CBS Evening News Spikes Newly Found Obama 'Redistributive' Audio

YouTube postings over the weekend divulged a 2001 radio interview in which Barack Obama regretted that “the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society,” but though John McCain on Monday cited this new evidence of Obama's long-standing advocacy of redistributing wealth, the CBS Evening News offered nothing more than a McCain soundbite surrounded by reporter Chip Reid discrediting the criticism as he relayed the Obama campaign's charge McCain had made a “false, desperate attack” and Reid bemoaned: “If the events of today are any guide, this is a campaign that is taking an increasingly negative tone in the last week.”

In contrast, the NBC Nightly News at least ran a short audio clip of Obama from 2001: “The Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth.” ABC's World News, in a piece by Ron Claiborne, aired a much longer audio soundbite from Obama:
One of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was because the civil rights movement became so court-focused, I think that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change.
In his Monday night CBS Evening News story, Reid began with McCain attacking Obama on economic policy before maintaining “the focus on the economy soon became blurred as Republicans launched a series of new attacks on Obama.” Reid cited an unnamed “independent Republican group” (National Republican Trust) which “announced plans to start airing attack ads featuring [Jeremiah] Wright” and “McCain himself jumped into the fray. He regularly accuses Obama of wanting to spread the wealth, but today he added a new line of attack.” Viewers then heard from McCain: “In a radio interview that was revealed today, he said that quote, 'one of the tragedies of the civil rights movement' is that it didn't bring about a redistribution of wealth in our society.”

Instead of playing an illustrative clip, as did ABC and NBC, Reid went immediately to the Obama campaign's retort:
The Obama campaign said McCain was taking a seven-year-old interview out of context and accused McCain of deciding to close out his campaign with the same false desperate attacks that have failed for months.
The MRC's Eyeblast site has a four-minute audio clip of the interview on WBEZ-FM, a public station in Chicago, from September 6, 2001.

Reid's story, on the Monday, October 27 CBS Evening News:
CHIP REID: In Cleveland today, John McCain sat down with his economic team before delivering a statement on what he called the fundamental differences between his economic plan and Barack Obama's.

JOHN MCCAIN: We both disagree with President Bush on economic policy. The difference is that he thinks taxes have been too low and I think, and I think that spending has been too high.

REID: But the focus on the economy soon became blurred as Republicans launched a series of new attacks on Obama.

AUDIO: This is Orson Swindle. John McCain and I were POWS together.

REID: Using the voice of one of McCain's closest friends, the Republican National Committee is paying for this new robo-call.

AUDIO OF SWINDLE: Obama and Democrats' politics endanger American lives. They are not qualified to lead our military and our country.

REID: And while McCain has ruled out attacking Obama with the words of his former pastor Jeremiah Wright, many Republicans disagree with that decision and today an independent Republican group announced plans to start airing attack ads featuring Wright later this week.

McCAIN: It's amazing that even at this late hour we are still learning more about Senator Obama.

REID: Campaigning in Dayton, Ohio, McCain himself jumped into the fray. He regularly accuses Obama of wanting to spread the wealth, but today he added a new line of attack.

JOHN McCAIN: In a radio interview that was revealed today, he said that quote, "one of the tragedies of the civil rights movement" is that it didn't bring about a redistribution of wealth in our society.

REID: The Obama campaign said McCain was taking a seven-year-old interview out of context and accused McCain of deciding to close out his campaign with the same false desperate attacks that have failed for months.

Now, McCain came here to Pottsville, Pennsylvania, after that trip to Ohio. He's giving his standard stump speech right now but, if the events of today are any guide, this is a campaign that is taking an increasingly negative tone in the last week. Katie?

The story on McCain's day aired on ABC's World News:
RON CLAIBORNE: This is Ron Claiborne in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. John McCain was fighting today on two fronts, attacking Barack Obama as a tax-raiser while distancing himself from President Bush.

JOHN McCAIN: This is the fundamental difference between Senator Obama and me. The fundamental difference. We both disagree with President Bush on economic policy. The difference is that he thinks taxes have been too low, and I think, and I think that spending has been too high.

CLAIBORNE: In Dayton, Ohio, McCain blasted Obama for, he said, having once advocated the redistribution of wealth.

McCAIN: In a radio interview that was revealed today, he said that quote. “one of the tragedies of the civil rights movement” is that it didn't bring about a redistribution of wealth in our society.

CLAIBORNE: The Obama campaign called it a “false, desperate” attack. Here’s what Obama told a Chicago radio station in 2001.

AUDIO OF BARACK OBAMA ON WBEZ RADIO IN 2001: One of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was because the civil rights movement became so court-focused, I think that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change.

CLAIBORNE: This is McCain's fifth trip this month to Pennsylvania, a state hat has gone Democratic since 1988, but narrowly in the last two presidential elections. And many registered Democrats and independents are social conservatives.

PROFESSOR MICHAEL BERKMAN, PENN STATE: There's no early voting, so it’s not like any votes are already locked in for Barack Obama. And Barack Obama did not run well here against Hillary Clinton. And so I think that probably gives the McCain camp some hope.

CLAIBORNE: And McCain will make his final argument later this week, the theme, his aides say, will be leadership and experience. The question, Charlie, is will enough voters be listening and persuaded to turn this race around?

From the NBC Nightly News story on McCain:
KELLY O’DONNELL: ...Today, McCain continued his effort to separate himself from the two men who could deny him the White House -- Barack Obama and George Bush.

JOHN McCAIN: We both disagree with President Bush on economic policy. The difference is he thinks taxes have been too low, and I think that spending has been too high.

O’DONNELL: In must-win Ohio, McCain seized on something his campaign claims is another revealing Obama moment. This time, an old interview from 2001.

McCAIN: In a radio interview that was revealed today, he said that, quote, “one of the tragedies of the civil rights movement” is that it didn't bring about a redistribution of wealth in our society.

O’DONNELL: Obama was a state senator then.

AUDIO OF OBAMA ON WBEZ, SEPTEMBER 6, 2001: The Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth.

O’DONNELL: Obama's campaign called it a fake news controversy...
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