On Thursday's Today, the NBC program ignored the revelation that the Obama administration attempted to persuade a Democratic Senate candidate to drop out of a primary race. ABC's Good Morning America and CBS's Early Show both highlighted the story in full reports.
CBS's Erica Hill announced, "There are new allegations of back room politics by the White House. A Colorado politician says the Obama administration hinted at a job offer if he stayed out of the Senate race."
ABC's Jake Tapper pointed out the potential problems for the White House: "But this does look bad. It looks, again, like politics as usual. And Republicans, you can expect them to make a lot of hay about this today."
According to the Denver Post's Michael Booth, "U.S. Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff said publicly for the first time Wednesday that a White House deputy discussed three specific jobs that 'might be available' if Romanoff dropped a primary challenge to a fellow Democrat, Sen. Michael Bennet."
On the Early Show, CBS's Chip Reid informed, "This is the second time in less than a week that the White House has admitted to back room talks about jobs to try to clear the field in a Democratic primary."
Yet, the Today show didn't find this newsworthy. Instead, the show twice reported on the Paul McCartney concert in Washington D.C. that Barack and Michelle Obama attended. News anchor Natalie Morales even played video of McCartney serenading the First Lady. [Audio available here.]
(Thanks to MRC intern Alex Fitzsimmons for transcribing the Early Show segment.)
A transcript of the Early Show's segment, which aired at 7:13am EDT, follows:
ERICA HILL: Thanks Maggie. Good morning to you and good morning to everyone at home. There are new allegations of back room politics by the White House. A Colorado politician says the Obama administration hinted at a job offer if he stayed out of the Senate race. CBS News Chief White House Correspondent Chip Reid has details for us this morning. Chip good morning.
CHIP REID: Well good morning Erica. This is the second time in less than a week that the White House has admitted to back room talks about jobs to try to clear the field in a Democratic primary. Republicans say even if it’s not illegal, it’s inappropriate for an administration that promised an end to business as usual.
Colorado US Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff claims that Deputy White House Chief of Staff Jim Messina suggested a possible job offer if he dropped plans to run against incumbent Senator Michael Bennet.
ANDREW ROMANOFF, US Senate candidate: He suggested three positions that might be available to me were I not to pursue a Senate race. I informed him that I was not going to change course.
REID: On Wednesday, a White House spokesman said Democrats in Colorado recommended Romanoff for an administration job but that no job was ever offered. This latest revelation comes less than a week after the White House admitted it had former Presidnet Bill Clinton approach then-Pennsylvania Congressman Joe Sestak about an unpaid administration job if we withdrew from his race against Senator Arlen Specter. Republicans came out swinging then, charging the White House broke the law.
DARRELL ISSA, congressman (R): But you have President Clinton on behalf of Rahm Emanuel offer a position. A position is what the statute says is criminal to offer.
REID: Now Congressman Darrell Issa is calling for a special prosecutor to "determine once and for all the extent of the White House’s efforts to manipulate elections."
Now the White House put out a statement this morning saying yes they did approach Romanoff "to determine if it was possible to avoid a costly battle between two supporters," but again they say no job was offered and there was nothing inappropriate about the discussions. Erica.
HILL: Ahh, but there will be much more discussion about that. CBS’s Chip Reid at the White House for us this morning. Chip, thanks.