Catching up on an item from the February 13, Fox and Friends Saturday on FNC, the show hosted California-based media performance coach Terry Anzur, who took part in moderating a debate in 1990 between Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein – then a mayor – as she ran for governor against former Republican Governor Pete Wilson. Anzur recounted not only that Feinstein had several words written on her hands to remind herself of her three basic campaign themes – growth, abortion and education – but, unlike Sarah Palin’s recent public appearance, Feinstein was breaking debate rules by having the notes on her hand.
Anzur informed viewers that after Feinstein was confronted about the writing on her hand after the debate that she refused to allow panel members to examine her hand and left abruptly. Anzur: "So after the debate, we went up to Dianne Feinstein and we said, ‘Can we see your hand?’ She puts her hand behind her back and says, ‘I’m not going to show you,’ and walked out of the room."
After noting that Republicans made fun of Feinstein at the time, Anzur continued: "Two days later, the Democrats must have had a meeting or something, and they figured out that the writing on her hand were the key words of her campaign – growth, abortion and education."
Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the segment from the February 13, Fox and Friends Saturday on FNC:
ALISYN CAMEROTA: White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs made fun of Sarah Palin’s handwritten notes to herself at a Tea Party convention. But it turns out that Senator Feinstein did the very same thing in a debate in 1990, as you can see there, even though that was against the rules.
CARLOS EMEZCUA(?): And that was a problem. My pal, journalist Terry Anzur, was one of the panelists at that debate for California Governor between Dianne Feinstein and Pete Wilson. Terry, so great to see you. You’re looking terrific.
TERRY ANZUR, MEDIA PERFORMANCE COACH: Hey, you too, Carlos. We miss you in L.A.
EMEZCUA: Well, I’ll be back tomorrow. Let’s talk about that debate. And I remember that Dianne had – Ms. Feinstein had the notes written on her hand. Not much was done about it other than the fact that, you know, they said, all right, she just needed to remind herself What was the response that you can recall?
ANZUR: No, no, Carlos, let me refresh your memory on this. This was a huge thing. First of all, this was a very close election – Dianne Feinstein and Pete Wilson running for governor of California. Polls showed them neck-and-neck – 43, 42 percent. And they were battling over every vote in the weeks leading up to the actual election. So they meet for a face to face debate. Their handlers go together. They negotiated the rules. It was very explicit that the candidates were to speak extemporaneously and without notes.
So those of us on the panel were looking at Dianne Feinstein, who was making her points like this, as you can see clearly in the tape. And the reporter from the Fresno Bee turned to me and said, "Is there something written on her hand?" And, sure enough, we looked, and there was definitely something there. But we were so far away that we couldn’t tell what it was. So after the debate, we went up to Dianne Feinstein and we said, "Can we see your hand?" She puts her hand behind her back and says, " I’m not going to show you," and walked out of the room.
So that night, the debate was covered. The next day, at the television station where I was working, we tried to blow it up, but back in the day, we didn’t have HD cameras and we couldn’t really tell what was written on there. We just knew she had violated the rules of the debate.
And the Republicans had a field day. They put out a press release comparing her to Bart Simpson, you know, "Holy cow, man, way to cheat." And then, two days – two days – later, the Democrats must have had a meeting or something, and they figured out that the writing on her hand were the key words of her campaign – growth, abortion and education.
CAMEROTA: Oh, my God.
ANZUR: And it took them two days to figure that out, but they finally did put out a press release on it. And so, what I think should happen now is maybe Dianne Feinstein should do the bipartisan thing and reach out to Sarah Palin and say, you know what, I lost that election for governor, but I went on to win a Senate seat, and this is going to be fine, this is going to blow over and you’re going to be fine. ... Sarah Palin was just a private citizen speaking at a public speaking event. This was not a situation where she actually violated the rules.