ABC, NBC Highlight Huckabee Comments on Unwed Pregnancy and Natalie Portman

 Saturday’s Good Morning America on ABC, the Today show on NBC, and the NBC Nightly News all gave attention to potential Republican presidential nominee Mike Huckabee’s recent words from the Michael Medved Show lamenting the example set by the unwed pregnancy of actress Natalie Portman. But, while Huckabee might have been better served if he had also made a point of praising her for keeping her child and planning to marry the father during his original comments, the reports on ABC and NBC mostly ignored that it was host Medved who decided to bring up Portman, and Huckabee was responding to him rather than making a point of bringing her up on his own.

But only Saturday’s Today show even briefly mentioned that Medved introduced Portman into the conversation as substitute anchor Savannah Guthrie read a statement from Huckabee on the matter.

Each report also made time to mention former Vice President Dan Quayle's comments on television character Murphy Brown from May 1992.

Below are transcripts of the relevant stories from Saturday, March 5, followed by Huckabee’s original comments from the Monday, February 28, Michael Medved Show:

#From the Saturday, March 5, Good Morning America on ABC:

BIANNA GOLODRYGA: We're going to turn to Mike Huckabee, who is atop the Republican leaderboard to take on President Obama in 2012. But now he's picked a fight he might not be able to win: taking on a Hollywood leading lady who is single, pregnant and just won an Oscar. David Kerley is in Washington with that story. Good morning, David.

DAVID KERLEY: Good morning, Bianna. By bringing Natalie Portman into this debate, he has enraged feminists, and political analysts are now wondering whether Huckabee has taken a step or a misstep toward running for President. Seven months pregnant, Natalie Portman was assisted up the stage steps by her fiance to accept the best actress Oscar, acknowledging the coming birth of their child.

NATALIE PORTMAN, ACTRESS: I thank you so much. My beautiful love has now given me my most important role of my life.

KERLEY: But those words, her appearance, sent the wrong message, according to Huckabee, on a conservative radio show.

MIKE HUCKABEE AUDIO: Most single moms are very poor, uneducated, can't get a job, and it's unfortunate that we glorify and glamorize the idea of out-of-children wedlock.

KERLEY: Huckabee was forced to clarify and, in a statement told ABC News he was trying to make a point that it’s government programs that keep children of most single mothers from starving. But women's groups heard much more.

JOANNE BAMBERGER, FEMINIST WRITER: It does anger me. A lot of conservative Republicans have come out and done things to take us back to a June Cleaver motherhood role or picture of motherhood in America.

CANDACE BERGEN, FROM MURPHY BROWN: I've given birth to a car alarm.

KERLEY: Is this all sounding familiar? Well, it was back in 1992 that Vice President Dan Quayle criticized the Murphy Brown TV show for the same issue.

FORMER VICE PRESIDENT DAN QUAYLE: It doesn’t help matters when primetime TV has Murphy Brown bearing a child alone and calling it just another lifestyle choice.

KERLEY: But, nearly two decades later, political analysts wonder what Huckabee was hoping to accomplish.

AMY WALTER, ABC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR: -what’s going to get you attention, and all attention is good attention when you're trying to sell books. Or you just were sloppy, you didn't even think about it. And that suggests that you're not as serious about being a presidential candidate.

KERLEY: In his statement, Huckabee did praise Natalie Portman's acting ability, but he stuck to his guns saying that Hollywood should not glorify unwed mothers. Now, we did ask Natalie Portman for a statement, and she did not respond.

#From the Saturday, March 5, Today show on NBC:

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: A Republican presidential hopeful who could be eyeing a run for the White House again finds himself embroiled in controversy today. Earlier this week, Mike Huckabee called out Oscar winner Natalie Portman for her behavior off the screen. Natalie Portman, fresh off an Oscar win for best actress, has found a critic in an unexpected corner. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee on a national book tour is drawing fire for a remark he made about her on talk radio this week.

MIKE HUCKABEE AUDIO: One of the things that's troubling is that people see a Natalie Portman or some other Hollywood starlet who boasts of, hey, look, you know, we're having children, we're not married, but we're having these children and they're doing just fine.

GUTHRIE: Portman has won accolades for her performance in the movie Black Swan. She met her fiance during filming, and they're now expecting their first child. Huckabee's remarks set off a firestorm online, some wondering why Huckabee didn't single out Bristol Palin's unwed motherhood. Others speculated Huckabee is setting up a run for President by appealing to social conservatives. In a statement, Huckabee said he was asked about Portman's out-of-wedlock pregnancy and added, quote, "I did not ‘slam’ or ‘attack’ Natalie Portman, nor did I criticize the hard working single mothers in our country." But in a statement Huckabee stood by his comments about the difficulties of single motherhood.

HUCKABEE AUDIO: Most single moms are very poor, uneducated, can't get a job, and if it weren't for government assistance, their kids would be starving to death and never have health care.

GUTHRIE: For some, the episode felt like a rerun reminiscent of when former Vice President Dan Quayle stirred a nationwide controversy over family values when he criticized the fictional character Murphy Brown for having a child out of wedlock.

FORMER VICE PRESIDENT DAN QUAYLE: I know it's not fashionable to talk about moral values, but we need to do it.

GUTHRIE: As for Huckabee, some suspect this isn't about politics.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: This is not about Mike Huckabee trying to position himself as somebody who’s going to win a nomination or even win primaries. This is about Mike Huckabee making money.

GUTHRIE: Well, in his statement, Huckabee said, quote, "Natalie is an extraordinary actor, very deserving of her recent Oscar, and I am glad she will marry her baby's father." So the debate continues online.

#From the Saturday, March 5, NBC Nightly News :

LESTER HOLT: She won the Oscar for Black Swan, but Natalie Portman is now making news for what she calls her greatest role. It’s one that is taking place off-screen, and one that has put her in the middle of a firestorm over family values, thanks to former and perhaps future presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. NBC’s John Harwood reports.

JOHN HARWOOD: Natalie Portman won an Oscar for best actress, but she's being called a bad example by an unexpected critic, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.

MIKE HUCKABEE AUDIO: One of the things that's troubling is that people see a Natalie Portman or some other Hollywood starlet who boasts of, hey, look, we're having children. We're not married but we're having these children and they're doing just fine.

HARWOOD: Huckabee’s remarks set off a firestorm online, some wondering why Huckabee hadn't singled out Bristol Palin's unwed motherhood. In fact, two years ago, he called it shameful for the media to criticize Palin, saying, "We saw a mother who gave her unconditional love to her daughter. That embodies what Christianity means. We all mess up. The issue is how we respond to it." Huckabee’s latest comments stirred memories of Vice President Dan Quayle and his attack on TV's fictional character, Murphy Brown.

FORMER VICE PRESIDENT DAN QUAYLE: I know it's not fashionable to talk about moral values, but we need to do it.

HARWOOD: Today Huckabee defended his remarks about Portman as a caution for less affluent women.

HUCKABEE: When you have unwed mothers, you have a high propensity toward lack of education, lack of ability to get a job, and their children are going to live entire lives in poverty.

HARWOOD: White House strategists consider Huckabee a strong potential rival. He leads the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll of Republican presidential candidates. But the poll also shows primary voters want to hear about economic rather than social issues.

JILL LAWRENCE, POLITICSDAILY.COM: He's trying to get headlines, you know, be provocative, and it's not exactly consistent all the time with being a serious presidential prospect.

HARWOOD: Political aides say Huckabee is still considering whether to trade life as a well-paid media celebrity for the grind of another campaign, a choice that would bring new pressure to choose caution over controversy. John Harwood, NBC News, Washington.

#From the Monday, February 28, Michael Medved Show:

MICHAEL MEDVED: Governor, I know you probably are out on book tour right now. You probably didn’t have a chance to watch the Academy Awards last night.

MIKE HUCKABEE: I’m very happy to say that I missed it because usually it’s about the most boring waste of several hours that I’ve ever experienced.

MEDVED: Well, this was a, this was a low audience. However, there was, there was one moment where a very brilliant and admirable actress named Natalie Portman won Best Actress, and she won for a movie which I loathed called Black Swan. But in any event, she got up, she was very visibly pregnant, and it’s really, it’s a problem because she’s about seven months pregnant, it’s her first pregnancy, and she and the baby’s father aren’t married, and before two billion people, Natalie Portman says, "Oh, I want to thank my love and he’s given me the most wonderful gift." He didn’t give her the most wonderful gift, which would be a wedding ring. And it just seems to be me that sending that kid of message is problematic.

HUCKABEE: You know, Michael, one of the things that’s troubling is that people see a Natalie Portman or some other Hollywood starlet who boast of, hey, look, you know, we’re having children, we’re not married, but we’re having these children, and they’re doing just fine. But there aren’t really a lot of single moms out there who are making millions of dollars every year for being in a movie. And I think it gives a distorted image that, yes, not everybody hires nannies and caretakers and nurses. Most single moms are very poor, uneducated, can’t get a job, and if it weren’t for government assistance, their kids would be starving to death and never have health care. And that’s the story that we’re not seeing, and it’s unfortunate that we glorify and glamorize the ides of out-of-children wedlock. You know, right now, 75 percent of black kids in this country are born out of wedlock, 61 percent of Hispanic kids, across the board, 41 percent of all live births in America are out of wedlock births. And the cost of that is simply staggering.

MEDVED: It’s tremendously staggering.