CBS: 60 Minutes Interview 'Much Better Image' for Hillary Than 'Bruising' Hearing; Hypes Hillary and Obama's 'Warmness'

On Monday's CBS This Morning, Norah O'Donnell gushed over Steve Kroft's interview of President Obama and Hillary Clinton, twice emphasizing the supposed "warmness" between the two Democrats. O'Donnell asserted that the interview was "a long way from where they were in 2008 in that bitter primary battle....This time, they were leaning into each other. There was clearly a warmness between them."

John Dickerson later hyped how the Kroft segment on Sunday's 60 Minutes came at an opportune time for Mrs. Clinton, after her contentious appearances before a Senate committee about the Islamist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya:

JOHN DICKERSON: Hillary Clinton just came out of that bruising hearing. This is a much better image for her to be leaving her tenure with.

It would have been very hard for the former first lady to not come emerge with a better image, given the CBS correspondent's beyond softball interview of the former rivals.

O'Donnell had prompted Dickerson's statement with a half-joking inquiry where she again used the "warmness" term: "Returning to the 60 Minutes interview last night, to see that warmness I mentioned between President Obama and Hillary Clinton, what do you think Joe Biden thought of it all? (laughs)"

John Dickerson, CBS News Political Director; Screen Cap From 28 January 2013 Edition of CBS This Morning | NewsBusters.orgAn on-screen graphic posed a more straightforward question on the possible 2016 Democratic presidential primary race, which was the same one ABC's Martha Raddatz wondered about on Monday's Good Morning America: "Rivals No More: Was Dual '60 Mins' Interview An Endorsement?"

Earlier in the segment, co-anchor Charlie Rose wondered about the passage of a recently-proposed bipartisan immigration reform package in the Senate: "John, let me begin with immigration. Is this an idea whose time has come, or is it we, too, can read election results?...Can you believe that the common ground will lead to successful legislation?"

The full transcript of the John Dickerson segment from Monday's CBS This Morning, which came after the morning show played an extended clip from the Obama/Clinton 60 Minutes interview:

[CBS News Graphic: "Rivals No More: Obama, Clinton Recall Bitter 2008 Campaign"]

NORAH O'DONNELL: I thought that was a good point – 'we're professionals', certainly. But it is a long way from where they were in 2008 in that bitter primary battle, where Obama famously said, 'Well, you're likeable enough, Hillary'.

CHARLIE ROSE: Yes, indeed-

O'DONNELL: This time, they were leaning into each other. There was clearly a warmness between them.

ROSE: It was fascinating to watch the body language – how they seemed to be really enjoying the process. It wasn't like, do we really have to go through this? It was interesting what he said.

O'DONNELL: Yeah.

ROSE: The State Department has confirmed yesterday that Friday will be Secretary Clinton's last day at the State Department.

With us now in Washington, CBS News political director John Dickerson. So John, let me begin with immigration. Is this an idea whose time has come, or is it we, too, can read election results?

[CBS News Graphic: "Ready For Reform: Why Both Parties Want Immigration Deal"]

JOHN DICKERSON: Well, I think they're combined. You know, Republicans strategists for a long time – going back to Karl Rove, who was George Bush's top strategist, and then – in 2000; and then, Mike Murphy, a Republican strategist in 2008, said the Republican Party cannot survive if it doesn't find an inroad to Hispanic voters. And now, the election results have spoken louder than those two strategists and the entire party – well, not the entire party, but a lot of its loud voices, have come on board with this idea. So, you have a – a moment here where both parties are anxious to seize it.

[CBS News Graphic: "Senate Immigration Plan: -Path to citizenship for illegal immigrants; -Reform legal immigration system; -Create employment verification system; Create process for admitting new workers"]

ROSE: Can you believe that the common ground will lead to successful legislation?


DICKERSON: Well, the way things are now, you – you have to be skeptical about progress, but you do have a group of Republicans who want a deal here. Now, the question is on the details, and the key one, of course, to watch, is why won't this be like immigration – immigration process in the past – say, the one Reagan passed? And that's what makes a lot of Republicans skeptical, and the worry there is that you get what these Republicans would call amnesty, but then, no enforcement. So you get, sort of, the politically-beneficial part – the part that allows these undocumented workers to come in under the shadows, but then, you don't enforce the border measures that keep more people from coming in.

[CBS News Graphic: "Senators Announce Immigration Proposal; Sen. John McCain; Sen. Lindsey Graham; Sen. Marco Rubio; Sen. Jeff Flake; Sen. Dick Durbin; Sen. Chuck Schumer; Sen. Bob Menendez; Sen. Michael Bennet"]

O'DONNELL: John, Mitt Romney, in the exit polls, got 27 percent of the Hispanic vote. That was the lowest number since Bob Dole got. How much of this is about 2016; the future of the Republican Party; and the need to court the fastest-growing minority group in this country, Hispanics?

[CBS News Graphic: "2012 Election: Latino Vote: President Obama, 71%; Mitt Romney, 27%; Source: CBS News Exit Poll"]

DICKERSON: Well, you heard the clip of John McCain basically saying it's all about that. But that's not entirely true. You have a lot of business leaders who are saying both – at both ends of the immigration scale – both the – the agricultural workers, but then also the high-tech workers, there needs to be – there's an economic imperative for straightening out the immigration system. And there's a part of the American fabric – that we are a nation of immigrants – and so, there has to be something done for that moral reason as well.

[CBS News Graphic: "2012 Electorate: Other, 2%; Asian, 3%; Latino, 10%; Black, 13%; Whitem 72%; Source: CBS News Exit Poll"]

O'DONNELL: So, speaking of 2016, and returning to the 60 Minutes interview last night, to see that warmness I mentioned between President Obama and Hillary Clinton, what do you think Joe Biden thought of it all? (laughs)

[CBS News Graphic: "Rivals No More: Was Dual '60 Mins' Interview An Endorsement?"]

DICKERSON: (laughs) Well, I think he was probably looking on the calendar for his 60 Minutes interview to be scheduled for August in 2015. (Rose laughs) I think he wants that kind of a tableau. It's a nice – you know, Hillary Clinton just came out of that bruising hearing. This is a much better image for her to be leaving her tenure with.

ROSE: Yeah, but Biden's had some good moments recently, and he'll be there in office with the opportunity to do things over the next four years, too. So-

DICKERSON: That – that's right. He'll have his moments, and then – and then again, he'll hope for some kind of final picture they can wrap into a couple of campaign ads. And so, we'll see.

O'DONNELL: John Dickerson, good to see you. Thanks so much.

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