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White House disses Fox, CNN on Clinton/Gates Sunday show tour

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Trying to calm the jitters over its military action against Libya, the White House took out the big guns Sunday, sending Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton out on the news show circuit together – and managing to once again tee off Fox News in the process.

Clinton and Gates appeared as a tag team on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” ABC’s “This Week” and NBC’s “Meet The Press,” which airs as a repeat on MSNBC. But they didn’t appear on either “Fox News Sunday” or CNN’s “State of the Union,” which led to an on-air rebuke from Fox host Chris Wallace.

“Despite the fact that we routinely have more viewers than two of those Sunday shows, the Obama team felt no need to explain to the millions of you who watch this program and Fox News why they have sent U.S. servicemen and women into combat,” Wallace said. “We thought you'd like to know."

Wallace’s show is seen on Sunday mornings on Fox broadcast stations and is then repeated on the Fox News Channel at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET. While the morning broadcast draws fewer viewers than its competitors on ABC, CBS and NBC, the combined audience on broadcast and cable draws more viewers than “This Week” or “Face the Nation,” though it trails “Meet the Press.”

Complaining on air about a lost booking is rare, though not as rare as having two Cabinet secretaries giving a joint interview, which may explain the hard feelings about being left out. However, over on CNN, the host of “State of the Union,” Candy Crowley, didn’t utter a word of complaint --- at least not in front of the camera.

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