Alone among the three broadcast morning shows, only ABC’s Good Morning America covered President Biden’s campaign appearance with Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman in Pennsylvania on Thursday, and correspondent Rachel Scott admitted the President is unpopular with voters and unwanted by most Democratic candidates.
“Many Democratic candidates have been hesitant to campaign with President Biden, given his low approval ratings,” Scott acknowledged, contrasting Democrats’ decision to hide Biden with former President Trump’s many rallies four years ago: “Donald Trump held 26 rallies in October 2018. Barack Obama, 16. But Biden has been largely absent from the campaign trail, trading public campaign rallies for big dollar fundraisers behind closed doors.”
This ongoing embarrassment for Democrats went unstated on CBS and NBC Friday morning. In their supposedly “hard news” first half hour, CBS Mornings instead carved out time for a long-range winter weather forecast (cold), while NBC’s Today chose to regale viewers with the highlights of Thursday night’s football game.
Still, while ABC at least talked about the President’s problems, Scott neglected to mention Fetterman’s ongoing health problems which have put the race in peril for Democrats, and showed no clips of Fetterman speaking. Nor was a word said about Fetterman’s extreme left-wing views on issues like abortion, where he opposes any restrictions.
Citing polls compiled by FiveThirtyEight, Scott said Fetterman was “running about 4 points ahead of his Republican opponent, TV personality Dr. Mehmet Oz.” But she failed to say that this lead has eroded significantly from a month ago (an 8.9% lead for Fetterman back on September 21, vs. just 4.4% now), even while polls in the governor’s race remain stable.
If the Pennsylvania Senate race does wind up in the Republican column, Scott warned viewers: “Their odds of flipping the Senate go from 41% to 75%.”
ABC’s lonely, semi-tough take on the Democrats’ midterm woes was sponsored by Nature’s Bounty.
To see the relevant ABC transcript from October 21, click “expand.”
ABC’s Good Morning America
October 21, 2022, 7:05am ET
CECILIA VEGA: We’re going to turn now to the midterms, just 18 days away, and President Biden did something we haven’t seen much of so far this cycle: He made a rare campaign stop in front of the cameras joined by a candidate. He was in the battleground of Pennsylvania, which could very well determine who controls the Senate. Rachel Scott has been covering this election every step of the way, and she joins us right now from the White House. Good morning, Rachel.
RACHEL SCOTT: Hey, Cecelia, good morning, and you know this well — many Democratic candidates have been hesitant to campaign with President Biden, given his low approval ratings. But right there in Pennsylvania, a rare campaign appearance.
Democratic candidate John Fetterman, going where few Democrats have gone, appearing with President Biden on the campaign trail at an event touting Biden’s infrastructure law.
JOE BIDEN: So this law is about more than rebuilding infrastructure. It’s about rebuilding the middle class, something John knows a lot about and talks a lot about.
SCOTT: Fetterman, Pennsylvania’s lieutenent governor, is locked in one of the most important Senate races in the country. Running about 4 points ahead of his Republican opponent, TV personality Dr. Mehmet Oz. Most Americans disapprove of President Biden’s job performance, including in battleground Pennsylvania, where he won by more than 80,000 votes. Some Democrats have made it a point to distance themselves.
REP. TIM RYAN (Ohio Democratic Senate candidate): I want to be the face of this campaign. I’ve done this for 18 months. We’ve done it on our own.
SCOTT: Biden still projecting optimism.
REPORTER: Mr. President, is your party going to hold the Senate?
BIDEN: I think so. It ain’t over ’til it’s over.
SCOTT: Donald Trump held 26 rallies in October 2018. Barack Obama, 16. But Biden has been largely absent from the campaign trail, trading public campaign rallies for big dollar fundraisers behind closed doors.
Alright, so we are in the final stretch here, and FiveThirtyEight has crunched the numbers, so take a look. Right now, Republicans only have about a 41 percent chance of flipping the Senate. But take a look at how significantly this jumps if they win that Pennsylvania Senate race. Their odds of flipping the Senate go from 41% to 75%, Cecilia.
VEGA: Pennsylvania, oh so crucial. 18 days, Rachel. Thank you, so much.