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Sunday shoot out Obama/NBC vs Clinton/ABC

The New York TimesOn Sunday TV, One Hot Rivalry Fuels Another


Published: May 3, 2008

WASHINGTON — It will be a generational battle royal, the younger upstart against the more seasoned warrior who resents the challenge.

Senator Barack Obama vs. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton?

Yes, there is that.

But another rivalry will play out when Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton sit for competing hourlong interviews on Sunday morning. It is the one between their interviewers, Tim Russert of NBC News, who had scored a coup by having Mr. Obama sit down with him on “Meet the Press” two days before the Indiana and North Carolina primaries, and George Stephanopoulos of ABC News, who announced on Thursday that he would interview Mrs. Clinton on “This Week” about the same time.

Behind the competition between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama has been an equally hot one for bragging rights in the hothouse of television news. A crop of old and new television stars have jostled fiercely to land interviews with the Democratic combatants at important moments of the race.

In the mix with Mr. Russert and Mr. Stephanopoulos are Bob Schieffer of CBS News with “Face the Nation” and Chris Wallace of “Fox News Sunday” on the Fox News Channel.

The Russert-Stephanopoulos duel presents an intriguing rivalry, with parallel paths to the top of Sunday television. Both went from politics, where they were aides to Democratic luminaries, to the pinnacle of broadcast news, as hosts of venerated public affairs programs.

They also share something else, long and complicated relations with the Clintons that have informed fierce criticism this year — often from the echo chamber of liberal press criticism on the Internet and sometimes stoked by the campaigns — that the hosts have been shallow or unfair in some of their questioning. Mr. Stephanopoulos, who worked in the Bill Clinton White House as a top aide to Mr. Clinton, was attacked for being too hard on Mr. Obama last month in a debate.

Mr. Russert has frequently been accused of being too hard on Mrs. Clinton, including in a debate he hosted this year.  Link to full New York Times story>>>>


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