CBS ‘Early Show’ Highlights Obama ‘All-Stars’

NewsBusters.org - Media Research CenterThroughout Monday’s CBS "Early Show," co-hosts Harry Smith and Maggie Rodriguez gushed over Obama and some of his recent famous female endorsements, beginning with Smith’s proclamation at the top of show: "With 24 hours to go, a CBS News poll shows Barack Obama has knocked down Hillary Clinton's lead going into Super Tuesday. Are the 'Obama Girls' making a difference as Oprah, Caroline, Michelle and now Maria hit the trail?"

In later segment, Rodriguez continued to look at the influence of these endorsements:

Ahead this morning, the power of 'O' in California. The Obama all-stars hit the campaign trail...You've probably seen 'Obama Girl' on the internet, and now you're seeing Obama's girls on the campaign trail. All powerful women recognized by their first names. We're talking about Oprah, Caroline, Michelle and now Maria.

I’m pretty sure that Oprah excluded, no one recognizes Caroline Kennedy, Michelle Obama, or Maria Shriver, solely by their first names.

Rodriguez then went to CBS Correspondent Hattie Kauffman to hearing more glowing "analysis" of these endorsements, which sounded more like an Obama campaign ad:

But Shriver and Oprah Winfrey told women to follow their own hearts. With Winfrey fighting those who think she should back the only female candidate, Hillary...Forget Super Bowl Sunday, the women of the campaign left the men to watch the football game while they campaigned for Super Tuesday...The candidate's wife, two Kennedy women and the first lady of television made an impassioned plea.

In an interview with Obama during the show, Smith also asked about the "Obama Girls":

Ahead this half hour, I ask Barack Obama about the power of 'O' on the campaign trail. Oprah, Michelle Obama, and Caroline Kennedy...Today out in California, your wife and Oprah and Caroline, that's a pretty formidable force.

That interview, shown in two parts during the 7am and 8am half hours, also featured Smith’s usual fawning over the Illinois Senator:

SMITH: There are thousands and thousands of people and more stacked up on the streets out there.

OBAMA: Right.

SMITH: When you look at that, what do you think?

OBAMA: I think the American people are desperate for change.

SMITH: You see that, though. I mean, there's responsibility that goes along.

OBAMA: I am mindful and prayerful that when I speak, that I am speaking truthfully. How are you?

SMITH: With the contest now turned into a national primary, Obama is racing to get in front of as many faces as he can. They can't wait to see you, they can't wait to hear you.

In the second part of the interview Smith topped himself:

It's so interesting because five, six weeks ago we were in Iowa with him in high school auditoriums with 200 people maybe. Yesterday in Wilmington, Delaware, there were more than 20,000 people in this crowd. People just reaching. Kind of a rock star moment. We haven't seen this camera shot too often, but people straining to touch the candidate.

At the same time, Rodriguez commented on how it was "very smart" for Obama to use a well-known Cesar Chavez slogan in order to reach out to the Hispanic community:

Unbelievable. Really smart, I thought, that he used the si se puede, that means 'Yes it's possible' Cesar Chavez's slogan, such a uniter...From farm workers. In California, where the Hispanic vote could be the swing vote, very, very smart of him.

Here is the full transcript of Smith’s Obama interview and Rodriguez’s "Obama Girls" segment:

PART I OF OBAMA INTERVIEW:

7:00AM TEASER:

HARRY SMITH: With 24 hours to go, a CBS News poll shows Barack Obama has knocked down Hillary Clinton's lead going into Super Tuesday. Are the Obama girls making a difference as Oprah, Caroline, Michelle and now Maria hit the trail?

7:06AM SEGMENT

HARRY SMITH: Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are each spending $1.5 million a day in their run-up to Super Tuesday. Yesterday I went down to Wilmington, Delaware, to see the Senator appear in front of 20,000 people. The Senator is solidifying his stand on Iraq, saying no to permanent bases, no to occupation and more. There are thousands and thousands of people and more stacked up on the streets out there.

BARACK OBAMA: Right.

SMITH: When you look at that, what do you think?

OBAMA: I think the American people are desperate for change.

SMITH: You see that, though. I mean, there's responsibility that goes along.

OBAMA: I am mindful and prayerful that when I speak, that I am speaking truthfully. How are you?

SMITH: With the contest now turned into a national primary, Obama is racing to get in front of as many faces as he can. They can't wait to see you, they can't wait to hear you.

OBAMA: If I'm talking to 20 people or 20,000 people, I figure they're just as important.

SMITH: This is it. The final pitch to convince his party that he is their man. Let's assume for a second you get the nomination. Who do you like running against better, Mitt or Mac?

OBAMA: You know, I know there's a cliche, but it's really true, I am willing to run against either of them because both of them have essentially embraced George Bush's economic policies and George Bush's foreign policy. So there will be a stark contrast between myself and a Senator McCain or Mitt Romney. Now, I think that is a harder claim for Senator Clinton to make, certainly when it comes to foreign policy.

SMITH: Over the last 48 hours or so, we're reminded of how serious the situation is in Iraq.

OBAMA: Absolutely.

SMITH: Commanders there saying maybe we ought to freeze this troop draw down because we're not sure how this is going to work. Suicide bombers come, kill dozens and dozens and dozens of people.

OBAMA: Heartbreaking.

SMITH: If you were to be elected president and your commanders on the ground there and your secretary of defense said hold back, you can't be pulling these people out, we're going to create a civil war and a blood bath, what would you do?

OBAMA: My job as Commander in Chief is to keep the American people safe. But I firmly believe that we have to send a signal to the Iraqis that it is time to withdraw. We will not have a permanent base there. We will not have a permanent occupation there.

SMITH: Even, even if, even if it--

OBAMA: Within those constraints --

SMITH: Even if it meant the beginning of civil --

OBAMA: No, no, within those constraints, I think there is going to be some flexibility, and obviously I would consult with commanders. We have to be mindful of the situation on the ground and what the commanders say. Having said that, what we can't do is simply say we are going to leave it open-ended, the way John McCain, for example, suggested, we might be there 50 years or 100 years. That is not going to make the American people safe over the long term not only because of the loss of life, not only because of the anti-American sentiment that it fans and the constraints it places on our diplomacy, but also because we can't afford it. It's costing us $9 billion per month.

HILLARY CLINTON: Two things, you talked about admiring Ronald Reagan and you talked about the ideas of the Republicans.

SMITH: Have you and Senator Clinton buried the hatchet?

OBAMA: Look, as I said in the last debate, Senator Clinton was a friend of mine before we started this campaign. She will be a friend afterwards. We're in the heat of a contest.

SMITH: So many Democrats were sitting there sort of drooling, looking at the two of you together as a dream ticket. Could you say -- is that conceivable to you?

OBAMA: You know, I think it would be presumptuous for me to expect Senator Clinton to except the vice presidency. I think she's in the middle of a contest for presidency, as am I. And, you know, we're --

SMITH: And?

OBAMA: Well, and --

SMITH: If she offered it to you?

OBAMA: Harry, I intend to win the presidency. That's what I'm running for.

SMITH: Wow.

OBAMA: In our next hour, more of my interview with Senator Obama. I ask him if a black candidate can win the Hispanic vote so critical in California.

PART II OF OBAMA INTERVIEW:

8:00AM TEASER:

HARRY SMITH: Ahead this half hour, I ask Barack Obama about the power of 'O' on the campaign trail. Oprah, Michelle Obama, and Caroline Kennedy.

8:06AM SEGMENT:

HARRY SMITH: More now on my exclusive interview with Barack Obama. Race has always been a big issue in California. And while Obama holds the advantage among black voters, I asked him if he can win the all-important Hispanic vote.

BARACK OBAMA: Si se puede.

SMITH: It is possible.

OBAMA: Anything is possible. Look, my belief with respect to the Latino vote was always that if they knew my track record, we could hold our own. And we've done a lot of advertising. I think that Ted Kennedy's support and his campaigning there makes a difference because he can validate the work that I've done on comprehensive immigration reform and other issues. But, you know, this whole notion that somehow Latinos wouldn't vote for blacks or vice versa, that has been disputed consistently in California itself. You know, the real issue is whether or not people have a sense of your track record and know who you are. The more they know, I think the better we do.

OPRAH WINFREY: We're fired up because of one man, Barack Obama.

SMITH: Today out in California, your wife and Oprah and Caroline, that's a pretty formidable force.

OBAMA: That's an all-star team. That's why I'm staying out of the way. You know, I was -- you know, I cannot -- I can't stand up under that kind of glare. And I think that a lot of people in California, as the race has gone on, have taken a look at our candidacy. You know, we were down 30. I don't know where we're at now, but we're certainly not down 30.

SMITH: Some people are just waking up to this.

OBAMA: Yeah.

SMITH: There are not many hours left to this election. And they're saying I don't -- I don't know this guy. If you met me on a rope line and had 30 seconds to make the sale, what would you tell me?

OBAMA: I would tell you that I've spent my entire life devoted to working for change from the bottom up. As a community organizer, as a civil rights attorney, as a professor of constitutional law, as a state legislator and a U.S. Senator.

SMITH: But I might be sitting there kind of clicking my tongue saying he's so young. He seems so young.

OBAMA: Well, they should know I'm older than I look. It's these big ears. I'm 40 -- I am -- I'll be 40 -- I'm 46, I'll be 47 in August by the time I'm sworn in. So, older than Bill Clinton was when he was first elected.

SMITH: So what's going to happen Tuesday?

OBAMA: Nobody knows. But it should be exciting. I think that we're now pretty evenly matched across the country. So it will be a tough -- tough contest. And it's not clear that February 5th's going to be as decisive as people expected. We may have a little bit more work to do after that.

SMITH: Many pundits say that if this contest goes beyond tomorrow, it will be Obama's advantage. A number of states that follow Super Tuesday are ripe for Obama victories if he can establish momentum tomorrow. Interesting.

RODRIGUEZ: Unbelievable. Really smart, I thought, that he used the si se puede, that means 'Yes it's possible' Cesar Chavez's slogan, such a uniter.

SMITH: From the farm workers, yeah --

RODRIGUEZ: From farm workers. In California, where the Hispanic vote could be the swing vote, very, very smart of him.

SMITH: It's so interesting because five, six weeks ago we were in Iowa with him in high school auditoriums with 200 people maybe. Yesterday in Wilmington, Delaware, there were more than 20,000 people in this crowd. People just reaching. Kind of a rock star moment. We haven't seen this camera shot too often, but people straining to touch the candidate.

OBAMA: Interesting to see how Hillary Clinton battles back from that.

SMITH: Yeah. It ain't over. It ain't even -- not even close.

"OBAMA GIRLS" SEGMENT:

7:12AM TEASER:

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: Ahead this morning, the power of 'O' in California. The Obama all-stars hit the campaign trail. Look at this picture.

7:15AM SEGMENT:

RODRIGUEZ: You've probably seen 'Obama Girl' on the internet, and now you're seeing Obama's girls on the campaign trail. All powerful women recognized by their first names. We're talking about Oprah, Caroline, Michelle and now Maria. Early Show National Correspondent Hattie Kauffman has more.

MARIA SHRIVER: You know, if Barack Obama was a state, he'd be California.

Hattie KAUFFMAN: The state's first lady, Maria Shriver, surprised many by publicly endorsing Obama.

SHRIVER: Smart, independent, bucks tradition, dreamer, leader.

KAUFFMAN: Just days earlier, her husband, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, threw his support behind Republican John McCain. But Shriver and Oprah Winfrey told women to follow their own hearts. With Winfrey fighting those who think she should back the only female candidate, Hillary.

OPRAH WINFREY: I am not a traitor. No, I'm not a traitor, I'm just following my own truth, and that truth has led me to Barack Obama.

KAUFFMAN: Forget Super Bowl Sunday, the women of the campaign left the men to watch the football game while they campaigned for Super Tuesday.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I am Tivo-ing the Super Bowl.

JANEEN WALKER: I want to find out about his wife, his family.

MICHELLE OBAMA: I am married to the only person in this race who has a chance of healing this nation. And I don't say that just because I'm married to him. I think he's cute, I like him. But I say that because I am a mother.

KAUFFMAN: The candidate's wife, two Kennedy women and the first lady of television made an impassioned plea.

WINFREY: I'm voting for Barack Obama not because he's black. I'm voting for Barack Obama because he's brilliant.

KAUFFMAN: Hattie Kauffman, CBS News, Los Angeles.

RODRIGUEZ: California definitely looks like it will be the pivotal state come tomorrow.

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