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ABC: Bush Full of 'Sad Echoes' of What He's Said 'So Many Times' --1/24/2007


1. ABC: Bush Full of 'Sad Echoes' of What He's Said 'So Many Times'
A few minutes after President George W. Bush finished his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, ABC News White House reporter Martha Raddatz scolded him for repeating "sad echoes" of things he's said "so many times in the past." As if that makes Bush's warnings, about the threat from Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda or how terrorists could come to the U.S. if we lose in Iraq, any less of a realistic threat. Raddatz lectured: "I thought tonight there was some sad echoes of things he said so many times in the past. When he got to this global war on terror, when he got to Iraq, and you heard him concentrate on that global war on terrorism, those were the sad echoes. He brought up al Qaeda again, he brought up Osama bin Laden. He brought up Zarqawi in Iraq, who died many, many months ago. That's what he concentrated on. He avoided, to a great degree, the sectarian violence which is really the major problem in Iraq and once again, told Americans that if we didn't succeed in Iraq that the terrorists could come to the United States. And he's said that so many times in the past."

2. Brokaw Gives Bush an 'A' for Raising Global Warming
Appearing on MSNBC's State of the Union coverage, former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw praised President Bush for talking about global warming in his speech, lamenting that it was a subject the "Republican-dominated Congress has given very little attention to." Brokaw praised Bush for using the term "global warming" for the "first time since he's been President." Brokaw: "I think that you can give him an A for identifying the priorities that had been before this country for some time, and that the Republican-dominated Congress has given very little attention to. Global warming, he used that phrase for the first time since he's been President."

3. Matthews: 'Ideologues' Killed Hillarycare 'Baby in Its Bassinet'
While interviewing Senator Hillary Clinton Tuesday during MSNBC's post-State of the Union coverage, Chris Matthews denounced "ideologues on the right" who opposed her health care plan from 1994, saying they had planned to "kill this baby in its bassinet." Matthews wondered if Senator Clinton still felt the "sting of that strategy on the other side."

4. CNN: Katrina 'Thunderously Missing,' Gulf Residents 'Upset'
Just a couple of minutes before 9pm EST Tuesday night, as viewers awaited President Bush's State of the Union address, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer cued up Anderson Cooper to inform viewers of how there would be an "issue that's presumably going to be thunderously missing from this speech." Cooper explained: "Yeah, of course, you're talking about Hurricane Katrina, you're talking about the Gulf Coast states and Mississippi and the rebuilding of New Orleans. No mention of that in this speech tonight. That is certainly going to upset a lot of people in the Gulf Coast region who already feel that the country has moved on, that Washington has forgotten them. In the State of the Union, the President, as we have been told so far, will make no reference to New Orleans or to Mississippi, the rebuilding there. So much still needs to be done there, obviously, and we will not be hearing about that tonight from this President."

5. 14 Months Later, CNN's King Cites Same Anti-War Retired Marine
Fourteen months after CNN's John King showcased retired Marine Colonel Jim Van Riper to illustrate military disillusionment with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and President Bush's Iraq policy, on Tuesday night, barely an hour before the State of the Union address, King checked in from New Bern, North Carolina and again featured Van Riper's criticisms as if they had fresh meaning. In a story, near the start of the 8pm EST Situation Room, about the stresses on Marines and soldiers caused by repeated deployments to Iraq, King highlighted how "retired Marine Colonel Jim Van Riper is more optimistic now that the Pentagon is under new leadership, but says strategic blunders by the President and his team have left the military near the breaking point." Van Riper asserted: "It's a horrendous operational tempo and along with that you've got equipment problems. These men and women now are operating at a much faster pace than we did, particularly in Vietnam or Desert Shield/Desert Storm." King, who in 2005 touted Van Riper's take as "telling," then depicted Van Riper's view as "striking" in a such a pro-Bush state.

6. Today Show Refrain: Is Anybody Still Listening to Bush?
You'd think NBC News would have wanted their viewers to tune into NBC's coverage of the State of the Union address, but after listening to Tuesday morning's Today show a viewer would have been hard pressed to want to tune in as Meredith Vieira and David Gregory asked repeatedly if "the country stopped listening to the President?" Today's anchors asked a form of that question on three separate occasions within just the first half-hour. (Interviewing Tony Snow, Gregory also slipped in this leading question: "Will he concede that humans are responsible for global warming?")

7. "Top Ten Surprises In George Bush's State of the Union Address"
Letterman's "Top Ten Surprises In George W. Bush's State of the Union Address."


ABC: Bush Full of 'Sad Echoes' of What
He's Said 'So Many Times'

A few minutes after President George W. Bush finished his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, ABC News White House reporter Martha Raddatz scolded him for repeating "sad echoes" of things he's said "so many times in the past." As if that makes Bush's warnings, about the threat from Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda or how terrorists could come to the U.S. if we lose in Iraq, any less of a realistic threat.

Raddatz lectured: "I thought tonight there was some sad echoes of things he said so many times in the past. When he got to this global war on terror, when he got to Iraq, and you heard him concentrate on that global war on terrorism, those were the sad echoes. He brought up al Qaeda again, he brought up Osama bin Laden. He brought up Zarqawi in Iraq, who died many, many months ago. That's what he concentrated on. He avoided, to a great degree, the sectarian violence which is really the major problem in Iraq and once again, told Americans that if we didn't succeed in Iraq that the terrorists could come to the United States. And he's said that so many times in the past."

[This item was posted late Tuesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

George Stephanopoulos characterized the address as "much more confrontational" than last year's speech since "the President told the Congress hindsight alone is not wisdom, second-guessing is not a strategy, basically you must support me."

Echoing Raddatz's point about sectarian violence in Iraq, on NBC at about the same moment Andrea Mitchell castigated Bush for warning of a threat which is already reality:
"When he talked tonight about the nightmare scenario of Sunni and Shia extremists up against each other should we fail in Iraq, should we not continue, that, according to critics in both parties, is what is already happening in the streets of Baghdad and in Anbar province. So that is why he is not going to get the support for the Iraq policy that he is appealing for tonight."

Transcript of the post-speech analysis on ABC at about 10:07pm EST, comments to which the MRC's Rich Noyes alerted me:

Martha Raddatz: "I thought tonight there was some sad echoes of things he said so many times in the past. When he got to this global war on terror, when he got to Iraq, and you heard him concentrate on that global war on terrorism, those were the sad echoes. He brought up al Qaeda again, he brought up Osama bin Laden. He brought up Zarqawi in Iraq, who died many, many months ago. That's what he concentrated on. He avoided, to a great degree, the sectarian violence which is really the major problem in Iraq and once again, told Americans that if we didn't succeed in Iraq that the terrorists could come to the United States. And he's said that so many times in the past, Charlie."
Charles Gibson: "And it was almost plaintive when he said we went into this largely united in our assumptions and in our convictions, and I'm quoting now: 'And whatever you voted for, you did not vote for failure, our country is pursuing a new strategy in Iraq and I ask you to give it a chance to work. I ask you to give it a chance to work and I ask you to support our troops in the field and those on their way.' And of course that got applause. 'But I ask you to give it a chance to work.'"
George Stephanopoulos: "And Charlie, what a difference that was from last year. Much more confrontational where the President told the Congress hindsight alone is not wisdom, second-guessing is not a strategy, basically you must support me. He knows he doesn't have the support in this Congress. But he also remembers the old, the old line from Tip O'Neill: If you want people to support you, you have to ask them. And he was determined to bring the Congress along with him tonight. Very tough sell"
Gibson: "And I think he's asking the Congress and he's asking the American public. Agree, George? George Will?"
George Will: "Absolutely, I do agree. I think Martha Raddatz hit it just right when she said there was a tone of sadness and melancholy in this portion of the speech, particularly this line, Charlie: 'This is not the fight we entered in Iraq, but it is the fight we are in.' There's a kind of fatalism there, a sense that it's a confessional. That we did not anticipate this, but the way ahead is hardly optional in his point of view."

Brokaw Gives Bush an 'A' for Raising
Global Warming

Appearing on MSNBC's State of the Union coverage, former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw praised President Bush for talking about global warming in his speech, lamenting that it was a subject the "Republican-dominated Congress has given very little attention to." Brokaw praised Bush for using the term "global warming" for the "first time since he's been President." Brokaw: "I think that you can give him an A for identifying the priorities that had been before this country for some time, and that the Republican-dominated Congress has given very little attention to. Global warming, he used that phrase for the first time since he's been President."

[This item, by Brad Wilmouth, was posted Tuesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

A transcript of relevant portions of Brokaw's comments on MSNBC following President Bush's January 23 State of the Union address:

Tom Brokaw at 10:09pm EST: "It's a tricky piece for the Democrats as well, Keith [Olbermann], as you know, because they do have power now through 2008, and the country's going to be looking to them to see what their solutions are to the problems that the President correctly identified tonight. I think that you can give him an A for identifying the priorities that had been before this country for some time, and that the Republican-dominated Congress has given very little attention to. Global warming, he used that phrase for the first time since he's been President. I would like to have seen the reaction of James Inhofe, who is the Senator from Oklahoma, recently displaced as the chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, who believes it's the greatest hoax in the history of mankind. Vice President Cheney is not a believer in global warming as it has been described by now a consensus of scientists around the country."

Brokaw later added: "I think in the last 18 months there's been a sea change in this country about alternative energy, about the impact of global warming -- not just a scientific consensus, but more grassroots people are signing on to the idea, mayors across the country are developing their own programs, and just yesterday we saw 10 of the most prominent corporate leaders in America saying we believe in it and we think that we have to have a national policy. It's also worth noting that the White House has not reached out to those corporate leaders -- so far, at least -- to get their additional thinking on all of this."

Matthews: 'Ideologues' Killed Hillarycare
'Baby in Its Bassinet'

While interviewing Senator Hillary Clinton Tuesday during MSNBC's post-State of the Union coverage, Chris Matthews denounced "ideologues on the right" who opposed her health care plan from 1994, saying they had planned to "kill this baby in its bassinet." Matthews wondered if Senator Clinton still felt the "sting of that strategy on the other side."

[This item, by Brad Wilmouth, was posted Tuesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Matthews's question to Senator Clinton at 10:47pm EST:
"Back when you were working so hard on health care, back in the 90s, in the early 90s, and you really thought you could get some kind of compromise at the end, I believe, and the word came from the ideologues on the right, 'Kill this baby in its bassinet. Do not let them get a compromise health care bill that they can get credit for.' Do you still feel the sting of that strategy on the other side?"

CNN: Katrina 'Thunderously Missing,'
Gulf Residents 'Upset'

Just a couple of minutes before 9pm EST Tuesday night, as viewers awaited President Bush's State of the Union address, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer cued up Anderson Cooper to inform viewers of how there would be an "issue that's presumably going to be thunderously missing from this speech."

Cooper explained: "Yeah, of course, you're talking about Hurricane Katrina, you're talking about the Gulf Coast states and Mississippi and the rebuilding of New Orleans. No mention of that in this speech tonight. That is certainly going to upset a lot of people in the Gulf Coast region who already feel that the country has moved on, that Washington has forgotten them. In the State of the Union, the President, as we have been told so far, will make no reference to New Orleans or to Mississippi, the rebuilding there. So much still needs to be done there, obviously, and we will not be hearing about that tonight from this President."

[This item was posted Tuesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

After the address, in the 10pm EST hour, Cooper asked Democratic Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama: "Were you surprised the President didn't mention New Orleans, didn't mention the Gulf Coast?"

14 Months Later, CNN's King Cites Same
Anti-War Retired Marine

Fourteen months after CNN's John King showcased retired Marine Colonel Jim Van Riper to illustrate military disillusionment with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and President Bush's Iraq policy, on Tuesday night, barely an hour before the State of the Union address, King checked in from New Bern, North Carolina and again featured Van Riper's criticisms as if they had fresh meaning. In a story, near the start of the 8pm EST Situation Room, about the stresses on Marines and soldiers caused by repeated deployments to Iraq, King highlighted how "retired Marine Colonel Jim Van Riper is more optimistic now that the Pentagon is under new leadership, but says strategic blunders by the President and his team have left the military near the breaking point." Van Riper asserted: "It's a horrendous operational tempo and along with that you've got equipment problems. These men and women now are operating at a much faster pace than we did, particularly in Vietnam or Desert Shield/Desert Storm."

King, who in 2005 touted Van Riper's take as "telling," then depicted Van Riper's view as "striking" in a such a pro-Bush state: "It is striking in a state like this, a place with a deep military tradition, respect for the Commander-in-Chief, a state President Bush carried in two presidential elections, to hear such open skepticism, in some cases open criticism and opposition to the President's war plan."

[This item was posted Tuesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

During a November 29, 2005 Anderson Cooper 360 story on the opposition to the war from Republican Congressman Walter Jones of North Carolina, John King highlighted: "Vietnam and Desert Storm combat veteran Jim Van Riper supports the war and agrees any talk of specific withdrawal timetables is a mistake. But recently Van Riper wrote his congressional delegation saying he could no longer support the Republican Party, calling Iraq a textbook case of how not to wage a war. Van Riper says the President is in a mess of his own making for standing by his Defense Secretary." After a soundbite of Van Riper declaring that "I'm more convinced than ever that Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld will be the Republicans' Robert S. McNamara, when history's written that's the way he'll be viewed," King propounded: "Such talk in a patriotic place like this is telling."

For more on the story, see the larger December 1, 2005 CyberAlert article, "CNN Yearns for a Cronkite on Iraq, Paints France as 'Vindicated,'" online at: www.mrc.org

In between King's two citations of Van Riper, CBS's Byron Pitts traveled to North Carolina and located the very same retired Marine to demonstrate that on the war "even some life-long conservatives are no longer hearing the President's message." On the September 7, 2006 CBS Evening News, Pitts touted Van Riper's credentials: "Retired Marine Corps Colonel Jim Van Riper is a Christian, card-carrying member of the NRA who voted for President Bush twice. But as more Marines have died in Iraq, his confidence in the Bush administration died as well." Van Riper asserted: "I don't mind arrogance except when there's dead bodies as a result." Pitts explained how "Van Riper will vote for Democrats across the board," and then cued him up: "If you could sit across from President Bush, what would you say to him?" Van Riper: "Sir, I'm disappointed."

For a full transcript of the Pitts story, check the September 8, 2006 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org

Today Show Refrain: Is Anybody Still
Listening to Bush?

You'd think NBC News would have wanted their viewers to tune into NBC's coverage of the State of the Union address, but after listening to Tuesday morning's Today show a viewer would have been hard pressed to want to tune in as Meredith Vieira and David Gregory asked repeatedly if "the country stopped listening to the President?" Today's anchors asked a form of that question on three separate occasions within just the first half-hour. (Interviewing Tony Snow, Gregory also slipped in this leading question: "Will he concede that humans are responsible for global warming?")

First Vieira, at the top of the show pondered: "The question tonight will anybody be listening to the President anymore when he speaks?" A few minutes later David Gregory, substitute hosting for Matt Lauer, asked Tony Snow: "Tony, has the country stopped listening to the President?" Then, in her interview with Hillary Clinton, Vieira's first question continued Today's theme: "You just heard Tony Snow that he does not believe that the public has stopped listening to the President, do you agree with that?"

[This item, by Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Tuesday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Vieira and Gregory, opened the January 23 Today show by focusing on the President's low approval poll numbers:

Vieira: "Good morning into the lion's den. With his poll numbers at an all-time low President Bush heads to Capitol Hill to deliver his State of the Union address for the first time to a Congress dominated by Democrats."

...

David Gregory: "Big day in Washington. The President delivers his State of the Union address tonight and when he does the President is gonna be facing a stark new reality in Washington, a newly empowered Democratic Congress and waning support at home. According to our new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll 57 percent of Americans want Congress to take a lead role in setting policy in this country. Look at this, only 22 percent think the President should. Difficult numbers for him."
Vieira: "Absolutely. The question is tonight will anybody be listening to the President anymore when he speaks? We will get a preview of the State of the Union in just a moment from the President's press secretary Tony Snow."

In his interview with Snow, Gregory hit the White House press secretary with the low poll numbers before repeating the, "Is anybody still listening?" theme:
"The results of our new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll are discouraging for the President. His approval rating stands at just 35 percent. 28 percent approve of his handling of Iraq, that's it. And then there is this, as mentioned, just 22 percent of the country wants him playing a lead role in setting policy. Tony has the country stopped listening to the President?"

Most of Gregory's questions centered around Iraq but he did find time to slip in this leading question on the environment: "Will, will he concede that humans are responsible for global warming?"

"Top Ten Surprises In George Bush's State
of the Union Address"

From the January 23 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Surprises In George W. Bush's State of the Union Address." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com

10. Wore a "Hillary in 2008" T-shirt

9. Unveiled plan for botched invasion of Iran

8. Vowed to end America's dependence on foreign films

7. 20-minute presentation on why "The O.C." shouldn't be canceled

6. More than once, he turned and kissed Nancy Pelosi on the mouth

5. When he said "Times are tough. That's why when I need a little pick-me-up I reach for a Snickers!"

4. Concluded policy proposal with a rousing "Deal or No Deal?"

3. Announced intelligence reports suggest there is a veal shank under the pantsuit

2. For viewers who have HDTV, he was 17% Bushier

1. Showed up late explaining he was watching "Idol"

-- Brent Baker