Wednesday's edition of ABC's World News hyped the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll finding a dramatic rise in Iowa for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, rising to a near-tie with Mitt Romney, 28 to 24 percent. After noticing that Huckabee attacked Romney as a pseudo-conservative, Tapper challenged Huckabee from the right on taxes and on illegal aliens. When he asked about tuition breaks for illegals, Huckabee sounded like Hillary on the issue: "If you're government at the federal level is so incompetent that it fails to secure the border, you don't then grind your heel into the face of a 6-year-old child over it."
Tapper said "Huckabee appeals to socially conservative evangelicals because he is one. And he cultivates an affable image." But the remarks Tapper quoted weren't affable. They were like that "heel to the face" imagery. Here's the meatiest part of the transcript:
ABC's George Stephanopoulos highlighted adversarial quotes and characterizations for an interview with 2008 Republican candidate Mike Huckabee on Tuesday's "Good Morning America." The former Clinton operative quoted conservative Phyllis Schlafly as saying, "[Huckabee] destroyed the conservative movement in Arkansas" and Betsy Hagen of the Eagle Forum who compared the GOP contender to Bill Clinton and labeled him a liberal. In a previous piece, ABC reporter Jake Tapper highlighted an American Spectator article that derided Huckabee as "a guy with a thin skin, a nasty vindictive streak and a long history of imbroglios about questionable ethics."
Now, one could argue that Stephanopoulos's critique hit Huckabee from the right and, by quoting Schlafly, questioned whether the former governor is conservative enough to be the GOP nominee. However, just two weeks ago ABC medical expert Dr. Tim Johnson conducted a fawning interview with Hillary Clinton over her health care plan. He lauded the Democrat for knowing "health care better, I think, than any other candidate" and gushed over how impressed he was with the New York senator's "knowledge base." She certainly didn't face any adversarial quotes about temperament and "questionable ethics."
Appearing on Thursday night's "Hardball," liberal actor Ben Affleck joined host Chris Matthews in hashing over what Matthews called Jimmy Carter's "fearless" criticism of Dick Cheney, GOP "jingoists" and "crazy" right-to-carry laws.
Interestingly enough, next to Matthews, Affleck seemed more moderate, at least in his responses to the "Hardball" host's liberal baiting, as the actor deemed Carter's attack on Cheney was "almost inappropriate," and admitted, "I'm probably less of a gun control guy than Rudy Giuliani is." However Affleck did agree with Matthews that Mike Huckabee's "crazy" support of right-to-carry laws wouldn't stop increased violence in the cities.
On Thursday night, after President Bush's Address to the Nation regarding Iraq, MSNBC featured a discussion dominated by criticism of the President from the left, which bolstered the views of such liberal guests as talk radio host Rachel Maddow and Democratic Senator Joe Biden, and challenged conservative guest and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee's take on the speech. Chris Matthews showed repeated fascination with the President's reference to 36 nations fighting in Iraq, calling it "ludicrous." When Maddow compared America's toppling of Saddam Hussein's government to attempts by insurgents to topple the current elected government by remarking that "it's like getting a lecture on the evils of prostitution from David Vitter," Keith Olbermann seemed impressed as he labeled her words "the first zing of the night." (Transcript follows)
For the third time in less than a week, ABC anchor and former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos appeared on "Good Morning America" to dourly assess Republican Fred Thompson’s 2008 chances. On the Thursday edition of GMA, the host of "This Week" attempted to set an impossible bar for the former senator. "...He can't make a mistake,"Stephanopoulos breathlessly claimed.
Earlier in the segment, the ABC host negatively spun Thompson’s standings in the polls. Some might compliment the performance of a candidate who, upon entering the 2008 race, is only narrowly trailing the front-runner. Not Stephanopoulos. After claiming that many thought the former actor would surge into first place early in the summer, he critiqued, "That hasn't happened. Most of the latest polls show that he's in second place behind Rudy Giuliani....He hasn't quite rocketed out the way he expected."
For various reasons, the majority of the Republican presidential campaigns have said they are not going to participate in a CNN debate co-sponsored with the Google-owned YouTube.com.
Despite the fact that the Democrats' YouTube debate featured left-wing questions far out of proportion to questions from the right (see NB's prior coverage of the debate here), Republican activist Patrick Ruffini is arguing the GOP is really dropping the ball. Here's an excerpt from an open letter he's attached to a petition urging the candidates to change their minds:
We've read the news reports that only two of your fellow candidates have agreed to attend the Republican Party of Florida/YouTube debate, and there are major candidates considering snubbing the event.
As Republicans, we believe this is a serious mistake. Every Democratic candidate eagerly accepted the opportunity to answer questions from the American people via YouTube, even Hillary Clinton, the most cautious and calculating of the bunch.