CBS’s Glor: Bill Ayers A ‘Once Radical Anti-War Advocate’

Jeff Glor, CBS On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Jeff Glor condemned the McCain campaign for "blasting" Barack Obama and playing a "guilt-by-association game" by discussing Obama’s connection to domestic terrorist Bill Ayers. Glor proclaimed: "Using a new ad to pile on adjectives, 'dangerous,' 'dishonorable,' 'liberal,' and 'risky.' And using running mate Sarah Palin to name names, trying to link Obama with controversial characters like the once radical anti-war advocate William Ayers and fiery pastor Jeremiah Wright."

While Glor referred to Ayers being "once radical," in a 2001 New York Times article, Ayers expressed no remorse for his 1970's terrorist activities, saying: "I don't regret setting bombs...I feel we didn't do enough." In addition, in October of 2006, Ayers did an interview with the Communist publication ‘Revolution’ and defended left-wing radical Ward Churchill who referred to victims of September 11th as Nazis: "He’s being pilloried for his politics, for being a leftist, for being a critic of U.S. imperialism as it relates to Native Americans. How can we as socialists or as communists or as leftists, how can we leave him in the cold and say, well I’m a good leftist because I don’t talk the way Ward talks. I find that appalling. And I would hope that when they come to get Ward, we all link arms and don’t allow it."

Following Glor’s denouncement of the McCain campaign’s "mud slinging", co-host Harry Smith talked to Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer and asked: "Never really seen a campaign quite like this one. And over the last 48 hours, the rancorous tone of this campaign is just -- I'm even a little surprised by it. Are you taken back by it?" Schieffer replied: "Yeah, I am a little surprised by it, but clearly the McCain campaign has made a conscious decision to go after Obama. They want to change the subject from the economy. They're going to go after Obama's character and somehow try to paint him as different than other people." On Sunday’s Face the Nation, Schieffer declared that the McCain campaign attacks on Obama were a sign of "a campaign that's turned down and dirty."

Here is the full transcript of the Tuesday segment:

7:00AM TEASER:

HARRY SMITH: And I'm Harry Smith in Nashville, where the candidates will host their own town hall tonight. The second presidential debate, Will it be enough to restart the McCain campaign?

7:01AM TEASER:

SMITH: We're on the campus of Belmont University. Morning, everybody. This, of course, is where the big debate will happen tonight in a town hall format. Who does that -- does that pose an advantage for one candidate or the other? So much at stake. We'll talk about that and a lot more, too, in just a little bit.

7:09AM SEGMENT:

HARRY SMITH: Well, round two of the presidential debates happens tonight here in Nashville, on the campus of Belmont University. Jeff Glor, our national correspondent, is across campus with more on that. Good morning, Jeff.

JEFF GLOR: Hey, Harry, good morning to you. Round two will look different than round one because the candidates will be taking questions in this town hall style format from not just the moderator, but also audience members, so that's a change and this campaign has changed a bit, too. Right now it's hard to tell which one's sinking faster, the stock market, or the tone of this campaign.

JOHN MCCAIN: What has this man ever actually accomplished in government?

BARACK OBAMA: That's what you do when you're out of touch, out of ideas, and running out of time.

GLOR: Based on the beginning of the week, you'd think tonight's town hall style debate would be dirty, but these intimate settings, while spontaneous, might minimize the mud slinging.

MIKE ALLEN: The town hall format makes it much tougher to be nasty because if a voter asks you about health care, you can't tell them that your opponent consorts with terrorists.

GLOR: On the stump, that's much easier. The McCain campaign spent Monday blasting Barack Obama as a mystery man.

JOHN MCCAIN: For a guy who's already authored two memoirs, he's not exactly an open book.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Increasing the risk on their lives. How dangerous.

GLOR: Using a new ad to pile on adjectives, 'dangerous,' 'dishonorable,' 'liberal,' and 'risky.' And using running mate Sarah Palin to name names, trying to link Obama with controversial characters like the once radical anti-war advocate William Ayers and fiery pastor Jeremiah Wright.

SARAH PALIN: I am just so fearful that this is not a man who sees America the way that you and I see America.

GLOR: It may be a guilt-by-association game, but it's one the Obama campaign soon joined, dredging up McCain's associations in the '80s with Charles Keating, the scandalous banking figure.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: He was someone that McCain took much of his policy advice from.

GLOR: With polls showing McCain struggling, both nationally and in battle ground states, his campaign has made no secret of their plan to shift the story away from the economy. Considering what's happening, that could be more challenging than getting a loan right now. Whatever strategy either campaign employs, time is running short, Harry. Now just four weeks until election day.

HARRY SMITH: Jeff Glor with us here at Belmont University this morning, thank you so much. We are joined here by Bob Schieffer from 'Face the Nation.' Good morning, sir.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Good morning, Harry.

SMITH: I tell you, we've had so many conversations through this last year or so. Never really seen a campaign quite like this one. And over the last 48 hours, the rancorous tone of this campaign is just -- I'm even a little surprised by it. Are you taken back by it?

SCHIEFFER: Yeah, I am a little surprised by it, but clearly the McCain campaign has made a conscious decision to go after Obama. They want to change the subject from the economy. They're going to go after Obama's character and somehow try to paint him as different than other people. Whether they can do that with this story, this economic situation as tough as it is, we'll find out, but I don't think there's any question that is what they're trying to do.

SMITH: Right. People talk about John McCain and how well he performs in these town hall settings. Does this favor him in some ways? I've been at a bunch of Obama rallies and he walks around and takes questions, too. Do you think this format favors one or the other?

SCHIEFFER: I think it does favor John McCain. This is the place where he seems most comfortable. John McCain doesn't like to make speeches, but he likes to take questions. And I tell you, I think he's going to come right out of the box and try to score a knockout early on. I think he'll go directly after Obama. The interesting thing is going to be to see how Obama reacts to that. Obama makes a great speech. He is not always done as well in debates as he has when he's just behind the podium.

SMITH: Right.

SCHIEFFER: This is going -- I mean, how many times can we say it, Harry? We've never seen anything like this.

SMITH: Right, right.

SCHIEFFER: I mean, but we've never seen anything like this.

SMITH: The -- it's so interesting, because the Obama lead was starting to grow in the polls last week. It's starting to shrink a little bit again. Who do you think has the most at stake tonight of these two candidates?

SCHIEFFER: Well, I don't know how I would answer that. But I think, I mean, it's all on the line. And I don't think this is decided yet. I think it's still to be determined. It'll be decided by what happens tonight and these -- in the coming weeks, so-

SMITH: Because they say there's about 10% undecided and plenty who say they might still change their minds.

SCHIEFFER: Well, they might. I mean, this thing is still somewhat volatile. And again, we've never seen one like this go this long where neither candidate has really broken away.

SMITH: Yeah.

SCHIEFFER: Obama has opened up a little lead, but just a tiny one.

SMITH: Yeah, still within reach.

SCHIEFFER: I think anything can change and anyone can still win. I still wouldn't bet even your money on it.

SMITH: What's left of it, right?

SCHIEFFER: Yeah, exactly.

SMITH: Bob Schieffer, thank you very, very much.

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