CBS Trumpets 'Out of Touch' Mark Sanford's 'Rough Week'; Touted 'Real Possibility' of Anthony Weiner's Mayoral Run

Norah O'Donnell spotlighted former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford's "troubles with his ex-wife" on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, and asserted that the disgraced Republican "seemed a little bit out of touch" after running a political ad "saying it's been a tough week for him after...what the people in Boston have gone through."

By contrast, O'Donnell's co-anchor, Charlie Rose, played up how "former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner may be eying a return" and touted "why the unlikely scenario is becoming a real possibility" for the Democrat on the April 11, 2013 edition of the morning program, a mere 12 days earlier.

Charlie Rose, CBS News Anchor; & Norah O'Donnell, CBS News Anchor; Screen Cap From 23 April 2013 Edition of CBS This Morning | NewsBusters.orgThe former NBC correspondent used her "troubles" line about Sanford during a promo for a report from CBS journalist Jan Crawford. Nearly 10 minutes later, Rose also teased the report by trumpeting the apparent negative outlook for would-be congressman: "Former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford may be running out of time. His comeback campaign has two weeks to go. We'll show you how a problem with his ex-wife is still tripping him up."

Crawford outlined during the segment that "nearly four years after his admission of the extramarital affair that seemingly destroyed his political career....Sanford's private life has again gone public, and he's airing things out with a full-page ad in the Charleston Post and Courier." She later added that "in spite of the fall from grace, he's worked to overcome. His former mistress is now his fiance, and this month, they made their first major public appearance together. But political redemption remains a work in progress."

Moments before O'Donnell blasted Sanford as "out of touch", Crawford herself asserted that "if Sanford loses to Colbert Busch, I think we can all see it seems a pretty clear sign the voters have just had enough of his personal life."

Interestingly, the CBS correspondent never overtly identified the former governor as a Republican. She led her report by noting that "there are the court documents that revealed his ex-wife had accused him of trespassing at her home. Then, right away, he [Sanford] lost his financial backing from the National Republican Congressional Committee." She later identified Elizabeth Colbert Busch as Sanford's "Democratic rival", and that their political battleground is a "solidly-conservative district."

The full transcript of Jan Crawford's report from Tuesday's CBS This Morning:


NORAH O'DONNELL: We want to turn now to this political story about Mark Sanford. His political comeback is taking a new turn. Voters decide in just two weeks if the former South Carolina governor should be sent back to Congress. Well, Sanford is trailing in a new poll out this morning, and he's trying again to explain a dispute with his former wife.

Jan Crawford is on that story. Jan, good morning.

JAN CRAWFORD: Well, good morning, Norah; good morning, Charlie. Okay, let's go back to last week. First, there are the court documents that revealed his ex-wife had accused him of trespassing at her home. Then, right away, he lost his financial backing from the National Republican Congressional Committee. Now, in today's episode, Sanford is trying to get a hold of this story with a long explanation.

[CBS News Graphic: "Sanford Slips: Former SC Governor Trails In Congressional Race"]

CRAWFORD (voice-over): Mark Sanford is acknowledging it was a rough week, after a tough couple years.

MARK SANFORD (from June 2009 press conference): I've been unfaithful to my wife.

CRAWFORD: Nearly four years after his admission of the extramarital affair that seemingly destroyed his political career-

SANFORD: And all I can say is that I apologize.

CRAWFORD: Now, Sanford's private life has again gone public, and he's airing things out with a full-page ad in the Charleston Post and Courier. 'It's been a rough week', he says, referring to the trespassing accusation. 'I'd really appreciate you reading this.'

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 1: There's really no way to spin this ad as a good thing for Mark Sanford.

CRAWFORD: In the 1,200-word ad, Sanford explains why he didn't tell his ex-wife he'd watching the Super Bowl at her house with one of their sons. 'I tried to reach her beforehand to tell her of the situation that had arisen, and time will tell as to whether I made the right call in that instance as a father.'

This comes just two weeks before his showdown at the polls with Democratic rival Elizabeth Colbert Busch, sister of comedian Stephen Colbert.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 1: If Mark Sanford is going to win this race, it's going to be in spite of himself.

CRAWFORD: And in spite of the fall from grace, he's worked to overcome. His former mistress is now his fiance, and this month, they made their first major public appearance together. But political redemption remains a work in progress.

SANFORD (from campaign event): A lot of bumps in the road in the world of campaign – and so, nothing more than that.

CRAWFORD (on-camera): Now, Sanford is also going on the offense. He's out with a new television ad. He's accusing Colbert Busch of being in the pocket of big labor unions. And, of course, this is a solidly-conservative district they're in, so that kind of tie to big labor normally would be a big negative. So, if Sanford loses to Colbert Busch, I think we can all see it seems a pretty clear sign the voters have just had enough of his personal life. Charlie and Norah?

O'DONNELL: (laughs) Jan Crawford, thanks. Mark Sanford kind of got hammered. I mean, he put out an ad saying it's been a tough week for him after a week in Boston – you know, what the people in Boston have gone through. It seemed – it seemed a little bit out of touch.

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