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Keyword: "Obstructionist"

Reported by Nancy - January 20, 2005 -

Last nigt (1/19), Special Report was essentially a repeat of the Bush-o-rama they've been doing all week. The only major difference was that, instead of replaying a Fox interview with Bush, they replayed a Fox interview with Dick Cheney. There was again a lot of Dem-bashing, emphasizing ad nauseam that Dems are being "obstructionists."

At 6:01pm (all times ET) Brit Hume said Rice's 2nd day of hearings was "brief but not merciful" to intro a report by Carl Cameron, who called it a "contentious confirmation hearing." He noted that Rice had made a "rare admin admission" that there have been mistakes. Cameron said that Biden was "chastising" Rice, calling his questions "candid, even caustic" but Boxer "upped the ante," by "accusing [Rice] of deliberately midleading" Congress re WMDS then "arguing disingenously" that there were other reasons for the war in Iraq. Cameron repeated his previous description of Kerry, calling him "failed Dem candidate" & added that "Dems are delaying things until at least next week" re the nominations of Rice & Gonzales.

At 6:05pm Jim Angle reported on Bush preinaugural activities: a morning visit to the National Archives, attendance at an event called "Celebration of Freedom", lunch with the "extended Bush family", followed by practicing his speech [comment: it's hard work getting ready to be inaugurated]. Angle also showed 2 clip from Cheney's interview with Hume, the first with Cheney descirbing what Bush's inaugural speech will be like, the second with Cheney saying Dems are "obstructionist" & they're "opposing simply for the sake of opposing." Cameron added that Bush will use the Bush family bible that GHWBush & Jeb Bush have used for their respective inaugurations. Lest viewers forget that they're supposed to be celebrating, the last part of Angle's report was nearly drowned out by fireworks in the background.

At 6:17pm, instead of Hume interviewing someone, he played excerpts of his earlier interview with Cheney, making sure to repeat the "obstructionist" portion. The excerpt totalled 9 minutes.

At 6:31pm, in the "Grapevine" segment, Hume mentioned: inaugural protest & anti-protest activities; a UK poll showing 2/3 of the world thinks that Bush's re-election is bad for the world; 3 of the CBS staffers involved in "Memogate" have not yet resigned; leader of an insurgent group in Iraq (Army of Mohammed) says Iran has played a significant role in supporting resistance; & the RNC has a new leader but the DNC is "still looking."

At 6:34pm Major Garrett reported that Howard Dean is leading in the contest for who will chair the DNC (short clip of Dean) but said that Martin Frost "trails by a wide margin" & is "positioning himself as everyone's 2nd choice" (short clip of Frost). Garrett added that Ken Mehlman will chair the RNC & showed 2 long clip of Mehlman.

At 6:36pm, Brian Wilson filed another fluff report about inauguration activities, this time about the "Black Tie & Boots" ball.

In a teaser for the upcoming "All-Stars" segment, at 6:40pm Hume said "all kinds of pepole are contending that President Bush's inaugural speech needs to unite the country" but "does it really?" After the ad break, at 6:42pm Hume replayed a clip of Cheney & asked the panel about "expectations for a 17-min speech." The "All Stars" (Barnes, Kondracke, Mara Liasson) were not exactly on message. Kondracke said people "always expect a visionary speech" with "ringing rhetoric, possibly memorable." He said there's "no exact moniker" for this admin, & wondered if maybe Bush would "come up with one tomorrow." Liasson mentioned the "ownership society" theme, said that Bush "hinted at it in his first inaugural address" where he "laid out an agenda for" SocSec "reform". Hume rather testily asked if the speech needed to "unify" the country, & Barnes jumped right in, saying that "Dems & the media want" Bush "to say you were right about everything & I was wrong" but he (Barnes) favored the "just get over it" approach. Kondracke pointed out that there's "space between 'get over it' & kowtowing," that "reaching out is a good thing" because it "puts the onus on the other guy if he doesn't respond well." Liasson added that "inaugural speeches" are a perfect place for "compassionate conservatism." Hume summarized the theme as "freedom abroad & more freedom at home" with the latter meaning "economic self-determination." Liasson said that's a "legitimate theme, coherent" but the question is how it will be implemented, pointing out that if you're going to talk about "freedom abroad" what about countries like Egypt & Saudi Arabia, & at home "what about freedom from poverty?" She said she hoped the speech "will provoke debate."

The second part of the segment, starting a 6:51pm, was devoted to Boxer v Rice "Round 2". Hume showed a clip of Boxer questioning Rice, then said that "Biden was critical," & so was Kerry but "did Boxer put her finger on any factual misrepresentations that stood up?" This time, the panel was on message. Kondracke claimed that Boxer had "accused Rice of being a liar." Liasson said that the "substance was fair, she did say 2 different things," but noted that it's "never a good idea to attack like that," calling it "too personal." Barnes did an absolutely Clintonian parsing of the difference (or lack thereof) between "would" vs "could" in an effort to show that Rice's various statements about WMDs & reasons for war were not different. Hume summarized the issue as "Dems & the image they project," again calling Dems "obstructionists" & adding that Cheney said there's "danger" in obstruction. Liasson agreed with that assessment "if it's across the board" but not if Dems "offer alternatives."

General comment: Cheney gives a concept -- even a tired old one like "obstructionist" -- & Fox runs it right into the ground. If "obstruction" & various iterations thereof had been uttered just one more time, my home would have been minus one TV set.