Despite featuring the story on its "Political Radar" blog on Monday morning, the ABC network ignored for almost 24 hours the claim by Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden that Barack Obama will be tested by a major international crisis in the first (potential) six months of his presidency. Monday's "Good Morning America" skipped the story, as did that evening's "World News With Charles Gibson" and "Nightline."
In fact, "Nightline" co-anchor Cynthia McFadden actually conducted an interview with Senator Obama after a campaign rally in Florida. Despite the fact that she had nabbed the first joint interview with Obama and Clinton since the Illinois senator won the nomination, she didn't address the issue. Rather than ask what his running mate meant when he said, "Watch, we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy," McFadden chose to limit her questions to how the relationship between Obama and Clinton had changed.
The issue finally came up when reporter Jake Tapper mentioned it on Tuesday's GMA, a day later. Discussing Senator John McCain, he observed, "Meanwhile, John McCain has been on the attack, responding to Joe Biden's comment that the world would quickly test a President Obama." He then featured a clip of McCain during a campaign speech: "We don't want a president who invites testing from the world at a time when our economy is in crisis and Americans are already fighting in two wars."
Co-host Robin Roberts also raised the issue with Obama's communications director, Robert Gibbs. She wondered, "Robert, Senator Biden raised a lot of eyebrows with what he said yesterday about the possibility, if Barack Obama is elected, that he would be tested, possibly, in the first six months." The ABC host then asked, "Now, John McCain says, we don't want a president who invites testing. Is he right there?"
As NewsBuster Mark Finkelstein already noted, well known liberal Dan Rather made a very salient point on Tuesday's "Morning Joe." He explained, "...Certainly if Sarah Palin had said this, it would be above the fold in most newspapers today." A few seconds later, Rather reiterated his contention: "...If Sarah Palin had said this, the newspapers would have jumped all over it and so would have the major television outlets."
For more on this issue, see a statement by MRC president Brent Bozell.
A transcript of the two mentions on "Good Morning America," which occurred on October 21, follow:
JAKE TAPPER: Meanwhile, John McCain has been on the attack, responding to Joe Biden's comment that the world would quickly test a President Obama.
JOHN MCCAIN: We don't want a president who invites testing from the world at a time when our economy is in crisis and Americans are already fighting in two wars.
ROBIN ROBERTS: And Senator McCain has stayed on message and talking a great deal about that. Robert, Senator Biden raised a lot of eyebrows with what he said yesterday about the possibility, if Barack Obama is elected, that he would be tested, possibly, in the first six months. And he urged supporters to stand with him because it may not be apparent right away, that they're right. Now, John McCain says, we don't want a president who invites testing. Is he right there?
ROBERT GIBBS: Well, look. Any president, whoever the next president of the United States is going to be tested [sic]. We have a global economic crisis that's affecting everybody in this country, not just on Wall Street, but on main street. Unlike Senator McCain, Senator Obama doesn't believe that the economy is fundamentally strong. We're going to be tested overseas in both Iraq and Afghanistan and throughout the world. You know, we've- over the last eight years, we've, this country has been pointed in the wrong direction. We're in a deep hole that we have to dig out of because of the Bush years and quite frankly, because of John McCain voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time over these eight years. So, there's no doubt we have challenges. We have to get Washington working for America again. I think that's what the key is. We have to bring people together. We have to take on the special interests. Unite as one country and move this country forward.