Both ABC and CBS on Wednesday played up Barack Obama's attempt to reignite his Democratic base and defeat surging Republicans. Good Morning America host George Stephanopoulos labeled the President's trip to Madison, Wisconsin a "glory days tour."
On CBS's Early Show, Chip Reid used nearly identical language, claiming the President was "recalling his glory days on the 2008 campaign trail." The two networks played up the Democratic comeback storyline with little focus on the Republicans.
GMA and The Early Show also ignored what it meant for the President to be traveling to an extremely liberal city in order to excite his Democratic base.
Reid enthused, "President Obama rallied a raucous crowd of at least 15,000 people at the University of Wisconsin in a speech that was beamed to more than 100 college campuses nationwide. (NBC's Savannah Guthrie sounded a similar theme on the Today show: "The President proved last night, in Wisconsin, he can still pack tens of thousands of young people into an arena.")
Although CBS did point out that Obama has, thus far, failed to fire up young voters (Jake Tapper made this point on ABC), Reid avoided noting that the President is playing defense in Democratic states. Instead, he closed by highlighting that "there are more campaign-style rallies on college campuses scheduled in the weeks to come."
ABC's Tapper played up Democratic discontent, featuring the liberal Jane Hamsher of FireDogLake: "[Obama] is telling voters, on the Democratic base, they are irresponsible. They're, you know, they're slackers. They don't care enough to show up."
Pivoting off this, Stephanopoulos later worried to pollster Matt Dowd: "You saw that Vice President Biden came out earlier in the week and said stop whining. You think they [the White House] have to refine the message a little bit?"
Stephanopoulos hopefully observed, "The President stepping it up there. He went to church with his family two Sundays ago. Everything you see him doing that, trying to re-establish that emotional connection with the voters."
A transcript of the September 29 Early Show, which aired at 7:06am EDT, follows:
HARRY SMITH: Now to President Obama back on the campaign trail, trying to reignite the fire in young voters who helped him win the White House. But getting them to support Democrats this year seems to be a bit of a challenge. CBS News chief White House correspondent Chip Reid is traveling with the President in Des Moines. Good morning, Chip.
CHIP REID: Well, good morning. The President is doing whatever he can to fire up the Democratic base before election day. He told Rolling Stone magazine it's 'irresponsible and inexcusable' for Democrats not to go to the polls. And at the University of Wisconsin he gave a barn-burner of a speech.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Obama's Call to Action; Rallies Youth in Midterm Push]
BARACK OBAMA: What did you say, Wisconsin?!
CROWD: Yes, we can!
REID: Recalling his glory days on the 2008 campaign trail.
OBAMA: Hello, Wisconsin!
REID: President Obama rallied a raucous crowd of at least 15,000 people at the University of Wisconsin in a speech that was beamed to more than 100 college campuses nationwide.
OBAMA: We cannot sit this one out. We can't let this country fall backwards because the rest of us didn't care enough to fight. The stakes are too high for our country and for your future.
REID: This is the first in a series of campaign rallies aimed at reigniting enthusiasm among young voters who helped propel the President to victory two years ago. But, the problem for Democrats is that many young voters are far less interested in the midterm elections, now just five weeks away.
DANEZ SMITH [STUDENT]: The level of enthusiasm, as far as like, this election coming up, I don't think it's there at all.
BROCK FRITZ [STUDENT]: He's just trying to get excitement for other people, and not himself. So I guess that kind of changes.
REID: Makes it a lot harder.
RALLY ANNOUNCER: Our United States Senator, Russ Feingold!
REID: Other Democrats, like Senator Russ Feingold, who recently avoided appearing with the President at a campaign event, but Tuesday night made a surprise stop.
RUSS FEINGOLD: You are my president! You are our president! And I'm thrilled that you are here with all us badgers!
REID: The President returned the favor, hoping to give a boost to Feingold, who not long ago was favored to win reelection but is now trailing in the polls.
OBAMA: Because, if everybody who fought for change in 2008 shows up to vote in 2010, we will win. We will win. The polls say the same thing, we will win.
REID: Today, the President changes the focus back to the economy with another backyard event, but there are more campaign-style rallies on college campuses scheduled in the weeks to come. Back to you.
SMITH: Chip Reid in Des Moines, thanks.