CBS: Obama A ‘Rock Star’ for Actually Showing Up to Work

Still Shot of Harry Smith and Chip Reid, May 9 On Friday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "Barack Obama took some time off from campaigning to go back to Washington, where he got the royal treatment yesterday." Correspondent Chip Reid followed with a report: "Officially this place, Capitol Hill, is Barack Obama's place of employment, but he doesn't come here very often. When he did make a rare visit yesterday he was treated like a rock star."

Reid went on to describe Obama’s "rock star" tour of Congress: "Swarmed by tourists and reporters, Barack Obama slowly wound his way through the U.S. Capitol, visiting the House floor where observers say even some members of Congress appeared star struck."

At one point, Reid explained how Obama reached across the aisle: "Even saying hello to House Republicans." However, Reid pointed out that: "the conversation apparently was less than profound," and played a clp of Obama joking: "They said they were impressed with my jump shot."

After Reid’s report, Smith talked to Democratic strategist Joe Trippi about when Hillary Clinton would get out of the race. Smith began by asking about Clinton’s recent comments in an interview: "First about Hillary Rodham Clinton, gives an interview to USA Today yesterday talking about how well she does with white voters, listening to her husband last night, are the wheels finally coming off this bus?"

While Smith seems to suggest that Clinton’s "wheels are coming off" for mentioning her support among white voters, he seemed shocked back in January when Barack Obama won the caucus in Iowa, a predominantly white state: "I was on the bus with Barack Obama a week or two ago in Iowa. We're driving along in the bus and the snow outside is as white as that state is, as white as New Hampshire is, what is -- what is going on here? Are people seeing past color? Is that possible?"

In October of last year, Smith interviewed Obama and even wondered if the Senator’s life was in danger due to racist voters: "Several years ago, I sat in Colin Powell's living room, and he talked about running for president. And one of the things that concerned him was his own safety. Do you think about that at all in terms of, there are people in this country who might look at you and say, 'not in my lifetime, not in this United States?'"

Near the end of the segment, Smith asked Trippi, former campaign manager to John Edwards, about potential running mates for Obama. Shockingly, Trippi responded: "John Edwards, absolutely, it's not because I worked for him. I actually think -- I think the -- the -- just the force of two people, son of the South from Robin, South Carolina, joining with the Senator from -- from Lincoln's Illinois, would be just a powerful thing about putting the division of this country behind us and moving forward." Smith seemed to like the idea: "Right. And locking down some of those blue collars...Do you think he'd take it?"

Here is the full transcript of the segment:

7:06AM SEGMENT:

HARRY SMITH: Barack Obama took some time off from campaigning to go back to Washington, where he got the royal treatment yesterday. CBS News Capitol Hill Correspondent Chip Reid is live with more. Good morning, Chip.

CHIP REID: Well, good morning, Harry. Officially this place, Capitol Hill, is Barack Obama's place of employment, but he doesn't come here very often. When he did make a rare visit yesterday he was treated like a rock star.

BARACK OBAMA: Good to see you guys. I'm surrounded, but I appreciate you.

REID: Swarmed by tourists and reporters, Barack Obama slowly wound his way through the U.S. Capitol, visiting the House floor where observers say even some members of Congress appeared star struck.

OBAMA: Well, we still have contests remaining --

REID: House members are superdelegates, but Obama told reporters he was not lobbying for votes.

OBAMA: I was, as I said, I wasn't campaigning. I was saying hello to everybody.

REID: Even saying hello to House Republicans, where the conversation apparently was less than profound.

BARACK OBAMA: They said they were impressed with my jump shot.

HILLARY CLINTON: Thank you all, West Virginia.

OBAMA: With Hillary Clinton making clear she's far from quitting, Obama said he agrees the race is not over.

OBAMA: In no way am I taking this for granted. We're going to have to keep on working. Senator Clinton's a formidable candidate.

REID: But it was Hillary Clinton's formidable husband who once again stole the spotlight.

BILL CLINTON: Wait a minute. I can't believe you're saying this.

REID: In West Virginia, angrily responding to a woman who criticized his wife for failing to fix the health care system when he was president.

CLINTON: Now, wait a minute. I listened to you. You interrupted my speech. You let me talk, will you? You interrupted my speech.

REID: Now, during his walking press conference, Barack Obama was asked by reporters if he's considering Hillary Clinton as his running mate. He said, 'Wait a minute. That's premature, we don't even know who the nominee is yet.' Harry.

SMITH: Chip Reid in Washington this morning thanks very much. Joining us is CBS News political consultant Joe Trippi, who worked so many years, so tirelessly and so well for John Edwards. We'll talk about John Edwards in a second. First about Hillary Rodham Clinton, gives an interview to USA Today yesterday talking about how well she does with white voters, listening to her husband last night, are the wheels finally coming off this bus?

JOE TRIPPI: Yeah, I think they are. Because everybody else has figured out that this thing is over, that there's just no way for her to get here and get the delegates to do this. And they're out there, you know, again just trying to push. And that's just not going to work right now.

SMITH: Is there a time now that would be good for her to exit? Is there a graceful exit for her?

TRIPPI: Well, for her, it would be May 20th. I mean if she can have -- go out with a win in West Virginia and Kentucky and say, 'hey, I've won a couple, the last few, I feel good and I'm getting out.' I think the party's going to give her a big berth to do that, unless they see more of the stuff that they've been doing yesterday.

SMITH: Right.

TRIPPI: If they see that, they're going to crack down on her hard. You're going to see a lot of superdelegates move to Obama –

SMITH: Moving to over to --

TRIPPI: And just shut this thing down.

SMITH: Right. Why should she get out? Because she says 'I have all the reason to stay in, I'm going all the way to the end, there's still this teeny, tiny mathematical possibility of my winning.' Why should she leave?

TRIPPI: Why should she? I mean, look, she's got -- every reason, like I said, give her berth to go all the way. But if it's -- if she's knocking this guy down -- if she's going after him, particularly on race, they're not going to let that happen.

SMITH: Okay. In terms of vice presidential candidates. You're Barack Obama, the presumed nominee, everybody talks about this dream ticket which everybody is now tamping down again. If you had a very best pick in the world for a veep, who would it be?

TRIPPI: John Edwards, absolutely, it's not because I worked for him. I actually think -- I think the -- the -- just the force of two people, son of the South from Robin, South Carolina, joining with the Senator from -- from Lincoln's Illinois, would be just a powerful thing about putting the division of this country behind us and moving forward.

SMITH: Right. And locking down some of those blue collars.

TRIPPI: Absolutely, blue collars. He goes after those blue collar voters better than anybody.

SMITH: Do you think he'd take it?

TRIPPI: I think -- I think he'll say no right now, but I don't know. When you get asked that's a tough thing to turn down.

SMITH: That is a tough thing to turn down. Joe Trippi, as always thanks so much.

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