KALB: Let me be philosophical for a moment about the media. It puts aside its bluntness of assessment, its bluntness of prediction and careens right into the future with all sorts of new predictions. And as he got more scrutiny he, you know -- And as he started having some difficulty responding to Vice President Gore, things got a little tougher. Seems to me this is a luxury the media cannot give itself and is a disservice to the electorate. TAPPER: I think that the media has really given Bradley an unwinnable proposition, which is when Gore was just coming at him like a nasty street fighter, people -- and Bradley was trying to rise above it, and you know, change the discourse and change politics, people in the media were mad at him; you know, fight back, fight back.Have you noticed that even though the media offered the governor of Texas a coronation in the early reporting about what might take place even, even with that reporting, have you seen a single red face of embarrassment on anybody in the media? One has to be on guard against this powerful monstrous media by making these predictions. And I think they had a hard time responding and reacting to those changes. Then he finally fights back, and it's like, oh, he's such a hypocrite.Now every time I pick up a paper, I read, "The aura of invincibility has shattered," or words thereof. He takes questions for five minutes; he doesn't answer the questions.Were we all falling victim to some kind of collective conventional wisdom? I mean, you know, everybody sort of knows in their head that you can have a lot of money and go to nowhere, but I think a lot of people were sort of snowed by all the money, all the endorsements. New Hampshire has always kind of pierced the balloon over the years. The other thing I was just going to say is that Senator Mc Cain -- In a way, Governor Bush is running the sort of campaign that Senator Dole did in '96, which is staying away from the press, limiting access, and... He does take questions from reporters on a regular basis. You know, the thing is, I hop around from campaign to campaign, and you see it like when Bush was getting good press, he was getting good press, but at the same time, reporters would ask him questions: "What about your Louisiana campaign chair who bought mailing lists from David Duke?So have journalists been co-opted by a friendly candidate who knows how to work the press? And New Hampshire was a state that looked -- that saw Mc Cain and Bush most up close and personal. The huge number of New Hampshirites saw the two in person, a huge number of them saw them on the local news.(END VIDEOTAPE) KURTZ: Well, joining us here in Washington, Bill Kristol, editor and publisher of "The Weekly Standard," which has put John Mc Cain and George Bush on the cover of its new issue; Jake Tapper, Washington correspondent for Salon.com; and in Detroit, on the campaign trail, Jill Zuckman, political reporter for "The Boston Globe." Welcome all. But to me fair to Mc Cain here, look, Mc Cain won New Hampshire by 19 points. I mean, in a way, the Bush campaign likes to say the national media loves John Mc Cain. But the place that Mc Cain beat Bush was in New Hampshire, where the national media had the least effect not the most effect. The question that comes up now with the victory that we're talking about now, victory comes at a media price, and that is to say -- you agree, Jill?
He doesn't go out of his way, unlike John Mc Cain, to court reporters. KRISTOL: In part because he is aloof and condescending. I think it's kind of an irresponsibility on the part of the media to drop these adjectives on people. KALB: I think it's a form of journalistic narcissism.TAPPER: Right, well, I mean, that definitely works in his factor, but I think you also can't discount, (a) that he spent 65 days in New Hampshire. KURTZ: Bill Kristol, as a conservative who edits a conservative magazine and who once worked for Dan Quayle, how can the so-called liberal press, at least major elements of it, be falling in love with a guy who's against abortion, who is against gun control and lots of other things that are part of the left wing agenda?KRISTOL: Well, they agree with him on campaign finance reform. KURTZ: They like the fact that he's challenging the Republican establishment.I mean, people do not have a good relationship with her with a person whose job it is to have good relations with the press. Does that suggest that if you have a candidate who's out there and talking to reporters all the time that he's going to get more substantive coverage, or does it only work if you're a good enough candidate to avoid blunders? I worked for Dan Quayle, and he was actually a substantive guy. And one thing about running for president is if you're -- the better politician you are, the better you're likely to do. For a long time, Bill Bradley also shared that status as an insurgent candidate taking on incumbent an vice president. As soon as somebody heads a little south in those all important tracking polls, the coverage turns a little bit hostile. When a guy is losing, the media gather around and offers some support.And that eventually turns around and bites them in the keister. A media chutzpah that gives itself a constant acquittal as it goes off into the future with fresh and sometimes ultimately wrong predictions. But the blunders become the story, the blunders become the story. People can talk about the press being in his pocket, but I was in politics and let me tell you what he has done over the last six months is a pure matter of political performance. ZUCKMAN: No, you know, as soon as somebody starts doing well -- and he was doing very, very well -- then they get more scrutiny, and that's always the case. It seems to me on this question, Jake, that the media has become disillusioned with Bradley because he's dropped his idealism to a certain extent and is behaving like a politician with negative attacks, et cetera. No, not just the candidates, the journalists, as John Mc Cain continues to dominate the headlines.