Following live coverage of President George W. Bush's 31-minute May 24 speech on U.S. policy in Iraq, during primetime, at 8 p.m. (ET), MSNBC, CNN, and FOX News Channel devoted the remainder of the hour to analysis and commentary.
On MSNBC, host Chris Matthews anchored a special edition of Hardball, which began an hour before Bush's speech and continued afterward. Following Bush's speech, Matthews switched to a lengthy interview with Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE), the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, offering a Democratic view. Biden was followed by Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA), giving a view from congressional Republicans.
On CNN, host Paula Zahn anchored an abbreviated form of her show Paula Zahn Now, headlined "Special Edition: Countdown to Handover." After canvassing CNN White House and Pentagon correspondents, Zahn featured an interview with former President Bill Clinton's Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who offered a Democratic view. Albright was followed by Joe Klein, a regular contributor to Zahn's show and a Time magazine senior writer, and then by an exchange between Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell and Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT), the former vice presidential candidate.
The lineup on FOX News Channel was strikingly different; no Democrats were heard from.
FOX News Channel's coverage was anchored by FOX News managing editor and chief Washington correspondent Brit Hume, who moved from Bush to a panel of pundits that included pro-Bush, pro-war conservative syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer; pro-Bush, pro-war conservative Weekly Standard executive editor Fred Barnes; and Washington Post staff writer Ceci Connolly -- FOX News contributors all. National Public Radio senior correspondent and FOX News Channel political contributor Juan Williams, who often appears on Hume's daily 6 p.m. newscast and has been critical of Bush's polices in Iraq, did not appear on the primetime panel.
Following the panel of two conservative pundits and one news reporter, Hume introduced Representative Peter King (R-NY) as "one who supports the President on this issue." King described the Bush address as "uplifting," "poetry," and said Bush spoke "almost lyrically."
After a brief exchange with FOX senior White House correspondent Jim Angle, Hume returned to his stacked panel for closing remarks. Krauthammer was given the last word: "He had to answer a question, 'does he have a plan?' The answer is yes, he has a plan, with details and dates. He succeeded."