ABC political reporter Liz Marlantes covered the coming House debate on Iraq for "Good Morning America" Thursday, but something seemed seriously missing: conservative Republicans who support the war. They seem to be the ones who have organized the resolution being debated, but they're not in ABC's story anywhere. Marlantes began:
Today the House of Representatives will debate a resolution that honors U.S. servicemen and women and declares the U.S. is committed to completing the mission in Iraq. Democrats are already calling it a political trap. Despite a positive turn of events in Iraq, the debate in Washington is all about an exit strategy.
Now that's a mysterious opening. She just said the House resolution declares it's about honoring the troops and completing the mission, not getting out as fast as possible. Apparently, the definitive statesman on this issue is a hippie leftist from Hawaii:
Rep. Neil Abercrombie: "This is not about a discussion of cutting and running, this is a question of whether the Congress is going to sit and watch."
Marlantes: "Today the House will debate a Republican resolution opposing a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. It's an issue that divides Democrats. In the Senate, John Kerry is calling for U.S. troops to leave Iraq by the end of the year. Earlier in the week, liberal activists booed when Hillary Clinton called a timeline for withdrawal a mistake."
Sen. Hillary Clinton: "I do not agree that that is in the best interest of our troops or our country."
George W. Bush: "There's an interesting debate in the Democrat Party about how quick to pull out of Iraq."
Marlantes: "But with U.S. fatalities in Iraq approaching 2,500 some Republicans are worrying about an exit strategy, too."
Rep. Ron Paul: "The troops over there, so often when they're honest with you say it's unwinnable. And history shows the shortcomings of this war."
It was about here when you wanted to throw the Pop-Tarts at the TV. The only congressional experts ABC could find were Abercrombie, Rodham-Clinton, and Ron Paul? Hillary is the neocon stand-in here? In airing the nominally Republican Ron Paul -- who ran for president on the "non-interventionist" Libertarian Party ticket in 1988 and never renounced his third-party affiliation -- you are not describing the typical Republican. (Paul opposed the war resolution in 2002, even claiming it wasn't certain that Saddam had gassed the Kurds in Halabja.) But Marlantes seemed to be cribbing from Thursday's report in The Washington Post, which focused as much on Republican splits as Democratic ones.
MRC's Brian Boyd also found Marlantes concluded with another liberal slap from the Post account: "Now, the last time the House debated an Iraq resolution it turned ugly and personal, with a Republican congresswoman calling Democrat and former Marine Jack Murtha a coward. This time with fall elections just around the corner, the 10 hour debate could get even more contentious."
Rep. Jean Schmidt was slapped around with "Mean Jean" coverage in the national media last fall, after she quoted a Marine on the House floor to Murtha: "He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message -- that cowards cut and run, Marines never do." But Murtha is never called to account for his wild statements by ABC, such as suggesting his fellow Marines kill civilians "in cold blood."