Of the three morning shows, only ABC's Good Morning America on Monday highlighted two drunken delegates at the Democratic National Convention, one of whom was forced to leave North Carolina. Fill-in host Lara Spencer touted the story, asserting that "things are already off to a shaky start."
Reporter Cecilia Vega explained, "Two California Democratic delegates partied into the wee hours of Sunday morning. In the lobby of their Charlotte hotel, one was so drunk he apparently passed out and was taken to the hospital." She added that the unidentified delegate was "belligerent" and threatened with arrest for impersonating a congressman. ABC reported the story in the 7am and 8am hour. CBS This Morning and NBC's Today, however, skipped it.
Over on NBC, Chuck Todd allowed that "when it comes to the question whether Americans are better off than they were four years ago, the Obama campaign remains on the defensive."
While Todd played clips of Obama officials giving tortured, confusing answers, he skipped a gaffe that the Democratic campaign has been scrambling to recover from since Sunday. Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley (also the chair of the Democratic Governors Association) appeared on Face the Nation and flat out declared, "No [we aren't better off]. But that's not the question of this election."
GMA also ignored the O'Malley clip. Even though Obama official David Plouffe was one of the people struggling to answer the "are you better off" question, ABC chose to include a different clip of him slamming Republicans: "Their campaign is built on a tripod of lies."
CBS played the O'Malley clip twice. In a follow-up segment, Rebecca Jarvis asked top Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa (the mayor of Los Angeles) a very tough question on the last four years:
REBECCA JARVIS: Mayor, if the question is, though, who to put in office next, and you have 23 million people in the country who are unemployed or underemployed. 5.2 million of them have been out of work for six months or longer and they come back to this question, am I better off today? They cannot answer that question as a yes.
A transcript of the Cecilia Vega GMA segment, which aired at 7:06am EDT on September 3,follows:
LARA SPENCER: And we move now to the race for the White House. The Democratic National Convention kicks off tomorrow and things are already off to a shaky start with an incident involving two allegedly drunken delegates. It's your voice, your vote and ABC's Cecilia Vega joins us from Charlotte, North Carolina. Good morning, Cecilia.
CECILIA VEGA: Good morning, Lara. You know, the official party hasn't even started here, but that California delegation, they may be nursing a bit of a hangover this morning. Two California Democratic delegates partied into the wee hours of Sunday morning. In the lobby of their Charlotte hotel, one was so drunk he apparently passed out and was taken to the hospital. The other, alleged by belligerent with hotel staff. He was threatened with arrest after falsely telling police he was a congressman. It was witnessed by a Los Angeles Times reporter.
SEEMA MEHTA (Political writer, L.A Times): He was very belligerent beyond slurring words at the point where they called the police. When the police showed up, he refused- They asked him for identification. He refused to show identification.
VEGA: California Democratic Party officials asked the man to leave the convention. Today, he's out. The other, released from the hospital and allowed to stay. A spokesman for the delegation said in a statement, "The delegate has apologized to the hotel staff and agreed to leave the hotel and forgo official delegation activities in Charlotte." But, tomorrow, the real party begins. All week, democrats will roll out some of the biggest names in politics and Hollywood. From Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton and the President himself, to superstars like Eva Longoria, Mary J. Blige and the Black Eyed Peas.
DAVID AXELROD: We don't have the problems that the other party has. We're not divided.
VEGA: The President's top strategists making the rounds of Sunday's talk shows.
DAVID PLOUFFE: Their campaign is built on a tripod of lies. A welfare attack that is just absolutely untrue. The suggestion that we're raiding Medicare, absolutely untrue.
VEGA: As the Democrats ramp up for their prime time moment, many are bashing last week's show in Tampa.
JOE BIDEN: He said it was a mistake to end the war in Iraq and bring our warriors home. He said it was a mistake to set an end date for our warriors in Afghanistan and bring them home.
VEGA: And it's chatter over one of the most memorable moments of the Republican convention goes on. That conversation between Clint eastwood and the empty chair representing President Obama with the President saying, yesterday, he's still, Lara, a huge Clint Eastwood fan.