Gore Concern for Clinton Behavior Undisputed; Hillary's Religious Side
1) Wednesday night the
networks all highlighted how Al Gore emphasized "family values"
and is distancing himself from Clinton, but only CBS challenged him about
standing by Clinton until now.
2) Gore now called Clinton's
behavior "inexcusable," but Gore once boasted: "I feel
extremely privileged to have been able to serve with him as his partner
for the past six years....America's great President, Bill Clinton."
3) In her interview with Gore
Diane Sawyer showed him praising Clinton, but in allowing him to recall
his sister's death from smoking she failed to note how he had boasted of
4) Tom Brokaw recalled that
last year Hillary Clinton "retreated to her religious and spiritual
convictions," and worried: "Is this a side of Hillary that we
don't know very well?"
5) Tom Brokaw fretted about a
Congressman targeted by the gun lobby: "How high a cost will he have
to pay?" On Today Matt Lauer warned there's "fear" that
"now that school is out...there's gonna be some momentum lost on gun
All the stories run Wednesday night on Al Gore's presidential campaign
announcement emphasized the same themes, how he's distancing himself
from Clinton's scandals and promoting family values. Only FNC's
Wendell Goler cited specific policies Gore will pursue if elected.
None of the
network profiles contrasted Gore's sudden decision that President
Clinton's behavior was "inexcusable" with how just after
impeachment on December 19 Gore declared: "What happened as a result
does a great disservice to a man I believe will be regarded in the history
books as one of our greatest Presidents." And: "I feel extremely
privileged to have been able to serve with him as his partner for the past
six years and I look forward to serving with him for the next two
years." (See item #2 today for details of what Gore said.)
Schieffer came closest to raising the contrast: "In the White House
he says he wants to champion family values, so I asked him how does that
square with his vociferous defense of the President during the Lewinsky
scandal." NBC's Claire Shipman worried that Gore could become a
victim: "Are you worried that you will pay the ultimate price for
Bill Clinton's impeachment."
highlights from the Wednesday evening, June 16, pieces on Gore's
announcement to give you a flavor of how the networks treated him:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight. John Cochran opened his story from Carthage, Tennessee:
"Al Gore's own pollster calls him famous
but unknown. So today he re-introduced himself to America. He wants you to
know he is a family man with family values and if you think that makes him
different from Bill Clinton that's fine with him."
After showing Gore yelling about bringing his
values to the presidency and working "to build an America that is not
only better off but better," Cochran pointed out: "Seventeen
times in his speech Gore spoke of defending family values. Only twice did
he mention Bill Clinton, and then only in referring to the economy and
Kosovo. This was his chance to say I am not Bill Clinton as he also did in
talking to Diane Sawyer about the sex scandal."
Gore in excerpt from upcoming 20/20: "What
he did was inexcusable. And particularly as a father I felt that it was
terribly wrong, obviously."
some soundbites of people in Carthage warning Gore to separate from
Clinton before running a clip of Gore talking in Spanish, just like George
W. Bush, as Cochran explained in concluding his report: "He also
reminded Hispanic voters Bush isn't the only one who can speak Spanish,
an attempt to reassure worried Democrats he is ready to take on Bush if he
has to. In the months ahead Gore will try to convince voters that with him
they can have the things they like about the Clinton years, especially
economic prosperity, but without the heavy baggage of scandal."
-- CBS Evening News. Bob Schieffer began:
"As the fiddlers fiddled and the home folks cheered, Al Gore made it
official. His theme:"
Gore: "To build an America that is not only
better off but better..."
Schieffer proceeded to note that while he made
his announcement in a town where he spent summers on a farm, "as a
Senator's child Gore has always been more a man of politics than a son
of the soil" as he grew up in Washington, DC. Schieffer picked up on
Gore's theme of the day:
"In the White House he says he wants to
champion family values, so I asked him how does that square with his
vociferous defense of the President during the Lewinsky scandal."
Gore: "I made a commitment. He's my friend
and he's co-worker and I keep my commitment and take them very
Schieffer: "But he turned out to be a
Gore: "Let me finish my answer if I
Schieffer: "He went on to suggest Americans
needed to know the government wasn't falling apart."
Gore: "I felt that it was even more
important at a time of stress and uncertainty for the country, to show up
for work every day committed to making things stable, to emphasizing
continuity, to making sure problems got solved and things got
Schieffer: "But the President and an intern?
Didn't it make him uncomfortable?"
Gore: "Well if you've ever been
disappointed in a friend and surprised at something they did."
-- CNN's The World Today. Jeanne Meserve
opened: "Al Gore introduced himself and his candidacy to the nation
by drawing distinctions between himself and his rivals, between himself
and his President."
Following a clip of Gore, Meserve stressed family
values: "With his own mother, wife and children on prominent display,
the vice president talked about turning around what he called, 'a crisis
in the American family,' with gun control, less media, and more parental
responsibility. Gore said economic prosperity isn't everything, but
promised to keep the good times rolling....Gore never named Texas Governor
George W. Bush, but criticized those who offer 'crumbs of
Meserve concluded: "The vice president never
said the words Monica Lewinsky or impeachment, and his staff intends he
didn't intend to make a swipe at the President, but when he talks about
restoring morality and values to the Oval Office, even his aides admit the
contrasts and comparisons are hard to ignore, and maybe that was exactly
-- FNC's Fox Report. Wendell Goler started:
"Al Gore came back to the home he spent much
of his life away from, to step out of Bill Clinton's shadow and into his
own spotlight. A family man promising moral leadership to distance himself
from the President's scandal and impeachment."
Goler concluded by outlining issues where Gore
differs with Republicans: "Those issues, his aides say, include gun
control in the wake of the Littleton Colorado shootings, universal
pre-school and an expanded family medical leave act and especially
abortion. Gore says some politicians try to duck the issue but he strongly
asserts his belief in a woman's right to choose."
-- NBC Nightly News. Claire Shipman asserted:
"He's one of the most recognized men in America, but he believes
that even after 25 years in public life, voters still don't really know
him. So today Vice President Al Gore went home to Tennessee to offer a
Gore: "I will take my own values of faith
and family to the presidency to build an America that is not only better
off but better..."
Shipman showed Gore calling Clinton's behavior
"inexcusable," explaining: "New tougher words about the
President and the Lewinsky scandal intended to create distance. It's all
part of the Al Gore makeover, creating a new image for a candidate widely
described as boring. Image #1: Moral Leader surrounded by family, devoted
to his wife of 29 years, an implicit contrast to Clinton."
portrayed Gore as a victim, asking him: "Are you worried that you
will pay the ultimate price for Bill Clinton's impeachment."
"images" Gore is trying to create: "Engineer of the
Nation's Prosperity" and "Not Just a Wooden Politician"
as he's a Vietnam veteran, divinity school attendee and one-time
Clinton's behavior was "inexcusable." Not quite what Al Gore
thought back on December 19 a couple of hours after the House voted to
impeach Clinton. Back then it was the Republicans who were guilty of
"a great disservice to a man I believe will be regarded in the
history books as one of our greatest Presidents."
Prompted by the
lack of media attention on Wednesday night to these comments, though Diane
Sawyer did briefly raise them on 20/20 (see item #3), I went back and dug
out what Gore said on the White House lawn at about 4:30pm ET on Saturday,
December 19, 1998. His remarks concluded: "I'm proud to present to
you my friend, America's great President, Bill Clinton."
relevant portion of Gore's words:
"Republican leaders would not even allow the
members of the House of Representatives to cast the vote they wanted to.
They were not allowed to vote their conscience. What happened as a result
does a great disservice to a man I believe will be regarded in the history
books as one of our greatest Presidents. There is no doubt in my mind that
the verdict of history will undo the unworthy judgment rendered a short
while ago in the United States Capitol. But we do not have to wait for
history. Instead, let us live up to the ideals of this season...."
"I feel extremely privileged to have been
able to serve with him as his partner for the past six years and I look
forward to serving with him for the next two years. I have seen him close
at hand, day after day, making the most important decisions about peace,
prosperity and our future and making them always by asking what is right
for the American people? What is right for all of the American people? I
know him. I know his wonderful First Lady. I know his heart and his will
and I have seen his work. Six years ago he was left with the highest
budget deficit in history and he ended it. Six years ago he was handed a
failing economy. Today, because of his leadership, we are on the verge of
the longest period of peacetime prosperity in all of American history. And
I know nothing will stop him from doing the job that the American people
sent him here to do. I say to you today: President William Jefferson
Clinton will continue and will complete his mission on behalf of the
American people. I'm proud to present to you my friend, America's
great President, Bill Clinton."
+++ Watch and
listen to Gore's effusive praise. MRC Webmaster Sean Henry has posted a
RealPlayer clip of these comments. Go to: http://www.mrc.org
ABC dedicated three-fourths of Wednesday's 20/20 to Diane Sawyer's
interview with Al and Tipper Gore. She did at least ask him about the
December 19 event: "At the celebration after he has been impeached
you were there saying:"
Gore, December 19: "What happened as a
result does a great disservice to a man I believe will be regarded in the
history books as one of our greatest Presidents."
He avoided the issue and talked about how most
Americans didn't want Clinton impeached.
Earlier in the
interview Sawyer raised other criticisms of Gore, such as how much his
"Global Marshall Plan" would cost, how he was really raised in a
Washington hotel room, not a Tennessee farm, and how he exploits personal
tragedies for political gain. But on this subject, she ignored how in one
famous incident his anecdote was part of a larger lie.
Sawyer showed Gore
at he 1992 convention talking about how his son was hit by a car and then
Gore at the 1996 convention recalling how his sister died from cancer:
"In a very short time her breathing became labored and then she
breathed he last breath."
Sawyer added: "And most recently he's
become very public about his personal religious life. In our second
interview at his home in Washington we asked about what the skeptics
Sawyer to Gore: "Are you uncomfortable with
the fact that in speaking about your sister and your son at the
conventions, speaking about your religion now, people say this is using
private life for political gain."
it's hard to separate private from public life when you are a public
figure. Sawyer moved on without telling viewers that his 1996 anecdote
about his sister was the core of his claim that her death motivated him to
fight tobacco. But in 1988, four years after she died, he was still
accepting tobacco money and boasted: "I've put it in the plant beds
and transferred it. I've hoed it. I've suckered it. I've sprayed it."
That's just one
of the video clips you can watch on our Gore Gaffes page: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/goregaffesvideo.html
After Al Gore told
Sawyer that what Clinton did "was inexcusable," she pressed them
about whether they believed Clinton's January 1998 denial. He claimed he
didn't know Clinton had lied "until he acknowledged it in his
statement to the American people much later in that terrible year,"
meaning his August address. An incredulous Sawyer pressed: "You had
no idea? You really believed him?" Gore: "I did." Tipper
agreed, saying she too believed Clinton's denial.
These two are
either lying now or are incredibly stupid.
We don't know enough about Hillary Clinton's religious and spiritual
side, Tom Brokaw worried.
Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward about his new book on scandals, on
Wednesday's Dateline Brokaw asked him about what Hillary told Press
Secretary Mike McCurry about her feeling in August, 1998. Woodward
asserted that she answered with a series of questions reflecting her
feelings: "Do I feel angry, do I feel betrayed, do I feel lonely, do
I feel exasperated and humiliated?"
Brokaw then pointed out to Woodward: "You
write in the book that at one point Mrs. Clinton said to her friend, as
she retreated to her religious and spiritual convictions, 'I've got to
take this, I have to take this punishment. I don't know why God has
chosen this for me but he has and it will be revealed to me God is doing
this and he knows the reason. There is some reason.' Is this a side of
Hillary that we don't know very well do you think?"
Woodward: "Indeed. And that inner life has,
of course, given her some strength."
to raise how he thinks the Clintons are in counseling.
The network's reflexive recoil on gun control: Hit from the left,
assuming it's a wonderful idea no rational person could oppose.
Wednesday night Tom Brokaw fretted about a Democrat supporting gun control
in a conservative district: "How high a cost will he have to
pay?" In the morning on Wednesday Good Morning America's Charlie
Gibson pressed Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder about whether the House
is "on its way to gutting the bill." Over on NBC's Today, Matt
Lauer demanded that Republican Congressman Bob Barr defend the changes to
the Senate bill, assuming all changes are bad, but instead of hitting
Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy with doubts about gun control he
tossed her softballs as he took her side: "There is some fear among
some people that now that school is out and parents aren't sending their
children off into what they may view as harm's way everyday that there's
gonna be some momentum lost on gun control."
-- NBC Nightly
News, June 16. Tom Brokaw introduced a piece on Democrat Bart Stupak who
went back on campaign promises and now supports gun control:
"One Congressman says the Columbine massacre
did cause a change of heart for him on gun control. That's put him right
in the cross-hairs, however, of the powerful gun lobby and some of his
friends. How high a cost will he have to pay?"
Jim Avila began his story: "Lake
Michigan's northern shore. Gun country USA. Michigan's first
congressional district, the upper peninsula, population 580,000, an NRA
stronghold where gun dealers outnumber fast food restaurants...."
-- ABC's Good
Morning America, June 16. MRC analyst Mark Drake took down this series of
agreeable questions from Charlie Gibson to Eric Holder, none of which
challenged the assumption that the more gun control the better:
Senate bill that's already been passed does extend it to gun shows and
would have background checks on people buying guns at gun shows. But there
are critics who say that the House has weakened this. There is a critical
amendment to come that would make a period of time for a background check
so short that it really wouldn't catch anyone. There are also people who
saying that this bill redefines gun shows in such a way that really won't
call for background checks on people who buy guns at gun shows. In other
words, that the House on its way to gutting the bill."
After Holder claimed gutting what the Senate
passed will put children "at risk," Gibson prompted Holder:
"So it sounds to me that the Justice Department is worried about
where the House is going?"
Gibson: "There are people who say that the
NRA has written significant portions of what the House is about to
Gibson: "There are a lot of political points
made in debates on gun control but you're in a situation where you have a
Democratic administration in Washington and it may be Democrats who will
provide the marginal votes that will weaken gun control in the House. It
is John Dingell of Michigan, a Democrat, who is leading the forces
proposing this amendment which would significantly weaken what the Senate
-- NBC's Today,
June 16: MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens documented Matt Lauer's pro-gun
control slant. Lauer opened the segment:
"On Close Up this morning. Gun control. The
House of Representatives begins debate today on stricter gun laws and
curbing youth violence. Issues that have heated up in the wake of the
shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado. Democratic New York
Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy supports stricter gun control measures.
Republican Congressman Bob Barr of Georgia does not. Good morning to both
"Congressman Barr let me start with you and
ask you about a question of timing. You'll start debate on the youth
violence bill today. That of course comes up with tougher punishments for
youths who commit crimes with guns. But then you will deal with the actual
gun bill. Why talk about the penalties for guns before you talk about the
what would you say to a critic who says that Congress, the Republicans in
Congress are trying to stall a little bit even if for only a day to build
momentum to weaken gun control laws, especially the gun control bill that
came out of the Senate."
Lauer: "Congresswoman McCarthy in the youth
violence bill that will be debated today one of the big provisions that's
going to draw a lot of controversy is something you've been supporting
very strongly all along. That is expanding the waiting period so that law
enforcement officials can conduct background checks on people who buy guns
at gun shows. What kind of support do you have?"
Lauer: "But the issue is how much time?
You're supporting three days of a waiting period. Congressman John
Dingell is a Democrat from Michigan says 24 hours is enough and he says he
has enough support from fellow Democrats to get that through."
Lauer: "In other words if they vote against
that, if they vote for a longer waiting period the NRA will target them in
the next election."
"Oh the NRA will definitely target them. They're already doing radio
commercials and everything else against those members that are even
mentioning that they might be supporting this particular bill. And that's
too bad because the American people do want us to do something. We should
be doing something. The debate from the Senate should have taught the
House something that the American people want this, we should be working
Lauer: "Right. Congressman Barr you're on
the board of the NRA where do you come down on the waiting period? 72
hours or 24 hours?"
you think that Congressman Dingell's proposal makes it easier for your
colleagues, either Republicans or Democrats to vote for the shorter
waiting period without appearing to be weak on gun control?"
Lauer: "Congresswoman McCarthy there is some
fear among some people that now that school is out and parents aren't
sending their children off into what they may view as harm's way everyday
that there's gonna be some momentum lost on gun control. Do you agree with
This is one issue the networks find too important
to risk jeopardizing with balanced reporting. --
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