Quick -- which is Hillary Clinton's bigger liability as a candidate?:
A. She's an insufficiently ardent feminist; or
B. Her personality is cold, calculating and unfeminine.
If you've been living on Planet Earth since 1992, surely your answer is 'B.' So when Elizabeth Edwards adds fuel to that fire, accusing Hillary of behaving like a man, that is very newsworthy stuff. Unless you're NBC or ABC, that is.
"Today" and "Good Morning America" ran segments this morning on Mrs. Edwards' recent interview with Salon.com in which she made comments critical of Hillary. The networks focused on Elizabeth's relatively innocuous line:
She's just not as vocal a women's advocate as I want to see. John is.
But both shows airbrushed out the more controversial comment that immediately preceded it:
I'm sympathetic, because when I worked as a lawyer, I was the only woman in these rooms, too, and you want to reassure them you're as good as a man. And sometimes you feel you have to behave as a man and not talk about women's issues.
For a Hillary Clinton who struggles to portray herself as someone possesssing the milk of human kindness, Elizabeth's suggestion that she behaves like a man is an unkind cut, indeed.
So, why did ABC and NBC omit Elizabeth's nasty shot? I'd say it could spring from a desire to protect both candidates. To have highlighted Edwards' below-the-belt blow could have reflected poorly on Edwards herself and by extension on her husband. And relaying the line could obviously have damaged Hillary too, reconfirming an already entrenched, and unflattering, image.
BONUS COVERAGE - JOHN EDWARDS AS GEORGE PATTON: There was some unintentional humor in the "Today" piece, as the NBC show rolled a clip from a new Edwards campaign ad. Elizabeth is shown saying "it's unbelievably important that in our president we have someone who can stare the worst in the face and not blink." Cut to a shot [above] of John standing in front of a large flag, doing his best George Patton imitation. Wonder what that "worst" was at which John was staring-and-not-blinking? Could this become Edwards Dukakis-in-a-tank moment? The ad seems ripe for some creative YouTube-ing.
View video of John-as-George ad here.
Contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org