George Bush is often compared to Abraham Lincoln in that both fought unpopular wars, both were immensely unpopular at the time, and both were hated by the press. That made me wonder... what if CNN was around during the Gettysburg Address with its same bias?Before the speech
Wolf Blitzer: And I'm here with longtime CNN anchor Anderson Cooper. We're up in the booth, getting ready for Abraham Lincoln's address here at the dedication at Gettysburg. Anderson, how are you?
Anderson Cooper: Happy to be here, as always.
Wolf: And we also have down on the field our CNN support staff, including CNN correspondent and former advisor to Democratic president James Buchanan Donna Brazile and Chicago Times editor John Doe.
(Brazile and Doe wave)
Wolf: So Anderson, am I correct in suggesting that Lincoln definitely needs to reunite a fractured Republican base?
Anderson: Definitely. Senators Benjamin Wade (R-OH) and Henry Davis (R-ME) and abolitionist Wendell Phillips have been rallying the party against "Honest" (*cough*) Abe. Governor Horatio Seymour of New York, though a Democrat, has attracted much support even in Republican states when he protested Lincoln's draft. Even Secretary of War Edwin Stanton has been criticizing Lincoln lately. Lincoln's support is faltering, and he knows it. Wade and Davis have even attacked the idea of him running for re-election, although Lincoln seems to intend to do so. And he's been as stupid as a rock, defending the massive Civil War, killing American lives, and refusing to meet with Confederate president Jefferson Davis. When Davis reasonably asked to be recognized by a title, Lincoln compared him to Charles I, reminding him that Charles "lost his head".
Wolf: I know, it's shocking. Lincoln's approval polls are going down the drain, the war is unpopular, and he's even begun suspending civil liberties, including the writ of habeas corpus. Bloggers have even suggested that Lincoln never recovered from his physical trauma that he had suffered and that the man is demented.
Anderson: Certainly a possibility we must consider.
Wolf: Moving on, today the president is speaking. What do you think's going to happen, Anderson?
Anderson: It's obvious that Lincoln will simply use today's speech and the hundreds dead here as a political stunt. Re-election is coming up, and Lincoln needs all the support he can get. So he'll turn this dedication ceremony into a celebrity speech spreading fear-mongering about the war and the "evil" south.
Wolf: Definitely agree. We now go to an ad break. When we come back, Lincoln's speech.
(roll ads)The speech
Four score and seven years ago
Wolf: Oh, so nothing about the Constitution? Just talking about the Declaration, eh?
our fathers brought forth, on this continent, a new nation,
Anderson: Nothing about the natives, or the African-Americans, just plain old white folks!
conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Wolf: Here we go again, another stump speech about the injustices of slavery. More pandering to the Christian Right.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure.
Anderson: We can't! Pull out!
We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives, that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
Wolf: So that I can get re-elected.
But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate - we cannot hallow - this ground.
Anderson: Then why are you here?
The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract.
Wolf: Then stop speaking.
The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here,
Anderson: Got that right, pal.
but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain - that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Wolf and Anderson: Told you so!
Wolf: And as you can see, only a few people even paying attention to Lincoln's speech, as most came to hear Edward Everett Hale. We break for an ad. Don't go away. When we come back: CNN <del>takes apart</del> analyzes the speech.
(roll ads)After the speech: Donna Brazile
Wolf: And now, we go to our CNN analyst and Democratic strategist Donna Brazile.
Donna: Well Wolf, as you can see, Lincoln shows again his integrity by using a dedication ceremony for a political means. He obviously didn't believe a word he said.
Wolf: What was your overall impression of the speech?
Donna: Well, it was nice and all, but he didn't speak at all about the economy or indeed any of the issues. He didn't talk about the Homestead Act, enlargening the railroad, or anything else. He's offering the same old same old, pandering to the rich who aren't fighting this war. George McClellan is offering change from the same old same old. George McClellan is for the middle class. And George McClellan will end this illegal war and bring our troops home!
Wolf: And now the story is that Lincoln is trying to gain Democratic votes by making a stir that Andrew Johnson, governor of Tennessee, could be the VP pick over incumbent Hannibal Hamlin. Donna, what do you think?
Donna: No question about it: Lincoln is catering to the South. He's a white boy running as a white boy in a white party. They talk about anarchy and despotism, but give no answer except to keep fighting this bloody war. He hates everyone, even the media. You know the Republicans just called us the (Mc)Clellan News Network?
Wolf: why ever would they think that?After the speech: Chicago Times
Wolf: And now, we go to Chicago Times editor John Doe. John, good to have you.
John: Good to be here.
Wolf: Now that you've heard the speech, what will your paper say?
John: Here's an excerpt from the article I'm writing tomorrow: "I think that the cheeks of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat, and dishwatery utterances."
Wolf: Strong words.
John: For a strong occasion.
Wolf: Can't argue there.After the speech: Retired general
Wolf: We now bring in retired general Ambrose Burnside. General, what do you think of the war?
Ambrose: It's an utter mistake. Utter, utter, utter mistake. I supported it initially, but it was an utter mistake.
Wolf: And you have experience in this war, right?
Ambrose: Definitely. I was at Antietam, Bull Run, Fredricksburg, and more. I'm an unbiased soldier, just wanting what's best for the country. And Lincoln is a disaster.
Wolf: What do you have to say to those biased rightwingers who suggest that you and your fellow generals are responsible for the war?
Ambrose: *bleep* them.After the speech: Republican response
Anderson: Because we are such an unbiased non-partisan news reporting station, we're interviewing Republican vice-president Hannibal Hamlin.
Anderson: Thank you very much for your comments. We'll pause here for an ad break.
(roll ads)After the speech: CNN Correspondent Gloria Borger and Republican Secretary of State William Seward
Wolf: We now break to CNN Correspondent Gloria Borger, who has cornered Secretary of State William Seward. Gloria, over to you.
Gloria: Thanks, Wolf. Pleasure to be here. I just have one question for Mr. Seward, as we already covered what the Republicans thought with Vice President Hamlin.
William: You did?
Gloria: I am asking the questions, Mr. Seward. My question is, has the big tent of the Republican Party, which you always talk about - has that gotten a little narrower?
William: I think it got a lot bigger when Andrew Johnson stood up for Abraham Lincoln and stayed loyal to the union. I didn't see a prominent Republican support the movement to secede.
Gloria: But what about with those differences on the cultural, social issues?
Anderson: Oh dear, it appears it's time for another ad break.
(roll ads)After the speech: Jack Cafferty
Wolf: Now, over to CNN contributor Jack Cafferty. Jack, I want to ask you what you think of Lincoln's cabinet.
Jack: I think that Stanton is an obnoxious jerk and war criminal. He should be tried before a civilian court and then be sentenced.
Wolf: Thank you Jack. What do you think about the Lincoln administration and the war?
Jack: The Lincoln administration used slavery as an excuse to start the war. People make a lot of money during wartime and a lot of that money has gone to friends of the administration, and of course there is all that arms production.
Wolf: Thanks again, Jack. I guess that just about wraps up CNN's coverage of the so-called Gettysburg Address. We thank you for watching. Tune in later tonight to watch Larry King and the Democrats' response to Lincoln's speech. For the <del>Corrupt</del> Cable News Network, I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're watching CNN.
Newsflash: CNN just discovered that Ambrose Burnside is working actively on the McClellan campaign and is a close friend of McClellan. CNN should have identified Burnside as such.