As part of their 2016 coverage on Tuesday night, both ABC’s World News Tonight and NBC Nightly News took shots at Dr. Ben Carson for his “hardline conservative” stances on issues like abortion when other “issues” like “political experience” will be one that “he will have to address” as the campaign moves along.
On NBC Nightly News, senior White House correspondent Chris Jansing filed a report after spending the day with Carson in Florida as part of his book tour and first astonishingly observed that one signing “feels more like a pep rally” as people began “lining up at 5:00 a.m.” while other drew “easily a thousand” people.
Jansing also noted how Carson is the only GOP candidate to draw even with Democrat Hillary Clinton in the most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, who was found to be honest in eyes of “[o]nly 27 percent of all voters” whereas “55 percent like her knowledge and experience.”
Trying to contrast Clinton and Carson, Jansing explained that “Carson’s inexperience” in politics is something “he wears proudly.”
Following a soundbite from Carson, Jansing closed by attempting to declare that the proverbial jury is still out on the retired neurosurgeon:
[B]ut Carson’s people know he will have to address the experience issue. In the meantime, they are working to build on his momentum, more fundraisers, more visits to battleground states because a poll in November doesn't mean much unless you get folks like these to come out and actually vote for you.
Meanwhile, ABC’s GOP campaign correspondent Tom Llamas spent much of his segment reporting on the release of Donald Trump’s new book and his appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America, but did eventually bring up Carson as well.
After some clips of attendees of a Carson book signing explaining why they’re supporting him, Llamas chalked Carson’s support up to the face that his “fans” are “embracing him as political outsider with humble roots, and hardline conservative positions on issues like abortion.”
The relevant portions of the transcript from November 3's NBC Nightly News can be found below.
NBC Nightly News
November 3, 2015
7:03 p.m. Eastern
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: Head to Head]
LESTER HOLT: Now to the race for president and our new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showing that if the election were held today, Hillary Clinton would beat all the GOP candidates but one. Ben Carson, who our poll shows in a head to head match-up would be tied with the current Democratic front-runner. Now, one year from the election, Carson has begun to open distance between himself and the rest of the Republican field. NBC's Chris Jansing is traveling with him.
CHRIS JANSING: In Tampa, Florida, a Ben Carson book signing that feels more like a pep rally. Fans lining up at 5:00 a.m. for a 2:30 event and tonight in Lakeland, easily a thousand more.
JANSING: Carson’s raising the most money among Republicans. $10 million last month with the most donors and the social media followers. 4.5 million now on Facebook alone. His super PAC is at the book event handing out leaflets and collecting e-mail addresses, more potential donors. The soft-spoken improbable candidate. [TO CARSON] Is this what you thought about for retirement?
BEN CARSON: This is not retirement for me. I was going to relax and enjoy life and never have to set the alarm clock.
JANSING: But Trump loses to Hillary Clinton, but Carson is her equal, stronger than any Republican because of his appeal with independents. A 13 point advantage and Clinton's lower score? Only 27 percent of all voters give her high marks for honesty while 55 percent like her knowledge and experience. Carson's inexperience he wears proudly.
CARSON: But let me tell you something, the ark was built my amateurs, the Titanic was built by professionals.
JANSING: That line works great on the stump but Carson’s people know he will have to address the experience issue. In the meantime, they are working to build on his momentum, more fundraisers, more visits to battleground states because a poll in November doesn't mean much unless you get folks like these to come out and actually vote for you.
The relevant portion of the transcript from ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir on November 3 can be found below.
ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir
November 3, 2015
6:31 p.m. Eastern
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Race for 2016; Trump’s Tough Talk; Slams Rivals as Carson Surges]
TOM LLAMAS: Today, Donald Trump doing what he does best — selling Donald Trump. His new book out this morning. Donald Trump is still attracting the most media and the biggest crowds. All these people lined up to get their book signed, but his poll numbers are slipping. The man topping Trump, Dr. Ben Carson, today on GMA, Trump hitting him hard.
DONALD TRUMP [on ABC’s Good Morning America, 11/03/15]: Ben doesn't have the experience. It's not his thing, George. You know, you're born with it. It's not his thing. He hasn't got the temperament for it. It's not the right thing for him.
BEN CARSON: Well, I would say experience comes from a variety of different things. It didn't only have to be in one segment or the other.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CARSON FAN #1: I'm praying for you!
LLAMAS: Today in Tampa, 1,000 Carson supporters turned up for his book signing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CARSON FAN #2: He's a true Christian with values.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE CARSON FAN #1: He stands up and speaks his mind.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE CARSON FAN #2: He's rational. He’s not quick tempered.
LLAMAS: Carson's fans embracing him as political outsider with humble roots, and hardline conservative positions on issues like abortion.
CARSON [on NBC’s Meet the Press, 10/25/15]: I'm a reasonable person and if people can come up with a reasonable explanation of why they would like to kill a baby, I'll listen.