"Did Al Gore Cry?"; "Use DeLay's Extremism" As a "Foil"; Gumbel: Ignore GOP Extreme and Follow McCain's Lead
1) CNN's Bernard Shaw to
Gore aide Roy Neel: "In the final hours...how many times did Al
2) Face the Nation hosts pounded away at Dick Cheney,
pressing the winner to embrace Democratic policies. Gloria Borger
suggested they and Democrats "write legislation together"
while Schieffer dreamed: "Will there be a place where you will say
to Democrats ....'You've had a better idea on this than we do'?"
Schieffer urged Bush to "resist and isolate" conservatives.
3) Bush should "use DeLay's extremism and general
awfulness and low popularity as a foil," argued Newsweek's Evan
Thomas. Nina Totenberg of NPR and ABC: "The Republican Party is
only going to really survive and prosper if it doesn't stiff the
moderate wing of its party."
4) Dan Rather: "Stress cracks are forming within
Republican Party ranks over the Bush's plans for a big across-the-board
5) Gumbel to McCain: "Would you advice...George
Bush, as he looks to the Senate, to look to the centrist coalition
rather than to the conservative agenda of the extremes of his own
party?" CNN's Schneider: "I'd argue that what Americans
voted for with this closely divided result was, in a way, John McCain's
6) Letterman's "Top Ten Items on George W. Bush's
>>> CyberAlert Countdown Calendar to the 1,000th CyberAlert.
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as primaries, conventions, debates and the Florida recounts fueled
we'll miss when CNN's Bernard Shaw retires in a few weeks. Shaw to
Gore Chief-of-Staff Roy Neel in a taped interview clip played during
CNN's 9pm ET/PT special Sunday night on Time's "Person of the
Year," George W. Bush:
"In the final hours, because you knew him so well, so close to him,
how many times did Al Gore cry?"
Neel gave the politically correct answer: "Oh
I'm sure he cried, how could you not..."
liberal conventional wisdom, the Face the Nation hosts on Sunday pounded
away at Dick Cheney, pressing the winning ticket to embrace the policies
of Democrats and abandon any pretense of actually following through on any
conservative campaign promises.
Bob Schieffer referred to "this enormous tax
cut that George Bush proposed during the campaign" and insisted
Cheney react to how "Tom Daschle said this morning, 'I can't think of
anything that would divide this nation more than you pushing that tax cut
at that size.'"
Gloria Borger suggested the Bush administration and
Democrats "write legislation together" while Schieffer dreamed:
"Will there be a place where you will say to Democrats....'You've had
a better idea on this than we do, and we might take your position on
Schieffer wrapped up the show by urging Bush to
abandon conservatives: "By Wednesday night, he was clearly back in
the middle, but already the 'my way or no way' crowd is trying to
force him back to the right. If he is able to resist and isolate them, he
will find a middle ground occupied by friends, allies and -- if I may say
so -- most of the American people."
Here are all of the questions posed to Cheney by
Schieffer and Borger on the December 17 CBS show:
-- Bob Schieffer: "It occurs to me that you are
about to become what all Vice Presidents try to be, want to be, but never
are. And that is a real force in the administration with a real job. It
seems to me that -- from what I've seen so far, that you're going to be
the chief operating officer of this administration with George W. Bush as
sort of a chairman of the board. Is that a fair way to put it?"
-- Schieffer: "Well, let me ask you, I mean,
you obviously are going to have to spend a lot of time up on Capitol Hill
with this 50-50 Senate because you'll need to be there to break the tie on
votes. But will you continue to play an active role in this administration
as you have throughout the transition?"
-- Gloria Borger, in the only non-liberal question:
"Mr. Vice President-elect, conservatives are watching you very
closely. They're looking for signals that this administration is not going
to desert them on issues like tax cuts, partial-birth abortion,
anti-abortion rights. What would you say to conservatives right now about
-- Cheney replied: "It's why we got elected. So
we're going to aggressively pursue tax changes, tax reform, tax cuts,
because it's important to do so, partly for economic reasons, partly
because we have this growing surplus and some of it ought to be
"But let me just tell you about something that the Democratic leader
in the Senate, Tom Daschle, said this morning. You're talking about going
forward with this. I assume what you're saying here is you're going
forward with this enormous tax cut that George Bush proposed during the
campaign. Tom Daschle said this morning, 'I can't think of anything that
would divide this nation more than you pushing that tax cut at that
-- Schieffer: "Well, okay, let me just make
sure I understand what you're saying here. You're saying you're still
going to push the tax cut that George Bush pushed during the campaign
because there have been other people who have said maybe it'd be a little
easier to take that step by step."
-- Borger: "Mr. Cheney, with all due respect,
the Democrats are saying that this administration cannot proceed as the
Reagan administration did, for example, with a large tax bill because you
don't have the mandate that a Ronald Reagan had. And it's not going to be
good enough, they say, to cherry pick one or two Democrats
here and there and get them to sign on to whatever tax bill you have. What
they are asking for, in a lot of areas -- not only taxes but, say,
campaign finance, education -- is to sit down with Republicans in advance
and actually write legislation together. Would you be willing to do
-- "Let me talk to you about just a couple of
specifics. For example, many of the conservatives in your party are saying
that the person who heads up Health and Human Services, that Cabinet
position, must be a pro-choice person. Will there be that, that pro-life
person. Will there be a litmus test on that?"
are no litmus tests, but President-elect Bush and I are both committed to
the pro-life position. We've always made that very clear. We've emphasized
during the campaign we want to work to build coalitions, reach across the
divide on this issue to try to find areas where we can get something done
to reduce the total incidents of abortion. And we'll pick good people in
these Cabinet posts, but we don't have don't have a litmus test."
it sounds to me that you're saying that it's likely that you likely will
put a person who is pro-life in HHS."
-- Borger: "Let me ask you about campaign
finance reform. It is something that John McCain has talked about. He says
that he's got 60 votes for it right now in the Senate. If that bill
passes, that McCain-Feingold bill, would George W. Bush veto it?"
-- Schieffer: "Let's talk about some of that
conventional wisdom. You mentioned the conventional wisdom is that George
Bush is going to put some Democrats in the Cabinet. How many and is that
-- Schieffer: "The Washington Post, in a piece
this morning, posed an interesting question. They said that somewhere
along the way, will there be a place where you will say to Democrats -- in
an effort to bring people together to work together -- where you will say
to them, 'You've had a better idea on this than we do, and we might take
your position on this.' Can you think of any issue that might arise like
-- Borger: "John Breaux has said he's willing
to work with you in the administration as somebody in the Senate, but he
won't join the Cabinet. There seemed to be a lot of bitterness on the part
of a lot of Democrats. Are you having a difficult time getting Democrats
to serve in the Cabinet that you've asked or to serve in top levels in
Borger: "Not at
"There'll be one or two, I think you said?"
would expect that there will be, clearly be a Democrat, I think, within
Schieffer's end of the show commentary portrayed
the primaries through a liberal prism and urged Bush to "resist and
W. Bush spoke to the country Wednesday night, I remarked on television
that it was the kind of speech that those
of us who have followed his career remembered him making before
the campaign. I always thought Bush was a better candidate than his
campaign allowed him to be and he got off to a terrible start. An
inexperienced staff -- terrified he would commit some kind of gaffe --
walled him off from the press and to some extent from the public as John
McCain was rolling through New Hampshire playing the press like a banjo.
And why not?
rolled right over Bush, the Bush campaign reeled down
and right. Suddenly, there was Bush at Bob Jones University in South
Carolina, emphasizing themes he had hardly given lip service as Governor.
Yes, Bush won South Carolina in a dirty fight, but the mud bath probably
cost him Michigan the next week -- and may have cost him Michigan and some
other key states such as Pennsylvania in the general election.
were alienated by the right turn into South Carolina and Bush spent the
rest of the year trying to steer back to the middle.
night, he was clearly back in the middle, but already the 'my way or no
way' crowd is trying to force him back to the right. If he is able to
resist and isolate them, he will find a middle ground occupied by friends,
allies and -- if I may say so -- most of the American people. It won't be
easy, but only from there and with them can he hope to get anything
from journalists for George W. Bush, conveyed for free by Inside
Washington: He should "use DeLay's extremism and general awfulness
and low popularity as a foil" since "the Republican Party is
only going to really survive and prosper if it doesn't stiff the
moderate wing of its party" and so it should embrace Whitman and
On the syndicated Inside Washington show over the
weekend, carried by many PBS stations and WUSA-TV in Washington, DC,
Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas advised Bush from the left:
"You know what he ought to do is a Sistah Souljah. He ought to use
DeLay's extremism and general awfulness and low popularity as a foil to
show what a man of the center he is and stiff DeLay. Why not?"
Nina Totenberg of NPR agreed the key to Bush's
success is embracing "moderate" Republicans: "I think his
hardest problem really is that the Republican Party is only going to
really survive and prosper if it doesn't stiff the moderate wing of its
party and if Tom Ridge and Christie Todd Whitman are being vetoed, which
they are already by certain segments of the Republican Party from
positions in this administration, it doesn't bode well for the
Thomas soon repeated his point: "There are two
ways to deal with the right here. One is he can let himself get dragged
down by them and essentially have what little chance he has of success
fail because he kowtowed to the right, or he can use the right as a foil,
push off against them, go to the center and get something done."
Kowtowing to the right defines failure to the media.
Speaking of the "awfulness" of Tom DeLay,
you can now view the December 14 CBS Evening News wanted poster-like
graphic which announced "BEWARE" above a picture of Tom DeLay
with this below:
MRC Webmaster Andy Szul has posted a picture of it:
Check it out and you can decide if it looks more
like a wanted poster or an old style campaign poster.
media will play up any and all strategic differences expressed by
Republicans. A good example: How the networks have all jumped on Dennis
Hastert backing off of Bush's "enormous" tax cut as evidence
of eroding support for it.
Friday night on the CBS Evening News, Dan Rather
announced: "Stress cracks are forming within Republican Party ranks
over the Bush's plans for a big across-the-board tax cut. CBS's Phil Jones
has been looking into what this may bode for the new President and the
Republican agenda in Congress."
Jones picked up on how
"the Republican Speaker said he wasn't ready to give his blessing to
any huge Bush tax cut."
you know, I wouldn't count on an across-the-board tax cut first, but I
think we ought to look at these things
incrementally and get one piece done at a time. I think that's when we
have the most success here."
Bush: "I have
made it clear to the Speaker once before that, you know, I campaigned on a
package that I thought was fair and fiscally sound and responsible, and I
will continue, I strongly believe that."
House Democrats like the idea of dealing with tax matters piecemeal, with
"What you can't do is get to a huge number that would blow the
deficit and the budget by simply saying you're doing them one at a
"Conservatives, remembering how they rammed through the Contract with
America, are mounting another $5 million to $10 million public relations
blitz to make sure Republican leaders in Congress don't cave in to
Scott Reed: 'The
real question is, why are the Republicans in Congress negotiating away the
Bush agenda before George W. Bush has even given his inaugural address?
That's what needs to be addressed."
Jones concluded: "Right now, congressional
Republicans and Democrats appear to be getting along. But the big question
is, can the Republicans keep the peace in their own family?"
Bryant Gumbel and CNN's Bill Schneider exhorted Bush to ignore
conservatives and adopt the non-partisan and "centrist" McCain
model of governing.
Friday morning on CBS's The Early Show, MRC
analyst Brian Boyd noticed, Bryant Gumbel pushed McCain to denounce
-- "Why have you
decided to join this centrist coalition?"
-- "Is your
move a rejection of the conservative agenda of Trent Lott and the
-- "If there's
a move to the center does that mean that Lott and his agenda is pretty
much out of step with what's happening?"
-- "Do you view
that as part of the agenda of the centrist coalition or what are the
priorities as you see them?"
primary issue for a long time has been campaign finance reform, it's an
issue that has not been embraced by Republicans. Do you have a better shot
at getting it done with your new centrist friends?"
-- "Let's talk
about power sharing in this new evenly divided Senate. You've said that
you would endorse equal representation on the Commerce Committee, which
you chair. Does that mean you would accept a co-Chairmanship with a
-- "Would you
advice an incoming President George Bush, as he looks to the Senate, to
look to the centrist coalition rather than to the conservative agenda of
the extremes of his own party?"
Last Wednesday, December 13, on CNN's Inside
Politics, Bill Schneider first proclaimed as fact: "For the first
time ever, the United States Supreme Court decided who would be President
by a narrow, highly partisan majority."
Then Schneider proceeded to warn in the analysis
caught by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "Bush has to decide how he
intends to govern. Conservatives were amazingly patient during this
campaign. But now Republicans will control the White House and both houses
in Congress for first time into nearly fifty years. There will be pressure
on Bush to press a conservative agenda. But that's not the way Bush
Bush: "I have
worked with Democrats and Republicans in Texas. And I will do so in
Washington. I will listen. And I will respect different points of
"Other presidents have taken office after intensely divisive
conflicts. After the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln began his second inaugural
address by saying 'with malice toward none, with charity for all,' a
view not shared by his party. After the tumultuous events of 1968, Richard
Nixon promised to bring us together. After Watergate, Gerald Ford told the
nation, 'Our long national nightmare is over.' The division in this
election was over the election itself. That makes it tough for Bush,
because the issue is his own legitimacy. Americans did not vote for a
partisan mandate in this election. That's why the results were so
excruciatingly close for President, for Congress, and even in the states,
where we're seeing the closest balance in state legislatures since 1952.
No evidence there of a partisan mandate."
Judy Woodruff asked him: "Bill, are people
voting for a new breed of nonpartisan somehow?"
viewers toward McCain as the model Bush should follow: "Well, I think
they very well might be. You know, ask yourself: Which of all the
candidates really captured the popular imagination in this entire
year-long campaign? It wasn't Bush. It wasn't Gore. I would say it was
John McCain, a man perceived as the least partisan figure in American
politics. And I'd argue that what Americans voted for with this closely
divided result was, in a way, John McCain's approach, even though his name
wasn't on the ballot. I think Bush should take that as a cue for the kind
of administration voters want."
If McCain was so popular why didn't he win?
December 15 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Items on
George W. Bush's To-Do List." Copyright 2000 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. Get fitted for an intern
9. Put favorite holiday decoration on front lawn: Santa in electric chair
8. Goodbye "Hail to the Chief" -- Hello "Messed Up In
Mexico Living on Refried Dreams"
7. Tell Madeleine Albright, "Bill don't live here anymore -- stop the
6. Send Al Gore an FTD "Guess The Supreme Court Likes Me Better,
5. Figure out how to make eating squirrel acceptable -- them boys is
4. Do a little bipartisan work with Hillary, if you know what I mean
3. Tell Al Gore to keep his schedule clear in case things don't work out
2. Call Saddam Hussein, listen to the panic when he hears we got another
1. Thank Katherine Harris by sending her metric ton of mascara
Even when the target is Bush comedians can't avoid
some last digs at the Clinton era. --
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