Last week in NBC's series Coming Home, Ann Curry paid tribute to a series of Ronald-MacDonald-style homes for disabled war veterans. Soldiers' families can stay in Fisher Houses, named for New York City real estate magnate Arnold Fisher, next to VA rehabilitation centers while the wounded receive therapy.
All three networks were on hand when the Center for the Intrepid at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio was opened. The state-of-the-art $50m physical therapy facility-- dubbed "mega-gym and science lab wrapped in one," by CBS' Kelly Cobiella--was paid for entirely by Fisher-led private fundraising. ABC's Mike von Fremd opened his report with a file of wheelchairbound soldiers entering the ceremonies on a red carpet and NBC's Don Teague closed his with the same legless array, all saluting as the national anthem played.
More and more, a Campaign 2008 angle is shoehorned into otherwise unrelated stories. When both candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton and likely candidate John McCain attended the San Antonio ceremonies, NBC's Teague mused that it provided "competing Presidential hopefuls with a common cause." NBC's Martin Savidge filed a separate story on Senate hearings into the federal reconstruction effort, dubbed the Road Home program, after Hurricane Katrina. He mentioned that candidate Barack Obama was asking questions: "His third visit to New Orleans comes just a month after another Democrat, John Edwards, used the city as a backdrop to announce his own run for the White House…Katrina's shadow may be cast all the way to 2008."
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