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Covering George W. Bush's run for the White House, Dan Rather seemed concerned that Bush was moving too far to the Right during and after the Republican primaries. After the controversy following the 2000 election was resolved, Rather criticized Bush for not naming liberals to his cabinet. He also spoke of the U.S. Supreme Court "selecting" Bush as president.
See also Florida Labeling, Florida Controversy, Al Gore, and John McCain.
Al Gore and George W. Bush emerged as the frontrunners following the
Tuesday" primary voting of March 7, 2000:
"As for George Bush the younger, there's every reason to expect that the millions spent on negative attack ads and phone banks used against McCain will soon be dialing up against Al Gore."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, March 8, 2000.
David Letterman asked Dan Rather what he thought about George W. Bush's cabinet appointments:
|Watch Dan Rather state that the U.S. Supreme Court "selected" George W. Bush. Choose either RealVideo (134KB, 285KB) or Windows Media (150KB, 358KB).|
DAN RATHER: Tonight's headlines: Daschle questions Bush's effectiveness in the war on terror [...] Good evening. We are now well into the second year of the war on terror. Tonight, there two very different assessments of how the war is, in fact, going. Tonight, President Bush, through a spokesman, repeated his insistence that the United States has made, quote, "tremendous progress." This, he said, includes dismantling Osama bin Laden's terror network. But bin Laden himself is still at-large and that, according to Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle, raises questions about how the war on terror is really going.
TOM DASCHLE: I think we have to question whether or not we're winning the war. We haven't found bin Laden. We haven't made any real progress in many of the other areas involving the key elements of al Qaeda. They continue to be as great a threat today as they were a year and a half ago. [splice]
I don't want to proclaim that it's not successful but I think there are increasing questions about whether or not the administration can legitimately say we are winning the war. [splice]
The front-page stories today ought to be a wakeup call to this country and to this administration that whatever they're doing, it's not enough.
--Dan Rather and Tom Daschle on the CBS Evening News, November 14, 2002.
"A newspaper-sponsored study out today suggests that if Al Gore got the hand
count of Miami, Florida votes he wanted, he still might have lost the election
to George Bush. What are called independent accountants reviewed ballots
in Miami and found a net gain for Gore of 49 votes. Even adding those votes to
Gore gains in three other disputed counties, Gore, they say, would have lost
Florida by about 140 votes."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, February 26, 2001.
George W. Bush submitted his budget proposals to
Democrats criticized them for having too large of tax cuts while not devoting
enough for social
programs. Republicans praised the bill for reigning wasteful spending. Dan
Rather introduced a
story on the House's passage of the bill by relaying only the Democratic
"They've got a plan. The House approves a spending and tax-cut blueprint.
(Footage of Dick Gephardt (House Minority Leader, D-Mo.))
"He calls it a fraud. Tonight, do the numbers add up, and what's in it for you?
"Congress is pushing toward final passage of a slightly modified version of President Bush's budget and tax-cut plan. Now comes the hard part, actually putting the tax cuts into effect while making the numbers add up and holding down spending. Many critics say this plan doesn't add up, that there's no way to bankroll big tax cuts while at the same time saving Social Security, providing prescription drug coverage for seniors and spending more on education, defense and other programs."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, May 9, 2001.
"As expected, the U.S. Senate today gave final approval to a George Bush
specifies $1.3 trillion in tax cuts over about 11 years. It does not say how
it's possible to
do that while also spending more for education, defense and other things,
coverage for seniors."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, May 10, 2001.
CBS reported on reaction to Bush's stem
cell decision in a
report that relayed only one argument in support of Bush's decision--his HHS
three arguments opposed to it:
DAN RATHER: As for President Bush's policy on federal funding for research involving stem cells taken from human embryos, that debate today went far beyond the issue of how much to spend. CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer is tracking that still developing story.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Two days into a fall session were Democrats and the White House are already at odds on dozens of issues, Congress waded into the scariest territory yet: science.
CHRISTOPHER DODD (D-Conn.): Nothing's more frightening to me than Congress trying to be a scientist.
SCHIEFFER: At issue is what to do about stem cell research, the tiny cells that scientists say could provide miracle cures for everything from Parkinson's disease to diabetes. The problem is many religious conservatives oppose such research, so the president limited federally backed research only to cells already created in previous experiments. But will that be enough?
TED KENNEDY (D-Mass.): President Bush has opened the door to government funding for this important area of health research. The question before the Congress is whether the door is open wide enough.
SCHIEFFER: 'No,' said a Rhode Island congressman, who believes the cells may be used someday to repair the kind of spinal injury that left him a quadriplegic.
JIM LANGEVIN (D-R.I.): I am frustrated with the discovery of just how little room it leaves for medical advancement.
SCHIEFFER: The administration point man admitted there won't be as many cells available for research as the White House first said, but argued there are plenty to get started.
TOMMY THOMPSON (Department of Health and Human Services): We need to move beyond the back-and-forth over the numbers and get to actual work and doing the basic research on this science.
SCHIEFFER: This controversy does not break on party lines. The president's main critic is a leading Republican who says the president's plan simply does not make enough cell lines available.
ARLEN SPECTER (R-Penn.): It has become apparent that many of the lines cited are not really viable or robust or usable.
SCHIEFFER: Specter and the scientific community want a much bigger and more aggressive research program, but with the White House and some Republicans so sensitive to criticism from the conservative right, it's not clear yet where Congress will come down on any of this. Dan.
RATHER: Bob Schieffer on Capitol Hill.
--Dan Rather and Bob Schieffer on the CBS Evening News, September 5, 2001.
"Welcome to the 2000 Republican National Convention, a study in contrasts and
place where rhetoric does a careful pas de deux with reality.
"Laura Bush and Colin Powell extol educational opportunity from the stage to a party that's consistently sought to slash educational spending and a vice presidential pick with a history of hostility to Head Start."
--Dan Rather in Rather's Notebook at the CBS Web site, August 1. 2000.
"Before the Rightward lurches of the primary campaign, George W. Bush..."
--Dan Rather in "Rather's Notebook" at the CBS News Web site, April 18, 2000.
George W. Bush had announced Dick Cheney as his vice presidential running
"Democrats were quick to portray the ticket as quote 'two Texas oilmen' because Cheney was chief of a big Dallas-based oil supply conglomerate. They also blast Cheney's voting record in Congress as again, quote, 'outside the American mainstream' because of Cheney's votes against the Equal Rights for Women Amendment, against a woman's right to choose abortion--against abortion as Cheney prefers to put it--and Cheney's votes against gun control. Republicans see it all differently, most of them hailing Bush's choice and Cheney's experience."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, July 25, 2000.
Note: Rather devoted 14 words to what the Republicans thought of Cheney.
There was debate over whether or not the Census
Bureau should have
used adjusted numbers in its count. Democrats were for it, Republicans opposed
"Team Bush is moving tonight on two issues with widespread political and social impact. First, Commerce Secretary Donald Evans, carrying out the president's wishes, has now officially decided the 2000 Census will not be adjusted to make up for any under-count of the nation's poor and minorities.
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, March 6, 2001.
The Bush administration proposed giving funds for a
to the states to spend at their own discretion; Democrats and some others did
not support this
change and criticized the administration; CBS aired a report showing the
opinions of Bush's
critics and none from anyone who supported the decision:
DAN RATHER: On a related front, questions are being raised tonight about what is not in the new Bush budget for one long-running education program. CBS's John Roberts is tracking that story.
JOHN ROBERTS: At the Duke Ellington School for the Arts in Washington, book distribution day is all about opening up new opportunities.
MALE STUDENT: Books will help you be prepared for anything.
ROBERTS: But on this day there are concerns about lost opportunities. And questions why President Bush, who has made literacy a top priority, would close the book on one of the most successful nationwide reading programs in history.
PATRICIA BOND (School librarian): We're talking about literacy and reaching into the--all quadrants of the city and helping all children to learn and helping all children to succeed. We're gonna cut a reading program? Hello!
ROBERTS: With a budget of $20 million, Reading is Fundamental last year provided 14 million free books for school children, many of them disadvantaged. Mr. Bush wants to give that money to states to spend on education how they see fit. While states could individually choose to fund the program, administrators claim a piece-meal approach will destroy their purchasing power and distribution chain.
DICK SELLS (Vice President, Reading is Fundamental Inc.): From the management perspective alone it would be a horribly inefficient thing to do.
ROBERTS: Supporters of Reading is Fundamental wonder why the president would jeopardize a program that has been successful since the days of Lyndon Johnson. It counts among its advisory board members, the President's mother.
BARBARA BUSH (from archived tape): Reading is Fundamental, the national organization that has helped millions of young people discover the joys of reading.
ROBERTS: With next year's education bill at a crunch point in Congress, Democrats today promised to do all they could to save the program.
JOE LIEBERMAN (Senator, DConn.): No matter what the Bush budget says or other proposals say, I will predict to you that it will survive and flourish.
ROBERTS: Reading is Fundamental administrators hope the president just didn't realize what he was cutting when he swung the budget ax. But the White House was quite clear: the money is much better off in the hands of local control. Dan?
RATHER: John Roberts at the White House.
--Dan Rather and John Roberts on the CBS Evening News, April 26, 2001.
Rather provided his opinion about war with Iraq in his syndicated column:
"President Bush countered concerns that war against Iraq 'could detract from the war against terror' with what he said was evidence that Saddam is in league with al-Qaida. He also addressed worries 'that a change of leadership in Iraq could create instability and make the situation worse,' but his answer did not go much beyond 'The situation could hardly get worse.'
"Many responsible people might feel more comfortable with the prospect of war in this highly volatile region -- war against, as the president reminds us, a nation armed with weapons of mass destruction -- if they saw more evidence that the Bush administration were taking as serious a view of that war's potential consequences as it is of the causes for waging it. Potential consequences such as anarchy in Iraq, yes, but also the chance of civil unrest in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and nuclear-armed Pakistan; of Israel being pulled into the conflict; and of increased terrorism against U.S. targets. They want to see that President Bush and his advisers have a plan for dealing with these scenarios, and for delivering on the president's promise that if war is necessary, the United States and our allies 'will help the Iraqi people rebuild their economy and create the institutions of liberty in a unified Iraq at peace with its neighbors.'
"President Bush has set a determined course toward Iraq, and he is well on
his way. But plenty of questions remain about just what will happen once America
--Dan Rather in his syndicated column, October 9, 2002.
RATHER: I think by any reasonable analysis that
George Bush is off
to a pretty good start with his presidency.
LETTERMAN: Is that right? You were pleased with how he handled the situation with China, you thought that went all right?
RATHER: I'm not go--well, I'm pausing only because you said the way he handled it. I'm not sure if he handled it.
LETTERMAN: The way it was handled. I'm sorry, OK the way it was handled.
RATHER: Because remember, you have Uncle Cheney, who runs an awful lot of things.
--Dan Rather on the Late Show with David Letterman, June 7, 2001.
"Past votes in Congress are prompting new questions about [Vice Presidential
Cheney and whether, as some say, they show he's too outside the American
mainstream for voters
in the year 2000."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, July 27, 2000.
After being sworn in as president, George W.
Bush tried to
build support for his policies in Congress:
"Power politics was part of the drill today at the White House, as President Bush invited top Democrats over to take each other's measure and talk about prospects for his Republican Right agenda in Congress. Beyond the pleasantries and pledges of cooperation afterward, Democrats made it clear that they will cooperate up to a point. One of those points: the Bush tax cut plan. Democrats continue to view it as, among other things, a giveaway to the wealthy that spends the budget surplus and leaves no money for such things as seniors--to pay for prescription drugs."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, January 24, 2001.
Note: Rather only told viewers what Democrats thought of the tax plan.
Detractors and supporters of missile defense
the validity of a 1972 treaty signed with the U.S.S.R. which prohibits the
construction of such
missile shields. Missile defense opponents (whose arguments are shown in
blue) argue that the U.S. must abide by an agreement
it signed while
proponents (whose arguments are shown in red) argue the
treaty is null
because the U.S.S.R. no longer exists. CBS's coverage the day of Bush's
unquestioningly enunciated opponents' view of the treaty and provided them more
proponents in a 12-to-5 ratio. CBS reporters cited no experts who were in favor
DAN RATHER: Not up in the air is President Bush's commitment to building what's called a missile defense shield over the nation. The president said today he's all for it, even if it violates a 1972 treaty. Russia, China, and some NATO allies fear this could generate a new arms race and then there's the question of whether it would work, at any price. CBS's John Roberts begins our coverage.
JOHN ROBERTS: With a declaration that the best offense is a good defense, President Bush today announced plans for a missile defense shield to protect America and her allies from rogue states with nuclear weapons.
GEORGE W. BUSH: They hate our friends. They hate our values. In such a world, cold war deterrence is no longer enough.
ROBERTS: The core of the plan is to create a defense against ballistic missiles targeting them either shortly after launch or in mid-trajectory. Attempts at mid-flight intercepts failed two out of the last three times.
TOM DASCHLE (Sen. Minority Leader, D-SD): We fear the president might be buying a lemon here. I don't know how you support the deployment of a program that doesn't work.
ROBERTS: President Bush today claimed new technologies show more promise. But the bigger problem may be to convince Russia, China, and nervous allies that missile defense does not represent a new threat of U.S. nuclear supremacy.
JOSEPH BIDEN (Senator, D-Del.): It's going to start a massive new arms race in China, India, Pakistan. We're going to be less secure rather than more secure.
ROBERTS: The 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia [the treaty was signed with the U.S.S.R.] prohibits development of the missile shield. In a phone call this morning, Mr. Bush urged Russia's president to replace that treaty and leave behind the cold war doctrine of mutually assured destruction.
BUSH: But I also made clear to him that it's important for us to think beyond the old days' concept that if we blew each other up the world would be safe. It told him the cold war is over.
ROBERTS: Defense analysts say while a missile shied may protect against launches from countries like North Korea, Iraq, and Iran, it does nothing to address the more urgent threat of, say, a terrorist ship sailing into New York harbor with a nuclear bomb on board.
MICHAEL O'HANLON (Brookings Institution): We need a balanced approach recognizing that missile threats are only one of many types, potential threats to the United States.
ROBERTS: President Bush hopes to placate the Russians by offering unilaterally deep cuts to the U.S. nuclear arsenal and he will dispatch his national security team to allied countries next week in hopes of easing their anxieties. Dan?
RATHER: John Roberts at the White House.
One of those anxieties is whether the U.S. is paying enough attention to what may be a more likely form of enemy attack, the type that a missile defense shield would never be able to stop. CBS News national security correspondent David Martin is tracking that part of the story.
DAVID MARTIN: What if the truck bomb which blew up the federal center in Oklahoma City had contained a biological warfare agent like anthrax? It would have killed one to three million people. Many experts believe that is a much more likely threat than a missile.
ROBERT BYRD (Senator, D-WV): I don't know about a missile defense shield, but here's something that may happen to this country, and probably will.
--Dan Rather, John Roberts, and David Martin on the CBS Evening News, May 1, 2001.
"When it was all over, the president-elect said that he
by the tightness of the vote and the processes that had unfolded in Florida. He
he heard the mixed message and was ready to be a president for all the
"Some were surprised, then, when Bush nominated rock-ribbed conservatives to three key Cabinet posts: John Ashcroft for attorney general, Linda Chavez for labor secretary and Gail Norton for secretary of the interior.
"To Justice, the most important department, Bush picked a 'Christian Right' opponent of abortion and handgun control with controversial views on the Confederacy. And to Labor and Interior, he tapped nominees considered anathema to the core Democratic constituencies of organized labor and the environmental movement. On the left and in the center, folks began to wonder if Bush's "uniter, not a divider" rhetoric referred to only the most conservative wing of the Republican Party."
--Dan Rather in his syndicated column, January 15, 2001.
Early in his presidency, George W. Bush announced the formation of a commission to study if changes needed to be made to Social Security. After studying the matter for several months, the commission released a preliminary report saying that the system would fall apart unless laws were changed to allow partial privatization, a position rejected by most liberals. Dan Rather's program gave minimal coverage to the announcement but aired a full story on why some congressional Democrats were opposed to the group's finding:
The Seattle area was struck by an
"Ironically, this earthquake hit on the same day President Bush proposed a federal budget that would save about $25 million by killing a program to help communities prepare for natural disaster. President Bush contends it was ineffective. Seattle was one of the first cities to take advantage of that program."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, February 28, 2001.
In 1999, under pressure from labor union
President Clinton signed regulations that tried to protect against repetitive
in the workplace. Business groups, though, didn't want it, and under pressure
supporters, President Bush eliminated these regulations. In these two reports,
acknowledges only that Bush was "under pressure" from lobbyists, but not
2001: "Labor Secretary Elaine Chao today announced a series of hearings to decide what, if anything, the Bush Administration will do to protect workers from repetitive motion and stress injuries. Under pressure from his business supporters, President Bush scrapped workplace regulations issued by the Clinton Administration."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, June 7, 2001.
1999: "After years of debate, delay and heavy opposition from big
the US government said today it will go ahead with new safety rules for the
particular, a proposed crackdown on the repetitive motions in factories and
offices that may
lead to aching backs, crippled hands and broken careers. CBS' Bob Orr has the
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, February 19, 1999.
On January 27, 1993, the Associated Press reported that nine of Bill
appointees were millionaires. On January 23, 2001, the AP reported that George
nominees were "mostly millionaires." Dan Rather decided to follow the AP's lead
in the Bush
story, but not with the Clinton story. Rather never mentioned--throughout all
there were millionaires in Clinton's cabinets:
2001: "Financial disclosure reports today show many in the Bush Cabinet and other top posts have two things in common: they're multimillionaires and many hold stock in companies affected by federal action. Some examples: Commerce Secretary Donald Evans, at least $5 million in stock options in the oil and gas industry company that he headed; Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, at least $5 million in stock options from his old company, Alcoa; and Secretary of State Colin Powell, at least $24 and a half million in assets."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, January 23, 2001.
1993:"The Clinton Cabinet is installed minus an attorney general."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, January 22, 1993.
"The Clinton Cabinet is now complete."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, March 11, 1993
George W. Bush and Al Gore conducted their last
decided to point out some inaccuracies each said during their encounter:
"On the truth patrol, the Associated Press and others report that while Governor Bush is promising to make prescription drugs more affordable -- that's one of the things he did tonight -- the Governor did sign legislation in Texas making it more difficult for doctors there to prescribe a cheaper generic version of a popular blood-thinning drug. And Associated Press and others point out that a very large drug company was involved in getting that legislation passed with the Governor's support of it. The situation's changed somewhat in more recent times. Also, Governor Bush said the percentage of those without health insurance in Texas has gone down while the percentage of uninsured nationally has gone up. According to the Census Bureau, the percentage of uninsured in the United States has actually gone down from 16.3 percent in 1998 to 15.5 percent last year.
"As for Vice President Gore, he said at one point in the debate that he would do something about what he called 'this culture's assault on children' from the Internet, over the airways, and on the movies, but the Vice President did not say what he would do."
--Dan Rather during live coverage, October 17, 2000.
Note: The original AP article noted misstatements by both candidates though Rather did not mention any of Gore's, saying only that he was not specific enough.
GEORGE W. BUSH: "The New York Times and all these East Coast press who
say that George Bush [father] isn't ready to fight are
RATHER: "You mentioned The New York Times. What about the story over the weekend--the Times had a story saying that the president was prepared to provoke Saddam Hussein...and that it was being considered for political purposes. Have you talked to the president or anybody around him what they thought about that?"
BUSH: "I didn't need to talk to the president, Dan, because I was so outraged by something so preposterous written by that mag--that newspaper, they ought to apologize. It is outrageous to say that, and even you would agree it was outrageous to say that, I'm sure, being a good Texas boy that you are."
RATHER: "Of course, it's not my job to agree or disagree, outrage or otherwise."
--Dan Rather and George W. Bush during a CBS News election special, August 17, 1992.
"Death penalty on trial. In Texas, his murder conviction disputed to the end,
this is Gary
Graham's execution night [...]
Good evening. An execution in Texas scheduled less than thirty minutes from now puts Governor George Bush in the spotlight and on the spot in the Campaign 2000 death penalty debate. Convicted of murder, Gary Graham is to die by injection amid questions about whether he or others on death rows nationwide may be dying for crimes they didn't commit. CBS's Bob McNamara is outside the Huntsville, Texas prison where the execution draws near. Bob?"
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, June 22, 2000.
Note: There was no debate over the death penalty (except in the media) since both Bush and Gore supported it.
"[T]he matter of Graham's life or death appears now to rest solely in the
hands of Texas
Governor George W. Bush. Bob McNamara will bring us details on the case,
assertions of innocence, and the protests that have surrounded this execution.
With George W.
Bush running for president as the presumptive Republican nominee, Jim Axelrod
will take a look
at the political implications of the Graham case, as the death penalty
becomes an issue in
--Dan Rather in an online preview of the Evening News, June 22, 2000.
"With America rethinking the death penalty and how it is applied,
McNamara will have the latest on Ricky McGinn, the Texas death-row inmate to
whom George W.
Bush granted a stay last month."
--Dan Rather in an online preview of the Evening News, July 12, 2000.
During the 2000 presidential campaign, George W. Bush made a comment to
Dick Cheney while
on a platform, calling a New York Times reporter a "major-league asshole"
thought the microphone was off:
"On one bit of campaign meanness and nastiness in particular, George Bush now says he's sorry his gutter language and personal attack was picked up by a microphone at a campaign stop yesterday, but he refuses to apologize for the substance of his comment. Bush's remark was about Adam Clymer, a New York Times reporter whose coverage he doesn't like."
"You may want to note there's a long history of politicians attacking the press, and Bush did not apologize for what he said about the Times reporter. Reactions to Bush's comment included this one today from Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa: 'It would be better if no person spoke about others in that fashion.' By the way, several major newspapers today quoted the Bush comment directly. The New York Times itself did not, saying only that Bush, quote, "used an obscenity to describe a New York Times correspondent.'
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, September 5, 2000. print_file('footer'); ?>