CBS ‘Early Show’ Focuses on Hillary More than Republicans in Florida

On Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Maggie Rodriguez reported from "Little Havana" in Miami, Florida at the top of the 7am hour, mentioning the tight Republican race only briefly before moving on to Hillary Clinton’s recent photo ops and fundraising efforts in the state:

This is the biggest state to vote to date with the most delegates up for grabs for the Republican winner, 57. This morning it is a dead heat between Mitt Romney and John McCain, with a fizzling Rudy Giuliani now saying that he'll make a decision tomorrow about whether to stay in the race. It is the Republicans who have been going after voters here most aggressively. But in recent days, a Democrat has been trying to steal the spotlight. Four Republicans and one Democrat in Florida ahead of the primary election. The Republican winner here will get 57 delegates. The Democratic winner will get none. Why is she here in Florida?

After these first few sentences, mention of the Republicans vanishes and the analysis focuses entirely on Clinton:

Miami Mayor Manny Diaz's endorsement of Clinton produced this photo op, putting her in the spotlight in a crucial state...Casey Klofstad teaches political science at the University of Miami. He says it's obvious why Clinton came to Florida after her crushing defeat in South Carolina.

However, Rodriguez did manage to remember the Republicans at the end of the segment as an afterthought:

A million Democrats alone are expected to vote today. 400,000 of them already voted in early voting. Which is why it's no surprise that Hillary Clinton will be here tonight, hoping to claim victory, as will all the Republican candidates.

Rodriguez actually did a second brief segment from Florida that put slightly more focus on the Republican race in Florida. It was buried in the 8:30am half hour of the show:

This is a pivotal state, it has been in the last two general elections and it is pivotal for the Republicans in the primary today because the winner will get all 57 delegates up for grabs. Florida is home to the most Cubans outside of Cuba, and that's a very important vote as well. All of the candidates, Republican and Democrat, go after this community, but not just for the votes.

Even during this discussion of the Cuban-American vote, a traditionally Republican voting block, Rodriguez could not help to point out a liberal trend:

While most Cuban-Americans lean Republican, the number of Democrats and independents is inching up, with a younger generation of voters who care more about domestic issues and less about Cuban policy. Their political affiliations may be changing, but their loyalty remains intact.

Here are the full transcripts of the 7:04am and 8:31am segments:7:00AM TEASER:HARRY SMITH: Down to the wire in Florida for McCain and Romney. Will this be good-bye, Rudy Tuesday?7:02AM TEASER:MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: A lot of speeches down here today as McCain and Romney are still in a slapfest down to the wire. And Hillary Clinton is set to storm the state later today, despite the fact that Florida has been stripped of its Democratic delegates. We'll tell you why.7:04AM SEGMENT:MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: Harry, you know the saying goes, how Florida votes, so does the nation. This is the biggest state to vote to date with the most delegates up for grabs for the Republican winner, 57. This morning it is a dead heat between Mitt Romney and John McCain, with a fizzling Rudy Giuliani now saying that he'll make a decision tomorrow about whether to stay in the race. It is the Republicans who have been going after voters here most aggressively. But in recent days, a Democrat has been trying to steal the spotlight. Four Republicans and one Democrat in Florida ahead of the primary election. The Republican winner here will get 57 delegates. The Democratic winner will get none. Why is she here in Florida?MANNY DIAZ: Because I think she recognizes the importance of Florida.RODRIGUEZ: Miami Mayor Manny Diaz's endorsement of Clinton produced this photo op, putting her in the spotlight in a crucial state. Why does Florida matter?CASEY KLOFSTAD: Florida matters because it's a real microcosm for the country.RODRIGUEZ: Casey Klofstad teaches political science at the University of Miami. He says it's obvious why Clinton came to Florida after her crushing defeat in South Carolina.KLOFSTAD: You can change the story, in order to get herself in the news again, in order for the focus to be pulled away from Obama and his rising ascendency, his rising candidacy, and put it back towards Hillary Clinton, even if it means producing negative coverage for somewhat breaking a promise that she had made.RODRIGUEZ: Clinton made the same promise all the Democratic candidates did, not to campaign in Florida after the national Democratic party stripped the state of its delegates as punishment for moving up its primary. Voters we spoke with say they feel they're the ones losing out.UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Your vote doesn't count.UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I think it's a shame, especially for the reasons around it. I think it's kind of ridiculous. But I know me. I know my friends. We all decided to vote anyway.UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN B: I don't care. Still going to vote.RODRIGUEZ: Why?WOMAN B: Because I think as a citizen, it's your duty to vote no matter what.RODRIGUEZ: Their votes may not win their candidate any delegates, but they could ultimately have an even bigger payoff. KLOFSTAD: Florida will have a decisive voice in where these candidacies go.RODRIGUEZ: The polls have just opened across the state of Florida, including here at Waterfront, Miami, City Hall. And a record turnout is expected. A million Democrats alone are expected to vote today. 400,000 of them already voted in early voting. Which is why it's no surprise that Hillary Clinton will be here tonight, hoping to claim victory as will all the Republican candidates. More from Florida coming up later in the program. 8:31AM SEGMENT:MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: Voting is under way across the state of Florida both here, at the Waterfront Miami City Hall and also at Miami-Dade election headquarters over in Doral. You can see voters casting their ballots. This is a pivotal state, it has been in the last two general elections and it is pivotal for the Republicans in the primary today because the winner will get all 57 delegates up for grabs. Florida is home to the most Cubans outside of Cuba, and that's a very important vote as well. All of the candidates, Republican and Democrat, go after this community, but not just for the votes. They've all done it. Tasted the food, embraced the culture.MITT ROMNEY: This is an honor to be wearing this guayabera. RODRIGUEZ: Even spoken the language. The presidential candidates all want Florida's Cuban vote. On the trail with the Republicans, this Cuban-American journalist got the pitches one on one. How important is the Cuban-American vote?JOHN MCCAIN: It's very important. Very important.RODRIGUEZ: How does Mitt Romney, a Governor from Massachusetts, connect with a Cuban-American from Miami?MITT ROMNEY: Cuban-Americans want the same things for their families that people in Massachusetts and Wyoming and California want.RUDY GIULIANI: I think I have the closest ties with the Cuban community going back, you know, many, many years.RODRIGUEZ: Major fund-raisers, Cubans in Florida raised millions for presidential candidates. More than half the state's registered Hispanic voters are Cuban-Americans.JOSE CANCELA: Cuban-Americans always turn out in which larger numbers than anyone else in this community.RODRIGUEZ: At the little Havana restaurant where all the candidates have campaigned, we were hard pressed to find someone who wasn't planning to vote in the primary. Are you voting Tuesday?UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I am.RODRIGUEZ: For?WOMAN: Huckabee.UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Giuliani. I'm going to vote for Giuliani.RODRIGUEZ: All three of you McCain. While most Cuban-Americans lean Republican, the number of Democrats and independents is inching up, with a younger generation of voters who care more about domestic issues and less about Cuban policy. Their political affiliations may be changing, but their loyalty remains intact.ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN: If the candidate can lock in that Cuban-American vote, that's really to his or her advantage because we're solid votes. You can depend on them. And once we say -- we give our word, we stick with the candidate.RODRIGUEZ: And that loyalty could have a huge payoff for the candidate who wins here. Remember, it was Florida, in fact, this county, Miami-Dade, that decided the presidential election back in 2000 by a small margin. So a very big headline out of Florida this morning.

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