CyberAlert -- November 5, 1996 -- Harsh Perot

Five items today:

1. Dole's not the only one who is "harsh." So is Ross Perot....when he criticizes Bill Clinton.

2. To Sam Donaldson, Jesse Helms is "arch-conservative," but Senators Carl Levin and Ted Kennedy aren't worth labeling.

3. A CBS reporter charges that the presidential race was over in January: "Republicans had just stumbled badly by shutting down the government."

4. On Capital Gang, Time's Margaret Carlson dubbed Republican Congressmen "evil" as Al Hunt's "gut" tells him that 25 "Gingrich robots" will lose.

5. MTV's Tabitha Soren says that for young people choosing between Clinton and Dole is like "choosing between which Menendez brother do they like better."

1) If you say something less than glowing about President Clinton, then you are "harsh." On Monday (November 4) night's World News Tonight, ABC anchor Peter Jennings told viewers:

"Some of the harshest language about the President, again today coming from Ross Perot. Mr. Perot made only one public appearance today, in his home state of Texas."

And here's Perot's harsh comment: "Would you allow a man with pending criminal charges to babysit your children? It's a joke. You wouldn't think about it."

2) In a short World News Tonight segment Monday night Sam Donaldson explained some of the changes in committee chairmanships that would happen if Democrats take control of the upper chamber. But only one Senator got an extremist tag:

"At the Armed Services Committee, you'll find Carl Levin, far less user friendly to the armed services, would be the chairman. In Foreign Relations, Jesse Helms, the arch-conservative would no longer be there. And in Labor and Foreign Relations, Ted Kennedy would chair once again. If the President wants to try for health care reform once more, he'd have a friendly committee there."

Yes, he said "Labor and Foreign Relations" when he meant Labor and Human Resources.

3) MRC analyst Steve Kaminski caught CBS reporter Bill Plante adopting liberal spin as fact on Monday's This Morning. Looking back at the 1996 campaign, Plante asserted at one point:

"You think the campaign began here, at the Democrats' made for TV convention? No way. It really began with this year's State of the Union address. The President already knew he'd have no opponent in New Hampshire and the Republicans had just stumbled badly by shutting down the government."

4) On Saturday's Capital Gang on CNN both Margaret Carlson of Time and Al Hunt of the Wall Street Journal put their liberal hearts ahead of their political brains.

Margaret Carlson offered this prediction on the House races, as transcribed by MRC intern Joe Alfonsi: "Some of the Democrats are going to suffer from the down draft from Clinton and the money. Some of these freshman are going to go and that's great relief. Helen Chenoweth, her evil twin, Andrea Seastrand in California, J.D. Hayworth, Steve Stockman, the painter from Texas."

National Review's Kate O'Beirne jumped in: "More women in Congress Margaret, what's wrong with you?" Carlson countered: "You have to reach a certain level of competence."

O'Beirne then predicted the GOP would hold the House. Al Hunt agreed, but: "All the reporting that I've done, suggests that Kate is absolutely right and I think over 90 percent of the incumbents are going to be re-elected because it's a good year for incumbents. But my gut tells me that two dozen of those Gingrich robots, the freshmen, are going to bite the dust and the Democrats are going to pick up 25 seats. Mark I'm not sure I believe it, but it's my prediction and I'm sticking with it."

We'll soon know if Hunt's dream of a Democratic House will come true.

5) Why are Generation Xers (those in their 20s) turned off by Campaign '96? Here's the explanation of Tabitha Soren from MTV as espoused on Monday's This Morning:

"This year you have two known quantities so young people feel like they are dealing with people who are political insiders and that generally turns younger people off. They really feel, our polls show, that they are disinterested and even the people who are voting are not really happy with their choices. They feel like they're sort of choosing between which Menendez brother do they like better. So, a lot of them also say they'd love to turn to a third party if they thought they could win. But I think that's keeping a lot of people away from the process."

Between watching all the election night coverage and going to an election night party, I probably won't have time to do a CyberAlert for Wednesday morning, so expect the next CyberAlert Wednesday night/Thursday morning.

-- Brent Baker