On Friday, ABC correspondent David Wright continued to make it clear that his affection lies with Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton. Covering Thursday's Democratic debate for "Good Morning America," Wright slammed the New York senator for "an absolute clunker of an attack line." And, at one point, the journalist completely misstated a comment by Clinton about American military troops.
Discussing a question from CNN debate host Campbell Brown about overcoming crises, Wright asserted, "Clinton went on to compare her suffering to soldiers wounded in Iraq." In fact, she said quite the opposite. Wright only played a brief snippet of the former first lady's answer, in which she observed, "The hits I've taken in my life are nothing compared to what goes on every single day in the lives of people across our country." But even that makes it clear that Clinton was not drawing a parallel between her life and wounded veterans. For context, here is Clinton's response to the query:
SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON: But people often ask me, 'How do you do it?' You know, 'How do you keep going?' And I just have to shake my head in wonderment, because with all of the challenges that I've had, they are nothing compared to what I see happening in the lives of Americans every single day.
You know, a few months ago, I was honored to be asked, along with Senator McCain, as the only two elected officials, to speak at the opening of the Intrepid Center at Brooke Medical Center in San Antonio, a center designed to take care of and provide rehabilitation for our brave young men and women who have been injured in war. And I remember sitting up there and watching them come in. Those who could walk were walking. Those who had lost limbs were trying with great courage to get themselves in without the help of others. Some were in wheelchairs and some were on gurneys. And the speaker representing these wounded warriors had had most of his face disfigured by the results of fire from a roadside bomb. You know, the hits I've taken in life are nothing compared to what goes on every single day in the lives of people across our country. [Emphasis added]
It's rather apparent that Clinton's point was that her struggles in life can't be compared to those of Iraq's military veterans. Yet, somehow, Wright claimed the complete inverse.
During the segment, Wright also derided a Clinton quip about the scandal of Obama recycling speeches from campaign surrogates. Wright bluntly labeled it "an absolute clunker of an attack line from Senator Clinton." He also spun Clinton's compliment about being "honored" to be on the stage with Obama and her assertion that "whatever happens, we are going to be fine." According to Wright, the New York senator "seemed almost to surrender to the will of the voters."
Wright has developed a paper trail of pro-Obama and anti-Clinton reporting. On a February 19 "Nightline" segment, he gushed that the Illinois senator's rallies are like "Springsteen concerts" and wondered if Obama could "redeem politics from mere partisanship." During a February 16 GMA piece, he savaged Clinton for "lashing out" at Obama and attacked the New York politician for "brazenly" accusing Obama of going negative.
A transcript of the February 22 segment, which aired at 7:04am, follows:
DIANE SAWYER: And now we're going to turn to the Democratic debate last night in Texas. A new tone from the two candidates who have been in the arena so long together now. And ABC's David Wright was there and joins us from Austin this morning. David?
DAVID WRIGHT: Good morning, Diane. You know, everyone was expecting a battle royale, but there were two moments that really stood out. One was an absolute clunker of an attack line from Senator Clinton. The other, though, was introspective, personal, almost like what happened in the diner back in New Hampshire. From the start, the two the candidates almost were afraid to look at each other but it took almost an hour for Clinton to land the first blow.
SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON: I have to confess, I was somewhat amused the other night when, on one of the TV shows, one of Senator Obama's supporters was asked to name one accomplishment of Senator Obama and he couldn't.
WRIGHT: She suggested Obama lacks substance. Obama took issue with that.
SENATOR BARACK OBAMA: The implication is that the people who have been voting for me or involved in my campaign are somehow delusional --
WRIGHT: But it was a well-rehearsed zinger accusing Obama of plagiarism that drew the biggest response.
CLINTON: You know, in lifting whole passages from someone else's speeches is not change you can believe in, it's change you can xerox.
WRIGHT: The audience booed and hissed.
CLINTON: If you look -- If you look--
OBAMA: The notion that I had plagiarized from somebody who is one of my national co-chairs who gave me the line and suggested I use it, I think is silly.
WRIGHT: Clinton got a much warmer response near the end of the debate when asked to discuss a moment that has tested her.
CLINTON: Well, I think everyone know here I lived through some crises and challenging moments in my life and--
WRIGHT: Clinton went on to compare her suffering to soldiers wounded in Iraq.
CLINTON: The hits I've taken in my life are nothing compared to what goes on every single day in the lives of people across our country.
WRIGHT: Then, she seemed almost to surrender to the will of the voters.
CLINTON: I am honored to be here with Barack Obama.. I am absolutely honored and, you know-- Whatever happens, we are going to be fine.
WRIGHT: She got a standing ovation. And that is really the moment that everyone will be talking about coming out of this debate. Clinton getting real, showing some vulnerability. Will it be enough to change the dynamics here? Well, we'll have to see, Diane.