CBS ‘Early Show’: Geraldine Ferraro Is Archie Bunker?

On Thursday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith talked about race in the Democratic presidential campaign with Republican Ron Christie, author of "Black in the White House," and the Politico's Mike Allen, who declared that: "...there's a certain percentage of what Geraldine Ferraro said that's simply factual, and that is the pioneering nature of Senator Obama's candidacy is clearly part of his appeal. But there's a certain part of it that's very dark, right, the Archie Bunker side." Just prior to this odd comparison, Allen explained that: "Until now, we had been looking at the historic side of race and gender in this race. But with this episode, these clips we just saw, we're seeing the dark side of it." Allen’s analysis of Ferraro’s "Archie Bunker dark side" followed yesterday’s "Early Show" coverage, which fawned over Obama while interrogating Ferraro.Allen was not done yet, when asked by Smith, "...is there any safe harbor here?" Allen responded by observing: "One of the most interesting discoveries in exit polls, is among voters for whom race is most important, they're voting for Senator Clinton. That shows you something very ugly is going on out there." For his part, Ron Christie was unusually cordial toward Obama:

Well, I think there's no question that Barack Obama – Senator Obama has been a phenomenon on the political forefront now. And people have been looking at his candidacy, looking at his character, looking at who he is as an individual. And I think the Senator's clip from a few moments ago summed it up. First he wasn't black enough, then he's too black. And I think there are a lot of Americans who are grappling with his candidacy. But candidly, Harry, I think he is a change agent, he is one who's been very inspirational, one who's gotten so many young people out. His race is but one part of his candidacy that we're looking at.

Reacting to Allen’s Archie Bunker reference, Smith asked Christie, "is this the kind -- a public conversation now of the private thoughts of so many Americans?" To which Christie replied:

I think it is. I mean, I think, again, Senator Obama is black. There's no question about that. There's no reality of it. But I think that the reality of it is, Harry, that people have looked beyond of color of his skin and are looking inside the content of what does he stand for? What are his positions? He's so articulate. He has such a motivating factor of getting young folks and people who traditionally would vote for someone like Senator Clinton. I think that's the real story of why are so many people drawn to Senator Obama.

Here is the full transcript of the segment:8:06AM SEGMENT:HARRY SMITH: You know, we've been having this conversation for a month or two now about race and gender and how it's playing out on the Democratic side of this political campaign year. Well, it seems to be heating up again. Let's take a look.GERALDINE FERRARO: If Barack Obama were a white man, would we be talking about this as a potential real problem for Hillary? If he were a woman of any color, would he be in this position that he's in? Absolutely not. HILLARY CLINTON: Well, I said yesterday that I rejected what she said. And I certainly do repudiate it. And regret deeply that, you know, it was said. Obviously, she doesn't speak for the campaign. She doesn't speak for any of my positions. BARACK OBAMA: First was I black enough. Then am I too black. I don't know what exactly the margin of black vote is that is the optimal, not too black, but black enough. But that's not the approach that we've taken in this campaign. FERRARO: It wasn't a racist comment. It was a comment, a statement of fact. And for the campaign to take that and spin it and attack Hillary and me as being racist, I have to tell you, it is just appalling.SMITH: Joining us now are Mike Allen of politico.com and Ron Christie, author of "Black in the White House." Good morning, gentlemen. MIKE ALLEN: Morning. RON CHRISTIE: Morning Harry.SMITH: It's so interesting to see this. Because this conversation was going on for a couple months, it seemed to be quieting down, and now it's exploded all over again. Ron, how do you account for it?CHRISTIE: Well, I think there's no question that Barack Obama – Senator Obama has been a phenomenon on the political forefront now. And people have been looking at his candidacy, looking at his character, looking at who he is as an individual. And I think the Senator's clip from a few moments ago summed it up. First he wasn't black enough, then he's too black. And I think there are a lot of Americans who are grappling with his candidacy. But candidly, Harry, I think he is a change agent, he is one who's been very inspirational, one who's gotten so many young people out. His race is but one part of his candidacy that we're looking at. SMITH: Yeah. Mike, on the other hand, you look at what's been written over the last couple of days, women are coming to the rescue of Hillary Clinton. Women who, for years, maybe did not agree with her, but say 'she's one of us.' Is that not a phenomena we're witnessing here? ALLEN: Well now, Harry, that's part of the phenomenon of this. Until now, we had been looking at the historic side of race and gender in this race. But with this episode, these clips we just saw, we're seeing the dark side of it. Now, with these women coming to the rescue of Senator Clinton, and to some degree, Geraldine Ferraro, there's a certain percentage of what Geraldine Ferraro said that's simply factual, and that is the pioneering nature of Senator Obama's candidacy is clearly part of his appeal. But there's a certain part of it that's very dark, right, the Archie Bunker side. This is the -- this is the queen side of Gerry Ferraro.SMITH: Right, of Gerry Ferraro, right --ALLEN: And that's why it's so hard for these campaigns to respond --SMITH: Ronny let me ask you --ALLEN: Clinton can't go hard -- SMITH: Hang on. Ronny let me ask you, is this the kind -- a public conversation now of the private thoughts of so many Americans?CHRISTIE: I think it is. I mean, I think, again, Senator Obama is black. There's no question about that. There's no reality of it. But I think that the reality of it is, Harry, that people have looked beyond of color of his skin and are looking inside the content of what does he stand for? What are his positions? He's so articulate. He has such a motivating factor of getting young folks and people who traditionally would vote for someone like Senator Clinton. I think that's the real story of why are so many people drawn to Senator Obama.SMITH: And very quickly, Mike, is there any safe harbor here?MIKE ALLEN: Well there's not. And Harry, you talk about private thoughts. One of the most interesting discoveries in exit polls, is among voters for whom race is most important, they're voting for Senator Clinton. That shows you something very ugly is going on out there. SMITH: There you go, Mike Allen, Ron Christy, thanks for your time this morning and your thoughts.

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