David Frum Defends Sarah Palin on CBS ‘Early Show’

David Frum, CBS On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen asked former Bush speech writer David Frum about recent attacks on Sarah Palin by McCain campaign staffers: "What do you make of Sarah Palin's response to those anonymous attacks?" Frum strongly defened her: "I think she's entirely within her rights on this one. You know, I was a critic of her nomination, but everybody is entitled to some basic fairness and the stories that have been released about her most recently are not only incredible on their face..." Frum was indeed a critic of Palin, calling her nomination a "huge mistake" during an October 13 Early Show appearance.

This time, Frum dismissed Palin’s opponents: "And you often get people seeking advantage by denigrating those above them. And then there's just the sheer human joy in mischief... there's sometimes just a human joy in cruelty." He also criticized the media coverage of the rumors: "And they are also, I think, a real problem in our rules in media. I mean, it should be a rule that if somebody is anonymous they shouldn't be allowed to criticize somebody else by name, because then we can't evaluate them, who they are, their motives, whether they're telling the truth."

At the end of the segment, Chen asked: "Do you think those attacks, even if they're not true, will hurt her chances for running for president in 2012, if she wants to?" That question allowed Frum to return to his more critical opinion of Palin: "I'm afraid they will. That you put these impressions on the public mind. Vivid stories don't have to be true for people to remember them...She is very popular in the Republican Party, she's very unpopular outside the Republican Party. That's going to be her basic strategic problem in 2012."

Here is the full transcript of the segment:

7:00AM TEASE:

HARRY SMITH: Sarah Palin returns to Alaska and lashes out at campaign colleagues who turned on her.

7:14AM TEASE:

JULIE CHEN: Coming up-

SARAH PALIN: It's mean-spirited, it's immature, it's unprofessional-

CHEN: Sarah Palin fights back against sniping by McCain campaign insiders. So is she setting her sights on the White House in 2012?

7:18AM SEGMENT:

JULIE CHEN: Supporters of Governor Sarah Palin want her to run for president in 2012. Right now, she's fighting back at McCain campaign staffers for anonymously ridiculing her knowledge of foreign affairs.

SARAH PALIN: It's cruel, it's mean-spirited, it's immature, it's unprofessional, and those guys are jerks if they came away with -- taking things out of context and then tried to spread something on national news it's not fair and not right.

CHEN: Joining us is David Frum, a former speech writer for President Bush and a fellow with the American Enterprise Institute. Good morning, sir.

DAVID FRUM: Good morning.

CHEN: What do you make of Sarah Palin's response to those anonymous attacks?

FRUM: I think she's entirely within her rights on this one. You know, I was a critic of her nomination, but everybody is entitled to some basic fairness and the stories that have been released about her most recently are not only incredible on their face, I mean, I just -- of course she knew Africa was a country -- a continent divided into countries. And of course, she knew what -- the members of NAFTA, she's a Governor adjacent to Canada, after all, and is very involved in a lot of the NAFTA regulations governing energy. And they are also, I think, a real problem in our rules in media. I mean, it should be a rule that if somebody is anonymous they shouldn't be allowed to criticize somebody else by name, because then we can't evaluate them, who they are, their motives, whether they're telling the truth. So on this one, I think she's right.

CHEN: What do you think was the purpose was behind those attacks? Even, and you're saying, they're not true.

FRUM: Well I -- you know, bad campaigns and failing campaigns often end up in this kind of welter of recriminations. And you often get people seeking advantage by denigrating those above them. And then there's just the sheer human joy in mischief. Also, I think people in public life get reputations and sometimes there's -- there's just some fun to be had. Anyone who's ever seen an older sibling tease a younger sibling knows there's sometimes just a human joy in cruelty.

CHEN: Do you think those attacks, even if they're not true, will hurt her chances for running for president in 2012, if she wants to?

FRUM: I'm afraid they will. That you put these impressions on the public mind. Vivid stories don't have to be true for people to remember them as the story of Bill Clinton's haircut, for example. We all remember that story, it turned out to be more complicated than that, but that left an enduring impression. She is very popular in the Republican Party, she's very unpopular outside the Republican Party. That's going to be her basic strategic problem in 2012.

CHEN: David Frum, thank you.

FRUM: Thank you.

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