Touting the latest CBS News/New York Times poll on Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith and Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer concluded that Americans were upset with President Obama and Congress simply over the influence of "special interest groups," without mentioning massive government spending or ObamaCare as other possible reasons.
After reporting that 70% of Americans were "dissatisfied or angry about the way things are going in Washington," Smith focused on the poll question about special interests: "8 in 10 say Congress is more interested in serving the needs of special interest groups rather than the people they represent." Schieffer explained: "In order to raise that money you've got to sign off on so many special interest groups before you get to Washington that it's very difficult to compromise once you do get here."
However, neither Smith nor Schieffer brought up the part of the poll that showed the desire by a majority of Americans for smaller government: "59% of Americans think the government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals....56% would choose a smaller government providing fewer services over a bigger government providing more services, up from 48% last spring and the highest percentage in more than a decade."
While Smith noted that Obama's 46% approval rating, he managed to find a "glimmer of hope" in the poll data: "The President has a 62% approval in terms of his effort to do – work bipartisan – in a bipartisan manner, while the poll says only 29% believe the Republicans are." Schieffer remarked that Obama "is winning that part of the battle" but largely dismissed the importance of the finding: "...when he has the kind of disapproval ratings that he has, he really has nothing to really be very happy about when he goes to bed at night."
On Thursday's CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric focused on a part of the poll that found that most Americans think President Obama's "priority is serving the people," rather than his declining approval rating.
Here is a full transcript of the Friday's Early Show segment:
HARRY SMITH: There's bad news for just about everybody in Washington in the latest CBS News/ New York Times poll 70% of Americans are dissatisfied or angry about the way things are going in Washington. President Obama's job approval rating is at 46%, matching his all-time low, and his disapproval rating is up to 45%. Congress however, did even worse, it is 75% disapproval rating, matches its all-time high. Let's go to CBS News chief Washington correspondent and host of Face the Nation, Bob Schieffer. Bob, good morning.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Good morning. Well, they're going to be down there with the news media here if they keep going in that direction, Harry.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Angry Americans; CBS News Poll: Growing Frustration With Obama & Gov't]
SMITH: You're the only one with better numbers, pal. Tell you what, here's one of the-
SCHIEFFER: Probably not much better.
SMITH: Here's one of the interesting inside numbers, 8 in 10 say Congress is more interested in serving the needs of special interest groups rather than the people they represent. And almost everybody wants everybody in Congress gone.
SCHIEFFER: Well, I think – I think that just reflects reality. You know, you can't get elected to Congress anymore, Harry, unless you can raise enormous sums of money. In order to raise that money you've got to sign off on so many special interest groups before you get to Washington that it's very difficult to compromise once you do get here. So I think that reflects reality, people are beginning to understand that that's what's going on here and they don't like it at all.
You know, voters will put up with a certain amount of anything, even a certain level of corruption, if you will, if things are going well. If they're putting money in the bank, if they've got savings, if they're kids are going to good schools and so on and so forth. But when things are going bad, when you have all of these people out of work like they are, that's when they start to get frustrated.
SMITH: And even if they're not out of work, they're afraid they will be out of work. I want to go to another number, on bipartisanship, this may be the one sort of glimmer of hope in all of this, the President has a 62% approval in terms of his effort to do – work bipartisan – in a bipartisan manner, while the poll says only 29% believe the Republicans are.
SCHIEFFER: Well, I think clearly in the back and forth that's going on right now, the President is winning that part of the battle. But even having said that, when he has the kind of disapproval ratings that he has, he really has nothing to really be very happy about when he goes to bed at night. But he does seem to be doing a little better than the Republicans are at this point.
SMITH: Overall, is there a way the people in Washington – do they hear this? Do they know this? Are they – when they get up in the morning, are they aware of the widespread dissatisfaction across the country?
SCHIEFFER: I think they are aware of that, Harry, but again, you go back to this thing that they had to sign off with so many special interests before they get here it's very difficult for them to compromise once they get here, without selling out the people that they got the money for to get here. So they're hearing general public dissatisfaction, but they're still trying to hue the line and do what the people who contributed to their campaign sent them to Washington to do. It's a sad observation, but unfortunately I think it's true.
SMITH: You have to get copies of Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and send them all out, have them watch it. Bob Schieffer, we'll be watching you on Face the Nation this Sunday morning on CBS. Thank you so much for getting up early for us and helping us out this morning. Do appreciate it, sir.
SCHIEFFER: Thank you, Harry.
SCHIEFFER: We're going to talk – Harry, by the way, we're going to talk to the Vice President, Joe Biden, Sunday.
SMITH: We'll look forward to that.