CBS’s Rodriguez: Fair to Attack Palin Family Since They Are ‘Used’ In Campaign

Maggie Rodriguez, CBS While the majority of Thursday’s CBS Early Show coverage of Sarah Palin’s convention speech was positive, at the top of the 8am hour, co-host Maggie Rodriguez talked to Palin’s sister, Heather Bruce, and asked: "There's been a lot of talk this weekend about family, talk that family is off limits in a campaign. Yet we see your sister with her kids, introducing them, showing them on camera, and she even mentioned you in her speech last night. So the question is, is it okay to use family in a campaign when it benefits the candidate and not okay when it's negative?"

Bruce responded: "I just thought it was okay that Sarah introduces her family just to show that she's a real American family. I don't really have an opinion on whether it's beneficial or not, but in my opinion tonight, I thought it was just a gracious act for Sarah to recognize because I think she realizes that without a lot of family support in her situation that, you know, this -- this has come a long way with a lot of family support." Rodriguez then followed up: "And you're okay that...she gave you -- gave you your five seconds of fame last night?" Bruce replied: "I don't seek the limelight, or the press. I was surprised, but I wasn't offended whatsoever. You know, it was pretty gracious of her. That was kind of nice."

Despite Rodriguez’s attempt to justify media attacks on Palin, CBS never took that approach when covering an adult Chelsea Clinton during the Democratic primaries. When Early Show co-host Harry Smith was asked about media coverage of Chelsea Clinton after she was asked a difficult question on the campaign trail in March, he admitted: "We're not exactly watchdogs here."

Here is the full transcript of Thursday’s 8am segment:

8:02AM SEGMENT:

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: There were many proud Alaskans watching Governor Sarah Palin address the Republican National Convention here last night. One of the proudest was Palin's sister, Heather Bruce, who's in Anchorage, Alaska, this morning. Good morning, Heather.

HEATHER BRUCE: Good morning.

RODRIGUEZ: How do you think your sister did last night?

BRUCE: I thought it was a fabulous speech. We were so proud. We were very excited, as a family member, I was especially proud.

RODRIGUEZ: There was this adorable moment that was captured on camera. I'm sure you saw it, when Piper was licking her hand and kind of rubbing her baby brother's head. It seems like a real close-knit family. Can you talk a little bit about that?

BRUCE: Oh, we are. We are close-knit. There are 13 grandkids that my parents have, and we all live within a small radius of each other. So we're all each other's gatekeepers, watch keepers, baby-sitters, care givers. We are close, and the cousins love each other and the aunts and uncles, we look out for each other.

RODRIGUEZ: There's been a lot of talk this weekend about family, talk that family is off limits in a campaign. Yet we see your sister with her kids, introducing them, showing them on camera, and she even mentioned you in her speech last night. So the question is, is it okay to use family in a campaign when it benefits the candidate and not okay when it's negative?

BRUCE: I just thought it was okay that Sarah introduces her family just to show that she's a real American family. I don't really have an opinion on whether it's beneficial or not, but in my opinion tonight, I thought it was just a gracious act for Sarah to recognize because I think she realizes that without a lot of family support in her situation that, you know, this -- this has come a long way with a lot of family support.

RODRIGUEZ: And you're okay that-

BRUCE: And she was recognizing that.

RODRIGUEZ: -she gave you -- gave you your five seconds of fame last night?

BRUCE: I don't seek the limelight, or the press. I was surprised, but I wasn't offended whatsoever. You know, it was pretty gracious of her. That was kind of nice.

RODRIGUEZ: Lastly, Heather, when will you get to see your sister again? Do you know what her plans are now?

BRUCE: I haven't been told any details. I think my daughter's returning on Friday. I don't know if the Palin family's coming back with her or not. So all I know is that I thought Sarah was going to help deploy maybe Track and his -- the rest of his troop next week, so I'm hoping to see her in the next few days, if she's not too busy.

RODRIGUEZ: Oh, I'm sure she'll be quite busy. Heather Bruce, thank you.

RODRIGUEZ: Thank you, Maggie.

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