On Friday’s "Good Morning America," reporter David Wright sought out a socialist, a liberal activist and a Democrat to bash President Bush for failing, thus far, to visit Vermont during his two terms in office. However, he didn’t discuss how President Clinton similarly neglected Nebraska for nearly eight years. Following up on a CNN report about Bush’s "snub," co-host Robin Roberts began the segment by asking why the Commander in Chief was giving the state a "cold shoulder." An ABC graphic continued the complaining, it read, "Vermont Feeling Left Out: Why Won’t The President Visit?
While Wright found time to note that the northern state is "eco-smart and gay-friendly," he managed to ignore the fact that Bill Clinton didn’t visit Nebraska until a little over a month before his term ended. (In its report, CNN did mention this point.) The ABC correspondent spent much of his segment discussing Bush’s absence with Vermont Senators Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy, one a Democrat, the other a self-described socialist, and also Ben Cohen, a liberal activist and founder of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.
Additionally, Wright took a snarky, sarcastic tone throughout the piece. He mentioned that the President "told reporters he'd even consider vacationing in France if his new friend, the French president, invited him." Then, after playing a clip of Bush stating he would like to go mountain biking in France, Wright appeared to treat this as an excuse. He observed, "Vermont is famous for its mountain biking. And it's close enough that the President could ride his bike here from Kennebunkport, Maine."
A transcript of the segment, which aired at 7:18am on August 24, follows:
Robin Roberts: "We’re going to turn now to the great state of Vermont. It has cheese. It has maple syrup and some of the Northeast’s best skiing. What the Green Mountain State does not have? A visit from the President. And the people who live there, none to pleased about getting the cold shoulder from the leader of the free world. Here’s ABC’s David Wright."
ABC Graphic: "Vermont Feeling Left Out: Why Won’t The President Visit?"
David Wright: "If Air Force One gave frequent flier miles, President Bush would have a platinum card. In six years, he's been to 62 countries, some of them more than once. He's been to 49 of the 50 states, many of them more than once."
Howard Dean [Clip from famous "Dean Scream" speech]: "We're going to South Carolina and Oklahoma and–"
Wright: "The President’s been to all the places Howard Dean wanted to go and then some, but never to Dean's home state. But never here?"
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont): "Never here."
Wright: "Why not?"
Sanders: "Well, I think he understands that the people of the state of Vermont have very strong disagreements with his views."
Wright: ‘Vermonters tend to be eco-smart and gay-friendly. They proudly wear Birkenstocks, not cowboy boots. But per capita, Vermont has lost more sons in Iraq than any other state. This month, the President told reporters he'd even consider vacationing in France if his new friend, the French president, invited him."
President George W. Bush: "Of course I would go. Absolutely. Absolutely. Particularly if he could find a place for me to ride my mountain bike."
Wright: "Vermont is famous for its mountain biking. And it's close enough that the President could ride his bike here from Kennebunkport, Maine."
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont): "We’ve got some of the greatest places for mountain biking you can find. Certainly it would be more challenging than some of the flatlands of Texas."
Wright: "We sought out Ben Cohen, the Ben of Ben & Jerry's. He served up an array of ice cream sundaes to entice a presidential visit."
Ben Cohen (Ben & Jerry’s): "The Delegation Elation, Two Scoops on the Left, One Scoop on the Extreme Left. And that one is Rocky Rove."
Wright: "The reaction in Crawford?"
Gordon Johndroe (White House deputy press secretary): "President Bush loves ice cream. His favorite is bluebell ice cream from Texas."
Wright: "Perhaps the President just doesn't know what he's missing. For ‘Good Morning America,’ David Wright, ABC News, Burlington, Vermont."
Roberts: [Off the video of David Wright eating ice cream.] "David's enjoying it."
Chris Cuomo: "I know. Everything has to be taken seriously. There’s a comment about the ice cream."