CBS Fails to Air Tough Questions to Obama on Negative Campaign Ads

Sunday's 60 Minutes couldn't be bothered to air Steve Kroft pursuing President Obama about "nasty and negative campaign ads under your name, or under the name of your various PACs." Obama begrudging admitted, "Do we see, sometimes, us going overboard in our campaign, or the mistakes that are made, or...areas where there's no doubt that somebody could dispute how we are presenting things? You know, that happens in politics." The news program relegated the exchange to CBSNews.com.

Despite the fact the clip didn't make it on the air, correspondent Jan Crawford mentioned it on Monday's CBS This Morning: "And even last night...the President, on that 60 Minutes interview, acknowledged that some of his attacks - some of his ads - have gone, as he put it, 'overboard', and he said there is no dispute that someone could have an issue with the way the campaign has been presenting some things."

Steve Kroft, CBS News Correspondent; & President Barack Obama | NewsBusters.orgThe correspondent didn't play an excerpt from the unaired part of Kroft's interview of Obama. However, she did play a clip from Scott Pelley's interview of Mitt Romney, where the CBS Evening News anchor wondered if the Republican presidential nominee's 14 percent capital gains tax rate was "fair to the guy who makes $50,000 and paid a higher rate."

After Crawford's report, the CBS morning show played a second clip from the Romney interview, where Pelley hounded the former Massachusetts governor about his tax plan, as well as a clip of Kroft highlighting to Obama that "most Americans think we're spending too much money. The national debt has gone up 60 percent in the four years that you've been in office." The President answered by pointing the finger at his predecessor, George W. Bush:

OBAMA: Well, first of all, Steve, I think it's important to understand the context here. When I came into office, I inherited the biggest deficit in our history. And over the last four years, the deficit has gone up, but 90 percent of that is as a consequence of two wars that weren't paid for; as a consequence of tax cuts that weren't paid for; a prescription drug plan that was not paid for; and then, the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

The transcript of the un-aired segment of Steve Kroft's interview of President Barack Obama for 60 Minutes:

STEVE KROFT: This has been a very negative campaign by both sides. There are a lot of people out there running some very nasty – nasty and negative campaign ads under your name, or under the name of your various PACs.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Well, actually, the truth of the matter is, Steve, that the vast majority of my ads have been under my name and I've approved them, and when you look at - not only my ads, but also how I've campaigned, I'm making a positive case for a specific plan for how we move this country forward. I have also made the case that Governor Romney's proposals would move the country backward. So, there is a sharp contrast there, but, you know, the stakes are high.

KROFT: Look, the fact checkers have had problems with the ads on both sides, and say that they've been misleading and, in some cases, just not true. Does that disturb you? I mean, some of them – some of them are your ads.


OBAMA: Do we see, sometimes, us going overboard in our campaign, or the mistakes that are made, or the – you know, areas where there's no doubt that somebody could dispute how we are presenting things? You know, that happens in politics. I think-

KROFT: Aren't the American people entitled to the truth or a better version of it?

OBAMA: Well – the truth of the matter is, most of the time, we're having a vigorous debate about a vision for the country, and, you know, there's a lot at stake in this election. So, is it going to be sharp sometimes? Absolutely. But will the American people ultimately have a good sense of where I want to take the country, and where Governor Romney takes the country? I think they will.

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