CBS’s Smith Talks VP Nominees With New Republic Editor...Again

Mike Crowley, New Republic, on CBS For the second time in a month the CBS Early Show featured Mike Crowley, the editor of the liberal magazine New Republic, as a political analyst to speculate on vice presidential nominees for John McCain and Barack Obama. On Monday’s CBS Early Show, the focus was on Obama as co-host Harry Smith declared: "There's speculation that Barack Obama might choose his running mate sometime this week, before the Democratic Convention begins." On July 24, Smith and Crowley looked at McCain’s potential choices. One wonders when pundits from the Weekly Standard or National Review will be on to analyze the race.

Smith began Monday’s segment by wondering if Obama would pick Senator Joe Biden: "Joe Biden ascending." Crowley argued: "Joe Biden making a very interesting trip abroad to the country of Georgia, in the middle of this conflict with Russia right now. Really showing off his strong suit with his credentials, foreign policy, diplomacy. Knows a lot of foreign leaders." Smith also mentioned Senator Evan Bayh, to which Crowley added: "Straight out of central casting, Evan Bayh looks like, you know, if you could made a Hollywood movie about the guy who was going to be the vice president...he's a good politician." Both ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today also highlighted Biden and Bayh as leading VP contenders.

To his credit, Smith pointed out flaws in each as well. On Biden, he worried: "Too volatile? Too much of a wild card? He can stick his foot in his mouth." On Bayh, Smith asked: "Does anybody outside of Indiana know who he is?"

Later in the segment, Smith showed off his expert research skills as he excitedly touted the possibility of Republican Chuck Hagel as a possible Obama running mate: "Walking the dog last night, a friend of mine says Chuck Hagel, Chuck Hagel, Chuck Hagel. Any chance, Chuck Hagel?" Crowley then pointed out: "Well, I don't think so. You have him right next to Tom Ridge, we can talk about in a minute. Chuck Hagel, pro-life. For a Democrat, very hard to pick a pro-lifer."

In last few seconds, Smith turned to McCain’s picks and asked: "Because he floats this trial balloon with Tom Ridge last week. Tom Ridge, who is pro-choice." Crowley then reiterated: "I think it's an iron law with these picks for both parties, Democrats it's got to be a pro-choicer, Republicans it's got to be a pro-lifer. Even though they say their open-minded and it's a big tent, I don't think it works that way."

Smith also asked about Mitt Romney and Crowley explained: "Well, you know, McCain and Romney had a very nasty primary fight, wound up not liking each other that much." In the July 24 segment, Crowley made a similar observation about the "bad blood" between them. In Monday’s segment Crowley did see a plus for Romney: "Might bring McCain some badly needed credibility on the economy."

Smith also asked about Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, to which Crowley replied: "Pawlenty, Governor of Minnesota, you know, meat and potatoes guy, kind of a populist thing, get in touch with ordinary voters." Smith added: "Didn't win his last election by very many votes though." Crowley concluded: "Well, nobody's perfect, that's the problem."

Additional Republican VP picks that Smith and Crowley discussed on the July 24 show were Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. On Jindal, Crowley observed: "John McCain has to find a balance, though, between someone who's young enough to give him a little more spunk when he's out on the trail, but who's ready to take over right away." On Palin, who Crowley incorrectly identified as Alaska’s lieutenant governor, he remarked: "She's the lieutenant governor of Alaska. And she is young. She's been a reformer but she also has conservative credentials." Crowley then offered a more moderate choice: "But, if you're going to talk about putting a woman on the ticket, McCain wants to appeal to some of those old Hillary voters, someone who's not up here, Carly Fiorina...she is one of his top surrogates, former executive at Hewlett Packard and that could be a very interesting choice."

Here is the full transcript of Monday’s segment:

7:11AM SEGMENT:

HARRY SMITH: There's speculation that Barack Obama might choose his running mate sometime this week, before the Democratic Convention begins. John McCain would follow soon after. Joining us is Michael Crowley, senior editor at the New Republic magazine. Good morning, sir.

MICHAEL CROWLEY: Good morning.

SMITH: Here's Barack Obama, here's the empty veep space. Joe Biden ascending.

CROWLEY: Joe Biden definitely ascending. Joe Biden making a very interesting trip abroad to the country of Georgia, in the middle of this conflict with Russia right now. Really showing off his strong suit with his credentials, foreign policy, diplomacy. Knows a lot of foreign leaders. Very interesting.

SMITH: Too volatile? Too much of a wild card? He can stick his foot in his mouth.

CROWLEY: He loves to talk. He never stops talking. But he's gotten better at it and people around him say he's learned to, you know, be quiet when it's time to be quiet. So maybe.

SMITH: Very interesting, foreign policy cred right there. Evan Bayh? Was out this weekend, was on all the talk shows.

CROWLEY: Straight out of central casting, Evan Bayh looks like, you know, if you could made a Hollywood movie about the guy who was going to be the vice president-

SMITH: Does anybody outside of Indiana know who he is?

CROWLEY: Not really. That's a problem. But there's a feeling that you could actually bring Indiana into the Democratic column. It's a close race right now, he's a good politician.

SMITH: Right, right. Yeah, not too many electoral votes, though, there. Sebelius?

CROWLEY: Sebelius, Governor of Kansas, my personal opinion is that Obama needs someone with a little more experience. You know, she's the governor of a state, you know, there's a world crisis. I think -- my sense is people want somebody who's been around the block-

SMITH: Virginia definitely in play in this election.

CROWLEY: Virginia. And if Obama carries Virginia, that is huge. That could decide the race. The Governor of Virginia, Kaine. However, I think again, maybe not quite enough experience. More of a trial balloon to get people talking.

SMITH: Right. Walking the dog last night, a friend of mine says Chuck Hagel, Chuck Hagel, Chuck Hagel. Any chance, Chuck Hagel?

CROWLEY: Well, I don't think so. You have him right next to Tom Ridge, we can talk about in a minute. Chuck Hagel, pro-life. For a Democrat, very hard to pick a pro-lifer.

SMITH: Alright, let's talk about John McCain real quickly. Because he floats this trial balloon with Tom Ridge last week. Tom Ridge, who is pro-choice-

CROWLEY: Yes-

SMITH: -for Republicans that's-

CROWLEY: I think it's an iron law with these picks for both parties, Democrats it's got to be a pro-choicer, Republicans it's got to be a pro-lifer. Even though they say their open-minded and it's a big tent, I don't think it works that way.

SMITH: Mitt Romney?

CROWLEY: Well, you know, McCain and Romney had a very nasty primary fight, wound up not liking each other that much. There's been a little bit of a thawing in the sense that Romney, especially is a successful businessman. Might bring McCain some badly needed credibility on the economy.

SMITH: Pawlenty?

CROWLEY: Pawlenty, Governor of Minnesota, you know, meat and potatoes guy, kind of a populist thing, get in touch with ordinary voters.

SMITH: Didn't win his last election by very many votes though.

CROWLEY: Well, nobody's perfect, that's the problem.

SMITH: Michael Crowley, thank you so much.

CROWLEY: Thank you.

 

Here is the full transcript of the July 24 segment:

7:13AM TEASER

HARRY SMITH: Up next, something we like to call the veepstakes. We're going to take a look at some of John McCain's possible running mates.

7:17AM SEGMENT:

HARRY SMITH: Rumors have been flying that Republican presidential contender Senator John McCain will announce his vice presidential choice in the very near future. There are a number of possible candidates. We're going to take a look at some of them morning. Here with me is Mike Crowley, senior editor at the New Republic. Good to have you here.

MIKE CROWLEY: Good morning.

SMITH: So, we like to call this the veepstakes, this is our very, very high-tech veepstakes board.

CROWLEY: Beautiful.

SMITH: You may have seen this before. There's John McCain, there's the Republican elephant. Who is going to be here? [points next to McCain's picture] Now the guy who's been running around the country just said, 'please pick me, please pick me' is Mitt Romney. Does he have a shot?

CROWLEY: He absolutely does. In fact, right now I would probably say he's the front-runner. The former Massachusetts governor who fought hard against McCain. There's a lot of bad blood between them.

SMITH: Right.

CROWLEY: But executive experience, great fundraiser, has a great money network. And has changed some positions, but conservatives, they're, you know, they like him. So I think, you know, he could be a strong addition to the ticket. Some people think that they don't get along that well.

SMITH: He's trying too hard. Might be trying too hard.

CROWLEY: And he might be trying a little hard. But the chemistry is a big question between those guys because they fought hard.

SMITH: Okay, we're going to leave him right here. The other guy that comes to mind right away -- Florida is so important, right?

CROWLEY: Absolutely, the mother load.

SMITH: Governor Crist delivered for John McCain at the -- in the primary down there. What do you think?

CROWLEY: Crist saved his bacon. McCain has got to be really grateful for that. Florida is the mother load, McCain has to win Florida, Crist is popular, a lot of people like Crist, I would say he and Romney are really definitely top tier possibilities.

SMITH: Okay, we're going to put them in the top tier, right next to each other. We talked to this guy yesterday. The brand-new governor of Louisiana who conservatives love. He told the legislature, 'no, you may not have a pay raise, no, I am not going to let you pay for your pork special projects and everything else.' Does this guy have a shot?

CROWLEY: He does. He's a lot of fun to talk about. He's the son of Indian immigrants. He's Catholic and we know how important Catholic voters are in a general election. And he's got that youth and energy. John McCain has to find a balance, though, between someone who's young enough to give him a little more spunk when he's out on the trail, but who's ready to take over right away.

SMITH: Too young, too young, too early, too early.

CROWLEY: Some people might say that.

SMITH: Any chance for Huckabee? He's such an interesting character.

CROWLEY: Well, wouldn't it be great to have Huckabee back on television with these little folksy, you know, jokes and rhymes. Evangelical conservatives love Huckabee and that is a lingering problem for McCain. But he really wasn't that impressive a candidate on the substance, especially foreign policy. I think you've got him in the right place, slide him down there.

SMITH: Anybody -- do you have any cards? You got any cards? Any surprises?

CROWLEY: Let me tell you one thing, an interesting dark horse whose name has come up a little bit, Sarah Palin, a lot of viewers maybe familiar with her.

SMITH: Alaska?

CROWLEY: She's the lieutenant governor of Alaska. And she is young. She's been a reformer but she also has conservative credentials. And so, there's been some talk that she could be kind of a surprise pick. But, if you're going to talk about putting a woman on the ticket, McCain wants to appeal to some of those old Hillary voters, someone who's not up here, Carly Fiorina, I bent this up a little bit, but she is one of his top surrogates, former executive at Hewlett Packard and that could be a very interesting choice.

SMITH: Very little bit of foot in mouth though.

CROWLEY: A little bit.

SMITH: Tim Pawlenty, though, in Minnesota, that was the other guy. We'll put that -- I bet he trumps them all. [Smith drops Pawlenty's picture]

CROWLEY: He is very strong. That is not symbolic of his chances, I actually think he's rising not falling.

SMITH: Alright, good job. Mike Crowley, thanks so much. Lots of fun.

CROWLEY: Thanks so much.

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