On Friday's Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, Dan Rather poured cold water on Wendy Davis' chances of winning the Texas gubernatorial race, but maintained a glimmer of hope: "I'm not predicting she'll win. If you have to bet the trailer money, you bet she loses. But overnight's a long time in politics – a week is forever – and we're talking about an election that doesn't happen [until] a year from now. So, let her rip."
Rather and Rachel Maddow also hyped the supposed extent of Davis' likely Republican opponent, Greg Abbott. After the MSNBC host labeled Abbott a "hardcore conservative," the former CBS anchor replied that the Texas Republican is "so far to the right...that he makes Rick Perry look like a liberal and Ted Cruz look like a moderate." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Maddow led the segment with the pro-abortion Democrat's newly-announced candidacy for Texas governor. She first asked Rather, "Is it fair to see her in the light of Ann Richards?" The liberal journalist answered, in part, that "Texas Democrats are gaga over Wendy Davis. They really think they have a chance at winning." He continued by outlining the apparent conventional wisdom about Davis losing in the 2014 election:
DAN RATHER: Now, 'Texas Monthly', for one, has already decided the race is over. They and CNN have just said – listen, you're more likely to see water run uphill than you are to see Wendy Davis elected....she may do better than the 42 percent that the last Democratic candidate got, but she'll top out at 45, 47 percent...and their basic argument is, she can't win. Texas is too red – deep red; blood red – no chance of being purple. She's not just an underdog. She is, politically, a dead dog."
The MSNBC host's "hardcore conservative" label of Abbott came after her guest labeled the Republican a "very attractive candidate". Rather then added his "so far to the right" hyperbole about the conservative gubernatorial candidate, and outlined a possible longshot scenario for Davis to win the election:
RATHER: Now, if Wendy Davis has a chance – if she has a chance – it will be that she persuades the moderate Republican women and moderate independent women that enough is enough, and she's going to hammer home...For example, her opening slogan has been, 'every kid deserves a fair shot'. The state legislature – and led by her opponent, among others – just whacked the hell out of the public school budget – $5 billion or something – while giving a multi-million-dollar test contract to some of their crony friends – anyway, the economy and education, and appealing to moderate women.
Later in the segment, the former CBS journalist predicted that the possible Davis/Abbott race "will be an old-time Texas political knife fight", and continued with his "let her rip" advice to Davis and her fellow Democrats. Rather also emphasized that the Texas GOP would go negative against the current Texas state senator:
RATHER: It should be mentioned that this will be a campaign nasty enough to gag a buzzard. That what they're...already trying to paint her as...an 'abortion Barbie Doll' – which, from their viewpoint, has the added advantage, she's also – quote, 'hates guns'. And if they have to go onto the dark side – she's a single woman, who's been single for quite a long while. You can bet their negative research people are playing on this....It will be a down and dirty campaign.
[Update, Tuesday, 4:30 pm Eastern: the transcript of the relevant portion of the Dan Rather segment from Friday's Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC is available at MRC.org.]