CNN's King, Blitzer selectively cited poll showing less support for Obama among Clinton backers

››› ››› DIANNA PARKER

On Late Edition, Wolf Blitzer and John King both cited an August 15-18 Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll in which 52 percent of Sen. Hillary Clinton's supporters said they will support Sen. Barack Obama, but neither noted that an August 19-22 Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 70 percent of Clinton supporters "back Obama," according to the Post.

On the August 24 edition of CNN's Late Edition, host Wolf Blitzer and chief national correspondent John King both cited an August 15-18 Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll in which 52 percent of Sen. Hillary Clinton's supporters said they will support Sen. Barack Obama, but neither noted that an August 19-22 Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 70 percent of Clinton supporters "back Obama," according to the Post. An ABCNews.com "analysis" of the poll similarly stated that "70 percent of [Clinton supporters] are for" Obama.

King asked Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN), "Where has he [Obama] failed?" King then cited the finding in the Journal/NBC poll that "almost half of Hillary Clinton's voters at this moment in time say they are not prepared to vote for Barack Obama." Blitzer later referred to the Journal/NBC poll in an interview with Terry McAuliffe, who was national chairman of Clinton's campaign, saying: "That's almost half, right there, who aren't ready to commit to Obama. There's frustration, there's anger among a considerable chunk of Hillary Clinton supporters." Neither King nor Blitzer mentioned the Post/ABC poll.

Earlier, on the August 24 edition of ABC's This Week, Post columnist George Will also cited the Journal/NBC poll. But in response, host George Stephanopoulos mentioned the Post/ABC poll, saying, "[O]ur poll shows that only three in 10 aren't for him." Similarly, on the August 24 edition of Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace said many of Clinton's supporters "are still mad. You've got this Wall Street Journal poll that shows only 52 percent now support Obama." Obama senior adviser Robert Gibbs responded, "Well, let's be honest, Chris. The Washington Post and ABC came out with a poll today that shows more than -- it shows 70 percent of Hillary Clinton voters supporting Barack Obama, the highest water mark since she suspended her campaign in June."

From the August 24 edition of CNN's Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer:

KING: But, Senator, help me understand. What would your advice be to Barack Obama? Where has he failed? If you look at a poll today -- latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, for example -- 21 percent of Hillary Clinton's voters in the primaries, those blue-collar Democrats, say they will vote for John McCain. Twenty-seven percent say they're undecided. That is almost half of Hillary Clinton's voters at this moment in time say they are not prepared to vote for Barack Obama. What is he doing wrong?

BAYH: Well, I think our convention will give us a big opportunity to reach out to those people. Hillary, as you know, is going to be 100 percent for him. I spoke to her last night. She wants to do whatever she can to help him get elected, because she knows that he is the right change for America, too.

[...]

BLITZER: You've seen that Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll that asked Clinton supporters what their inclination is right now. Fifty-two percent of them said they'd support Obama. Twenty-one percent said they'd support McCain. Another 27 percent are still undecided. That's almost half, right there, who aren't ready to commit to Obama. There's frustration, there's anger among a considerable chunk of Hillary Clinton supporters.

McAULIFFE: And I think, Wolf, for a lot of them, they were hoping that Hillary would become the vice president, so I think they were waiting to see the announcement. Now that Senator Biden has been picked, now we move forward to the general election, and I think we're going to be able to bring all those folks in as we move in to the general election.

Clearly, people are disgruntled with where George Bush has taken this country, and they know the stark differences between having a President McCain and a President Obama. And all the people who supported Hillary -- it was about health care, it was about fighting for our children and education, and it's going to be a stark difference as we head into the fall. So I'm very confident that the people will come in. It's going to take time, but you know what? Wolf, you know as well as I do, it was a 17-month primary campaign. It was very close. Hillary got 18 million votes. It's going to take some people some time, but in the end, we're all going to come together. We're Democrats; we want to take this country in a new direction. Senator Obama's pick today was Senator Biden -- was spectacular. He adds so much to the ticket, and I think it's a dynamite ticket.

From the August 24 broadcast of ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos:

COKIE ROBERTS (ABC News political analyst): I think that a lot of -- the media loves this story because it sort of keeps the fight going. And the Republicans love this story. And the fact that they were actually putting out ads saying "Hillary didn't get it" is showing you how much it's working to -- they think it's working to their advantage.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And Obama --

WILL: The Wall Street Journal/NBC poll shows that only half of the Hillary supporters say they're now supporting Obama, and one in five say they are supporting McCain.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But what an opportunity for Barack Obama. I mean, look at this: He's coming into this convention -- in our poll shows that only three in 10 aren't for him. He's only getting 79 percent of Democrats. If he does one thing in this convention, if he unifies the Democratic Party, he will have -- I know David Axelrod doesn't want to say it -- he'll have a 12-point lead.

From the August 24 broadcast of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday:

WALLACE: Why shouldn't Clinton supporters be angry?

GIBBS: Look, I think Clinton supporters are united in the thing that unites all the people in this convention. We need change; we can't have more of the same. I think it's a better question that's directed to the McCain campaign. They know that that ad is demonstrably false. They know that Hillary Clinton is supporting Barack Obama.

WALLACE: But wait a minute. He did-- she didn't get an interview. She didn't get consulted on the pick. She had 18 million supporters. A lot of them are still mad. You've got this Wall Street Journal poll that shows only 52 percent now support Obama --

GIBBS: Well, let's be honest --

WALLACE: I mean, I don't have to tell you, the party is not united.

GIBBS: Well, let's be honest, Chris. The Washington Post and ABC came out with a poll today that shows more than -- it shows 70 percent of Hillary Clinton voters supporting Barack Obama, the highest water mark since she suspended her campaign in June.

There's no question that people have -- people had strong feelings about their nominee. We had a race that was unparalleled virtually in this party. We went from beginning to end. We have the strongest party. We have the most enthusiastic voters. Look, I think the process that went on was a fair process that came up with as good a pick -- and the best pick that we could possibly have. I'm interested seeing how John McCain conducts this process.

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