CBS Showcases 'Soul Searching' Republicans Upset by 'Ugly and Nasty' McCain

In a Tuesday night look at the battle for Pennsylvania, the CBS Evening News chose to check how, anchor Katie Couric reported, voters in the Keystone state “are doing some last-minute soul-searching.” The story showcased husband and wife “registered Republicans” who are upset by what reporter Jeff Glor characterized as McCain's “overwhelmingly negative” TV ads. The husband, who conceded he'll be voting for Obama, declared: “I just don't think it's necessary to be that ugly and that nasty against the opponent.” His wife concurred: “I think it actually hurts their cause rather than helps it when they're negative like that. At least for me it does.” She described herself as “in the middle, but I'm leaning slightly towards McCain.”

Glor began with how the Allentown-area couple, “Rick, 50, and Jane, 45, are registered Republicans, though Rick especially believes he has reason to cross party lines.” He explained: “In 2006 and again just this year, I've been laid off from two different jobs, and I look at it, and it's all happened under the current party.”

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video to provide this transcript of the story on the Tuesday, October 28 CBS Evening News:
KATIE COURIC: It's precisely because Virginia is becoming friendlier to the Democrats that Senator McCain, as Dean [Reynolds] just mentioned, is so desperate to win Pennsylvania. The latest poll there shows him trailing Senator Obama by nine points [50-41]. But as Jeff Glor reports, voters are doing some last-minute soul-searching in that battleground state.

JEFF GLOR: It's game night inside the Kline household near Allentown, but picking a President this year is the real contest.

JANE KLINE, PENNSYLVANIA VOTER: This is probably the one that stands out the most as far as being undecided.

GLOR: Both Rick, 50, and Jane, 45, are registered Republicans, though Rick especially believes he has reason to cross party lines.

RICK KLINE, PENNSYLVANIA VOTER: In 2006 and again just this year, I've been laid off from two different jobs, and I look at it, and it's all happened under the current party.

GLOR: Even though John McCain is behind here and this state hasn't voted Republican in a presidential election since 1988, the McCain campaign has come to believe that Pennsylvania is essential.

CHRISTOPHER BORICK, MUHLENBERG COLLEGE: It seems almost inevitable that the McCain campaign is going to lose some western states. And if they can somehow offset those losses with wins in Pennsylvania and its 21 electoral votes, it really does give them the chance that they're hoping for.

GLOR: McCain has spent six days here in the past two weeks, and Obama's noticed, launching a two-day swing this week and bringing in Bill Clinton tomorrow.

CLIP OF AD: He's out of ideas.

GLOR: While McCain is being outspent on TV ads, the commercials he is running are overwhelmingly negative.

ANNOUNCER IN McCain AD SHOWING A CLIP OF BARACK OBAMA: Risky.

ANNOUNCER OVER CLIP OF JOHN MCCAIN: Proven.

MAN #1 IN AD: I'm supposed to work harder-

MAN #2 IN AD: -just to pay more taxes?

BORICK; They roll the dice here. They roll the dice in making a negative campaign and so far the results simply don't show that it's beared any fruit.

RICK KLINE: I just don't think it's necessary to be that ugly and that nasty against the opponent.

JANE KLINE: I think it actually hurts their cause rather than helps it when they're negative like that. At least for me it does.

GLOR: That said, she's still likely voting Republican.

JANE KLINE: I'm in the middle, but I'm leaning slightly towards McCain.

GLOR: Her husband likely not.

RICK KLINE: Obama most likely.

GLOR: A split decision here as John McCain keeps swinging for a last chance late round knockout. Jeff Glor, CBS News, Allentown, Pennsylvania.
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