As Liz Cheney Drops Senate Bid, Networks Replay 'Divisive,' 'Family Feud' Over Gay Marriage

January 6th, 2014 12:23 PM


All three networks on Monday morning hyped the news that Liz Cheney is dropping her bid for a U.S. Senate seat in Wyoming. ABC, CBS and NBC used the opportunity to replay the "divisive" "family feud" Mrs. Cheney had with her gay sister, Mary, as she defended traditional marriage. On CBS This Morning, Jan Crawford again quoted Mary Cheney publicly lecturing, "You're just wrong, and on the wrong side of history."

On the Today show, Kelly O'Donnell opined, "Her campaign was brief and divisive." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] She added, "But then her campaign exposed a stunningly public family feud over same-sex marriage, when sister Mary Cheney, and Mary's wife Heather Poe, criticized Liz's opposition to gay marriage." In addition to focusing on gay marriage, NBC highlighted this as a failure for the Cheney brand. O'Donnell concluded that a "famous name and fierce ambition wasn't enough."

On ABC's Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos saw the primary campaign against incumbent conservative Mike Enzi as one that "has caused a lot of controversy, sparked a family feud."

Reporter Jeff Zeleny noted that the fight put Liz Cheney "at odds with her sister, Mary Cheney, and that caused the most controversy with a very private feud spilling out into public view."

CBS's Crawford also insisted that the daughter was seen as "this carpetbagger taking on this well-liked incumbent Republican." Carpetbagging wasn't considered too high a priority for journalists when Hillary Clinton decided to run for the Senate in New York.

There are a number of vulnerable Democratic Senate seats, including West Virginia, Arkansas, Alaska. So far, journalists haven't shown much interest in those elections, just a GOP primary in Wyoming that happened to involve a Cheney.

A transcript of the January 6 CBS This Morning segment is below:

07:10 am EST

NORAH O'DONNELL: And we turn to politics, and a surprise this morning from the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney. Liz Cheney says she is dropping out of the race for U.S. Senate in Wyoming.

Jan Crawford is in Washington with these new developments. Jan, good morning. So, why is she dropping out?

[CBS News Graphic: "Dropping Out: Liz Cheney Leaving Race For U.S. Senate Seat In WY"]

JAN CRAWFORD: Well, she's indicating this morning, in a statement, that it's for personal reasons. I mean, this is a really sudden end, Norah, to what was a rocky campaign – one that not only divided her family, but also top members of the Republican Party.

Now, in this statement, she points to some health reasons. She says, 'Serious health issues have recently arisen in our family, and under the circumstances, I have decided to discontinue my campaign. My children and their futures were the motivation for our campaign, and their health and well-being will always be my overriding priority.'

Now, we don't know who has this health issue, but her entire family has been in the spotlight after Cheney declared her opposition to same-sex marriage. Now, that upset her sister, Mary, who is a lesbian. She said at the time on Facebook, 'Liz this isn't just an issue on which we disagree. You're just wrong, and on the wrong side of history.' That drew in Dick Cheney, if you recall. He came out with a statement saying, 'Liz has always believed in the traditional definition of marriage. She has also always treated her sister and her sister's family with love and respect. Liz's many kindnesses shouldn't be used to distort her position.'

Now, Liz Cheney moved to Wyoming in 2012, and she was also, kind of, seen as this carpetbagger taking on this well-liked incumbent Republican, Mike Enzi. So, some top Republicans never embraced her candidacy. They worried it would hurt the Republican Party. And this announcement this morning all but guarantees that Enzi is, in fact, going get that fourth term. Norah and Charlie?