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ABC: Limbaugh Anti-McCain Because McCain Won't 'Answer to' Him --1/31/2008


1. ABC: Limbaugh Anti-McCain Because McCain Won't 'Answer to' Him
An ABC story Wednesday night attributed conservative opposition to John McCain not to McCain's more liberal positions on many issues, but to how McCain "basically is not going to answer to anybody, especially the conservative pundits or the conservagentsia. And they don't like that." That claim that resistance to embracing McCain is a petty personal matter came from former Bush-Cheney campaign strategist Matthew Dowd, now an ABC News political contributor. ABC reporter Ron Claiborne buttressed Dowd's explanation, asserting: "And that has drawn attacks from the likes of radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh." Viewers then heard an audio clip of Limbaugh: "He is not the choice of conservatives, as opposed to the choice of the Republican establishment." In contrast, over on the CBS Evening News, reporter Bill Whitaker accurately attributed the opposition to McCain's policy positions: "McCain is routinely savaged by Rush Limbaugh and other conservative stalwarts for breaking ranks on immigration, taxes and global warming." Two weeks ago, CBS's Bob Schieffer was as off-base as ABC, insisting opposition to McCain from the right is because "he's always been willing to challenge the authority and a lot of Republicans just have not forgiven him for that."

2. Toobin Decries Giuliani's 'Militaristic, Authoritarian Approach'
In the 6pm EST hour of Wednesday's The Situation Room, CNN's Jeffrey Toobin bizarrely objected to Rudy Giuliani's choice of words in his speech endorsing John McCain when the former Mayor argued that McCain should be the next "Commander-in-Chief of the United States." Citing that phrasing, Toobin maintained Giuliani said "something that is really pretty outrageous. He said he thought McCain should be 'Commander-in-Chief of the United States.'" Toobin lectured: "The President is not Commander-in-Chief of the United States. He's Commander-in-Chief of the military. And that is an example of, you know, Giuliani's, kind of, militaristic, authoritarian approach that I think is just not right."

3. Couric Champions Edwards for 'Courage' to Push Left-Wing Agenda
In her "Katie Couric's Notebook" video posted Wednesday afternoon on CBSNews.com, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric mourned the loss of John Edwards from the Democratic race, citing an array of liberal issues as proof the ex-candidate "deserves credit for pushing tough issues," such as being "the first to raise issues like poverty, universal health care and climate change." She also applauded Edwards for showing the "courage" to speak "honestly about why he wanted to raise taxes."

4. AP Hails Edwards: 'Steered Rivals to Progressive Ideals'
FNC's Brit Hume, in his Wednesday "Grapevine" segment, highlighted the contrast in a glowing a AP review of John Edwards' unsuccessful campaign sympathetic toward his hard-left approach to the race, versus a much less laudatory look by the wire service at Republican Rudy Giuliani's aborted presidential quest. (Ken Shepherd's earlier contrasting of the two AP stories.) Hume noted how the AP reported Edwards was "ending a scrappy underdog bid in which he steered his rivals toward progressive ideals while grappling with family hardship that roused voters' sympathies," and trumpeted how "Edwards waged a spirited top-tier campaign against the two better-funded rivals, even as he dealt with the stunning blow of his wife's recurring cancer diagnosis." But with Giuliani, the AP simply relayed: "Once the Republican presidential front-runner, Giuliani suffered a debilitating defeat in Tuesday's Florida primary."

5. ABC's Moran: Obama Means Divisions Overcome by 'Imagination'
Nightline co-host Terry Moran spent the day with Barack Obama on Tuesday and continued his habit of spouting talking points for Democratic candidates. This included telling viewers that Obama's campaign revolved around "connections" and then elaborating: "That's what is at the heart of Obama's politics, the notion that divisions are artificial and can be overcome by an act of will and of imagination." Martin Bashir promised viewers at the top of Tuesday night's show that Moran, who interviewed Obama in a restaurant in Kansas, would obtain "tough chili and tough questions." One might think that would include asking about the Senator's connection with indicted political operative and former supporter Tony Rezko. It didn't. Instead, Moran repeated campaign bio about how Obama's grandfather was born in Kansas and offered queries such as: "So, you're home?" He told Obama, in what can't really be described as an actual question: "It always seems that the biggest applause lines are those where you tell people, 'let's come together.'"


ABC: Limbaugh Anti-McCain Because McCain
Won't 'Answer to' Him

An ABC story Wednesday night attributed conservative opposition to John McCain not to McCain's more liberal positions on many issues, but to how McCain "basically is not going to answer to anybody, especially the conservative pundits or the conservagentsia. And they don't like that." That claim that resistance to embracing McCain is a petty personal matter came from former Bush-Cheney campaign strategist Matthew Dowd, now an ABC News political contributor. ABC reporter Ron Claiborne buttressed Dowd's explanation, asserting: "And that has drawn attacks from the likes of radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh." Viewers then heard an audio clip of Limbaugh: "He is not the choice of conservatives, as opposed to the choice of the Republican establishment."

In contrast, over on the CBS Evening News, reporter Bill Whitaker accurately attributed the opposition to McCain's policy positions: "McCain is routinely savaged by Rush Limbaugh and other conservative stalwarts for breaking ranks on immigration, taxes and global warming." Two weeks ago, CBS's Bob Schieffer was as off-base as ABC, insisting opposition to McCain from the right is because "he's always been willing to challenge the authority and a lot of Republicans just have not forgiven him for that."

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Wednesday night, with audio and video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The January 16 CyberAlert item, "Schieffer: Republicans Anti-McCain Because He Challenges Authority," recounted:

Asked by Katie Couric Tuesday night [January 15] why having Republicans dominate the Michigan GOP primary, as opposed to independents and Democrats, is bad for John McCain, CBS's Bob Schieffer didn't cite any of McCain's views -- such as on immigration, tax cuts and freedom of speech -- where he's out of sync with most Republicans. Instead of realizing how McCain is too liberal for many conservatives who are the majority in the GOP, Schieffer contended Republicans just don't like him because he's "willing to challenge the authority," insisting: "John McCain has always been sort of a maverick. He's always been willing to challenge the authority and a lot of Republicans just have not forgiven him for that."

For the previous CyberAlert in full: www.mrc.org

A transcript of the second half of Ron Claiborne's story -- from the site of the GOP debate at the Reagan Library -- about the GOP race following Rudy Giuliani's departure from it, as aired on the January 30 World News:

RON CLAIBORNE: What's remarkable is that he [McCain] beat Mitt Romney in a closed primary, where only Republicans could vote. No independents, who provided him winning margins in New Hampshire and South Carolina. Today, Romney told Good Morning America's Robin Roberts that he would remain in the race.
MITT ROMNEY ON GMA: In a two person race I like my chances.
CLAIBORNE: Even as the odds-on favorite to be the GOP nominee, McCain still faces stiff opposition.
MATTHEW DOWD, ABC NEWS POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: He basically is not going to answer to anybody, especially the conservative pundits or the conservagentsia. And they don't like that.
CLAIBORNE: And that has drawn attacks from the likes of radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh.
AUDIO OF RUSH LIMBAUGH: He is not the choice of conservatives, as opposed to the choice of the Republican establishment.
CLAIBORNE: Some analysts say the objections of members of the Republican right may not matter so much now as long as McCain is winning primaries, chalking up delegates and endorsements. And California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was heaping praise on McCain earlier today. He could be the latest in the parade of elected officials backing McCain. That could come, Charlie, as soon as tomorrow.

Toobin Decries Giuliani's 'Militaristic,
Authoritarian Approach'

In the 6pm EST hour of Wednesday's The Situation Room, CNN's Jeffrey Toobin bizarrely objected to Rudy Giuliani's choice of words in his speech endorsing John McCain when the former Mayor argued that McCain should be the next "Commander-in-Chief of the United States." Citing that phrasing, Toobin maintained Giuliani said "something that is really pretty outrageous. He said he thought McCain should be 'Commander-in-Chief of the United States.'" Toobin lectured: "The President is not Commander-in-Chief of the United States. He's Commander-in-Chief of the military. And that is an example of, you know, Giuliani's, kind of, militaristic, authoritarian approach that I think is just not right."

[This item is adapted from a late Wednesday night posting, by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

At about 6:40pm on the January 30 show, host Wolf Blitzer led Toobin, Gloria Borger and Jack Cafferty in a discussion that included reaction to Giuliani's speech, which had run live earlier that hour. After Borger gave a positive review of the speech, Toobin responded:
"I don't want to dissent too much. I mean, I think Giuliani said something that was very helpful to McCain. I think it's certainly good. However, he did say something that is really pretty outrageous. He said he thought McCain should be 'Commander-in-Chief of the United States.' The President is not Commander-in-Chief of the United States. He's Commander-in-Chief of the military. And that is an example of, you know, Giuliani's, kind of, militaristic, authoritarian approach that I think is just not right. And even the President, that's not what the President does. He doesn't run the country."

Below is a transcript of a portion of Giuliani's speech, which aired about 6:10 p.m., that included the former mayor's reference to McCain becoming "Commander-in-Chief of the United States":
"And so deciding who to endorse, in my particular case, is not difficult because if I endorsed anyone else, you would say I was flip-flopping after having already endorsed John. John McCain is the most qualified candidate to be the next Commander-in-Chief of the United States. He is an American hero, and America could use heroes in the White House. He's a man of honor and integrity, and you can underline both 'honor' and 'integrity.'"

Couric Champions Edwards for 'Courage'
to Push Left-Wing Agenda

In her "Katie Couric's Notebook" video posted Wednesday afternoon on CBSNews.com, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric mourned the loss of John Edwards from the Democratic race, citing an array of liberal issues as proof the ex-candidate "deserves credit for pushing tough issues," such as being "the first to raise issues like poverty, universal health care and climate change." She also applauded Edwards for showing the "courage" to speak "honestly about why he wanted to raise taxes."

[This item, by the MRC's Rich Noyes, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Here's the transcript of Couric's January 30 tribute to Edwards' defunct campaign:

John Edwards has dropped out of the presidential campaign, but only after having a major impact on the rest of the race.

Agree with him or not, he deserves credit for pushing tough issues off the back burner. He encouraged his fellow Democrats to speak out for the disenfranchised and under-served. He was the first to raise issues like poverty, universal health care and climate change, proposing big ideas -- sometimes controversial ideas -- to meet big challenges.

He bucked the conventional wisdom and took political risks, speaking honestly about why he wanted to raise taxes, for example.

That took courage -- and so did the decision to continue his campaign after his wife Elizabeth had a recurrence of breast cancer. The two of them were an inspiration to millions who struggle to live, really live, with cancer.

John Edwards may have ended his presidential campaign. But what he started isn't over. He and his message have left a lasting impression. That's a page from my notebook. I'm Katie Couric, CBS News.

To watch the video of Couric via CBSNews.com: www.cbsnews.com

AP Hails Edwards: 'Steered Rivals to
Progressive Ideals'

FNC's Brit Hume, in his Wednesday "Grapevine" segment, highlighted the contrast in a glowing a AP review of John Edwards' unsuccessful campaign sympathetic toward his hard-left approach to the race, versus a much less laudatory look by the wire service at Republican Rudy Giuliani's aborted presidential quest. (Ken Shepherd's earlier contrasting of the two AP stories.) Hume noted how the AP reported Edwards was "ending a scrappy underdog bid in which he steered his rivals toward progressive ideals while grappling with family hardship that roused voters' sympathies," and trumpeted how "Edwards waged a spirited top-tier campaign against the two better-funded rivals, even as he dealt with the stunning blow of his wife's recurring cancer diagnosis." But with Giuliani, the AP simply relayed: "Once the Republican presidential front-runner, Giuliani suffered a debilitating defeat in Tuesday's Florida primary."

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Thursday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Hume's lead "Grapevine" item on the January 30 Special Report with Brit Hume:
This is what the Associated Press wrote today about John Edwards' decision to drop out of the presidential race. The AP said Edwards was quote, "ending a scrappy underdog bid in which he steered his rivals toward progressive ideals while grappling with family hardship that roused voters' sympathies," adding quote: "Edwards waged a spirited top-tier campaign against the two better-funded rivals, even as he dealt with the stunning blow of his wife's recurring cancer diagnosis."

And here's what the AP said about Rudy Giuliani, quote: "Once the Republican presidential front-runner, Giuliani suffered a debilitating defeat in Tuesday's Florida primary....Tuesday's result," it added, "was a remarkable collapse for Giuliani...Florida proved to be less than hospitable."

The MRC's Rich Noyes noticed that the AP's dispatch on Edwards which Hume quoted came just an hour after news broke Wednesday morning that Edwards was ending his third-place presidential campaign. The lead sentence of the AP political reporter Nedra Pickler's gooey 10:06am EST dispatch: "Democrat John Edwards is exiting the presidential race Wednesday, ending a scrappy underdog bid in which he steered his rivals toward progressive ideals while grappling with family hardship that roused voters' sympathies, The Associated Press has learned...."

Pickler suggested Edwards' far-left platform had become mainstream and accepted, crediting Edwards with promoting "themes" that were "eventually adopted by the other Democratic presidential candidates -- and even a Republican, Mitt Romney." But Pickler only named one "theme" that Romney has actually used himself, the tiresome election-year cliche of wanting an "end to special interest politics in Washington."

For Pickler's piece: apnews.myway.com

By contrast, James Taranto pointed out Wednesday in his "Best of the Web Today" for the online page of the Wall Street Journal's editorial page, the AP's Devlin Barrett covered the Giuliani withdrawal in a "straight" manner:

Rudy Giuliani, who bet his presidential hopes on Florida only to come in third, prepared to quit the race Tuesday and endorse his friendliest rival, John McCain.

The former New York mayor stopped short of announcing he was stepping down, but delivered a valedictory speech that was more farewell than fight-on.

Giuliani finished a distant third to winner John McCain and close second-place finisher Mitt Romney. Republican officials said Giuliani would endorse McCain on Wednesday in California. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in advance of the public announcement...

END of Excerpt

For Taranto's take on the two AP dispatches: www.opinionjournal.com

ABC's Moran: Obama Means Divisions Overcome
by 'Imagination'

Nightline co-host Terry Moran spent the day with Barack Obama on Tuesday and continued his habit of spouting talking points for Democratic candidates. This included telling viewers that Obama's campaign revolved around "connections" and then elaborating: "That's what is at the heart of Obama's politics, the notion that divisions are artificial and can be overcome by an act of will and of imagination."

It should be pointed out that fellow Nightline anchor Martin Bashir promised viewers at the top of Tuesday night's show that Moran, who interviewed Obama in a restaurant in Kansas, would obtain "tough chili and tough questions." One might think that would include asking about the Senator's connection with indicted political operative and former supporter Tony Rezko. It didn't. Instead, Moran repeated campaign bio about how Obama's grandfather was born in Kansas and offered queries such as: "So, you're home?" He told Obama, in what can't really be described as an actual question: "It always seems that the biggest applause lines are those where you tell people, 'let's come together.'"

[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Oddly, the ABC reporter seemed to understand that Obama will, eventually, have to talk about the tough issues. Moran explained: "To get the nomination, Obama needs to do more than inspire voters. He needs to convince them that he has pragmatic solutions to the country's problems." The Nightline anchor then added: "And so he's making promises, big promises, on taxes, education and healthcare." Moran, however, never found time to ask about these "big promises" or any of those subjects. Instead, he recited banal lines that could be drawn from the Illinois politician's speeches. He closed the segment by informing viewers that Americans have "a hunger for a politics that could dissolve the old categories, start a new story."

In fact, despite talking about transcending categories, such as race, Moran spent a large chunk of the interview focusing on racial issues. While enjoying a meal with Obama in a restaurant, he asked: "Do you think that back when your grandfather was growing up in this town, the '20s and '30s, you could have sat at this lunch counter?" One of the (very few) questions that could be considered even mildly tough came when the Nightline co-host wondered about possible GOP challenger John McCain: "Would that be a harder race for you, for somebody as junior as you are, to run against John McCain?"

Moran has become well known for gushing over Democrats. In November of 2006, he said this of Obama: "You can see it in the crowds. The thrill, the hope. How they surge toward him. You're looking at an American political phenomenon." Providing "balance," on January 24, he told viewers that a "brilliant" Bill Clinton "implores you to believe." See the January 28 CyberAlert for more on Moran's Clinton segment: www.mrc.org

A partial transcript of the January 29 segment:

TEASE FROM MARTIN BASHIR: Plus, we hit the trail with exclusive access to Barack Obama, sitting down in Kansas for tough chili and tough questions with Terry Moran.

MORAN: We're here in Kansas City, Missouri, following Barack Obama's campaign. The news today, as we said, was in neighboring Kansas. That's a state where Barack Obama has some deep roots. His mother was born in the state of Kansas. His grandfather was born and raised in the town of El Dorado, Kansas. And that's where we went. He had never been there before, but he went there to send a message in a campaign where the personal has become very political. It's a cold winter afternoon on main street in El Dorado, Kansas. Main street, a little sleepy, a little slow, but placid and tidy and safe, an iconic American place and that's precisely why Barack Obama came here today. This trip is more than just another stop on the trail for Obama. It is, in a way, a homecoming. So, you're home?
BARACK OBAMA: I'm home. This chili tastes like grampa's. [cut to speech] Mr. Kerns went to high school with my grandfather, at El Dorado High.
MORAN: Obama's grandfather, Stanley Dunham, He stares out at us from the old photograph. A young man, a young white man, in mid century in Kansas, who left this state looking for success and never quite found it. And now his grandson stands here.
OBAMA: Thank you, Kansas.
MORAN: This side of Obama's family story, the Midwestern side, the white side, is a crucial part of his biography and his campaign strategy. As he faces contests in 22 states on Super Tuesday, where millions of voters will take their first long look at him, Obama wanted to make a point.
OBAMA: We're family.
MORAN: And as part of the subtext of your trip here today, as the country starts a national primary, essentially to tell people that half of your family is white?
OBAMA: No, that isn't the case, 'cause I think that's actually pretty well known. I think that the purpose of the trip is to explain that there are a set of values and roots here in the Midwest, and that although Kansas is now considered this red state and, you know, irrevocably Republican, that there are connections between all of us.
MORAN: Connections. That's what is at the heart of Obama's politics, the notion that divisions are artificial and can be overcome by an act of will and of imagination.
OBAMA: It's a story that began here in El Dorado.
MORAN: Over a bowl of chili at Susie's, Obama talked about his grandfather's hometown. Do you think that back when your grandfather was growing up in this town, the '20s and '30s, you could have sat at this lunch counter?
OBAMA: Certainly, you know, people would not have anticipated me showing up midday.
MORAN: As a presidential candidate?
OBAMA: As a presidential candidate, right.
...
MORAN: To get the nomination, Obama needs to do more than inspire voters. He needs to convince them that he has pragmatic solutions to the country's problems. And so he's making promises, big promises, on taxes, education and healthcare.
OBAMA: We are going to pass healthcare reform by the end of my first term as president of the United States of America.
MORAN: Still, it comes back to him. To his story. For Obama, politics is personal. So what you're saying in this campaign is, I did it. I reconciled the different parts of myself. You can do it.
OBAMA: I don't presume to suggest that what I can do as an individual automatically transposes itself over a nation. I guess the way I'd put it would be that, that the cross currents of this country, race, ethnicity and religion and all those things that often times are presented as dividing lines that I've -- I have swam in those waters. And I know that, in fact, they're all part of, you know, part of one big river that is the American story.
MORAN: Just before a rally tonight in Kansas City, we stopped backstage with Obama, the crowd roaring in anticipation. It always seems that the biggest applause lines are those where you tell people, let's come together.
OBAMA: Yeah. There's enormous hunger for that.
MORAN: A hunger for a politics that could dissolve the old categories, start a new story. Well, it has been a pretty good story so far, right throughout this presidential campaign, both Democratic and Republican. And Barack Obama, of course, wants to be the author of the final chapter as they all do. Martin?

-- Brent Baker