CBS Declares McCain's Anti-Obama Ad 'a Stretch'

CBS reporter Dean Reynolds on Wednesday night described the attacks on the other candidate by Barack Obama and John McCain, but only felt McCain's required a correction. After conveying how Obama is painting McCain as “out of touch and asleep at the switch are two...Obama favorites,” Reynolds cited a new McCain “ad attacking what it said was Obama's position on Iran.” Viewers saw a clip of the ad: “Iran. Radical Islamic government, known sponsors of terrorism. Obama says Iran is a 'tiny' country, 'doesn't pose a serious threat.' Obama, dangerously unprepared to be President.” Reynolds pounced:
But the ad is a stretch because this is what Obama really said last May in Pendleton, Oregon, on the need for diplomacy.
CBS then played a clip of Obama on May 18, part of the statement the McCain campaign cited to support its ad: “Strong countries and strong Presidents talk to their adversaries. I mean, think about it, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union. They don't pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us.”

Sounds like he said what the ad quotes him as having said. I've yet to hear Reynolds describe any of Obama's anti-McCain ads as “a stretch.”

From the start of the Reynolds story aired on 6:30 PM EDT edition, which was mostly live coverage of the roll call at the Democratic convention, of the CBS Evening News:
DEAN REYNOLDS: Barack Obama tried to build a bridge to a key voting block today, telling an audience of veterans in Montana that this election provides a stark choice.

BARACK OBAMA AT CAMPAIGN EVENT: Do we have a President who gets that people are struggling everyday? Who gets that veterans are struggling everyday? Or do we have somebody who doesn't get it?

REYNOLDS: It was the latest in a series of similar descriptions of McCain: Out of touch and asleep at the switch are two other Obama favorites. But the McCain campaign has been hard at work trying to undo those efforts. First, with an ad attacking what it said was Obama's position on Iran.

McCAIN AD: Iran. Radical Islamic government, known sponsors of terrorism. Obama says Iran is a “tiny” country, “doesn't pose a serious threat.” Obama, dangerously unprepared to be President.

REYNOLDS: But the ad is a stretch because this is what Obama really said last May in Pendleton, Oregon, on the need for diplomacy.

OBAMA, MAY 18: Strong countries and strong Presidents talk to their adversaries. I mean, think about it, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union. They don't pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us.

REYNOLDS: But painting Obama as a dangerous risk is a Republican mantra. Giuliani led the way in Denver just hours before Obama arrived...
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center