ABC Ignores Biden Hypocrisy on Supreme Court Nominees

On Tuesday, while both CBS This Morning and NBC’s Today covered newly released video of Joe Biden as a senator in 1992 demanding President George H.W. Bush not name any Supreme Court nominees in an election year, ABC’s Good Morning America ignored the clear evidence of the Vice President’s hypocrisy.

CBS This Morning devoted a full report to the topic, with co-host Gayle King noting: “Republican senators will meet today to gear up for a fight over the open seat on the Supreme Court....a newly discovered video is helping Republicans who want to delay a decision until the next president.”

Correspondent Jan Crawford observed that the video gave Republicans a “big boost...from someone you might not expect.” A soundbite ran of Biden taking to the Senate floor in 1992 to demand: “Action on a Supreme Court nomination must be put off until after the election campaign is over.”

Crawford explained: “That's then-Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Joe Biden, who in 1992 suggested he was just fine with blocking any election year nominees when President George H.W. Bush was in the White House.”

Another clip followed of Biden: “President Bush should consider following the practice of a majority of his predecessors and not – and not name a nominee until after the November election is completed.”

Crawford pointed out that Republican Senate Judiciary Committee chair Chuck Grassley “immediately agreed to what he called the ‘Biden Rule,’” after the video went viral on Monday.

Tell the Truth 2016

On NBC’s Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie offered a 35-second news brief on the past Biden comments. No soundbites were played of the then-Senator, but Guthrie summarized:

Republican leaders are jumping on some comments made by Vice President Joe Biden when he was a senator 24 years ago. In June of 1992, Biden said the Senate should not consider a Supreme Court nominee during an election year. Biden was speaking hypothetically, the Senate was not considering a nominee at that time.

ABC’s Good Morning America did not mention the Supreme Court nomination debate at all on Tuesday.

On Monday, only CBS Evening News covered the Biden video, while NBC Nightly News and ABC’s World News Tonight avoided the news.

CBS has been the only broadcast network to highlight the hypocrisy of other Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Here is a full transcript of the February 23 segment on CBS This Morning:

7:14 AM ET

GAYLE KING: Republican senators will meet today to gear up for a fight over the open seat on the Supreme Court. A new poll finds that 56% of Americans want the Senate to hold the hearings and vote on President Obama's nominee to replace Antonin Scalia. Jan Crawford is on Capitol Hill, where a newly discovered video is helping Republicans who want to delay a decision until the next president. Jan, good morning.

JAN CRAWFORD: Well, good morning. So, I mean, this is going to be a huge fight, but one thing is for sure, a lot of these arguments you have heard before, they were just made by the other side. And Republicans did get that big boost yesterday from someone you might not expect.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Supreme Showdown; Biden’s ‘92 Comments Fuel Scalia Replacement Fight]

JOE BIDEN: Action on a Supreme Court nomination must be put off until after the election campaign is over.

CRAWFORD: That's then-Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Joe Biden, who in 1992 suggested he was just fine with blocking any election year nominees when President George H.W. Bush was in the White House.

BIDEN: President Bush should consider following the practice of a majority of his predecessors and not – and not name a nominee until after the November election is completed.

CRAWFORD: The current Judiciary Committee chair, Republican Chuck Grassley, immediately agreed to what he called the “Biden Rule.”

SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY [R-IA]: In his heart of hearts, he understands why this Senate must do what he said it must do in 1992.

CRAWFORD: With President Obama poised to move the Court to a liberal majority, Republicans are vowing to block any nominee. Democrats, like Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, are questioning their motives.

SEN. HARRY REID [D-NV]: It's a full-blown effort to delegitimatize President Obama.

CRAWFORD: But Democrats like Reid, and even then-Senator Obama have blocked or tried to block Republican nominees when they controlled the Senate. And Republicans, who were in the Senate minority, cried foul.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL [R-KY]: Any president's judicial nominees, after full debate, deserve a simple up or down vote.

CRAWFORD: Here is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell yesterday.

MCCONNELL: It is today the American people who are best positioned to help make this important decision.

CRAWFORD: Now, when Biden made that so-called “Biden Rule,” he says that he really left the door open for a compromise. In a statement, he said he was talking about a, quote, “hypothetical vacancy to the Supreme Court.” And the White House says that then-Senator Obama, well, he now regrets his vote to filibuster Justice Alito. But Charlie, memories are long in the U.S. Senate and Republicans are not quite ready to forget.

CHARLIE ROSE: Jan, thanks so much.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC