Liberal media, my Aunt Fanny. McCain campaign proxy Carly Fiorina keeps pushing the Clinton PUMA meme as a way to reinforce for those women voters why they should vote for John McCain. Sadly, George Stephanopoulos -- who, as a former member of the Clinton administration really ought to know better -- lets her get away with it. Note that every time Obama supporter Sen. Claire McCaskill tries to make a point, Stephanopoulos interrupts to give Fiorina the rebuttal.
And proving that while they absolutely cannot govern, Republicans are masters at campaigning, as McCaskill tries over and over again to show that McCain's own record belies his stated support for women's issues (a patronizing concept in and of itself--these are everyone's issues), Fiorina goes personal against Obama himself, while providing herself the alibi that Obama has gone negative despite his rhetoric of hope. And Stephanopoulos doesn't bat an eye, nor ask Fiorina to rebut the specific legislation that McCaskill brings up.
The final indignity? After Fiorina spins that really, she and McCaskill agree that women vote on issues and that's why they're going to vote for McCain, Stephanopoulos cuts off the interview with a Rovian let's "end on that point of agreement." Point of agreement, really? How about corporately-pushed-low-info-voter propaganda, George?
Transcripts below the fold
STEPHANOPOULOS: Sarah Palin was asked by Charlie Gibson about Hillary Clinton. Here is what she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PALIN: I think he's regretting not picking her now. I do. But what determination and grit and even grace through some tough shots that were fired her way. She handled those well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Even Senator Biden said this week that Hillary might have been a better pick. Did Senator Obama give the McCain campaign an opening by not picking Hillary Clinton?
MCCASKILL: Well, I think that Joe Biden is going to be a terrific vice president. Joe Biden is fully capable of stepping into the presidency at a moment's notice. I also think it's important, George, once again, this issue is about being honest and forthcoming with the American people. John McCain has not told the truth about Sarah Palin. He has run an ad that is terribly distorted and full of lies about -- you're talking about making women mad. When women figure out that John McCain has run an ad saying that when Barack Obama wanted to give education to kindergarteners about how to avoid sexual predators, that in fact, they ran an ad that said that he wanted to give them sex education? I mean, this is the kind of game that's being played on those...
STEPHANOPOULOS: So no regrets about Hillary Clinton.
MCCASKILL: And by the way, speaking about honest, Sarah Palin this summer called Hillary Clinton a whiner. And now it's oh, you know, they are being disrespectful to Hillary. I didn't hear her say that when she was asked that before she was the vice presidential pick. And when John McCain was asked a question at a forum -- you remember this -- someone said, "how do we stop the b," referring to Hillary Clinton, and John McCain laughed. So all -- and they had buttons at their convention, "the hottest V.P."(inaudible)...
STEPHANOPOULOS: What's your response, Carly Fiorina?
FIORINA: Well, first, let's just remember for the record -- it was the Barack Obama campaign that launched the first negative ad. Let's just recall, if we want to talk about honesty, let's recall the spate of ads that said that John McCain was in favor of a 100-year war in Iraq. Please, I mean, this high and mighty attitude that somehow
John McCain has stooped to a new level in politics is A, untrue, and B, as I recall, Barack Obama promised a campaign of hope and politics of promise, et cetera, et cetera.
But having said that, my personal opinion -- Barack Obama made a critical strategic error by not choosing Hillary Clinton. There are a whole host of women in the Democratic Party who believe the Democratic Party does not understand what sexism is, routinely underestimates the impact of women, and they are coming in droves to the Republican Party because they think the party and John McCain get it. That's a fact.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It is true that this week, we saw a 20-point swing among white women in our ABC News poll.
MCCASKILL: Let me say, I think Sarah Palin has an incredibly winning personality. She's a very skilled politician. And I understand a post-convention bump. And she's a great role model for working women. I mean, I'm talking as a woman who took my breast pump to work for all three of my children. So that's terrific. But women of America are going to kick the tires the next 55 days, George, and they're going to going to find out that this is a ticket that wants to put women in prison for having an abortion after they have been raped. This is a ticket that has -- is opposed to equal pay for equal work. This is a ticket that does not embrace early childhood education. This is a ticket...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me stop you with those three...
MCCASKILL: ... that is not good.
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... because Carly Fiorina is shaking her head there.
FIORINA: Those are ridiculous charges, point one. But I think the important point here is that this is what the Democratic Party has done for years. It has tried to hold women hostage by frightening them on issues such as reproductive rights, Rove v. Wade. American women in this country will not be held hostage by the politics of fear on Roe v. Wade anymore. I know more many, many pro-choice women who are pro-McCain. And if we want to talk about equal pay for equal work, I think this once again is an example of John McCain walks the walk and Barack Obama talks the talk.
And all you have to do is look inside their two Senate offices and assess how are women paid relative to men. In John McCain's office, women are paid more. In Barack Obama's office, women are paid less. That's a fact.
MCCASKILL: This is a great example. John McCain proudly states he wants to overturn Roe v. Wade. That's a fact, George. Carly can't get around that fact. And by the way, equal pay for equal work, John McCain is opposed to that legislation. He said so. He didn't show up to vote on it. But he said, if I would've been there...
STEPHANOPOULOS: This is the Lilly Ledbetter legislation.
MCCASKILL: This is just a few months ago. He said, I'm opposed to it. And by the way, women have been voting on our side of the ticket because they pay attention to the policies that matter, on education, on health care, on how they take care of their children and their mothers. This is what they care about. And they're going to pay attention this election. And I'll make a prediction that the women of America will vote for Barack Obama by a healthy majority.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How about the equal pay legislation?
FIORINA: Well, you know, here is one thing that -- this always happens. Claire and I battle it out, but we find something to agree on. I absolutely agree with Senator McCaskill, women care about health care, education, national security, the economy, whether we're going to create jobs here in America or overseas. And that is why they'll vote for John McCain, not all of them,but enough of them that he's going to win. Because just wherever they come out on Roe v. Wade, most women are not single-issue voters, they are like men, caring about all of the issues that matter to this country.
MCCASKILL: I agree.
FIORINA: So we're going to win, we're going to win on the substance of the issues, as I've said all along.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to end on that point of agreement.