After Debate, CBS's Hannah Storm Focuses On Hit Piece Against Mrs. Giuliani
Republicans held a debate on Sunday, but CBS’s Hannah Storm seemed more interested in Rudy Giuliani’s personal life and then Mitt Romney’s crankiness. On the August 6 edition of "The Early Show," at 7:19 AM, Storm kicked off the segment noting there was a Republican debate the previous day but, "they did not talk about an issue hanging over front-runner Rudy Giuliani and that is his wife, Judith, who has become a controversial topic in his campaign."
Storm cited a hit piece from the left wing "Vanity Fair" claiming "she’s portrayed as someone who pursued a married man, she has lavish spending habits, demands an extra seat on the campaign plane for her Louis Vuitton handbag, apparently has a hit list of campaign aides that she once fired."
Though Giuliani may not be the ideal candidate for conservatives, it is notable that a left leaning publication’s hit piece on a Republican finds its way to the network news. If a right leaning publication were to write a similar piece on any Democrat, would the CBS morning producers jump on it?
When Storm finally did move on to the debate, much of the focus was on some "sharp responses" Romney made regarding his shifting stance on abortion and his Mormon faith. Although Hannah Storm offered a negative tone on Romney’s prospects, guest Jim Vandehei noted the Republican candidate is "doing very well in Iowa, in New Hampshire in those early states and he's doing well because of conservative support."
The entire transcript is below.
HANNAH STORM: Welcome back to the CBS "Early Show." I'm Hannah Storm. The Republican presidential candidates met in Des Moines, Iowa on Sunday and Iraq, abortion and the War on Terror dominated their latest debate. They did not talk about an issue hanging over front-runner Rudy Giuliani and that is his wife, Judith, who has become a controversial topic in his campaign. Jim Vandehei, is executive editor of Politico.com a CBS News partner covering Campaign 2008. Good morning, Jim.
JIM VANDEHEI: Good morning.
STORM: Well, Judith Giuliani has come under all sorts of scrutiny, there's this new "Vanity Fair" piece, there was a front page article on the "New York Times" on Sunday, she's portrayed as someone who pursued a married man, she has lavish spending habits, demands an extra seat on the campaign plane for her Louis Vuitton handbag, apparently has a hit list of campaign aides that she once fired. None of this is flattering. How much is it actually hurting Rudy Giuliani?
VANDEHEI: Well, being twice divorced and being best known for breaking up one of the candidate's marriages is not the ideal profile for a political wife in a Republican campaign. Here's why. Conservatives still consider themselves the party of family values. And one of the big knocks on Giuliani is that he's not your typical family values kind of guy. He himself has been married a couple of times, reportedly has strained relations with his family and does not-- and supports a woman's right to choose. And so, you know, the danger for Giuliani is that his wife amplifies the negative for him.
STORM: Let's move on to someone who touts himself as a champion of family values and that's Mitt Romney, and what happened in this GOP debate yesterday. Because he had a very sharp exchange with Senator Sam Brownback over Romney's shifting stance on abortion. Here was Romney's response.
FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY: I changed my position. When I was governor and when I faced an issue of life or death, when the first time a bill came to my desk, that related to the life of an unborn child I came down to the side of life and I put that in the "Boston Globe" and explained why. And I get tired of people that are holier than thou because they've been pro life longer than I have.
STORM: Now does the fact that Romney has gone from pro-choice to pro-life just in the last couple years, does that hurt his campaign?
VANDEHEI: It could hurt him if he does not handle it adeptly. Remember, conservatives are very much -- the litmus test for them is abortion, and they're really skeptical--some are very skeptical about Romney and whether he's authentically with them on abortion and gay marriage and other issues. So far he has handled it right and conservatives seem to be flocking to him. He's doing very well in Iowa, in New Hampshire in those early states and he's doing well because of conservative support.
STORM: Let's talk a little bit about how Romney has handled continuing questions about his Mormon religion. There was a bit of controversy over that over the weekend, correct?
VANDEHEI: There was. He did this radio show in Iowa and there was questions about, you know, his Mormon faith and how is that compatible with Christian theology and he got a little bit agitated and off camera there was a clip caught where he's really sort of cutting and talking about how tired he is of having to defend the Mormon faith. So far he's done a good job and I think he's done a good job by portraying himself as being a man of faith. And that's what conservatives want to hear. If it becomes an argument about what Mormonism is about that could hurt him, especially with Christian voters.