On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith talked to comedian Bill Maher on his new anti-religion movie and Maher declared: "Isn't there time for one [movie] for the tens of millions of people who are rationalists, who think like I do, and who are afraid that the Sarah Palins of the world are going to be taking over? We've had eight years of George Bush and a faith-based administration. We can't afford another."
Following that comment, Smith observed: "Here's the thing that was an underlying thought. And this -- a serious thought, I thought. In the movie was you wish that Christians were more -- if they were really going to be Christians, would be more Christ-like?" Maher replied: "Don't we all? I think everybody -- I mean, that's something I don't think is even controversial that the message of Jesus, which is very good. It's about love and, you know, forgiveness. It's certainly not about shooting wolves from an airplane. That gets lost with all the nonsense and the bells and whistles." Smith responded by loudly laughing at the jab at Sarah Palin, who as governor approved shooting wolves as a means of controlling the wolf population in Alaska.
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith played a clip of the latest Saturday Night Live skit mocking Sarah Palin and following the clip, co-host Julie Chen remarked: "Tina Fey has just so much material to work with, this is like, probably a dream come true for her."In May, Chen placed Hawaii in the Atlantic Ocean and it was not part of a comedy skit. Co-host Maggie Rodriguez chimed in: "Well that's why Lorne Michaels was able to lure her back after she left, and I have a feeling she's going to be coming back a lot." During the recent Emmy awards, Tina Fey remarked: "I want to be done playing this lady Nov. 5...So if anybody can help me be done playing this lady Nov. 5, that would be good for me."
Later, Smith played a clip of the first part of his interview with Sarah Palin’s parents, Chuck and Sally Heath. Chuck Heath said he thought Fey’s impersonation was funny: "They replayed that, and replayed that, and replayed that. I thought it was kind of cute, yeah, yeah. Yeah, Tina Fey did a good job." Smith began the interview by asking the Heaths: "What would you tell folks who would say 'I'm not -- I'm not so sure that Sarah Palin's ready to be vice president.' What would you tell them?" Chuck Heath replied: " She's ready to do anything she wants to be. And she's -- she perseveres, she works so hard. She learns so fast. Yeah. I worry about that at all. That's what I'll tell them, yeah. If you want some honesty, yeah, not a typical politician, get her, yeah." The second part of the interview will be aired on Tuesday and includes Palin’s parents reacting to media coverage of their daughter.
At the top of Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen declared: "Palin on the hot seat as she readies for her debate. Some conservatives want Sarah Palin off the Republican ticket." In the segment that followed, co-host Maggie Rodriguez similarly proclaimed: "...the question a lot of Americans are asking this morning, including some prominent Republicans, is whether Sarah Palin is ready." Correspondent Jeff Glor then explained: "Sarah Palin has mostly been kept away from reporters but the interviews she has done are raising eyebrows."
Glor went on to cite one conservative columnist calling for Palin to step down: "But even some conservatives are concerned, including syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker who said 'Palin is clearly out of her league' and called for the Alaska governor to leave the race." Based on that, Alex Burns from politico.com concluded: " I think there are a small number of people who will publically say that they're worried about her abilities as a candidate. I think there's a larger number of people who privately express kind of muted criticism and concern."
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Chip Reid reported on congressional efforts to negotiate a bailout plan for the financial industry and took the Democratic line that Republicans prevented an deal from being reached: "At one point, yesterday, it looked like the $700 billion bailout deal was ready to have the 'I's dotted and the 'T's crossed, but that's when the wild roller coaster ride began and by the end of a tumultuous day, Democrats were blaming John McCain for standing in the way of the deal instead of helping to get it done. The wild ride began Thursday afternoon when a bipartisan group of senators announced the outlines of a bailout deal."
However, since House Republicans were not consulted on such deal "outlines," no real agreement had been made, even so, Reid continued: "Three hours later when John McCain and Barack Obama arrived at the White House for a highly anticipated meeting with the president and congressional leaders, it appeared all they had to do was give the agreement their blessing." Reid later reiterated the idea that a "bipartisan agreement" had been reached: "But as negotiations continued late Thursday night on Capitol Hill, some Democrats accused McCain of souring the negotiations by failing to speak out strongly in support of the bipartisan agreement during the White House meeting."
At the top of the 7:30AM half hour of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez teased an upcoming segment on Hollywood celebrities coming out: " Ahead this morning, two young stars come out of the closet. We'll talk about whether Hollywood has changed its attitude towards gays." While that headline suggested controversy, in the later segment correspondent Michelle Gillen declared: "‘out’ is apparently ‘in’," and no voices of dissent from family values advocates were presented.
Gillen reported that: "With celebrities such as Ellen Degeneres and Grey's Anatomy's T.R. Knight openly out and TV shows with gay or lesbian characters proving popular in recent years, coming out won't necessarily kill a career...Some celebrities who stars were fading have gotten a career boost after going public about being gay." Gillen then quoted CBS News correspondent Itay Hod, who is gay, on the issue: "The landscape is changing. There's no question that even Hollywood is going a little more gay and a little more liberal when it comes to your sexuality...Well, a lot of it has to do with the fact that society's changing, you know? We're -- the new generation doesn't really care that much."
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith talked to former Hillary Clinton campaign strategist Mark Penn and former Bush advisor Karen Hughes and asked about Sarah Palin’s effect on the presidential race: "Well, give us some perspective, Karen Hughes, first, on Sarah Palin, turned the world on its ear when her nomination was announced. It now seems, would you agree or disagree. Is it -- is it still a positive? Or is it beginning to be a drag on the Republican nominee?"
Smith went on to cite a new ABC News poll that gives Barack Obama a nine point lead over John McCain and asked Penn: "How do you explain it?" Penn replied: "Well, Sarah Palin's not going to help in an economic crisis. I think what the people are seeing is that there -- there is a 3:00 A.M. call here, and it's an economic crisis. They think -- they see Obama answering that. He's the kind of person who can be a president in a complex situation like this economic crisis, a manager. And I think that's changing the polls." Rather than challenge Penn’s assertions, Smith wanted to move on, but not Hughes:
HUGHES: Also, even the New York Times conceded, though, that he has no record on these kind of issues-
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith interviewed Hillary Clinton on the government’s financial bailout plan and quoted Democratic talking points: "Is there a sense of urgency? Dick Durbin went into the well of the Senate the other day and said ‘why does this feel like Iraq all over again? Why does there feel like there has to be a rush to get this done?’" Clinton replied: "Well, something has to happen because of the neglect of the administration in handling this problem in the past. You know, you covered the campaign. I talked about this for 18 months. I said this is coming."
One question that was absent from the interview was why Clinton pulled out of a rally protesting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressing the United Nations this week. In a report by correspondent Bill Plante that immediately preceded Smith’s interiview, Sarah Palin being dis-invited from the rally was mentioned: "In New York, thousands protested Ahmadinejad's pro-nuclear, anti-Israel stance. A rally at which John McCain's running mate Sarah Palin had been scheduled to speak before her invitation was withdrawn." That occurred after Clinton decided not to attend the rally because of Palin’s attendance, yet Smith did not ask the New York Senator about the issue.
At the top of Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen teased an upcoming segment on Sarah Palin meeting with world leaders at the United Nations by declaring: "The education of Sarah Palin. The Alaska governor has her first meetings with world leaders as they gather at the U.N. How will she do?" While Chen wondered about Palin’s understanding of foreign policy, on May 22, she thought Hawaii was located in the Atlantic Ocean. [see embedded video of that after the page break]
In a later report correspondent Bill Plante proclaimed: "Palin, who got her first passport just last year, is here and will get a crash course in international affairs. The Alaska governor will be meeting with the leaders of Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Georgia and Ukraine, as well as with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and U2's Bono."
At 3:50pm on MSNBC News Live, anchor Contessa Brewer interviewed writer for the Washington Post's 'On Faith' blog, Sally Quinn, on the role of social issues in the presidential campaign and cited recent poll numbers on abortion: " On abortion, the latest New York Times/CBS poll shows 37% of voters say abortions should be generally available, 42% want the procedure available but with stricter limits than we have now. 19% say they should not be permitted at all...What do you make of those numbers?" Quinn responded: "Well, I think the majority of people in this country believe that abortion should be legal at some point. And 90% of people, for instance, who have Down's Syndrome babies choose to terminate their pregnancies. So I think that people generally feel that a woman should have a choice." Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin gave birth to a baby with Down's Syndrome five months ago.
Quinn went on to suggest Palin and John McCain were hypocritical for being opposed to abortion and in favor of the death penalty and even claimed that Palin would be in favor of executing abortion doctors and women who have abortions: "Both McCain and Palin are in favor of the death penalty. In fact, Sarah Palin has said, 'anybody who murders a child I will sign the death penalty for that person.' So how can you then say life begins at conception, abortion is murder, 'I'm in favor of the death penalty,' and not be in favor of the death penalty for doctors who perform abortions or mothers who allow abortions to be performed?" However, Quinn did not see any hypocrisy in Joe Biden’s contradiction of being personally opposed to abortion, but not publicly: "Joe -- Joe Biden is Catholic, believes that life begins at conception, but does not believe that imposing his religious views on others."
At the top of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen teased an upcoming segment on how the Wall Street financial crisis is affecting the presidential race: "Game-changer, as Wall Street falters, Barack Obama surges ahead in our latest CBS News poll." During the segment, correspondent Chip Reid declared: "...the new CBS News/New York Times poll suggests that momentum has switched back to Senator Obama after McCain's post-convention bounce. McCain led nationally by two points just one week ago, but the latest numbers show Obama holding a five-point lead over his Republican rival." However, Reid failed to mention the 3% margin of error in the poll, which could have only been briefly seen on the on-screen graphic.
Reid also cited poll data on McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin: "The new poll also suggests enthusiasm for Senator McCain's running mate Sarah Palin has softened. 33% of voters think she's qualified to be president, 62% voicing concern." While Reid spoke of ‘softened’ enthusiasm for Palin, he cited no previous poll date to demonstrate a loss of support. Instead, he criticized Palin’s performance at her first town hall meeting Wednesday night: "And she was not asked, nor did she offer, any specifics on foreign policy. Now the questions at that town hall last night and in a Fox interview last night were friendly and open-ended but the campaign understands that that will change and fast." Reid never showed any footage of FNC’s Sean Hannity interviewing Palin. Early Show co-host Harry Smith has interviewed Barack Obama eight times and only asked two questions on foreign policy.
At the top of the 8am hour of Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez teased an upcoming segment on an ethics investigation into Sarah Palin’s firing of an Alaska public safety official: "Sarah Palin and troopergate – why the Alaska governor makes an about-face on this issue and why it could haunt her on the campaign trail." Later, correspondent Chip Reid remarked: "Palin may be back here in Ohio campaigning, but she's still being hounded by the so-called troopergate controversy back in Alaska."
Reid went on to describe the case: "Last July, Palin fired Alaska's public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan. He says he was fired because he refused to fire Palin's former brother-in-law, Mike Wooten, a state trooper who went through an ugly divorce with Palin's sister...At first, Palin said she welcomed the investigation, but now the McCain-Palin campaign claims it's being exploited by Democrats for political reasons and says it's now unlikely she will cooperate. And the campaign says Monegan's firing had nothing to do with Palin's brother-in-law." However, Reid never went further to explain that new email evidence corroborates Palin’s reason for firing Monegan or to describe the political motivations of those leading the investigation.
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez interviewed ‘Star Trek’ actor George Takei and his partner Brad Altman about their wedding following California legalizing gay marriage and asked: "George, how was the wedding? Was it everything you dreamed of?" At the end of the segment, Takei declared: "And may sweet equality live long and prosper," making the Star Trek Vulcan hand sign. Rodriguez showed her solidarity, making the hand sign back and replying: "Let me do it. Same to you." [audio excerpt here]
During the segment, Rodriguez asked about the California ballot initiative designed to overturn the state supreme court’s decision to legalize gay marriage: "But there's this proposition on the November ballot, which you're very familiar with, Proposition 8, that may allow California voters to essentially nullify your marriage if they vote for it. George, talk about what that would mean for your marriage and for you emotionally." Takei replied by denouncing the ballot initiative, yet praising democracy:
Well, first of all, we're not going to let it get there, we're going to fight it tooth and nail. Because it's against the basic fundamental ideals of democracy. You know, we're a pluralistic society and there are many, many faiths and beliefs here. Now we respect everybody's faiths, their right to their beliefs. But there's no right for any one faith group to write those -- their own particular beliefs into civil law that applies to everyone. That's not democracy. That's not the way it works in the American way. And we are going to make sure that democracy prevails here.
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith interviewed John McCain about the recent collapse of Wall Street investment banks: " I want to make sure I have this straight now. Yesterday, on the campaign trail, you reiterated that you believe the fundamentals of the economy are strong. At the same time, we understand your campaign is issuing an ad that says the economy is in crisis. Which is it?" After McCain explained that he was referring to American workers, and that there is a crisis, Smith asked: "And the answer for which is what? Because throughout your campaign, you have said you are anti-regulation. Would not oversight have helped avert this crisis?"
Later, Smith asked: "Let me ask you this. Earlier this year on the campaign trail, you said -- or you admitted that you didn't know a lot about the economy. Why should voters trust you in these perilous times with the economy of the United States?" McCain responded: "You know, that's one of the interesting things about having long conversations. The point is, I was chairman of the Commerce Committee. Every part of America's economy, I oversighted. I have a long record, certainly far more extensive of being involved in our economy than Senator Obama does. I understand the economy. I know the issues-" At that point Smith interrupted: "Well, if that's the case, wouldn't you bear more responsibility for some of the crisis we're in then?"
During Monday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Bill Whitaker reported on the marriage of actor George Takei to his partner Brad Altman, following California’s legalization of gay marriage: "George Takei, Sulu on the original Star Trek, used to dream of a future where unimaginable things would happen. Well, his dream came true. Sunday, he legally married his partner of 21 years, Brad Altman." However, later in the segment, Whitaker warned: "But their marriage Knot could be undone by a ballot initiative to, once again, ban gay marriage." Whitaker then made a comparison: "As a child, during World War II, Takei and his family were forcibly removed to internment camps with tens of thousands of other Japanese-Americans. He held his wedding at L.A.'S Japanese-American National Museum to make a point."
Takei went on to explain to Whitaker: "We, as gay Americans, we've been stereotyped and characterized as something frightening and threatening, as Japanese-Americans were before the war." This is not the first time Takei’s comparison was featured on CBS, on June 16th’s Sunday Morning, a report by correspondent John Blackstone featured a quote from Takei: "I know that people can change because I grew up in -- behind the barbed wire fences of American internment camps. That was in my lifetime. And here I am now, a popular actor -- supported by many, many people throughout the country. America changes. America is made up of decent people, fair-minded people." Takei and Altman were also both quests on the Early Show on June 17 with co-host Julie Chen.
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez teased an upcoming segment on the presidential campaign by implying a new scandal was brewing around Sarah Palin: "Palin-tology, Obama sharpens his attacks, as questions are asked about Todd Palin's role in his wife's office." In the later segment, Rodriguez talked to former Bush advisor Dan Bartlett and Democratic strategist Joe Trippi about the campaign and asked Bartlett: "We see new investigations springing up this morning, allegations that she consulted with her husband before making major decisions and vetoing millions of dollars of projects, that she appointed friends in key positions. Dan, do you think that this could hurt?"
Bartlett responded by observing: "Well, show me a politician who doesn't consult their spouse or their friends when they get into political office. I think there's nothing here yet that I've seen that's gained any traction." Meanwhile, Rodriguez has not asked similar questions about what degree of influence Michelle Obama has over her husband’s political decisions.
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith talked to Rudy Giuliani about Sarah Palin’s performance in an interview with ABC’s Charlie Gibson on Thursday’s World News and Giuliani observed: "The whole issue of whether she knows world affairs or not, these are questions that were never asked of Barack Obama, never asked of him to this day."A visibly upset Smith vigorously denied such bias: "That's not true. That's not true." Giuliani continued: "To this day he hasn't been asked these questions, about travel-" Smith kept up his defense: "That's not true. That is absolutely not true...That is absolutely not true. Those -- all those questions have been asked over the last 19 months." Giuliani got in the last word: "I don't know where."
In the wake of the controversy surrounding Barack Obama’s use of the phrase "lipstick on a pig," on Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared: "Lipstick wars. Barack Obama fires back." A clip was then played of Obama on Wednesday’s Late Show with David Letterman: "Technically, she [Sarah Palin] -- had I meant it this way, she would be the lipstick. You see?... The failed policies of John McCain would be the pig." In a later segment, the on-screen graphic appeared: "‘Lipstick On A Pig’ Dustup: Smear Tactics?"
In the second half of that segment, Rodriguez talked to liberal George Mason University professor Michael Fauntroy about the issue and Obama’s comments on Letterman: "I want you to listen to what he said to David Letterman last night about his lipstick comment...Michael, do you think he explained it or made it worse?" Fauntroy replied: "I think he explained it." Rodriguez went on to question whether Obama should have just avoided using the phrase to begin with, but Fauntroy disagreed: "...then both candidates are in big trouble because you end up in a circumstance in which you have to censor yourself in a way that may be -- may go beyond who you are as an individual. And what voters want to be able to see from the candidates is authenticity and that may not be possible if candidates are worrying so much about what they say."
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith talked to Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer about John McCain taking the lead in recent polls following the Republican convention and the selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate: "Sarah Palin is his Geritol...That's – I mean it really has -- because I wrote in my notes this morning, she not only energized the base,she seems to have energized him." While seemingly a compliment, such a statement conveniently reminded viewers of McCain's age.
In addition, the segment featured a total of four references to the "social conservative" base of the party that Palin has attracted. Schieffer observed: "But, you know, the interesting thing about this is that John McCain, the maverick that he is, has never been popular with one part of the Republican Party, especially the social conservatives...Now the people who were against him in the Republican Party seem to like him just fine." Smith added: "These are the Rove-cultivated religious right, so important to George Bush." Schieffer concluded: "Evangelicals, social conservatives. Now, John McCain has suddenly become their favorite and he was never that before. That can only be good for him in a political sense...And I think what we've seen here, she has gotten those social conservatives in the Republican Party who were never for him. How are independents going to feel on this down the road?"
While interviewing Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward on Sunday’s 60 Minutes about his latest book on the Bush Administration’s handling of the Iraq war, The War Within, anchor Scott Pelley described how: "Another part of that story, according to Woodward, is the president's frustration with the attitude of the Iraqi people." Woodward explained: "He has a meeting at the Pentagon with a bunch of experts and he just said, 'I don't understand that the Iraqis are not appreciative of what we've done for them,' namely liberating them." Pelley then asked: "But tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis had been killed in the invasion and through the occupation. He didn't understand why they might be a little ungrateful about what had occurred to them?"
Woodward replied by skeptically explaining President Bush’s perspective: "His beacon is liberation. He thinks we've done this magnificent thing for them. I think he still holds to that position." Earlier in the interview, Pelley seemed to imply that Bush was almost bloodthirsty, wanting know how many enemy had been killed each day: "Mr. Bush told Woodward that he was frustrated with his commanders and asked for enemy body counts so he could keep score." Woodward described: "And this is Bush's concern that we're not going out and killing. In fact, [General George] Casey told one colleague privately that the president's view is almost reflective of ‘kill the bastards, kill the bastards, and that way we'll succeed.’"
On Sunday’s Face the Nation on CBS, host Bob Schieffer interviewed Republican presidential candidate John McCain and wondered why Americans weren’t sacrificing more during a time of war: "But we have one half of one percent of the American people who are making all of the sacrifice in this war. If the rest of us didn't watch television or looked at the newspaper, we might not know there's a war going on. Our taxes didn't go up, there's no rationing. If you didn't look for it, you wouldn't know the war was going on. Shouldn't there be some way, in a democracy, that we share this burden?"
Earlier in the interview, Schieffer asked McCain about the Republican convention and the delegates represented:
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith talked to a panel of working moms about the media questioning Sarah Palin’s duel role as a mother and a vice presidential candidate: "Why is it that every time a woman starts ascending up a certain part of the food chain, we have this conversation all over again?...Now, if Sarah Palin's husband were in her spot, would we have asked that question in one second?...Fair or unfair, all this -- this whole conversation, and do you still feel there's a double standard?"
Compare those questions by Smith to comments by co-host Maggie Rodriguez on Wednesday, during an interview with Rudy Giuliani. The former New York City mayor and McCain supporter criticized the questions of Palin’s parenting: "They're asking can she be vice president and be a mother. Come on." Rodriguez replied: "I think they're fair questions. It's a lot to juggle." Also on Wednesday, Rodriguez led a panel discussion on Palin by asking: "The question, can a mother of five, including an infant with Downs Syndrome, be an effective vice president?"
During Friday’s segment, one of the members of the panel, Lisa Witter, observed: "Well, I personally think that if Sarah Palin were Joe Palin, we wouldn't be having this conversation." Smith replied to that with: "Amen."
While the majority of Thursday’s CBS Early Show coverage of Sarah Palin’s convention speech was positive, at the top of the 8am hour, co-host Maggie Rodriguez talked to Palin’s sister, Heather Bruce, and asked: "There's been a lot of talk this weekend about family, talk that family is off limits in a campaign. Yet we see your sister with her kids, introducing them, showing them on camera, and she even mentioned you in her speech last night. So the question is, is it okay to use family in a campaign when it benefits the candidate and not okay when it's negative?"
Bruce responded: "I just thought it was okay that Sarah introduces her family just to show that she's a real American family. I don't really have an opinion on whether it's beneficial or not, but in my opinion tonight, I thought it was just a gracious act for Sarah to recognize because I think she realizes that without a lot of family support in her situation that, you know, this -- this has come a long way with a lot of family support." Rodriguez then followed up: "And you're okay that...she gave you -- gave you your five seconds of fame last night?" Bruce replied: "I don't seek the limelight, or the press. I was surprised, but I wasn't offended whatsoever. You know, it was pretty gracious of her. That was kind of nice."
Appearing on Wednesday’s America’s Election HQ on FNC, the senior editor of US Weekly, Bradley Jacobs, defended the magazines recent cover, which showed a picture of Sarah Palin and the headline ‘Babies, Lies and Scandal,’ by explaining that: "Actually, the lies that we point out are some of the liberal bloggers who were speculating that the daughter was actually -- had given birth, that there was a coverup there. We're one of the few magazines that actually did call to task those liberal bloggers for the news stories over the weekend."
A skeptical Megyn Kelly responded to that claim by asking: "Bradley, do you think the cover in any way suggests to the viewer who's looking at your magazine while standing there in the grocery store that the lies are lies about Sarah Palin, by her attackers?" Jacobs replied: "I don't think we can talk about all that here. It is -- we've gotten a lot of press today, but a lot of people haven't read this story. You may disagree but it is a fairly...It's a very balanced story. We interview strategists on both sides."
Appearing on all three network morning shows on Wednesday, Rudy Giuliani was inundated with questions about McCain vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, including one question by Meredith Vieira on NBC’s Today: "So, what do you say to the people who are questioning the judgment of McCain in selecting her? He has always been known as a maverick, but also as somebody who can veer towards the reckless side. Some see this as a decision that was made in haste, I.E., reckless."
Meanwhile, on the CBS Early Show, Giuliani criticized the media for questioning Palin’s parenting ability: "They're asking can she be vice president and be a mother. Come on." Co-host Maggie Rodriguez replied: "So you're saying you have no doubt and voters shouldn't either. That she can do it?" Giuliani fired back: "Where are the feminists? I mean, is it just -- there are all these feminist groups. Where are they?" Then Rodriguez argued that questioning Palin as a mother was fair game: "I think they're fair questions. It's a lot to juggle."
On ABC’s Good Morning America, co-host Diane Sawyer was concerned with Palin’s travel habits: "Has Governor Palin traveled? Where?" Giuliani replied: "I'm sure she has a real knowledge of what's going on in the world. I'm sure she's going to be able to demonstrate that, but all things that, you got to, in fairness, before everybody jumps on her, I mean, when Barack Obama started they certainly didn't all jump on him this way." Sawyer then wondered: "We had heard she that got her first passport in order to go to Kuwait once and then go to Germany and that's the extent of her travel. Bother you?" Sawyer went on to ask: "She's going to be speaking tonight. Everyone says it's high stakes. It is a kind of make-or-break night for her. Should she be nervous?"
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez had a roundtable discussion on Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s ability to serve in office and be a mother: "The question, can a mother of five, including an infant with Downs Syndrome, be an effective vice president?" Washington Post reporter Sally Quinn was part of the panel and responded:
...it's interesting that here I am, supposedly part of you know, the -- what one would call the liberal elite media. That's what we've been all -- the critics of Sarah Palin have been called. And yet, taking the position that a woman with five children, including one with special needs, and a daughter who is a 17-year-old child who is pregnant and about to have a baby, probably has got to rethink her priorities. It seems to me that there is a tipping point, and I think that she's crossed the tipping point. I believe that it's going to be very difficult for her...I think this is -- this is too much.
Quinn made similar comments about Palin in a WashingtonPost.com "On Faith" blog posting last Friday, the day Palin was announced as McCain's VP. On March 26, Quinn told the Early Show's Harry Smith that the media should have gone after Chelsea Clinton more aggressively, Smith admitted: "We're not exactly watchdogs here" Well, CBS certainly seems to be a watchdog when it comes to Bristol Palin.
The other members of the panel were Republican congresswoman Kathy McMorris Rogers and the daughter of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Sarah Huckabee, who earlier condemned the questioning of Palin as a mother:
Tuesday’s CBS Early Show devoted four separate segments to news that the teenage daughter of McCain running mate Sarah Palin is pregnant, with co-host Maggie Rodriguez declaring: "Private lives, pregnancy, and politics. A stunning start to the Republican convention, as delegates grapple with Sarah Palin's family life. I'm Maggie Rodriguez in St. Paul. The bombshell pregnancy announcement that's stolen John McCain's limelight and why some insiders say it may help him." Later, Rodriguez explained: "We've got a couple of storms brewing here in St. Paul, as well. The headline in the local paper calls day one of the Republican National Convention 'A Day of Distractions' for the GOP. The focus not on John McCain, but on Hurricane Gustav and on the political storm involving the presumptive vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, and the revelation that her teen daughter is pregnant."
In the first segment on the issue, in the 7am half hour, correspondent Jeff Glor announced: "Four days ago, hardly anybody knew anything about Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Now they know a lot, including that news that her teenage daughter is indeed pregnant." Glor concluded his report by seeming to suggest that a planned address by Palin to the Republican convention was cancelled in the wake of the controversy: "Interesting to note that on the original schedule, Sarah Palin was scheduled to speak tonight. That will not happen." However, Glor never explained that while Palin was originally scheduled to give a prime time speech on Tuesday night of the convention, that speech was scheduled before she was named the vice presidential nominee, who traditionally accepts the party nomination on Wednesday, with McCain accepting the presidential nomination on Thursday.
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez talked to former FBI agent and body language expert, Joe Navarro about some of the controversial scenery at the Obama speech: "What did you think about the open stadium? Was it too much? Too over the top? Or was it effective?" Navarro responded: "Absolutely not. You know, months ago they were talking about decisions were going to be made behind closed doors. This was democracy at its best." Rodriguez added: "Because so many people were involved." That prompted Navarro to declare: "Involved. You know, you look at the -- everything, the people, the surroundings, the colors, the imagery. It reminds you of Athenian democracy."
On Wednesday, Navarro was on the show to analyze Michelle Obama’s body language during her convention speech: "I think it was a home run. She's a beautiful woman. You know, her hugs are genuine. She has those beautiful high cheek bones that we see in models. The broad shoulders. Look how wide her stance is. Her gestures are huge. They're very encompassing. These things draw us in."
Rodriguez did raise the controversy surrounding Obama’s backdrop during his nomination acceptance speech: "That was one of the criticisms, though. You said Athenian, that the temples made it look -- I mean, the columns made it look a little bit too much like a temple, like this was meant to worship Barack Obama as a god." Navarro completely dismissed such criticism: "Not at all. This was about that, you know, we use the images of these columns from Athens to tell us about our history of democracy, about openness, about the people. And we have a great example of this where this has been opened up, I think, for the first time and may set a precedent for future conventions. Very powerful."
While speculating on John McCain’s upcoming vice presidential running mate, who we now know will be Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, on Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez explained: "I found myself at one point last night thinking how difficult it must be for John McCain to watch such a huge celebration in honor of his opponent, especially on the eve of his 72nd birthday, which is today, and which he will be celebrating in Dayton, Ohio, where he will formally announce his vice president." In a later segment, Rodriguez declared: "John McCain didn't waste anytime trying to steal Barack Obama's thunder. He's decided on a running mate, and he will announce it today."
Later in that segment, Rodriguez talked to McCain communications director Jill Hazelbaker and asked: "But he needs to make a splash somehow, especially after last night. 85,000 screaming supporters witnessing an historic nomination. That's significant. How do you top that?" When Hazelbaker responded by pointing out that "what is holding him [Obama] back in this election, is the idea that he does not have the experience or the judgment to lead." Rodriguez interrupted: "But Jill, he answered...I disagree because he [Obama] answered, very directly, every criticism that John McCain has made about him from his readiness to be president, to his celebrity status, and everything in between, he gave very direct answers." Despite such strong defense for Obama, Rodriguez will be anchoring Early Show coverage at the Republican convention next week.
At the top of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith set the tone for the show’s coverage of Barack Obama’s upcoming nomination acceptance speech at the Democratic convention: "First, history being made in Denver today." While Obama being the first African-American presidential nominee of a major party is historic, the Early Show went far beyond the other network morning shows, doing three stories on Obama being the first black Democratic nominee, with numerous comparisons to Martin Luther King and the 45th anniversary of King’s ‘I Have A Dream’ speech.
Meanwhile, NBC’s Today made no comparisons between Obama and King. On ABC’s Good Morning America, co-host Robin Roberts made only one brief reference to King’s 1963 speech at the end of a segment on preparations for Obama’s speech at Invesco Field. Speaking to editor-at-large for ‘O’ Magazine, Gayle King, Roberts asked: "And as we stood in the enormous empty stadium I couldn't help but feel the sweeping hand of history. I know my mother said she never thought she'd see this day. How do you feel about being here? We have seen grainy photos of the '60s of historic moments but to now know that we are also going to witness something like this."
In contrast, Thursday’s Early Show included four comparisons of Obama and King. The first reference was in a report by correspondent Bill Plante, the other three references were all by Smith. During a segment in the 7am half hour featuring poet Maya Angelou, he remarked: "Barack Obama was 2 years old when Dr. King shared his dream...Tonight Barack Obama will deliver another speech, loaded with history and promise."
In the wake of Barack Obama officially becoming the first African-American presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, on Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith declared: "This day, August 28, is steeped in history. Barack Obama delivers his historic acceptance speech and 45 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his 'I Have A Dream" speech. August 28, 1963, hundreds of thousands of people came to Washington, D.C. They came to march for jobs, and for freedom, and for equality."
Smith went on to describe Obama as the culmination of all of King’s efforts: "Barack Obama was 2 years old when Dr. King shared his dream. In 2004, Obama burst on to the national scene with a speech that paid homage to King and those who came before him...Tonight Barack Obama will deliver another speech, loaded with history and promise. And expectations are high." Smith also got reaction from poet Maya Angelou: "I mean, we all know he's going to, in front of our very eyes, metamorphose into Martin Luther King -- not really, no. He has a different background. He has, I think, pretty much the same dream. I think he had the same dream that any leader has for her people, for his people." Smith responded by adding: "A dream that would become the American dream."
Smith then wondered: "And if Dr. King were alive today?" Angelou speculated: "It'd be a lot of 'I told you so, we could do this.' To America, not to blacks, not to whites, and not to Asians. But to Americans, 'I knew we could do this.' Amazing, these are really historic moments we're in."