Is this 2008 all over again? ABC on Tuesday insisted that Bernie Sanders's campaign rallies are like "rock concerts" and that "Bernie-mentum" is sweeping the country. During Barack Obama's first campaign, the network routinely hyped the "rock star" candidate.
Cecila Vega insisted that "Bernie Sanders has [Hillary] worried... She may be the Democratic front-runner, but this morning Clinton is feeling the burn." According to the reporter, the socialist senator enjoyed a "massive turnout at a campaign rally overnight in Maine, that at times felt more like a rock concert."
After insisting, again, that "there is worry in Hillary Land," Vega reassured, "...The reality is she is ahead, George, by a long shot, in polls and fund-raising." Former Clinton operative (and Clinton Foundation donor) George Stephanopoulos lectured, "They're not worried about the nomination but don't want to get beat in Iowa or New Hampshire."
In 2008, ABC journalists similarly promoted Obama with effusive terms like "rock star." On October 31, 2008, Claire Shipman insisted that women "lust" after "political rock star" Obama.
The accolades on ABC weren't limited to Obama. On February 28, 2008, Cynthia McFadden enthused that Mrs. Clinton "is greeted like a rock star by patrons" at a restaurant.
On January 18, 2007, Shipman promoted the Hillary-Obama battle as "hot factor" vs. "fluid poetry."
A transcript of the July 7 segment is below:
ABC GRAPHIC: Bernie Sanders Draws Massive Crowds: Senator Giving Hillary Surprise Fight
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to turn now to that surprise surge in the race for the White House. Bernie Sanders, the socialist Senator from Vermont, rising in the polls drawing the biggest crowds of the campaign. That's last night in Maine and throwing a scare into Hillary Clinton's camp. ABC's Cecilia Vega covering Clinton's campaign. She's here with all the latest. Good morning, Cecilia.
CECILIA VEGA: Hey, George. Good morning to you. Seventy five hundred people showing up last night in Maine. That is an impressive turnout this early in this campaign and now team Clinton says Bernie Sanders has them worried. Hillary Clinton back on the campaign trail today, destination Iowa. She may be the Democratic front-runner, but this morning Clinton is feeling the burn. Challenger Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders seeing a massive turnout at a campaign rally overnight in Maine, that at times felt more like a rock concert. In recent days, Bernie-mentum drawing larger crowds than every candidate running in the 2016 race for the White House. Ten thousand people in Wisconsin. Five thousand in Denver. Last week, Clinton needed a bigger venue to hold a larger than expected crowd for her supporters in New Hampshire, 850 people.
HILLARY CLINTON: Well, we each run our own campaigns and I always knew this would be competitive.
VEGA: Her campaign conceding there is worry in Hillary Land and not helping this scene from a New Hampshire Fourth of July parade, the images going viral. Campaign workers used a rope to keep reporters away from Clinton as she walked along the route. And today, Clinton gives her first national television interview since launching her campaign three months ago. And while her team may say that they are worried about a challenger like Sanders, the reality is she is ahead, George, by a long shot, in polls and fund-raising.
STEPHANOPOULOS: They're not worried about the nomination but don't want to get beat in Iowa or New Hampshire. Okay, Cecilia, thanks very much.
ROBIN ROBERTS: And I gotta tell you, Sanders supporters are very active on social media.