Last night a diary
dug up this disturbing bit of reporting from CBS News:
Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, promoted Kerry's candidacy and attacked President Bush's military record in a broadcast interview.
"I look forward to that debate when John Kerry, a war hero with a chest full of medals, is standing next to George Bush, a man who was AWOL in the Alabama National Guard," said McAuliffe. "George Bush never served in our military in our country. He didn't show up when he should have showed up. And there's John Kerry on the stage with a chest full of medals that he earned by saving the lives of American soldiers."
The story seems to have been pulled from the CBS site, but everyone can see the problem immediately -- McAuliffe and the DNC are supposed to be impartial in the primary process. If McAfuliffe is running around "promoting" Kerry's candidacy, it would be a breach of a lot of things -- none of them good. It would also validate the concerns of Dean fans that McAuliffe has been out to get their man. Concerns that I have repeatedly dismissed as irrational.
So did the CBS news story prove me horribly wrong?
No. It simply proved the uselessness of the media covering the campaign. Here are the relevant portions of McAuliffe's February 1 interview on This Week with George Stephanopoulos:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yet they still have a 30-40 point advantage on national security. And you saw all the opposition research start to get dumped out this weekend, clear sign that the Republican Party is going to
basically say that John Kerry is Michael Dukakis all over again. They're going to bring up furloughs, they're going to bring up soft on crime, they're going to bring up soft on defense and say, He just doesn't share your values.
MCAULIFFE: Well, they tried to do this to us, as you know, in 1988 in the campaign. But this isn't 1988. This is all the Republicans talk about. They're going to be negative.
I don't know if John Kerry will be the nominee. I have to be neutral towards all of them. But if he is the nominee, let me tell you this, George, I look forward to that debate, when John Kerry, a war hero with a chest full of medals, is standing next to George Bush, a man who was AWOL in the Alabama National Guard.
George Bush never served in our military in our country. He didn't show up when he should have showed up. And there's John Kerry, on the stage with a chest full of medals that he earned by saving lives of American soldiers.
So is -- John Kerry says, Bring it on. I don't know if he'll be the nominee, but I welcome whoever the nominee's debate is with George Bush [...]
STEPHANOPOULOS: But when does someone like Howard Dean -- you're right, let the voters decide. But when does someone like Howard Dean turn in -- turn from an insurgent, legitimate insurgent, into a spoiler?
MCAULIFFE: I can guarantee you this, that Howard Dean will never be a spoiler. This man is passionate about the Democratic Party. This man is passionate about beating George Bush. And if he or any of the other candidates at some point realize they can't get the nomination, the magic number is 2,161. That's the number of delegates. The second that we as a party, somebody has that, we have a nominee.
And Howard Dean will do the right thing, as well as all the other candidates. This pin, ABB, that I wear every day, Anybody But Bush, that is the sentiment across this country.
But let me tell you this. Howard Dean has energized an awful lot of people. He has done great things for our party, he and all the other candidates. He may be the nominee. We don't know it today.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yet there's no question, Terry, I mean, you're probably getting a lot of the same phone calls I was getting, I would suspect many more. Establishment Democrats in Washington breathed a huge sigh of relief when John Kerry won again in New Hampshire. That's true, isn't it?
MCAULIFFE: Well, as chairman of the party, as you know, I have to love all seven equally. And sure, a lot of people did call me and had concerns about the different candidates. But I have to defend all candidates. I have continually, as you have watched me on television over the course of the last six weeks, when people have asked questions about Governor Dean, I have defended him, as I do in private
It is up to the voters to make these decisions, not the chairman of the party. My job is to put this party in the best shape it's ever been in, leading up into the nomination. I got to tell you, today, the DNC is in the best shape we've ever been in, millions in the bank, 170 million named voter file. We just moved into the new national headquarters.
We are better prepared than we have ever been. The only thing I'm missing is a nominee. And I think, George, that will come March 10.
So note, TerryMac defended Kerry when asked about Kerry. He defended Dean when asked about Dean.
So for those looking for that evil DNC plot against Dean, this ain't it. It is instructive, however, on how the news media can take almost any statement and by carelessly misusing a word and omitting others, can completely change the meaning of just aobut any quote.
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