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Pelley and Williams Zinged Mrs. Romney from Left, But Avoid Contentious Politics with Mrs. Obama

Last week in Tampa, CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley and NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, both hit Ann Romney with a pointed political contention from the left, but tonight (Thursday) in Charlotte, neither challenged Michelle Obama with any political argument forwarded by conservatives.

Williams posed a long-winded question about the Obama daughters and cued up the First Lady to assess a New York Times reporter’s take that President Obama is “‘a proud yet humbled President, a confident yet scarred President, a dreamer mugged by reality.’ Does that resemble the man you know?”

Pelley reminded Mrs. Obama how “in your speech on the first night of the convention, you said that the presidency ‘does not change a person, it reveals the person.’” He then queried: “And I wonder, has this experience revealed anything to you about your husband that you did not know?”

After he asked her “what do you get tired and frustrated about?”, Pelley ludicrously suggested “you could have said that persistent questioning by reporters gets under your skin. That’s a possibility.” No, it’s not.

Last week (BiasAlert item), Pelly chastised Ann Romney: “A lot of women look at the Republican platform on abortion, contraception, a number of issues and ask the question whether Republicans have women’s best interests at heart?”

Williams last week (BiasAlert post with video) reprimanded Ann Romney for saying “I believe in my heart that Mitt is going to save America,” suggesting it would have been incendiary if Michelle Obama had made such a promise. He told Mrs. Romney the phrasing “jumped off the screen to me” and maintained, without identifying the supposed source, that “someone who knows you conceded that if Mrs. Obama used words like that...there’d be all kinds of hubbub.” He demanded: “What do you mean? Those are powerful words.”

All of Pelley’s questions to Michelle Obama aired on the September 6 CBS Evening News:

> In your speech on the first night of the convention, you said that the presidency “does not change a person, it reveals the person.” And I wonder, has this experience revealed anything to you about your husband that you did not know?

> What do you get tired and frustrated about?

> You could have said that persistent questioning by reporters gets under your skin. That’s a possibility.

> Do you think there’s a reasonable chance that your husband could lose this election?

Williams to Mrs. Obama on the NBC Nightly News:

> [Re Bill Clinton and Barack Obama] Has it been a complicated relationship or an easy relationship?

> In your job you get to listen to all of the psychiatrists analyze your husband. Peter Baker. this morning’s New York Times, he’s “a proud yet humbled President, a confident yet scarred President, a dreamer mugged by reality.” Does that resemble the man you know?

> I was surprised to hear you say you didn’t see Ann Romney, only because at this level of play there are so few people. Are you remotely curious?...Are you remotely curious anyway?

> All of us who have raised daughters, especially, have been fascinated by your daughters. The adage, how did they get so big? We reported on it the other night. And the strain to keep their lives normal. It strikes me, what a day in their life they’re having today because their parents insist on school, they are in school. Except for when they get on the Air Force jet because they can’t fly commercially to come down and watch their dad accept his party’s nomination for a second term. Tomorrow back to school. There’s a lot of pressure on them to remain level-headed and I know you both said you’ve tried your best to keep that tenor at home.

> Final question about tonight: How much speech rehearsal has there been? How familiar are you with what’s in it, tone, tenor?

-- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Brent Baker on Twitter.