Reporter Jake Tapper provided some refreshing balance to ABC's "Nightline" on Wednesday with a snarky, sarcastic look at the people least likely to be chosen as vice president by Barack Obama. He presented a top ten list that included many controversial figures that Democrats would rather ignore. (One such person was Tony Rezko, whose corruption conviction was only mentioned in passing on the show.) Tongue firmly planted in cheek, he speculated, "Number ten would logically be Reverend Wright who would bring energy to the ticket and would be great in a traditional vice presidential role as attack dog. But just who would he attack?" Tapper then cut to a clip of the reverend damning America.
After mentioning Chicago professor William Ayers and how he could be a comfortable VP choice, someone that Obama knows well, Tapper sarcastically noted, "On the minus side, Ayers used to be a fugitive as a member of the domestic terrorist group, the Weather Underground, so he might not pass the vetting process." Highlighting Congressman William Jefferson and Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick as "Obama's indicted super delegates," the ABC journalist mused, " By waiting until the last minute to announce their support for Obama, they showed their loyalty, which is a pro. On the con side, they could soon be cons."
While Jake Tapper has shown a capacity for balance, "Nightline" reporter David Wright has frequently fawned over Obama. On February 20, 2008, he rhapsodized that Obama rallies are like "[Bruce] Springsteen concerts, but the tickets are free." Making an appearance on the April 30, 2008 edition of "Good Morning America," he encouraged viewers to feel bad for Obama after his break from Reverend Wright: "For Obama, whose own father abandoned him as a child, this must have been another painful break."
Read on to see how Tapper dealt with Tony Rezko, and who was number one on the list of unlikely vice presidents.
The June 4 "Nightline" segment, which aired at 11:56pm, follows:
TERRY MORAN: So the big news tonight, of course, Hillary Clinton will suspend her race for the White House this weekend after a lot of pushing from party leaders to get this thing wrapped up. A lot of Clinton campaigners are pushing back. They say give her credit, give her respect. Give her a spot on the ticket. Does that sound like a good idea or a bad one? Well, she's not the worst person Barack Obama could choose. Jake Tapper made a list. These are the bottom ten.
JAKE TAPPER: Speculation abounds about whether Barack Obama will pick Hillary Clinton as his running mate, and other names are being bandied about, Biden, Bloomberg, Bayh and on and on. Everyone in Washington, D.C. has their own top ten list, but then we remembered the Reverend Jeremiah Wright's press conference where he joked about being Obama's running mate.
REVEREND JEREMIAH WRIGHT: I am not running for office. I am open to being vice president.
TAPPER: Suddenly, a bottom ten list made sense too. Who would be the last ten people Barack Obama should ask to join him on the ticket? Number ten would logically be Reverend Wright
who would bring energy to the ticket and would be great in a traditional vice presidential role as attack dog. But just who would he attack?
WRIGHT: Goddamn America!
TAPPER: Number nine, Bob Johnson. The billionaire founder of BET is another American success story. And he comes from Hillary Clinton's camp, so he might help with party unity. Though his reference in January to Obama's youthful drug use might not really help on the stump.
BOB JOHNSON (BET): I won't say what he was doing. But he said it in his book!
TAPPER: Number eight, William Ayers. The respected Chicago professor could work well as a number two in the White House. He and Obama know each other and have worked together in the past. On the minus side, Ayers used to be a fugitive as a member of the domestic terrorist group, the Weather Underground, so he might not pass the vetting process. Number seven, either of Obama's indicted super delegates. Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and Congressman Williams Jefferson of Louisiana. By waiting until the last minute to announce their support for Obama, they showed their loyalty, which is a pro. On the con side, they could soon be cons. Number sixth, Geraldine Ferraro. She's a three-fer. Not just any woman, she's a feminist icon and she has working class roots and she's Catholic.
GERALDINE FERRARO :I'm outraged that they would think I'm racist. Absolutely outraged.
TAPPER: On the other hand, she kind of hates Senator Obama. Number five, longtime Obama pal, Father Michael Pfleger, another Catholic, he has a cutting wit on stage.
FATHER MICHAEL PFLEGER: As she said, oh damn, where did you come from?
TAPPER: But the Chicago diocese just put Pfleger on involuntary leave. Number four, Tony Rezko. The former power broker has shown considerable political skills. But today, he was convicted of 16 counts in a Illinois corruption case. Number three, Harriet Christian. She's the woman who had a star turn at the Democratic Party's rules committee over the weekend. And as an older woman, she brings demographic desirability and moxie.
HARRIET CHRISTIAN: We're voting for McCain in '08.
JAKE TAPPER: But there's a reason to question her loyalty. Number two, Clintonista James Carville. He's from Louisiana, a state Obama would love to win. On the minus side, Carville recently said that Obama had no cajones. The last person on Obama's vice presidential list is a proven vote getter, an effective executive and he may be the most gifted politician on Obama's entire list.
BILL CLINTON: Give me a break.
TAPPER: Bill Clinton from the swing state of Arkansas.
CLINTON: This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen.
TAPPER: But somehow I don't think he'd take the job. Or that Obama would offer it. This is Jake Tapper for "Nightline" in Washington.