CBS Tries to Minimize Dem Problems By Cherry-Picking GOP Setbacks

Bill Plante, CBS In a report on Friday's CBS Early Show, senior White House correspondent Bill Plante noted that President Obama hitting the campaign trail for Democrats didn't seem to be helping: "...more than half of the voters say that the President's support for any one candidate would have no impact on their decision." However, he then declared: "Not all Republicans are coasting to victory in 2010."

While Plante acknowledged that "Republicans [are] far more energized than Democrats this campaign season," he spent the second half of his report focused on two GOP candidates behind in the polls: "New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, who recently got into a fight with a New York Post reporter, is way behind his opponent, Andrew Cuomo....Also running behind in the polls, Delaware's tea party Senate candidate, Christine O'Donnell." Plante went on to proclaim that O'Donnell "made headlines earlier this week with her infamous 'I am not a witch' commercial."

Plante moved on to the Senate race in West Virginia, attempting to suggest a scandal for Republican John Raese: "Negative political ads are a campaign staple this year, but as Republicans in West Virginia are finding out, they don't always work....This commercial from the National Republican Senatorial Committee had to be pulled from the air after it was revealed that the committee issued a casting call for actors with a 'hickey blue collar look.'" Plante failed to mention that Raese is leading his Democratic opponent, Governor Joe Manchin, in the latest polls or that the NRSC did not create the wording in the casting call for the ad in question.

Also absent from Friday's Early Show was any mention of an aide to Democratic California gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown, referring to Republican opponent Meg Whitman as a "whore."  

Plante concluded the report on an optimistic note for Democrats: "The President's strategists are still confident that if he can energize the people who voted for him in 2008, the young, the minorities, first-time voters, that Democrats can still win, but it's a race-by-race situation."

On both Thursday's Early Show and Evening News, CBS reporters attempted to counter big electoral trouble for Democrats by characterizing new poll numbers as "not good news for Obama or tea party."

Here is a full transcript of the October 8 report:

7:11AM ET

ERICA HILL: President Obama is spending his weekend on the campaign trail and it includes an important stop in Philadelphia. CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante joins us now with more on that story. Bill, good morning.

BILL PLANTE: Good morning, Erica. Since Labor Day, the President has done 13 fundraisers, a couple of major rallies, another one coming up, as you said, in Philadelphia this weekend, but with Republicans far more energized than Democrats this campaign season, the question is, is the President doing his party any good?
            
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Campaigner-in-Chief; President on the Trail, Candidates on the Fence]

BARACK OBAMA: If everybody who fought for change in 2008 shows up on November 2nd, I am absolutely confident we will win.

PLANTE: The President was in Maryland, campaigning for Governor Martin O'Malley, but a CBS News poll shows more than half of the voters say that the President's support for any one candidate would have no impact on their decision.

REID WILSON [THE HOTLINE]: This president has been more effective at raising money, I think, than at really getting out and wowing the troops on the stump.

PLANTE: This year's midterms are drawing comparisons to 1994 when a then equally unpopular President Clinton saw his party lose both houses to the Republicans. But not all Republicans are coasting to victory in 2010. New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, who recently got into a fight with a New York Post reporter, is way behind his opponent, Andrew Cuomo, who he tried to goad into a group debate Thursday.

CARL PALADINO: Come out and debate like a man.

PLANTE: Also running behind in the polls, Delaware's tea party Senate candidate, Christine O'Donnell. She made headlines earlier this week with her infamous 'I am not a witch' commercial.

CHRISTINE O'DONNELL: I'm nothing you've heard. I'm you.

PLANTE: And just released this tamer follow-up.

O'DONNELL: I didn't go to Yale. I didn't inherent millions like my opponent.

PLANTE: Negative political ads are a campaign staple this year, but as Republicans in West Virginia are finding out, they don't always work.

CAMPAIGN AD: And 'Washington Joe' does whatever Obama wants.

PLANTE: This commercial from the National Republican Senatorial Committee had to be pulled from the air after it was revealed that the committee issued a casting call for actors with a 'hickey blue collar look.' The President's strategists are still confident that if he can energize the people who voted for him in 2008, the young, the minorities, first-time voters, that Democrats can still win, but it's a race-by-race situation. Erica.

HILL: Bill Plante at the White House this morning. Bill, thanks.
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC