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ABC Punts on Romney Primary Wins; Only CBS Gives Full Coverage

On Wednesday, two out of the Big Three broadcast networks yawned at Mitt Romney's wins in five primaries the previous evening and minimized covering this story on the morning newscasts. ABC's Good Morning America didn't air one report on Romney's victories, and NBC's Today offered just two news briefs. By contrast, NBC devoted a full report and a news brief to a woman spilling frozen yogurt on President Obama.

ABC also covered the "embarrassing" yogurt encounter on GMA, but with only one brief. CBS This Morning, on the other hand, devoted one full report and a discussion segment to the Romney win and ignored the dessert story.

The CBS morning show led the 7 am Eastern hour with the GOP frontrunner's wins. Anchor Charlie Rose teased the story: "With a clean sweep in five primaries, Mitt Romney says the Republican race for president is over, and now, it's time to defeat President Obama." After pausing for a video montage of news from around the world, Rose and co-anchor Erica Hill turned to correspondent Chip Reid, who outlined that "it's still not official, but after sweeping five states, most Republican insiders say there is no doubt Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee."

Reid's report featured soundbites from Romney's victory speech on Tuesday night, along with clips from former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum and former frontrunner Newt Gingrich, who both hinted at support for the former Massachusetts governor if he earned the nomination. After the report, Rose and Hill then brought on Major Garrett of the National Journal to discuss the GOP primary race winding down and what might happen during the general presidential race.

On Today, news anchor Natalie Morales gave briefs on Romney's "clean sweep" during the 7 am and 9 am Eastern half hours. During the 8 am half hour, Morales trumpeted how "a day spent courting young voters has made President Obama a hot topic online. We told you earlier about the Colorado student who spilled yogurt on the Commander-in-chief. Well, there's also the goofy photo with a fan on Instagram and this surging video of the President 'slow jamming the news' on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon." All three morning shows mentioned Obama's Fallon appearance at least once, and both CBS This Morning and Today played clips from it.

The full transcript of Chip Reid's report from Wednesday's CBS This Morning, along with Natalie Morales's news briefs from the Today show:

07:02 am EDT

CHARLIE ROSE: After winning all of the latest Republican primaries, Mitt Romney says he's ready to start a new campaign to force President Obama out of office.

ERICA HILL: As Romney gets closer to clinching the nomination, his chief rivals are acknowledging the inevitable.

Chip Reid is in Washington. Chip, good morning.

CHIP REID: Well, good morning to you. It's still not official, but after sweeping five states, most Republican insiders say there is no doubt Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee.

[CBS News Graphic: "Clean Sweep: Romney Wins All Five GOP Primaries"]

MITT ROMNEY, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (from campaign event): Together, we are going to win on November 6th. (audience cheers and applauds)

REID (voice-over): Mitt Romney declared victory Tuesday night, not just in the states holding primaries, but in the battle for the Republican presidential nomination. He then took aim at President Obama.

ROMNEY: The last few years have been the best that Barack Obama can do, but it's not the best America can do. (audience boos) Tonight is the beginning of the end of the disappointments of the Obama years. (audience cheers and applauds)

[CBS News Graphic: "Romney Delegate Count: 1,144 Delegates Needed: 846 (total), 298 (more needed)"]

REID: Romney's five-state sweep in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New York, and Delaware locked in his standing as the GOP's nominee-in-waiting, but he still needs 298 more delegates for it to be official. Polls show most Republicans falling in line. Fifty-four percent say they want Romney to be the nominee.

Even Romney's former rival, Rick Santorum, offered support last night.

[CBS News Graphic: "CBS News/ New York Times Poll: Republican Preference: Romney, 54%"]

RICK SANTORUM, (R), FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (from interview on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight"): He's the person that is going to go up against Barack Obama. It's pretty clear, and we need to win this race. We need to defeat Barack Obama-

PIERS MORGAN, CNN: That's an endorsement, isn't it? Unless I'm mishearing things? You just endorsed Mitt Romney.

SANTORUM: Well, if that's what you want to call it. You can call it whatever you want.

REID: That's as close as Santorum got to endorsing Romney, and Newt Gingrich appears to be on the verge of dropping out and lining up behind the frontrunner.

NEWT GINGRICH, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (from campaign event): We're going to be here through the week, but we are going to think carefully about how we can be the most helpful to this country. Governor Romney's going to have a very good night. If he does end up as the nominee, I think every conservative in this country has to be committed to defeating Barack Obama, and let's be very clear about that. (audience cheers and applauds)

REID (on-camera): Now, Romney is still struggling to get support from the conservative base of the Republican Party. But Republican analysts say that as Election Day approaches and they think about the possibility of a second Obama term, that will be plenty enough to get them fired up. Charlie and Erica?

ROSE: Chip Reid, thank you.


NBC'sToday

7:14AM

NATALIE MORALES: A clean sweep for Mitt Romney in five states Tuesday. Picking up victories in the presidential primaries in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New York. As the presumptive GOP nominee, Romney is stepping up fund-raising efforts in swing states where he faces the toughest showdowns against the President.

9:04AM

NATALIE MORALES: Republican Mitt Romney is celebrating wins in all five of Tuesday's primaries. The presumptive Republican nominee won in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware. He criticized President Obama for what he called false promises and weak leadership. Even rival Newt Gingrich said today it looks like Romney will be the nominee.

— Matthew Balan is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.