World News anchor Diane Sawyer on Thursday highlighted the 20 newly sworn-in women in the U.S. Senate as a way to push a liberal, pro-abortion agenda. Mostly ignoring conservative females, Sawyer stuck to Democratic talking points, lamenting, "So, they say they're ready to tackle big issues like jobs, transportation, immigration, but it's their male counterparts who keep reopening Roe vs. Wade and contraception." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The ABC journalist then featured Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen lecturing that "government doesn't have a place in" dealing with abortion. In an extended rant, Democrat Elizabeth Warren scolded, "I mean, that's the problem is that there were amendments that were introduced to say that women wouldn't have access to health insurance coverage for birth control." During the segment, conservative Kelly Ayotte was only briefly featured (on an unrelated topic). Newly elected Republican Deb Fischer was mentioned, but got no screen time.
Sawyer did feature Republican Susan Collins, but only to tout her pro-choice stance and insist anti-abortion legislation shouldn't be pushed.
The reporter has a long history of promoting liberal, female politicians. On January 19, 2007, Sawyer hyped then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi as a tough "force to be reckoned with." She enthused:
DIANE SAWYER: Like a freight train she's already moved six major pieces of legislation through the House. Everything from stem cells to minimum wage. And whatever side you're on, when this new Speaker moves, she moves fast. Nancy Pelosi says power is not handed to you. You have to know how to win it. When she walks into a room, she is quiet, polite. But her fellow politicians say she's galvanized steel with a smile.
Sawyer even went so far as to praise Pelosi's ability to pick up trash.
A transcript of the January 3 segment is below:
6:38 p.m. EST
SAWYER: But across the Capitol, a milestone in history. One after the other, women were sworn in as senators. For the first time ever, 20 U.S. Senators in all and they were lawyers, ranchers, a former governor.
They are also mothers. A total of 40 children and stepchildren, as Senator Kirsten Gillibrand reminded us at her swearing in. And before the holidays, we had a chance to gather these formidable women in one room to talk about a new era. And they said they fought to win tough races and they're not going to stop now. They are living, breathing history, climbing the stairs and sending a signal. They are 20 senators, Republican and Democrat, who say they have had it with gridlock and the way Congress works.
BARBARA MIKULSKI (D): If they can delay a problem, pick and argument, and wait until next year, they'll do it. We don't believe in the culture of delay.
SAWYER: The dean of Senate women, Senator Barbara Mikulski. For a record 26 years, she's brought the women together for private dinners, cheering them on with her slogan.
MIKULSKI: Square our shoulders, put your lipstick on and fight the revolution.
DIANNE FEINSTEIN: I don't want people who watch this show to think we're some kind of a sorority, because we're not. We all march to the sound of different drummers, to some extent.
SAWYER: Bt Senator Dianne Feinstein says women can be independent lawmakers and still work together.
FEINSTEIN: You know, we're less on testosterone. We don't have that need to always be confrontational. And I think we're problem solvers and I think that's what this country needs.
AMY KLOBUCHAR (D): Someone once said that women candidates speak softly and carry a big statistic. I do not agree with the speak softly part.
KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D): When I saw President Obama a few weeks ago, I told him about our quarterly dinners and I said, Mr. President, if you want to see bipartisanship in Washington, invite the women senators to help you get it done and he loved the idea and he plans to invite us to the White House.
SAWYER: So, they say they're ready to tackle big issues like jobs, transportation, immigration, but it's their male counterparts who keep reopening Roe vs. Wade and contraception.
JEANNE SHAHEEN (D): I think most of us would agree that the government doesn't have a place in that. It's really individual families who should make those decisions.
SUSAN COLLINS (R): I'm pro-choice, so, I don't disagree with what my friend Jeanne just said, but I think both issues should be settled and should not be the main focus of debate.
ELIZABETH WARREN: But Senator Collins I don't think they are entirely settled. I mean, that's the problem is that there were amendments that were introduced to say that women wouldn't have access to health insurance coverage for birth control. There was a question raised about whether or not we'll really have enforcement of equal pay for equal work laws. And boy, if that's the case, then we better stand up and we better speak out.
GILLIBRAND: But if congress was 51 percent women, you can bet your bottom dollar we would not be debating contraception.
PATTY MURRAY (D): We should be talking about transportation infrastructure, or economic development or how to solve the budget deficit. And we keep facing these amendments on abortion, it's like, can't you just leave that alone?
BARBARA BOXER: Always brought by men. Always by men, Diane.
SAWYER: And these new female arrivals signal a modern era. The first female senator ever from Nebraska, Deb Fischer. The first Asian American woman elected to the senate, Mazie Hirono. And the first openly gay Senator, Tammy Baldwin, of Wisconsin, who was in college when she was inspired by Geraldine Ferraro.
TAMMY BALDWIN (D): I said to myself, I can do anything. The sky's the limit.
SAWYER: How many of you absolutely know America is ready to elect a female president?
SAWYER: How many of you think there will be a nominee, a female nominee in 2016? Is there a president in this room?
MURRAY: You know, I think the thing is, every man wakes up in the morning, looks in the mirror and says, I could be president. I think every woman looks in the mirror and says, "what can I get done for my country today?"
SAWYER: Not one of you in this room looks in the mirror and says, I could be president.
FEINSTEIN: Well, you may think it from time to time.
SAWYER: Senator Kelly Ayotte tells a story of her 8-year-old daughter.
KELLY AYOTTE: And she said to me, "Mom, I don't want you to run for president." And I looked at her and I said, "Kate I'm not running for president. Why do you ask me that?" And she said, "because, mom, I want to be the first woman president."
BOXER: She better call Hillary.
CLAIRE MCCASKILL: Can she break the news to her, we're not waiting that long?
SAWYER: And, again, our interview was taped before Secretary Clinton was hospitalized and released. And, by the way, we asked these senators to pass on the best advice they ever got for all children, all boys and girls? And we're going to bring that to you tomorrow night.