Friday's morning shows offered more of the same election coverage. On ABC, Kate Snow highlighted how everyone Republican is running from Bush (with Rick Santorum touting his work with Hillary, God forbid) and gave Michael J. Fox another huge soundbite. On NBC, David Gregory explored how Democrats would rule. The first rule: hike the minimum wage.
ABC's Megan McCormack took down the Snow report, which is true enough, but has to play to a regular news viewer like the same old news in heavy rotation:
Chris Cuomo: "It's less than two weeks now until the congressional elections and we're seeing a new trend among GOP candidates: putting some distance between themselves and the White House. Here's ABC's Kate Snow."
Kate Snow: "Conservative Republican Rick Santorum, in a tight race to keep his Senate seat in Pennsylvania, is embracing the arch-enemy."
Senator Rick Santorum [in campaign ad]: "I'm even working with Hillary Clinton to limit inappropriate material in childrens' video games, because it makes more sense to wrestle with America's problems than with each other. I'm Rick Santorum, and I approve this message."
Snow: "For a growing number of Republicans, it's all about being seen as an independent thinker, and not the President's pal."
Representative Chris Shays [in campaign ad]: "I've gone against the President and the Republican leadership when I think they're wrong."
Snow: "With Mr. Bush's approval rating at just 37 percent, Republicans across the country are running ads like these."
Representative Heather Wilson [in campaign ad]: "I'm willing to take on anyone when it's right for New Mexico. Sometimes the leaders of my party in Congress and in the White House don't agree with me."
[campaign ad for Jim Walsh]: "He stands up to the President and his party. He stands up for what's right for central New York."
Snow: "According to Congress Daily, since August, Mr. Bush has appeared with GOP candidates in person just fifteen times, compared to twenty-nine events in the same period of 2002. In Des Moines on Thursday, President Bush campaigned for a Republican congressional candidate, but no sign of his longtime friend, the Republican running for governor. Jim Nussle's office insists he had an important event across town. Now, whatever his motivation, maybe Nussle was better off. At that Iowa event, President Bush twice referred to the Republican he was there to raise money for by the wrong first name. Chris?"
The Congress Daily number is interesting. But hey, if Santorum is a "conservative," what exactly would Hillary be classified? ABC also gave Michael J. Fox a soundbite lasting nearly a minute from the competition at CBS:
Chris Cuomo: "In politics, Michael J. Fox is responding to criticism from conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh that he's using his Parkinson's disease for political gain. Here's Fox on CBS News."
Michael J. Fox: "I go through a million cycles of the course of the day. For example, right now, this is a dearth of medication. Not by design. I just take it and it kicks in when it kicks in. Sometimes it kicks in too hard and then you get what's called dyskinesias, which is that rocking motion. It's funny the, the notion that you could calculate it for effect is, you know, people with Parkinson's out there were just kind of going, you know, would, would that we could. I'm not a Johnny come lately. I'm--nobody plucked me off the apple cart to come and do this. I mean, I believe in this cause. I put a lot of my life and energy into it and, and, and we're serious about it. Hundreds of thousands of cells that are, that are left over from in vitro fertilization are being thrown away. Bringing the message means the messenger gets roughed up a little bit. I'm happy to be that guy."
On NBC, White House reporter David Gregory explored the potential reign of Democrats on Capitol Hill, a prospect which clearly does not frighten him:
David Gregory: "Well, you've of course heard the President warned Democrats about dancing in the end zone before scoring a touchdown on Election Day. Nevertheless, the White House has started to contemplate what would happen if Democrats regain power. On the campaign trail, the President has used dire warnings about what the end of Republican rule would mean."
Bush: "A raise in taxes is what the Democrats want to do. Make no mistake about it."
Gregory: "From taxes to Iraq."
Bush: "The stakes are high. The Democrats are the party of cut and run."
Gregory: "For the White House, after six years of a Republican Congress and little support from Democrats, a Democratic take over may come down to two words subpoena power. A slew of investigations into Bush administration policies, namely Iraq."
Leon Panetta: "They will want to focus on how did this country get into that war? What, why were the mistakes made that were made in that war?"
Gregory: "But some analysts warn that if Democrats overreach it will backfire."
Chuck Todd: "The President will have a job approval rating over 50 if Nancy Pelosi is Speaker of the House by the Fourth of July."
Gregory: "As for policy, what is the Democratic agenda? Likely House Speaker Nancy Pelosi."
Nancy Pelosi: "First as a matter of fairness, we will raise the minimum wage."
Gregory's summary of the liberal went soft: "It's part of the Democrat's version of the Republican Contract with America back in 1994. Enact all the 9-11 Commission recommendations for the War on Terror, revisit the Bush tax cuts, which Democrats say favor the rich, push for funding of embryonic stem cell research. On Iraq Democrats are divided, with some pushing for troop withdrawal by years end, others advocating a more flexible draw down."
There's no specifics on the 9-11 Commission, merely "revisit" (not "repeal"?) the Bush tax cuts, "embryonic" instead of "embryo-destroying" stem cell research, soft-pedaling the abandonment of Iraq. The report continued:
Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE): "I think it's 41 Democrats all voted for this phased process where we begin to redeploy troops over the next 18 months consistent with a change in the political dynamic in Iraq."
Gregory: "Some veterans of Washington warfare urged Democrats to seek middle ground in order to position the party for control of the White House in 2008."
Panetta: "I think they're smart enough to recognize that what they've got to show the, the country is that they can help govern this nation."
Gregory tried to avoid sounding giddy at story's end: "All of that will be difficult, of course, and contingent on if and how much Democrats take back of the power in Washington. Whether there's just one House, do they just win the House? If they win just the Senate, they'll be limited in what they can actually accomplish if they have just a slim majority. And on top of that, of course, is the President's veto pen which he could wield as well."