Disenfranchised Voter Idea Pushed; Rather Reminded Viewers of DWI; Ratherisms; Hillary's Name Booed by Letterman Audience
-- Back to today's CyberAlert
1) Morning and night the networks are advancing the Democratic
agenda by focusing attention on complaints of "irregularities" and
putting the burden on Bush surrogates to defend not counting improperly
filled-out ballots. NBC's Matt Lauer: "Should the election stand if
those people didn't have a chance to have their voices heard?" Bryant
Gumbel asked Bill Daley if he was "disappointed" by George W.
2) In the midst of Bush's short-lived time of victory
announced by the networks, Dan Rather used the three finger signal to remind
viewers about the drunk driving disclosure.
3) Ratherisms: "Melted faster than ice cream in a
microwave," "madder than a rained on rooster," "shakier
than cafeteria Jell-O," "it's spandex tight," "more
likely to see a hippopotamus coming running through this room."
4) The audience at David Letterman's show booed when he
brought up Hillary Clinton's Senate victory.
5) Letterman's "Top Ten Things Overheard Last Night at
the Florida Election Commission."
and night the networks are advancing the Democratic agenda by focusing
attention on complaints of "irregularities" in Florida, whether
substantiated or just speculation, and putting the burden on Bush surrogates
to defend not counting ballots in which the voter voted for two candidates.
This morning's Good Morning America featured an
interview with a Palm Beach County woman who complained about how she voted by
mistake for Buchanan instead of Gore. On CBS, Bryant Gumbel asked Bill Daley
if he was "disappointed" by George W. Bush's attitude.
NBC's Matt Lauer
challenged James Baker about 19,000 improperly filled out ballots:
"Should the election stand if those people didn't have a chance to have
their voices heard?"
There's more to analyze and quote than time or space
allows, but here are a few quick examples:
> MSNBC's The News
with Brian Williams on Wednesday night brought aboard Gertrude Borenstein,
a Palm Beach County voter who claimed she mistakenly voted for Pat
Buchanan but then got a new ballot and switched her vote. Lester Holt
asked her: "Who did you want to vote for?"
MRC analyst Paul
Smith noticed that her answer showed she really didn't know the correct
names of her choices: "I wanted to vote for Al Gore and Al
> CBS's The Early Show. In back-to-back
interviews with Bill Daley and James Baker, CBS's hosts assumed
something nefarious had or is occurring in Florida. Check out the
questions posed this morning, as taken down by MRC analyst Brian Boyd:
Bryant Gumbel to Bill Daley:
-- "What's your
assessment of how the recount is proceeding?"
miscount is one thing, do you think in Florida that voter fraud has been
-- "Well, that can result, we assume, from the
so-called, controversial butterfly ballot and the possibility that a
number of voters after punching out one name tried to correct their
mistake by punching out a second one and thus invalidating their votes. Do
you think that ballot, that butterfly ballot, which I trust you've seen,
violates Florida law as some are contending?"
-- "We see that
Governor Bush keeps expressing confidence about the outcome, yet Vice
President Gore seems a great deal more cautious, why?"
-- "Is that to
say that you think the Governor's position has been inappropriate?"
-- "Are you
disappointed in the attitude of Governor Bush who at times I've seen it
described as seems annoyed by the Democratic position of the past 36
-- "What's your
best feeling right now, what's your gut telling you about how long before
we know a winner?"
question, win, lose, or draw, Mr. Daley, are you prepared to accept the
recount that's underway as the final arbiter of this election?"
Jane Clayson to James Baker:
-- "Can you
confirm as the recount continues that the difference between Mr. Gore and
Mr. Bush is now down to about 900 votes?"
-- "Have you seen Warren Christopher your
counterpart from the Gore campaign?"
confident are you, Mr. Secretary, that this will be done in a fair
-- "Does it
concern you at all to hear Bill Daley from the Gore camp just say that
19,000 votes in Palm Beach were not counted?"
-- "Well there
are a lot of rumors and allegations about problems in various districts,
confusion with the ballots in Palm Beach, and even racism at certain
polling areas. Do you believe that's true or do you think the Democrats
are trying to stir up trouble?"
> NBC's Today. Matt Lauer, MRC analyst Geoffrey
Dickens observed, challenged Baker: "Let's talk about the will of the
Florida voters because obviously if, if 19,000 votes Secretary Baker were
nullified because there appears to be have been some confusion on the
ballot doesn't that mean that the voices of those 19,000 people will not
be heard in this election?"
He followed up: "But I guess what I'm asking is
should election, should the election stand if those people didn't have a
chance to have their voices heard?"
midst of Bush's short-lived time of victory announced by the networks at
2:18am ET, Dan Rather took time to remind viewers about the Democratic hit
job on him over a 24-year-old drunk driving case.
An e-mailer alerted the MRC to this comment that I
missed at about 2:50am ET. But I went back and found it over video of the
celebrating crowd in Austin with people holding up three fingers. Rather
explained the meaning of the hand sign: "That sign, hook 'em horn
sign for the University of Texas Longhorns, but George W. Bush has been
lately holding up three fingers as one of those celebrants is doing here
for George W. Bush. Of course in the late stages of the campaign, the
Democrats came back and said well those three fingers stand for DWI. But
that isn't going to stand up through the rest of the way. It's going
to be his signal."
About 45 minutes later CBS decided that maybe Bush
really wasn't the President-elect.
mania. What's a live news event without the spectacle of Dan Rather's
rhymes and odd analogies. MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth scanned through many
hours of CBS's election night coverage to take down Rather's oddest
phrases. We have many hours to still go through, but we've already found
plenty of amusing "Ratherisms."
But first, an amusing assurance he issued at about
7:08pm ET: "Let's get one thing straight right from the get go. We
would rather be last reporting returns than to be wrong. And again our
record demonstrates true. If you hear somewhere else that somebody's
carried a state, and you're awful as you shouldn't be watching them,
then come back here because if we say somebody has carried a state, you
can pretty much take it to the bank, book it, that that's true."
Now to the "Ratherisms," all times
-- 7:05pm: "Now Florida, that race, that race,
the heat from it is hot enough to peel house paint."
-- 7:12pm: "Bob, the polls have closed in
Virginia. A Senate race there ugly enough, nasty enough to gag a
-- 8:03pm: "It's believed to be extremely
close in Pennsylvania. I'm prepared to say that they're playing what
amounts to a sudden death overtime in Pennsylvania. It's that
-- 8:10pm: "I can hear some people at home
saying, 'Whooh! If the electoral vote count is now what Dan Rather and
CBS News says it is, 121 for Bush, 119 for Gore, it seems to me just a few
minutes ago Bush had a long lead.' His lead has evaporated and been
melted faster than ice cream in a microwave, what's happening
-- 8:15pm: "Now remember Florida is the state
where Jeb Bush, the brother of George Bush is the Governor, and you can
beet that Governor Bush will be madder than a rained on rooster that his
brother the Governor wasn't able to carry this state for him."
-- 8:30pm: "Alabama, the Jackhammer State,
drops a hammer on Al Gore, goes for Bush as expected." "Bush
has had a lead since the very start, but his lead is now shakier than
-- 8:32pm: "Then in Tennessee, now Al Gore may
be as cross as a snapping turtle about this Tennessee situation because
it's his home state."
-- 8:35pm: "Mark this, this man [Corzine] spent
an estimated $80 million, no you did not hear, $80 million. He spent money
like he had shorted Microsoft and won this race."
-- 8:37pm: "Bush is sweeping through the South
like a tornado through a trailer park."
-- 8:48pm: "Pennsylvania drops for Gore, 23
electoral votes, and for the first time tonight, mark it, if you're in
the kitchen, Mabel, come back in the front room, 145 for Gore, 130 for
Bush, 270 needed win."
-- 10:03pm, after retracting Florida from Gore
column: "Now that will have the Bush people in Austin jumping out of
their seats like they were stabbed with hat pins because if Bush should
carry Florida, it's sayonara for Gore."
-- 10:15pm: "This much tension you can't cut
with a saw. It requires a blow torch."
-- 10:38pm: "At any rate, one night they
counted those absentee ballots until the cows literally had gone to sleep
and then came back the next day."
-- 10:43pm: "His [Gore's] chance are slim
right now, and if he doesn't carry Florida, slim will have left
-- 11:30pm: "This shows you how tight it is.
It's spandex tight."
-- 11:54pm: "Now Governor George Bush, Karl
Rove, and the others around him bragged, there's no other way to put it,
all along on the campaign we will carry the home states of Al Gore and
Bill Clinton. They've put up and they delivered. They put up. Now they
can shut up because they've won the six electoral votes in Arkansas and
eleven in Tennessee and can simply sit back and say, 'Listen, we told
you we were gonna do it and we did it.'"
-- 12:20am: "The presidential race still hotter
than a Laredo parking lot."
-- 12:21am: "I have to say, though, and I
don't mean to be flip about it, that I think you are more likely to see
a hippopotamus coming running through this room than you are to see
Governor Bush appoint Nader to the Cabinet."
Can't go out on a better one than that. More in a
Clinton booed by David Letterman's audience. Bush supporters who are
depressed should have been heartened Wednesday night when Letterman on his
Late Show, taped in New York City, prompted boos when he brought up
In his opening monologue Letterman set up a joke:
"How 'bout Hillary Clinton?...Remember, we thought it was a
joke?" At first the audience clapped, but the clapping was soon
overcome by a growing chorus of hisses and boos.
Letterman joked: "They're saying already that
maybe in 2004 she might run for President. So if you look at it in these
terms, listen to this: Becoming the Senator from New York is the first
very important step to the Clintons so they can become, perhaps, a two
And he told another about Hillary: "They're
saying that Hillary has her eyes on the Oval Office for 2004 and I'm
thinking, well it's too bad she didn't have her eyes on the Oval
Office when Bill was nailing Monica."
November 8 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top
Ten Things Overheard Last Night at the Florida Election Commission."
Copyright 2000 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. "The first vote goes to Gore...call CNN and tell them Gore
9. "Wait, if my wet laundry is in the ballot box...oh my God! Stop
8. "If someone voted for 'the jerk,' do I give it to Gore or Bush?"
7. "Let's be extra careful, because every single vote counts...ha,
ha, ha, ha, just kidding!"
6. "120... 121... 122! Yes! I'm the ballot-eating champion!"
5. "This is much easier than my last job designing tires for Firestone"
4. "America must never know Ralph Nader actually won the
3. "Discard all these votes for Bush -- they're obviously left over from 1992"
2. "I'm sure gonna miss you guys when this is over. If only there
was a way to make it last a few more days..."
1. "Heads Bush...Tails Gore"
And, from the Late Show Web site, some of the extra
proposed items that didn't make the final cut:
-- "I don't have my glasses. Does that read 'Bush' or
-- "Instead of counting the ballots, can't I just weigh them?"
-- "No, Mr. Nader, you may not help us count"
-- "Boy. Stacking ballots sure is hard work...Lemme turn on this
-- "They didn't give us napkins for our spare ribs. Here, use these
-- "You know what would make this small unventilated room more fun?
An open can of paint!"
-- "Look, wherever we're at by midnight, let's just call it and go
home in time for 'M*A*S*H'" -- Brent Baker
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