CBS: Obama ‘Welcomed With Open Arms’ At Notre Dame; Protesters ‘Mostly University Outsiders’

Chip Reid, CBS On Monday’s CBS Early Show White House correspondent Chip Reid reported on President Obama’s controversial commencement address at Notre Dame University over the weekend, but dismissed pro-life protesters as interlopers from outside groups: "The President did come under fire, but mostly from university outsiders, anti-abortion activists. But inside that graduation ceremony, his reception was much warmer than some had expected...But the vast majority here welcomed the President with open arms."

Reid briefly described some of the protest efforts: "There were hundreds of protesters waiting for the President when he arrived at Notre Dame. Hecklers who interrupted his commencement speech several times." Reid then declared: "And some who saw an opportunity to re-ignite the national debate on abortion." A clip was then played of Obama’s former Senate race opponent, Republican Alan Keyes: "Barack Obama's deeply committed to what [Pope] John Paul [II] called the culture of death and the murder of innocent children."

Reid’s report did not feature any members of the Notre Dame faculty or student body opposed to Obama speaking or mention a separate commencement ceremony that several pro-life students attended on campus. In addition, Reid failed to acknowledge a recent Gallup poll that showed a majority of Americans consider themselves pro-life.

Instead, Reid focused on portraying Obama as the great moderator between the two sides: "It's time, he said, for both sides to step back from self-righteousness...Time for opposing camps to seek common ground." A clip of Obama’s commencement address that received loud applause was played: "Open hearts. Open minds. Fair-minded words...Let us work to the to reduce the number of women seeking abortions. Let's reduce unintended pregnancies." Reid did not describe Obama’s extremely pro-abortion voting record, nor the current speculation that the President may nominate someone from the hard left to the Supreme Court following Justice David Souter’s retirement.

Update:

Later in the show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez gave a glowing review of Obama's Notre Dame speech: "Okay I want to talk about commencement speeches this weekend. Most famously, everybody saw yesterday President Obama give the speech at Notre Dame. He did a great job. He didn't shy away from the controversy. You know, his position on stem cell research and abortion, even when he was heckled. He said 'we can't shy away from things that make us uncomfortable.' And when the president of the university introduced him, he said the reason that they're having him speak, despite their differences, is because it's a message of inclusiveness and welcoming people who are different."

Here is the full transcript of the segment:

7:00AM TEASE:

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: As hundreds protest his stand on abortion, President Obama speaks at Notre Dame.

BARACK OBAMA: Let's reduce unintended pregnancies.

[APPLAUSE]

RODRIGUEZ: We'll hear how he confronted the renewed uproar.

7:08AM SEGMENT:

RUSS MITCHELL: The debate goes on at the University of Notre Dame, where President Obama delivered the commencement address yesterday. The President's stance on abortion rights ignited the controversy at the Catholic institution. CBS News chief White House correspondent Chip Reid was there and joins us this morning with the latest. Chip, good morning.

CHIP REID: Well, good morning, Russ. The President did come under fire, but mostly from university outsiders, anti-abortion activists. But inside that graduation ceremony, his reception was much warmer than some had expected. There were hundreds of protesters waiting for the President when he arrived at Notre Dame. Hecklers who interrupted his commencement speech several times.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I'm right here. American!

REID: And some who saw an opportunity to re-ignite the national debate on abortion.

ALAN KEYES: Barack Obama's deeply committed to what John Paul called the culture of death and the murder of innocent children.

REID: But the vast majority here welcomed the President with open arms. It's time, he said, for both sides to step back from self-righteousness.

BARACK OBAMA: Open hearts. Open minds. Fair-minded words.

REID: Time for opposing camps to seek common ground.

OBAMA: Let us work to the to reduce the number of women seeking abortions. Let's reduce unintended pregnancies.

[APPLAUSE]

REID: Later today the President turns his attention to another polarizing issue, Middle East peace. He'll be meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Russ.

MITCHELL: Chip Reid at the White House. Thank you very much.

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