Gore's Low Blows Ignored; Clinton Could've Used Bush's Excuse; Media Too Easy on Bush; Media Stars Predicted Gore Victory
-- Extra Edition
1) Al Gore connected George
Bush's pledge to appoint "strict-constructionist" judges to how
blacks were once considered three-fifths a person and as Fox's Jim Angle put
it, "suggested the election is a choice between good and evil." Both
comments were raised during Sunday morning shows, but not Sunday night.
2) ABC and NBC on Sunday night relayed new poll numbers that
put Bush ahead of Gore. NBC found Bush's drunk driving arrest was not
considered relevant by 81 percent.
3) Bill Clinton could have used George Bush's excuse to hide
the Lewinsky mess, Newsweek's Eleanor Clift opined on the McLaughlin Group:
"I don't think President Clinton wanted Chelsea Clinton to know what he
was doing either."
4) Tim Russert's hope for 2004. He pushed John McCain about
how if McCain-Feingold is rejected by Republicans, "Would you then think
about 2004, McCain-Kerrey, running as an independent ticket?"
5) The media have let "Bush get away with entirely too
much," contended Al Hunt and Time's Jack White argued "the press
coverage has been more favorable to Bush than it has been to Gore." Brit
Hume, however, suggested the bias is in Gore's favor as the media have
attacked Nader for having "no right to be in this race," but
didn't do that when Perot gave Republicans trouble.
6) Pundit Prognostications. The majority of pundits on weekend
shows predicted Bush will win, but most of those working for mainstream media
outlets picked Gore, including Eleanor Clift, Margaret Carlson and Al Hunt.
Newsweek's Evan Thomas revealed that in the Virginia Senate race: "I
hope Robb wins."
7) "If Bush wins," former ABC News reporter Pierre
Salinger promised, "I'm going to leave the country."
night Al Gore connected George Bush's pledge to appoint
"strict-constructionist" judges to how blacks were once
considered three-fifths a person and on Sunday morning Gore, as Fox's
Jim Angle put it, "suggested the election is a choice between good
and evil." But while Gore spokesman were asked about both comments
during Sunday interview show appearances, neither low blow remark was
mentioned in Sunday night news stories on either ABC or NBC. (NFL bumped
the CBS Evening News in the ET and CT time zones).
On the November 5 Fox News Sunday Angle played a
clip of Al Gore proclaiming at a prayer breakfast: "Good overcomes
evil if we choose that outcome." Angle added: "Gore insisted
later that he did not mean that Bush is evil."
Later on the show, Tony Snow raised another Gore jab
at Bush. He asked DNC Chairman Ed Rendell: "Yesterday in Pittsburgh
Vice President Gore said that if George W. Bush were selecting judges he
would select strict-constructionists and, he added, it was reminiscent of
the days when blacks were considered quote, 'three-fifths of a human
being.' Why isn't that race-baiting?"
On CBS's Face the Nation co-host Gloria Borger
brought up the same comment with Gore campaign Chairman Bill Daley:
"At a predominantly African-American congregation in Pittsburgh, he
said 'when my opponent talks about strict-constructionists for the
Supreme Court, I often think of the strictly constructed meaning that was
applied when the Constitution was written, how some people were considered
three-fifths of a human being.' Isn't that over the line?"
Daley stood by Gore: "No, that's factual."
Sunday night stories recounting Gore's day skipped
both negative attacks on Bush as John Yang didn't mention them on
ABC's World News Tonight and Chip
Reid overlooked them on NBC Nightly News.
poll numbers relayed Sunday night: The ABC News tracking poll put Bush
ahead of Gore by 49 to 45 percent. The NBC News/Wall Street Journal
poll found Bush ahead of Gore 47 to 44 percent with Nader at 3 percent
and Buchanan surging to 2 percent.
"Was Bush's 1976 DUI arrest a major
factor?" No, answered 81 percent, NBC Nightly News reported in
relating another poll question. But asked if he should have revealed
the arrest earlier, 47 percent said yes.
Clinton could have used George Bush's excuse to hide the Lewinsky
mess, Newsweek's Eleanor Clift opined on the McLaughlin Group over
the weekend. Citing Bush's claim that he did not earlier reveal his
drunk driving arrest because he did not want his daughters to know of
his poor behavior, Clift argued:
"That is a
very poor excuse. I too am a parent and frankly if you want to make
the case you shouldn't drink and drive, that was a powerful bit of
information that he should have divulged. Secondly, if we're going
to use that as a good excuse, I don't think President Clinton wanted
Chelsea Clinton to know what he was doing either."
Not revealing something that happened 24 years
before you ran for President is a bit different than covering up
something that took place in the official workplace of the President
while you are in office, to say nothing of how Clinton broke the law
to hide it from judicial inquiries.
National Review's Kate O'Beirne delivered
the best quip on CNN's Capital Gang, one that could be directed at
Clift: "The people who are upset by a 24-year-old incident and
were not upset about a 24-year-old intern, I think, are having a tough
one making this one sell."
Russert's dream ticket: "McCain-Kerry 2004." Democratic
Senator Bob Kerrey and Republican Senator John McCain appeared on
Sunday's Meet the Press to represent Gore and Bush, though both
disagree with their party nominees on many issues. Russert raised one
with McCain as he divulged his hope for 2004:
happens if you go to the floor in January and push McCain-Feingold and
it gets voted down by members of your own party? Would you then think
about 2004, McCain-Kerrey, running as an independent ticket?"
McCain rejected Russert's recommendation.
press "has let Governor Bush get away with entirely too
much," contended Al Hunt and Time's Jack White argued "the
press coverage has been more favorable to Bush than it has been to
Gore." But even the liberal Jack Germond realized "the press
coverage has pictured the guy as a dumbbell." Meanwhile, Fox's
Brit Hume suggested the bias is in Gore's favor as the media have
been "vituperative" in attacking Nader for having "no
right to be in this race," but "somehow I don't remember
that when it was Ross Perot giving a Republican trouble."
Al Hunt, Executive Washington Editor of the Wall
Street Journal, made the media's pro-Bush bias his "Outrage of
the Campaign" at the end of Saturday's Capital Gang on CNN:
eight years after the national press lamented that Bill Clinton came
to the presidency with too many unresolved questions about him and his
past, it could happen all over again if George W. Bush wins next
Tuesday. On stories ranging from his failure to disclose his 24 year
old drunk driving record to substantive matters like the $1 trillion
gap in his Social Security plan, an acquiescent press, perhaps feeling
guilty about being duped by Bill Clinton, has let Governor Bush get
away with entirely too much."
Nice that eight years too late he seemingly
conceded the media's acquiescent 1992 coverage of Bill Clinton.
On Inside Washington, Time magazine national
correspondent Jack White asserted: "I don't think there's any
question that George Bush has been held to a lower standard on
veracity and capacity than Gore has had to meet -- throughout this
campaign. And in that sense I think the press coverage has been more
favorable to Bush than it has been to Gore."
That was too much for even the liberal columnist
Jack Germond, who shot back: "What do you mean? The press
coverage has pictured the guy as a dumbbell who can't tie his shoes!
I mean that's hardly favorable."
But what about how the media have fretted over
how Ralph Nader could cost Gore the election? Fox's Brit Hume,
during the Fox News Sunday roundtable, recalled how his Washington
media colleagues weren't so upset in 1992 by how Ross Perot hurt
then-President Bush's re-election chances:
recall any hand-wringing in the media about whether Ross Perot ought
to get out of the race, or throw his support to George W. Bush, the
way we've had this year with a lot of the people in the press saying
'oh Al Gore.' I mean, the attacks on Ralph Nader have been
vituperative, he has no right to be in this race, it's
self-indulgent, it's unreasonable, it's bad for the country and so
on? Somehow I don't remember that when it was Ross Perot giving a
Neither do I.
Prognostications, a complete weekend TV rundown. As a service to those
about to complete an office pool entry about tomorrow's election
results, I went through the five weekend shows in which pundits
offered predictions -- on the Senate, House and presidential contests
-- and took them down.
The majority of pundits thought Bush will win,
but most of those working for mainstream media outlets picked Gore as
the victor. On the three shows on which panelists forecast the
presidential race, Inside Washington, Capital Gang and the McLaughlin
Group, nine foresaw a Bush win compared to six who anticipated Gore
winning. The five: Newsweek's Eleanor Clift, Time's Margaret
Carlson and the Wall Street Journal's Al Hunt. Plus columnists Mark
Shields and Clarence Page, who saw an Electoral College/popular vote
split, as well as Jack White of Time, but his prediction also comes
with a asterisk explained below.
But first, a bit of
bias in the predictions as Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan
Thomas revealed on Inside Washington who he hopes will win in the
Virginia Senate race between incumbent Democrat Chuck Robb and
Republican challenger George Allen. We join the predictions in
Jack White of
Time: "I think I'd probably bet on Allen to win it."
of NPR picked Robb: "I'm going to counter you only because I
really think that the African-American vote may really turn out."
Charles Krauthammer: "Allen ahead by 6 this weekend. He'll
Germond: "I'd bet on Allen."
"I hope Robb wins."
Not I think he will win, but "I hope Robb
> Sunday shows with predictions made by only
some panelists on some things:
-- Fox News Sunday.
Morton Kondracke predicted the Democrats will gain one or two Senate
seats and two or three in House seats. Fred
Barnes anticipated Republicans will retain control of the House and
Juan Williams forecast that Democrats will take
control of the Senate, but Republicans will retain the House. And Jean
Carnahan will win in Missouri. NPR's Mara Liasson thought
Republicans will continue to hold both houses of Congress.
Brit Hume implied he believed Bush will win the
presidency: "This is the year
when the Republicans, like the Democrats in 1992, benefit from the 12
year itch. They want the White House back. I suspect that their
turnout will be the key to it."
-- ABC's This Week. George Will said there
"could be a stunning surprise" in the New Jersey Senate race
while George Stephanopoulos predicted the Democrats will pick up two
seats in the Senate.
He and Cokie Roberts disagreed about the
Virginia Senate race. Roberts asserted: "My gut says Robb pulls
it out." Stephanopoulos retorted: "Boy I disagree. I think
in the end this is one when Robb finally loses."
> Complete prognostications -- shows in which
all the pundits were required to offer definitive predictions.
-- Inside Washington. In addition to the
Virginia Senate race above which went 3-to-2 for Allen, the panel went
5-to-0 in predicting Hillary Clinton will take the New York Senate
seat (Thomas, White, Germond, Totenberg and Krauthammer).
In the presidential race, the panel picked Bush
by 4-to-1, though Time's Jack White, who said Gore would in,
conceded he really doesn't believe it: "My wife is a big Gore
supporter and if I predict the other guy and say what I really think
I'll be in trouble."
Nina Totenberg forecast trouble for Bush, who
she said would win "narrowly and I think that he has cast himself
in this role of a moderate and he's less moderate than meets the eye
and he'll have trouble in his first and maybe his only term."
I think Totenberg and her colleagues can be
counted on to cause trouble for anyone pushing conservative policies.
-- CNN's Capital Gang, with Time's Margaret
Carlson, National Review's Kate O'Beirne, the Wall Street
Journal's Al Hunt, columnist Bob Novak and columnist Mark Shields.
++ Senate, now 54 to 46 in favor of Republicans.
In the panel of five, two forecast an even split in the new Senate,
two thought Republicans would lose seats but maintain control and one
presaged a Democratic majority Senate:
In the New York Senate race, Carlson, Hunt and
Shields anticipated Clinton would win, Novak and O'Beirne picked
++ House, now 223 Republicans to 210 Democrats
with two independents. Democrats need to pick up seven to take
control. By 3-to-2 the panel predicted the GOP will retain the House:
gain 8 seats and control, 218 to 215, 2 independent.
Democrats gain 10 seats and control, 220 to 213, 2 independent.
gain 1 seat, Republicans maintain control 222 to 211, 2 independents
Democrats gain 4 seats, Republicans maintain control 219 to 214, 2
Republicans gain 2 seats, 225 to 208, 2 independents.
++ Presidential. By 3-to-2 the panel picked Gore
as the winner, with both journalists for mainstream news outlets
(Carlson and Hunt) forecasting a Gore victory. Here are their
electoral college predictions, with the winner listed first:
O'Beirne: Bush 315, Gore 223
Hunt: Gore 277,
297, Bush 241
Novak: Bush 308,
274, Bush 264
-- The McLaughlin Group, with Michael Barone of
U.S. News, Newsweek's Eleanor Clift, columnists Clarence Page and
Tony Blankley as well as John McLaughlin himself.
++ Senate. Four
panelists predicted continued GOP control and one predicted an even
Barone: Republican 53-47
Individual race picks:
Missouri, Republican incumbent John Ashcroft
versus Jean Carnahan, unseatable wife of the late candidate. 3-to-2
New Jersey, open seat. All picked Democrat John
New York, you know who the candidates are and
Hillary Clinton won the group by 3-to-2:
++ House: Two anticipated a Democratic takeover
while three thought Republicans would maintain control. Republicans
now have a 223 to 210 majority with two independents:
unchanged 223 to 210
take House by 3 seats
Republicans lose 3 seats but maintain majority
take over House by 1 or 2 seats
Republicans expand 13 seat gap to 17 seats
++ Presidential. By 3-to-2 the group predicted a
Bush presidency. Their picks for the vote percentages:
Barone: Bush 50
to 44 percent
barely at 50 to 50 percent
51 or 52 to 43 or 44 percent
Page: Bush 49 to
48 percent, Gore wins Electoral College
50 to 43 percent
Finally, a tip from George Stephanopoulos on
This Week on what to watch for early Tuesday night: "When the
returns start to come in Tuesday night, I think voters should look at
three little states in the Northeast: Delaware, New Hampshire and
Maine. These are the canaries in the coal mine for Al Gore. If he
sweeps them, he's got a very, very good chance to win. If he loses
even one to George W. Bush, I think Bush will be our next
former high-profile reporter for ABC News has announced that if George
Bush wins he'll leave the country. Friday's "The Reliable
Source" column in the Washington Post, by Lloyd Grove and Beth
Berselli, picked up on comments in a Washington, DC weekly
neighborhood newspaper from Pierre Salinger, last heard espousing
wacky theories about how the Navy shot down TWA 800. Salinger was no
low-level producer. For most of the '80s and through the early
'90s he was the chief foreign correspondent for ABC News.
In the November 3 Post, Grove and Berselli
relayed: "'I don't want any more Bush Presidents,' the
75-year-old Salinger writes in the new Georgetowner newspaper. 'If
Bush wins, I'm going to leave the country and spend the rest of my
life in France."
Please do, no matter who wins. As ABC's chief
foreign correspondent, the one-time Press Secretary to President
Kennedy was based in Paris and London during the Reagan-Bush years, so
he managed to avoid living in the U.S. during the last GOP presidency. -- Brent Baker
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