Did FNC's Gretchen Carlson Throw 'Digs' and 'Disses' at McAuliffe?

The leftist Fox News Channel-monitoring bloggers at News Hounds are quite sensitive about how fiercely the Democrats are questioned. On Wednesday, "Donna" was thrilled at how well former DNC chairman and Hillary campaign operative Terry McAuliffe did on Fox & Friends. (Well, she kept calling him "McCauliffe.") He was a spin-control role model, apparently. But FNC’s Gretchen Carlson was reportedly throwing McAuliffe digs and disses. Notice there are no transcripts as she claims:

Gretchen tried to steer the conversation to how close it was in Iowa between Sen Obama and Sen Clinton. McCauliffe didn't engage and talked about the how well the campaign was going.Gretchen got a dig in about Sen Clinton having babysitters, buses and snow shovels given out to help people to get out to vote. McCauliffe [sic] turned the diss around and said that they just wanted to make sure that everyone who wanted to caucus got a chance to caucus. He said this is the most important election for many many years and they wanted everyone who wanted to caucus to be able to do so.

MRC’s Justin McCarthy provided me with the transcript, so I have to pluck out this part and ask: What is this News Hound talking about?

CARLSON: Thanks so much for joining us. I want to talk to you about this latest poll that came out. "The Des Moines Register," which shows Barack Obama at 32 percent, Hillary Clinton at 25 percent. I know that you see these numbers differently in your mind, right?McAULIFFE: Well, listen we had two polls out yesterday, a Zogby, Gallup poll, both had Hillary up. "The Des Moines Register" poll was interesting in that they think that only 55 percent of the people who will caucus tomorrow will actually be Democrats. So I don't think that number is right. But you know, forget the polls, we're 36 hours away from people going to caucus all across this great state. I feel very good about where we are. People have seen Hillary, they've listened to her, and they know that Hillary is up to the challenges that are going to face the next president of the United States of America. It's time to pick a president, people are making their decision, and now they're coming into support Hillary because they know that she can deal with all of these issues that are going to be in the Oval Office when she begins. CARLSON: It sounds like the long trail in Iowa has affected your voice there, Terry. But I know you're still going to continue to speak on behalf of Hillary today. Tell me a little bit about these services that she's going to be offering to prospective caucus goers. We understand that she's offering babysitting services and a little shoveling on the side?McAULIFFE: Well, we want to make sure that everybody in Iowa gets the opportunity to caucus. When you go into the caucus, you have to be in that room by seven o'clock tomorrow night. We have distributed snow shovels to everybody if we need to shovel your walks, your driveways. We just want everybody to come on and have that opportunity to be part of the democratic process here in Iowa tomorrow. Listen this is the most important election we're going to face in many, many years. We have two wars going on, we have a battered economy. People want change in this country. And we need to make sure that we effectuate change here tomorrow in Iowa, bring a lot of people out, so that when Hillary Clinton gets elected she can provide universal healthcare for everyone, she can get our troops out of Iraq, she can deal with all of the issues of global climate change. That's what this elections all about, so we'll babysit for you. We'll drive you to the caucus, we'll shovel your driveway, We'll do whatever it takes. This is a big, big job the next president of the United States of America is going to face. We want to make sure that tomorrow that you go out and take part in that process, Gretchen.

None of Carlson's questions were what you would call especially "pointed" and they certainly weren't hardballs or "gotcha" questions. Carlson also asked which is more important to winning in Iowa money or message, since Hillary and Obama have raised record funds, and Mike Huckabee has "virtually no money." Donna the News Hound also fussed: "Carlson asked him why she was the most admired woman in the country, yet, so many people dislike her?" (Italics hers.) But the transcript suggests a blithe neutrality again:

CARLSON: But at the same time, in polls, she's most revered, she's the most admired woman in America. And at the same time a lot of people just simply don't like her. How do you rectify those two things?McAULIFFE: Well, listen, I think if you look from where we started this. When we got into Iowa Gretchen, we were in single digits. We were 20, 25 points behind John Edwards who had been here for six years campaigning. She has steadily gotten her message out, people have seen her. It's the beauty of the Iowa caucus. You are up and close. People want to kick the tires, look under the hood here in Iowa. They have talked to all of the candidates. They have seen her now, and that's why, make the argument the last seven of eight polls were either in the lead or were tied for the lead, because they've got to see her. And I think the more people get to see her across the country and when we deal with the general election. I mean, today Hillary Clinton beats every Republican in the general election easily.

The News Hounds report concluded: "This was one smart, strategic Democrat who faced Carlson. At every point he managed to get his statement, Sen Clinton's message, across. He turned her digs around and made them positive. If another Democrat goes on Fox, this is the way to handle them. Either that or request Gretchen Carlson to do your interview, all her disses fell flat."Perhaps since FNC is such a successful atmosphere now, perhaps News Hounds can convince their fellow leftists that the Democrats should try letting them host a debate some time.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis