CBS’s Borger Digs Out Blurry C-SPAN Video to Taint DeLay with Abramoff’s Praise

CBS’s Gloria Borger was so intent on tying Tom DeLay to Jack Abramoff that she “obtained” -- meaning someone with an agenda gave to her -- a very blurry C-SPAN video which she trumpeted on Monday’s CBS Evening News: "In this 2003 videotape of a convention of College Republicans obtained by CBS News, Jack Abramoff all but called Tom DeLay his hero." After running a clip of Abramoff declaring that "Tom DeLay is who all of us want to be when we grow up," Borger, as if a public official can control who praises him, ran video of Abramoff giving DeLay a hug as she charged: "Now the cozy relationship between the lobbyist and the leader has left DeLay without a top job in the House and left Republicans scrambling to keep their majority.”

Two days earlier, CBS suggested the GOP is in a “panic.” On Saturday’s CBS Evening News, just hours after DeLay announced his decision to not seek reinstatement as House Majority Leader, anchor Thalia Assuras asked reporter Gloria Borger: "So is there panic in the Republican Party?" Borger, who in her preceding lead story had described DeLay as "a brash, often uncompromising conservative," affirmed the thesis forwarded by Assuras: "I would have to say there is some panic, an awful lot of nervousness in the aftermath of this Jack Abramoff scandal..." (More in Monday’s MRC CyberAlert. Full transcript of Borger’s Monday story follows.)

Bob Schieffer set up the January 9 CBS Evening News piece:
“Congressman Tom DeLay's decision on Saturday to permanently give up his job as the House Republican leader is the best sign yet of just how badly the bribery and corruption scandal has shaken Capitol Hill. DeLay has not been implicated in this scandal, but has been closely linked to lobbyist Jack Abramoff and that has been enough for other Republicans to urge him to step aside. And if a new poll is any indication, the public is getting fed up with Republicans and Democrats at the Capitol. Here's Gloria Borger.”

Jack Abramoff, in blurry C-SPAN video with bad sound (likely a more than once copied VHS tape) from July 25, 2003: “-say no one has encountered an individual as unique as Tom DeLay.”

Borger: “In this 2003 videotape of a convention of College Republicans obtained by CBS News, Jack Abramoff all but called Tom DeLay his hero.”

Jack Abrfamoff: “Tom DeLay is who all of us want to be when we grow up.”

Borger, over video of Abramoff and DeLay hugging: “Now the cozy relationship between the lobbyist and the leader has left DeLay without a top job in the House and left Republicans scrambling to keep their majority. Their solution: Propose lobbying reform as fast as you can say Jack Abramoff. But it's not easy to separate money from power, particularly when you're the majority party with most of the power.”

Former House Majority Leader Dock Armey: “If, in fact, you think this job is about horse trading on your own behalf, you're going to end up in trouble.”

Borger: “Dick Armey, along with Newt Gingrich, brought House Republicans to power in 1994. He's now a lobbyist at one of Washington's top firms. He thinks Tom DeLay's preoccupation with money made him lose sight of almost everything else.”

Borger to Armey: “So you think it's better for the House Republicans that Tom DeLay is now out of the leadership?”

Dick Armey: “I think Tom was the guy who had obviously lost the vision and was, in fact, setting a course of personal disaster.”

Borger: “Now Republicans are in a race against Democrats who also want to be the party of reform. So far, almost one hundred congressional Democrats and Republicans have raced to get rid of their Abramoff-tainted money. And with good reason. A new CBS News poll shows Congress's approval rating at a measly 27 percent, a drop of 17 points from a year ago. Speaker Dennis Hastert canceled a trip to India to take charge of Republican lobbying reform. And some say his majority could hang in the balance, Bob.”
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center