CBS’s Smith Interviews Dennis Kucinich on Cheney Impeachment

On the CBS "Early Show" co-host Harry Smith admitted last Friday that he's "actually admired Dennis Kucinich for a long -- since he was mayor of Cleveland." Well, five days later on Wednesday's "Early Show," Smith interviewed his hero. Kucinich was on the program to discuss his House resolution to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney, which was unexpectedly called up for a vote on Tuesday.

Smith teased the segment at the top of the show by declaring, "On the record, 21 Democrats officially call for the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney, citing deceit in Iraq and covert operations in Iran." This declaration was preceded by a song that CBS managed to find on the internet with the lyrics: "Impeach Cheney first."

The top of the segment featured a report by Chip Reid, who explained, "The resolution accuses Cheney not only of alleged past sins regarding Iraq, but alleged current ones on Iran." Despite Cheney’s "sins," Reid also admitted the unpopularity of the proposal:

Liberal Democrat Dennis Kucinich, who's running for president, threw the political equivalent of a hand grenade onto the House floor...But even most Democratic war critics oppose impeaching Cheney, and many were harshly critical of Kucinich. Democrat Alcee Hastings of Florida told a cable news network quote "Dennis Kucinich sees flying saucers and he acts like one"...The House avoided an ugly debate on the issue by sending it to a committee for further study.

Even Smith, who then interviewed Kucinich, had to acknowledge that the resolution was a losing battle:

You don't have support from this from Steny Hoyer, you don't have support from this from Nancy Pelosi. There's really, what, a handful of you who are really interested in this...Well, the naysayers though, would say Dennis Kucinich, this is a way to get your name on -- at least on-- page six of the newspaper in a failing bid to win the Democratic nomination for president.

However, to make up for a challenging interview, Smith allowed Kucinich to end with this unchallenged diatribe:

There's a direct connection between the conditions we have right now and what this administration is doing. We have men and women with their lives on the line in Iraq, a war based on lies, over 3,800 people, soldiers have died. Over a million innocent Iraqis have died in this war. You know, this is about our moral caliber here, as to whether or not Washington can see the truth. Somebody mentioned UFOs. Let me tell you something, in Washington, the truth is an unidentified flying object, and it's time someone stood for the truth. The American people demand nothing less.

The only response from Smith to Kucinich’s version of the "truth," was this, "Congressman Kucinich we thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us." At least Smith got a chance to "admire" Kucinich some more.

Here is the full transcript of the segment:

7:00AM TEASER:

HARRY SMITH: Plus --

BILL OLIVER (Song, Deliverasong.com): Impeach Cheney first...

HOUSE CLERK: The vice president actively and systematically sought to deceive the citizens and Congress of the United States.

SMITH: On the record, 21 Democrats officially call for the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney, citing deceit in Iraq and covert operations in Iran.

7:10AM SEGMENT:

SMITH: It caught many of the members of the House of Representatives off guard Tuesday, the call by a group of Democrats to impeach Vice President Cheney. CBS Capitol Hill Correspondent Chip Reid reports.

CHIP REID: Liberal Democrat Dennis Kucinich, who's running for president, threw the political equivalent of a hand grenade onto the House floor.

DENNIS KUCINICH: Resolved that Richard B. Cheney, Vice President of the United States, is impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors.

REID: A resolution calling for the impeachment of Vice President Cheney supported by 21 other House Democrats, including anti-war firebrands, Sheila Jackson Lee and Maxine Waters. The House Clerk read the 11-page resolution into the permanent House record.

HOUSE CLERK: The vice president actively and systematically sought to deceive the citizens and Congress of the United States about an alleged threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

REID: The resolution accuses Cheney not only of alleged past sins regarding Iraq, but alleged current ones on Iran.

CONGRESSWOMAN: The vice president's recent belligerent actions towards Iran are destabilizing and counterproductive to the national security of the United States.

BILL OLIVER (Song, Deliverasong.com): Impeach Cheney first...

REID: There's even a song on the internet calling for Cheney's impeachment. But even most Democratic war critics oppose impeaching Cheney, and many were harshly critical of Kucinich. Democrat Alcee Hastings of Florida told a cable news network quote Dennis Kucinich sees flying saucers and he acts like one. In a written statement, the White House said, this is why Americans shake their heads in wonder at the priorities of this Congress. The House avoided an ugly debate on the issue by sending it to a committee for further study. But Kucinich and the resolution's other supporters say they have no intention of dropping the issue. Chip Reid, CBS News, Capitol Hill.

SMITH: Ohio Congressman and Democratic presidential candidate, Dennis Kucinich, is at the Capitol. Good morning, Congressman.

KUCINICH: Morning, Harry.

SMITH: You go on the floor yesterday, you introduce this resolution. Everybody expected it to be tabled, but the Republicans basically called your bluff, said let's debate this on the floor. How surprised were you?

KUCINICH: Well, they didn't call my bluff. I was fully prepared for debate with a three-inch thick binder of annotating the violations of law, and the violations of the Constitution, committed by the vice president which would justify an impeachment.

SMITH: But it certainly called the bluff of the Democratic leadership. You don't have support from this from Steny Hoyer, you don't have support from this from Nancy Pelosi. There's really, what, a handful of you who are really interested in this.

KUCINICH: Harry, you have to remember, there are millions of Americans who are part of a national movement to defend the Constitution, and they understand that the vice president made a false claim for war and is trying to beat the drums for war against Iran. And they're calling for action to be done. This isn't about me, it's not about the members of Congress who support impeachment. It's really about the American people and their insistence that their government not be lost. People are worried that we're losing our democracy and they're demanding that the Constitution be protected and that's exactly what yesterday was about.

SMITH: Well, the naysayers though, would say Dennis Kucinich, this is a way to get your name on -- at least on-- page six of the newspaper in a failing bid to win the Democratic nomination for president.

KUCINICH: You know, you started off your news report today saying that gasoline could be going to -- or that oil could be going to $100 a barrel. If we go ahead and attack Iran, that would be another war based on lies. Gasoline -- oil will go through the roof and people would be paying not $3 or $4 a gallon for gas, but $10. There's a direct connection between the conditions we have right now and what this administration is doing. We have men and women with their lives on the line in Iraq, a war based on lies, over 3,800 people, soldiers have died. Over a million innocent Iraqis have died in this war. You know, this is about our moral caliber here, as to whether or not Washington can see the truth. Somebody mentioned UFOs. Let me tell you something, in Washington, the truth is an unidentified flying object, and it's time someone stood for the truth. The American people demand nothing less.

SMITH: Congressman Kucinich we thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us.

KUCINICH: Thank you, Harry.

SMITH: Alright.

KUCINICH: Thank you.

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