CBS’s Harry Smith: ‘Rock Star’ Obama Needs More ‘Audacity’
On Monday’s CBS "Early Show,"host Harry Smith teased an interview with Barack Obama at the beginning of show and spoke of how the Democratic presidential candidate is often, "...greeted as a Rock Star," by voters.
The toughest questions asked by Smith were questions of why Obama is behind Hillary Clinton in the polls, something Smith attributed to the fact that, "There are people who like you a lot, who are saying we want more of that audacity, there's not enough audacity in the campaign." Well, we already know that Smith is in the Al Gore camp, so finding any actual candidate as audacious would be a challenge.
Smith continued to wonder about the futility of Obama’s campaign against Hillary, assuming her nomination as a forgone conclusion: "A lot of people say it's a fait accompli. I mean, not only will she get the nomination, she's going to get elected." French terminology aside, Smith tried to urge Obama on, wondering if the Illinois Senator was putting his full energy into the campaign: "Are you too cool? Have you been too cool?" I’m sure Smith also believes that Fred Thompson has not brought enough "audacity" to the campaign, or has been "too cool."
Smith did show some sympathy for Obama at the end of the interview when he asked:
Obama knows his race gives his candidacy a particular place in history. Several years ago, I sat in Colin Powell's living room, and he talked about running for president. And one of the things that concerned him was his own safety. Do you think about that at all in terms of, there are people in this country who might look at you and say, not in my lifetime not in this United States?
Just last week Smith proved the existence of a racism epidemic in America.
Here is the full transcript of the segment:
HARRY SMITH: This weekend I spent some time in Iowa, on the campaign trail with Barack Obama, who has been going door-to-door for votes out there. He's often greeted as a rock star. You will not find him very much any more in his hometown of Chicago. He has spent a lot of time in Iowa, determined to take Iowa from Hillary Clinton, and we will talk with him about that in this hour.
SMITH: The Iowa caucuses are less than three months away, and Campaign 2008's front-loaded primary schedule makes them more important than ever, especially for Democrats. That's why Iowa is becoming very familiar territory for Illinois Senator Barack Obama.
BARACK OBAMA: Are you fired up? Ready to go? Fired up! Ready to go! Let's go change the world. Thank you, everybody, thank you.
SMITH: Friday was Barack Obama's 48th day campaigning in Iowa, his 48th day of shaking hands and posing for pictures.
OBAMA: We feel good about what's happening here.
SMITH: We joined him on the campaign trail in Indianola. Iowa poles show just a few percentage points separate the three frontrunners. There are people who like you a lot, who are saying we want more of that audacity, there's not enough audacity in the campaign.
OBAMA: Well, everybody's got to have a little patience, you know. The American people don't start paying attention until right about now. Now's the time when, you know, the battle is going. Now's the time when people start making up their minds, and I think there are very clear distinctions, you know, between myself and Senator Clinton. You know, I believe in not only bringing this war to a close, but changing our mind set when it comes to foreign policy.
SMITH: She came after you a couple months ago. You said I will talk to so and so, and Hugo Chavez etcetera, etcetera--
OBAMA: Exactly, without preconditions.
OBAMA: Now suddenly, she said well I'd talk to Iran without preconditions. So now we're confused as to where she stands on it, but --
SMITH: A lot of people say it's a fait accompli. I mean, not only will she get the nomination, she's going to get elected.
OBAMA: Well, listen, if I believed in polls, then five years ago, I would have backed the war in Iraq like she did, because you know, George Bush was very popular, and the war in Iraq was perceived as the smart political plan.
SMITH: Do you think that's why she did it?
OBAMA: What I'm saying is that she authorized the war, and what I'm saying is that if I had been only listening to the polls, that's what the smart money and the pundits would have said that was the smart political play, but that's not what I did.
SMITH: Are you too cool? Have you been too cool?
OBAMA: Well, you know, it's interesting. I burst onto the national scene primarily as a consequence of that convention speech in 2004. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America. And I think that in some ways, people set this expectation that every time I speak I'm going to make you cry. As you start getting into the final months of the campaign, then you really are trying to grab them a little more in the heart and not just the head. And that's something I know how to do, but you know, you don't want to peak too early.
SMITH: Obama knows his race gives his candidacy a particular place in history. Several years ago, I sat in Colin Powell's living room, and he talked about running for president. And one of the things that concerned him was his own safety. Do you think about that at all in terms of, there are people in this country who might look at you and say, not in my lifetime not in this United States?
OBAMA: Yeah. You know, it's not something I spend a lot of time thinking about. What I spend most of my time thinking about is people who are at much greater risk than me right now. For example, those troops in Iraq, the likelihood of them getting killed is a lot higher than mine. And, you know, my job is to try to figure out how to create a better foreign policy so that we can start bringing them home.
SMITH: On the campaign trail with Barack Obama in Iowa. We'll have much more campaign coverage to come here on the "Early Show." Another Democratic candidate, Senator Joe Biden, will be here tomorrow.