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Nets Follow NY Times and Kerry, Hype Missing Explosives Cache --10/26/2004


1. Nets Follow NY Times and Kerry, Hype Missing Explosives Cache
Prompted by a top of the front page New York Times story on Monday headlined, "Huge Cache of Explosives Vanished from Site in Iraq," the three broadcast network evening newscasts, as well as CNN's NewsNight, led by hyping the story picked up by John Kerry on the campaign trail, but only NBC Nightly News revealed the missing cache wasn't there when U.S. troops arrived and suggested a political motivation in the timing of the disclosure about something which occurred at least 18 months ago. Dan Rather trumpeted at the top of the CBS Evening News: "Eight days to go til America elects a President, and disturbing news from Iraq is again dominating the campaign. The White House acknowledged today that a huge stockpile of ultra-high explosives is inexplicably missing from an Iraqi weapons site. Senator John Kerry called this a quote, 'great blunder' by President Bush and his administration." CBS's 60 Minutes had been working on the story which CBS intended to air as a last-minute hit on Bush two days before the election.

2. ABC Sees 30,000 at Clinton's Philly Event, CBS Touts 100,000
Byron Pitts, as usual, the most enthusiastic for the Democratic ticket and its events. While ABC's Peter Jennings pegged the crowd, for Bill Clinton's Philadelphia appearance with John Kerry, at "as many as thirty thousand [30,000] people," CBS's Byron Pitts on Monday night touted "an estimated crowd of some one hundred thousand [100,000] supporters." Pitts relayed how Clinton's mission was to "remind supporters of the good old days when employment was up, the deficit was down and a Democrat was in the White House." Pitts failed to remind viewers that when Clinton ran for re-election in 1996, the unemployment rate stood at 5.2 percent, just two-tenths lower than today's rate.

3. ABC's Gibson and Stephanopoulos Aghast at Charges Against Kerry
ABC News stars aghast by the charges from George W. Bush and Dick Cheney against John Kerry. Charles Gibson challenged President Bush, in an excerpt from a Sunday interview played back on Monday's World News Tonight: "Do you honestly believe that this country's in more danger if John Kerry gets elected?" Sunday on This Week, George Stephanopoulos recited how Cheney argued that if John Kerry's policies had been followed, Saddam Hussein would be "in charge in the Persian Gulf with nuclear weapons and the Soviet Union still in business," a dismayed Stephanopoulos pressed Senator John McCain: "I can't believe you'd be friends with Senator Kerry if all that were true. Are these charges by Vice President Cheney fair?"

4. Jennings Rebukes Ohio's Blackwell, But Silent on Vindication
Ohio's Blackwell vindicated, but Jennings silent. Last Wednesday, ABC's Peter Jennings focused on how "Ohio's Republican Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, a leading black conservative," has "made a number of decisions regarding election law which have made other black leaders angry." Amongst them, that provisional ballots must be submitted at the voter's proper polling location. "A federal judge overruled him" on that, Jennings stressed, adding: "Democrats say it's Republican trickery." Jennings followed up with a soundbite from a liberal Democratic Congresswoman denouncing Blackwell for appealing the ruling. Well, on a Saturday, a federal appeals court judge sided with Blackwell. But not a syllable about that aired on Sunday's World News Tonight or when Jennings returned to the air to anchor Monday's World News Tonight, even though ABC devoted half of its Monday night newscast to campaign news.

5. Clift: Bush Can't Keep Us Safe from the Flu or from Small Pox
Flu vaccine shortage is Bush's fault. On Fox News Sunday, Washington Post reporter Ceci Connolly contended that "I think that the Democrats do have a legitimate policy case to make here" against the Bush administration. On the McLaughlin Group over the weekend, Newsweek's Eleanor Clift denounced Bush for how "he outsources our public health needs." Clift charged: "If he can't keep us safe from the flu how does he keep us safe from anthrax or small pox?" Clift failed to realize that unlike antidotes for small pox and anthrax, the flu vaccine must be created anew every year, as she claimed that "if there were a small pox attack the President, the President's staff, members of Congress and the well-connected would get their vaccine but the rest of us would not."


Nets Follow NY Times and Kerry, Hype
Missing Explosives Cache

Prompted by a top of the front page New York Times story on Monday headlined, "Huge Cache of Explosives Vanished from Site in Iraq," the three broadcast network evening newscasts, as well as CNN's NewsNight, led by hyping the story picked up by John Kerry on the campaign trail, but only NBC Nightly News revealed the missing cache wasn't there when U.S. troops arrived and suggested a political motivation in the timing of the disclosure about something which occurred at least 18 months ago.

CBS's Dan Rather Dan Rather trumpeted at the top of the CBS Evening News: "Eight days to go til America elects a President, and disturbing news from Iraq is again dominating the campaign. The White House acknowledged today that a huge stockpile of ultra-high explosives is inexplicably missing from an Iraqi weapons site. Senator John Kerry called this a quote, 'great blunder' by President Bush and his administration."

NBC's Jim Miklaszewski, however, passed along how "one U.S. official tells NBC News that recent disagreements between the administration and the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency makes the agency's release of this explosive information, one week before elections, appear highly political."

CBS's 60 Minutes had been working on the story which CBS intended to air as a last-minute hit on Bush two days before the election. Elizabeth Jensen reported in Tuesday's Los Angeles Times: "Jeff Fager, executive producer of the Sunday edition of 60 Minutes, said in a statement that 'our plan was to run the story on [Oct.] 31, but it became clear that it wouldn't hold, so the decision was made for the Times to run it.'" For the October 26 LA Times article in full, with the bracket in the original: www.latimes.com

An excerpt from the top of the October 25 New York Times story, "Huge Cache of Explosives Vanished from Site in Iraq," by James Glanz, William J. Broad and David E. Sanger, which was plastered across the top right of the front page:

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Oct. 24 - The Iraqi interim government has warned the United States and international nuclear inspectors that nearly 380 tons of powerful conventional explosives -- used to demolish buildings, make missile warheads and detonate nuclear weapons -- are missing from one of Iraq's most sensitive former military installations.

The huge facility, called Al Qaqaa, was supposed to be under American military control but is now a no man's land, still picked over by looters as recently as Sunday. United Nations weapons inspectors had monitored the explosives for many years, but White House and Pentagon officials acknowledge that the explosives vanished sometime after the American-led invasion last year.

The White House said President Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, was informed within the past month that the explosives were missing. It is unclear whether President Bush was informed. American officials have never publicly announced the disappearance, but beginning last week they answered questions about it posed by The New York Times and the CBS News program "60 Minutes."

Administration officials said Sunday that the Iraq Survey Group, the C.I.A. task force that searched for unconventional weapons, has been ordered to investigate the disappearance of the explosives....

END of Excerpt

For the New York Times story in full: www.nytimes.com

On FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume, the Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes blasted the "partisan" agenda of the New York Times:
"I don't think the Times, correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think the Times mentions, gives the perspective, that there are actually more than 400,000 tons that have either been destroyed or at least captured and are ready for destruction. I don't think they mentioned those numbers. So the story is really incomplete, overplayed. But it is, as Mort suggested, in line with the stories the Times is running. Clearly, the Times has chosen sides. The Times has become like one of those partisan newspapers in Europe. You know, the Guardian, for instance, promotes Labor. The Telegraph in London promotes the Conservatives. The New York Times supports the Democrats clearly, and it's one thing to have editorial writers who do that and columnists who do that, but this is the news coverage. The story was way overplayed."

And it got big play on the network newscasts which all led with it Monday night, only informing viewers well into the stories that the material went missing in April of 2003 or earlier, not recently as their leads implied.

A rundown of how ABC, CBS and NBC led Monday night, October 25:

-- ABC's World News Tonight. Peter Jennings teased: "Today, John Kerry goes after the President about 377 tons of high explosives which have disappeared in Iraq."

Jennings led his newscast: "Today's leading-edge stories are about a man and a headline. The headline in the New York Times this morning said, 'Huge Cache of Explosives Vanish from Site in Iraq.' It goes on to say that a huge ammo dump was under U.S. control when 377 tons of powerful explosives disappeared. This was Senator Kerry, after he heard the story."
John Kerry at campaign event: "The unbelievable incompetence of this administration, step after step, has put our troops at greater and greater risk, overextended the American military, isolated the United States, put a greater financial burden on the American people. George W. Bush has failed the test of Commander-in-Chief."

Jennings then went to Martha Raddatz at the Pentagon for a full story.


-- CBS Evening News. Dan Rather opened: "Good evening. Eight days to go til America elects a President, and disturbing news from Iraq is again dominating the campaign. The White House acknowledged today that a huge stockpile of ultra-high explosives is inexplicably missing from an Iraqi weapons site. Senator John Kerry called this a quote, 'great blunder' by President Bush and his administration. CBS News 60 Minutes correspondent Ed Bradley has been working with the New York Times to break this story. Ed?"

Ed Bradley then consumed 3:20 going into great detail, with UN officials criticizing the Bush administration, but always assuming the material disappeared after U.S. troops arrived on scene. After Bradley, a full report from John Roberts, which Rather set up, as taken down by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth:
"Out campaigning today, Senator Kerry cited the missing Iraqi explosives to bolster his criticism of President Bush's handling of Iraq. CBS News chief White House correspondent John Roberts reports the President and his aides sought to play down the missing explosives and the potential political damage."

Roberts began: "It was not the way President Bush wanted to start the final week of his campaign: More bad news from Iraq that played right into his opponent's hands."
John Kerry: "The incredible incompetence of this President and this administration has put our troops at risk, and put this country at greater risk than we ought to be."
Roberts: "The White House tried to minimize the significance of the missing explosives, and insisted the President only learned of the problem in the past ten days. But Iraq was only one piece of trouble for Mr. Bush. The other was this statement in an interview with Fox News when asked if America will ever be free from the threat of terrorism."
George W. Bush to FNC's Sean Hannity: "Whether or not we can be ever fully safe is up, you know, is up in the air."
Roberts: "It was the second time the President has expressed uncertainty on whether the war on terror can be fully won. And it let John Kerry turn the tables portraying President Bush as the one sending mixed messages."
Kerry: "You make me President of the United States, we're gonna win the war on terror. It's not gonna be up in the air whether or not we make America safe."
Roberts: "But President Bush wasn't about to let Kerry get the upper hand on national security today."
Bush: "On the largest national security issues of our time, he has been consistently and dangerously wrong."
Roberts: "The President attacked Kerry, throwing his own words back in his face, pointing out that while Kerry now charges Mr. Bush let Osama bin Laden get away at Tora Bora, three years ago he said something quite different about that operation."
Bush: "'I think the administration leadership has done it well, and we are on the right track.' Well, all I can say is that I am George W. Bush, and I approve of that message."
Roberts concluded: "It's a theme President Bush will continue to push this week, making the case that John Kerry is not up to the job in these challenging times. For his part, John Kerry will continue to hammer on the missing explosives, a metaphor, his campaign says, for everything President Bush has done wrong in Iraq."


-- NBC Nightly News. Tom Brokaw teased: "Missing. Hundreds of tons of powerfully deadly explosives disappear in Iraq. How did they vanish, where are they now, and how could this happen?"

Brokaw opened his newscast from outdoors at Rockefeller Plaza: "Good evening. A week from tomorrow night, we'll be reporting the results of the presidential election here from Democracy Plaza, and in a race this close and hotly debated, a week can be a very long time. Again today, the unexpected. A major story out of Iraq, first reported first in today's New York Times, about the disappearance of 400 tons of deadly explosives material, part of Saddam Hussein's old weapons program. Where did it go, and how could this happen?"

NBC's Jim Miklaszewski From the Pentagon, over video of the desert site, Jim Miklaszewski related how an NBC reporter, embedded with the Army's 101st Airborne, saw that while the facility in question was full of missiles when troops arrived on April 10, 2003, the day after the fall of Baghdad, the munitions stocks were not there.

Miklaszewski concluded his report with a factor ignored by the other networks: "Pentagon officials claim there's no evidence the HMX or RDX have been used in attacks in Iraq. Nevertheless, the explosives are still missing, and President Bush today ordered a full investigation. But one U.S. official tells NBC News that recent disagreements between the administration and the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency makes the agency's release of this explosive information, one week before elections, appear highly political."

Tuesday morning on Today, the MRC's Geoff Dickens noticed, Miklaszewski relayed the same facts he conveyed the night before: "There's 380 tons of high-powered explosives missing from a huge ammo dump in Iraq. The first U.S. troops to pass through that site early in the war failed to find them. But the bigger concern today is who has those explosives now? The 101st Airborne rolled into the Al-Qaqaa weapons facility only three weeks into the war. And NBC News was embedded with the troops. It's now been revealed that nearly 380 tons of some of the most powerful conventional explosives, HMX and RDX, are now missing from this facility. Troops from the 101st did find large stockpiles of conventional bombs but not HMX or RDX. Explosives so powerful less than a pound brought down Pan Am 103 in 1988. And they could be used to trigger a nuclear bomb..."

ABC Sees 30,000 at Clinton's Philly Event,
CBS Touts 100,000

CBS's Byron Pitts Byron Pitts, as usual, the most enthusiastic for the Democratic ticket and its events. While ABC's Peter Jennings pegged the crowd, for Bill Clinton's Philadelphia appearance with John Kerry, at "as many as thirty thousand [30,000] people," CBS's Byron Pitts on Monday night touted "an estimated crowd of some one hundred thousand [100,000] supporters." Pitts relayed how Clinton's mission was to "remind supporters of the good old days when employment was up, the deficit was down and a Democrat was in the White House." Pitts failed to remind viewers that when Clinton ran for re-election in 1996, the unemployment rate stood at 5.2 percent, just two-tenths lower than today's rate.

In fact, the unemployment rate rose to 5.4 percent in November 1996. See the Bureau of Labor Statistics page for monthly rates over the past decade: data.bls.gov

The New York Times came close to the generous crowd estimate put forward by Pitts, but stopped short of 100,000. Jodi Wolgoren reported in the Tuesday newspaper: "From Philadelphia, where the fire commissioner estimated the crowd topped 80,000, by far the largest for the campaign, Mr. Clinton headed to Florida for solo events Monday and Tuesday, with Nevada and New Mexico on the itinerary at the end of the week if his health holds."

This morning (Tuesday) on Today, Matt Lauer copied from the Times: "80,000 people turn out in Philadelphia..."

The Washington Post, USA Today and NBC Nightly News did not provide crowd estimates.

Dan Rather introduced the October 25 CBS Evening News story on Clinton's triumphant appearance: "A familiar face showed up on the presidential campaign trail today, one that hadn't been seen in a while, trying to turn out the vote for Senator Kerry. CBS's Byron Pitts has that story tonight."
Byron Pitts: "Today, John Kerry came to Philadelphia in need of reinforcements-"
Mayor John Street (D-PA): "The last duly elected President of the United States!"
Pitts: "-and found an army of one."
Bill Clinton on the outdoor stage: "If this isn't good for my heart, I don't know what is. Thank you."
Pitts: "Before an estimated crowd of some 100,000 supporters, former President Bill Clinton, looking paler than normal, came back on the stump for the first time since undergoing quadruple bypass surgery last month. His mission: Remind supporters of the good old days when employment was up, the deficit was down and a Democrat was in the White House."
Clinton: "In Pennsylvania alone, you've lost 70,000 jobs, as compared with the 219,000 you gained by this time when that last fellow was President -- me."
Pitts: "Mr. Clinton still has rock star appeal in the Democratic Party, especially with women and African-Americans, two groups the Kerry campaign needs energized on Election Day."
John Kerry, on stage: "I said, 'Mr. President, can you tell me anything that you have in common with George W. Bush?' And he thought for a moment, and he said, 'In eight days and 12 hours we will both be former Presidents.'"
Pitts: "According to an analysis of recent CBS News polling of likely black voters, fewer support Kerry than supported Gore in 2000."

On screen:
Kerry: 82 percent
Gore in 2000: 90 percent

Mickey Robinson, Kerry supporter: "I think about bringing Bill Clinton today, it will get out the vote -- not only black vote, but all the votes."
Pitts: "But Republicans believe they've made in-roads with African-American voters. The President's position on faith-based initiatives, gay marriage and abortion, all important to black Christian conservatives. Right now, former President Clinton has a higher approval rating than either President Bush or Senator Kerry. Four years ago, Al Gore shied away from using his former boss, concerned about any possible association with the Monica Lewinsky scandal. That was a mistake, says the Kerry campaign, John Kerry won't make. Byron Pitts, CBS News, Philadelphia."

ABC's Gibson and Stephanopoulos Aghast
at Charges Against Kerry

ABC's Charles Gibson ABC News stars aghast by the charges from George W. Bush and Dick Cheney against John Kerry. Charles Gibson challenged President Bush, in an excerpt from a Sunday interview played back on Monday's World News Tonight: "Do you honestly believe that this country's in more danger if John Kerry gets elected?" Sunday on This Week, George Stephanopoulos recited how Cheney argued that if John Kerry's policies had been followed, Saddam Hussein would be "in charge in the Persian Gulf with nuclear weapons and the Soviet Union still in business," a dismayed Stephanopoulos pressed Senator John McCain: "I can't believe you'd be friends with Senator Kerry if all that were true. Are these charges by Vice President Cheney fair?"

Monday's World News Tonight featured another excerpt from Good Morning America co-host Charles Gibson's Sunday interview with Bush conducted at the Crawford ranch. One exchange:
"Dick Cheney said earlier in this campaign, September 7th, he said 'it is absolutely essential, on November 2nd, that we make the right decision because if we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again and hit in a way that will be devastating.' Do you honestly believe, do you adopt that, and do you honestly believe that this country's in more danger if John Kerry gets elected?"
Bush: "I believe that you cannot change positions in the course of a war because of politics. I believe that you cannot say that you're only going to react if attacked. We just have a different point of view, Charlie. And the Vice President was reflecting that."

On Sunday's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, ABC set up a segment with McCain and Senator Joe Biden by playing this clip of Cheney in New Mexico on Saturday: "If John Kerry had been in charge, maybe the Soviet Union would still be in business. In 1991 John Kerry voted against sending American troops to expel Saddam Hussein after he invaded Kuwait. So if John Kerry had been in charge Saddam Hussein might well control the Persian Gulf today. And, of course, after the Gulf War international inspectors judged that Saddam would have been armed with nuclear weapons by the early '90s. So not only would Saddam control a crucial part of the Middle East, he might well have nuclear weapons."

Stephanopoulos turned to McCain, who appeared via satellite from Arizona: "Those charges from Vice President Cheney -- Saddam Hussein in charge in the Persian Gulf with nuclear weapons and the Soviet Union still in business -- I can't believe you'd be friends with Senator Kerry if all that were true. Are these charges by Vice President Cheney fair?"
McCain: "I think the rhetoric on both sides has escalated..."

Don't forget that Kerry supported the nuclear freeze in direct opposition to the European missile deployment which President Reagan used to successfully challenge the Soviet Union.

Jennings Rebukes Ohio's Blackwell, But
Silent on Vindication

Ohio's Blackwell vindicated, but Jennings silent. Last Wednesday, ABC's Peter Jennings focused on how "Ohio's Republican Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, a leading black conservative," has "made a number of decisions regarding election law which have made other black leaders angry." Amongst them, that provisional ballots must be submitted at the voter's proper polling location. "A federal judge overruled him" on that, Jennings stressed, adding: "Democrats say it's Republican trickery." Jennings followed up with a soundbite from a liberal Democratic Congresswoman denouncing Blackwell for appealing the ruling.

Well, on a Saturday, a federal appeals court judge sided with Blackwell. But not a syllable about that aired on Sunday's World News Tonight or when Jennings returned to the air to anchor Monday's World News Tonight, even though ABC devoted half of its Monday night newscast to campaign news.

An excerpt from the October 21 CyberAlert:

ABC's Peter Jennings on Wednesday night focused on how "Ohio's Republican Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, a leading black conservative," has "made a number of decisions regarding election law which have made other black leaders angry." Viewers then heard this shot from Jesse Jackson: "This is a national pattern of voter suppression." While Jennings gave Blackwell one soundbite to respond, Jennings ran four soundbites from those denouncing Blackwell and, in relaying how a federal judge had overruled Blackwell's decision to have those casting provisional ballots do so only at the proper precinct, Jennings noted how "Democrats say" Blackwell's procedure symbolized "Republican trickery." But Jennings failed to address either how Blackwell was just trying to prevent voter fraud or how, at the very least, allowing anyone to show up anywhere to vote will lead to more problems....

Jennings: "Just before the voter registration deadline, Mr. Blackwell said that only registrations printed on a certain stock of paper, heavy like the weight of a post card, would be accepted. This meant that convenient registration forms people could print at home were now invalid."

Michael Vu, Cuyahoga County Director of Elections: "We were concerned that there would be public confusion as to whether there would ballot, registration form was going to be accepted."

Jennings: "The Secretary of State backed down on that one. But then he said that provisional ballots for people who showed up at the wrong polling station, or without an ID, would only be good at three locations. The Democrats sued him. A federal judge overruled him. Mr. Blackwell is appealing. Democrats say it's Republican trickery."

Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio Secretary of State: "That's really foolish. And that's a wooden-headed suggestion. Here I am, elected official that receives 50 percent of the African-American vote, this is just partisan rage on the part of my critics."

Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones: "You know, tell Ken Blackwell to get a life. Ken Blackwell knows he's wrong. He made a statement that if, in fact, a court determined that he was wrong, he would, in fact, follow the law. The court determined that he's wrong, and now he's filing a, he's going to appeal the decision."

END of Excerpt

For the October 21 CyberAlert item in full: www.mrc.org

An excerpt from a Sunday AP dispatch, "Ohio Provisional Ballot Ruling Reversed," by Joe Kay in Cincinnati:

A federal appeals court ruled Saturday that provisional ballots Ohio voters cast outside their own precincts should not be counted, throwing out a lower-court decision that said such ballots are valid as long as they are cast in the correct county.

The ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals supports an order issued by Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell. Democrats contend the Republican official's rules are too restrictive and allege they are intended to suppress the vote.

Ohio Democrats on Saturday night decided not to file an appeal in the case, one of the first major tests of how such ballots will be handled in a close election....

Federal judges in several states have issued varying rulings on the issue of provisional ballots, which are intended to be backups for eligible voters whose names do not appear on the rolls. Saturday's ruling was the first time a federal appeals court has weighed in.

The state's Democrats had filed a lawsuit challenging Blackwell's directive instructing county elections boards not to give ballots to voters who come to the wrong precinct and to send them to the correct polling place on Election Day.

Blackwell has said allowing voters to cast a ballot wherever they show up, even if they're not registered to vote there, is a recipe for Election Day chaos....

U.S. District Judge James Carr on Oct. 14 blocked Blackwell's directive, ruling that Ohio voters who show up at the wrong polling place still can cast ballots as long as they are in the county where they are registered. Blackwell appealed to the 6th Circuit.

"Today's ruling reaffirms Secretary Blackwell's understanding of the law," Blackwell spokesman Carlo LoParo said in a statement. "Unfortunately the frivolous lawsuits filed by the Ohio Democratic Party and its allies have needlessly wasted the valuable time of election officials across the state as they prepare for this important election."...

END of Excerpt

For the AP article in full: news.yahoo.com

Clift: Bush Can't Keep Us Safe from the
Flu or from Small Pox

Flu vaccine shortage is Bush's fault. On Fox News Sunday, Washington Post reporter Ceci Connolly contended that "I think that the Democrats do have a legitimate policy case to make here" against the Bush administration. On the McLaughlin Group over the weekend, Newsweek's Eleanor Clift denounced Bush for how "he outsources our public health needs." Clift charged: "If he can't keep us safe from the flu how does he keep us safe from anthrax or small pox?" Clift failed to realize that unlike antidotes for small pox and anthrax, the flu vaccine must be created anew every year, as she claimed that "if there were a small pox attack the President, the President's staff, members of Congress and the well-connected would get their vaccine but the rest of us would not."

At the very end of the October 24 Fox News Sunday panel segment, Washington Post reporter Ceci Connolly insisted, as tracked down by the MRC's Megan McCormack:
"Technically, Chiron, the manufacturer in Britain is to blame, but I think that the Democrats do have a legitimate policy case to make here. There have been warnings from the Institute of Medicine, from the General Accounting Office for years talking about the lack of vaccine suppliers, how there have been shortages year after year after year, and the administration has poured money into research, but not nearly enough in terms of responding quickly when they get these warnings."

The MRC's Geoff Dickens took down these outbursts from Clift on the McLaughlin Group:

-- Clift: "This wasn't an act of God, this wasn't a hurricane or an earthquake this is an act of incompetence and this President beats his chest about how we don't want to rely on anybody in a foreign land for our national security needs but he outsources our public health needs. Plus the fact Chiron actually is an American company that happens to have a factory in Liverpool. And there's this blind reliance that the free market can fix everything when it's pretty obvious that government should step in and provide this vaccine. Hundreds of thousands of Americans will get needlessly ill and many more will die than need to."
John McLaughlin: "What about, what about the President stepping in and embracing the problem, taking custody of all the vaccines and seeing to it that the proper people who deserve them instead of members of Congress, their staffs, their families get them-"
Clift: "Well makes me nervous to think-"
McLaughlin: "Why didn't he do that in order to take charge of who should get the vaccine?"
Clift: "He, he plays God enough when he makes war it makes me really nervous to think he'd be playing God to see who gets this. I'd leave that up to the public health professionals, not the President, personally."
McLaughlin: "Was he afraid of a bad news day or news cycle?"
Clift: "Well he, he thinks he's being magnanimous because he's declining a flu shot. If he sneezes or has a cold he has five doctors ready to treat him. He's living in an unreal world."

-- Clift: "If he can't keep us safe from the flu how does he keep us safe from anthrax or small pox?"

-- Clift: "And frankly I have every confidence that if there were a small pox attack the President, the President's staff, members of Congress and the well-connected would get their vaccine but the rest of us would not."

As if Clift isn't "well-connected."

-- Brent Baker