At the top of Thursday’s NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer proclaimed: “Game on. Clinton and Trump gear up for their likely general election showdown....They’re two of the most unpopular candidates in recent history.” He then promised an examination of the flaws of both candidates: “This morning, the major obstacles facing both campaigns.”
Correspondent Peter Alexander offered a report on how divided the Republican Party was over Trump. However, when it came to look at problems for Clinton, correspondent Kristen Welker focused mainly on her strategy to attack Trump: “Clinton is fighting on two fronts now, but it’s the battle against Trump that’s her top priority.” The Democratic frontrunner’s ongoing e-mail scandal and possible criminal indictment were not mentioned as potential “obstacles” to her candidacy.
Welker touted Clinton campaign propaganda fed to the network: “NBC News has learned this morning that for the first time, the Clinton campaign is expanding its general election team at its Brooklyn headquarters adding new staffers and giving some of their stand-outs bigger roles. Those headquarters now ground zero for taking out the presumptive GOP nominee.”
A segment on CBS This Morning featured the headline: “Clinton’s Challenge; Democrat Fights Trump and Sanders at the Time.” However, like NBC, the report that followed centered on Clinton’s anti-Trump strategy and skipped the “challenge” of her e-mail scandal.
Correspondent Nancy Cordes highlighted: “Clinton wasted no time labeling Trump as risky and erratic....She has, at the outset, a distinct advantage. A recent national poll finds 61% of female voters back Clinton. 35% back Trump....Clinton argued this is one of his biggest weaknesses.”
Like NBC and CBS, ABC’s Good Morning America also promoted Clinton gearing up for the general election. Correspondent Cecilia Vega announced: “If this is the unofficial start of the general election, this morning Hillary Clinton is officially on the attack....Clinton may still be locked in a primary fight with Bernie Sanders, but her strategy to take on Trump now taking shape. Clinton hitting him in this new video.”
During a news brief at the top of the 8 a.m. ET hour, the morning show did provide an eight-second mention of the e-mail scandal as anchor Amy Robach noted:
Hillary Clinton still has to get past Bernie Sanders, though, but is wasting no time going after Trump, calling him a bully and a loose cannon. She’s released a video hitting Trump on his history of divisive statements. But Trump may soon have new ammunition. A federal judge has just ruled Clinton may have to be deposed about her use of private e-mail.
All three networks completely censored Wednesday’s shocking news that Romanian hacker Marcel Lehel Lazar (a.k.a. Guccifer) claimed to have hacked into Clinton’s private server. In an exclusive jailhouse interview with Fox News, the convicted hacker admitted: “For me, it was easy...easy for me, for everybody.”
Here is a full transcript of Welker’s May 5 report on Today:
7:00 AM ET TEASE:
MATT LAUER: Game on. Clinton and Trump gear up for their likely general election showdown.
HILLARY CLINTON: I think he is a loose cannon and loose cannons tend to misfire.
DONALD TRUMP: I think Hillary actually will be easier to beat than many of the senators, governors, et cetera.
LAUER: They’re two of the most unpopular candidates in recent history. This morning, the major obstacles facing both campaigns.
7:04 AM ET SEGMENT:
NATALIE MORALES: Well, Hillary Clinton finds herself in the challenging position of preparing for a showdown with Trump while still dealing with Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary. NBC’s Kristen Welker is in Los Angeles with that part of the story. Kristen, good morning.
KRISTEN WELKER: Natalie, good morning to you. That's right, Clinton is fighting on two fronts now, but it’s the battle against Trump that’s her top priority. Underscoring that point, NBC News has learned this morning that for the first time, the Clinton campaign is expanding its general election team at its Brooklyn headquarters, adding new staffers and giving some of their stand-outs bigger roles. Those headquarters now ground zero for taking out the presumptive GOP nominee.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Clinton’s Strategy to Take on Trump; Calls Him “Loose Cannon,” Braces for Personal Attacks]
It's the fall fight in sharp focus, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, no holds barred.
HILLARY CLINTON: This is, to me, a classic case of a blustering, bullying guy who has knocked out of the way all of the Republicans because they were just dumbfounded.
WELKER: Trump, flooding the airwaves after clinching the nomination Wednesday.
DONALD TRUMP: I think Hillary actually will be easier to beat than many of the senators, governors, et cetera, that we just were victorious.
WELKER: Clinton trying to make voters fear the billionaire businessman.
CLINTON: I think he is a loose cannon and loose cannons tend to misfire.
WELKER: And even while Clinton fends off a threat from Bernie Sanders, she's ramping up for the general election – deploying staffers to top battleground states, sending out fundraising e-mails, including one on Wednesday, which warns, “The whole world is counting on us to win this thing.” And making sure voters remember every controversial comment.
CLINTON: He’s the one who’s run the campaign insulting people, demeaning women, degrading people with disabilities, talking about keeping Muslims out of the country.
WELKER: The Clinton team is also reaching out to independents and even Republicans. This new ad showcasing top GOP officials lambasting Trump.
MARCO RUBIO: He is a con artist.
MITT ROMNEY: A phony.
GEORGE PATAKI: Donald Trump is the know-nothing candidate.
TED CRUZ: Donald is a bully.
WELKER: And she's bracing for the onslaught coming her way. Trump lunched with an anti-Clinton biographer this week, and he’s already taken aim at Bill Clinton's past transgressions.
TRUMP: She's married to an abuser, a woman claimed rape and all sorts of things. I mean, horrible things.
CLINTON: If he wants to go back to the playbook of the 1990s, I'm more than happy to have him do that.
WELKER: And the former president may have raised a few eyebrows, making a joke while campaigning in San Diego Wednesday, when a young woman said he, quote, “looked good.”
CLINTON: It's been a long time since a girl said that to me.
WELKER: Now, President Clinton quickly clarified that usually people tell him he looks good but for his age. Meanwhile, Secretary Clinton will campaign here in the Los Angeles area today as she fights to officially clinch the nomination. Natalie, Matt, back to you.
MORALES: Kristen Welker in Los Angeles for us. Thanks so much, Kristen.