CBS’s Schieffer: Obama Facing Most Challenges Since WWII

Bob Schieffer, CBS On Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith asked Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer about all the problems facing President Obama: “it was Afghanistan, now it’s jobs...healthcare....Do you remember a time when a president had as many irons – critical irons – in the fire, as this one seems to have right now?” Schieffer replied: “Oh, I suppose during the dark days of World War II.”  

Schieffer went on to lament that “...as we approach this Christmas season it doesn’t look like there’s going to be very much under the tree for this administration.” He referred to high unemployment numbers as a source of Obama’s difficulty: “...there just isn’t anymore money that the government has, even to try to stimulate this economy....people are out of work and that is what’s driving so much of this discontent right now.”

Smith changed the subject by asking Schieffer’s about the White House state dinner security breach: “...there’s this other sideshow with these White House party crashers....Is this a tempest in a tea pot or does this – or does this continue to fester and grow?” Schieffer responded: “no, I don’t think it’s a tempest in a tea pot.” He then called for the imprisonment of the couple involved: “I think the government ought to prosecute these people. And if that means sending them to jail, so be it....I hope the government continues to prosecute this and if it requires – if these people go to jail, that’ll be just fine with me, frankly.”

Schieffer justified that reaction by claiming a White House state dinner is one of the highest forms of patriotism, rather than a glorified cocktail party: “...this is also sort of an insult to the American people. State dinners are part of the symbols of our – of our democracy, like the White House itself, like the Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem, and when people are making fun of those things, when they’re doing what these people did, that’s an insult to all of us.”

Here is a full transcript of the segment:
HARRY SMITH: Want to turn now to CBS News chief Washington correspondent and host of Face the Nation, Bob Schieffer. Bob, good morning.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Good morning, Harry.

SMITH: So earlier this week it was Afghanistan, now it’s jobs. There’s the small matter of healthcare that is still brewing on several burners on the White House stove. Do you remember a time when a president had as many irons – critical irons – in the fire, as this one seems to have right now?         

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Help Wanted; Obama Hits The Road To Talk Jobs]

SCHIEFFER: Oh, I suppose during the dark days of World War II, Harry, but my heavens, I mean as we approach this Christmas season it doesn’t look like there’s going to be very much under the tree for this administration. I mean, you saw this jobs fair yesterday. But as the President talked to people during this jobs fair, he was saying, you know, in the end, it’s going to be up to private enterprise to find the jobs to get us out of this. That’s another way of saying there just isn’t anymore money that the government has, even to try to stimulate this economy.     

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Obama’s Full Plate; Dealing With Economy, Afghanistan & Health Care]

Later today I think you’re going to hear the unemployment figures come out, where going to be in double digits again. The President’s going out of Washington to try to get in touch with what’s happening on the jobs front. Well, the fact is, he knows what’s going on, on the jobs front, people are out of work and that is what’s driving so much of this discontent right now. But where does this go? I mean, we now have this trillion dollar deficit this year, we’re one trillion dollars in hock to the Chinese government as far as the national debt. These are not very good times right now for this administration or for the country.

SMITH: We want to talk about who you’ve got on the show on Sunday in a second, but in the meantime, there’s this other sideshow with these White House party crashers. They denied – did not end up going to the hearing they were called to, that they got invited to yesterday. And there’s this other then of wanting Desiree Rogers to come and testify. Is this a tempest in a tea pot or does this – or does this continue to fester and grow?

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Secret Service Shelvings; Agents Put On Leave After Salahi Slip Up]         

SCHIEFFER: It – no, I don’t think it’s a tempest in a tea pot because – and here’s why, Harry, I think the government ought to prosecute these people. And if that means sending them to jail, so be it. This is not only, you know, a security issue, people being able to get into the White House and get up close to the President, and who knows where that – that kind of thing goes. But this is also sort of an insult to the American people. State dinners are part of the symbols of our – of our democracy, like the White House itself, like the Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem, and when people are making fun of those things, when they’re doing what these people did, that’s an insult to all of us. And I hope the government continues to prosecute this and if it requires – if these people go to jail, that’ll be just fine with me, frankly.

SMITH: Bob Schieffer, thank you so much, we will look forward-

SCHIEFFER: Strong letter to follow.

[LAUGHTER]

SMITH: Yeah, hold back next time, Bob.

SCHIEFFER: Alright.

SMITH: A reminder that you want to watch Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation on Sunday, he will be interviewing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC