CyberAlert -- September 24, 1996 -- Dole Too Far Right

Three items today:

1. Bob Dole is losing. What's to blame? The fact that he's failed to nail down his conservative base? No, ABC says -- surprise, surprise -- that he's moved "too far to the right."

2. A White House reporter for the New York Times will soon marry a former Clinton Press Secretary turned liberal commentator.

3. Bryant Gumbel urges prayer for children because of the welfare reform bill.


It could be argued that Bob Dole is losing because he lacks conservative passion, that conservatives don't trust that he'll follow through on his conservative promises. But that's not a view ABC took Monday night. On the September 23 World News Tonight reporter Dean Reynolds explored why Dole is behind in Michigan's 8th congressional district, the Lansing area. In 1992 the networks didn't blame conservatives for Bush's impending loss until October. This year ABC made an early start.
Reynolds found people happy with the economy and cynical about the political process. Reynolds explained: "The same cynicism that may deflect attacks on Clinton, seems to work directly against Bob Dole with many voters here calling his 15 percent tax cut idea a political gimmick."
Following a soundbite from a teacher who asserted that you can't cut taxes without increasing the deficit and who then denounced Newt Gingrich, Reynolds relayed: "Many of the voters we spoke with blamed Gingrich for last year's government shut down, for a mean-spirited attitude generally, and for attempts to trim Medicare specifically."
Reynolds then aired a soundbite from Ron Bell, a man on golf course: "I think that anybody that came out as strong as Mr. Gingrich did when he first came out regarding Medicare was committing political suicide and I think the Republican Party took too long before they tried to quiet him down."
Reynolds: "And Ron Bell is a life-long Republican."
Interviewer, off camera: "Your party. Did it move too far to the right?"
Bell: "Yes, far too far to the right."
Reynolds: "That may explain why Dole is having trouble winning over women voters."
Woman in restaurant: "I am a Republican and I'm having some troubles with the platform because I'm pro-choice."
2nd woman in restaurant: "I think abortion is not a political issue. It has no business in politics."
Reynolds: "And where there is support for Dole, it often sounds lukewarm."
3rd woman in restaurant: "I will support Dole and most probably vote for him, but it would have been nice if we had a different candidate.
Reynolds concluded his story: "Across Michigan's 8th district, from the city streets to the fields of corn, the Dole campaign is struggling, trailing and has six weeks to catch up."
So busy portraying Dole as "too far to the right," Reynolds failed to consider that maybe voters don't believe his tax cut promise because Dole has a long record of raising taxes over conservative objections. Reynolds also failed to look at how Reagan and Bush managed to win with a pro-life message.


Monday's Washington Post "Reliable Source" column revealed that "Former White House Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers, 35, and New York Times White House reporter Todd Purdum, 36, are engaged after dating seriously for about a year." Myers is now the liberal co-host of CNBC's Equal Time.


The Children Defense Fund's Marian Wright Edelman appeared on Monday's Today show (September 23) to promote the paperback release of her book titled Guide My Feet. It's a collection of "prayers and meditations for children."
Bryant Gumbel asked her: "In light of the new welfare reform bill, do you think the children need more prayers than ever before?"
Yes, that when they grow up they won't have to watch biased morning show hosts like Bryant Gumbel.

-- Brent Baker