CBS: 'Sideshow' of ObamaCare Repeal A 'Test of Civility;' Palin's Statement on Shooting 'Not Her Best Moment'

On Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Erica Hill noted President Obama "calling for a little bit of a detente" in the wake of the Tucson shooting and wondered, "is this civility going to last?" Political analyst John Dickerson argued: "There will be one small test next week as House Republicans bring up the repeal of the health care bill."

Dickerson criticized the name of the repeal legislation: "What used to be called the 'Job-Killing Health Care Bill,' which now of course has – operates in a much different context." Hill followed up: "Can the President make that, I guess, good will, for lack of a better word, last past the State of the Union in a couple of weeks?" Dickerson asserted: "Health care will be a bit of a sideshow because it won't really go anywhere after the House does it its work on that bill. But on the budget, on lifting the debt ceiling, on some of these other issues, there will have to be actual cooperation."

While Dickerson emphasized the need for Republicans to be civil, he also had a warning for Democrats: "And  Democrats too, who had planned to fight the Republican effort tooth and nail with all of the usual tactics, all of the rancor and bitterness that the President addressed, they also have to recalibrate their plans."         

Turning to Sarah Palin, Hill observed that the former Alaska governor "was on the receiving end of a lot of criticism, also from the very beginning." She added that Palin's Wednesday Facebook video statement on the shooting also "received a lot of criticism from both sides." Hill noted that Palin is "seen as a candidate for 2012" and asked Dickerson, "Did she miss an opportunity here?"
Dickerson replied: "...her statement was really trying to push back against the idea that she was somehow responsible for these murders....against that ugly charge. And on the other hand, trying to speak to the moment that the President so eloquently spoke to in his speech. And those two tasks, she did not meet by, as you say, reviews on both sides. It was not her best moment."

Neither Hill nor Dickerson acknowledged the active role CBS News took in attacking Palin in the wake of the shooting. On Saturday's Evening News, just hours after the tragedy, congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes was already proclaiming: "Giffords was one of 20 Democrats whose districts were lit up in cross hairs on a Sarah Palin campaign Web site last spring....Giffords and many others complained that someone unstable might act on that imagery."

On Wednesday's Evening News, correspondent Chip Reid went after Palin's video statement: "She ignited a new controversy by using the term 'blood libel,' which refers to false allegations from the Middle Ages that Jews murdered Christian children to use their blood in religious ceremonies."


Here is a full transcript of Hill's January 14 discussion with Dickerson:

7:08AM ET

ERICA HILL: This morning, nearly one week after that shooting in Tucson, Washington is still feeling the political aftershocks. Joining us this morning from Washington with his perspective is CBS News political analyst John Dickerson. John, good morning to you.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Tragedy in Tucson; Political Fallout Reaches DC]

This has really been political, honestly, since it happened on Saturday. On Wednesday night, the President, of course, calling for a little bit of a detente here, saying we need a change in the tone of public discourse, of course talking about words that heal, not that wound. And it does feel like, at least in the short term, there has been a bit of a dialing back. But is this civility going to last?

JOHN DICKERSON: Well, it's the big question. There will be one small test next week as House Republicans bring up the repeal of the health care bill. What used to be called the 'Job-Killing Health Care Bill,' which now of course has – operates in a much different context. And  Democrats too, who had planned to fight the Republican effort tooth and nail with all of the usual tactics, all of the rancor and bitterness that the President addressed, they also have to recalibrate their plans. So we'll get the little test next week.

HILL: So that's a little bit that first test there. This – everything about this though, because it has been so political, as we mentioned, when the President came out and spoke with that speech on Wednesday night, he received near universal praise, this is coming from both sides here. So next week is one step. But can the President make that, I guess, good will, for lack of a better word, last past the State of the Union in a couple of weeks?

DICKERSON: That's the question, is after the State of the Union – the President is one actor in this – and after the State of the Union, both parties will actually have to engage in issues where they'll actually have to cooperate. Health care will be a bit of a sideshow because it won't really go anywhere after the House does it its work on that bill. But on the budget, on lifting the debt ceiling, on some of these other issues, there will have to be actual cooperation. And so the President will have to do his part and he'll also have to be met in that by Republicans.

HILL: And there will be perhaps an extra well-trained eye on all of that because of this tragedy and everything that's happened since. Sarah Palin, when this happened, was on the receiving end of a lot of criticism, also from the very beginning. She came out with a statement, a very long statement on Wednesday. She had four days to craft that message. And yet she received a lot of criticism from both sides. She's seen as a candidate for 2012. Did she miss an opportunity here?

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Tragedy in Tucson; Obama & Palin Take On Shooting In Different Ways]

DICKERSON: Well, she was criticized in the beginning by liberals who had tried to tie her and blame her for creating the conditions that led to the shooting. And so her statement was really trying to push back against the idea that she was somehow responsible for these murders. And the difficulty for her in that statement was on the one hand pushing back against that ugly charge. And on the other hand, trying to speak to the moment that the President so eloquently spoke to in his speech. And those two tasks, she did not meet by, as you say, reviews on both sides. It was not her best moment.

HILL: We will continue to watch this. And John, we know you'll continue to help keep an eye on it for us as we see where all this goes. John Dickerson in Washington, this morning. John, thanks.

DICKERSON: Erica, thanks.

— Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.
  

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