ABC's Snow to Biden: Why Aren't You 'Further Ahead In the Polls'?
"Good Morning America" reporter Kate Snow on Thursday nervously quizzed Senator Joe Biden as to why the Democratic presidential ticket isn't further ahead. In contrast, co-host Diane Sawyer grilled John McCain on abortion and overturning Roe V. Wade when he appeared on Wednesday's program. Snow skipped that particular issue while talking to Biden.
Instead, she fussed, "He [Barack Obama] was with a bunch of Democrats and he was with Barbra Streisand, a whole bunch of Hollywood stars. And he said, 'There are a lot of Democrats who come up to me and say they're nervous that we're not doing better, that were not further ahead in the polls.' Are you nervous about that?" So, Snow worried both about the chances of the Democratic ticket and simultaneously avoided a tough question. One might have asked Biden if, considering the tough economic times, it was such a good idea to spend the evening with rich Hollywood celebrities.
After Biden asserted he wasn't at all worried, Snow fretted, "But, if that's true, then why aren't you way ahead right now?" The ABC reporter also allowed strong claims to go by unquestioned. When Snow pointed out that Americans making $250,000 would pay more in taxes if Obama is elected, Biden asserted that such a thing would be patriotic: "It's time to be patriotic, Kate. Time to jump in. Time to be part of the deal. Time to help get America out of the rut." Shouldn't such a comment invite a follow-up question or at least a clarification?
Snow's question seems remarkably similar to Charles Gibson in 2000. On November 6, 2000, the then-GMA host asked Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore, "Why is this election so close?...We have full employment in the United States, we have unparalleled prosperity in terms of wealth created, we have low interest rates, we have low inflation, we have few perils to our nation overseas. So you were dealt a very strong hand coming into this election, and yet it’s still close. Why"
Another issue that Snow didn't bring up is the supposedly nasty tone of the race. However, on Wednesday, co-host Robin Roberts complained to John McCain, "But it has gotten very personal this particular time around, the campaign, on both sides...Why does it have to -- how does it serve anybody when it becomes so bitter?" In fairness, GMA news anchor Chris Cuomo did challenge Barack Obama on Monday, questioning his new ad that seemed to hit McCain for being too old. (All of the campaign '08 interviews on GMA this week took place as part of the program's train trip across America.)
A transcript of the September 18 segment, which aired at 7:15am, follows:
ROBIN ROBERTS: As you were saying, Diane, with the economy becoming such a critical point of this campaign, we decided to sit down with vice presidential candidate Joe Biden. And GMA weekend anchor, Kate Snow, traveled to Ohio to talk with Biden.
KATE SNOW: On Tuesday, you said that AIG should not be bailed out by the federal government. Do you feel that way? Do you feel it was the wrong move for the Fed to jump in?
SENATOR JOE BIDEN: It's hard to second-guess. I haven't spoken to the secretary. There's no good answer because of the spot the policies of the last eight years have put us in. And, so, it's hard to judge that from my spot right here.
SNOW: We're on this train trip, as you know.
SNOW: And we're talking to people, through every state that we're visiting. And there's some common themes. And I know you've heard this. But they all say they want to know what you're going to do specifically-
BIDEN: Exactly. Exactly.
SNOW: --about the money they've just lost in the stock market.
BIDEN: That's right.
SNOW: About their 401K. About the pension plan. What do you say to those-
BIDEN: I can tell you- That's a long list, let me just start off. We're going to create jobs. We're going to create jobs. This isn't pie in the sky. $2 million jobs if we invest the $70 million a year we want to invest in infrastructure. New broadband capability. The ability for America to move into the 21st century. By the way, look, the fundamental difference between us is, between- there's clear choices in this election. And John's a good guy. And Barack's a good guy. And everybody's a good guy. Fundamental philosophy difference. Take a look. We want to take money and put it back in the pocket of middle-class people.
SNOW: Anybody making over $250,000 is going to pay more.
BIDEN: Is going to pay more. You got it. It's time to be patriotic, Kate. Time to jump in. Time to be part of the deal. Time to help get America out of the rut. And the way to do that is, they're still going to pay less taxes than they paid under Reagan.
SNOW: Tuesday night in Hollywood, Senator Obama referenced nervousness Democrats. He was with a bunch of Democrats and he was with Barbra Streisand, a whole bunch of Hollywood stars. And he said, 'There are a lot of Democrats who come up to me and say they're nervous that we're not doing better, that were not further ahead in the polls.' Are you nervous about that?
BIDEN: Not at all. Look, when 82 percent of the American people think the country's going in the wrong direction, when the same outfit's been in charge for the last eight years, when you're in a position where you have Wall Street crumbling before our eyes and hope to God we can prop it up to keep it from spreading to Main Street, like a plague, the idea they're going to re-elect somebody that doesn't have a fundamental disagreement with George W. Bush on the economy, taxes, health care, et cetera, I'm not nervous at all.
SNOW: But, if that's true, then why aren't you way ahead right now?
BIDEN: Well, I'll tell you why. Because, people haven't made up their minds yet. This is the most important election that anyone's voted in, unless you're over 100 years old. And what they're doing, they want to do it right, Kate. Here's what I think, to be straight about it- I get in trouble for doing this. But let me be straight with you. They believe in the change we want. They just don't know whether we can accomplish it. McCain's not going to do any real change. But, you know, Biden and Obama want to. But can they do it? Will they have the nerve to do it? That's the real question. And they're going to make up their mind about that, about us, between now and election day. You take that train ride October the 19th, October 30th, there will be a different, a different electorate.