CBS’s Rodriguez Grills Miss CA: Are You Being ‘Hypocritical’?

Maggie Rodriguez and Carrie Prejean, CBS On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show co-host Maggie Rodriguez interrogated Miss California Carrie Prejean, wondering if the beauty queen was a hypocrite for standing up for Christian values: "I know that you are a devout Christian, and some people have said that it's hypocritical, and a little bit of a double standard, for you to be preaching Christianity, yet posing topless...And you don't feel it interferes in any way with your faith or what you preach publicly?"

Prejean defended herself, explaining: "Absolutely not. And my message to my, you know, church and to the young girls that attend the church is, 'you know, I am a very strong woman today.' And the decisions I made when I was 16 and 17 years old, I was very naive, trying to get into the modeling, you know, industry. And I definitely would not make those decisions today."

Rodriguez also tried to portray Prejean as being forced to back down: "The pageant has said that you can continue wearing your crown, but that they will have to monitor the statements that you make. You're such an advocate of free speech, how do feel about their control over your statements?" Rodriguez then asked: "Will you officially come out in support of any particular organization or as a spokesperson for any organization?" Prejean replied: "I don't plan on doing that, no." Rodriguez wondered: "Is that because pageant officials say that you can't?"

In contrast to Rodriguez’s grilling of Prejean, on April 21, fellow co-host Julie Chen lobbed softballs at liberal gay blogger and Miss USA pageant judge Perez Hilton, who asked Prejean about her gay marriage views. Chen failed to mention that Hilton called Prejean a "dumb b***h" on his video blog and did not even wonder if his question was appropriate.

Rodriguez later took the interview in a personal direction and asked about Prejean’s alleged plastic surgery: "Since this controversy began, so much has been reported about you, including the fact that you had breast implants a few weeks before the Miss USA pageant, and that pageant officials helped you pay for it. I'm curious what you would say to young girls out there who feel that you had to do this in order to have a better chance of winning this competition and they're thinking they have to enhance themselves to have a better chance of winning in life?"

Prejean declined to respond: "Well, I think that that's definitely an irrelevant topic. And we kind of cleared that up yesterday. So-" Rodriguez pressed: "But what would you say to them if they're watching right now and they didn't see you yesterday?" Prejean again declined to discuss the issue: "I think that's -- that has nothing to do with me answering a question on stage. And that's what I think we really need to focus on."

A few minutes after the interview, co-host Harry Smith remarked: "So interesting, Carrie Prejean, you did such a good job, I thought, with the interview...And I thought -- the thing that I thought was interesting, she thinks because she's held a news conference the questions have been answered...That only creates more questions." Rodriguez patronizingly added: "Yeah, as she does more and more of these, she'll understand that."

Here is the full transcript of the interview:

7:01AM TEASE:

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: Also this morning, Miss California USA Carrie Prejean is here on her 22nd birthday, celebrating the fact that Donald Trump let her keep her crown despite all the controversy over semi-nude photos of her. She, of course, is convinced this has all been a conspiracy because she spoke out against gay marriage and she has plenty to say about that this morning.

7:30AM SEGMENT:

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: Miss California will not be forced to step down. Tuesday, Donald Trump decided that she could keep her crown. The 12-year-old -- the woman -- excuse me -- who turns 22 today, ran into a firestorm of controversy during the Miss USA pageant over gay marriage. Then some semi-nude pictures of her surfaced, but Donald Trump said she did nothing wrong. And joining us now is Miss California USA, Carrie Prejean. Good morning.

CARRIE PREJEAN: Good morning.

RODRIGUEZ: Today is your birthday.

PREJEAN: It is.

RODRIGUEZ: And Mr. Trump gave you quite a present yesterday, didn't he?

PREJEAN: Yes he did.

RODRIGUEZ: You believe that all of this came this far because of that answer that you gave at the Miss USA pageant about gay marriage. You said yesterday that you feel you were punished for it. How do you feel you were punished?

PREJEAN: I do, I mean it was obvious, and Mr. Trump said that. You know, Mr. Hilton obviously gave me a low score because of my answer. And I was just expressing my freedom of speech.

RODRIGUEZ: Hilton, one of the judges, who is gay, asked you this question and you say he had a personal agenda. So you believe that he scored you low enough that it brought down your overall score enough for you to lose, or do you think all the judges scored you low because of it?

PREJEAN: I will never know. That's just something, you know, I'll never know the outcome of. But I do know that he did score me the lowest. And there were three other judges who were gay, so-

RODRIGUEZ: But then who was behind the push to strip you of your crown?

PREJEAN: I was never stripped of my crown. I've always-

RODRIGUEZ: But who wanted that to happen?

PREJEAN: I'm not sure who wanted that to happen. I think that I was just put under the microscope for my answer. And, you know, they dug up into my past. And there were some photos that were released when I was 17 years old. I'm a professional model, and I model in swim wear and lingerie. And, so, it is what it is.

RODRIGUEZ: But the contract is pretty explicit that you had to disclose that those photos were out there. Why didn't you?

PREJEAN: It's not that I didn't disclose them. It's that I never thought a photographer would be so unprofessional that he would release, you know, inappropriate photos like that, which were in-between shots.

RODRIGUEZ: Is that naive of you?

PREJEAN: Absolutely. Absolutely. I should have requested those photos for my own personal use and had him have no rights to those, and which we are looking into.

RODRIGUEZ: If these photos were out there of Miss USA and she was giving the explanation that you're giving, do you think that you would be defending her position or would you be out there trying to become Miss USA yourself?

PREJEAN: I can't give you an answer for that.

RODRIGUEZ: But what do you think?

PREJEAN: I think that, you know, any one of those girls, if you'd really dig into their past, I'm sure you would find some things. But, you know, who makes the same decisions that they did when they were 16 and 17 years old? Not many of us. So, it's all about who we are today. And I'm very proud of the woman that I am.

RODRIGUEZ: No matter what the contract says, you feel that you -- shouldn't be held against you, what you did, when you were 16 and 17?

PREJEAN: Absolutely not-

RODRIGUEZ: Is that what you're saying?

PREJEAN: -and Donald Trump made his decision yesterday. So we're going forward with that.

RODRIGUEZ: I know that you are a devout Christian, and some people have said that it's hypocritical, and a little bit of a double standard, for you to be preaching Christianity, yet posing topless.

PREJEAN: Well, first of all, I want to clear that up, I never posed topless. It was-

RODRIGUEZ: You didn't have a top on in the pictures.

PREJEAN: It wasn't a topless photo.

RODRIGUEZ: Okay. Because you were covering yourself?

PREJEAN: I was on stage -- I was on stage in a bikini. You know, I'm a professional model. That's what I do for a living. And, you know, people can say whatever they want to say. If I was topless or nude or whatever. You know, a lot of people saw those photos and there's absolutely nothing wrong with the photos, as Donald Trump said yesterday.

RODRIGUEZ: And you don't feel it interferes in any way with your faith or what you preach publicly?

PREJEAN: Absolutely not. And my message to my, you know, church and to the young girls that attend the church is, 'you know, I am a very strong woman today.' And the decisions I made when I was 16 and 17 years old, I was very naive, trying to get into the modeling, you know, industry. And I definitely would not make those decisions today.

RODRIGUEZ: The pageant has said that you can continue wearing your crown, but that they will have to monitor the statements that you make. You're such an advocate of free speech, how do feel about their control over your statements?

PREJEAN: Well, I'm just really excited that we can, you know, come together and just move forward with this. I think that they know that I do have a story to tell. And what happened to me, I hope never happens to another young woman.

RODRIGUEZ: But how much control will you let them have over the comments that you make about gay marriage or anything else in the future?

PREJEAN: Well, I think everybody in the world knows how I feel about gay marriage. So I don't think that I need to really go into detail about that. But I will always be an advocate for not redefining marriage.

RODRIGUEZ: Will you officially come out in support of any particular organization or as a spokesperson for any organization?

PREJEAN: I don't plan on doing that, no.

RODRIGUEZ: Is that because pageant officials say that you can't?

PREJEAN: It's just because right now I am focusing on fulfilling my duties as Miss California and I think that's all that I'm really focusing on right now.

RODRIGUEZ: Since this controversy began, so much has been reported about you, including the fact that you had breast implants a few weeks before the Miss USA pageant, and that pageant officials helped you pay for it. I'm curious what you would say to young girls out there who feel that you had to do this in order to have a better chance of winning this competition and they're thinking they have to enhance themselves to have a better chance of winning in life?

PREJEAN: Well, I think that that's definitely an irrelevant topic. And we kind of cleared that up yesterday. So-

RODRIGUEZ: But what would you say to them if they're watching right now and they didn't see you yesterday?

PREJEAN: I think that's -- that has nothing to do with me answering a question on stage. And that's what I think we really need to focus on.

RODRIGUEZ: Alright, Miss California, Carrie Prejean, thank you for your time this morning.

7:37AM COMMENTARY:

HARRY SMITH: So interesting, Carrie Prejean, you did such a good job, I thought, with the interview-

RODRIGUEZ: Thanks.

SMITH: And I thought -- the thing that I thought was interesting, she thinks because she's held a news conference the questions have been answered.

RODRIGUEZ: That's right.

SMITH: That only creates more questions.

RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, as she does more and more of these, she'll understand that.

SMITH: There you go.

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