Only Couric Notes Plame Setback and Scolding of Hillary; Olbermann Sends Bush to Iraq

Of the three broadcast network evening newscasts on Thursday, only the CBS Evening News reported how a federal judge threw out Valerie Plame's lawsuit and how a Pentagon official berated Senator Hillary Clinton, but anchor Katie Couric quickly moved on to “more positive news” for her in how most believe she will be elected President. Couric relayed how “the Pentagon is lashing out tonight at Hillary Clinton. A letter written by a senior Pentagon official accuses Clinton of reinforcing enemy propaganda by demanding the military start planning for a withdrawal from Iraq. A spokesman for the Senator calls the letter 'outrageous.' In more positive news for her campaign, a CBS News/New York Times poll shows 63 percent of voters believe she's likely to win the presidency if she gets the nomination.”

Enraged by the letter from Undersecretary of Defense Eric Edelman, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann opened Thursday's Countdown with a “Special Comment” on how President George W. Bush will go down in history for his “infamy” as a President who has “sold this country out.” To get the U.S. out of Iraq, Olbermann suggested Bush must be impeached “sooner rather than later.” Olbermann snidely concluded his lengthy rant: “Go to Baghdad now and fulfill, finally, your military service obligations. Go there and fight your war, yourself.” (MSNBC.com's transcript)

An excerpt from a July 19 AP dispatch, “Pentagon rebukes Sen. Clinton on Iraq, by Devlin Barrett:
The Pentagon told Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton that her questions about how the U.S. plans to eventually withdraw from Iraq boosts enemy propaganda.

In a stinging rebuke to a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Undersecretary of Defense Eric Edelman responded to questions Clinton raised in May in which she urged the Pentagon to start planning now for the withdrawal of American forces.

A copy of Edelman's response, dated July 16, was obtained Thursday by The Associated Press.

"Premature and public discussion of the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq reinforces enemy propaganda that the United States will abandon its allies in Iraq, much as we are perceived to have done in Vietnam, Lebanon and Somalia," Edelman wrote.

He added that "such talk understandably unnerves the very same Iraqi allies we are asking to assume enormous personal risks."

Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines called Edelman's answer "at once outrageous and dangerous," and said the senator would respond to his boss, Defense Secretary Robert Gates....
Couric announced these back-to-back items deep into the July 19 CBS Evening News:
A federal judge today threw out Valerie Plame's lawsuit against members of the Bush administration in that CIA leak scandal. The former CIA operative accused, among others, Vice President Dick Cheney, his former aide Scooter Libby, and senior White House advisor Karl Rove of conspiring to leak her identity. But the judge ruled what the officials did was all part of their jobs. Plame's lawyer is planning to appeal.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon is lashing out tonight at Hillary Clinton. A letter written by a senior Pentagon official accuses Clinton of reinforcing enemy propaganda by demanding the military start planning for a withdrawal from Iraq. A spokesman for the Senator calls the letter 'outrageous.' In more positive news for her campaign, a CBS News/New York Times poll shows 63 percent of voters believe she's likely to win the presidency if she gets the nomination. And it's due in large part to the female factor. Kelly Wallace has the numbers....
The CBSNews.com rundown of the survey, “Poll: 63% Say Clinton 'Likely' To Win; CBS/NYT Poll: Majorities Of Both Men and Women Think New York Democrat Will Be Next President.”
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center