MATALIN V. LOCKHART ON GMA:
ABC's "Good Morning America" sponsored a debate between Bush-Cheney advisor Mary Matalin and Kerry advisor Joe Lockhart. Matalin said First Lady Laura Bush "has accepted the apology and we accept the apology"—something that Bush advisor Karen Hughes did not do yesterday when interviewed by Judy Woodruff on CNN. Despite saying that she accepted the apology, Matalin said: "We find it strange that she omitted being a mom as a job." Matalin added that being someone who had gotten her kids up that very morning being a mom is a "real job." In fact, Matalin called it the "hardest job I've ever had." Matalin called Heinz Kerry's statement a "revealing."
In what might have been a bit of self-pitying, Lockhart said "we all think" Laura Bush is a "wonderful mother, a wonderful First Lady" which, he said, was in "striking contrast with what I lived through in the 1990s. This is all about changing the subject."
Matalin then took a jab at "these reconstituted Clintonistas." Lockhart lamented that the Republicans "couldn't contain their glee as they ran around" yesterday talking about the THK interview. He added that he wanted to talk about the issues "right here and right now." Matalin responded by saying: "Joe's campaign has said nothing but untruths" lately and charged that the Kerry campaign has been "lying" about Social Security, the draft, the flu and job numbers. Matalin added that "these are the same numbers Joe Lockhart bragged about when Joe was in this seat working for Clinton's re-election." Matalin ended by calling Heinz Kerry a "sassy, opinionated woman. I would love to have a martini with her."
MORE TERESA HEINZ KERRY:
ABC's Kate Snow looked at Teresa Heinz Kerry's comments for GMA. She had an interview with Karen Hughes, Sen. John Edwards reacting to Ted Koppel and sound from Kerry last night saying that his wife "tells what's on her mind." Snow closed by reporting that Republican operatives are telling her that "this one is going to snowball into an avalanche."
NBC's Carl Quintanilla started with Wednesday's message of the day before moving to "fresh controversy from Kerry's wife." He reported that the "furor" continued "even after the apology." He closed by reporting that Kerry will talk today about science and stem cells and that he will be endorsed by the wife of Christopher Reeve.
The CBS "Early Show" handled THK's comments by asking political analyst Craig Crawford to weigh in on them: "She wants us to call her Mama T. She is fascinating!" He said if Kerry is elected "we are going to get one of the most unusual First Ladies we've ever seen." Crawford said Heinz Kerry has "held that in check" and that her opponents "thought she would do this more." He said: "This is an example of the kind of comment that she didn't think through. She wasn't even correct about what she had to say and had to correct it later."
FNC's anchors talked about "Teresa's job jab" and asked why would she would make "such a direct attack" on women like this when her husband is "already soft in the female category." Later, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist was a guest. He was asked about THK's "job jab," Frist said he appreciates that she has apologized but that she was saying that "moms aren't really working" and that teachers don't really work and that librarians don't really work.
LIZ CHENEY v. MIKE McCURRY ON NBC, CNN:
On CNN, Liz Cheney said "We appreciate the apology… Being a mother, you know, I think, perhaps for those of us who are mothers, is the most important job of all, and I'm glad Teresa Heinz Kerry apologized."Mike McCurry said "We've made clear all along that this economy is not working for working moms… I don't think the Bush Administration understands how hard people are trying to make end's meet." He later added "Mrs. Bush was very gracious about the apology today, and the Bush campaign folks have been very gracious, and I expect to move on."
On NBC, Liz Cheney and Mike McCurry squared off on "Today" but did not discuss THK's comments. Instead, they focused on terrorism. Liz Cheney said the policies Kerry and Edwards are proposing "would take us back to the approach in the 1990s where we ignored attack after attack after attack." McCurry said "we don't want a VP scaring us."
KERRY WRAP WITH NO MENTION OF THK:
CBS' Byron Pitts began his piece by looking at Kerry's "risky but necessary strategy to attack Bush on his leadership in the war on terror" and noted that "it's the war in Iraq where Kerry sees an opening." Pitts showed the Kerry ad featuring Kristen Breitweiser and closed by saying that another widow—the widow of Christopher Reeve.
CBS INCLUDES REV. PAT ROBERTSON'S COMMENTS:
CBS' Bill Plante included the Rev. Pat Robertson's allegation on CNN that President Bush told him before the Iraq war that he didn't think there would be any casualties. Plante said Hughes told reporters that Robertson's recollection was not accurate, insisting, "It was not the kind of thing the President would say." Plante was the only one to note that Bush brandished his NRA endorsement while campaigning yesterday.
ABC's Jake Tapper did GMA's job piece from Dayton, Ohio. He was joined by a man who had to lay off his best man. He described Bush has pushing more tax cuts and lower business costs – like fewer regulations and fewer frivolous lawsuits – to free up capital and allow businesses to expand and hire more employees. Kerry was described as supporting a middle class tax cut that would lower health care costs and help companies keep jobs here.
INTERNET VOTER APPEALS:
ABC's Claire Shipman looked at different voter appeals being made in the Web including talk of withholding sex for votes, punk voters for Bush, the star of the Passion of the Christ, video game divas who are interested in politics.
CLINTON: BACK IN THE GAME:
NBC's Kelly O'Donnell looked at Clinton getting "back in the game." For Democrats, Bill Clinton is both statesman and rockstar, she said. "His party's ultimate campaigner." The piece explained that Clinton could be a boost in Cleveland and Milwaukee but Republican strategist Ed Goeas cautioned that his visits could get statewide coverage which could turn off more conservative voters in other parts of the state who remember the Clinton of Monica Lewinsky. O'Donnell closed by saying Kerry must close the deal himself.
MAUREEN DOWD ON "IMUS":
On "Imus", New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd said the race has come down to this phallic thing. Borrowing a formulation put forward by Harvard's Graham Allison, she said: For Kerry, "the question is: will he pull the trigger?" For Bush, she said, "the question is: can he aim?" Dowd said Kerry has proved the Bush claim that Kerry is a follower by following Bush in talking about faith, fear tactics and wanting to bring the forces of democracy.