ABC: 'Clinton Brand Has a Strong Economic Reputation'

According to ABC reporter Claire Shipman, dreary economic news and a slow Christmas could be a real plus for the Democrats. Filing a segment for Wednesday's "Good Morning America," Shipman lamented, "It may be that no amount of hall decking can convince Americans to be jolly about the economy this holiday season."

However, the GMA correspondent saw good news in this for the Democrats. She asserted, "Traditionally, of course, problems in the economy would help the Democrats." After allowing that GOP candidate Mike Huckabee's "populist message" could resonate, Shipman gushed, "Among the Democrats, John Edwards has the message that's most consistently appealing to people suffering from economic woes." Not wishing to leave any Democrat behind, she rhapsodized, "But at the same time, the Clinton brand has a strong economic reputation."

Over on NBC's "Today" show, co-host Meredith Vieira continued the negativism. She asked CNBC reporter Erin Burnett, "But is the conventional wisdom that we are heading towards a recession?"

Ms. Shipman's fawning over Democrats shouldn't surprise viewers. This is, after all, the same reporter who sized up the Clinton vs. Obama race as a battle between "hot factor" and "fluid poetry."

A transcript of the segment, which aired at 7:15am on December 12, follows:

ROBIN ROBERTS: Diane, Oprah not the only factor influencing, potentially influencing this campaign. According to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, the economy is playing a major role now, too. For the first time, Americans are saying the most important issue in the race is not the war in Iraq, but the economy. Senior national correspondent Claire Shipman has the details for us. Good morning, Claire.

CLAIRE SHIPMAN: Good morning, Robin. This is an issue that's been building for sometime and now voters appear ready to take it to the primaries. It may be that no amount of hall decking can convince Americans to be jolly about the economy this holiday season. Homes under siege --

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER; More calls for mortgage reform and a freeze on foreclosures--

SHIPMAN: Predictions of recession--

CHARLES GIBSON: The Federal Reserve today tried to spur the country's economy--

SHIPMAN: Pain at the pump--

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: We got high gas prices.

SHIPMAN: Indeed, a new ABC News poll shows for the first time in the 2008 campaign, the economy beats Iraq as the number one issue voters care about. And only 28 percent say the economy is in good shape, the lowest number in four years.

WENDY BOUNDS (GMA contributor): We're heading to this final stretch of the holidays. I think it's inevitable that unless you have a loved one who is fighting overseas, that inevitably, your attention is going to turn to your pocketbook.

SHIPMAN: The drum beat of bad news is producing national jitters.

JOHN DOUGLASS: It’s just, again, a lack of confidence. What's around the corner? We don't know.

SHIPMAN: But for many who are literally facing foreclosures or heating oil prices up another nine percent, it's more than uncertainty.

BOUNDS: I think people really are feeling a pinch. People thinking, wait, my mortgage is going to go up $300 or $400, I've got to think about what I'm spending.

LISA HARPER: We are spending less. By this time last year, I would have had tons of gifts under the tree.

SHIPMAN: Some just couldn't even find the words.

DOUG RICE: Can I say that on TV? [ Laughs ] Pretty bad.

SHIPMAN: And candidates, especially the Democrats and the surging Mike Huckabee, are grabbing the economic turf.

MIKE HUCKABEE: Many of them are having to work two jobs.

HILLARY CLINTON: Increasingly, I see that the economy will be front and center.

JOHN EDWARDS: There are structural problems in our economy.

BARACK OBAMA: Some economists are now predicting a possible recession.

ROBERTS: So, Claire, which of the candidates likely to benefit from this new focus on the economy?

SHIPMAN: That's what everyone wants to know. Traditionally, of course, problems in the economy would help the Democrats. Now, Mike Huckabee, with his populist message, could be an exception to that. Among the Democrats, John Edwards has the message that's most consistently appealing to people suffering from economic woes. But at the same time, the Clinton brand has a strong economic reputation. Robin?

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org