Evening Newscasts Wrap

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ABC's Terry Moran, lead in the original East coast feed but second in an updated feed, said President Bush was "on the defensive" over Iraq today and "admitted that the new weapons report has conclusively refuted his main case for war in Iraq," adding that Bush's statements today were "a far cry from the precise, graphic, and alarming statements" before the. Moran closed saying Iraq has remained a strong issue for Bush in part because the public has seen Saddam Hussein and not WMD as the threat, but that Bush's credibility on the issue is eroding.

CBS' John Roberts, whose package appeared third after two packages about violence on the Israeli border and in Baghdad, said Bush, "already fighting uphill," had his case for war "wounded yet again" by the Duelfer report and that John Kerry could "only wish for" today's headlines. Roberts included Cheney's pointing out that Saddam Hussein was taking advantage of the food for oil program and called it Bush's "new argument."

NBC's David Gregory called the Duelfer report Bush's "biggest challenge yet" and said Bush is "not giving ground" before including video of the President's former WMD statements. Gregory noted that Bush "may find himself spending the last weeks of campaign defending his decision to go to war."

NBC was the only network to dedicate a full package to Kerry's response today and was the only one to include sound of Edwards today. (Kelly O'Donnell package)

NBC's Lisa Myers covered the oil for food program but did not frame it within the context of weapons of mass destruction -- she did describe that Saddam Hussein was trying to undermine sanctions, though.


NBC's Brian Williams had a nice package about Cabela's, the hunting store with 4 million customers in whose aisles "a lot of political pros think the key to victory may be found." Williams noted that Bush has visited two stores, the Vice President has held a town meeting inside of one, and that Kerry is "considering an event there."


ABC's Linda Douglass, whose package used very damming graphics, noted Delay's "The Hammer" nickname and closed saying most Republicans are standing by Delay -- "for now."

CBS' Bob Orr covered the same.


ABC was the only one to cover the pork in the corporate tax bill and did so in a damming package for Rep. Tom Delay and, to a lesser extent, Sen. Tom Daschle. John Cochran's package included the voice of Sen. John McCain as the wise one.


CBS' Sandra Hughes delivered a snappy package about the female vote, noting that Republicans are trying to portray Kerry as an untrustworthy first husband and Democrats are trying to portray Bush as reckless. The package included many MOS's and video of both candidates on Dr. Phil.