CBS’s Smith Asks Obama About Bill Clinton Attack, Not Hillary
On Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith interviewed Barack Obama and asked: "President Clinton was on the stump for his wife playing hardball. He said, and I quote, your campaign for president is 'the biggest fairy tale' he's ever seen." Smith interviewed Hillary Clinton not minutes before Obama, yet did not make any mention of her husband’s harsh rhetoric.
While Smith praised Clinton’s "stunning victory" over Obama in the New Hampshire primary and asked her "Have you taken a second to savor this win last night?," he bizarrely asked Obama about a possible third party run:
I listened to every word of your speech last night, and I started to think am I starting to hear the beginning of a third party candidacy? Because you were not just speaking to the base. You were not just talking to Democrats. You were trying to reach beyond that. And in the primaries to come, a lot of independents can't vote. Were you planting some seeds last night?
Here is the full transcript of the back to back interviews:
HARRY SMITH: Breaking news overnight. Hillary Clinton defies all predictions and wins New Hampshire. A stunning victory.
HILLARY CLINTON: I listened to you, and in the process I found my own voice.
SMITH: How did she upend Barack Obama?
JULIE CHEN: Yeah, the big question is how did Hillary Clinton beat Obama? Well, the story is in the numbers. A lot more women in New Hampshire turned out to vote for her. 47% to 34% for Obama. A turnaround from Iowa. The complete story behind the numbers just ahead.
HARRY SMITH: We'll talk with Senator McCain about his victory in a few minutes, but joining us now from her home in Chappaqua, New York is Senator Hillary Clinton. Senator, good morning, and congratulations.
HILLARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Harry. It's a very short morning, or at least I guess it was a short night, but I'm happy to talk to you.
SMITH: Here's the question of the morning. Have you taken a second to savor this win last night?
CLINTON: I really have. I -- I was so thrilled by it because I felt like it was such an important moment for me personally, and it gave me just a tremendous sense that the voters of New Hampshire had really gotten to know me. They heard me. They, you know, voted for my 35 years of experience, but more than that, they voted because they thought, well, we're going to do this together, and I really, really will never forget it.
SMITH: There was a line in your speech last night. You said 'I learned a lot by listening to you, I found my voice.' We talked about that a little bit --
CLINTON: That's right.
SMITH: On the bus two days ago. What was the lesson? What's your take-away here?
CLINTON: Well, I have always been somebody who believed that, you know, what I did was really how I should be judged, and, you know, in my public life I've worked extremely hard to do what I thought was important to help people. I guess I'm pretty other directed, and, you know, being able to also begin to talk about what motivates me, what gets me up in the morning, why I care about doing this work, you know, was very important to me, and I had this incredible moment of connection with the voters of New Hampshire, and they saw it, and they heard , and they gave me this incredible victory last night.
SMITH: You have the momentum of the moment. At the same time there was some exit polls, there was some questions that were asked, and some people said, you know, Barack Obama actually feels like the -- a person who can best defeat the Republican opponent. How do you dispel that doubt?
CLINTON: Well, obviously, I don't agree. I think that there's going to be a tremendous pressure on whomever we nominate. The Republicans are not going to give up the White House without a fight. That's the way our system works. And I feel very confident that I am better prepared and able to take on whatever the Republicans decide to do in their campaign.
SMITH: Senator, congratulations. We'll see you down the line.
CLINTON: Great to talk to you, Harry. I look forward to seeing you again.
HARRY SMITH: Although he did not win in New Hampshire, Barack Obama confidently told his supporters nothing can stand in the way of their call for change. The Senator joins us this morning from Nashua. Good morning, sir.
BARACK OBAMA: Good morning, Harry. How are you?
SMITH: Very well. Are you a little surprised you didn't win last night?
OBAMA: Well, you know, we knew this was going to be a close contest. We had been 20 points down as recently as six weeks ago, and so we anticipated that we would do well. We didn't know how it would play itself out. What we saw happen in New Hampshire though was the same thing that happened in Iowa. Record turnouts. People engaged. I think they are hungry for a different kind of politics, and now we just have to take that same message to Nevada and South Carolina.
SMITH: Different kind of politics. President Clinton was on the stump for his wife playing hardball. He said, and I quote, your campaign for president is 'the biggest fairy tale' he's ever seen.
OBAMA: Well, you know, Senator Clinton, obviously, has a passionate advocate in the former president. I understand that. Unfortunately, I think, Bill Clinton made several misleading statements about my record during that speech that he gave, but we know that this is going to be a close contest, and the main thing for us is to continue to focus on the capacity to bring people together, Democrats, independents, and Republicans, around the problems that ordinary Americans are facing every day. Health -- lack of health care, affordability of college, bringing our troops home in a responsible way from Iraq. As long as we stay focused on those issues, I think we're going to end up doing well.
SMITH: I listened to every word of your speech last night, and I started to think am I starting to hear the beginning of a third party candidacy? Because you were not just speaking to the base. You were not just talking to Democrats. You were trying to reach beyond that. And in the primaries to come, a lot of independents can't vote. Were you planting some seeds last night?
OBAMA: No, of course not. Look, I am a Democrat. I am a progressive Democrat. What I've always argued, and will continue to argue wherever I go, is that if we want to not just win an election, but actually deliver for the American people, give them health care, give them better educational opportunity, give them good jobs at good wages and decent retirements, then we're going to have a working majority. We can't just eek out a victory like we did -- or lose barely, like we did in 2000 and 2004. We've got to broaden the base and bring new people in the process, and that's what I'm going to try to do.
SMITH: Senator Obama we thank you for your time this morning, we'll see you down the line.
OBAMA: Great to talk to you, Harry. Thank you.
SMITH: Take care.