CBS’s Smith Coddles Caroline Kennedy on Failed Senate Bid

Harry Smith and Caroline Kennedy, CBS At the top of Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith teased an upcoming interview with Caroline Kennedy about the annual John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage Awards: "Profiles in Courage, it's that time of year again where we chat with Caroline Kennedy about the people who will be honored up in Boston. May ask her a question or two about her own brush with courage and the Senate."

Smith was of course alluding to Kennedy’s bid to be appointed to the New York Senate seat left vacant by Hillary Clinton becoming Secretary of State earlier this year. However, based on his later question to Kennedy about it, one would have a hard time figuring out what he was referring to: "You had your own brush with public service, and politics, this year. Does it give you an even greater appreciation for some of the risks involved?" An on-screen graphic was a little more to the point: "Failed Senate Campaign: Caroline Kennedy Opens Up."

Kennedy responded:

Well, I think I was pretty familiar with those. But I certainly learned a lot. I met a lot of really committed people. And it was really a fascinating, and actually in many ways, a wonderful experience for me. That may come as a surprise to you. But I think in our family we've always, you know, been taught, and learned, and seen, that there are so many ways to serve. And I think everybody really, especially these days, with our whole country so inspired to service by President Obama, and all the problems that we have, that need -- that need people to really engage and take them on. There's really, you know, just so many opportunities for people. So I think it only made me feel more inspired about the different kinds of service that I can provide.

Here is the full transcript of the segment:

7:00AM TEASE:

HARRY SMITH: Profiles in Courage, it's that time of year again where we chat with Caroline Kennedy about the people who will be honored up in Boston. May ask her a question or two about her own brush with courage and the Senate.

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: And what's in store for the future.

7:30AM TEASE:

SMITH: Also ahead this morning, we're going to be talking with Caroline Kennedy about something near and dear to her called the Profile in Courage Awards and we're going to meet one of this year's recipients as well.

7:48AM TEASE:

SMITH: Still to come, we'll speak with Caroline Kennedy and meet one of the honorees for this year's Profile in Courage award.

8:07AM TEASE:

SMITH: Up next, Caroline Kennedy introduces us to one of the winners of this year's John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage Awards.

8:10AM SEGMENT:

HARRY SMITH: Each year the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation honors people who embody President Kennedy's commitment to public service. Joining us from Boston is Caroline Kennedy, along with one of this year's Profile in Courage Award winners, Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee. Good morning to you both.

CAROLINE KENNEDY: Good morning.

LEYMAH GBOWEE: Good morning.

SMITH: Leymah let me start with you. What does it mean to you to get this award?

GBOWEE: Well, I've been thinking, actually, what is the meaning of this award. But just sitting and looking at the award, for me, it's a call to action. A call that even though Liberia is at peace, until the rest of Africa is enjoying a semblance of peace, I can't retire.\

SMITH: For people who do not-

GBOWEE: So there's no retirement-

SMITH: Yeah, no retirement. For people who do not know your story, what's important to understand is the women in Liberia literally brought a civil war to a close. You were one of the women who said, 'we will not let this go on like this.' What gave you the courage to stand up?

GBOWEE: Sometimes in life you have a tough decision to make, especially when you've been pushed so far back that you have two options: Either you fight back or you allow yourself to be pushed to a wall. And the women of Liberia, including myself, decided 'I will fight back.' What the courage was waking up every morning and seeing that the future of our children was bleak. And we had to do something to save and secure their futures.

SMITH: Caroline, let me ask you this, you've done this year after year. Why is this so important to you and your family?

KENNEDY: Well, I think we started the award to really honor the virtue that my father most admired in public life. And with the idea that by celebrating courageous elected officials, appointed officials, and now citizen activists, that hopefully it would encourage others. Because I think the example is so powerful. And when you see somebody standing up for what they believe in and what they know is right, I think it helps everyone in their own life think about 'well, what can I do to make things better in the world around me?' And so I think -- we hope that this award will really honor those people for standing up, and celebrate their courage, and hopefully, as I said, inspire more people to act courageously, because obviously we need as much courageous leadership as we can possibly find, especially these days.

SMITH: You had your own brush with public service, and politics, this year. Does it give you an even greater appreciation for some of the risks involved?

[ON-SCREEN GRAPHIC: Failed Senate Campaign: Caroline Kennedy Opens Up]

KENNEDY: Well, I think I was pretty familiar with those. But I certainly learned a lot. I met a lot of really committed people. And it was really a fascinating, and actually in many ways, a wonderful experience for me. That may come as a surprise to you. But I think in our family we've always, you know, been taught, and learned, and seen, that there are so many ways to serve. And I think everybody really, especially these days, with our whole country so inspired to service by President Obama, and all the problems that we have, that need -- that need people to really engage and take them on. There's really, you know, just so many opportunities for people. So I think it only made me feel more inspired about the different kinds of service that I can provide.

SMITH: Caroline, thank you so much. Leymah Gbowee, thank you very much and congratulations on the award. Take care. Thank you.

GBOWEE: Thank you.

SMITH: You bet.

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