CBS’s Plante: President Bush Takes ‘Slap at Barack Obama’

Still Shot of Bill Plante, May 15 On Thursday’s CBS "Early Show" correspondent Bill Plante reported on President Bush’s speech before the Israeli Knesset and suggested the president was going after Barack Obama: "The president today is slamming Iran, embracing the Israelis, barely mentioning the Palestinians, and he's suggesting, without naming any names, that anyone who's in favor of talking to Iran, like say, Barack Obama, is in favor of appeasement." [audio available here]

Later in the report, Plante again claimed that the president was attacking the Democratic candidate: "The president is also taking what some will interpret as a slap at Barack Obama. He's saying that those who believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, and he calls that appeasement." Plante then dismissed the comments as nothing more that President Bush pandering to voters during an election year: "White House officials deny that Mr. Bush had Obama specifically in mind, but it doesn't take a whole lot of imagination to see this as reaching out to American Jewish voters in an election year."

On the June 7, 2004 CBS "Evening News,"after Ronald Reagan’s death, Plante attacked the former president for what he saw as Reagan’s appeasement of terrorists during the Iran-Contra scandal:

The most serious crisis of Ronald Reagan’s two terms, and the lowest point in his popularity, came after the revelation that his administration had secretly sold arms to Iran and turned over the profits to rebels fighting the Marxist government of Nicaragua....The fallout was severe, softened only by the President’s willingness to accept personal responsibility....U.S. efforts to deal with the tough issues in the Middle East went on hold, helping to set the stage for the first Iraq war and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism.

Here is the full transcript of the "Early Show" report:

8:02AM SEGMENT:

RUSS MITCHELL: This morning during an address to the Israeli parliament President Bush strongly denounced Iran's efforts to obtain nuclear weapons. CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante is in Jerusalem. Bill, good morning.

BILL PLANTE: Good morning, Russ. The president today is slamming Iran, embracing the Israelis, barely mentioning the Palestinians, and he's suggesting, without naming any names, that anyone who's in favor of talking to Iran, like say, Barack Obama, is in favor of appeasement. Mr. Bush is attending Israel's 60th birthday celebration. He laid a wreath outside the Israeli parliament or Knesset. He's also pushing for a Middle East peace agreement by the end of his term, a goal which looks increasingly unlikely. At the parliament, Mr. Bush is pledging that the U.S. will stand together with Israel against terror in what he calls a great ideological struggle. Let's listen in.

GEORGE W. BUSH: I prayed at Yad Vashem and earlier today I visited Massada, an aspiring monument to courage and sacrifice. At this historic site --

PLANTE: The president says that Iran must not be allowed to have a nuclear weapon. He says that it's 'the world's leading sponsor of terror' and allowing it to have a weapon would be an 'unforgivable betrayal of future generations.' He also says that the U.S. stands with Israel in breaking up terrorist networks. He offered no specifics about his Palestinian peace agreement. His aides say that he'll talk more about that after meeting the Palestinian president this weekend. The president is also taking what some will interpret as a slap at Barack Obama. He's saying that those who believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, and he calls that appeasement. White House officials deny that Mr. Bush had Obama specifically in mind, but it doesn't take a whole lot of imagination to see this as reaching out to American Jewish voters in an election year. Russ.

MITCHELL: Bill Plante in Jerusalem, thank you.

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