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Speculation and Innuedo

Reported by Judy - August 13, 2004 -

Presidential politics was pushed aside for almost two hours of Fox and Friends and Fox News live today (August 13) as the New Jersey governor's resignation, Hurricane Charley, and Najaf dominated the news, but Jon Scott finally managed to sneak in a smear against John Kerry.

Scott discussed the decision of Gov. James McGreevey to resign in an interview (9:44 a.m. EDT) with former Bush I counsel Boyden Gray and James Sasser, a Democrat and former Tennessee senator.

Scott began the interview by noting that "Some New Jersey Republicans have said he should step down immediately. Does McGreevey's timing have anything to do with presidential politics?"

Gray complained about McGreevey not quitting until Nov. 15, in order to get past the November election and not give Republicans a chance to compete for the office this fall, but Gray never brought up presidential politics.

Sasser said the governor was not required to step down, and since he was elected by the people of New Jersey, he had the right to decide when to resign. He, too, did not bring up presidential politics.

Finally, Scott brought it up himself, noting, "There were rumblings that the Kerry campaign had asked him not to resign immediately because it would throw a very powerful Democratic governor's office up for grabs at a time when Senator Kerry is trying to win the presidency."

While Scott was noting that Kerry's office "has absolutely denied all of that," Gray finally took his cue and said, "It looks very curious." Sasser countered that if he were Kerry, he would want McGreevey to resign immediately to put the matter to rest.

The segment was interesting for several reasons. Scott had promoted it as a discussion of "presidential politics" revolving around the resignation timing, but neither of the interviewees brought it up. Scott had to do it himself. He couldn't find a Republican to do it for him.

Second, if Scott truly was interested in "presidential politics" why didn't he ask what Bush's preference might be? Did Bush want McGreevey to step down right away so he could come to the state to campaign for the GOP gubernatorial candidate for the next three months? Was presidential politics behind the calls of "some New Jersey Republicans" that McGreevey step down immediately? Did Republicans think their chances of winning the seat were greater this November than they would be if the election were held next year? What was the GOP angle?

Scott did not explore those questions. The result was a segment that made Democrats look like political maneuverers, trying to fix things so their candidate will win. Meanwhile, the motives of "some New Jersey Republicans" are never questioned and they look politically pure.

Not fair, not balanced.