Reporting on Bush's campaign event with Sherwood, Dobbs, Baier ignored allegations Sherwood had "repeatedly chok[ed]" and "attempt[ed] to strangle" his former mistress
CNN's Lou Dobbs and Fox News' Bret Baier reported on President Bush's visit to Pennsylvania to campaign for Rep. Don Sherwood and noted that Sherwood has acknowledged having an "extramarital affair." But neither Dobbs nor Baier mentioned allegations that Sherwood had "repeatedly chok[ed]" and "attempt[ed] to strangle" his former mistress.
In October 19 reports on President Bush's visit to La Plume, Pennsylvania, to campaign for Rep. Don Sherwood (R-PA), CNN host Lou Dobbs and Fox News chief White House correspondent Bret Baier noted that Sherwood has acknowledged having an "extramarital affair," but failed to note allegations that Sherwood had "repeatedly chok[ed]" and "attempt[ed] to strangle" Cynthia Ore, his former mistress. As Media Matters for America noted, Sherwood settled a lawsuit Ore filed based on these and other allegations of abuse for an undisclosed amount. Sherwood has denied the charge, most recently in a campaign ad in which he admits the affair but says "the allegation of abuse was never true."
On the October 19 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, Dobbs reported that "Bush stumped for Congressman Don Sherwood in Pennsylvania" and that Sherwood "has acknowledged having a five-year extramarital affair." Similarly, Baier, during his report on the October 19 edition of Fox News' The Big Story, noted that "Congressman Don Sherwood from Pennsylvania was once considered a shoo-in in that race, but after admitting an extramarital affair and some problems on the campaign stump, he's now trailing his Democratic opponent." Later, during his discussion with host John Gibson, Baier said that Sherwood is "having a bit of trouble." Neither Dobbs nor Baier mentioned the allegations of abuse against Sherwood. By contrast, an October 19 article by the Associated Press on Bush's campaign stop for Sherwood noted that "last year, Sherwood admitted to a five-year extramarital affair with a woman 35 years his junior. He settled a lawsuit that claimed he had choked her, he has denied he abused her, and has aired a campaign commercial asking constituents to forgive his infidelity."
Discussing Bush's trip, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank wrote on October 20:
"I'm pleased to be here with Don Sherwood," a smiling president told the congressman's loyal but dispirited supporters at a luncheon fundraiser Thursday. "He has got a record of accomplishment."
Quite a record. While representing the good people of the 10th District, the married congressman shacked up in Washington with a Peruvian immigrant more than three decades his junior. During one assignation in 2004, the woman, who says Sherwood was striking her and trying to strangle her, locked herself in a bathroom and called 911; Sherwood told police he was giving her a back rub.
At a time when Republicans are struggling to motivate religious conservatives to go to the polls next month, it is not clear what benefit the White House found in sending Bush to stump for Sherwood -- smack dab in the middle of what Bush, in an official proclamation, dubbed "National Character Counts Week."
From the October 19 CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight:
DOBBS: Many Republicans, of course, remain firmly loyal to President Bush and his conduct of this war. Today, President Bush campaigned for two leading Republicans who face difficult re-election battles.
First, President Bush stumped for Congressman Don Sherwood in Pennsylvania. He has acknowledged having a five-year extramarital affair. Congressman Sherwood is in danger of losing what had been one of the safest congressional seats in the country.
And tonight, President Bush is campaigning for another beleaguered member of Congress, Senator George Allen, in Virginia. Senator Allen faces strong criticism for his remarks that many people consider to be racially insensitive.
From the October 19 edition of Fox News' The Big Story with John Gibson:
BAIER: Now, the president announced today he's campaigning for two congressmen and a senator in now tight races. Congressman Don Sherwood from Pennsylvania was once considered a shoo-in in that race, but after admitting an extramarital affair and some problems on the campaign stump, he's now trailing his Democratic opponent.
And today the president went to Pennsylvania and gave an impassioned speech about how his supporters need to step up and get out the vote for Congressman Sherwood, saying it's a matter of national security and the economy, a issue, issues rather, that the president continues to hit and he's hitting today in Virginia, with Republican Senator George Allen, who's also seen his race tighten.
GIBSON: Bret, lastly, it is once again Clinton versus Bush. President Clinton is out there campaigning hard as well.
BAIER: Yeah, and in fact, [White House press secretary] Tony Snow was asked about that today and he was asked about the president going to campaign for these two candidates that are having a bit of trouble, Congressman Sherwood and Senator Allen. And he turned to the press corps and said, "Well, are the Democrats worried that former President Clinton is campaigning for Jim Webb [Allen's Democratic opponent] today?" trying to turn it around. But yeah, the former president is out and about on the campaign stump as he has been, this time for Jim Webb in Virginia.
GIBSON: Bret Baier at the White House.
Bret, thank you very much.