CBS Slams O'Donnell as 'Ultra-Conservative' and Sees Repeat of 1964, Touts Public Siding with Obama on Economy and Taxes

The night after a Tea Party candidate in Delaware stunned the GOP establishment, the CBS Evening News blamed voter “anger,” tried to marginalize Christine O'Donnell as an “ultra-conservative,” relayed the contention of establishment Republicans that Tea Party wins will lead to a re-run of the GOP's 1964 debacle, and highlighted how more Americans blame George W. Bush over President Barack Obama for the economy followed by how most side with Obama on not extending the current tax rates for those earning $250,000 or more.

All in a day's work for Katie Couric.

She led by declaring “American voters are in one angry mood” as “nearly three out of four registered voters say they're dissatisfied with or angry about what's going on in Washington,” though the new CBS News/New York Times poll actually found just as many “satisfied” as angry and twice as many “dissatisfied but not angry” over “angry.”

In the lead story, Nancy Cordes described how Christine O'Donnell “beat a veteran moderate Congressman who was considered a general election shoo-in” while “polls show O'Donnell's ultra-conservative social views make her a decided underdog in this blue-leaning state.” Her proof of O'Donnell's “ultra-conservative” views: a vintage video clip in which O'Donnell sounded eerily like Jimmy Carter: “Lust in your heart is committing adultery.” Following a soundbite of a Delaware Republican saying he'll vote for the Democrat, Cordes identified O'Donnell's November opponent sans any ideological tag: “And that's giving new life to the Democrat in the race, Chris Coons.”

Up next, Bob Schieffer ruminated about another 1964-like debacle for Republicans. “It is very much like 1964,” Schieffer contended, when Republicans “threw out all the establishment candidates” and nominated Barry Goldwater who “was far to the right of most of the people in his party, and they lost in a landslide.” So that's why, Schieffer insisted, “you have establishment Republicans worried about what's going to happen now in November.”

Looking at the public's views on the economy, Dean Reynolds highlighted how “the country still blames the Bush administration [37%] for the condition of the economy followed by Wall Street [5% blame Obama], and only 27 percent believe congressional Republicans are doing more to improve things, compared to 49 percent who say that about the President.”

Plus: “Nor, apparently, is the country with the Republicans on taxes. While the GOP favors extending tax cuts for all income brackets, 53 percent of Americans believe tax cuts should end for those with incomes above $250,000, as the President has proposed.”

Unmentioned by Reynolds: The 53 percent level is down nine points since February when it stood at 62 percent.

PDF of the survey results. CBSNews.com summary of the “anger” question. CBSNews.com look at the tax cut numbers.

Portions of the Wednesday, September 15 CBS Evening News, gathered by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth:
KATIE COURIC: Good evening, everyone. American voters are in one angry mood. It's evident at the polls and in the polls. Look at this: A CBS News/New York Times poll out tonight finds a record 55 percent of American voters say it's time for their representative in Congress to go. They don't like what the incumbents are doing – 58 percent disapprove of the Democrats; 68 percent disapprove of the Republicans. Nearly three out of four registered voters say they're dissatisfied with or angry about what's going on in Washington. And some of that feeling was reflected in yesterday's primaries with victories by candidates supported by the Tea Party....

NANCY CORDES: ...O'Donnell becomes the seventh Tea Party-affiliated candidate to defeat a more mainstream Republican in a Senate primary this season. Six Tea Partiers have won primaries for governor. Carl Paladino of New York joined their ranks last night. But Republican leaders are keeping their distance from him, too, after he named his dog his chief of staff and proposed that welfare recipients be housed in unused prisons.

CARL PALADINO, NEW YORK REPUBLICAN GUBERNATORIAL NOMINEE: New Yorkers are as mad as hell, and we're not gonna take it anymore!

CORDES: In Delaware, O'Donnell beat a veteran moderate Congressman who was considered a general election shoo-in. Polls show O'Donnell's ultraconservative social views-

CHRISTINE O'DONNELL, DELAWARE REPUBLICAN SENATE NOMINEE, IN OLD VIDEO: Lust in your heart is committing adultery.

CORDES: -make her a decided underdog in this blue-leaning state.

STEVEN DAVIS, DELAWARE REPUBLICAN RESIDENT: Given Christine O'Donnell's background, I have a very difficult time supporting her. I think I'd be more likely to cross party lines in this situation.

CORDES: And that's giving new life to the Democrat in the race, Chris Coons.

CHRIS COONS, DELAWARE DEMOCRATIC SENATE NOMINEE: Christine O'Donnell is a different sort of Republican in the general election than I expected.

CORDES: Republicans have a narrow window to take back the Senate, and it involves picking up 10 seats. If they don't win in Delaware, that window is all but closed, Katie.

 ...

COURIC: And, Bob, as Robert Gibbs said, and other people have asked, is this going to be a fight for the heart and soul of the Republican party?

BOB SCHIEFFER: Oh, I think it very much is just that. I mean, it is very much like 1964. In 1960, Republicans lost narrowly with an establishment candidate, Richard Nixon. They got to 1964, they threw out all the establishment candidates, they threw out their party leaders and they nominated Barry Goldwater who – fine man – but he was far to the right of most of the people in his party, and they lost in a landslide. And that's why you have establishment Republicans worried about what's going to happen now in November.

...

DEAN REYNOLDS: ...Other sobering findings for the White House: Only 38 percent think the President has a clear plan for creating jobs, and some 46 percent think the Obama stimulus package has had no impact – 20 percent think it made matters worse. But 63 percent say Mr. Obama is doing about as well as they expected.

DOLORES CLARK, POLL PARTICIPANT: It's too soon to make any final assessment of his presidency. I think he will be better and better as time passes.

REYNOLDS: Actually, the country still blames the Bush administration for the condition of the economy followed by Wall Street, and only 27 percent believe congressional Republicans are doing more to improve things, compared to 49 percent who say that about the President. Sam Greco is a retired Chicago detective. Do you think the Republicans have a plan?

SAM GRECO, RETIRED DETECTIVE: Nothing that comes to the forefront. And this is what bothers me.

REYNOLDS: Nor, apparently, is the country with the Republicans on taxes. While the GOP favors extending tax cuts for all income brackets, 53 percent of Americans believe tax cuts should end for those with incomes above $250,000, as the President has proposed. A mixed report card with the midterms approaching. Dean Reynolds, CBS News, Chicago.
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