CBS ‘Early Show’ Ignores Romney Win in Nevada

On Monday’s CBS "Early Show," while co-host Harry Smith and political analyst Jeff Greenfield discussed both Hillary Clinton’s win in the Democratic Nevada caucus and John McCain’s win in the Republican South Carolina primary on Saturday, they failed to mention that Mitt Romney had won the Republican Nevada Caucus in a blowout. This just days after Smith interviewed Romney, when the former Massachusetts Governor discussed his expectation of a win in Nevada.

During the January 16 interview, Smith asked Romney about the future of the campaign:

SMITH: Here's one of the questions of the hour, three biggest contests, three different winners on the Republican side. Some people are suggesting that means the Republican party as a whole isn't sure what they want.

ROMNEY: That's very possible. I'm pleased that I have done well here in Michigan. I'm also happy I got Wyoming and got the gold there and, of course, we've got a couple coming up real shortly now. Nevada, which has the most Republican delegates, and I'm going to fight hard there. Also, South Carolina. I think John McCain is way in the lead there, but we'll give him a run for his money, and then comes Florida. I think one of the big surprises is that someone like Mayor Giuliani, who was leading in all these states, either number one or number two, really hasn't been able to hold on to that lead in any way.

Of course, even then Smith was focused elsewhere: "Are you going to campaign at all in South Carolina in the next couple of days?"

On Monday’s show, Smith began the segment by declaring: "It was democracy in action this weekend after Hillary Clinton edged Barack Obama in Nevada. John McCain won in South Carolina. Every candidate was fighting for each and every delegate." If Smith was really interested in "every candidate" and "every delegate" he would have mentioned that Romney leads in Republican delegates and that Nevada has more such delegates than South Carolina.

In a segment that lasted 2 minutes and 10 seconds, only 20 seconds were given to the Republican race and all of those 20 seconds focused on either McCain’s South Carolina win or predictions for the upcoming Republican primary in Florida on January 29, no mention of Romney’s win in Nevada. Smith shifted to the Republicans this way: "Let's move on to the Republicans, then. John McCain gets his win. The next big prize is Florida. What happens down there?"

Here is the transcript of the January 16 segment:

HARRY SMITH: Mitt Romney joins us now from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Good morning Governor, congratulations.

MITT ROMNEY: Thanks, Harry. Pretty happy this morning.

SMITH: Yeah, I would imagine so. We were with you over the weekend on the campaign trail, and you told me that day that the issues in Michigan were the economy, the economy, and the economy. That's what voters said in our exit poll, too. Do you think what the lesson of today -- or, rather, yesterday was -- translates to the rest of the country?

ROMNEY: I really do. I think you're seeing people across the country very concerned about the economy, concerned about their job, about whether they're going to keep their health care or not. And they want somebody who understands how the economy works, who knows why jobs come, why they go. I spent 25 years in the private sector. Then went off to the Olympics, and of course I've been a governor as well. But they want that -- that first hand knowledge of how it -- it is that jobs come and go.

SMITH: Here's one of the questions of the hour, three biggest contests, three different winners on the Republican side. Some people are suggesting that means the Republican party as a whole isn't sure what they want.

ROMNEY: That's very possible. I'm pleased that I have done well here in Michigan. I'm also happy I got Wyoming and got the gold there and, of course, we've got a couple coming up real shortly now. Nevada, which has the most Republican delegates, and I'm going to fight hard there. Also, South Carolina. I think John McCain is way in the lead there, but we'll give him a run for his money, and then comes Florida. I think one of the big surprises is that someone like Mayor Giuliani, who was leading in all these states, either number one or number two, really hasn't been able to hold on to that lead in any way.

SMITH: Are you going to campaign at all in South Carolina in the next couple of days?

ROMNEY: Oh, sure. I'd love to pick up some portion of the delegates, if I could, and maybe pull off some kind of a surprise.

SMITH: Some people would say, though, you spent an awful lot of money there, you spent a lot of money in a couple of the other contests too. Your money is finally paying off. Is it your money or is it your message?

ROMNEY: Well, I wish it could be as easily managed as just by putting money into something. It has to be message. The ads only do so much. They acquaint people with who you are, but the message has to connect with people. Right now it's coming down to debates and message.

SMITH: Alright Governor, thanks so much. We'll see you down the line.

ROMNEY: Thanks, Harry.

Here is the transcript of the January 21 segment:

HARRY SMITH: It was democracy in action this weekend after Hillary Clinton edged Barack Obama in Nevada. John McCain won in South Carolina. Every candidate was fighting for each and every delegate. Jeff Greenfield, our CBS News Senior Political Analyst, is along with us this morning to talk about all of that. Let's talk about this fight between the Clintons and Barack Obama. Because a truce was supposed to be called. But Bill Clinton didn't sign that truce apparently. What's going on?

JEFF GREENFIELD: It's unusual to have a former president getting this involved. But then, under these circumstances, where it's the guy's spouse, you can understand it. Newsweek Magazine reported -- reports this week that Ted Kennedy and Congressman Rahm Emanuel, who worked for Clinton in the White House, but is from Illinois, have both told the president to knock it off. They're very worried about this kind of internecine battle, they're worried about the African-American vote. And I think they're also -- there's a factor that if this Democratic race gets involved in identity politics, the black versus the woman, that doesn't help whoever's the nominee.

SMITH: But the Clintons keep saying 'oh he's a plus,' 'he's a plus.' Is he a poison and a plus all at the same time?

GREENFIELD: Yep. Same thing as in 2000. Democrats -- remember, this is the only two-term president Democrats have had since FDR and a lot of them love him. I do think relations between the, quote, 'first black president,' as somebody famously called Clinton, and the community, is going to get very frayed as we go on in this race.

SMITH: Let's talk about South Carolina coming up this Saturday for the Democrats. Who needs the win more?

GREENFIELD: Obama. In fact, I think already you can see people -- discounting it saying, well, as many as half the voters are going to be African-Americans, so of course what do you expect? Now, that wasn't the case a few weeks ago. But I think it's fair to say that he needs this win. So that the next step after that is Super Tuesday, 22 states, and it would be good for –

SMITH: Needs the momentum, although he's still leading --

GREENFIELD: No, momentum is the most overused word. There is no momentum, folks. Drop that from the vocabulary.

SMITH: There is no momentum, alright.

SMITH: Let's move on to the Republicans, then. John McCain gets his win. The next big prize is Florida. What happens down there?

GREENFIELD: Boy, you know, the fourth biggest state in the country, and each of the four top guys have their own constituencies, military people, entrepreneurs for Romney, evangelicals for Huckabee, and Giuliani, the transplanted New Yorkers. This is the one that's going to be the biggest one so far.

SMITH: Alright. Jeff Greenfield as always, thank you for your insight.

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