At the top of Thursday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric referred to a recent court ruling to release five Guantanamo Bay detainees as: "A big legal setback for the president's war on terror." Couric later introduced a report on the ruling and reiterated the idea of the ruling being a defeat solely for President Bush: "...a federal judge ruled today that five suspects held at Guantanamo Bay must be released...it's a major defeat for the Bush administration in its final days."
In the report, correspondent Wyatt Andrews described how: "Defense lawyers call it a victory for American justice and the beginning of the end for Guantanamo." Andrews cited one attorney, Stephen Olesky: " I think many forces are now working toward the closure of Guantanamo and toward ensuring that many of these men who have been held for so long under such desperate circumstances get home." Andrews concluded the report: "...the ruling starts a nightmare for the Pentagon. The military now faces an oncoming rush of 200 Guantanamo appeals, not to mention an incoming president who wants to close the camp altogether." One wonders if CBS will be using the phrase "president’s war on terror" with President Obama.
On Thursday’s CBS Early Show, fill-in co-host Jeff Glor discussed Barack Obama’s latest cabinet picks with New York Times editor Marcus Mabry: "We'll start with Tom Daschle, potentially, secretary of Health and Human Services." Mabry approved of the choice: "...he's going to be the czar for over -- for overhauling the American health care system. That is a huge job and incredibly important. He knows how to get it done. He knows the Senate. He's going to help President Obama actually get it through." Mabry made no mention of a Wednesday New York Times article that highlighted Daschle’s numerous potential conflicts-of-interest in the position. In addition, no liberal label was applied to Daschle or any of Obama’s picks.
Glor then briefly mentioned Obama’s attorney general pick, but did not ask Mabry to comment: "Eric Holder, we know about. We've been talking about him for a couple days. He seems to be Barack Obama's pick for Attorney General." Holder, who was deputy attorney general under Bill Clinton, helped approve the pardon for convicted tax evader Marc Rich. Glor then discussed the possibility of Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano being named Homeland Security secretary. Mabry provided little evidence of Napolitano’s qualifications: "Well, she's a real tough one when it comes to border security. Governor Napolitano, will be a woman in an incredibly important job."
At the top of Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen declared: "...it may be the hottest ticket in the country right now, a ticket to Barack Obama's inauguration in January. Millions are expected to try and watch the swearing in. But we're going to show you why tickets are almost impossible to get." The 2008 April Fool’s edition of the Media Research Center’s Media Reality Check featured a fictional quote from Early Show co-host Harry Smith: "CBS's Harry Smith sounded like a teenage groupie on the April 1 Early Show: ‘Obama's rock star status is reaching historic levels. His rallies attract more fans than a Hannah Montana concert and seats are impossible to get. Believe me I've tried.’"
Chen later introduced a report on the Obama inauguration by proclaiming: "Inauguration fever is sweeping Washington. The city's mayor believes 3-5 million people may turn out to witness President-elect Obama's swearing-in." However, in the report, correspondent Thalia Assuras talked to Howard Gantman of the Joint Congressional Committee for Inauguration, who predicted a much smaller turnout: "We've printed 240,000 tickets. So that's a minimum, we expect at least that many people. For this event, we could see half a million, some projections have come in for a million or more."
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith touted the latest issue of ‘GQ’ magazine, in which Barack Obama was named one of the publication’s ‘Men of the Year’: "As If being elected president isn't a high enough honor, Barack Obama is now the quintessential 'GQ' guy." Later, Smith talked to ‘GQ’ deputy editor Michael Hainey and asked: " Is there -- is -- do you have this little bit of a sense, can there be -- can a guy who's cool be President of the United States?" Hainey replied: "No. I think, I mean JFK was cool. I mean, you know...And I think, yeah, Reagan was cool. I mean it's that sense of how you define 'cool,' I think. And it's -- it's a real chemistry, that's what people are reacting to."
Smith began the segment by asking Hainey about the choice: "Why -- [Laughs] I suppose why not? Now when did you make the choice though?... And for Barack Obama, why would -- why was he a good choice?" Hainey explained: "Well, you know, it's interesting, we had Ted Kennedy write the piece for us in the magazine about the Senator. And as he said it, you know, the torch has been passed to a new generation... It really is, I mean, he's young, he's vibrant, he's vital, like all those qualities of a 'GQ' guy."
According to a Friday New York Times article by David Kirkpatrick, Barack Obama has reassigned Fairness Doctrine proponent, former FCC Commissioner Henry Rivera, from heading his FCC transition team: “At least one official initially involved in the transition appears to have been reassigned because of concern about his lobbying or legal work. Henry Rivera, a former Democratic commissioner on the Federal Communication Commission who was involved in planning for the agency’s transition, has dropped out of that role because he had represented clients on communications policy in the last year, the newsletter Communications Daily reported Friday.”
Kirkpatrick went on to report on Rivera’s new position in the Obama transition team: “Instead, on the list that was made public on Friday, Mr. Rivera was listed on the team handling science, technology, space and the arts.” Despite the reassignment, it is unclear if Rivera’s influence over a future FCC appointment has diminished. As the Media Research Center’s Seton Motley explained on FNC’s Your World With Neil Cavuto, Obama will have the opportunity to appoint a member to the FCC in 2009, possibly opening the door to a reimplementation of the Fairness Doctrine.
In a report on Thursday’s CBS Evening News on the Republican Governors Association conference, correspondent Kelly Cobiella focused on Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, observing: "A lot of Americans would like to see her stay on the national stage -- 45 percent, according a new Gallup Poll. But even more, 52, percent, would not." Cobiella then added: "The party itself is split on whether to embrace Palin-style conservatism or broaden its appeal." A clip of Politico’s Jonathan Martin was featured: "You talk to a lot of these governors and they're very candid about it. This cannot be a white rural male party. And if it is, it's going to die."
Cobiella began the report by describing Palin’s attendance at the conference this way: "Alaska Governor Sarah Palin blew into Miami like a hurricane." In reference to Palin’s address to the organization, Cobiella remarked: "But when it came time to lay out her vision of the party's future, her role in it, her speech was heavy on the past." Cobiella also critiqued Palin’s press conference: "She also gave her first formal press conference since joining the Republican ticket. It was four questions long." After suggesting Palin’s press conference was too short, Cobiella described the Governor’s recent media blitz as simply: "firing back at critics, including unnamed aides to Senator John McCain, who said she spent too much money on clothes and wasn't prepared for the job."
At the top of Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen declared: "Breaking news. A new CBS poll out this morning shows the change in mood in America after Barack Obama's election." Co-host Maggie Rodriguez later touted the poll results: "A changing of the guard in Washington is changing American attitudes. A CBS News poll out this morning shows that most Americans have good feelings about Barack Obama. 71% say they're optimistic about the next four years with him as president."
Compare those poll results with those reported on the CBS Evening News on December 17, 2000 by then-anchor John Roberts, shortly after George W. Bush was elected: "A new CBS News poll out tonight shows that the majority of Americans are satisfied with the outcome of the election, though there were only five points separating them from those who weren't. When asked if Bush legitimately won the election, 53 percent said yes, compared to 40 percent who said no." Roberts also looked at one of President Bush’s first policy proposals: "A narrow majority of Americans also believe that Bush has enough public support to pass is $ 1.3 trillion tax cut...But on Capitol Hill, opinions run from lukewarm to dead set against it."
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez discussed Barack Obama’s foreign policy goals with foreign correspondent Lara Logan and asked about Logan’s July interview with the president-elect: "...he said many times during the campaign, that Afghanistan, and not Iraq, needs to be our central focus in this war on terrorism. And this morning in the Washington Post we're seeing that's he's already tackling strategies in Afghanistan. What do you think? How important will this be for him?" Logan replied: "Well, there's no question that Afghanistan is a very pressing and immediate problem because the gains the U.S. made during the invasion seven years ago have been slipping away more...You really cannot separate Afghanistan and Pakistan. And Obama understands that, that's one of key things that he said to me."
Later, Rodriguez asked about Obama’s policy towards Iran: "...what I thought was interesting in this article in the Washington Post, is that President-elect Obama is reportedly considering talks with Iran as part of this new Afghanistan strategy. Do you think the two will go hand in hand?" Logan followed Obama talking points: "Well, he said from the beginning he has no problem sitting down with Iran if it is in the United States’ best interest, because he believes that dialogue is important...it's absolutely critical that the United States reaches some kind of understanding. They've been losing ground to Iran inside Iraq since the invasion of Iraq and that is really a very, very serious problem that has not been dealt with to date."
On Sunday’s CBS ‘60 Minutes,’ anchor Steve Kroft abandoned hard-hitting journalism and instead offered a glowing profile of the Obama campaign team: "Like Obama, they were talented, laid back, and idealistic, with limited exposure on the national stage. But with the candidate's help, the team orchestrated one of the most improbable and effective campaigns in American political history." Kroft interviewed Obama advisors David Axelrod, David Plouffe, Robert Gibbs, and Anita Dunn about the campaign and later observed: "The only person missing from the brain trust was the candidate himself."
Kroft went on to describe their incredible accomplishment: "They took a little known senator with a foreign sounding name and almost no national experience and got him elected the 44th President of the United States. They did it by recruiting and investing millions of volunteers in the outcome, by raising more money than any campaign in history, and by largely ignoring the fact that their candidate happened to be a black man."
On the issue of race, Kroft later asked: "There were just so many people -- reporters, pundits, everybody -- who said that you're not going to be able to elect a black man President of the United States. It's just not going to happen right now. Obviously that had to be part of your equation in planning this campaign." When Plouffe replied: "No. Honestly, you had to take a leap of faith in the beginning that the people would get by race, and I think the number of meetings we had about race was zero." An incredulous Kroft responded: "What?"
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen asked former Bush speech writer David Frum about recent attacks on Sarah Palin by McCain campaign staffers: "What do you make of Sarah Palin's response to those anonymous attacks?" Frum strongly defened her: "I think she's entirely within her rights on this one. You know, I was a critic of her nomination, but everybody is entitled to some basic fairness and the stories that have been released about her most recently are not only incredible on their face..." Frum was indeed a critic of Palin, calling her nomination a "huge mistake" during an October 13 Early Show appearance.
This time, Frum dismissed Palin’s opponents: "And you often get people seeking advantage by denigrating those above them. And then there's just the sheer human joy in mischief... there's sometimes just a human joy in cruelty." He also criticized the media coverage of the rumors: "And they are also, I think, a real problem in our rules in media. I mean, it should be a rule that if somebody is anonymous they shouldn't be allowed to criticize somebody else by name, because then we can't evaluate them, who they are, their motives, whether they're telling the truth."
At the top of Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Russ Mitchell reported on location from Athens, Greece as part of the show’s ‘Destination Unknown’ series and managed to squeeze in this observation: "...coming here, also, meeting people on the street, Europeans, they're absolutely giddy about the election of Barack Obama. They're actually coming up to us and congratulating us, which is interesting. So Europe is reacting in that way."
Later in the 8:30AM half hour, Mitchell returned to that observation: "As I said earlier in the broadcast, you get the sense being over here in Europe that the attitudes of some Europeans towards Americans may be changing with this week's election of President-Elect Barack Obama." Mitchell then turned to correspondent Richard Roth, who reported: "America's got a new President-Elect and a lot of the buzz on this side of the ocean is that's cool."
Roth, reporting from London, visited a local pub to get British reaction to Obama’s election: "Here in the country that was briefly called 'Cool Britannia' not so long ago, we're hearing some new compliments for the former colony." One patron remarked: "It makes America a better place." Roth asked one woman: "You like our movies?...You like our music?...So now you like our politics?" She replied: "I think they're a lot healthier now. Everybody's talking about it. So America is the thing of the moment at the moment and definitely -- definitely cool."
Continuing the narrative of Barack Obama as John F. Kennedy, on Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith described how: "As the nation prepares for President-Elect Barack Obama to move into the White House, many Americans can't help but draw similarities between him and the late President John F. Kennedy." Co-host Julie Chen earlier teased the segment: "The new first family has been compared to JFK and Jackie and their young children. Can the Obamas bring that 'one brief shining moment,' that was known as Camelot, back to the White House?"
Smith narrated the segment, which juxtaposed images JFK with Obama: "It was a presidency filled with idealism, glamour, and excitement...A young Senator had been elected to lead his country. Now 47 years later, America has chosen another young Senator." Smith went on:
And the similarities are striking. JFK was 43 when he was inaugurated. Obama is just three years older, bringing a certain youthful vigor to the White House, including, young children. Both Obama and Kennedy were criticized for lacking experience and both knew the power of well-chosen words...Kennedy had more than his share of charisma and Obama knows how to light up a room. But it's their wives who might be the real superstars. Both men overcame significant obstacles to become elected. Anti-Catholic sentiment was still widespread in the country but JFK was elected the first Roman Catholic President of the United States.
Following a Thursday one-sided report by correspondent John Blackstone, on Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez continued to lament the passage of California’s Proposition 8, defining marriage as only between a man and a woman: "On Tuesday, voters in California approved Proposition 8, a ban on gay marriage. It was a stunning defeat for gays and lesbians who are now fighting back." Correspondent Hattie Kauffman reported: "Supporters of gay marriage targeted L.A.'s Mormon temple, protesting the $15 million the church poured into passing Proposition 8." She played a clip of those protesters chanting: "Shame on you! Shame on you! Shame on you!"
Following Kauffman’s report, Rodriguez interviewed ‘Star Trek’ actor George Takei and his partner Brad Altman, who were married in September and have made numerous Early Show appearances since the California Supreme Court allowed gay marriage. Rodriguez, who had interviewed the pair shortly after their marriage, asked: "I remember your jubilation when you talked about your wedding here on the program. You shared your wedding video and you shared your hope that other gay couples in California would continue to get the opportunity that you had. This ban says that they won't. George, the last time we spoke, you felt hopeful. Today, you feel?" Takei replied: "Well, we feel that our marriage is valid, that there's no language in Proposition 8 that says it's retroactive... This is a fundamental right, all-inclusive, as Supreme Court of California has ruled, and this is taking away that fundamental right. It's like saying, you know, you don't have a certain -- a certain group will be -- will have their freedom of speech taken away from them, just because they're red heads."
On CBS’s Sunday Morning, correspondent Martha Teichner decided to try to define patriotism: "In reality, there may be no more loaded concept in the American political lexicon...The election will be a referendum on patriotism. One of campaign '08's central and most contentious issues." Teichner talked to liberal Brookings Institution analyst William Galston about the history of that "loaded concept": "It wasn't a question of one party or the other. It was President Truman, after all, who revived the idea of loyalty oaths and the legitimacy of imposing them." In the spirit of bipartisanship Teichner added: "Then there was Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy. His extremist views on loyalty and patriotism made his name synonymous with the political witch hunts of the 1950s."
Teichner went on to conclude: "Each side's arguments have hardened over time and become weapons in partisan battles." Her example: "Look at the damage the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth did to Senator John Kerry's presidential ambitions in 2004. Over the question of his patriotism." Teichner then examined a different take on patriotism: "Steven Johnston teaches political theory at the University of South Florida. He is outnumbered, but not alone, in believing that patriotism is actually a bad thing, harmful to democracy."
At the end of Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, an emotional Harry Smith declared: "I don't know how else to say this -- I grew up in a household that was not racially neutral. I grew up in a household where racial epithets were used commonly and with vigor. To see the difference in this country, in a country that I grew up in, so many people have said this is not something they thought they would ever see in their lifetime, and I wept tears of joy last night." Co-host Julie Chen observed: "You have tears in your eyes right now, Harry." [audio available here]
Prior to that admission, Smith interviewed poet Maya Angelou and asked: "Who were you thinking about last night as you watched the coverage?" Angelou replied: "All of us. All of those who went before, who paid dearly. And all of us today, all of us. I'm so proud, I'm filled -- I can hardly talk without weeping -- I'm so filled with pride for my country. What do you say? We are growing up." Angelou later added: "And he is inclusive, as opposed to exclusive. I know that he knows he is the president of every black person, every white person, he's the president of the bigots and he must remember that." Smith added: "He said in his acceptance speech, ‘for those of you who voted against me, I hear you too.’" Angelou replied: "Yes, exactly. That's what I mean...We will be together. This is what he dreams, he envisions it."
At the top of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen praised Barack Obama’s election as the first African-American president but lamented the passage of California’s Proposition 8, preventing gay marriage: "One barrier falls, another returns. Married gays in legal limbo protest through the night as California voters ban same-sex unions." At the top of the 8AM hour, correspondent John Blackstone reported: "In disappointment, supporters of same-sex marriage gathered in Los Angeles last night, after the hard-fought campaign over California's Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage, they were on the losing side, but not ready to give up."
Blackstone went on to describe the fight that lay ahead: "This may, however, be just one more battle in California's long war over same-sex marriage. Gay rights advocates have already filed a lawsuit claiming Proposition 8 improperly writes discrimination into the state constitution." A clip was then played of the left-wing mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom: "Never before has our constitution been used to strip rights away." Blackstone did not offer the voice of a single person who supported the proposition.
The co-hosts of Wednesday’s "CBS Early Show" used as many glowing adjectives as they could think of in reporting Barack Obama’s election to the presidency, with Harry Smith leading the way:
"America votes for change. Barack Obama elected the 44th President of the United States after a decisive victory over John McCain. The nation opens a new era, a powerful moment in history."
Maggie Rodriguez described what it was like to be at Obama’s victory speech in Chicago: "I have to say that to be here last night for that moment was to live history, it was a privilege...the sea of waving American flags and feeling the euphoria and the emotion that was emanating from that crowd here last night...a chilling victory speech, it -- it left people here just speechless, it was breath-taking."
In the 8:30AM half hour of Tuesday’s CBS Early Show co-host Maggie Rodriguez led live coverage of Barack Obama voting in Chicago and asked Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer: "Bob, how must he be feeling right now?" A choked up Schieffer replied: "Well, I mean, this is a -- this is a remarkable moment in American history. Stop and think about this, 150 years ago there were 31 million people who lived in this country, 4 million of those people were slaves, 4 million people. And, today, here you have an African-American who may be elected president of this country. This is not -- people keep talking about the American people may be ready to turn a page, but it's not just a political page, this is a page of American history." Rodriguez agreed: "Absolutely."
Co-host Harry Smith joined the coverage and actually wondered if Obama was voting for himself: "I'm wondering, I would love to ask him afterwards whether or not he voted for himself...Because having voted in school elections and stuff like that, we were taught as kids sometimes you vote for the other guy because that's how -- that's how -- it's an honorable thing to say that 'I honor your presence here. This was a battle well fought.' And I would be very interested to know whether or not he voted for himself." A realistic Schieffer replied: "I'm betting he did." Smith responded: "Yeah, I'm betting he did. I'm just bringing up a question."
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen introduced a new campaign segment: "...throughout this morning, we're bringing you the voices of Americans and what they're thinking as they prepare to vote." In the brief video clip that followed, Colorado Springs City Council member Jan Martin Described herself as a "lifelong Republican" explained: "I think we are at a place and a point in time where hope and unity are two things that this country needs more than anything."
The only problem is that Jan Martin was similarly touted by the New York Times in early October, at which point, NewsBusters’ P.J. Gladnick discovered that she was a member of the Colorado Springs chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and Colorado’s Gay and Lesbian Fund. In the Early Show segment Martin worried: " There's an uncertainty of what it will mean to my future political career, but I really believe that this election was too important not to -- not to take a stand."
In the 8AM half hour, co-host Maggie Rodriguez introduced a video clip of a McCain supporter: "We heard from a voter who supports Barack Obama. Now how a McCain supporter feels about this election." However, voter Amy Myers did not exactly give McCain unequivocal support: "We checked into both candidates’ tax plans and had realized that we would be saving three times as much in Obama's versus the McCain tax plan. The difference in the tax plans is not enough to change my vote. I feel that McCain, for me, is the proper candidate."
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith talked exclusively to two Canadian comedians, Marc-Antoine Audette and Sebastien Trudel, who prank called Sarah Palin: "Pranksters pulled a fast one, over the weekend, on vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Comedians from Canada posed as French President Nicolas Sarkozy." Smith later asked them: "Did you get the sense when you were on the phone with her, did she have any idea what was going on?" Trudel replied: "No...She was as gullible as Britney Spears. She -- there are only two people that we pranked that never caught on that it was a joke and that we had to explain it to them at the end. Sarah Palin and Britney Spears. And Britney Spears could not ever be President of the United States but Sarah Palin could." Audette added: "But they're both good looking...at least." Smith agreed: "That accounts -- that does account for something."
In addition to portraying Sarah Palin as stupid, the comedians and Smith also described how bad her staff was. Smith asked: "...how long did it take you and how did you start?" Trudel replied: "We started Tuesday, last Tuesday, it took four days. It's our fastest one except Britney Spears, so you can put that in the same category, her staff." Audette added: "It was pretty quick, actually. Because when we pranked Paul McCartney it took us about two months...Bill Gates, a month, Britney Spears, two days, and Sarah Palin about four or five days." Trudel later observed: "Yeah, and it's pretty disturbing to see that idiot's like us can go through to a vice presidential candidate that could be eventually the most influential and the most powerful person in the world...Too stupid comedians...with a bad French accent...and go through her staff." Smith concluded: "I think you said it all."
At the top of Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared: "A new CBS News/New York Times poll shows Barack Obama maintains a double digit lead over John McCain, he's now ahead by 11 points, 52% to 41%." However, the current Real Clear Politics average of polls, which includes the CBS/New York Times poll, only gives Obama a 6-point advantage. That is because all other polls range from Obama being up three to being up eight, the CBS/NYT poll is clearly the outlier.
In a report that followed, correspondent Jeff Glor looked at poll numbers on the economy: "A new CBS News/New York Times poll asked if the candidates would raise taxes on people like you. 50% said Obama would, 46% said McCain would. But when asked which candidate will make the economy better, 54% said Obama, 32%, McCain." In contrast to that 22-point gap, a recent Rasmussen poll shows that 48% of voters trust McCain more on the economy, while 47% trust Obama more. In addition, Rasmussen gives Obama only a 4-point lead nationally. Given such great disparity in the results and the fact that most other polls show the race tightening, one wonders about the credibility of the CBS/New York Times poll.
On Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez talked to Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer about Obama’s Wednesday night campaign infomercial and Schieffer offered rave reviews: "...this was something we haven't seen the like of in American Politics...It reminded me so much of the commercials that Ronald Reagan ran in 1984, the ‘Morning in America’...What Barack Obama’s message was last night, ‘things are not so good, but take heart, because we can make it okay.’ I thought it was very, very effective...it was a very effective piece of campaign advertising."
Following Rodriguez’s discussion with Schieffer, co-host Harry Smith talked with Washington Post media critic and CNN contributor, Howard Kurtz, about the commercial. Kurtz’s review was a bit more mixed: "This wasn't a 60-second ad. It wasn't a "Morning America" ad by Reagan, it was a show, and as a show it had to draw people in. I think it did a pretty good job of that, but as I said, at times it was a bit over the top." Earlier, Smith asked Kurtz: "What did you not like?" and Kurtz replied: "Well, for example, Maggie mentioned the faux Oval Office at the beginning, a lot of people, I think are going to find that a tad presumptuous-" Smith interrupted: "The Oval Office is not brown. It doesn't -- I don't think the Oval Office is brown, but go ahead." Kurtz pointed out: "Look at that tree in the window, it looks just like the South Lawn, he's got the flag." As Kurtz mentioned, in her discussion with Schieffer, Rodriguez observed: "...it opens with him standing in an office that some people thought looked like the Oval Office."
At the top of Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Jeff Glor reported on the presidential campaign and continued to portray Barack Obama as the victim of John McCain’s attacks: "Meanwhile, the campaigns were making their closing arguments, with special emphasis on the arguing part...John McCain backers have launched an array of new attacks on Barack Obama, including more robocalls." Glor then skipped over any of Obama’s robocalls and instead delcared: "The Obama campaign's relentless responses come quickly." Glor then played a clip of the "response": "John McCain wants to tear Barack Obama down, with scare tactics and smears."
Following Glor’s report, co-host Maggie Rodriguez discussed the candidates’ chances in Pennsylvania with former Republican Governor Tom Ridge and current Democratic Governor Ed Rendell. Rodriguez began by asking Ridge: "Last week you said that you thought that McCain would be faring much better in your state had he chosen you as a running mate. Sarah Palin certainly is trying really hard, she's been there 11 times, four more times today. Do you think she's been a drag on the ticket in your state?" Ridge responded by correcting Rodriguez’s mis-characterization of his comments: "Well, first of all, I said that Senator McCain chose a vice presidential candidate not to win one state, but someone who had appeal across the board in all fifty states. It would be like saying would Senator Obama be doing even better in Pennsylvania if he had Ed Rendell as a running mate, I suspect he would."
Monday’s CBS ‘Early Show’ made Sarah Palin’s clothes shopping habits headline news as co-host Harry Smith declared: "Sarah Palin defends her shopping spree...We'll take you to the consignment store where she says she really shops." Only minutes later, Smith seemed to lament the distraction of the issue: "So much time and attention has been spent talking about John McCain's running mate in this -- in this case and, now it's -- they're defending themselves about clothes and all of these other things. Ones wonders if there's a presidential campaign going on here." Apparently Smith forgot that he shares responsibility for making it an issue in the first place.
At the top of the show, correspondent Jeff Glor reported that McCain: "...defended the woman he's running with. Following reports of rising tensions inside Sarah Palin's inner circle and the flap over those high-end designer clothes she wore at the convention." Glor added: "Palin, campaigning with the View's Elizabeth Hasselbeck, also addressed the $150,000 shopping spree." He played a clip of Hasselbeck: "Let me tell you, this is deliberately sexist." However, Glor never explained that Hasselbeck was talking about media coverage of Palin, instead he concluded: "The Alaskan governor said her wedding ring only cost $35 and that she usually buys her clothes from a consignment shop in Alaska."
In the 7:30AM half hour, co-host Julie Chen investigated that Alaska consignment shop: "On the campaign trail yesterday, Governor Sarah Palin again addressed the criticism she has received over the $150,000 that the Republican National Committee spent to dress her and her family. She said she likes to shop in a consignment store called Out of the Closet. The owner is Ellen Arv -- Arvold and she joins us now."
Continuing the theme that John McCain has lost the election, Monday’s CBS ‘Early Show’ already began the post mortem as co-host Harry Smith declared: "This is the final full week of the 2008 campaign. Barack Obama is pressing in on states that were once GOP strongholds and John McCain is on the defensive about himself and his running mate." Later in the show, Smith interviewed McCain supporter Mitt Romney and asked: "So much time and attention has been spent talking about John McCain's running mate in this -- in this case and, now it's -- they're defending themselves about clothes and all of these other things. One wonders if there's a presidential campaign going on here. Is Sarah Palin, has she turned out to be a drag on this ticket?" In the 7:30AM half hour, co-host Julie Chen did an entire segment on Palin’s fashion purchasing habits.
Following Smith’s interview with Romney, fellow co-host Maggie Rodriguez interviewed the Democratic Governor of Virginia, Tim Kaine, and asked about Palin: "One of the concerns that people have in your state, about Senator McCain, is his choice of running mate. Do you think that if he had chosen someone like, let's say, Mitt Romney, this would be a much tougher battle for Barack Obama?" That gave Kaine the opportunity to bash the Alaska Governor: "When you pick somebody who's in the midst of an ethics investigation in their own state legislature, called by the Republican legislature, you know, there's just going to be surprises, and I think the stories, as they come out about it have raised questions about Senator McCain and kind of his decision-making process." Rodriguez never asked about Obama picking Joe Biden, despite the Delaware Senator's numerous gaffes.
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith discussed a pro-Obama video created by actor/director Ron Howard with fellow co-host Maggie Rodriguez: " You ever look at the -- Will Ferrell's website?...Well, there's some pretty interesting stuff on there from time to time...Look at -- take a look at this." In the video, posted on Will Ferrell’s website Funny or Die, Howard plays some of his past well-known television roles, Opie from the Andy Griffith Show and Richie Cunningham from Happy Days:
RON HOWARD: When I'm a grown-up, I sure would like to vote for somebody as good as Mr. Obama.
ANDY GRIFFITH: Well, if you stay healthy and strong, avoid any felonies and stay away from the butterfly ballot, I bet you'll get a chance.
HENRY WINKLER: And after we vote, you want to double date?
WINKLER: My friend Janet Powcowski she's got this girl friend from Alaska.
HOWARD: You mean the girl who shoots moose?
WINKLER: Wait a minute. Shoots moose? I thought she said she was loose.
At the top of Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared: "Brand new numbers. A CBS News poll gives Barack Obama a 13-point lead. Can John McCain turn things around?" Co-host Harry Smith later introduced a report on the new poll: "A week and a half until election day and the latest CBS News/New York Times poll shows a commanding lead for Barack Obama over John McCain." Correspondent Jeff Glor then explained: "With Barack Obama now in Hawaii to visit his ill grandmother and John McCain in Colorado to campaign, the men are separated by 3,300 miles on the map and a 13-point gap in this poll."
Glor went on to detail the poll results: "It's unlikely both [McCain and Obama] like the results. Obama's 13-point overall lead is bolstered by a 15-point advantage as the candidate with which voters feel more personally comfortable and a 25-point margin on who has the right temperament to be president. While more do think John McCain is better prepared to be president, that divide has shrunk sharply since September." Glor then worked to discredit McCain’s efforts to gain support: "McCain is trying to leave that link behind and establish another, with his new Joe the Plumber tour...But even some Republicans feel it's tough to energize the every man when $150,000 is being spent to outfit running mate Sarah Palin." Glor then played a clip of former Reagan chief of staff, Kenneth Duberstein: "She's been campaigning as the candidate of Madison, Wisconsin, not Madison Avenue. And what this does is say to everybody out there, all the lower middle class and the middle class, ‘I thought she was one of us?’"
On Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez discussed the congressional races with the editor of the liberal New Republic magazine, Michael Crowley, and asked: "Now, if the Democrats get to 60 seats, as they hope to, what would be significant about that?" Crowley replied: "...in the Senate the other -- the opposition can filibuster. And if you have 60 votes you can basically tell them to 'shut up and we're going to pass our bill, sit down.' So 60 votes is the magic number because the opposition, if they have 41, can draw things out and prevent you from passing a bill so 60 is a magic number and it's one Democrats are really hoping they can get..." Rodriguez never identified Crowley’s liberal leanings and Thursday’s segment marks his forth appearance on the Early Show since July, always depicted as a neutral political analyst.
Throughout the segment, Rodriguez highlighted possible seats that Democrats could gain: "In North Carolina, a seat that's been held by -- for 36 years by a Republican, could be in danger of going to a Democrat, right?" Crowley replied: "It's a sign of the kind of year we're in...North Carolina is becoming a more Democratic state. Democratic registration has just really exploded, outpacing Republicans...there's a lot of Democratic energy in that state right now." Rodriguez moved on to Kentucky: "Kentucky, red state through and through. John McCain will probably get it, but not necessarily Mitch McConnell, who's been there for two decades." Crowley responded: "McConnell, I think maybe seen as tied to the Bush Administration, helping them shepard some of their things through. Supported the bailout bill, which his colleague from Kentucky opposed. He's being tied to special interests. So really dramatic race there."
In an interview with Barack Obama aired on Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith lobbed softballs at the Democratic candidate, spending half the interview on Obama visiting his ailing grandmother: "Lincoln said, 'all I ever hope to be, I owe to her,' in speaking about his mother. Your grandmother was very much like a mother to you. How important is this trip?" Smith later observed: "Some people say there's risk involved in this, with so little time left." Obama replied: "Yeah, well, the -- I think most people understand that if you're not caring for your family, then you're probably not the kind of person who's going to be caring for other people."
Realizing that he is supposed to be a serious journalist, Smith moved on: " I want to talk about some campaign issues..." One of the "issues" Smith asked about near the end of the interview was: "Whoever gets elected president, somehow, has to put their arm around the whole country and say, 'we're in this together.' Can do you that?" That gave Obama the opportunity to call for unity and attack conservatives at the same time: "I can. And I think that's the tone that we've set from the beginning of this campaign. I mean, look. Is Sean Hannity suddenly going to get on the air waves and say 'You know, I was wrong about this Obama guy, he's my man.' No, that's not going to happen. I mean's there's going to be a certain wing of the Republican Party that is, you know, dug in and resistant to the notion that we need to change direction."
In a segment that seemed obnoxiously coy, on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Bill Plante wondered: "...the president has not been out on the campaign trail for Senator McCain, something he offered to do when McCain locked up the nomination in March. So what's up?" Plante later explained: "His press secretary says Mr. Bush has had a lot on his plate the last few months." He then played a clip of himself pestering White House Press Secretary Dana Perino: "So he's been too busy to campaign?" Perino slapped down the question: "I didn't say that. You heard exactly what I said. I know what you're getting at, but I'm not going to play."
Plante finally discovered the reason for Bush’s absence on the campaign trail: "In fact, Senator McCain has gone out of his way to distance himself from the president because Mr. Bush's approval rating hovers around 24%." Plante compared that to Bill Clinton’s popularity at the end of his presidency and even seemed to brag: "Eight years ago, President Clinton, despite his impeachment, had a 61% approval rating. He campaigned for Al Gore and thought Gore should have asked him to do even more."