Cheney a "Reasonable" Conservative; "Political Mistake" Not to Pick McCain; "Smart" to Tap Ridge
1) Despite a "very
conservative" record, Dick Cheney "appeared to be a moderate,
reasonable person" because he dealt candidly with the press, Steve
Roberts asserted. NBC's Andrea Mitchell tagged him "very
conservative" with "a moderate face." CBS warned "his
voting record might be too conservative to fit with Bush."
2) A phone number provided by NBC
reporter Pete Williams, a former aide to Dick Cheney, enabled NBC's Lisa
Myers to break the news that Cheney had changed his voter registration to
3) The McCain for VP boomlet
excited ABC's Cokie Roberts. On Friday she proclaimed if Bush "wants to
win it's a good idea." On Sunday she called it a "political
mistake" to not choose McCain.
4) McCain for VP "landed in
Texas with a thud" or "the Texas Governor did nothing to dampen
it"? Depends if you watched CBS or NBC Friday night.
5) Media regret over Bush's
expected failure to name a "pro-choice" VP. World News Tonight
anchor Elizabeth Vargas bemoaned how that decision opens up Bush to charges of
reflecting "the same old party," and on Inside Washington NPR's
Nina Totenberg insisted it would "be smart" for Bush to defy his
base by picking Ridge.
6) A memo from Hillary's
campaign clearly asked supporters to misrepresent themselves to reporters, but
that's okay with Newsweek's Eleanor Clift: "That's not lying.
That's not volunteering information. There's a difference."
Cheney has a "very conservative" voting record, Steve Roberts
warned on Sunday's Late Edition, but he nevertheless "appeared to
be a moderate, reasonable person" because he dealt with the press.
In the July
23 roundtable discussion on the CNN show about the latest GOP VP talk,
Roberts, a former New York Times reporter now toiling for U.S. News, may
have best reflected the Washington media attitude toward potential VP pick
Cheney: despite being a conservative he's an okay guy. Roberts asserted:
Dick Cheney for many years. He's a man of great solidity. He's a man
who has very good relations with the press. He's a little like John
McCain. He voted very conservatively but he appeared to be a moderate,
reasonable person because he was candid with the press and open, but he is
not a particularly dynamic person."
Earlier, on NBC's Meet the Press, reporter Andrea Mitchell expressed the
same theme, but added how Cheney voted "against fair housing,"
among other sins:
a very conservative voting record, he has a moderate face. He's being
praised today by people as diverse as David Obey, a very liberal
Democratic Congressman from Wisconsin, Tony Coelho, because he always got
along in the House. He would be Speaker of the House had not left to
become Defense Secretary because Newt Gingrich would never have risen up.
But he was a very conservative voting record, against some Social Security
issues, against fair housing. This man is very good for conserving the
Republican base on that side and he will, I think, be the running
CBS News made sure its viewers realized how conservative Cheney is as well
as another name forwarded in speculation. On Saturday's CBS Evening
News, in listing negatives for both Cheney and former Senator John
Danforth, CBS News analyst Gloria Borger assessed from the left:
Cheney does have those heart problems and he also has a conservative
voting record during the Reagan years which could be mined by the
Democrats. And since we're sure that the Supreme Court appointments are
going to be a major issue in this campaign, John Danforth's key role in
shepherding that Clarence Thomas nomination through the Senate would also
become an issue for the Democrats."
night, Sunday July 23, reporter Bill Whitaker passed along supposed
concern that Cheney is too conservative for Bush: "Former Defense
Secretary Dick Cheney, who's generated considerable buzz in recent days,
would be the kind of solid, loyal number two Bush seeks. But some
Republicans say his voting record might be too conservative to fit with
Bush and his health record, of three heart attacks and bypass surgery,
might be a problem."
NBC's hiring of a former aide to Dick Cheney helped NBC News reporter
Lisa Myers scoop her colleagues on Friday night in reporting how the
former Defense Secretary changed his voter registration from Texas to
Wyoming. Electors from a state cannot vote for a President and Vice
President from that same state.
On Meet the
Press she explained how she discovered the development. NBC News colleague
Pete Williams told her that as of Tuesday Cheney had not registered to
vote in Wyoming, "so he gave me the number of the Teton County
"Pete's a resident of Wyoming."
"Yes, and knows Wyoming well and knows the Cheneys well. And so I
called them up and got a very nice woman by the name of Sharon Nethercott
, and I said is Richard Cheney registered to vote there and she says yes.
And I said when did he register and she said today. What she said was that
he walked in that morning, filled out the card withdrawing his
registration from Texas, moving it to Wyoming. I said could we get a copy
of the card. She said nope, we've already mailed it. So they're
efficient in Wyoming too."
For all her
effort, Myers didn't even make it onto Friday's NBC Nightly News with
her scoop, though anchor Brian Williams mentioned it. Myers did get onto
MSNBC at just before 6:30p ET with her "breaking news."
As for how
Williams "knows Wyoming well," Meet the Press viewers were not
informed of the connection between Williams, who joined NBC News in early
1993, and Cheney. During the Gulf War Williams served as Assistant
Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs under Cheney. In the late '80s,
after ten years as a anchor and reporter for KTWO-TV in Casper, Wyoming,
he had jumped to Cheney's congressional office as Press Secretary and
Legislative Assistant to the then-U.S. Representative.
The McCain for VP boomlet of Friday had died down by Sunday, but it sure
excited ABC's Cokie Roberts. On Friday she proclaimed "if he wants
to win it's a good idea." On Sunday she called not choosing him a
aboard the July 21 World News Tonight to discuss the McCain option with
anchor Peter Jennings, whom she told: "...If Bush shies away from
naming McCain when it looks like McCain wants the job then it makes Bush
look weak, it makes it look like he's not up to picking a person who
could overshadow him, who could have his own plans and who could attract
his own voters. Does he want to win or does he want to be
"You get a yes or a no here. Will Bush pick McCain?"
"Oh, that's not fair [laughs]. If he wants to win it's a good
with the McCain boomlet dying, she rued on the July 23 This Week:
"The Gore campaign was in a total panic on Friday. 'Please God let
it not be true' and George Bush was basically saying the same thing,
'please God let it not be true.' I think that he thinks that he can
win without McCain and that he just doesn't want to do it. He doesn't
want to have somebody there that's making him unhappy and miserable all
the time and could be stabbing him in the back and seizing the limelight,
but boy I think it's a political mistake. I think those numbers are very
McCain for VP "landed in Texas with a thud" or "the Texas
Governor did nothing to dampen it"? Depends if you watched CBS or NBC
The July 21
CBS Evening News led with Bill Whitaker on the McCain possibility:
"The hat John McCain seemed to throw back in the VP ring landed in
Texas with a thud."
"I'm going to take time to make up my mind, I'm going to take my
time, I'm taking my time, and I'll make up my mind and let you
But the NBC
Nightly News story made the possibility of McCain seem more viable. Anchor
Brian Williams declared that "reports that an old and bitter rival,
John McCain, might be back in the running for Vice President have created
a media frenzy and today the Texas Governor did nothing to dampen
Gregory began his story: "On his ranch outside of Austin today
Governor Bush refuses to say whether Senator McCain's change of heart
means the Arizona Senator is now a leading contender for the number
"I've heard there's a lot of speculation that goes on in the
course of the vice presidential selection and John's a good man, he's
a good friend of mine."
Regret over Bush's expected failure to name a "pro-choice" VP.
World News Tonight anchor Elizabeth Vargas bemoaned how that decision
opens up Bush to charges of promoting "the same old party," and
on Inside Washington NPR's Nina Totenberg insisted it would "be
smart" for Bush to defy his base.
-- On Saturday's World News Tonight,
after a piece by Linda Douglass in which she listed Cheney, Danforth,
Frank Keating and Chuck Hagel as the remaining VP possibilities, ABC
analyst George Stephanopoulos assessed Danforth and Cheney:
"They're both clearly conservative, but have a reputation for
working with Democrats. And what's also interesting, if you look at
Linda's list, not a single candidate left on Linda's list who's
pro-choice. Bush may have decided he just doesn't want to take that
Elizabeth Vargas, apparently referring to conservative influence:
"Possibly opening up charges of the same old party then?"
Stephanopoulos: "No question about it and Democrats might want to
pounce on that but what Bush gets is he doesn't get any upset at the
convention and he forestalls Pat Buchanan."
-- On Inside Washington NPR's Nina
Totenberg urged Bush to pick Tom Ridge: "This looks increasingly like
it's going to be a very close race. And while I don't think that the
vice presidential choice will actually make a difference to voters per se,
I think that he could, for the first time with his choice, actually say
he's his own man by defying the base just a little bit with somebody
like Tom Ridge. I don't think he'll do it, but that would be
kind of move would lead media liberals to actually vote for Bush.
Eleanor Clift, in full Clinton mode. Depends upon your definition of
deceit. In a segment on the McLaughlin Group about the allegation that
Hillary Clinton once referred to someone as a "Jew bastard,"
host John McLaughlin put on screen the text of a memo from Karen Adler, a
Hillary campaign worker, to supporters:
are the names and numbers of the two reporters from the Jewish papers that
are covering the Hillary story. I would appreciate it if you would call
these people as concerned citizens. (It is important that you not say that
you are calling because the campaign asked you to, but because you are
outraged with what was said about her.) The most important thing is to let
them know that you know Hillary and you know that she would never make
these kinds of anti-Semitic or racist comments."
clear request to misrepresent who they were and to not say they were
calling at the request of the campaign, Newsweek's Eleanor Clift
maintained: "That's not lying. That's not volunteering
information. There's a difference."
there's a difference between an independent reporter and someone in the
tank for a candidate. -- Brent Baker
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