CBS's Bill Plante: Bill Clinton's Reputation 'Bathed in Nostalgia'

CBS This Morning on Tuesday heralded President Obama and former President Bill Clinton's joint fundraising appearances in New York City, playing up the "star-studded lineup" that appeared with the two. Correspondent Bill Plante gushed that Obama "shared the stage and the spotlight with former President Bill Clinton...his reputation now bathed in nostalgia as he made the case for his fellow Democrat."

Political director John Dickerson also likened Clinton to a lumbering dog throwing its weight around: "He's [Clinton] also, sort of, a big St. Bernard bounding around the political landscape, saying what he wants, and it's difficult for the Obama team to quiet him down if he says something that might be slightly off message."

Anchor Charlie Rose noted in his introduction to Plante's report that "Clinton said that Mitt Romney's qualified to be president. President Obama's reelection campaign was not happy about that. But last night...the current and former presidents were side by side and on the same page." The correspondent continued that "this started out as a rocky relationship, between the new upstart and the former champ. But they have grown to appreciate one another. In New York last night, they appeared together, the two biggest stars in the Democratic Party."

Bill Plante, CBS News Correspondent | NewsBusters.orgThe veteran CBS journalist used his "bathed in nostalgia" phrase soon after. Plante then highlighted their past tension between the Democrats: "Things haven't always been so cordial. In 2008, when Hillary Clinton was battling then-Senator Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination, their relationship was tense." Plante soon added, though, that "the one-time icy relationship has settled into a marriage of convenience. With Hillary Clinton's future in politics still a possibility, Bill Clinton needs to be a friend to all Democrats. And President Obama knows that Clinton can reach out effectively to voters."

Rose brought on Dickerson at the end of Plante's report to discuss the presidential joint appearance. He first asked the CBS political director, "So how important is Bill Clinton to President Obama's reelection?" Dickerson touted how Clinton is "about as important as a surrogate can be for a candidate...he's, obviously, beloved within the Democratic Party. He can raise money; he can rally the troops; and he's got a natural political instinct, which means that he can coin a phrase or lay out an attack line the President never could." Dickerson continued with his alpine dog comparison.

The CBS anchor followed up with a leading follow-up question: "Bill Clinton's political instincts are as good as any anybody in the Democratic Party, aren't they?" The political director quipped in reply, "Well, that's right, and he thinks that's certainly the case, too."


Earlier, Plante surprisingly reported how the President confused rival Mitt Romney with his father:

PLANTE: Fundraising Monday, both men [Clinton and Obama] took turns hitting Mitt Romney, even though President Obama momentarily forgot which Romney he was targeting.

OBAMA: You know, George Romney -- wrong guy. (audience laughs) Governor Romney!

The full transcript of the Bill Plante and John Dickerson segments on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, which aired back-to-back at 12 minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour, is available at MRC.org.

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