ABC's Chris Cuomo Concerned for Hillary's Emotional State

On Friday's "Good Morning America," Chris Cuomo talked with Hillary Clinton supporter Senator Charles Schumer of New York and sympathized about how tough exiting the campaign must be for the candidate. After observing how some dared describe her failure to immediately endorse Barack Obama a calculating move, Cuomo empathized, "But, you know her. You've been talking to her. How difficult has this all been for her emotionally?"

In an earlier segment, reporter Kate Snow recounted the secret meeting between Senators Obama and Clinton on Thursday. After summarizing in an impressed tone how reporters were camped outside the New York senator's Washington home, Snow marveled, "But somehow, Senator Clinton managed to slip out of her house undetected to meet secretly with Obama at the home of Senator Dianne Feinstein." Yet, in 2003, when President Bush secretly traveled to Baghdad to have Thanksgiving dinner with U.S. troops, the press did not appear as awed. The MRC's Brent Baker recounted the annoyed tone that many journalists adopted in a December 1, 2003 CyberAlert:

[Howard] Kurtz, hosting CNN's Reliable Sources on Sunday, grilled his guests repeatedly about the appropriateness of reporters cooperating with the White House, but neither guest -- Washington Post reporter Mike Allen or Newsweek's Don Klaidman -- agreed. Kurtz complained about how "they put out a false story," pressed Allen about how "in retrospect, was the press used here for an elaborate two-hour turkey filled presidential photo-op?" and was disturbed about all the positive coverage Thursday on cable: "It sounded like he landed on the moon instead of in Baghdad."

A transcript of Chris Cuomo's interview with Charles Schumer, which aired at 7:05am on June 6, 2008, follows:

CHRIS CUOMO: Not easy to nail things down here. Let's try to get some more insight. Joining us from Washington is a prominent supporter of Hillary Clinton, fellow New York senator, senior senator from New York, Charles Schumer. Senator, thank you for joining us this morning.

SENATOR CHARLES SCHUMER: Good morning, Chris. Morning.

CUOMO: Please shed light on this meeting for us. Was this about Hillary becoming the vice president?

SCHUMER: No, this meeting, [coughs] excuse me, both, both Hillary and Barack have said they were going to meet in the near future. They were going to do it outside of the klieg lights and all the hundreds of questions. I think it's an example of the kind of unprecedented cooperation you are going to see between the two campaigns. Because both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton said throughout this primary, the most important thing is winning November, and this is a good, both symbol and first step, in terms of uniting the party to win in November.

CUOMO: Senator would you agree that dealing with the issue who the vice president is, is the first and perhaps biggest test for Barack so far?

SCHUMER: Well, it's certainly not the first test. Because he's going to take his time, as he should and Senator Clinton is a team player. And she's done exactly the right thing. She has said if Senator Obama should want her to be the vice president and thinks it would be best for the ticket, she will serve, she will take that. She will accept that. But, on the other hand, if he chooses someone else, she'll work just as hard for the party in November. And he is going to take this time. He has said to some of us, it's better to do it-- It's better to do it right, than do it quickly. And that's what is going to happen.

CUOMO: So, Senator, straight question, should Hillary be the vice president?

SCHUMER: Well, I think she would be a very strong candidate for vice president. There are many of us who do. But that choice is going to be Senator Obama's. He knows best because he's running the ticket and running the campaign. And everyone, including Senator Clinton and almost all of her supporters will abide by his choice, whatever it is.

CUOMO: Concern that Barack Obama cannot win if he doesn't have Hillary as his running mate?

SCHUMER: Look, I think that we had, and we said this throughout the primary, most Democrats did, both Obama supporters and Hillary supporters like myself, we have two extremely strong candidates. This was not one of those primaries where you said, boy, why couldn't we find someone better? I think Barack Obama is going to bel be a strong candidate. I think he's going to beat John McCain handsomely. And I think that will happen whether Hillary is on the ticket or not. I think, as I said, she is a strong, strong choice. And I would urge Senator Obama to consider her very seriously, but I think this is going to be a strong Democratic year. The Bush-McCain type of thinking is just out of touch. And yet, both [SIC] Senator McCain clings to the Bush type thinking. It's not going to work.

CUOMO: Let me ask you something, there's been a lot of criticism of Hillary for why she didn't concede in the original speech. That this was a calculating move. But, you know her. You've been talking to her. How difficult has this all been for her emotionally?

SCHUMER: Well, of course it's been difficult. You run long and hard for a year an a half. I ran an intense Senate campaign. And, wow, that was intense, but it's nothing like running for president. And you wake up at 6:00 in the morning, work hard 'til midnight every night for a year and a half and then you lose by a little tiny bit. Of course it's hard. And Hillary Clinton deserved her space. In other words, she deserved a little time to put on paper what she wants to say to the American people. She's going to do it Saturday. After that point, you know, most of us who have been Hillary supporters, just about all of us will line up firmly behind Barack Obama. But she deserves her little space. She deserves her way of merging this campaign into the Obama campaign. And what she did was perfectly appropriate.

CUOMO: Senator Schumer, appreciate the insight this morning.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the associate editor for the Media Research Center's site.