Pelley Can't See Palin as President, Kroft Insists It's 'Fact' Being Black Will Cost Obama

Three Sundays ago, in a 60 Minutes interview CBS's Steve Kroft cued up Barack Obama with Sarah Palin's presumed lack of qualifications compared to him: “Does the fact that he chose as his Vice President someone who has less experience than you take that weapon out of his arsenal?” But on Sunday night, in a 60 Minutes devoted to new interviews with both Obama and John McCain, Scott Pelley also hit McCain from the same angle on Palin's qualifications, telling him “the criticism of Governor Palin is that she was a brilliant marketing choice for the campaign, but she's not well versed on the economy or foreign affairs,” before he demanded: “In your judgment, can you see her as President of the United States?” When McCain replied “Absolutely,” Pelley's voice betrayed astonishment as he fired back: “As President of the United States?”

Steve Kroft again got the sit-down with Obama and when Obama contended that if he loses, his race will not be the cause, Kroft countered that he knows “for a fact...there are a lot of people out there...who won't vote for you because you're black.” Kroft declared as the two sat in Elko, Nevada:
I know, for a fact, that there are a lot of people out there, there are a lot of people right here in Elko, who won't vote for you because you're black. I mean, there's not much you can do. But how do you deal with it? I mean, are there ways that, from a political point of view, that you can deal with it? And how do you fight that?
Kroft did at least challenge Obama with whether it's “a good idea to be raising taxes at a time when the country seems to be broke?” and how if his legislation to pull “all the troops out” of Iraq in 16 months had passed, “we would have missed the surge, we would have missed the reduction in violence.”

Pelley pressed McCain on why Plain isn't more available to the media:
Senator Biden, Senator Obama's running mate, has done 84 interviews and news conferences by our count. And Governor Palin has done two. And I wonder why that is. There's a perception that you might be nervous about what she might say, that you're not putting her in front of reporters.
The two interviews each aired in two parts on the four-segment 60 Minutes of Sunday, September 21. The CBSNews.com posted transcript and video of Pelley with McCain and of Kroft with Obama.

My August 31 NewsBusters posting, “Kroft Cues Up Obama to Agree Palin 'Has Less Experience than You,'” recounted:
CBS's 60 Minutes led Sunday night with a taped interview with the Democratic ticket and in the piece Steve Kroft, who couldn't resist labeling Sarah Palin as a "conservative" while never tagging Joe Biden, presumed as fact that Palin "has less experience" than Obama and cued up Obama to agree with his own campaign's rhetoric about how Palin undermines McCain's experience argument: "Does the fact that he chose as his Vice President someone who has less experience than you take that weapon out of his arsenal?"...

Palin was first elected to the Wasilla city council in 1992 and has held statewide office since 2003 (chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission before becoming Governor in December of 2006). Obama assumed his state senate seat in 1997 and, though a U.S. Senator since 2005, he soon after launched his presidential run and has hardly been working as a Senator.

Bottom line: As traditionally measured for politicians, neither has all that much experience, especially compared to McCain or Biden, and while whose life experience makes them better-qualified to become the #2 or #1 can be debated, it was ridiculous for Kroft to assert as a fact that Palin "has less experience" than Obama, especially since he's going for the top spot.

Kroft also, as noted above, never applied an ideological label to either Obama or Biden, but didn't hesitate with Palin: "Senator McCain tried to steal the Democrats' thunder by announcing that Alaska's conservative first-term Governor, 44-year-old Sarah Palin, would be his running mate."...
Portion of the Pelley/McCain session dealing with Palin:
PELLEY: The criticism of Governor Palin is that she was a brilliant marketing choice for the campaign, but she's not well versed on the economy or foreign affairs.

McCAIN: Well, actually, the most popular governor in America so, and the largest, geographically state,. But the most important thing is-

PELLEY: But foreign affairs and the economy, those are things that people are concerned about.

McCAIN: First of all, anybody who's governed a state has some economic experience. And by the way, she cut taxes. The second thing is she shares the world view that I have.

PELLEY: Is it true you only met her a couple of times before you selected her?

McCAIN: I'd only known her a few times but a couple of times. But I had watched her very carefully. I had followed her career.

PELLEY: How'd you make that decision?

McCAIN: Well, I based it on what's the best for the country. I looked at her record. I looked at her.

PELLEY: In your judgment, can you see her as President of the United States?

McCAIN: Absolutely.

PELLEY: As President of the United States?

McCAIN: Absolutely, absolutely.

PELLEY: Senator Biden, Senator Obama's running mate, has done 84 interviews and news conferences by our count. And Governor Palin has done two. And I wonder why that is. There's a perception that you might be nervous about what she might say, that you're not putting her in front of reporters.

McCAIN: She's gonna be doing more all the time. She's, as you know, been introduced to the country. We're campaigning hard. Look, everybody that has met her and known her and the enthusiasm of these crowds, the American people are vetting her. And they're liking a lot what they're seeing.
Portion of Kroft with Obama about race:
KROFT: When we did our very first interview, and I asked you, I said "Do you think the country's ready for a black President," you said that you didn't think it would hold you back. That if you don't win this race it will be because of other factors. Do you still believe that?

OBAMA: Yes. I believe it even more now. We're only 47 days out and I'm still here.

KROFT: I know, for a fact, that there are a lot of people out there, there are a lot of people right here in Elko, who won't vote for you because you're black. I mean, there's not much you can do. But how do you deal with it? I mean, are there ways that, from a political point of view, that you can deal with it? And how do you fight that?
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