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FARM DAZE! Schieffer lied about Farmer Gore—and showed you the soul of your “press corps:”

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2003

A TEXAS CHRISTIAN: Incredible. Your “press corps’” outrage about Gore’s endorsement only built as the week went along. Late yesterday afternoon, Bob Schieffer appeared for a regular spot on Washington news giant WTOP. Try—try as hard as you can—just try to believe that he said it:

SCHIEFFER (12/12/03): I think that this thing, this Gore thing, I think is rather interesting in that perhaps it tells us more about Al Gore than it does about this campaign. I find it just remarkable that he would basically stab his old running-mate, Joe Lieberman, in the back in order to get himself back in the game. Because that’s clearly what he’s trying to do here is—now once again, Al Gore, who has either sought public office or held public office all his life, sees a chance, one more chance, to get back in the game. I guess his analysis is that if Dean wins, then he’s a king-maker; if Dean doesn’t win, then he’s serving notice to Hillary Clinton you’re not going to have a free run at this thing in 2008, I’m going to be right there again. It’s very interesting—we’ve seen Al Gore change his story, we’ve seen him change his persona, I remember in the 2000 campaign when he showed up at Face the Nation dressed as a farmer! I remember when he changed his—he was going to get out of the blue suits and stuff. Now it seems he just as easily changes his friends. I don’t know what impact this is going to have on Howard Dean but I suspect it’s not going to have a good impact on Al Gore.
We’ve tried to tell you about Schieffer before, but some in HOWLER NATION have resisted. We do suggest that you access the link and listen to the great man yourselves.

Schieffer maintains the demonology that has driven this ludicrous story all week. According to Schieffer, Gore “stabbed his old running-mate, Joe Lieberman, in the back” when he endorsed Howard Dean. Schieffer speculates wildly about why Gore did it—and fails to mention the reason Gore cited. (At one point, he says that Gore’s motives are “clear;” one sentence later, he “guesses!”) And then, of course, the point of it all: Schieffer engages in ugly ruminations about Gore’s deeply soiled character.

So you can see how disturbed—and corrupted—the Bob Schieffers are, let’s review his one original statement. “I remember in the 2000 campaign when he showed up at Face the Nation dressed as a farmer,” Schieffer says, near the end of his rant. If you listen to the tape, you won’t hear a wrinkle of humor in Schieffer’s voice. Indeed, Schieffer seems indignant to think that Gore would have done such a thing.

But Schieffer is lying, as his cohort enjoys doing. No, readers—Al Gore didn’t “show up at Face the Nation dressed as a farmer” during the 2000 campaign. Schieffer refers to Gore’s October 3, 1999 Face the Nation appearance. The session coincided with the press corps’ attempt to peddle the notion that Gore had just reinvented himself by dropping the suits and pulling on cowboy boots. In fact, Gore had been campaigning in casual clothes all year, ever since his first appearance seven months earlier (links below). On this morning, Gore appeared live from the Portland, Maine Public Market, where he was meeting-and-greeting real down-Maine voters. And no, Gore wasn’t “dressed as a farmer.” The next day, Joshua Weinstein of the Portland Press Herald described the hopeful’s appearance:

WEINSTEIN: Gore, casual in khakis, a green shirt and gray V-neck sweater, said he looks forward to spending time with his 3-month-old grandson, and spoke of hiking in Washington state with his 16-year-old son. He told of his father, who lost his Senate seat after opposing U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
Readers, when’s the last time you saw local farmers out in the field dressed in their “khakis, green shirts and gray V-necks?” Meanwhile, you don’t have to take Weinstein’s word for the way Gore was dressed. Luckily, someone else described Gore’s appearance. Luckily, it was Schieffer himself, reporting on the CBS Evening News:
SCHIEFFER (10/3/99): It was Al Gore, the new look, who came out swinging on all fronts, here in Portland, Maine.

GORE (on tape): Nice to meet you. What are you eating, there?

SCHIEFFER: No more suit and tie, it was a sweater and Jimmy Carter-style work shoes as he toured a public market.

Apparently, Schieffer’s crack about the Carter-style shoes was his effort to signal that something was wrong here. We checked our tape, and in the brief moment when Gore’s shoes were visible, they seemed to be some sort of low, brown leather, walking shoe—just the type Farmer Brown is now wearing. (Yes, we still have all our old tapes. With a “press corps” full of people like Schieffer, you really must maintain your evidence.)

For the record, we recalled this particular Face the Nation because of the way Schieffer cracked on Gore’s clothes at the outset. As noted, Gore had been campaigning in casual clothing for seven months at that point. On this particular Face the Nation, Gore and Schieffer sat before a display of crops at the Public Market, with Gore looking completely appropriate, and the blue-suited Schieffer looking absurdly over-dressed. But readers, the press corps had recently hatched a great theme—the new Gore has just ditched his blue suits, they were saying. This statement was blatantly false, but they all knew to say it (links below). So Bob spun the point at the start:

SCHIEFFER: Well, fall is coming to New England. The crops are in, as you can see. And the vice president is here with us in Portland, Maine. We’re here because he’s here campaigning. And that’s what brings us to the Public Market in Portland. Mr. Vice President, thank you for—for joining us.

GORE: Glad to be here, Bob.

SCHIEFFER: I see you’re out of the blue suit, you’re out of the tie. Is this a new Al Gore?

GORE: No. Well, there are not many people in suits and ties here at the Public Market in Portland, Maine.

Schieffer was—and he looked over-dressed. Frankly, Schieffer looked like a dumb-ass, although Gore was too well-raised to say so. Meanwhile, Gore had been “out of the suit” for seven months, although all pundits knew to say otherwise. By the way, Gore had campaigned in casual clothes in previous campaigns, as you’ll see in the link we provide.

Al was too polite to crack on Bob. Schieffer, though, doesn’t share that problem. Friday night, he went on WTOP—and he lied in the face of the station’s listeners. (He also lied in the face of his host.) We suggest you listen to the tape—to hear the tone of incredulity when Schieffer describes Gore “dressed as a farmer. “ We keep explaining how corrupt this gang is. Listen to this repulsive tape, and maybe you’ll start to believe us.

SCHIEFFER KNEW THE SCRIPT: Gore campaigned in casual clothes right from the start of Campaign 2000. But in early October 1999, the press corps started to push a new theme—Gore has reinvented himself by ditching his suits. According to the unvarying script, this “new Al Gore” had “ditched the blue suits.” This inane, pointless claim was blatantly false—but all good pundits knew to voice it. To see scribe after scribe as they lie in your faces, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 3/4/03. Yes, you will see scribes who are blatantly lying. If you want to understand the world you live in, we strongly advise you to read this report.

Meanwhile, note that Schieffer’s script on Face the Nation was the one all good pundits were reciting. “I see you’re out of the blue suit,” Schieffer said. “Is this a new Al Gore?” See the 3/4/03 HOWLER and you’ll see other pundits recite this.

EVERYONE STUMPS IN CASUAL CLOTHING: Meanwhile, everyone stumps in casual clothing. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 9/11/02.

NOTHING’S CHANGED: Schieffer’s contempt for Gore was evident last night. (Also, his blatant contempt for the public.) But Schieffer’s odd reactions to Candidate Gore were evident in real time. On July 8, 2000, for example, Schieffer and his FTN co-host, Gloria Borger, made an hour-long appearance on the CNBC show, Russert—and they turned in one of the strangest performances in all of Campaign 2000. The pair trashed Gore—and pandered to Bush. In particular, Schieffer’s comments about Bush’s trip to Bob Jones University ought to go straight to the Spin Hall of Fame. You have to read this one to believe it. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 1/13/03, with links to a real-time report.

THAT GOOD HOME TRAINING: By the way, why is Schieffer so decent and fair? As we know from Russert’s interview with Bernie Goldberg, it’s because he didn’t attend one of those “eastern elite” colleges—the schools where elitists become so corrupted. Schieffer went to Texas Christian—and let’s all thank goodness for that. As Russert said, you learn great values at those schools. Let’s get out our crying towels and blubber with Tim once again:

RUSSERT: I also believe that going to the schools I did—St. Bonaventure school, Canisius High School, John Carroll University—these are not fashionable, elitist schools. These are schools where you learn to read and write and learn right from wrong.
Schieffer learned right from wrong at TCU—and forgot when he made it to Washington.