Bush's Short & Lax Work Day; "BEWARE" of "THE HAMMER"; Al Gore Always Asks "What Would Jesus Do?"; Rather Wrong on Statue
1) "A typical Bush work day
begins early and ends early with a long break in the middle for
exercise," ABC's Dean Reynolds warned as he relayed the complaint from
a professor about how Bush "combines ignorance of the policy background
in Washington with a distaste for study."
2) "BEWARE" of Tom DeLay, aka "THE
HAMMER," warned a wanted poster-like mock up graphic on the CBS Evening
News as the broadcast network morning and evening shows targeted DeLay as an
impediment to bipartisanship. Today's Matt Lauer warned Bush's
"biggest headache may come from within his own party."
3) Bryant Gumbel complained Bush wasn't gracious enough
toward Al Gore in his Wednesday night speech.
4) Dan Rather claimed a Central Park statue of Daniel Webster
features the inscription: "United we stand, divided we fall." In
fact, the statue displays a Webster quote: "Liberty and union, now and
forever, one and inseparable."
5) Washington Post reporter Sally Quinn seriously forwarded
the notion that Al Gore is a WWJD man: "What Would Jesus Do, and he said
I never make a political decision that I don't ask myself what would Jesus
do." That was too much for even liberals, who broke out laughing on MSNBC
George W. Bush up to the job? "A typical Bush work day begins early and
ends early with a long break in the middle for exercise," ABC's Dean
Reynolds cautioned on Thursday night in a story in which he also relayed the
complaint from a professor about how Bush "combines ignorance of the
policy background in Washington with a distaste for study." The CBS
Evening News ran a similarly themed story which featured criticism from Joe
Lockhart, but both concluded with positive spins for Bush.
Reynolds began his December 14 World News Tonight piece:
"A typical Bush work day begins early and ends early with a long break in
the middle for exercise. Indeed, an enduring image of the post-election period
has been Bush at ease at his ranch or at the gym."
University of Texas professor Bruce Buchanan asserted
Bush likes to set goals and delegate. Reynolds then told viewers that as
Governor of Texas Bush handled "extremists out for political blood"
by stiffing them as he realized they had no where else to go, thus
strengthening his hand in the center.
Reynolds continued: "In Texas Bush relied heavily
for guidance on his political seniors, the late Lieutenant Governor Bob
Bullock was a mentor much as Dick Cheney is expected to be for Bush in the
White House. But does that reliance, which extends to his cadre of loyal
aides, mask what some see as a problem."
combines ignorance of the policy background in Washington with a distaste for
Reynolds concluded with
another take: "That may be a vulnerability, but Governor Bush was elected
and then re-elected by an overwhelming majority of Texans, the people who know
Over on the CBS Evening News, Bill Whitaker noted that
Bush concedes he's a delegator. Whitaker observed: "Aides call it
Reaganesque. Critics, delegator in chief. But when Mr. Bush retreated to his
ranch while Dick Cheney took on transition, even supporters asked: Who's in
In a soundbite
Condoleeza Rice defended Bush's style, explaining how Bush listens to people
and knows how to ask good questions.
Whitaker reported that Bush sees himself as a
"super CEO" and viewers then saw
a clip of Dallas Morning News reporter Wayne Slater noting how Bush prefers
short meetings. Whitaker next ran a clip from Joe Lockhart: "I think if
Governor Bush thinks he can put in a 9 to 5 job a great sort of CEO he's in
for a rude awakening. There are things unique to the presidency that only he
can do. In the middle of the night when the Russian President calls he's not
going to want to talk to one of his cabinet members."
"George W. Bush says opponents have underestimated his leadership
abilities every step of the way. Now President-elect Bush says he sees no
reason to change."
of Tom DeLay, aka "THE HAMMER," warned a wanted poster-like mock
up graphic on the CBS Evening News as the broadcast network morning and
evening shows on Thursday targeted DeLay as an impediment to the media's
push for bipartisanship. As she did Wednesday night (see the December 14
CyberAlert), ABC's Linda Douglass tagged DeLay as a "conservative
firebrand." Douglass noted that his push for "a ban on partial
birth abortion -- that's what they call it," would "infuriate
Introducing a Lisa Myers story, Today co-host Matt
Lauer warned that Bush's "biggest headache may come from within his
own party." Myers concluded by blaming DeLay for President George H.
W. Bush's problems: "DeLay helped lead a conservative revolt
against another President Bush for raising taxes, crippling his
presidency. A piece of history his son hopes not to repeat."
-- CBS Evening News, December 14. Phil Jones
previewed Bush's trouble ahead, starting with how "one of the
toughest problems will be with African-Americans." After allowing a
black Congresswoman to complain about the awful reminder of the
Reagan-Bush years, Jones suggested Bush will work with congressional
moderates, like Louisiana Senator John Breaux.
Then, CBS put on the screen a graphic, meant to look
something like a wanted poster, with the word "BEWARE" above a
picture of Tom DeLay with this below:
Jones explained: "The other big challenge is
this man: Republican Tom DeLay, the House Whip, nicknamed 'the
hammer,' the man Democrats have come to despise. DeLay isn't giving
interviews but he issued a statement today saying: 'Our new President
deserves to be given the opportunity to make the case for his legislative
agenda.' But it's that agenda -- privatizing Medicare, Social Security
and school vouchers -- that conservatives are ready to go to war
After David Gergen observed how conservatives
don't want to give in on key policies, Jones concluded: "George W.
Bush said he wanted to be the next President so he could end all the
partisan bickering. Well, good luck."
-- ABC's World News Tonight. Linda Douglass ran
through three "pressure points" on Bush in his relations with
Congress. Her number one was how Democrats control half the place and
McCain's expected effort to push campaign finance reform was her third
item. Number 2 in between: "Conservative Republicans, such as
Congressman Tom DeLay, will demand that Mr. Bush not give an inch to
Democrats. They want him to consider their agenda his top priority, moving
quickly on issues like a ban on so-call partial-birth abortion."
-- ABC's Good Morning America. Linda Douglass
offered a longer exposition on her concern about Tom DeLay, observed MRC
analyst Jessica Anderson:
President-elect Dick Cheney was on Capitol Hill yesterday meeting with
Republicans, they advised him to start with tax cuts, tax cuts that have
Democratic support; perhaps the marriage penalty tax cut, the estate tax
cut. That would not make Democrats happy and conservatives, like Tom Delay
in the House of Representatives, the conservative firebrand, suggests
there's another issue with some Democratic support, a ban on partial birth
abortion -- that's what they call it. That would infuriate Democrats and
so it's unclear now whether George W. Bush coming to Capitol Hill is going
to have more of a headache from Democrats who are resentful or
conservatives who want to push their agenda through now with a Republican
-- NBC's Matt Lauer echoed Douglass as he
introduced a story on Thursday's Today noticed by MRC analyst Geoffrey
a bitter election battle that divided the nation George W. Bush is
promising to work in bipartisan fashion with the Democrats. But as NBC's
Lisa Myers reports his biggest headache may come from within his own
Myers cautioned: "To the extent Bush tries to
govern from the center he must deal with another Texan, House Majority
Whip Tom DeLay, AKA The Hammer. He's the Republican Democrats love to
hate. A hero to many conservatives, some say the most powerful Republican
in Congress. As Bush talks of changing the tone in Washington DeLay says,
'If we approach things the way we have the last six years, we'll be fine.'
And now that there is finally a Republican President and a Republican
congress DeLay says, 'The things we've been dreaming about we can now do
Myers observed: "Their styles could not be more
different. Bush preaches unity, DeLay loves confrontation."
After some soundbites from Tom DeLay and political
scientist James Thurber, Myers recalled: "The tension flared briefly
during the campaign when Bush criticized House Republicans."
George W. Bush:
"If in fact they're gonna try to balance the budget on the backs of
the poor, I'm against that."
fired back that Bush has a lot to learn about Congress."
Myers relayed advice for Bush to ignore DeLay's
advice: "One veteran Republican lobbyist says if Bush is to succeed
in his dealings with Congress he needs to separate himself with DeLay on
at least one key issue within the first three months of his
administration. The reason? To show that within the Republican party it's
George W. Bush who calls the shots."
Myers concluded by blaming DeLay for President
George H. W. Bush's problems: "And that George W. Bush is all too
aware of. You see DeLay helped lead a conservative revolt against another
President Bush for raising taxes, crippling his presidency. A piece of
history his son hopes not to repeat."
Maybe what crippled his presidency was not
conservatives pointing out his betrayal, but the actual breaking of the
gracious enough for Bryant Gumbel. MRC analyst Brian Boyd caught this
blast in the form of a question from Bryant Gumbel to former Clinton
speechwriter Michael Waldman on Thursday's The Early Show on CBS:
Bush in his first sentence and he talked of him extensively, Bush by
contrast acknowledged Gore at the top, said we'd pray for him at the
bottom, but really didn't talk about him much in the middle almost as if
the speech hadn't taken place, did that surprise you, should he have been
stone cold wrong. Dan Rather wrapped up the 9pm half hour CBS News special
dedicated to Gore's concession speech on Wednesday night by ruminating
about how a statue in Central Park features the quote, "United we
stand, divided we fall." In fact, it does not, as a couple of
CyberAlert readers alerted me. The statue of Daniel Webster actually
showcases a quote from Daniel Webster.
As recounted in the December 14 CyberAlert,
Wednesday night Rather delivered this odd sign-off:
in 1776 wrote: 'Then join hand in hand brave Americans all. By uniting
we stand, dividing we fall.' And 'United We Stand, Divided We Fall'
is carved in stone on a statue of Daniel Webster not far from this
building in New York's Central Park. With that in mind, after a long and
bitter campaign for the presidency that lasted five weeks past election
day, Vice President Al Gore has just officially ended his campaign for
this year and asked the American people to unite behind the new President,
I then asked: "Is there really a statute in
Central Park of Daniel Webster with those words?"
It turns out I was prescient about Rather's Barbra
There is a statue of Webster, but not with that
quote "carved in stone." CyberAlert reader Dennis Bray e-mailed
me with a link to a Central Park Track Club Web page which carries a photo
of the statue. The statue actually has this quote displayed at its base:
"Liberty and union, now and forever, one and inseparable."
To see the color photo of the statue, go to:
immediate guffaws from even liberal fellow panelists, late Wednesday night
on MSNBC, Washington Post reporter Sally Quinn seriously forwarded the
notion that Al Gore is a WWJD man: "What Would Jesus Do, and he said
I never make a political decision that I don't ask myself what would
The unintended comedy moment came at about 1:12am ET
Wednesday night/Thursday morning during a live edition of Hardball hosted
by Chris Matthews. MRC analyst Paul Smith took down the exchange:
Sally Quinn asserted: "One of the things I
thought was so interesting about the speech tonight was that he was so
natural and so truthful and I think he doesn't know what he wants to do
but I think he may have do, something to do with religion. I mean maybe go
to divinity school or go on some kind of retreat or something like that. I
wouldn't be at all surprised because I think he's a lot more religious
than people know. I mean he referred to God several times in his speech
tonight and once when I was interviewing him about a year ago he said you
know there's an expression in my faith, WWJD, do you know what that
Following a second or two of some crosstalk, Quinn
explained: "What Would Jesus Do, and he said I never make a political
decision that I don't ask myself what would Jesus do."
Viewers saw a shot of Matthews with his mouth open,
staring in disbelief as the panel erupted in laughter. Andrew Sullivan of
the New Republic managed to mockingly inquire: "You mean Jesus would
have contested West Palm Beach?"
Laughter continued and several panelists talked at
once, but Clintonista Paul Begala broke through and came to Gore's
defense: "Well, he is spiritual, not simply just religious. You know,
he really doesn't just simply go through the motions. This is a
Matthews cut in:
"You mean his switch on abortion rights was driven by religion?"
Begala: "It is
woven in his life. I don't know his position, I haven't talked about
It was all too much for Matthews: "Oh come on,
it's all politics when it comes to that issue. I just, let's go to
Lawrence, he was guffawing at that last little commentary."
Democratic political veteran Lawrence O'Donnell,
via satellite somewhere, tried to offer a reality check: "Chris, if
there is a politician in America who asks what would Jesus do, they might
ask it but they certainly don't then do what Jesus would do and Al
just do it sort of for background information."
"And Al Gore certainly hasn't lived a political career that way.
You can ask Bill Bradley if he thought he was running against Jesus in New
+++ By early Friday afternoon ET, MRC Webmaster Andy
Szul will post of video clip of this exchange. For the RealPlayer clip go
to the MRC home page: http://www.mrc.org
This wasn't Quinn's first bit of odd pro-Clinton
or Gore hokum. Back on the March 10, 1999 Larry King Live on CNN she
talking about -- speaking for all women, if I may, Toni Morrison wrote in
The New Yorker that Clinton was our first 'black President,' and I
think, in a way, Clinton may be our first 'woman President.' And I
think that may be one of the reasons why women identify, because he does
have a lot of feminine qualities about him: The softness, the sensitivity,
the vulnerability, that kind of thing."
After the Lewinsky scandal, and years of other
lying, did Jesus tell Al Gore to describe Bill Clinton as one of
America's "greatest Presidents"? -- Brent Baker
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