Speaking with Republican New York Congressman Peter King on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared: “Congressman, here you are a Republican talking about everything that’s wrong and everything that went wrong....Tom Kean, who was the co-chairman of the 9/11 Commission said quote,‘we should dismiss the partisan bickering over the security failures over this issue.”
Rodriguez went on to place the blame for partisanship on the Republican side of the aisle as she asked: “Do you agree and do you say to your colleagues let’s try to support the President here and get to the bottom of the real issue?” King replied: “I have never made one partisan statement on terrorism since that day....I will give the President credit when I think he’s right. But on the other hand, when mistakes are being made, I think it’s my obligation to speak out because this issue is so vital to all Americans.”
During the 3PM ET hour of live coverage on MSNBC, anchor David Shuster claimed that Fox News political analyst Brit Hume "denigrated Christianity" when suggesting that scandal-ridden golfer Tiger Woods convert to the faith.
Shuster made the comments while discussing the issue with MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan, asking: "Doesn’t it also denigrate Christianity when you do that on a Sunday political talk show? This isn’t church, this isn’t some sort of holy setting, this is a political talk show....Doesn’t that minimize the significance of Christianity, when you bring a discussion of Christianity into a conversation about politics?"
Buchanan replied: "He’s not denigrating Christianity....A lot of us feel that there ought to be more discussion of religion in politics and religious beliefs and what’s moral and right and wrong." Shuster pressed him: "And you don’t think this diminishes Christianity in any way?" Buchanan shot back: "What do you think, the religion’s dropped a peg or two now?" Shuster sarcastically responded: "I do think it diminishes the discussion of Christianity....This wasn’t the ‘700 Club,’ this wasn’t ‘Theocracy Today.’"
On Saturday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Jeff Glor teased an upcoming story on Switzerland’s health care system by wondering: "Could Switzerland’s health care be a model for America?" He later introduced the segment by claiming that the Swiss system could be "a glimpse of what the U.S. health care system of the future might look like."
Correspondent Richard Roth touted the Swiss "love of capitalism," but then went on to praise their socialized health care system: "The law, finally approved in a 1994 national referendum, guaranteed health care for everyone by requiring everyone to have insurance....They choose their own doctors and their own insurance company, and the whole country is covered....Switzerland devised a health care system that’s been praised as efficient and neutral. Basic insurance is the same price for everyone."
Roth did manage to find one flaw: "...it’s turned out to be expensive....No one goes broke from getting sick, but health care’s cost to the economy here is higher than anywhere except the U.S." However, as he talked to the Swiss director of the Federal Office of Public Health, Thomas Zeltner, Roth described the problem this way: "What you built here was a Rolex, and really, perhaps, you should have made a Timex." Zeltner replied: "It is a Rolex. You’re right. It should not just look like a Rolex, but also work like a Rolex." Roth concluded: "It does, and the Swiss love it..."
Early in the 1PM ET hour on MSNBC on Tuesday, anchor Norah O’Donnell pressed New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg on Republican efforts to slow down passage of ObamaCare: “You guys are going to probably be there late on Christmas Eve....And a lot of people say it’s the Republicans’ fault, that you could easily go ahead and move forward with this legislation. Are you the Grinch that stole Christmas?”
Senator Gregg rejected that notion and pointed out: “...it wasn’t necessary for the Democratic leadership to back this up to Christmas....We could have come back at the beginning of January and debated this for a week or two in the sunlight. But they don’t want sunlight on the bill, it’s that simple.”
Earlier on Tuesday, during the 10AM ET hour of MSNBC coverage, anchor Contessa Brewer played up the same theme while interviewing Texas Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison: “Is it just, at this point, being mean to keep all the staffers here, to force this thing out until Christmas Eve? Senator McCaskill [D-Missouri] said today, ‘look, if we – if the Republicans would get on board we could get this passed today and let everybody go home for Christmas.’”
Appearing Monday on MSNBC during the 10AM ET hour, CNBC White House correspondent John Harwood worked to whip up support for the health care bill passed by Senate Democrats while slamming its liberal opponents: “...so much of the commentary I’ve heard has been really idiotic. Liberals who want universal health care ought to be thanking Harry Reid for getting this thing done...”
Speaking to anchor Contessa Brewer, Harwood told left-wing critics to stop “talking about what’s inadequate in the bill” and said that if they think “that Harry Reid can do better than what he’s done....they ought to lay off the hallucinogenic drugs because we have had a vivid demonstration of the limits of political possibilities on this issue.” Later in the 1PM ET hour Harwood called them “insane” and that they should “have their heads examined.”
As NewsBusters’ Noel Sheppard reported on Saturday, on Friday’s Morning Meeting program on MSNBC, host Dylan Ratigan got into a shouting match with Democratic Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz over health care legislation. On Monday, he apologized for the outburst: “...the way I went about that on Friday was a disservice to our viewers....I have some work to do.”
Ratigan’s heated exchange with Schultz stemmed from his anger over the Senate health care bill not being liberal enough. On Friday, he declared: “It basically allows the taxpayer to take the hit to pay for the uninsured, but it does not deal with the underlying symptom as to why there are so many uninsured...[P]art of the problem in this country is that our politicians do not understand that they make laws that create total imbalances.”
Schultz attempted to address the issue, but Ratigan repeatedly cut her off. On Monday he described one viewer’s reaction: “The way I conducted the interview has been called many things, but I’ll sum it up with a tweet from a woman known only as DianeG12, and I quote, ‘Dylan was very rude!’” He then admitted: “yes, DianeG12, I was and I want to apologize to the Congresswoman and to our viewers for that.”
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Russ Mitchell introduced a report on difficulties President Obama is having with left-wing: “President Obama is facing a growing backlash from liberal supporters on the issue of health care reform.” White House correspondent Bill Plante described the: “...anger really among the President’s former grass roots supporters on the Left.”
After citing former Democratic Party Chair Howard Dean’s opposition to the health care bill, Plante turned to other liberal critics: “Christopher Hayes, editor of the left-leaning magazine The Nation, says President Obama has betrayed the promises of his campaign.” Hayes argued: “What made the campaign so great was that it engendered a feeling of empowerment, that it felt like power was being distributed downwards, right? And that is something that you’re seeing the opposite of in this legislative battle.”
Plante even cited left-wing commenters on President Obama’s Facebook page: “Jamie writes ‘I had so much hope, but I feel like I’m invisible to a man I worked so hard to elect.’ While Melanie warns ‘if this White House doesn’t change, I won’t vote for you again.’” Plante concluded: “And that’s exactly the problem. It may mean that all of that enthusiasm that was generated in 2008 won’t be there either to push Congress or to reelect the President.”
At the top of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Nancy Cordes excitedly proclaimed that Senate Democrats “are tantalizingly close” to passing a health care bill and derided Republicans for trying to “thwart” the legislation using “stall tactics.”
Cordes reported on the urgency of Democratic efforts to get 60 votes in the Senate: “Leaders are trying to craft a compromise that everyone can live with and soon...to pass a bill by the holidays, they must file the bill by this Saturday.” She lamented that “...they could get thwarted by Republican stall tactics....[who] suddenly demanded that clerks read a 767 page health care amendment out loud on the Senate floor.”
After explaining that “Senate business got tied up for three hours,” Cordes declared: “Democrats were predictably outraged.” She concluded her report: “And that’s the kind of stunt that Republicans would happily pull again if it will slow down the Democrats’ goal of getting this bill passed.”
In the third part of an interview on MediaBistro.com’s Media Beat, ex-CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather shared some thoughts on various media personalities. He labeled Fox News host Glenn Beck “controversial,” while hailing MSNBC Countdown host Keith Olbermann: “Love him, as a person, as a journalist. Don’t always understand what he’s trying to do on his program, but I like Keith.”
Rather bizarrely went on to explain part of his admiration for the left-wing bomb thrower: “For one thing, he’s a Yankee fan....give him credit. That Keith Olbermann has been with the Yankees through thick and thin, through good times and bad times, and I really respect that, among other things about him.” Rather did manage to say one kind word about Beck, calling him a “talented TV personality.”
TVNewser columnist Gail Shister also asked Rather’s thoughts on his Evening News replacement Katie Couric. Rather’s assessment of her was not as enthusiastic as that of Olbermann: “Good lady, comes from a journalistic family. Has had a difficult transition but seems to be in a better place now.”
In a Monday interview on MediaBistro.com’s weekly video series Media Beat, disgraced former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather shared his concerns over the credibility of internet journalism: “The difficulty with some of the things on the internet...is transparency and accountability about who’s responsible for what’s on.”
TVNewser.com columnist Gail Shister sparked the discussion by asking Rather: “Are you concerned at all that there is the absence of quality control when it comes to so much of the modern platforms?” Rather went on to fret: “...you can put something on the internet that’s really terrible about your neighbor or about a friend or a competitor and it’s almost impossible to find out who the source is. And you can say anything about them. That part of it troubles me.”
Rather of course ended his tenure at CBS after using fraudulent documents to smear President George W. Bush just days before the 2004 presidential election. He showed little concern for accountability and proper sourcing as he used fabricated memos to claim that Bush had gone AWOL while serving in the Texas Air National Guard in the 1970s.
On the CBS Evening News on Saturday, correspondent Kimberly Dozier reported on a recent rise in homegrown Islamic extremism in the United States and explored the motivation behind it: “... terrorism experts agree militant Islam is becoming an American problem....the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan make potent recruiting tools. They’re portrayed by the militants as America’s war on Islam.”
Dozier went on to cite American bigotry as another cause: “Muslim community leaders here say young people are also being driven to extremes by post-9/11 anti-Muslim propaganda like this.” An obscure anti-Muslim video was played as she continued: “And rising incidents of genuine anti-Muslim discrimination. Civil rights complaints have jumped 10 percent in just the past year, according to the Council on American Islamic Relations.”
While using C.A.I.R. as a credible source, Dozier only briefly mentioned the organization’s radical ties: “There’s been tension between the FBI and the Council over alleged links to militant groups which it denies.” She then offered a dismissive statement from C.A.I.R.: “It says U.S. authorities should start using the Muslim community as a resource, not an adversary, to help it police its own.”
At the top of Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith enthusiastically proclaimed: “A frustrated President Obama gets set to read the riot act to the heads of America’s top banks.” Minutes later, Smith claimed it would be a “tough day for America’s biggest bankers” as the President planned to admonish them over executive compensation and lending practices at a White House meeting.
White House correspondent Bill Plante followed with a report on the meeting: “...the bankers are likely to get an earful when they meet with the President later today and he previewed some of his frustrations over their bonuses and over their reluctance to make loans on 60 Minutes.” Plante referred to an interview the Obama gave to 60 Minutes’ Steve Kroft Sunday night, but none of the Early Show coverage mentioned the numerous parts of that interview in which Kroft grilled the President on topics ranging from Afghanistan to health care reform.
In an unusually tough interview with President Obama on Sunday’s 60 Minutes on CBS, correspondent Steve Kroft described the President’s West Point speech as being “greeted with a great deal of confusion” and that “some people thought it was contradictory.” He later said of the health care bill: “some people think is incomprehensible....I’ve not met anybody who’s read it.”
Kroft began the interview by asking about the new Afghanistan strategy and made some observations about Obama’s announcement of the plan: “In your West Point speech, you seemed very analytical, detached, not emotional....There were no exhortations or promises of victory. Why? Why that tone?” Obama argued: “...that was actually probably the most emotional speech that I’ve made.” And then hit the Bush administration: “...one of the mistakes that was made over the last eight years is for us to have a triumphant sense about war. There was a tendency to say, ‘We can go in. We can kick some tail. This is some glorious exercise.’”
Kroft went on to note that the speech: “was greeted with a great deal of confusion.” A testy Obama interjected: “I disagree with that statement.” Kroft rephrased: “...it raised a lot of questions. And some people thought it was contradictory. That’s a fair criticism.” Not according to the President: “I don’t think it’s a fair criticism....There shouldn’t be anything confusing about that.” Obama then touted a Bush administration success to make his point: “...that’s something that we executed over the last two years in Iraq. So, I think the American people are familiar with the idea of a surge.”
In an interview with actor Matt Damon on Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith discussed the star’s role in a liberal documentary on American history: “‘The People Speak,’ based on one of Damon’s favorite books, ‘A People’s History of The United States’....examine’s America’s founding and expansion from the perspective of the revolutionaries, rebels, and rarely heard voices of dissent.”
Damon described the left-wing revisionism as “an honest look at – at where we’ve come from and the idea that all of these changes have been struggled for by everyday people.” Smith also spoke with the book’s author Howard Zinn and wondered: “Does it seem like this is an extra good time to be making a version of this book into a movie?” Zinn replied: “we want this history to speak to our present situation. What is our present situation? War. So in many ways the film, I think, speaks to things that are going on now.”
On Wednesday, Zinn proclaimed his anti-war views on NBC’s Today: “I believe the best way to support the troops is to bring them home. You’re not supporting them when you’re keeping them there and for not a good reason.”
While interviewing former Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean on Wedneday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez questioned his support for a plan by Senate Democrats to expand Medicare coverage: “...the criticism is that Medicare as it stands doesn’t work because the payments don’t cover the plan. Are we just not creating a bigger problem if we have to insure more people under Medicare?”
Dean praised the idea as a good alternative to the public option: “Medicare is a very, very effective program. It’s a government-run single payer program. Everybody over 65 is in it and it works very well....This isn’t perfect and the coverage is not broad enough, in my view, but I do think this is a positive step forward.”
Rodriguez began the interview by pointing out that Dean had previously been adamant about the public option being part of any health care legislation: “...back in August when we talked about this. You said ‘you can’t have reform without the public option.’ But as you know this plan, devised by these ten senators does not include it. So do you oppose it?” Dean replied: “Actually, not at all. Medicare is a public program, and it’s a single payer run by the government....I judge all these plans by whether they move things forward or move things backward. This move things forwards.”
While interviewing Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele on Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith referred to recent comments by Senator Harry Reid: “[He] said Republicans are on the wrong side of history when it comes to this health care bill and very soberly...compared those who opposed health care to those who opposed civil rights legislation....How would you respond to that?”
Steele fired back: “Well, you know, it was not a sober moment for Harry Reid at all. It was an ignorant moment for Harry Reid.” Steele continued: “ I’m kind of sick and tired of, you know, the Left and Democrats in this country, when they get into trouble and don’t get their way...they play that race card, that slavery card, that civil rights card.” Smith didn’t even mention Reid’s further comparison of Republicans to those who resisted ending slavery.
Steele called on Reid to apologize: “...it was an ignorant comment. Harry needs to go to the well of the Senate, take it back, and apologize for offending the sensibilities of the American people on something so important.”
Near the end of the 2PM ET hour on MSNBC, anchor Contessa Brewer discussed the ClimateGate scandal only to claim there was no scandal in the emails that seemed to show climate scientists manipulating global warming data: “I mean is someone using differences in semantics to try and play up a controversy that’s not really there?”
Brewer spoke with Politico reporter Erica Lovely about the emails in which scientists referred to a “trick” to conceal evidence that contradicted predicted warming trends. Brewer explained: “...there’s a Penn State scientist Michael Mann....He says the word ‘trick’ doesn’t actually refer to any kind of deception, but to a very well-known accepted data technique.” Lovely saw nothing improper in concealing data: “They wanted to keep it out of some of the international reports that the United Nations would be looking at, you know, just to – to move the global talks forward.”
After Brewer suggested the use of the word “trick” as “just semantics,” Lovely agreed: “Sure....They’ll use language that maybe to us would look like, you know, something fishy is going on. But to them this is just everyday speak.” Lovely again defended their actions: “...they’ve been working so many decades trying to get some traction on the global warming science that they really can’t afford to have much detracting science get out.”
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez pressed Republican Senator Lamar Alexander on the GOP’s opposition to ObamaCare: “...there’s been a lot of criticism that Republicans have done nothing but oppose this bill, nothing to help pass it, just try to kill it....have you done more than say ‘no, no, no, no, no’?”
At the top of the show, Rodriguez described a weekend visit by President Obama to Capitol Hill: “A rare closed-door rally on Capitol Hill over the weekend as President Obama calls on Democrats to close ranks and pass health care reform.” Rodriguez later suggested that Republicans “were not invited to the meeting yesterday” based on their criticism of the legislation. Senator Alexander responded: “Well that’s really an amazing statement. I mean, the President was elected on the idea of open meetings.”
Rodriguez also spoke with Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill but tried not to be too tough as she asked the Senator about the Presidential visit: “There were four holdouts yesterday before your meeting with the President. Did he succeed in changing any minds?” McCaskill declared: “Well, I think we’re getting there. Failure’s not an option.”
Responding to President Obama criticizing media coverage of the White House jobs summit, on Friday’s Hardball on MSNBC, host Chris Matthews wondered why the President wasn’t more appreciative of all the media’s help: “Why would you ride the ref when he’s calling all the plays for you? What’s he out there bashing the media for?”
During a town hall meeting in Allentown, Pennsylvania on Friday, Obama remarked: “I noticed the press yesterday, because we had this jobs forum at the White House, they said ‘Obama’s finally pivoting to jobs.’ As if what we haven’t been doing for the whole nine months from the day I was sworn in and we start talking about the recovery was all about jobs.”
Matthews skeptically asked Newsweek’s Howard Fineman: “Can he [Obama] credibly say he’s been worrying about jobs all year?” Fineman proved Matthews point about the media “calling all the plays” for the President: “Oh, I think he can in one way or another. Yeah, I think he can because he would argue that the whole health care push is related to the well being of people and so forth.” However, Fineman did point out: “But again, 17% total of people who are – don’t have enough of a job or if you count the people who are underemployed as well. It’s a huge number.”
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.”
Yet again the Thursday network evening newscasts on NBC, ABC, and CBS failed to cover the ClimateGate scandal. However, ABC World News did manage to devote a two minute story to the release of singer Susan Boyle’s first album.
[Editor's Note: Call and write the networks about this. Click here to sign the petition at our MRCAction.org Web site]
On Thursday afternoon, ABC White House correspondent Jake Tapper reported the controversy on his blog: “President Obama’s science adviser, Dr. John Holdren, faced a barrage of questions yesterday from Republican Members of Congress about a series of hacked emails at the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit that climate change skeptics have seized upon as evidence that the whole concept of climate change is a hoax.” Apparently ABC reporters are allowed to discuss the topic online, just not on air.
Interestingly, World News anchor Charles Gibson did a brief report on climate change on Thursday, about how the bad economy has reduced carbon emissions: “The government said today that one offshoot of the recession is cleaner air. Total greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. fell 2.2% last year, the decline due in part to record high oil prices, which resulted in less driving.” Gibson looked for that economic upside as he reported live outside the White House for the Obama administration’s jobs summit.
While ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today questioned Obama White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett on the breach of security at last week’s state dinner, her appearance was conspicuously absent from the CBS Early Show on Thursday. The CBS morning show has made a consistent effort to downplay the administration’s role in party crashing scandal.
On Good Morning America, co-host Robin Roberts wondered why White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers would not be testifying before Congress on the issue: “But, first, I want to ask you about the congressional hearing today. And ask you why isn't the social secretary, Desiree Rogers, testifying today before Congress?....you know that leaves people thinking, Valerie, that there’s something more.”
Similarly, on Today, co-host Meredith Vieira asked Jarrett: “White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers. She was the point person for that event. She is the one who failed to assign aides to vet guests at those checkpoints. She’s the one who named herself a guest instead of a staffer, and yet, she is not being investigated. The Secret Service is, but not her. Do you think she should be investigated?”
As the MRC’s Business and Media Institute reported on Wednesday, in the twelve days since emails were released showing climate scientists manipulating global warming data, many in the media have been stunningly silent.
The evening network newscasts on ABC, CBS, NBC have failed to make any mention of the scandal going on day thirteen since the story broke.
On NBC’s Nightly News on Wednesday, anchor Brian Williams failed to cover the climate controversy, but did manage to find the time to congratulate himself on his fifth anniversary of taking over the broadcast from Tom Brokaw.
As NewsBusters’ Noel Sheppard reported on Wednesday, even faux news anchor Jon Stewart referenced ClimateGate on The Daily Show.
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Bianca Solorzano reported on the couple who snuck into the White House state dinner, but avoided fully explaining the role a Pentagon official played in the scandal. She claimed emails between Pentagon liaison Michele Jones and Michaele and Tareq Salahi: “actually undermine their claims that they were invited...”
Solorzano quoted one email in which Jones told the Salahis that “it doesn’t seem likely” she could get them an invitation to the event and that she “then left the Salahi’s a voice mail before the dinner, saying they did not get an invitation.”
However, Solorzano failed to cite later emails in which Jones reacted to the Salahis getting into the dinner. After getting home from the White House gala, Tareq Salahi sent an email thanking Jones for her help: “Hi Michele, You are an Angel!....it worked out at the end. We ended up going to the gate to check in at 6:30pm just to check, in case it got approved since we didn’t know, and our name was indeed on the list! ☺ We are very grateful and God bless you.” Jones replied back: “Tareq, You are most welcome! I here the smile in your email and am delighted that you and Michaele had a wonderful time.”
Writing for Newsweek magazine’s feature on the top ten “startling scoops” of the past ten years, ex-CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather identified the most shocking: “Abu Ghraib has opened our eyes, serving as a dark icon that reminds us our fiercest enemies – hubris, cruelty, and ignorance – wage war from within.”
Rather went on to proclaim that the prisoner abuse scandal “is still the subject of debate and the source of despair, a shadowy gateway to learning how these wrong-headed practices became American policy.”
Early in the brief article, Rather claimed: “Many don’t know that the story aired in the wake of debate and delay. At the time, there were deep fears that all of us would face a blast furnace of criticism for taking on the administration, ‘undermining the troops,’ and possibly exposing our soldiers to fresh anger from the Muslim world.” Rather certainly was not concerned with going after the Bush administration with fraudulent documents later that same year.
Rather defended the decision to break the story by arguing: “It was only the American public that was in the dark, never consulted or considered when these policies were approved. Back then, we all needed awakening to what was being done in our names.” He then alleged more widespread abuses by the U.S. military: “A couple of years earlier, when our team was in Afghanistan, we had heard whispers of abuse underway at Baghram Airport, where Americans were in charge of an unknown number of prisoners. We flat out didn’t believe it. Now we know better.”
Monday’s CBS Early Show featured two stories on the security breach at last week’s White House state dinner, but each made only scant reference to Obama administration officials being partly to blame. Instead, both segments faulted the couple themselves, Michaele and Tareq Salahi, as well as the Secret Service.
In the first story, White House correspondent Bill Plante placed blame squarely on the Salahis, referring to them as “notorious” and “probably delighted with the attention.” Plante even noted how “some members of Congress are calling for charges to be brought against the Salahis.”
Only near the end of the report did Plante make any mention of the White House staff being responsible: “The Secret Service has admitted it made mistakes, but several people who attended Wednesday night’s dinner suggest the agency shouldn’t shoulder all the blame. Because the White House was also at fault.” Washington Post reporter Amy Argetsinger explained: “Procedure would have dictated that someone from the social office should have been at the door. These are the people who recognize the people on the guest list.”
The first question in a poll conducted by CBS’s 60 Minutes and Vanity Fair magazine asked Americans to nominate a fifth face for Mt. Rushmore and included Barack Obama among the contenders. While President Kennedy took the lead with 29%, Obama came in fourth with 16%, just behind Franklin Roosevelt at 18% and Ronald Reagan at 20%.
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-hosts Harry Smith and Maggie Rodriguez discussed the poll with CBSNews.com’s Cali Carlin and Vanity Fair’s Michael Hogan. Smith thought the Rushmore question was “terrific” and guessed that “it’s got to be between Kennedy and FDR.” Rodriguez made the same prediction: “if you know anything about history, you’d have to do FDR because he served four terms. But I think given our current population, most people probably said Kennedy.” Neither of them suggested Republican choices Reagan or Eisenhower would earn such a place of honor.
Carlin confirmed those guesses: “You’re right, it is JFK. People want to further that Camelot feeling and they would add him.” She then added: “But about 16% wanted our current president, Barack Obama, even though he hasn’t even served a full year in office. He got fourth place.” Rodriguez observed: “That’s unbelievable. Maybe just because of the historic significance of him being African American.” Carlin expressed skepticism: “Yeah, it could be a little premature though, maybe like that Nobel Prize.”
At the top of Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez teased an appearance by singer Adam Lambert on the show and addressed his raunchy performance at the American Music Awards on Sunday: “And is he the new Elvis? Or did he simply just go too far? American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert is here to set the record straight after his controversial performance at the AMA’s.”
As the show opened, co-host Harry Smith echoed Rodriguez, seeming to dismiss Lambert’s open mouth kiss with another man and simulated oral sex on stage at the awards show, as just breaking new barriers: “Those of us of a certain age, who were actually alive when Elvis first performed on Ed Sullivan so many years ago. There was so much controversy about him performing, they actually had to shoot him from the waist up....Because of the hips shaking and people didn’t want to – wanted to make sure that their children weren’t harmed by what was happening there. So maybe there’s some similarities to all of this.”
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Nancy Cordes reported on the Obamas hosting their first state dinner in the White House and declared: “Everyone wants one, but only a few hundred are lucky enough to get an invitation to the hottest ticket in town...”
Cordes concluded her brief report by mentioning: “Pop entertainer and Chicagoan Jennifer Hudson will entertain the guests, giving everyone, including the Obamas, ample opportunity to dance.” Footage was played of the first couple dancing as co-host Maggie Rodriguez added: “Which we know they love to do.”
Rodriguez spoke with former Clinton White House official Laura Schwartz, who remarked: “What an exciting day today.” Rodriguez agreed: “I know.” She then asked Schwartz: “...what do you think the Obamas want this dinner to say about them?” Schwartz described the event as the Obamas “inviting the world into their home” and noted the couple’s frequent global travel: “...the Obamas have been traveling quite a lot this first year, which is very exciting, it’s good for America. It’s good to be involved.”
Speaking with Brookings Institution analyst Michael O’Hanlon on Tuesday about President Obama’s upcoming decision to increase troop levels in Afghanistan, CBS Early Show co-host Harry Smith worried: “...how much is this going to cost him on the Left? Because I’m – I’ve got this sense that there will be people on the Left of President Obama who are not pleased by this.”
Despite representing a liberal leaning think tank, O’Hanlon dismissed the political concern: “Of course that’s right, Harry. But I think the real risk is if the war isn’t won. You know, the Left won’t like this, but if in a year we can see progress, people will forget their original doubts and they’ll be glad there is an exit strategy emerging ahead.”
Prior to Smith’s discussion with O’Hanlon, White House correspondent Bill Plante reported on the soon-to-be-announced war strategy and pointed out: “A new CBS News poll shows 69% of Americans think the war is going badly. And only 36% believe more U.S. troops would make things better.” A clip was then played of another Brookings analyst, E.J. Dionne, who lamented: “We’ve been at this since 2003. We have spent a lot of money, we’ve lost a lot of lives. When does this end?” He mistakenly confused the start of the Iraq war with that of Afghanistan, which began in 2001.