ABC reporter David Wright continued his sympathetic spinning for Senator Barack Obama on Monday's "Good Morning America" and assailed Governor Sarah Palin. He complained, "Last night in Omaha, Sarah Palin not only questioned Obama's patriotism...she accused him of consorting with terrorists." And while Wright explained briefly Palin's observation that Obama has been associated with William Ayers, a former member of the violent Weather Underground, he downplayed the connection.
After describing Palin's comment as accusing Obama of "consorting with terrorists," Wright later described the remarks as "guilt by association." The journalist then quoted a McCain representative, "...They say, Barack Obama has been fundamentally dishonest about his work with an unrepentant terrorist. That's the quote from the McCain campaign." However, it'sWright who was being misleading in treating the McCain/Palin statements as an accusation. It's a simple fact: William Ayers is an unrepentant terrorist. In 2001, speaking of his 30 bombings, including attacks on the Pentagon, he said, "I feel we didn't do enough." And yet, in a follow-up segment, Wright described Palin's speech as "sticking in the knife" He closed the first piece by solemnly intoning, "The mud is really starting to fly here and whoever can make the mud stick, well, that person may be the winner a month from now."
And although Wright seemed shocked that Palin "questioned Obama's patriotism," which would have to be inferred from her statement, the same morning show ignored House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when she directly attacked the "unpatriotic" Republican members of the House. (This occurred on September 27 during the wrangling over the bailout bill.)
During campaign 2008, David Wright has developed quite a reputation for gushing over Obama and defending him against charges. On April 17, 2008, he labeled terrorist bomber Ayers simply as a "neighbor" of the now-Democratic presidential nominee. (This is despite the fact that an organizing meeting for Obama's state senate campaign was held at Ayers' house and the former Weather Underground member donated $200 to the Democrat in 2001.) On February 19, 2008, he rhapsodized that Obama rallies are like "Springsteen concerts, but the tickets are free."
A transcript of the October 6 segment, which aired at 7:02am, follows:
DIANE SAWYER: [ABC graphic: Race Gets Nasty]: This morning, Sarah Palin leads the negative attacks for John McCain as the Obama forces prepare to fight back. Is this what America wants 29 days before the election? We weigh in with both sides.
SAWYER: Sarah Palin said, Governor Palin said, "The heels are on, the gloves are off" and as we said, she's leading the attacks for the McCain campaign.
ROBIN ROBERTS: Obama fought back right away with an ad, a new attack ad against his opponent. How will all of this play out with voters? Again, with less than 30 days to go to the election?
SAWYER: That's right and we are going to hear from both sides.
ROBERTS: But we begin, Diane, as you know, with the countdown to Election Day, just 29 days to go. And the race is truly heating up now. Our David Wright is on the campaign trail with Governor Sarah Palin in Clearwater, Florida. Good morning, David.
DAVID WRIGHT: Good morning, Robin. You know, if the election were held today, Barack Obama would probably win. But there is, as you say, still a month to go, time enough for John McCain to turn this around. And we now have a sense of how he plans to try and turn it around. By raising doubts about Obama, by sharpening the attacks. And so far, some of the sharpest attacks are coming from his running mate.
WRIGHT: Last night in Omaha, Sarah Palin not only questioned Obama's patriotism-
SARAH PALIN: This is not a man who sees America as you and I do.
WRIGHT: -she accused him of consorting with terrorists.
PALIN: I'm afraid this is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to work with a former domestic terrorist who targeted his own country. And this, ladies and gentlemen, has nothing to do with the kind of change that anyone can believe in.
WRIGHT: Palin was talking about Obama's association with this man, Bill Ayers, a Chicago professor who was once a member of the violent Weather Underground. Obama has called Ayers actions of the 1960s detestable, but the two men have worked together on the board of a Chicago nonprofit.
SENATOR BARACK OBAMA: They'd rather tear our campaign down then lift this country up. That's what you do when you're out of touch, out of ideas and running out of time.
RON BONJEAN (Republican strategist): It's clear we're at a tipping point. We're at a decisive moment where Senator McCain needs to act and act fast.
WRIGHT: The McCain campaign is firing with both barrels. Campaign watchdogs say 100 percent of the ads they're running are negative. Today, the candidate himself plans to draw the contrast in a major speech. But today, the Obama campaign is attacking back.
OBAMA AD: Fraud is the creation of trust and then its betrayal.
WRIGHT: Following the McCain lead of guilt by association, the Obama campaign is releasing a new web documentary reminding voters that back in the '80s, McCain was one of the Keating 5.
OBAMA AD: The Keating 5 involved all the things that have brought the modern crisis.
WRIGHT: Five members of Congress who did the bidding of one of the biggest culprits of the savings and loan bailout. Now there's some obvious parallels between that financial crisis and the current one. And the Obama campaign is hoping to raise them. Meanwhile, this response from the McCain campaign. They say the difference between the two analogies is clear, that John McCain has been open and honest about the Keating matter. But by contrast they say, Barack Obama has been fundamentally dishonest about his work with an unrepentant terrorist. That's the quote from the McCain campaign. The mud is really starting to fly here and whoever can make the mud stick, well, that person may be the winner a month from now. Diane?
DAVID WRIGHT: Well, since the debate, Sarah Palin has been out on the road, sticking in the knife and wowing the crowd. She continues to draw huge crowds. Big crowds after the convention, even bigger crowds now and they seem to be rejuvenated by her performance. Joe Biden has taken a break from the trail. His son had his deployment ceremony for Iraq and after that his mother-in-law became sick and passed away so. So, for now, he's not out on the campaign trail But Sarah Palin is out in force.