CBS’s Schieffer on Obama: A ‘Black American’ Who ‘Makes People Feel Good’

Following an interview with Hillary Clinton on Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith talked to "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer, who said of Barack Obama: "It makes people feel good to see someone who has managed to get where he has, a black American who won out in Iowa..."

The segment began with analysis of Clinton’s "display of emotion," which Schieffer thought was "rather touching." Schieffer even referenced former Democratic Senator and presidential candidate, Bill Bradley, who cried on camera, and declared "So at least, I guess we've come to accept that people can cry on camera and that's not a sign of weakness." Smith concluded: "It certainly got her back on the front page."

Following this discussion of Clinton, Smith went on to ask about Barack Obama:

SMITH: ...Barack Obama who we showed in these polls, just phenomenal response. The crowds at his events have just been stunning, so huge, that I think the question is he -- I think it's presumed that he's going to win today by a lot of people. Is this real? Is this for real?

SCHIEFFER: You know, I really think it is. I mean, I think he has tapped into something here. And I talked to Bill Bradley about that yesterday. He endorsed Obama. And he said, you know, the thing about him is he -- when people see him, they realize how far the country has come, and they feel good about that. And he said, I think that's part of his -- of what's going on here. It makes people feel good to see someone who has managed to get where he has, a black American who won out in Iowa where, you know, almost 100% --

SMITH: It validates themselves in a way.

SCHIEFFER: He says, you know, he's kind of the feel-good candidate. So there's something beyond just politics going on here Harry. People seem to like him. And you know, we sometimes tend to forget likability is a very important factor in American politics.

So much for America being "finally color-blind" as Smith suggested in a segment on the show yesterday.

Finally at the end of the segment, Smith and Schieffer managed to remember there was a Republican primary race going on as well. However, unlike the "feel-good" image of Obama or even the "touching" emotion of Clinton, they described Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee this way:

SMITH: So on the other hand, on the Republican side, some people are saying one of the -- Mitt Romney's problem is he's not likeable enough. This whole notion he's this very successful businessman. He's all kind of spit and polish, you never see sort of a chink in the armor in any way. And all of those things that should serve him in good stead seem to be running against him.

SCHIEFFER: Well in Iowa he got beat by a guy who had a nice smile and a shoe shine and not much else.

Here is the full transcript of the segment:

7:06AM SEGMENT:

HARRY SMITH: I am joined now by Bob Schieffer, CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent and host of "Face the Nation," our CBS sage. You saw that yesterday. What -- what do you think was going on?

BOB SCHIEFFER: I have no idea.

SMITH: Yeah.

SCHIEFFER: I have no idea. I saw it. I thought it was rather -- rather touching. It made me think, though, back to 1972, you know, Ed Muskie got so mad at the newspaper up here --

SMITH: Yeah.

SCHIEFFER: They had said something about his wife that he cried. He said he didn't. He said it was just cold and he teared up.

SMITH: Right.

SCHIEFFER: And a lot of people think it cost him the New Hampshire primary. He was seen as weak. His campaign at one point was so worried about it they actually put out a press release that reminded people that Jesus wept. That's how seriously that was taken. In 1980 Bill Bradley choked up at one point.

SMITH: Right.

SCHIEFFER: People thought he was seen as human. So at least, I guess we've come to accept that people can cry on camera and that's not a sign of weakness. But I don't -- I don't know how to evaluate this.

SMITH: It certainly got her back on the front page. Took some headlines away from Barack Obama who we showed in these polls, just phenomenal response. The crowds at his events have just been stunning, so huge, that I think the question is he -- I think it's presumed that he's going to win today by a lot of people. Is this real? Is this for real?

SCHIEFFER: You know, I really think it is. I mean, I think he has tapped into something here. And I talked to Bill Bradley about that yesterday. He endorsed Obama. And he said, you know, the thing about him is he -- when people see him, they realize how far the country has come, and they feel good about that. And he said, I think that's part of his -- of what's going on here. It makes people feel good to see someone who has managed to get where he has, a black American who won out in Iowa where, you know, almost 100% --

SMITH: It validates themselves in a way.

SCHIEFFER: He says, you know, he's kind of the feel-good candidate. So there's something beyond just politics going on here Harry. People seem to like him. And you know, we sometimes tend to forget likability is a very important factor in American politics.

SMITH: You know there's a couple pieces in some papers today about that. And it is -- you know, you don't want to think of it that way, but these guys -- they're all running for student council. We're back in we're back in high school again.

SCHIEFFER: In the presidency, more than any other office. I mean, you vote for a city councilman because of his position on a zoning issue.

SMITH: Right.

SCHIEFFER: Or something of that nature. People vote for a president because it's someone they feel comfortable with. Especially in a time of crisis.

SMITH: So on the other hand, on the Republican side, some people are saying one of the -- Mitt Romney's problems is he's not likeable enough. This whole notion he's this very successful businessman. He's all kind of spit and polish, you never see sort of a chink in the armor in any way. And all of those things that should serve him in good stead seem to be running against him.

SCHIEFFER: Well in Iowa he got beat by a guy who had a nice smile and a shoe shine and not much else. And so again, likability is a factor.

SMITH: Yeah. Always a pleasure to visit with you Bob.

SCHIEFFER: Thank you Harry.

SMITH: Thanks, alright.

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