CBS Runs Out of Time Before Getting to Biden's China Gaffe; Covers It Online

CBS referenced Vice President Joe Biden's recent gaffe about "fully understanding" China's one-child policy on Friday's Early Show as "off-the-cuff remarks" and "interesting comments," but failed to get to it during the segment. Anchor Chris Wragge merely explained that viewers would find "more on that on our website." Oddly, Wragge and his colleagues did broach the subject in an online video segment.

The anchor, along with co-anchor Erica Hill, brought on political correspondent Jan Crawford to discuss "the busy week in politics" 46 minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour. Besides mentioning the Vice President's "off-the-cuff remarks," Wragge also previewed another subject of the segment, which was Senator Marco Rubio Tuesday save of former First Lady Nancy Reagan, who stumbled while walking with the Florida politician. But even before getting to that, the three first discussed Texas Governor Rick Perry becoming the presumptive front-runner in the race for Republican presidential nomination. After briefly noting Perry's lead in the polls, Crawford decided to zero in on the possible drawbacks to his candidacy and highlighted one of the caricatures of the governor:

CRAWFORD: There are a lot of unanswered questions about Rick Perry. The Republican strategists that I'm talking to say, look, he's really good at winning elections in Texas, but can he broaden it out to a national level? He's kind of seen as almost a gunslinger, and I mean that literally. Remember, he shot a coyote when he was on a jog. So, you know, he's got a reputation of sometimes shooting from the hip. You know, he said that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke could be treasonous, and if he went down to Texas, you know, it might get ugly down there. People- and independent voters and women voters, you know, don't necessarily like that. Strategists say, you know, that doesn't sound presidential, so we'll have to see if Perry's initial burst actually lasts.

By contrast, the CBS correspondent then spoke more positively of Senator Rubio:

Jan Crawford, CBS News Correspondent | NewsBusters.orgCRAWFORD: He [Rubio] catches her, saves her. You know...all he needed was a cape, right? You know, like, kind of the new superhero. And Marco Rubio is someone that Republicans are incredibly excited about. They think his future is unlimited., and there are two reasons for that: number one, Hispanic voters. That is an important constituency that could well decide this election. President Obama, of course, did well in 2008 with Hispanics, but his approval numbers are slipping. Two years ago, 85% approval rating among Hispanics- last week, 44%. So, Republicans see a real opening with someone like a Marco Rubio on the ticket, and already, pundits are saying he's a lock for VP no matter who wins...the other point is he personifies the American dream. You know, his parents came here from Cuba, and that could speak to people outside, of course, the Hispanic community.

Wragge ended the segment after Crawford gave her analysis on the senator, stating that "of course, Vice President Biden had some interesting comments over the week, and you'll find some more on that on our website, too, at earlyshow.cbsnews.com."

On their website, The Early Show puts up video of many of their segments, but instead of the segment that aired (at least on the East Coast), the site has a similar report that touched on the same issues, but also got to the Biden issue. This time, Crawford acknowledged the controversial nature of the gaffe, but then brushed it aside:

HILL: ...Vice President Biden, making a few headlines, which he's very good at doing, including what was off-the-cuff remarks when he was in China this week.

CRAWFORD: That's right. I mean, obviously, he went out there and- to assure the Chinese that we're good for our debts, and he said he would not second guess, when he was out there, China's one-child policy. Obviously, that's something that's quite controversial, and people here say it would abhorrent. And that's exactly what the Republican candidates did. They immediately shot back at Biden, criticizing him for- saying, how could anyone say they understand that policy? But, of course, like you said, Erica, it's Joe Biden. People almost roll their eyes and say, well, there he goes again. It doesn't really stick.

The full transcript of the Jan Crawford segment from Friday's Early Show:

ERICA HILL: It's been, actually, a rather busy week in politics, and not only because of the presidential campaign.

CHRIS WRAGGE: It just may be you haven't heard much about it because we've been talking so much about the hurricane this week. There's Vice President Biden's off-the-cuff remarks in China, and the senator who caught Nancy Reagan when she almost fell.

And CBS News political correspondent Jan Crawford has a look at this week's highlights. Jan, good to have you with us this morning.

JAN CRAWFORD: It's good to be here.

HILL: Nice to have you here in person-

CRAWFORD: Yeah-

HILL: Let's start off with the presidential race, though, because there's so much focus on this, especially with a lot of changes in the front-runners-

CRAWFORD: That's right-

HILL: So, there's a  lot of talk this week about Mitt Romney, and also, about Rick Perry.

CRAWFORD: That's right, and, of course, Mitt Romney's been the front-runner for what? Ten years now? (Hill laughs) I mean, he's been running for president. But Rick Perry, the Texas governor, is really starting to eat into that. Polls show he is up over Romney now, anywhere from 10% to 12%. But it is early, and these early polls, as you guys know, don't tell always us that much.

There are a lot of unanswered questions about Rick Perry. The Republican strategists that I'm talking to say, look, he's really good at winning elections in Texas, but can he broaden it out to a national level? He's kind of seen as almost a gunslinger, and I mean that literally. Remember, he shot a coyote when he was on a jog. So, you know, he's got a reputation of sometimes shooting from the hip. You know, he said that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke could be treasonous, and if he went down to Texas, you know, it might get ugly down there. People- and independent voters and women voters, you know, don't necessarily like that. Strategists say, you know, that doesn't sound presidential, so we'll have to see if Perry's initial burst actually lasts.

WRAGGE: Well, the initial numbers say people are taking- are warming up to him at least.

Let's talk about Florida Senator Marco Rubio at the Ronald Reagan library with Nancy Reagan-


CRAWFORD: Right. She stumbles-

WRAGGE: She slips. Luckily, he's there-

CRAWFORD: He catches her, saves her. You know, he's almost- all he needed was a cape, right? You know, like, kind of the new superhero. And Marco Rubio is someone that Republicans are incredibly excited about. They think his future is unlimited., and there are two reasons for that: number one, Hispanic voters. That is an important constituency that could well decide this election. President Obama, of course, did well in 2008 with Hispanics, but his approval numbers are slipping. Two years ago, 85% approval rating among Hispanics- last week, 44%. So, Republicans see a real opening with someone like a Marco Rubio on the ticket, and already, pundits are saying he's a lock for VP no matter who wins, whether it's Romney, Perry, Bachmann, whoever. But the third thing is he really does, they think- I mean, the other point is he personifies the American dream. You know, his parents came here from Cuba, and that could speak to people outside, of course, the Hispanic community.

HILL: Yeah, well, an interesting look back, and, of course, Vice President Biden had some interesting comments over the week, and you'll find some more on that on our website, too, at earlyshow.cbsnews.com. Jan, nice to have you here. Thanks.

WRAGGE: Thanks, Jan. Good to see you.

CRAWFORD: Thanks.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center