On the February 28 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, CNN contributor and conservative radio host Bill Bennett revived a smear from the 2000 presidential election perpetuated by such prominent media figures as New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd: that feminist author Naomi Wolf advised former Vice President Al Gore on his wardrobe. Bennett said of a hypothetical Gore presidential run in 2008, "Maybe he could get some colors coordinated, different blends." Host Wolf Blitzer replied: "He can consult with Naomi Wolf."
As Media Matters for America noted, in a February 28 column, Dowd suggested that Gore might blame Naomi Wolf for his loss in 2000, without noting her own role in repeating the smears about Wolf. As Bob Somerby noted extensively in his weblog The Daily Howler, one much-repeated smear was the discredited claim that Wolf advised Gore to wear "earth tones" and "coach[ed]" Gore on how to be an "alpha-male." Wolf denied that claim in a November 5, 1999, interview with The New York Times.
Also, as Media Matters noted, Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen wrote in his February 27 column that Gore was "caricatured by some of my colleagues as a serial exaggerator, a fibber, a pretender" during the 2000 election, also ignoring his own role in "caricatur[ing]" Gore. Cohen then suggested that these "caricature[s]" could have contributed to Gore's loss: "There were so many reasons not to vote for him -- none, in retrospect, much good."
From the 4 p.m. ET hour of the February 28 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:
BEGALA: Wouldn't it be something if, eight, nine months from now, Al Gore comes into the race then, and he's the fresh face? We're tired of seeing [Sen. Barack] Obama [D-IL]. And Al Gore, who has been doing this for 30 years, would be the fresh face in my party. It's not impossible.
BENNETT: Maybe he could get some colors coordinated, different blends. You remember that? But we have the same situation.
BLITZER: He can consult with Naomi Wolf.
But let me -- let me pick your brain on another issue, a very important issue: immigration.