ABC Lauds Jeff Flake’s ‘Astounding Play’ After Protests; Hail Coons as Bipartisan

Well, it looks like there will be quite a competition among the broadcast and cable networks for the services of Republican Senator Jeff Flake (AZ) once he retires. ABC did its part to suck up to Flake on Friday, lauding his decision to cave on the nomination of Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh by demanding an FBI probe.

Chief anchor and former Clinton official George Stephanopoulos hyped that “Flake clearly had been listening intently all through the testimony yesterday” and then, earlier Friday, “he appears also to have been hit hard by protests” in which two female protesters argued that, by voting for Kavanaugh, the judge’s supporters don’t care about women who are sexually assaulted.

 

 

Stephanopoulos added that “[t]here are so many twists here and this is a real surprise” to which congressional correspondent Mary Bruce hailed Flake’s “astounding play” by “essentially daring Mitch McConnell” to move forward with the floor vote anyway.

Bruce was then more than happy to unravel the thinking of Democratic Senator Chris Coons (DE) and making the dubious claim that he’s bipartisan (click “expand”):

I have to say I was speaking with [Coons] earlier away from cameras this morning as he was walking in right when the news broke about Flake’s decision to support Kavanaugh and Coons looked pained. He was visibly emotion. He said he couldn't comment. He also is someone who’s not known for playing a lot of politics. Coons is known for reaching across the aisle and this morning when I was talking to him, he was bemoaning what this fight has done to the Senate, what it's done to this committee. George, he told me it’s like a game of baseball where at the end of the game right now, it's gotten so nasty that neither team wanted to shake the other team's hands and he wanted to come up with a solution for that. 

Let’s go look at some of Coons’s ratings on various scorecards, shall we? Here’s a few on the right (for the most recent year available):

And now let’s go over to the left and see a few of their interest group scorecards for Coons (for the most recent year available):

Well, how about that. Near perfect scores on the left and single digits on the right. Sure, rhetoric is nice. But actions speak louder than words. And of course there's this from earlier in the week that our Mark Finkelstein flagged down about how Coons views the presumption of innocence.

Back to ABC, Stephanopoulos went to correspondent Terry Moran and again offered a back-handed compliment to Flake offering “a reaction to the toxic situation that was revealed in that Senate hearing room yesterday.”

Moran agreed, touting “[t]he emotions, the pain and this cultural moment, this cultural wave that this whole incident had touched off around the country” with “problems” still on the rise for Brett Kavanaugh with the notion that he could be impeached if Democrats take back Congress “if these allegations were, in any way, substantiated.”

“All of this is obviously in part because one woman stepped forward, the survivor who began confronting Jeff Flake followed by other survivors. One person making a difference. He was clearly in agony. That probably helped change his mind, George,” Moran swooned.

To see the relevant transcript from the ABC News special report on September 28, click “expand.”

ABC News Special
September 28, 2018
2:03 p.m. Eastern

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Jeff Flake clearly had been listening intently all through the testimony yesterday. The day before the testimony he took the Senate floor and implored Americans to pay attention to both Judge Kavanaugh, also Dr. Ford and think about the personal pain they were going through, what it was doing to this institution. He spoke again about the institution of the Senate, how this delay with proper investigation, time limited, could also be good for the institution. He appears also to have been hit hard by protests. I want to show you an encounter he had on the Senate floor earlier today in the — in the Senate chambers earlier today when he was trying to actually get to the committee and encountered protesters. 

(....)

2:08 p.m. Eastern

STEPHANOPOULOS: There are so many twists here and this is a real surprise and we don't know yet what Mitch McConnell is going to do. What we do know basically is that Senator Flake is basically daring him. If you go forward, I'm going to vote no. Maybe bring it down. If you give me the week, we could have some progress. 

MARY BRUCE: George, this is really an astounding play by Senator Flake. He's essentially daring Mitch McConnell the leader, of course, controls the floor. But the leader could essentially ignore his request and attempt to move ahead with this vote as soon as we know he's eager to do but look, if other Republicans stand with Jeff Flake, McConnell may not have the votes get Kavanaugh confirmed without him. We were just talking with Lindsey Graham who has been a staunch supporter of Kavanaugh's nomination and he said, look, he's trying to digest this, he doesn't know what Mitch McConnell will do next. But when asked if he'll support this move, he laughed and chuckled and said, look, I just know you need 50 votes and so, the question is if this is what it’s going to take, is Mitch McConnell willing to give them this week? 

(....)

2:10 p.m. Eastern


BRUCE: I have to say I was speaking with [Coons] earlier away from cameras this morning as he was walking in right when the news broke about Flake’s decision to support Kavanaugh and Coons looked pained. He was visibly emotion. He said he couldn't comment. He also is someone who’s not known for playing a lot of politics. Coons is known for reaching across the aisle and this morning when I was talking to him, he was bemoaning what this fight has done to the Senate, what it's done to this committee. George, he told me it’s like a game of baseball where at the end of the game right now, it's gotten so nasty that neither team wanted to shake the other team's hands and he wanted to come up with a solution for that. 

(....)

2:13 p.m. Eastern

STEPHANOPOULOS: And Terry, one of the things I think we're seeing here is a reaction to the toxic situation that was revealed in that Senate hearing room yesterday. 

TERRY MORAN: Absolutely, George. The emotions, the pain and this cultural moment, this cultural wave that this whole incident had touched off around the country. I think, in particular, there were problems for Judge Brett Kavanaugh becoming Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Already, Elijah Cummings, Democratic representative who had become the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said he'd subpoena Mark Judge if the Democrats took over. So, that is, no question, a problem for Brett Kavanaugh if he were going forward he could face an impeachment if these allegations were, in any way, substantiated by Democrats with subpoena power. All of this is obviously in part because one woman stepped forward, the survivor who began confronting Jeff Flake followed by other survivors. One person making a difference. He was clearly in agony. That probably helped change his mind, George. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: Incredible, incredible testimony. Even the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday Charles Grassley said she was brave, Dr. Ford, for coming forward. 

NB Daily Judiciary Kavanaugh Nomination Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats ABC Mary Bruce Jeff Flake George Stephanopoulos Terry Moran Brett Kavanaugh Chris Coons
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