Dan Rather @ AMC: Democratic White House in 2008 'Not A Given'
BOCA RATON, FLORIDAâ€”Despite the prevailing notion that the Democratic party will succeed the Bush White House in 2008, Dan Rather wouldnâ€™t â€śbet the trailer moneyâ€ť on it.
Rather, moderating a discussion on the 2008 election between Time magazineâ€™s Mark Halperin and Newsweekâ€™s Jonathan Alter at the American Magazine Conference here Monday, also cautioned magazine journalistsâ€”and the press at largeâ€”not to jump to conclusions in what has already become a long race. â€śNot a single vote has been cast anywhere,â€ť Rather reminded the audience. â€śRight now it is guesswork.â€ť
Rather added: â€śOvernight is long time in politics; a week is foreverâ€”for all the double-doming, the [current] coverage may not add up to much.â€ť
Both Halperin and Alter said Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton would win their respective Republican and Democratic nominations, with the potential of New York mayor Michael Bloomberg as joining the race as an independent. â€śThe country gets a diversity of New Yorkers to choose from,â€ť Halperin said.
â€śItâ€™ll be a Subway Series,â€ť Alter added.
All three journalists conceded the press plays a major role in shaping the election, and can feed into the respective campaign spin. The Clinton camp, for instance, is â€śtrying to create an aura of inevitability,â€ť Alter said. Other candidates are getting ready to spin a primary win or loss to garner favorable media coverage.
â€śA lot of this is the press setting expectations of what these [polls] mean,â€ť Halperin said. â€śWe havenâ€™t had our secret meeting at the Palm.â€ť
Displaying his trademark Texas-tinged metaphorsâ€”so called Ratherismsâ€”Rather said the press has not paid enough attention to Republican candidate Mitt Romney. â€śHeâ€™s an undervalued stock,â€ť Rather said. Alter called underdog Republican Mike Huckabee â€śthe best Republican candidate out there.â€ť
Right now, the press is focused on who the best candidate is, Halperin said. â€śVoters are generally more concerned about who the best president would be.â€ť
Rather did not discuss his current $70 million lawsuit against CBS.