ABC Pushes McCain 'Housing Crisis,' But Just 13 Seconds for Rezko

The most important news event in the universe, according to Friday’s Good Morning America, was John McCain’s gaffe about not knowing how many houses he and his wife own, as ABC led off its morning newscast with the story. ABC’s Jake Tapper devoted nearly two minutes to recounting John McCain’s property holdings after snarkily pointing out that he and his wife own just one house — “well, actually the banks owns it, we pay a mortgage.”

ABC’s on-screen graphic throughout: “McCain’s Housing Crisis.”

But Tapper had just 13 seconds for McCain’s countercharge against Obama, that Obama’s house was bought with the help of convicted fraudster Tony Rezko, whom Tapper merely identified as “indicted.”

Here’s the transcript of Tapper’s story, which led off the August 22 Good Morning America.
Robin Roberts: “We begin with America votes, and a new flash point perhaps in the presidential race and the simple question that may have led to a major blunder. Our senior political correspondent Jake Tapper joins us with more on the so-called home front battle both of these candidates are caught up in. Good morning, Jake.”
Jake Tapper: “Good morning, Robin. How many houses do you own? My wife and I, we own one — well, actually the bank owns it, and we pay a mortgage — but the reason I'm asking is this is the question the Obama campaign wants you to be asking yourself as they seek to portray John McCain, a man who owns more than one house, as out of touch. A simple question for Senator John McCain from reporters from The Politico.”
Voice of The Politico’s Mike Allen (unidentified): “How many houses do you and Mrs. Mccain have?”
Voice of John McCain, with transcript on screen: “I think -- I'll have my staff get to you. They’ll tell you about that. It's condominiums. It's further -- I'll have them get to you.”
Tapper: “Barack Obama pounced.”
Obama at campaign rally: “True story.”
Tapper: “Trying to use McCain's apparent lack of knowledge of how many homes he owns as a seminal moment depicting the Republican as out of touch. ABC News, working with the McCain campaign, counted nine houses on seven properties [Graphic on screen: 9 houses, 7 properties]: McCain, his wife Cindy, and her family trust own property in Sedona, Arizona, with three houses on it; two beachfront properties in Coronado, California; one huge condo that used to be two condos in Phoenix; a condo in Arlington, Virginia; a house in La Jolla, California, where a relative lives; and a condo in Phoenix where their daughter lives. But then it turns out there is another Phoenix condo they own that the McCain campaign did not tell us about, so ten houses on eight properties. [Graphic on screen: 10 houses, 8 properties]
Obama at campaign rally: “I suppose if you got seven, maybe eight houses, the economy looks fundamentally sound to you.”
Tapper: “Obama is making the same charge in a TV ad.”
Obama commercial, with image of White House on screen: “Here's one house America can't afford to let John McCain move into.”
Tapper: “The McCain campaign responded with a TV ad of its own, criticizing Obama for getting help from shady political fundraiser Tony Rezko when Obama bought his one home; Rezko was later indicted for corruption. Both McCain and Obama have been portraying one another as out of touch and trying to appeal to working class voters. The question, of course, is who is going to get the upper leg?”
Rich Noyes
Rich Noyes
Rich Noyes is the Senior Editor for Newsbusters