At the top of Tuesday’s CBS Early Show co-host Harry Smith teased his interview with John McCain: "Exclusive, McCain one-on-one on Sarah Palin...everything from robocalls to his health." During the later segment, Smith declared: "A lot of Republican pundits in the last couple of weeks have said that yourchoice of a vice presidential candidate of Sarah Palin has been a disaster." He then asked McCain: "If, in fact, you found out that her candidacy cost you the election, would you still say it was the right choice?" McCain replied: "Harry. Look. Come to one of the rallies with me. You'll see the ignition out there and the passion and the incredible intensity out there for Sarah Palin."
Smith followed up by wondering if McCain’s health would prevent him from being president: "Can you reassure the American people right now that your health is what it needs to be in order to take office and not be concerned that it will become a factor, should you become President of the United States?" To that, McCain offered a challenge: "Have you seen me the last two years? 24/7 out there day after day in the grind. Look. I hiked the Grand Canyon from rim-to-rim a couple of summers ago with my son. Listen. I'll -- listen, I'll invite any of the people who are reporting on that to come out and stick with me and hang with me on the trail."
On Sunday’s Face the Nation on CBS, host Bob Schieffer talked to Washington Post reporter Dan Balz about Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama and Balz argued: "Well I think it's obviously significant. I don't think endorsements ultimately mean that much, but there are two, I think, important things that happened with his endorsement of Senator Obama...the criticism of McCain for picking Governor Palin as his running mate, he said explicitly he did not think she was ready. This is something that is beginning to become almost a chorus in some parts of the Republican Party."
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, Schieffer offered almost identical analysis of Powell’s endorsement: "Well, I've never thought endorsements are game-changers but this just adds to the good news that Barack Obama's been getting lately...what Colin Powell said yesterday and why it was so riveting to hear him, he was saying aloud what a lot of Republicans are saying privately, I think, or at least what I've heard some Republicans tell me. They think the pick of Sarah Palin reflects on John McCain's judgment, they think the campaign has turned too nasty and is not inclusive."
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez discussed former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama with Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer: "To hear Colin Powell say that he's not sure John McCain can handle the economy, he's not sure if Sarah Palin is qualified, he doesn't like the nasty tone of this campaign, how significant was that, Bob?" Schieffer replied: "...this just adds to the good news that Barack Obama's been getting lately. Things seem to be breaking his way. This just adds to the momentum."
Rodriguez then followed up by wondering: "What do you think privately the McCain campaign is making of this endorsement?" At that point, Schieffer proclaimed: "Well, I'm sure they don't like it but, you know, this is -- what Colin Powell said yesterday and why it was so riveting to hear him, he was saying aloud what a lot of Republicans are saying privately, I think, or at least what I've heard some Republicans tell me. They think the pick of Sarah Palin reflects on John McCain's judgment, they think the campaign has turned too nasty and is not inclusive. I think Colin Powell said aloud yesterday what some Republicans, at least, are saying privately." [audio excerpt here]
After smearing Joe the Plumber on Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith turned to a group of his own hand selected ‘average Joes’ to defend Barack Obama’s tax plan: "I'll tell you, we have assembled a panel of 'average Joes.' Joe the plumber, the most famous person in America now. Well, we have five Joes here this morning, from various walks of life, and we're going to put their incomes to the test against the candidates' tax plans and see how it will affect them all." Financial analyst Jennifer Openshaw then proceeded to examine the personal financial situations of each "Joe" and concluded that four of them would save more money under Obama’s tax plan as promoted by his campaign.
Smith did acknowledge these projections were hypothetical: "...according to the Obama tax plan, and this, of course, is subject to passed by Congress...Talk about a pie in the sky." However, he then continued to assume it would be implemented and focused on the first guest, asking Openshaw: "He would do much better with Obama plan?" Openshaw replied: "You bet, he would do a lot better. But under McCain, what's interesting is, you know, he's got that $2,500 health care tax credit...for coverage, you know, you might not be able to cover both you and your son if you have to go find coverage someplace. So that's something to watch out for."
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Jeff Glor reported on the role of Joe the Plumber, a.k.a. Joe Wurzelbacher, in the presidential campaign: "The McCain campaign is using Wurzelbacher to say their opponent would raise taxes. Though it turns out, Wurzelbacher himself owes nearly $1,200 in back taxes and his annual tax bill would actually go down under Obama's plan." Glor then added: "Obama mocked the McCain strategy."
At the end of Glor’s report, co-host Harry Smith asked: "Yeah Jeff, we're starting to learn a little bit more about Joe/Steven, the Plumber?" Smith mistakenly referred to Wurzelbacher’s first name being Steven, when in fact it is Samuel, and he corrected himself: "Samuel." Glor responded: "A couple of more things about Joe the Plumber -- Samuel, indeed. He is registered to vote. There were some questions about that. He does not have a plumber's license, though. And it turns out his real first name is Samuel. Joe is his middle name." At that moment, an on screen Graphic appeared with the headline: "The Real Joe the Plumber" and listed the details Glor mentioned. On Thursday, co-host Maggie Rodriguez claimed that Wurzelbacher: "...feels like he is being used by the Republican Party as a pawn to make their point..." but offered no direct quote of any such comment.
At the top of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez claimed that Joe Wurzelbacher, the Ohio plumber who criticized Obama’s tax policy, was upset that McCain mentioned him in Wednesday’s debate: "This is the small businessman first mentioned by John McCain, but then referenced repeatedly by both candidates. I had a chance to speak with Joe after the debate and he told me he did not like being mentioned, he feels like he is being used by the Republican Party as a pawn to make their point..." Despite that assertion, Rodriguez never offered any audio, video, or even a direct quote of Wurzelbacher saying any such thing.
However, in the same sentence, Rodriguez did admit: "...at the same time, he said since he has been thrust into this, he wants America to know that he absolutely disagrees with Senator Obama's tax plan. He says it punishes him for making more money and he even called it Marxist." In the report by correspondent Jeff Glor that followed, such criticism of Obama was backed up as audio of Wurzelbacher talking to Evening News anchor Katie Couric was played: "You know, I've always wanted to ask one of these guys a question and really corner them and get them to answer a question for once, instead of tap dancing around it. And unfortunately I asked the question but I still got a tap dance. He [Barack Obama] was almost as good as Sammy Davis Jr."
Wednesday’s CBS Early Show began to declare the presidential race over as co-host Julie Chen touted new CBS News/New York Times poll numbers and proclaimed: "Obama surge. As the candidates head to the final showdown, Barack Obama opens up a 14-point lead. Can John McCain turn his campaign around in the final debate?" Co-host Harry Smith followed up with: "A lot of people say this is John McCain's last chance to really make a difference with just what -- two weeks and several days before the election." Correspondent Jeff Glor reported: "For 90 minutes, John McCain and Barack Obama will be sitting only four feet away from each other, which is about the only thing that's close about this race right now."
Glor later pinpointed the reason for McCain’s fall in the polls: "...independents, where there's been a shocking shift in the span of just one week, Obama turned a ten-point deficit into an 18-point lead. 21% of voters say they've changed their opinion of John McCain for the worse, citing the campaign's reliance on negative attacks and the selection of Sarah Palin as a running mate." At the top of the 8AM half hour, co-host Russ Mitchell reiterated that point in a news brief: "Meanwhile, it appears McCain may have hurt himself. 21% of voters say their opinion of McCain soured over the past few weeks because of negative attacks on Obama and his choice of Sarah Palin as running mate."
As part of the promotion of his new Bush-bashing drama ‘W,’ director Oliver Stone appeared on Tuesday’s CBS Early Show and co-host Harry Smith gushed: "And there are so many interesting portrayals in this, we don't have time to go into them all...Stunning, stunning, stunning ...Phenomenal, phenomenal stuff." Smith even suggested that some people saw the movie as sympathetic to Bush, though not Smith himself: "People -- I was in a screening of this movie just yesterday. This person was walking out, 'my gosh it seemed so sympathetic.' I didn't feel that way, but your hearing that yourself I'm sure."
In response, Stone replied:
I hear it but I think there's a confusion between sympathy and empathy. Empathy means understanding, and as a dramatist it's my job to understand, to walk in the shoes of George W. Bush as best as I can...Sympathize, no. I do think he's hurt this country. I'm a Vietnam veteran. We should not have gone into the Iraq war. We were in three wars, not only Afghanistan and Iraq, but really the war on terror is a major war. You know, we've had an economic meltdown because of it, partly because of the overreach. And this country is in a very dire place and I'm not happy about it...But, you know, people voted for him.
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith talked to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and asked about negative attacks in the campaign: "Alright, one of the things that's happened in the McCain campaign over the last couple of days is the personal attacks seem to have at least subsided or quieted down a little bit. Do you think, in the long run, this might actually have been a fatal wound to the McCain-Palin campaign?" Giuliani responded: "I think there's a tendency on the media to blame it more on John McCain and Sarah Palin than on Barack Obama and his campaign but, to me, it's -- you know it's been coming from both sides." To that, Smith sarcastically replied: "Yeah, it's got to be the media's fault." Giuliani laughed and added: "Don't be defensive, Harry."
This is the not the first time Smith has denied Giuliani’s charges of media bias. On September 12, Giuliani criticized the media for attacking Sarah Palin’s experience but not applying similar scrutiny to Barack Obama: "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." Smith angrily denied any such bias: "That's not true. That's not true...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." However, Smith himself conducted eight interviews with Obama and only asked two foreign policy questions of the inexperienced Senator.
During the 7AM half hour of Monday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Jeff Glor reported on a couple moments at recent McCain campaign events as evidence of harsh Republican attacks against Barack Obama: "...a few recent fiery McCain campaign moments...Including one where McCain had to take the mic away from a woman who incorrectly called Obama an Arab." Glor went on to explain: "All of it led Democrat and civil rights leader John Lewis to issue a controversial statement,charging the Republicans with cultivating an atmosphere reminiscent of the days of segregation."
While referencing Lewis’s comments, Glor did not describe what made them particularly controversial: "George Wallace never threw a bomb. He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who were simply trying to exercise their constitutional rights...Because of this atmosphere of hate, four little girls were killed on Sunday morning when a church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama." It would seem that a Democratic member of Congress comparing John McCain to George Wallace would be a little more serious than one random woman at a campaign rally making an incorrect statement about Obama’s ethnicity.
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith discussed the presidential campaign with former Bush speech writer David Frum and declared: "There is growing concern among some Republicans about McCain's campaign. They're calling on him to stabilize it." Later in the segment, Smith asked Frum point blank: "Was Sarah Palin a mistake?"Frum replied: "I think Sarah Palin was a huge mistake...Americans can be pretty jokey about their government when times are good, but when times are bad, they want to know do -- can you do the job? And when you have a candidate who so obviously has never thought about any of the issues that are going to be important to the next administration and whose knowledge is so shallow, it makes people -- it doesn't just make people offended, it makes them afraid."
Just prior to asking Frum about Palin, Smith asked: "We're talking about the Gallup numbers, the Post has Obama up by ten points. Three weeks to go. Is it too late for John McCain to make substantial changes and literally save his campaign?" Part of Frum’s response to that question included: "The McCain campaign right now is running a campaign aimed at getting excited the last -- the core 30% of the country that supports the Republican Party, our base, but you don't win elections on your base. You win elections, but with a broad strategy. And above all, when you run an election like this aimed at your base you risk demoralizing and offending a lot of people who are needed by a Norm Coleman or an Elizabeth Dole."
Update: Frum's appearance on the Early Show prompted a discussion between Kathryn Jean Lopez and Mark Levin on National Review Online.
In preparation for a report on the investigation into whether Sarah Palin fired Alaska’s public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan, for personal reasons, on Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared: "Palin on the hot seat. Alaska lawmakers set to release a report today on the Troopergate investigation. We'll go live to Alaska for the latest details on the potentially explosive report." Co-host Julie Chen later introduced the segment by explaining: "The McCain-Palin ticket is bracing for what could be an embarrassing report. Lawmakers in Alaska are expected to release the results of an investigation into possible abuse of power by Governor Sarah Palin in the so-called Troopergate inquiry."
Correspondent John Blackstone reported: "Well, when the Troopergate report is released later today, it will show that since Sarah Palin became governor, her husband Todd repeatedly and frequently had conversations with government officials, all aimed at having their former brother-in-law, state trooper [Mike Wooten], thrown off the force." Blackstone never made mention of charges made against Wooten that he threatened to shoot Palin’s father, tasered his ten-year-old stepson, or was caught drinking on duty. The closest Blackstone came was to quote the man Palin fired: "Although the trooper has a disciplinary record, [former public safety commissioner Walt] Monegan said in a phone interview last night, he's not a bad cop."
At the top of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith declared: "The McCain campaign sharpens its attacks on Barack Obama using one of its biggest guns." The "big gun" Smith was referring to was Cindy McCain, who criticized Obama on Wednesday for voting against Iraq troop funding. Smith followed by claiming: "But Obama strikes back with his own secret weapon," referencing Michelle Obama on CNN’s Larry King Live on Wednesday commenting that: "The folks out there right now are scared...They don't care about the sort of back and forth between the candidates."
Smith introduced the later segment by proclaiming: "With less than a month to go before election day, the campaign, especially McCain campaign, has turning -- has been turning up its attack on Barack Obama's character." In the report that followed, correspondent Jeff Glor described how: "John McCain's wife Cindy is usually camera shy but with polls showing the McCain campaign in rough waters it's all hands on deck. For the first time on the stump, Cindy McCain targeted Barack Obama...It's another escalation in the attacks of recent days as the McCain campaign questions Obama's commitment to country and his contacts." On Tuesday, Glor downplayed one of Obama’s "contacts," referring to domestic terrorist Bill Ayers as merely a: "once radical anti-war advocate."
On Wednesday, all three network morning shows interviewed Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden and offered no Republican counterpoint, punishing the McCain campaign for Sarah Palin declining to make similar appearances. On ABC’s Good Morning America, co-host Diane Sawyer concluded her interview with Biden by declaring: "And we want you to know that we have asked Governor Palin to come on Good Morning America. And, of course, debate Senator Biden again here. And repeatedly, she has declined. Although, Senator Biden has said that he's willing to debate her again, if she wants."
On NBC’s Today, co-host Ann Curry made a similar declaration: "And we should also note that we invited Governor Sarah Palin to join us this morning, but she declined. The Governor has an open invitation to appear on Today, but so far she has not accepted our offers." On CBS’s Early Show co-host Harry Smith explained: "We also invited Governor Sarah Palin, John McCain's running mate, but the McCain campaign declined." Apparently, the mainstream media deems itself as John McCain’s communications director.
On Tuesday, an Associated Press article featured on MSNBC.com and briefly as a top headline on the popular internet homepage MSN.com was titled: "McCain linked to group in Iran-Contra case." The subtitle read: "Organization had ties to former Nazi collaborators, right-wing death squads." The article attacked a group founded by retired U.S. General John Singlaub: "The U.S. Council for World Freedom was part of an international organization linked to former Nazi collaborators and ultra-right-wing death squads in Central America. The group was dedicated to stamping out communism around the globe."
The AP appears to be getting its story tips from the Obama campaign, as Boston Globe deputy national political editor, Foon Rhee, reported: "The Obama camp today is sending around reports on Singlaub, founder of the US Council for World Freedom, which was involved in the Iran-Contra scandal during the mid-1980s and was criticized for supposed links to Nazi collaborators and right-wing death squads in Central America." The AP article justified reporting on the tenuous McCain connection by explaining: "McCain's ties are facing renewed scrutiny after his campaign criticized Barack Obama for his link to a former radical who engaged in violent acts 40 years ago."
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Jeff Glor condemned the McCain campaign for "blasting" Barack Obama and playing a "guilt-by-association game" by discussing Obama’s connection to domestic terrorist Bill Ayers. Glor proclaimed: "Using a new ad to pile on adjectives, 'dangerous,' 'dishonorable,' 'liberal,' and 'risky.' And using running mate Sarah Palin to name names, trying to link Obama with controversial characters like the once radical anti-war advocate William Ayers and fiery pastor Jeremiah Wright."
While Glor referred to Ayers being "once radical," in a 2001 New York Times article, Ayers expressed no remorse for his 1970's terrorist activities, saying: "I don't regret setting bombs...I feel we didn't do enough." In addition, in October of 2006, Ayers did an interview with the Communist publication ‘Revolution’ and defended left-wing radical Ward Churchill who referred to victims of September 11th as Nazis: "He’s being pilloried for his politics, for being a leftist, for being a critic of U.S. imperialism as it relates to Native Americans. How can we as socialists or as communists or as leftists, how can we leave him in the cold and say, well I’m a good leftist because I don’t talk the way Ward talks. I find that appalling. And I would hope that when they come to get Ward, we all link arms and don’t allow it."
While commemorating the tenth anniversary of the beating death of gay college student Matthew Shepard, on Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez wondered: "Since then, there's been outcry for tougher laws, but how much progress has been made?" Correspondent Thalia Assuras then reported: "The Human Rights Campaign here in Washington D.C. is the largest gay rights advocacy group in the country...Campaign president Joe Solomnese says more must be done to change attitudes...And more must be done to enact laws. Wyoming is among 19 states that still don't address hate crimes based on sexual orientation, something Matthew's family and friends are still working to change." No opponents of hate crimes legislation were featured in the segment.
Following Assuras’s report, co-host Maggie Rodriguez interview mother of Matthew Shepard, Judy Shepard. Rodriguez asked if the men responsible for the murder showed any remorse, Shepard replied: "...they actually wonder still why they're in such trouble for what they did, just, you know, killing a young gay man. They were -- the environment was set up for them that it was okay to do that to Matt." Rodriguez followed up: "And do you still find that kind of attitude as pervasive as it was then or have you seen positive changes in the last ten years?" Shepard then explained:
Oh, there's definitely been positive changes and for a lot of reasons. Theatrical productions, literature, television, novels, movies, all portray the gay community in a very positive forward-thinking way and that has really helped. People understand the gay community. The level of ignorance is just -- it's amazing that people just don't know more about the civil rights that are being denied the gay community and we're moving forward and working at the grassroots level now trying to really educate people and make them aware of the gay community.
At the top of the CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith described how the McCain campaign was criticizing Barack Obama for his connection to domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, but avoided any such label: "...dredging up of a character that Barack Obama knows from Chicago named Bill Ayers, who was one of the founders of the Weather Underground. So it's really getting crazy..." Smith offered no explanation of the terrorist activity launched by Weather Underground. In a later segment, correspondent Chip Reid also avoided the terrorist label, but did describe the activity of the organization: "William Ayers, a former radical who participated in a domestic bombing campaign during the Vietnam War."
At the same time that Smith and Reid worked to downplay Ayers’s terrorist activity and connection to Obama, they also bashed the McCain campaign for daring to even mention such a connection. Smith began the show by declaring: "It's getting ugly. Less than a month to go and the campaigns are turning negative in the race for the White House... Desperate measures or smart strategy?...And the campaign is getting nasty to say the least." In his report, Reid blamed the ugliness and nastiness on the McCain campaign: "But with a flurry of new negative ads and attacks, it's clear the gloves are now completely off. John McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin, is leading the charge...With the campaign's new bare knuckle strategy, attacking Barack Obama's character..."
At the top of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Jeff Glor reported on the upcoming vice presidential debate by declaring: "35-year Senate veteran Joe Biden versus the upstart from Alaska, Sarah Palin, the surprise VP pick, whose credentials have been questioned after a series of attention-grabbing interviews." Despite referring to Palin as an "upstart," Glor also pointed out Biden’s failings: "If Palin has been accused of saying too little since joining the ticket, Biden, in his past, has said too much...Notable foot-in-mouth comments and old plagiarism accusations put pressure on him, too." Glor also played a clip of one of Biden’s well-known gaffes: "You cannot go to a Seven Eleven or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent."
In a later segment, co-host Harry Smith interviewed Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill and asked about some of her recent comments regarding Biden’s verbal missteps: "Speaking of Joe Biden putting his foot in his mouth, you said sometime in the last 24 hours or so, I'm getting this off the Kansas City Star website: ‘My friend, Joe Biden, has a tendency to talk forever and sometimes say stuff that's kind of stupid’...how worried are you about him tonight?" McCaskill admited: "Yeah. That was my Joe Biden --that was my Joe Biden moment yesterday." Mentioning Biden’s gaffes helped to balance out co-host Maggie Rodriguez’s hostile interview with Fred Thompson, in which she asked: "The McCain campaign has been spending a lot of time lately having to defend her and a growing number of Republicans are criticizing her for her perceived lack of knowledge, or at least inability to discuss important issues."
While talking to CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric about her interview with Sarah Palin, on Wednesday’s Early Show, co-host Harry Smith asked: "...there is a -- I won't say growing -- but there are a number of Republicans and conservatives have started to question whether or not she's good for this ticket. What -- what is the feeling in the McCain camp about that?" Couric actually defended Palin: "Well, you know, she has helped the McCain campaign raise $30 million. Helped them double their get-out-the-vote effort. And as you can see, she's energized the crowds." On Monday, co-host Julie Chen described how "Some conservatives want Sarah Palin off the Republican ticket."
Prior to that question, Smith asked Couric: "What did she have to say about troopergate?" To that, Couric explained: "Well, you know, there is a preliminary report coming out October 10. She didn't tell me that, but she basically said that whole investigation into whether she fired the public safety commissioner because he wouldn't get rid of the trooper who had been married to her sister...had been highly politicized, that it belonged in the hands of the personnel board, rather than the state legislature, despite the fact that 8 out of the 12 who initiated the investigation are Republicans."
In case viewers did not understand the concept of a domino effect caused by the financial crisis, on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen offered a visual representation as she declared: "What happens on Wall Street affects all of us on Main Street. It's the classic domino effect." At that point, six giant dominos where displayed in the studio, each one labeled with a different phase of the economic crisis (see video).
Chen went through each phase, and domino, with financial expert Vera Gibbons. At the end of the segment, Gibbons explained: "It's a domino effect, it all works together." Gibbons then knocked over the giant dominos and declared: "Voila!" Chen replied: "That's depressing." Prior to offering such a dumbed-down explanation of the financial crisis, on Monday, Chen referred to all the comedic material Sarah Palin provided to Saturday Night Live: "Tina Fey has just so much material to work with, this is like, probably a dream come true for her."
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith aired the second half of his interview with the parents of Sarah Palin, Chuck and Sally Heath, and described how: "From mayor of Wasilla to governor of Alaska, and now a vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin's sudden appearance on the national scene has been celebrated, and increasingly criticized." Palin’s father responded: "They're digging and digging for the bad side, yeah. And there is no real bad side. They're fabricating a lot of things, which I don't want to go into, yeah."
Smith then followed up: "Is that hurtful to you as parents?" Palin’s mother replied: "Very. Very. Mostly because you know how it affects the kids." After the clip of the interview was played, co-host Julie Chen asked Smith: "Did they talk about how difficult it is to hear their daughter be the butt of so many jokes ever since she stepped out onto the national spotlight?" Smith responded: "Well, you know, it's interesting, because we talked to Chuck about that. He saw the -- at least the first episode from 'Saturday Night Live' and he said that he thought Tina Fey did a good job. I'm not so sure they would have appreciated this past Saturday night's episode, though." Chen replied: "Yeah, I agree." On Monday, Chen remarked on that latest SNL skit, declaring: "Tina Fey has just so much material to work with, this is like, probably a dream come true for her."
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Jeff Glor reported on the presidential candidates’ reactions to the failure of the financial bailout, beginning with Obama: "Barack Obama's campaign had already released copies of a planned speech, saying lawmakers have agreed on an emergency plan. When that prediction went poof, Obama urged calm." Glor then turned to John McCain: "But Politico's Mike Allen believes John McCain had far more to lose. By suspending his campaign and jetting back to Washington, McCain staked a critical part of this campaign on a deal, then most of his fellow Republicans voted no and not a single representative from McCain's home state of Arizona voted yes." Half the Arizona congressional delegation are Democrats.
A clip Mike Allen was then played: "McCain set himself up for trouble. He came in late, he was a little half-hearted and now he owns a failure." Despite the bailout being characterized as a McCain failure in that report, earlier in the show, co-host Harry Smith questioned Virginia Congressman Jim Moran on the Democrats failure to pass the legislation: "Congressman Moran, let me ask you. You voted in the affirmative, yet, at least 40% of your Democratic colleagues voted against that. How -- how are you going to convince them that they should change their votes?"
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.