Networks: ‘Earth-Shaking Night in Politics’ Included Bernie Win as He’s ‘Fighting a Crusade’

The “big three” networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC offered periodic updates on Tuesday night concerning the New Hampshire primary results and hailed them in the 10:00 p.m. Eastern hour as symbolizing “an earth-shaking night in politics” with socialist Senator Bernie Sanders notching a win in his ongoing “crusade” with some “brutal coverage” ahead for Hillary Clinton. 

After not chiming in during the 8:00 p.m. CBS News Special Report, Face the Nation host John Dickerson told CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley that Sanders “isn’t just running a campaign” but “fighting a crusade, and that requires big wins to build momentum that people want to join and that's exactly what he got here tonight.”

“Sanders will probably get to sleep in his own bed in neighboring Vermont tonight and he'll need it because the future contests have fewer liberal voters and more voters of color, a group he has trouble with,” Dickerson predicted.

ABC News chief anchor and Clinton Foundation donor George Stephanopoulos returned after an 8:00 p.m. break-in two hours later to recycle the line that “[i]t has been an earth-shaking night in politics” with “[t]wo big wins for the ultimate political outsiders in today's New Hampshire primary.”

As for the Clintons, he lamented that “[t]he scale of the loss” for Hillary Clinton was “an unexpected blow” and now means “her team” will prepare “for a long fight with Sanders who’s already raising big funds from his online army of supporters.”

Former Bush campaign official and ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd was also there again to tout Trump’s victory as “the perfect storm” and “recover[ing] from a loss and faces a multi-candidate field in a state he's already ahead in.”

Meanwhile, Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd explained on NBC that “New Hampshire did not provide clarity” for the race on both sides as “Hillary Clinton has got three or four weeks of I think brutal coverage, brutal appearances of trying to get her campaign back on track.”

With seconds left in the special report, he concluded: “The Republican side, we've got a muddled mess below Donald Trump. Cruz and Trump are two guys that have sort of advanced to the finals. Now you've got Kasich, Bush, who is going to emerge? We'll be watching.”

The relevant portion of the transcript from ABC’s Special Report in the 10:00 p.m. Eastern hour on February 9 can be found below.

ABC News Special Report
February 9, 2016
10:05 p.m. Eastern

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: It has been an earth-shaking night in politics. Two big wins for the ultimate political outsiders in today's New Hampshire primary. On the Republican side, Donald Trump, billionaire, reality star has scored a decisive victory over a field of experienced rivals. There he is in Manchester with his family, firing up the voters who gave him his first political victory ever in his first run for office and for the Democrats, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, handedly defeats former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the state she took from Barack Obama eight years ago. The scale of this loss, an unexpected blow. Her team now braced for a long fight with Sanders who’s already raising big funds from his online army of supporters. The other big news tonight, ABC News can project that Ohio Governor John Kasich will place second for the Republicans. Iowa winner Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush and Florida Senator Marco Rubio, all vying for third. I want to bring in Matt Dowd for more on that, and Matt, the next big race for Republicans, South Carolina, Saturday the 20th with these results right there, they all go on. 

MATTHEW DOWD: Yes and this is the perfect storm to help Donald Trump. He gets a double-digit win. He recovers from a loss and faces a multi-candidate field in a state he's already ahead in. So, this is a great position for Donald Trump to be in. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: Big night for two people tonight. No one would have dreamed of a year ago. Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

The relevant portion of the transcript from CBS’s Special Report in the 10:00 p.m. Eastern hour on February 9 can be found below.

CBS News Special Report
February 9, 2016
10:00 p.m. Eastern

SCOTT PELLEY: Now let's check in with John Dickerson of Face the Nation. John?

FACE THE NATION HOST JOHN DICKERSON: Bernie Sanders, Scott, isn't just running a campaign. He's fighting a crusade, and that requires big wins to build momentum that people want to join and that's exactly what he got here tonight. He won across the board, even winning among women, a group Hillary Clinton should have done well with. Sanders will probably get to sleep in his own bed in neighboring Vermont tonight and he'll need it because the future contests have fewer liberal voters and more voters of color, a group he has trouble with.

The relevant portion of the transcript from NBC’s Special Report in the 10:00 p.m. Eastern hour on February 9 can be found below.

NBC News Special Report
February 9, 2016
10:01 p.m. Eastern

LESTER HOLT: Let's go to our political director, the moderator of Meet the Press, Chuck Todd. Chuck, where do these campaigns go from here? 

MEET THE PRESS MODERATOR CHUCK TODD: Well, I can tell you this, New Hampshire did not provide clarity. If anything, it is setting up what is going to be two rough and tumble contests. On the Democratic side. Hillary Clinton has got three or four weeks of I think brutal coverage, brutal appearances of trying to get her campaign back on track. The Republican side, we've got a muddled mess below Donald Trump. Cruz and Trump are two guys that have sort of advanced to the finals. Now you've got Kasich, Bush, who is going to emerge? We'll be watching. 

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters for the Media Research Center