CBS’s Smith ‘Admired’ Kucinich ‘Since He was Mayor of Cleveland’

While previewing an upcoming interview with extreme left-wing presidential candidate, Dennis Kucinich, on Friday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith remarked, "I've actually admired Dennis Kucinich for a long -- since he was mayor of Cleveland." In addition to Smith admitting that he admired someone as liberal as Kucinich, who wants to establish a Department of Peace and claims to have seen UFOs, Smith specifically mentioned Kucinich’s disastrous tenure as Mayor of Cleveland, Ohio.

Video (0:42): Real (1.14 MB) and Windows (1.31 MB), plus MP3 audio (329 kB).

Even The New York Times could not ignore Kucinich’s failures as mayor in a 2003 candidate profile:

But it all came crashing quickly down when Mr. Kucinich presided over the city's plunge into default in 1978. The collapse attracted international ridicule and, except for a brief sojourn on the City Council in the early 80's, left the obstreperous boy wonder in political exile for 15 years...[he] was elected mayor in 1977 and governed the city with a tight circle of friends. But Cleveland's finances, already troubled, spiraled out of control. The climactic moment came in December 1978, when the city was unable to meet $14.5 million in bond obligations. Despite pressure from the business community, Mayor Kucinich refused to sell the municipal electric system to cover the debt. Cleveland went bust, as did his career.

Co-host Hannah Storm went on to interview Kucinich and his wife and began with the question, "your Democratic rival Barack Obama's comments, the senator saying he would engage in aggressive personal diplomacy with Iran...Is that a smart idea?" Kucinich replied, "I'd meet with Ahmadinejad. I mean, I think that it's important for us to avoid the World War III that President Bush invoked, and I think that anyone who would be President of the United States has to be ready to move forward to meet with people." Storm continued to press him on the issue, provoking an even more outrageous response from Kucinich, "I mean anyone who would be President of the United States can't start to set preconditions on who you're going to meet with in order to achieve peace...There's no one I wouldn't meet with to create more security for our nation and peace in the world." This is Harry Smith’s hero.

Storm soon moved on from relevant questions about Kucinich’s policy stances to this, "a lot of people talking about your wife and the fact that she's over three decades younger, and she's statuesque, and beautiful, and has a pierced tongue. What do you make of the attention on her?"

Storm concluded the interview with this hard-hitting exchange with Elizabeth Kucinich:

STORM: I know that your husband doesn't want to focus on your tongue ring, but you do have one, correct?"

KUCINICH: I do.

STORM: And would you remove it if you became First Lady or leave it in?

KUCINICH: It's part of me now. It's been there ten years, so --

STORM: Can we see it.

KUCINICH: No, you can't. Sorry.

Here is the full transcript of the segment:

7:01AM TEASER:

Harry SMITH: Good morning. I'm Harry Smith, along with Hannah Storm and Julie Chen. We've got quite a show for you this morning. It's been a big political week. Barack Obama has come out. He says I want to directly negotiate with Iran. Republicans are saying that Hillary's chances of getting the nomination are slipping because of her performance in the debate this week. And we're going to be talking with a dark horse candidate. I've actually admired Dennis Kucinich for a long -- since he was mayor of Cleveland, right.

HANNAH STORM: What do you -- do you admire his wife? Look at her. She's statuesque, she's beautiful, she's 31 years younger.

SMITH: And she says that when Dennis Kucinich gets elected president, she will continue to wear her tongue ring all the way to the White House.

STORM: Yes, she has a pierced tongue.

SMITH: There you have it.

 

7:31AM SEGEMENT:

HANNAH STORM: We turn to Congressman Dennis Kucinich and his wife, Elizabeth. Good morning to both of you.

DENNIS KUCINICH: Good morning.

ELIZABETH KUCINICH: Good morning.

STORM: Congressman, before we speak with your lovely wife there, I just want to ask you about your Democratic rival Barack Obama's comments, the senator saying he would engage in aggressive personal diplomacy with Iran. That's what he's saying this morning. Is that a smart idea?

KUCINICH: I'd meet with Ahmadinejad. I mean, I think that it's important for us to avoid the World War III that President Bush invoked, and I think that anyone who would be President of the United States has to be ready to move forward to meet with people. And I've said that already. I'm glad Barack Obama is joining in what I've been saying for quite a while.

STORM: So you'd meet person to person, back door of the State Department?

KUCINICH: Are you kidding? I mean, this is about world peace. I mean anyone who would be President of the United States can't start to set preconditions on who you're going to meet with in order to achieve peace. I mean, I'll go one step -- you know I'd go one step further. There's no one I wouldn't meet with to create more security for our nation and peace in the world. People should expect that.

STORM: Alright. So, do you have plans to meet with anyone there?

KUCINICH: I'm telling you that --

STORM: Or Ahmadinejad?

KUCINICH: I'm telling you that I'd meet with anyone to make our nation more secure and to achieve peace in the world. That should be where the president--

STORM: Alright. Are you going to request a meeting?

KUCINICH: You know, I just gave you a blanket statement.

STORM: Okay. Alright. Let's talk to your wife. You've gotten a lot of attention. You have a core group of supporters for your political views, but a lot of people talking about your wife and the fact that she's over three decades younger, and she's statuesque, and beautiful, and has a pierced tongue. What do you make of the attention on her?

KUCINICH: Well, the most important thing I would tell you, Hannah, as a professional, is it's important not to trivialize a woman who has worked on international humanitarian matters, you know, helping people in Africa get access to energy and to housing and to education. Helping poor people and children of the Delat in India. Working with a group connected with Mother Theresa. Working with the Mission of Seafarers in London. I mean, here's a woman of great accomplishment, with a master's degree in international conflict resolution, and I hope that you're going to talk about more than a tongue stud.

STORM: Well, I do want to ask you, Elizabeth, what do you think that you would bring to the White House? You are -- or you would be, the very first First Lady at such a young age and also you're a citizen of Great Britain.

ELIZABETH KUCINICH: I think that now America really needs a real global perspective to come into politics. And Dennis's and my partnership is really that, having worked all around the world, I think it would be tremendous to be in a position where the world really can show its heart to the American people and the American people's heart be reflected back to the world.

STORM: I know that your husband doesn't want to focus on your tongue ring, but you do have one, correct?

KUCINICH: I do.

STORM: And would you remove it if you became First Lady or leave it in?

KUCINICH: It's part of me now. It's been there ten years, so --

STORM: Can we see it.

KUCINICH: No, you can't. Sorry.

DENNIS KUCINICH: That's my privilege.

STORM: Okay. Well done. Alright. Thanks for talking with us this morning. And good luck with your presidential aspirations in your campaign.

KUCINICH: Thank you.

STORM: That's Congressman Dennis --

ELIZABETH KUCINICH: And polling forth now.

STORM: Yes, polling forth.

DENNIS KUCINICH: I'm up to 7% in New Hampshire, when I get to third place --

ELIZABETH KUCINICH: Fourth nationally --

STORM: When you get to third place or you meet with Ahmadinejad, we'll have you back. Right.

KUCINICH: You know, remember you said that.

STORM: There you go guys, there you go. Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich, thank you.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC