During the 11AM ET hour on MSNBC, anchor Contessa Brewer discussed open mic comments made by senatorial candidate Carly Fiorina with Huffington Post writer Ryan Grim and remarked that the California Republican has "the 'Mean Girls' mentality" and "comes off like that Lindsay Lohan movie 'Mean Girls.'"
Hall was referring to Fiorina making fun of Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer's hairstyle on air before a television interview on Wednesday. Grim completely agreed with Hall's assessment: "Oh yeah, absolutely. It makes her look terrible. It doesn't put her in a very good light." Though he added: "But it's not something so extreme that it's going to annihilate her."
Earlier, Grim actually observed that Fiorina "really did dodge a bullet here." He explained: "...what she said isn't going to disqualify her from election. It makes her look a little bit silly, a little bit petty, but it's not going to be something that destroys her candidacy or her career like you had with somebody like Helen Thomas a week or so ago."
Copies of the U.S. Constitution put out by Wilder Publishing and being sold on Amazon.com come with an odd disclaimer on the first page of the pamphlet, in part declaring: "This book is a product of its time and does not reflect the same values as it would if it were written today." On Wednesday's America Live on FNC, host Megyn Kelly reported the controversy, will the rest of the media follow? [Click on image for larger view of disclaimer]
In an example of political correctness run amok, the disclaimer goes on to warn parents of the literary material to follow: "Parents might wish to discuss with their children how views on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity and interpersonal relations have changed since this book was written before allowing them to read this classic work." The provocative pamphlet also includes the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation.
On FNC, correspondent Trace Gallagher quoted the publishing company's response to the controversy: "We specialize in classic books and we were receiving complaints about the values depicted in some of the books. We wrote the disclaimer so that we could stop having to point out to our readers that people held different values 100 or 200 years ago. It seems we're dammed if we do and dammed if we don't." Kelly concluded: "You know, it's one thing when you republish 'Lady Chatterley's Lover,' its another when you slap that thing on the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence." Gallagher mocked: "Warning children."
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer provided analysis of Tuesday's primary elections across the country, describing the South Carolina gubernatorial race "where they continue to draw their political plot lines from, you know, 'Desperate Housewives' or something" and how Nevada Democrats were "very happy" with the victory of tea party candidate Sharron Angle.
Speaking to Early Show co-host Maggie Rodriguez, Schieffer ran down the most watched races in Arkansas, California, South Carolina, and Nevada. When he got to South Carolina, he described gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley as "very conservative." After making the 'Desperate Housewives' comparison, he remarked how the GOP primary in the state was "providing some entertainment, as it were, for the rest of the country. I mean, you had Governor Sanford down there and his adventures. And now these allegations against Nikki Haley." He quickly added that the allegations of adultery against Haley were "without foundation" and that "Nobody has proven anything."
Rodriguez then asked if "Harry Reid is happy or fretting the fact" that tea party-backed Sharron Angle won the GOP senate primary in Nevada. Schieffer declared: "I suspect that Democrats in Nevada are very happy about this....I think the Reid people think that he would have a much better chance beating her than some of the other Republicans in the primaries."
Discussing the Gulf oil spill on Saturday's CBS Evening News, liberal historian Douglas Brinkley fretted over President Obama's left-wing agenda being in jeopardy: "...he was on a roll with the health care legislation. There was a great hope that before the election he was going to get some things done in Washington. This hit, and I think for President Obama, the spill was an inconvenience."
At the top of the segment, anchor Jeff Glor cited the latest CBS News poll showing that only 38% of Americans approve of Obama's handling of the spill and wondered if "the oil spill defines the President's legacy?" Brinkley replied: "I have no doubt that he spends every hour micro-studying what's going on in the Gulf, but part of leadership is to get on the back of the flatbed Ford and rally the country with the speech." He explained how Obama "...wanted to farm it out. It was B.P.'s problem." But warned: "You don't want to be Jimmy Carter, holed up in the White House during the Iran hostage crisis."
Brinkley went on to hope that "...future generations will say...the Obama administration marshaled the strength of the American people and did the greatest environmental cleanup the world has ever seen." He proclaimed: "This is a turning point in history. The urban president from Chicago is going to have to become the environmental president of the moment."
Promoting his latest HBO special on Monday's CBS Early Show, comedian Robert Klein turned his attention to the Gulf oil spill and who's to blame: "...we're all to blame. We're pigs. It's a parable for us. American pre-eminence is not guaranteed and unless we learn that this stuff has dangers– where are all those 'drill, baby, drills' now?" [Audio available here]
Those comments were prompted by co-host Harry Smith remarking: "BP would be such a spectacular target for your lampooning." Klein went on to add: "...all that oil that's fouling everything, it probably wouldn't run the automobiles in Texas for one day." Smith chimed in: "An hour." Klein proclaimed: "...it's minuscule, that's how much we use of that stuff. So let's get off it. I mean, and it's coming back to us in bullets, everybody knows this. But Americans have a memory of about 12 seconds."
On CBS's Sunday Morning program, a 'Fast Draw' segment by cartoonists Mitch Butler and Josh Landis similarly scolded Americans for wasting energy. Landis warned: "Our hunger for energy is driving oil companies to drill deeper and more dangerous wells..." Butler remarked: "Thankfully, these days everyone's talking about going green and saving energy. We know to ride bicycles to work instead of driving a car, don't use that air conditioner on a hot summer day. Air travel uses way too much energy. So don't take that vacation." However, Landis lamented: "...most Americans don't make enough of these kinds of sacrifices to save a meaningful amount of energy."
On Friday's CBS Early Show, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer argued that if the Gulf oil spill could be stopped, the scandal of the Obama administration offering jobs to Democratic senate candidates would suddenly disappear: "...all of this business about offering jobs to candidates if it they won't run, all of that, all of that stuff is going to go away if you can get this thing capped..."
Schieffer didn't elaborate on his theory, but later complained about the sloppiness of the corrupt backroom deals: "I mean the first rule here is if you're going to do this sort of thing, you better figure out a better way to do it than the Obama administration has figured out. It turns out it's kind of, you know, amateur hour here with this kind of stuff." Though he defended the practice itself: "...this sort of thing's been going on for a long, long time. I mean, it's a real question as to whether this is even illegal. But it's the odor that comes from it....That's what's hurting the President."
When asking Schieffer about the controversy, Early Show co-host Harry Smith remarked how it "not so particularly unusual" and simply might "smack up against a promise of no more business as usual" by President Obama. Schieffer concluded his thoughts on the matter by once again lamenting that the administration did not do a "better" job of hiding its corruption: "...if you're going to do it, you better be better at it than they've shown us they are."
At the top of Wednesday's CBS Evening News, during a report on the Gulf oil spill, correspondent Mark Strassmann found a silver lining: "The good news: since President Obama's visit to Grand Isle [Louisiana] last Friday, local officials report better coordination with BP and federal agencies."
Strassmann went on to add: "Since the President's visit, the local fire chief says there are three times as many response workers on this island. He also says while local response leaders and national response leaders may have disagreements, at least now once a decision is made everybody's marching in the same direction."
Meanwhile, in a story minutes later, correspondent Ben Tracy discussed the public backlash against oil company BP: "On YouTube, anger at BP is just a mouse click away....The Facebook page calling for a boycott of BP now has nearly 300,000 followers." Tracy pointed out: "BP is about to launch a multimillion dollar television PR campaign. But the company has not been getting much help from its CEO who at times seems tone deaf to the loss of life and livelihood in the Gulf." The broadcast featured no mention of any backlash against the Obama administration.
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, Pentagon correspondent David Martin reported on the United Nations criticizing U.S. drone attacks against terrorists: "Philip Alston is author of a new U.N. report which argues that drone strikes amount to a 'license to kill' without being held accountable, a license the U.S. would not want any other country to have."
A clip was played of Alston proclaiming: "You've got complete silence from the CIA...they should not be operating major projects which kill people directly." Martin then chimed in: "Think about it, a operation the U.S. doesn't even admit exists has killed more than 500 people."
Martin's report featured another critic of the tactic, the Brookings Institution's Peter Singer, who fretted: "It allows us to carry out acts of war without having to go through some of the debates we would have in the past."
Martin noted that though the attacks are secret, "everybody knows who to blame," followed by Singer arguing the attacks have been "very effective in creating a large amount of anger at the U.S. that may well bite us in the long term." Martin added: "Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square bomber, told investigators the drone strikes were the reason he set out to kill hundreds of innocent Americans."
On Thursday's 11AM EST hour on MSNBC, anchor Tamron Hall asked Ryan Grim of the left-wing Huffington Post about recent scandals involving the Obama White House tampering with Democratic primaries: "Darrell Issa of California...he wants the FBI involved in this....Any legs here, or is this, again, a situation that may be politicized by the other side?" [Audio available here]
Grim dismissed the idea that there was any need for an investigation: "I mean, this isn't criminal activity. This really is politics as usual." He then lamented: "...the problem for the administration is that, you know, they ran against politics as usual....they were going to move beyond all of this."
Later, Grim described the real "crime" in the Obama administration pressuring candidates like Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania and Andrew Romanoff in Colorado to end their respective primary challenges to incumbent Democratic senators: "...the real problem is that the administration didn't – wasn't willing to allow the Democratic base to choose the candidates....having these primary candidates actually pushes the senator in a more progressive direction....if there's any crime here, it's a political one, in that the administration was holding back a progressive agenda by not allowing these primaries to go forward."
On Sunday's Face the Nation on CBS, host Bob Schieffer interrogated Republican Senator Lamar Alexander on GOP senate nominee Rand Paul: "Can you see yourself supporting a candidate who takes those kinds of positions, Senator?" However, Schieffer lobbed softballs to Democratic senate nominee Joe Sestak minutes later, who claimed the White House offered him a job to quit the primary race.
In his interview with Alexander, Schieffer focused almost exclusively on comments made by Paul: "...he has had some rather controversial things to say, like the '64 Civil Rights bill may have been too broad. He's questioned the Disabilities Act. He's talking about abolishing the Federal Reserve and the Department of Education." Alexander chalked up some of Paul's remarks to political inexperience, but also noted: "...we’ve got a Democratic Caucus with nearly 60 votes that includes a very nice senator from Vermont who proudly describes himself as a Socialist."
Schieffer pressed on: "...the Republican Party, as I understand it, is trying to broaden its appeal to African Americans, to minorities. Why would any member of any minority group want to vote or want to be for someone who says that, well, you know, maybe that Civil Rights Act went a little too far?...I mean, can you be for that?" Schieffer went on to wonder: "And what about this whole business of the tea party? Is it going to prove to be a good thing for Republicans or is this something that you need to be worried about here?"
In a video celebrating the five-year anniversary of YouTube, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric listed what she thought were the top five examples of "citizen journalism" on the video sharing website, including "the famous 'Macaca moment'" of Virginia Senator George Allen, which "put politicians from both sides of the aisle on notice....there's always a microphone near by." (h/t TVNewser)
Couric began the three minute video by touting how YouTube has been "Raising awareness of human rights abuses and providing first hand accounts of conflicts and catastrophes moments after they strike." She explained: "I picked five videos that demonstrate for me the power of the medium and how a simple video upload can be a catalyst for change."
Like many in the media, the first "catalyst for change" video that came to Couric's mind was Allen's 2006 remark: "...before the age of YouTube it might have been just a local news spot at most, but it went viral online and badly hurt his chances for re-election."
On the May 17 broadcast of NBC's Today, marking YouTube's 5th anniversary also included Allen's "Macaca moment," with co-host Meredith Vieira noting how web videos have "sunk" the careers of some. On CNN's Reliable Sources on Sunday, host Howard Kurtz observed how the website "soon became a political tool. When Virginia Senate candidate George Allen referred to an Indian-American as 'Macaca,' the videotape went viral."
In the "Busted" segment at the end of Friday's The Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC, host Dylan Ratigan went after the New York Times for "accusing" Connecticut Attorney General and Democratic Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal of distorting his military record: "We think the Times should investigate some of its investigative reporting."
Ratigan dismissed a quote the Times used of Blumenthal referring to "the days that I served in Vietnam," claiming it was "only part of the story." Ratigan argued: "A longer clip from the same speech shows Blumenthal much more accurately describing his record." That longer clip included Blumenthal vaguely stating: "I really want to add my words of thanks as someone who served in the military during the Vietnam era in the Marine Corps." Hardly a statement that would have corrected the record for the audience.
Even so, Ratigan proclaimed: "This seems to support Blumenthal's explanation that he simply misspoke during that part of the speech, and on a few other occasions cited by the Times." Ratigan went on to declare: "Also undercutting the Times, word that Blumenthal's Senate rival, Linda McMahon, yes, from pro wrestling, admits that her campaign helped with The New York Times story, including gathering that evidence."
On Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez interrogated BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles on the Gulf oil spill: "Can you can understand why a Congressman told us that BP has lost all credibility?" However, on Thursday, fellow co-host Harry Smith went easy on Energy Secretary Ken Salazar, allowing the Obama administration official to shift blame to the oil company.
Rodriguez pressed Suttles repeatedly: "But it seems like every day we hear new allegations that BP had been cutting corners beforehand....So many of these keep mounting. How can you keep responding to this?...are you confident that BP will survive this?"
In contrast, Smith never asked Salazar if the Obama administration could "survive" its failures in responding to the crisis. Instead, he gave the cabinet secretary every opportunity to go after BP: "...The CEO of BP says the environmental impact in the Gulf is going to be minimal. Is this guy in touch with reality?" As NewsBusters' Scott Whitlock noted on Thursday, hosts on both the ABC and NBC morning shows actually had some tough questions for Salazar.
At the end of a joint press conference between President Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon on Wenesday, CBS White House correspondent Chip Reid attempted to ask Obama a question about Tuesday's electoral results but was given the brush off for the second time in a week.
Later that afternoon, Reid described the incident on CBSNews.com's Political Hotsheet blog: "As he [Obama] and President Calderon turned to walk back toward the Oval Office I asked, loudly enough for him to hear, if he had any comment on the elections. No response. I then shouted 'Do you have any plans for a real press conference?' No response, not that I expected one."
On Monday, the President refused to answer a question from Reid moments after signing the "Press Freedom Act" into law.
CBS morning and evening news broadcasts have ignored both the Monday and Wednesday snubs by Obama, with Reid only making his displeasure known online.
During Wednesday's 10AM EST hour on MSNBC, Politico's Mike Allen shared his thoughts on Tuesday's electoral results: "Stop the steamroller. The idea the Republicans were automatically going to be in control going into November, now not true....a Democrat winning the only Democrat-Republican showdown of yesterday in a congressional seat in Pennsylvania. The Republicans should have won."
That despite the fact that the seat has been by Democrats for decades and that Democrats outnumbered Republicans 2-to-1 in the district. Allen touted how "the White House is saying this shows that if you fight district by district that you can win. Democrats can win in a tough district if they have a local message."
Anchor Alex Witt then asked Allen about the victory of Rand Paul in the Kentucky senate Republican primary. Allen continued to spin the news as bad for the GOP: "if he makes it to Washington...He's not going to do what the Republican leaders tell him to do, they fought against him."
Allen even claimed the Paul campaign was modeled after that of Barack Obama: "this is a continuation of the trend that we saw with Barack Obama in 2008. He wasn't the establishment candidate....That's what we're seeing in both parties now."
In an interviewing with senate primary winner Rand Paul on Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked the Kentucky Republican about Democratic spin: "What do you say to Democrats who actually are happy about your victory in this primary?...ready to pounce on you in the general election, saying that your views are way too controversial and they could take this Republican seat?"
Paul dismissed the idea and noted the unpopularity of Washington Democrats in the state: "I say, bring it on, and please, please bring President Obama to Kentucky. We'd love for him to campaign down here." Rodriguez acknowledged that fact by pointing out: "It didn't work too well for Arlen Specter to have President Obama on his side." Paul added: "the Democrats will really have to run away from President Obama if they have any chance down here."
Earlier in the interview, Rodriguez wondered if Paul could garner enough Republican support: "a lot of people say that you have your work cut out for you in the general election because how will you unite a GOP party...53% of voters who voted for your opponent in this primary don't like you, 43% said they wouldn't vote for you." After Paul discussed efforts to unify, Rodriguez followed up: "Do you think that your victory gives the tea party legitimacy? Will we see this become a legitimate political party?"
On Monday, President Obama signed into law the "Press Freedom Act," but refused to answer a question from CBS White House correspondent Chip Reid at the conclusion of the signing ceremony. While Reid described the ironic incident on the CBSNews.com Political Hotsheet blog, neither Monday's Evening News nor Tuesday's Early Show mentioned the President's dodge.
On the CBS blog, Reid described the purpose of the law, which "expands the State Department's annual human rights reports to include a description of press freedoms in each country." He then noted how "It seemed a good opportunity to showcase press freedom in this country....So after he signed the bill, and as the press 'wranglers' began aggressively herding us out of the room, I asked if he still has confidence in BP. He ignored the question."
Reid also pointed out that Obama "has not held a prime-time White House news conference in many months, despite much pleading from pundits and members of the media." However, not much of that "pleading" has been featured on CBS broadcasts.
At the end of Sunday's Face the Nation on CBS, host Bob Schieffer gushed over a recent trip to the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library and one exhibit in particular: "honoring Walter Cronkite....those moments in American history captured by TV...when Walter always seemed to be there....the little things we never saw, Walter's scripts, his pipe, and his office, just the way it was."
Schieffer observed that a tribute to Cronkite being at the library of the Democratic president was a "perfect fit" and noted how: "Johnson liked and respected Walter. Walter liked and respected Johnson." Schieffer went on to fondly remember Cronkite's denunciation of the Vietnam War: "When Walter returned from Vietnam and concluded in a documentary the war was unwinnable, Johnson remarked to an aide, 'if I've lost Cronkite, I've lost America.' And so he had....When Walter came out against the war, he did something he almost never did – he took sides."
While specifically citing Cronkite's bias against the war, Schieffer failed to comment on a Friday report that revealed FBI documents detailing allegations that the then CBS Evening News anchor offered to rent a helicopter to transport Democratic Senator Ed Muskie to an anti-war rally in Florida in November of 1969.
In a Friday article for Yahoo! News, reporter John Cook revealed FBI documents that detail allegations that former CBS Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite offered CBS News resources to transport fierce Vietnam critic and Democratic Maine Senator Edmund Muskie to a Florida anti-war rally in November of 1969. (h/t TVNewser)
According to Cook, the FBI files describe how "Cronkite encouraged students at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., to invite Maine Sen. Edmund Muskie to address a protest they were planning....Cronkite told the group's leader that Muskie would be nearby for a fundraiser on the day of the protest, and said that 'CBS would rent [a] helicopter to take Muskie to and from site of rally.'"
While noting Cronkite's public condemnation of the war on air just nine months earlier, Cook rightfully observed: "such tight collaboration between a news organization and the anti-war movement — particularly the offer of CBS News resources to help ferry a sitting senator and future presidential candidate around in opposition to the war — was highly unusual and would presumably have been explosive if known widely at the time." Cook also noted: "It's unclear whether Muskie ever actually attended the event."
On Wednesday's Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC, host Dylan Ratigan didn't see any point to continuing the war in Afghanistan and slammed military air strikes against terrorist targets as: "kids with joysticks in New Jersey and Las Vegas dropping predator bombs on civilians willy-nilly." [Audio available here]
Ratigan began a panel discussion on Afghanistan with Democratic strategist David Goodfriend and Republican strategist Brent Littlefield by wondering: "Is there anybody in this administration on either side that can actually justify the American presence in Afghanistan at this point?" Littlefield attempted to explain: "we had the previous president, took the country in there because of the attacks on 9/11." Ratigan was dismissive: "That was almost ten years ago, right? I mean that was a long time ago."
Ratigan moved on to Goodfriend and referenced NBC correspondent Richard Engel's appearance on the show on Tuesday: "He is making the point that the Bush doctrine of fight them there and they won't get us here appears to be continuing to break down as we now default to just predator drone-them-to-death wherever they may be on remote control and an apparent, sort of, nonevent in Afghanistan. It's like a charade." Of course the reliance on predator drone attacks was significantly increased under the Obama administration.
On CBS's Sunday Morning, correspondent Mark Phillips described the latest adaptation of the Robin Hood legend by director Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe: "And so here is an evil King John, squeezing his subjects for more taxes....And here is Robin. Not as a thief, but as a revolutionary figure trying to limit the King's power. Robin Hood meets Che Guevara." [Audio available here]
Protesting high taxes and wanting to limit government power is the equivalent of a Communist revolution? Sounds more like the Tea Party movement.
After making that bizarre comparison, Phillips further explained the plot of the new film: "This Robin joins the fight to get the English king to sign the Magna Carta in the year 1215, the document establishing the first rights on which modern democracies are based." Guevara, of course, was the ruthless henchman of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, hardly an advocate for democracy.
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Elizabeth Palmer reported on Conservative Party leader David Cameron becoming the new British prime minister, but downplayed the political shift: "Cameron is a conservative in the British sense. In favor of gay rights, a green agenda, and the welfare state."
While in American conservative terms Cameron would certainly be considered a moderate, for Britain, the swing from 13 years of rule by the liberal Labour Party to a Conservative becoming head of state was quite significant.
Palmer cited more evidence of Cameron's supposed liberalism: "In fact, in his victory speech, addressing the huge challenges facing debt-ridden Britain, he even paraphrased John F. Kennedy." A clip was played of Cameron declaring: "One where we don't just ask, what are my entitlements? But what are my responsibilities? When we don't ask where, what am I just owed, but more, what can I give?" Calling on people to not simply rely on government entitlements hardly sounds like a liberal tenet.
In an interview with Senator John Kerry on Wednesday's CBS Early Show on the Gulf Coast oil spill, co-host Maggie Rodriguez hit from the left on new energy legislation proposed by the Massachusetts Democrat: "correct me if I'm wrong, your legislation calls for expanding offshore drilling at a time when polls show most Americans no longer support it. Why do you believe it's necessary to do that?"
A CBS News poll flashed on screen showing that only 46% Americans now support offshore oil drilling in the wake of the spill, as opposed to 62% supporting it in 2008. Kerry responded by pointing out that his bill would "actually restrict the current plan of the President" to expand offshore drilling. Rodriguez pressed further: "Are you saying it does not call for expanded offshore drilling?" Kerry reiterated: "I'm saying that it restricts the current law and it restricts the President's current plan."
Kerry began the interview by touting his desire to restrict oil production: "we have to really take the steps that we've been talking about for 30 years, for too long now, to move away from our energy dependence on fossil fuels, and particularly on imported fuel....The importance is now to move to the new economy." Apparently anything short of an all out ban on offshore drilling was not enough for Rodriguez.
Later in the segment, spurred by Rodriguez, Kerry proclaimed: "we're not going to stop drilling all of a sudden....it isn't going to disappear until we put our bill in place."
Late in Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez interviewed 9-year-old actress Fatima Ptacek and wondered: "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Ptacek replied: "I definitely want to be the first female president. But I also want to be a lawyer, so I can protect those innocent people." Rodriguez gushed: "Oh, that's good. You sound like President Obama."
Rodriguez then remarked: "So he [Obama] went to Harvard. Where do you want to go to college?" Ptacek predictably responded: "Harvard."
Later in the interview, Rodriguez mentioned a recent television appearance by Ptacek: "And you've gotten to do some really cool things. What was it like to be on Sesame Street with Michelle Obama?" Ptacek declared: "It was an amazing experience, Michelle Obama is very sweet, very down to earth. She's great." Rodriguez asked: "Did she give you any words of wisdom?"
In an interview with Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith lamented President Obama's nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court: "Liberals feel let down because she would be filling a seat left by John Paul Stevens, they don't feel like she's enough – has enough gravitas to fill his shoes."
In his first question to Biden, Smith fretted: "Some people have said she's a person so careful as to leave no footprint. Do you really know what you're getting? Do the American people know what they're getting?" Smith went on to question Kagan's qualifications: "she's never been a public defender, she's never been a prosecutor, she's never been a judge. Most of her career has been in Washington or in an ivy or ivory tower."
In an interview with Republican Senator Jeff Sessions immediately following the Biden interview, co-host Maggie Rodriguez went so far as to wonder if Kagan would have a conservative influence on the court: "When she worked for the Clinton administration, Ms. Kagan asked the President to support a ban on all abortions of viable fetuses except when the mother's health was at risk. And some analysts have used that example to show that she may actually shift the court to the Right, compared with Justice Stevens. How do you respond to that?"
In the 7:30AM ET half hour on Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez lobbed softballs to disgraced former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer about his college friend and Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan: "She's been labeled as moderate. If you had to put a label on her, would you say that one is accurate?" A headline on screen read: "Who is Elena Kagan?"
Spitzer replied: "I guess you could say moderate....it's very hard to pigeon hole her." Rodriguez's question was prompted by his insistence that Kagan "is not an ideologue of the Left or the Right and that is clear from what she did as dean of Harvard Law School. Just a perfect temperament to be a justice." Of course, during Kagan's tenure as dean of Harvard Law, she pushed for military recruiters to be barred from campus because of her opposition to 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy.
Rodriguez wondered about Kagan's college days: "Can you think of a story or an anecdote from back then?" Spitzer recalled: "a friend and I were going back and forth about who could eat more, she goaded us into having a spaghetti eating contest." Rodriguez looked for the best way to spin the story to make it relevant: "I'm trying to take something from that, could it be that she's persuasive, can bring people together, which is what the President is hoping?" In response, Spitzer declared that once on the Supreme Court, Kagan "will get the fifth vote."
During live CBS News coverage on Monday of President Obama's nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer argued that the Senate confirmation process would be "nasty....Not because of Elena Kagan....she is eminently qualified" but because Republicans are "very wary of what the right part of their party is thinking about them."
As evidence of his theory, Schieffer pointed to the primary defeat of Republican Utah Senator Bob Bennett on Saturday: "it is a very toxic election year. You saw over the weekend that Bob Bennett, the very conservative Republican senator from Utah lost the Republican nomination out in his home state because people there, including a lot of tea party people, thought he was not conservative enough." He concluded: "I think in the end, she will probably be confirmed, but I think it's going to be a very tough vote for a lot of Republicans and I think it's going to take some time before they get to that final vote."
In response to Schieffer's assertion, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric, who broke into CBS daytime programing at 10AM ET with a special report on the nomination, lamented: "Nothing is easy or simple in Washington these days, Bob."
In Friday's 3PM ET hour of live coverage on MSNBC, anchor Peter Alexander asked black Republican congressional candidate Allen West of Florida about "aligning" with the tea party movement: "the Tea Party has raised concerns that it may have, I guess, racism built within it. We have seen some racist signs at past events...are African-American candidates aligning themselves with the tea party?" [Audio available here]
West responded: "The principles and values that I espouse, limited government, lower taxes, individual responsibility, and accountability, liberty, and honoring the traditions of our constitutional republic, are connecting me with those grass roots Americans that attend tea party rallies. And I've spoken at four to five of those rallies and I've not seen any racist type of signs."
On Wednesday, Alexander talked with correspondent Luke Russert about the fact that 32 African-Americans are running for Congress as Republicans. Russert noted with surprise how "these candidates are actually soliciting support from the tea party, a group that a lot of folks have claimed to be racist against African-Americans."
On Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith commemorated the 50th anniversary of the invention of the birth control pill: "This week is the golden anniversary of the birth of birth control, a medical breakthrough that has changed society and the sexual landscape forever....'The Pill' promised to free women from biological bonds and it did just that."
In a taped report, Smith described the breaking of those "bonds": "In the 1950s, women made up about a third of the workforce. Today, women hold nearly half of all U.S. jobs. In the 1950s, American women, on average, had 3.8 children. Today that number has dropped to 2.1." The report featured a clip of Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, who proclaimed: "The invention of the birth control pill revolutionized life for women in America. It's completely changed women's options."
Smith noted how the contraceptive "was condemned by the Catholic Church and by many conservatives." A clip of historian Ellen Chesler followed: "It was really considered immoral to suggest that women's primary role should not be that of wife and mother. But, rather, that women should have rights to experience their sexuality free of consequence, just like men have always done."
On Thursday's 11AM hour on MSNBC, anchor Tamron Hall described "growing controversy" surrounding the recent shooting of an Arizona sheriff's deputy by illegal immigrant drug smugglers and noted how: "The Pinal County sheriff released the 911 tapes the injured deputy made, in response to what he called 'growing speculation' that the shooting was staged." [Audio available here]
Hall brought on Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu to respond and grilled him on the conspiracy theory put out by the left-leaning Phoenix NewTimes: "a report...comparing the deputy who received that wound...to another officer who had staged a gun battle. The allegation here is that this shooting...was to supposed to help convince people that the tough Arizona law against immigration was needed, that this was the example that you could hold up as proof. What do you say to those claims that this was all staged?"
Babeu replied: "Well, we in law enforcement operate in the realm of facts....We don't have the luxury to operate just with all these wild ideas that could be out there." He went on add: "So this news account, they didn't have the benefit of any of the facts. In fact, they didn't even talk to me or anybody from my agency."