ABC Hits Hillary from Left, Advances MoveOn's Agenda

Citing how “members of the anti-war group MoveOn.Org named Iran, not Iraq, as their top issue,” and without once applying a liberal or left wing label, ABC's Word News on Monday night skewered Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton from the left for voting for a resolution other candidates claim could allow President Bush to launch a war against Iran. Anchor Charles Gibson explained how “Clinton recently voted for an amendment in the Senate that would designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. Other Senators running for President...are criticizing her vote, saying the amendment she supported could give the President authority to start a war against Iran.”

Reporter Kate Snow centered her story around how “Senator Clinton has been taking a lot of heat for that Iran vote, starting at the last debate.” Viewers heard saw video of Clinton being confronted at an Iowa event, and Mike Gravel charge “I'm ashamed of you,” before Snow maintained “it's the kind of vote that angers the Democratic faithful.” Snow concluded by benignly describing MoveOn as simply an “anti-war” group: “Tough talk on Iran is perceived by some Iowans as all too similar to the tough talk from Democrats in the run-up to the Iraq War. And, Charlie, last week, members of the anti-war group MoveOn.Org named Iran, not Iraq, as their top issue.” So, MoveOn speaks and ABC News jumps?

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video to provide this transcript of the October 8 story on ABC's World News:

CHARLES GIBSON: Next on this broadcast, we turn to presidential politics. Senator Hillary Clinton recently voted for an amendment in the Senate that would designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. Other Senators running for President -- Biden and Dodd -- voted against it, or, in the case of Senator Obama, missed the vote. But now they are criticizing her vote, saying the amendment she supported could give the President authority to start a war against Iran. ABC's Kate Snow covers Hillary Clinton's campaign for us, and is here tonight. Kate?

KATE SNOW, AT ANCHOR DESK: Charlie, this vote on Iran had a lot to do with standing her ground and looking tough against Iran in a general election, say if she were running against Rudy Giuliani. Problem is we're not there yet. She still has to win the nomination of her own party.

SNOW'S TAPED PIECE: In Iowa Sunday, registered Democrat Randall Rolph asked Hillary Clinton about her vote to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. In her answer, Clinton strongly hinted Rolph's question was planted by another campaign.

EXCHANGE AT EVENT:
HILLARY CLINTON: Because what wasn't in what you read to me that somebody obviously sent to you is that-

RANDALL ROLPH, Iowa Democrat: No, ma'am. I take exception, this is my own research. I have no-

CLINTON: Well, then, let me finish. Let me finish telling you-

ROLPH: These are my words. No one sent that. I am offended that you would suggest that.

CLINTON: Well, then, I apologize. It's just that I've been asked the very same question in three other places. So let me apologize.
END OF EXCHANGE

ROLPH, TO ABC NEWS: And I felt that she was telling me not only to shut up, but that I was stupid.

SNOW: Senator Clinton has been taking a lot of heat for that Iran vote, starting at the last debate.

MIKE GRAVEL, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And I'm ashamed of you and Hillary for voting for it.

JOHN EDWARDS: I have no intention of giving George Bush the authority to take the first step on a road to war with Iran.

SNOW: It's the kind of vote that angers the Democratic faithful.

MARK HALPERIN, ABC NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Sometimes Hillary Clinton votes in ways that will free her up in a general election, but they can come back to bite her as she tries to win this Democratic nomination.

SNOW: And today, Barack Obama piled on.

BARACK OBAMA: Her willingness, I think, to once again extend to the President the benefit of the doubt, I think, indicates that she hasn't fully learned some of the lessons that we saw back in 2002.

SNOW: Clinton's campaign says the criticism is unwarranted -- the measure in no way authorizes the President to go to war. In fact, Obama voted for a similar bill this past spring.

CLINTON, ON SUNDAY: Let me add that I also was the first person to go to the floor of the Senate back in February of this year and said very clearly that President Bush did not have any authority whatsoever to launch an attack on Iran.

SNOW, BACK LIVE: But there may be more questions as she travels through Iowa on a bus tour. Tough talk on Iran is perceived by some Iowans as all too similar to the tough talk from Democrats in the run-up to the Iraq War. And, Charlie, last week, members of the anti-war group MoveOn.Org named Iran, not Iraq, as their top issue.
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