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Sawyer Spends 4 Minutes Channeling Liberal Angst Over Obama’s Debate Performance; 20 Seconds on Libya Dissembling

ABC’s Diane Sawyer spent a solid four minutes of her interview with President Barack Obama, as excerpted at the top of Wednesday’s World News, channeling liberal angst over Obama’s debate performance – and that’s before she allocated more than a minute to cuing up Obama to denounce a Mitt Romney comment on abortion. She prompted Obama with a harsh assessment of Romney: “Is it a lie?”

“Libya” was not even uttered in the Sawyer-Obama segment. Viewers had to wait until the next story, by Jake Tapper, on the House hearing which laid out the administration’s dissembling on what happened in Libya when Ambassador Chris Stevens was murdered. Then viewers got 20 seconds -- more than half of that consumed by Obama’s defense and assurance he’ll “fix” anything that wasn’t done properly.

Tapper: “Diane Sawyer asked the President about the White House’s initial claims that the incident began with a protest against that anti-Muslim video.”

Obama replied: “As information came in, information was put out. The information may have not have always been right the first time. [edit jump] Look, Diane, these are people I know. And if there’s something to be fixed, it’ll get fixed.”

Audio: MP3 clip which matches the video with three clips of Sawyer followed by one of Tapper.

Twenty seconds versus four minutes means ABC devoted 12 times more time to fretting about how Obama did at the debate than Obama administration efforts to suppress how the attack in Libya was by terrorists and not over-enthused protesters upset about a YouTube video.

A bewildered Sawyer wondered: “Let’s get right to it. That debate, what happened?” She ran a clip from a disappointed “legendary Democratic strategist James Carville” before forwarding Al Gore’s crazy theory: “But, again, why did it happen? Al Gore said, ‘Was it the altitude?’” She wouldn’t relent: “No lesson learned from it about what you’re going to-?”

Sawyer’s questions in the portion of the interview aired on the Wednesday, October 10 World News on ABC, closed-captioning corrected against the video by the MRC’s Brad Wilmouth:

DIANE SAWYER: His supporters saying, they want to know why the President didn't seem to show up and fight. And that’s where we began.

SAWYER TO OBAMA: Let’s get right to it. That debate, what happened?

[OBAMA]

How bad?

[OBAMA]

Your supporters have been saying: “This wasn’t a bad night, he didn’t show up.”

JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: It just looked like to me he really didn’t want to be there. His mind wasn’t on it. He didn’t want to engage.

SAWYER: This is legendary Democratic strategist James Carville.

[OBAMA]

But, again, why did it happen? Al Gore said, “Was it the altitude?”

[OBAMA]
       
No lesson learned from it about what you're going to-?

[OBAMA]

But we asked the President if he’s second-guessing himself after that debate?

[OBAMA]

In the days since, the Romney team has been out in force saying this wasn’t just about performance or style, but an administration that seems tired, and Governor Romney filled with energy and new ideas.

[OBAMA]

What did Mrs. Obama say to you when you got home that night?

[OBAMA]

Is it possible you handed him the election that night?

[OBAMA]

You’re going to win?

[OBAMA]

You want it more than the first time?

[OBAMA]

What’s your message to Joe Biden about tomorrow night?

[OBAMA]

A message to Mitt Romney about Tuesday night?

[OBAMA]

And he says “taking him on” on issues where he’s shifted, like legal abortion. During the primaries, the Governor made it clear he would like to see a repeal of Roe versus Wade. But yesterday, in an interview, he said this: “There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m
familiar with that would become part of my agenda.”

[OBAMA]

Is it a lie?

[OBAMA]

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