CBS ‘Early Show’: Clinton is ‘Braving the Ice Storm’ to Campaign

Teasing an upcoming interview with Hillary Clinton on Monday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Julie Chen exclaimed: "The coveted Iowa newspaper endorsement goes to Senators John McCain and Hillary Clinton, who is locked in a tight race and is braving the ice storm to go county to county. She joins us this morning." This discussion of Hillary’s bravery joined the rest of the television morning shows as part of the Clinton campaign’s latest media blitz after gaining the endorsement of the "Des Moines Register."

Co-host Harry Smith further previewed his interview with Clinton as he declared that, "The woman of the hour here in Iowa is Hillary Clinton." In a report preceding the interview, CBS Correspondent Jim Axelrod summarized the endorsement: "Her campaign, coming off its roughest month yet, got a boost over the weekend, winning the coveted endorsement of the "Des Moines Register," the state's most influential paper, praised her experience, citing her 'strength, resolve, and resilience.’" However, Axelrod did mention that, "John Edwards got the paper's nod four years ago, points out he finished second in the caucuses."

During the actual interview, Smith did provide some challenge to Clinton:

SMITH: You know it was not exactly the full banner headline, though. I want to just read just a few words. "Unfortunately for many Americans, perceptions of Clinton -- now 60 --" sorry.

CLINTON: Don't say that. You can cut that out. Stop it! Stop the cameras!

SMITH: "Remains stuck in a 1990's time warp, she's regarded as the one who fumbled health-care reform and as a driving force in the bitter standoff between the 'Clinton machine' and the 'vast right-wing conspiracy,'" but it went on to say "we believe as president she'll do what she's always done in her life: throw herself into the job and work hard. We believe Hillary Rodham Clinton can do great things for our country."

CLINTON: Right.

SMITH: Do you still have to overcome perceptions here?

Later Smith asked, "One of the rubs about your campaign -- they say it feels like it's focus-group-driven, that it's too -- run too tightly, that people in Iowa don't get to see enough of the real you." Odd that a morning show host would suggest someone else is not being "real." All those ‘Christmas gift ideas for your pet’ segments and the latest celebrity scandals certainly never seem "focus-group-driven."

Smith even suggested that Bill Clinton is Hillary’s "attack dog":

Did you watch "Charlie Rose" by any chance Friday night, the things he was saying about Barack Obama and being inadequate and like a television announcer? Not that that's such a horrible thing. It's like you have a president as attack dog in this campaign. He was quite complimentary of everyone else except Barack Obama.

However, before anyone thinks Smith’s reporting has gotten fair, there was this exchange at the end of the interview:

CLINTON: And of course, I'm thrilled to have his [Bill Clinton’s] support, you know. It's a little bit of a role reversal, but it is exciting because, you know, he throws himself into everything he does, as you know, and he loves this country and he believes he knows what it's going to take to make the changes we need after George Bush finally leaves, and that's the case he's making.

SMITH: The people in the diner here, your supporters, almost cheered at that remark, you know.

Yes, Harry Smith included. 

Here is the full transcript of the segment:

7:01AM TEASER:

JULIE CHEN: The coveted Iowa newspaper endorsement goes to Senators John McCain and Hillary Clinton, who is locked in a tight race and is braving the ice storm to go county to county. She joins us this morning.

7:02AM TEASER:

CHEN: But, as Russ was saying --

MITCHELL: Harry is in Iowa. He's going to talk to Hillary Clinton later on today.

CHEN: At the Drake Diner, where it's all politics all the time.

MITCHELL: Speaking of the Drake Diner --

CHEN: There he is.

HARRY SMITH: Yeah, you got that right. This is the most coveted piece of news print in all of America right now, it's yesterday's opinion page from the "Des Moines Register." The people who got the endorsements, Hillary Clinton and John McCain. The woman of the hour here in Iowa is Hillary Clinton. We'll be talking to her in just a couple of minutes, guys.

7:08AM SEGMENT:

JULIE CHEN: Now let's turn back to Harry Smith, who's in Des Moines. Harry?

HARRY SMITH: Okay, hey, guys, good morning. We're at the Drake Diner with a whole bunch of Hillary Rodham Clinton supporters. A lot of news that happened over the weekend. That, of course, is that Hillary Clinton got the endorsement from the Des Moines Register. On the other hand, she did not get the endorsement from the Boston Globe. Lot to talk about, and Mrs. CLINTON has been campaigning like no tomorrow. As Jim Axelrod reports.

HILLARY CLINTON: The road to the White House for the next president begins here in Iowa.

JIM AXELROD: Hillary Clinton and her surrogates hope to hit all 99 of Iowa's counties by Thursday. She's flying by helicopter, making the final sprint to caucus day, January 3rd.

CLINTON: I could not be more pumped up.

AXELROD: Her campaign, coming off its roughest month yet, got a boost over the weekend, winning the coveted endorsement of the Des Moines Register, the state's most influential paper, praised her experience, citing her 'strength, resolve, and resilience.'

CLINTON: It was an important event in this process and I am very grateful that they have zeroed in on the work that needs to be done by the next president.

AXELROD: As soon as the Des Moines Register's endorsement was announced, one of Hillary Clinton's chief rivals offered up his experience as a reality check. John Edwards got the paper's nod four years ago, points out he finished second in the caucuses. Jim Axelrod, CBS News, Lamars, Iowa.

SMITH: And we're at the Drake Diner in Des Moines with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. Congratulations on the endorsement of the paper.

CLINTON: I'm thrilled by it.

SMITH: How much did you feel like you needed that endorsement?

CLINTON: Well, I wanted it because I really respected their process. It was grueling, Harry. They put us through our paces. They had two editorial board meetings with us, they had other meetings. They did an enormous amount of research. So I felt like it was a great validation of my campaign and my candidacy, and they basically made the argument that we have a lot of big challenges in our country, we need somebody ready to lead on day one and endorsed me for that reason.

SMITH: You know it was not exactly the full banner headline, though. I want to just read just a few words. Unfortunately for many Americans, perceptions of Clinton -- now 60 -- sorry.

CLINTON: Don't say that. You can cut that out. Stop it! Stop the cameras!

SMITH: Remains stuck in a 1990's time warp, she's regarded as the one who fumbled health-care reform and as a driving force in the bitter standoff between the 'Clinton machine' and the 'vast right-wing conspiracy,' but it went on to say we believe as president she'll do what she's always done in her life: throw herself into the job and work hard. We believe Hillary Rodham Clinton can do great things for our country.

CLINTON: Right.

SMITH: Do you still have to overcome perceptions here?

SMITH: Well, you know, Harry, I've lived a long time, as now everybody in the world knows. And, you know, part of living a long life is that you learn things, and not every day is a perfect day, but what really counts is whether you get up and keep going and keep trying to make positive change in people's lives. That's what I've done my entire adult life.

SMITH: Yeah.

CLINTON: And I think at the -- at the end of the day, that's what voters want.

SMITH: But you know what --

CLINTON: They want somebody who will actually think about them, their families, and their needs, and that's what I'll do.

SMITH: Here's the thing, though. One of the rubs about your campaign -- they say it feels like it's focus-group-driven, that it's too -- run too tightly, that people in Iowa don't get to see enough of the real you.

CLINTON: Well, that's --

SMITH: Which runs counter to what you just --

CLINTON: Well, that's certainly not my impression.

SMITH: Right.

CLINTON: It's not the first time I disagreed with the press, and I probably don't think it's the last time. I am so grateful for the support that I have. You know, just yesterday I learned about a 17-year-old girl who's turning 18, who's going to caucus for me for the first time, and a 102-year-old man whose 82-year-old's son's going to take him to caucus for me. It's the real stories that I encounter every single day that, you know, not only prove to me that the campaign is really making our case, but connecting with people on every level. And it's important that I just keep focused on what I'm doing. That's what I care about, that I am constantly trying to figure out, what am I going to do to help fix this problem that I just encountered? You know, when you meet somebody who has breast cancer, and they've lost their job, and they've lost their health insurance, that's more important to me than anything anybody might say because that's what I'm going to do when I'm president, I'm going to fix these problems.

SMITH: You're very focused on what you're doing. Is somebody focused on what President Clinton is doing? Did you watch Charlie Rose by any chance Friday night, the things he was saying about Barack Obama and being inadequate and like a television announcer? Not that that's such a horrible thing. It's like you have a president as attack dog in this campaign. He was quite complimentary of everyone else except Barack Obama.

CLINTON: Well, I don't think that's a fair reading or seeing of what he did say. He basically made the case that the Des Moines Register editorial made, that we need a proven leader. We need someone who has years of experience making change. That's what I've done my entire life. That's what I will do. If you want to know what changes I'll make, you can look and see what changes I've already made. I think that's a fair argument to make. And of course, I'm thrilled to have his support, you know. It's a little bit of a role reversal, but it is exciting because, you know, he throws himself into everything he does, as you know, and he loves this country and he believes he knows what it's going to take to make the changes we need after George Bush finally leaves, and that's the case he's making.

SMITH: The people in the diner here, your supporters, almost cheered at that remark, you know. Last but not least, now that you have this endorsement, there's still plenty of undecided people out there.

CLINTON: Right.

SMITH: Do you have to win here in order, do you think, to ultimately get the nomination?

CLINTON: I think I have to get enough delegates to get the nomination. I have a different view of this. I know that the press and everybody loves to focus on, you know, the horse race. I always take a long view, and I have always thought that this would be a challenging race for all kinds of reasons, but I am confident and I'm optimistic that I will be the Democratic nominee and I will be the President of the United States.

SMITH: Senator Clinton, thank you very much. From the Drake Diner in Des Moines, thank you very much for your time, really appreciate it.

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