-go."
Katie Couric and Jeff Greenfield saw "a cautionary tale" for the GOP in the Democratic pick-up of a U.S. House seat from New York where the candidate conservatives backed lost.
On NBC, Brian Williams painted the election results as "an ominous development for the-year-old Obama administration" and attributed the outcomes to how "there is evidence of an angry electorate out there."
Of the broadcast network evening newscasts, only Charles Gibson on ABC pointed out the uninterrupted winning streak at the ballot box for opponents of same-sex marriage: "In Maine, voters rejected a law allowing same-sex marriages. Gay marriage has now lost in all 31 states in which it has been put to a popular vote."
Earlier: From Tuesday night, before the polls closed: "CBS's Schieffer Denies Vote a Referendum on Obama, Compares Conservatives to McGovern. "
Gibson led the Wednesday, November 4 World News on ABC:
One year ago, Barack Obama rode into office on a wave of discontent, promising change on the number one issue for voters, the economy. Well, yesterday, in New Jersey and Virginia exit polls show voters were overwhelmingly interested about the economy. Same concern, different result. Despite campaign appearances by the President, Democrats lost gubernatorial races in those two states and voters who had supported the President just a year ago, well, they still like him but they abandoned him in droves.
Williams opened the NBC Nightly News:
A year ago we were talking about a sea change in American politics. Tonight we're reporting a small change which could also be an ominous development for the-year-old Obama administration. Republicans were elected governor last night in two important states. But other than preferring both candidates to the Democrats, were voters across the country last night trying to say something else? There is evidence of an angry electorate out there.
The CBS Evening News didn't get to the off-year elections until about 20 minutes into the program. An excerpt:
BOB SCHIEFFER: I think what we saw last night were snap shots. I don't think we saw predictors. I mean, in Virginia, Obama won Virginia because he carried the urban/suburban vote in Northern Virginia, the suburbs around Washington and he got a big African-American turnout. So what did the Democrats do? They run someone for Governor who is a rural candidate who's little known in Northern Virginia and who could not seem to connect with the African-American voters. So he got beat and he got beat bad. Most people thought that was going to happen and it did. And in New Jersey, Corzine, the Governor, was just so unpopular that I think he just didn't have a chance from the get-go. So I think these were races about New Jersey and Virginia. I don't think they told us much except that people are very frustrated out in the country. The economy is bad and when the economy is bad, that is never good for the party in power.
KATIE COURIC: One of the surprising results last night was the victory in the 23rd congressional district in upstate New York of a Democrat. The Republicans had held that seat for, what, a hundred years? Is this a cautionary tale for the national GOP, Jeff, in a way?
JEFF GREENFIELD: It might be. It's a unique event because it was local Republican leaders who picked a candidate that was just too liberal on social and some economic issues far lot of conservatives. Then you had a stream of Republicans- not just conservatives but people like former New York Governor Pataki, endorsing the Conservative Party candidate, I think, to get their bona fides and that split their vote and a Democrat walked in. I think it may be a little cautionary in terms of those conservatives who are anxious to challenge Republicans they regard as too moderate or too liberal.
- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center