For In-Flight Entertainment
Bush Reporters Poll Themselves on Governor's Chances
David Carr 10/7/2000

Campaign functionaries for Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush have, on occasion,
suggested that the press corps has a virulent, persistent bias against their candidate. From their
perspective, Al Gore seems to speed over every pothole while their guy just can't get a break from
those jackals at the back of the plane -- in part because the reporters seem to think he can't win.

As it turns out, the Bush paranoia may be right on the money.

On Friday, the Bush campaign plane was flying from Marion, Ill., to Tampa, Fla., when an
enterprising reporter used a blender and a fully stocked bar to whip up some serious margaritas
during the 2 hour and 15 minute flight. Once the tequila took effect -- even several Secret Service
members joined in the afternoon wind-down -- NBC producer Alexandra Pelosi suggested that it
was time that some of the people covering the race did their own formal handicapping.

According to a reporter who was on the plane, a straw poll ensued. The question was not who
should win, but who would win -- and 26 reporters suggested Gore will be the last man standing on
Nov. 7, while just 5 voted for a Bush victory. (Another reporter confirmed that the poll had occurred,
but declined to go into specifics.)

Safely ensconced in the front of the plane, Bush and his entourage were none the wiser that
reporters were making bets on his future 10 rows back and that the news was not good.

''Everybody knew that we weren't supposed to be doing it, but it was Friday afternoon, it had been
a long week, we were all drinking margaritas, so it was like, what the hell,'' says the reporter.

Pelosi is the daughter of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, and has a
reputation for keeping the back of the plane a lively place. She did not return calls asking for
comment on her role in the impromptu poll.

According to the reporter, writers from such publications as the Boston Globe, the Chicago
Tribune and three Texas papers -- the Dallas Morning News, the Houston Chronicle and the
Austin American Statesman -- all voted. The source did not know whether the reporters from the
Washington Post or the New York Times participated.

The reporter, who described the events only after being promised anonymity, thought the vote was
extraordinary. ''You just don't see that kind of stuff happening, (but) even then, it's surprising that
Gore won by so much. Usually reporters favor whomever they are covering, but I think the people
on this race believe that Gore's going to win. He's a fighter and just will not give up.''

There may be another reason that the press corps isn't feeling too kindly toward the governor of
Texas. Ever since word leaked out about a possible Gore mole in the Bush campaign, officials
have been very tightlipped with schedules. Pre-mole, schedules for the coming week were faxed
and e-mailed to reporters. Now, the campaign won't even tell reporters where they will be at the
end of the week, leaving many of them scrambling to get home for the weekend. ''People aren't too
happy about not being able to make plans. The Bush people are being incredibly tight with
information about where we're going to be,'' says the reporter.

On Saturday, a campaign press official in Austin said he was unaware of any such poll.

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