CBS’s Schieffer: Sarah Palin ‘An Amusement;’ No Political Future

Appearing on Monday’s CBS Early Show to discuss Sarah Palin’s upcoming book tour, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer dismissed the former vice presidential candidate’s political ambitions: “I think she’s going to sell a lot of books. I think she’ll be a great attraction out, you know, as an amusement....But I can’t imagine that she has much future in politics. I really don’t.”

Early Show co-host Harry Smith began by asking Schieffer about Palin’s criticism of the McCain campaign in her book, ‘Going Rogue.’ Schieffer responded: “Well, this is Sarah Palin’s turn to get even....I don’t think it’s going to work.... it’s kind of like a baseball player going into a slump and blaming the manager or blaming the bat boy or blaming the fans or something.”

Schieffer went on to write Palin’s political obituary: “But I don’t think it’s going to help re-establish her as a, you know, as a political candidate. I – my guess is she’s not ever going to run for anything and I think if she did, I don’t think she would get very far.” Even Smith seemed to think that was premature, replying in a surprised manner: “Really?”

Trying to convince Smith of Palin’s political irrelevance, Schieffer attacked her decision to step down as governor of Alaska: “...let’s not overlook the fact that she had to leave the governor’s office in Alaska because that was too much for her. Can you imagine her going through a primary with an opponent? You know, I mean, what would she say? ‘When the going to gets tough, I’m ready to quit?’ I mean, that is not how one builds a political base.”

After Schieffer deemed that Palin was nothing more than “an amusement,” Smith wondered about her endorsement of Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman in the New York 23rd congressional race: “...one of the most important endorsements for that rogue candidate up there was from Sarah Palin. She’s very popular among the tea party set. Do you not think this is part of a growing base of folks from which will ascend into more power in the Republican party?”

Schieffer explained: “Well, the Republican Party is very split right now....And you have that segment, mostly the people on the Right, but you also have candidates like Mike Huckabee, who ran the last time out, who generally made a good impression....She will not be the only person who comes at it from the Right, if she should decide to run.” He once again concluded: “I think the purpose here for Sarah Palin right now is to sell some books and to try to sell her side of the story....It’ll sell books, but I don’t see it going beyond that.”

Here is a full transcript of the segment:
7:01AM TEASE:

HARRY SMITH: Everybody is waiting for the release of Sarah Palin’s memoir. And it’s been reviewed in all kinds of papers all over the country, I’m reading the review in the Wall Street Journal this morning. And she comes down hardest, really, on the McCain campaign.

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: I know.

SMITH (Pumps fist): Really.

RODRIGUEZ: And they are fighting back.

SMITH: Right. So we’re going to talk Bob Schieffer about it – that and some other things a little bit later on this morning.     

7:11AM TEASE:

SMITH: Coming up next, Sarah Palin ‘Going Rogue’ to promote her new book. We’ll take a look at why the McCain camp is up in arms.

7:15AM SEGMENT:

HARRY SMITH: Sarah Palin’s new book is already a best seller, but it doesn’t officially hit the bookstores until tomorrow. Some of what she’s written has already been leaked and that is stirring up a lot of controversy. CBS News correspondent Randall Pinkston has the latest. Randall, good morning.

RANDALL PINKSTON: Good morning, Harry. Though Sarah Palin talks about her role in governing Alaska in her book, it’s her elevation to the national stage as John McCain’s running mate and her clashes with his campaign staffers that will likely make this a real page turner. Among the moments Sarah Palin writes about in her memoir, friction with senior McCain strategist Steve Schmidt.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Palin, Politics & Publishing; Fmr. McCain Staffer: The Book Is ‘Fiction’]

PETER WALLSTEN [REPORTER, WALL STREET JOURNAL]: She is uncomfortable with his language at one point. He seems to be cussing in front of her children.

PINKSTON: Wall Street Journal reporter Peter Wallsten reviewed Palin’s ‘Going Rogue.’

WALLSTEN: She was really bruised, her image was battered after that campaign.

STEVE SCHMIDT: She’s going to have broad appeal across the country.

PINKSTON: During the campaign, Schmidt championed Palin on the Early Show, but in a phone interview with CBS News on Sunday, Schmidt called Palin’s book ‘fiction,’ saying ‘it’s not true.’

ED GOEAS [REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST]: Certainly some of the staff that was assigned to her did not do her a great service.

PINKSTON: But Ed Goeas, who was program director at last year’s GOP convention, says Palin’s recollection of events are accurate.

GOEAS: She had a very unique kind of style that connected with people out there, and I think that was contrary to necessarily where they were trying to take her as a candidate.

PINKSTON: Soon after her book hits the shelves, Palin will hit the road, on a tour some say is an effort to re-establish herself ahead of the 2012 election.

WALLSTEN: She’s taking a tour of small towns and mid-sized cities where her base lives and the point right now is just to sell as many books as possible.

PINKSTON: Palin’s book tour begins this week in Michigan, a state that the McCain campaign pulled out of against Palin’s wishes. That makes it a perfect place, strategists agree, to prove that Sarah Palin is ready for a future campaign. Harry.

SMITH: We’ll find out. Alright. Randall Pinkston, thank you so much. Joining us now is CBS News chief Washington correspondent and host of Face the Nation Bob Schieffer. Bob, good morning.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Good morning, Harry.

SMITH: It really is amazing how much attention has been paid to this book and it hasn’t even hit the stores yet in large part. What do you make of all of the criticism in this book, especially focused on the McCain campaign?

SCHIEFFER: Well, this is Sarah Palin’s turn to get even, as it were. She – she came under this intense criticism all during the campaign and now she’s giving her version of why she didn’t succeed as a candidate. I mean, I don’t think it’s going to work. I – you know, it’s kind of like a baseball player going into a slump and blaming the manager or blaming the bat boy or blaming the fans or something. You know, it makes for provocative reading. I think she’ll sell a lot of books. But I don’t think it’s going to help re-establish her as a, you know, as a political candidate. I – my guess is she’s not ever going to run for anything and I think if she did, I don’t think she would get very far.

SMITH: Really?

SCHIEFFER: No. I mean, well, what’s she going to say? I mean, let’s – let’s not overlook the fact that she had to leave the governor’s office in Alaska because that was too much for her. Can you imagine her going through a primary with an opponent? You know, I mean, what would she say? ‘When the going to gets tough, I’m ready to quit?’ I mean, that is not how one builds a political base. I think she’s going to sell a lot of books. I think she’ll be a great attraction out, you know, as an amusement. She’s interesting, she’s a celebrity. But I can’t imagine that she has much future in politics. I really don’t.

SMITH: It’s so interesting because, for instance, in this House race up in the 23rd district, one of the most important endorsements for that rogue candidate up there was from Sarah Palin. She’s very popular among the tea party set. Do you not think this is part of a growing base of folks from which will ascend into more power in the Republican party?

SCHIEFFER: Well, the Republican Party is very split right now, as you know Harry. And you have that segment, mostly the people on the Right, but you also have candidates like Mike Huckabee, who ran the last time out, who generally made a good impression. Someone who won the Iowa caucuses. She will not be the only person who comes at it from the Right, if she should decide to run. But I think the purpose here for Sarah Palin right now is to sell some books and to try to sell her side of the story. One of the problems you have, though, when you start taking on campaign aides, people don’t know who these people are, you know. And so she’s fighting against people that most people don’t know who they are. It’ll sell books, but I don’t see it going beyond that.

SMITH: Bob Schieffer, thanks for getting up early for us this morning. We do appreciate it, sir.

SCHIEFFER: You bet.

SMITH: Alright.
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC