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No Home Run

Reported by Judy - September 3, 2004 -

If you missed George Bush's acceptance speech last night, you could have seen most of it this morning (Sept. 3) on Fox News between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. EDT.

During those two hours, Fox showed seven clips from Bush's speech and then 17 minutes of Bush speaking at a rally in Pennsylvania where he repeated most of the points from last night. Were it not for Hurricane Frances and the Russian school drama, Fox might have stayed with it longer.

During this same time period, Fox News represented John Kerry with soundless video and E.D. Hill's cogent summary of what she predicts will be Democratic objections to Bush's speech. She said critics of the president will complain "that President Bush is taking credit for things that haven't been completed" such as No Child Left Behind and will point out that, "Wait a minute, he promised that last time around, and it's still not done." Is E.D. secretly on the Kerry campaign payroll? Is that why she feels qualified to say what their reaction will be without quoting or interviewing them.

There were no Democratic guests during these two hours. Zip, zero, nada. Mention was made of Kerry's midnight speech, both by co-host Steve Doocy, who mentioned Kerry's "unfit to be commander in chief" line and by Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky. He called the speech "incoherent rambling in the middle of the night" and "a sign of panic."

The Republicans who analyzed the speech during these two hours were split on the quality of Bush's speech. McConnell called the speech "superb" and said, "The president's critics have said all year that he hasn't made a good speech in quite a while, but he sure did last night. I think he checked every box, touched every base." Just in case it didn't go over as well as he thought it would, McConnell predicted a small bounce out the convention for Bush.

Hill once again showed her ignorance or lack of preparation when she asked McConnell if Zell Miller will switch to the Republican Party. He's retiring from the Senate so what differences does it make?

Former Reagan speech writer Peter Robinson was less complimentary about Bush's performance. Peterson said the speech "more than did the job" even though he said it had no memorable lines and was "a little big clunky as a speech." He panned the domestic side of the speech, but thought the foreign policy section "was an impressive piece of work."

Prompted by Hill, Robinson said that the speech allowed Bush to present himself as "a perfectly calm, sober, even humorous man," instead of "a religious fanatic, a war monger, some sort of a kook." Setting the threshold for success incredibly low, Robinson said the speech demonstrated that "George Bush is a normal human being and anybody who doubted it was set at ease last night." Pretty sad that after four years in office, Bush still must introduce himself to American voters.

Fox News pundit Chris Wallace panned it even more, saying Bush "did OK. I don't think it was a home run, but I don't think he needed to get a home run. His campaign's in pretty good shape." He, of course, liked the fear-mongering part at the end the best. "What they really communicated in this convention, the Republicans did, is the idea that you've got to vote as if your life depends upon it," Wallace said.

On Fox News Live, White House correspondent James Rosen characterized parts of the president's agenda as "an ambitious, if somewhat sketchy plan." Fox often has reports from either James Rosen or Wendell Goler at least twice during this time period, one on Fox and Friends and again during Fox News Live. During convention week, they have been running pieces from both of them on the convention. Today, Fox was so busy with Hurricane Frances and the Russian school disaster that they squeezed in only one Rosen segment. And didn't have room for any Democrats.

The most incredible thing, though, is that Fox News went two straight hours without mentioning Laci Peterson, Lori Hacking, Kobe Bryant, or Michael Jackson. They must hate it when real news gets in the way.