Shipman Daydreams: 'Do You Let Yourself Think, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi?'

ABC's Claire Shipman ended a Thursday World News profile of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi by tilting her head upward and rolling her eyes, as if imagining along with Pelosi, as she wondered: "Do you let yourself think, for example, maybe before you go to sleep at night, 'Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi?'" Pelosi denied any such daydreaming: "No. I never do. What I think before I go to sleep at night is how we can get up to 15 new Democratic seats in the Congress of the United States. And then I say my prayers."

Just before the 1994 election, ABC's Jim Wooten treated Newt Gingrich as the perpetrator in a worsening political landscape, declaring that his "slash-and-burn rhetoric against Democrats has made him the poster boy for political resentment and rage, and he's proud of it." But with Pelosi, Shipman painted her as the victim of Republican “scare tactics” and, after a soundbite from President Bush, cued her up: "What do you think when you hear him say the things he says about you?" Shipman acknowledged that "Pelosi's blunt style is polarizing,” but characterized it as a positive, citing how “she's used it to pull off something nobody thought was possible: Organizing the congressional Democrats. Under her leadership, they voted as a bloc against the Republicans almost 90 percent of the time.”

Video clip of Shipman's daydreaming of “Speaker Pelosi” (21 seconds): Real (675 KB) or Windows Media (775 KB), plus MP3 audio (125 KB)

Video Clip of ABC's Wooten in 1994 slamming Gingrich as the "poster boy for political resentment and rage": Real (2.68MB) or Windows Media (3.12MB), plus MP3 (490KB)

This wasn't the first time ABC's evening newscast has paid tribute to Pelosi. In the MRC's October 19 Media Reality Check, “TV News Gives Free Ride to 'Speaker Pelosi,'” Rich Noyes recalled how “ABC's World News Tonight picked Pelosi as one of five heroes of 2002. Anchor Charles Gibson said ABC wanted to recognize 'people whose bravery, resolve, and character really shown through.' To illustrate the December 26, 2002 story, Pelosi’s image was flashed on the big screen outside ABC’s Times Square studio.”

A transcript of the October 26 World News profile of Pelosi, which had also aired in a slightly longer version on Thursday's Good Morning America (but without the "Do you let yourself think, for example, maybe before you go to sleep at night, 'Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi?'"):

Anchor Charles Gibson: “If Democrats take 15 seats away from Republicans and win control of the House of Representatives, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco is poised to become House Speaker. She would be the first woman ever to hold that post. It's questionable how many Americans even know who she is. But many Republican candidates think she scares American voters. Here's ABC's Claire Shipman.”

Claire Shipman, over picture of the bridge in a TV ad with “San Francisco values don't belong in Indiana” superimposed: “The Golden Gate bridge, looming over the heartland. Scare tactics like this:”

Audio of announcer in ad: “A radical plan to advance the homosexual agenda.”

Shipman: “While Democrats have turned the President into their poster child this election
season-”

Ad announcer: “George Allen supports President Bush 96 percent of the time.”

Shipman: “Meet the Republican's current boogie woman, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.”

Announcer in TV ad: “Pelosi and liberal Democrats want to raise your taxes.”

President Bush on October 19: “The Speaker would be a Congresswoman who said catching Osama bin Laden would not make America any safer.”

Shipman to Pelosi: “What do you think when you hear him say the things he says about you?”

Pelosi: “I couldn't care less. I think it shows how desperate the Republicans are, that they have to have the President of the United States become their political hit man.”

Shipman: “Vintage Pelosi. And although she talks about wanting to make the atmosphere more civil in the nation's capital, she herself is anything but.”

Pelosi, at a press conference: He won't tell the truth to the American people.”

Pelosi to Shipman: “President Bush is digging a hole deeper and deeper and deeper in Iraq. He's so far from daylight, he doesn't have a clue.”

Shipman: “You have been and you just were, fairly tough on President Bush. I mean, you have called him-”

Pelosi: “That wasn't tough.”

Shipman: “I haven't heard tough, right?”

Pelosi: “That wasn't tough.”

Shipman: “Pelosi's blunt style is polarizing. But she's used it to pull off something nobody thought was possible: Organizing the congressional Democrats. Under her leadership, they voted as a bloc against the Republicans almost 90 percent of the time. And should she become Speaker, she's made at least one promise to be more bipartisan.”

Pelosi at a press conference: “We have taken impeachment off the table. Frankly, impeachment lets the Republicans in congress off the hook.”

Shipman, tilting her head skyward and rolling her eyes up: “Do you let yourself think, for example, maybe before you go to sleep at night, 'Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi?'”

Pelosi: “No. I never do. What I think before I go to sleep at night is how we can get up to 15 new Democratic seats in the Congress of the United States. And then I say my prayers.”

Shipman: “Claire Shipman, ABC News.”
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