ABC Gushes Over Hillary and Obama's 'Superstar Campaigners'

December 10th, 2007 12:11 PM

In the battle of Democratic "superstar campaigners," the reporters of "Good Morning America" couldn't decide whether they prefer Hillary Clinton's exciting surrogates or Barack Obama's. On Monday's edition of the ABC program, correspondent David Wright parroted talking points about Oprah Winfrey supporting Obama and the inspiring nature of the talk show host. He glowingly asserted, "She's urging her fans to vote the dream, not just to settle for the inevitable." Wright didn't bother to explain what, exactly, that means.

Video (1:54): Real (3.11 MB) and Windows (3.53 MB), plus MP3 audio (887 kB).

The GMA reporter also gushed that "...When it comes to connecting a crowd over shared hardships and shared hopes, nobody beats Oprah." According to Wright, she's "kind of like everybody's big sister." Kate Snow, filing a piece on the Clinton campaign, explained that operatives at "Hillaryland" sent Bill and Chelsea Clinton to Iowa in order to manipulate media coverage away from Obama. Snow shamelessly confessed, "And it worked. We're not just talking about Oprah this morning, are we?"

After closing the segment with a recap of Chelsea's dating life, Snow seemed unable to hide her excitement for the Clinton campaign. She observed that the former first daughter might get engaged before New Years Eve, right around the Iowa caucus. "Wouldn't that be good timing," Snow enthused. She then noted that Chelsea's appearance in that state could "only help."

Viewers of GMA shouldn't be surprised at Snow's excitement. She has a long history of positively spinning everything Clinton-related, from Hillary's off-putting cackle, to aging.

And "Good Morning America" in general has had trouble deciding between Clinton and Obama since the two first faced off in early 2007. On January 18, correspondent Claire Shipman saw the battle as one between Obama's "fluid poetry" and Hillary's "hot factor."

A transcript of the two segments, which aired at 7:12am on December 10, follows:

7am tease

ROBIN ROBERTS: And star power on the campaign trail.

OPRAH WINFREY: It's Obama time. Oh, yeah!

ROBERTS: Oprah stumps for Obama while Chelsea and Bill rally for Hillary. But will the superstar campaigners make a real difference with voters?


ROBERTS: Now, the charisma battle in the 2008 presidential campaign. Oprah Winfrey was with Barack Obama this weekend, drawing huge crowds in Iowa, South Carolina. 8,500 in New Hampshire last night. But the Clinton campaign fought back. For the first time during the presidential race, the entire Clinton family hit the campaign trail, including her daughter Chelsea. We begin with ABC's David Wright in New Hampshire. Good morning, David.

ABC GRAPHIC: The Big "O" Weekend: Oprah and Obama On the Trail

DAVID WRIGHT: Morning, Robin. This was the last stop on the Oprah tour. You know, when it comes to connecting a crowd over shared hardships and shared hopes, nobody beats Oprah. She's kind of like everybody's big sister. When she talks, millions listen. And the fact that she spent the weekend she talking about Barack Obama could really shake up this campaign.

SENATOR BARACK OBAMA: Give it up for Ms. Oprah Winfrey! Give it up! We love Oprah!

WRIGHT: The most trusted woman in America.

WINFREY: This is my first time in Manchester. Wow. What a beautiful place.

WRIGHT: Taking on a new role. Never before has Oprah rallied her fans quite like this.

WINFREY: And for me, you know, it's stepping out of my pew.

WRIGHT: In South Carolina, Sunday, nearly 30,000 people hung on her every word.

WINFREY: I have been in the pew of television for what seems like a long time. I have never done it before, because in the past, I have been disappointed by politicians.

WRIGHT: She's urging her fans to vote the dream, not just to settle for the inevitable.

WINFREY: These are dangerous times. We're all facing explosive issues. Can't you feel it? You can feel it. We're all watching "American idol, trying not to think about it. Aren't you tired of the old way? I'm tired of the old way! I am tired of politics as usual. That is the reason why I have for the first time in my life stepped out of my box, stepped out of that TV box I have been living in all these years and for the first time in my life, stood up for a candidate who I believe can change America. I believe we need Barack Obama.

WRIGHT: Obama knows he's a lucky man to have her support. But according to Oprah, luck has nothing to do with it.

WINFREY: Is he the one? I believe he is the one! Barack Obama!

WRIGHT: Now, a lot of folks will tell you that in a presidential campaign, typically, a celebrity endorsement doesn't mean very much, but as she proved once again this weekend, Oprah Winfrey is no typical celebrity. Now with news from the Hillary side, let's turn it over to Kate Snow.

KATE SNOW: Okay, David. Well, thanks. Well, Senator Clinton said it happened to work out that her whole entire family was out campaigning with her this weekend. A total coincidence, she claimed, but nothing is an accident in Hillaryland. And it worked. We're not just talking about Oprah this morning, are we?

ABC GRAPHIC: A Cast of Clintons: Battling the "Oprah" Effect

SNOW: At a church in Charleston, Hillary Clinton's number one surrogate was trying to steal some of Oprah's thunder.

FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: America needs a new beginning.

SNOW: And Saturday in Iowa, it was three generations of Clinton's family on stage.

SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON: I'm thrilled to have with me my mother, Dorothy Rodham, and my daughter, Chelsea Clinton.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Oh, Chelsea. You've grown up. You're so beautiful.

CHELSEA CLINTON: Thank you so much.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I'm so glad you're here.

CHELSEA CLINTON: I'm very happy to be here.

SNOW: For the first time since her mom announced she was running, 27-year-old Chelsea was pressing the flesh.

CHELSEA CLINTON: Here to support my mom. Thank you.

SNOW: Senator Clinton was dismissive of the Oprah effect.

SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON: Everybody wants to have his or her supporters speak out and try to persuade voters, but at the end of the day, it's a choice among those of us who are running.

CHELSEA CLINTON: You get to hang out with me.

SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON: I get to hang out with you.

SNOW: But allowing the cameras to capture a little bit of grandma, mother, daughter camaraderie can't hurt.

JUAN WILLIAMS (NPR): What we're seeing here is Hillary Clinton putting on a warm, family face in the holiday season before the January 3rd Iowa vote.

SNOW: Chelsea did some campaigning for her mother's Senate bid back in 2000, but since then, she's kept a low profile. Intensely private, she lives in New York City now, hangs out at Starbucks, does very well working for a hedge fund, and yes, she's seeing someone.

CHELSEA CLINTON: I have a very serious boyfriend who my family knows, and I hope like.

SNOW: There are even rumors that Chelsea might be engaged. Rumors only. Some wondering whether she might announce she's engaged when she heads back to Iowa, right after Christmas, right around New Years Eve, maybe, Robin, maybe before the Iowa caucuses. Wouldn't that be good timing? But those are just rumors. But she did say she's heading back to Iowa with her boyfriend and everyone will get to meet him after Christmas.

ROBIN ROBERTS: Everybody in the pool!

SNOW: Why not? It can only help.