On Friday's Early Show, CBS's Erica Hill advocated for a liberal pet cause, urging Michele Bachmann to allow children of illegal aliens to receive in-state college tuition. Hill also spotlighted Gov. Rick Perry's attack on his competitors in the GOP presidential race on this issue: "Basically, [Perry is] saying to the other eight folks on the stage there, including yourself, that you don't have a heart."
The anchor raised the immigration issue towards the end of her interview of the Minnesota representative. Hill first quoted Gov. Perry's line on the in-state tuition issue from the previous night's debate: "He said, 'If you say we should not educate children who come into our state by no fault of their own, I don't think you have a heart.'" She then made a budget-based appeal to the Republican: "I know you said you don't want any resources to go to illegal aliens or their children. Why not, though, give them a tuition break now, rather then, perhaps, down the line, having to hand over unemployment, or even welfare?"
When Bachmann replied, "We shouldn't be benefitting people who are violating our laws," Hill actually interrupted her guest midway through her answer: "Even if it wasn't their own choice? These are children, as Governor Perry said, who were brought here by their parents without any knowledge."
More than three months earlier, the CBS anchor hounded another Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, over his 2008 proposal to allow the Big Three auto companies go into bankruptcy instead of bailing them out: "Based on what we've seen in the auto industry, weren't you wrong in this case?"
Hill also continues the trend of the Big Three networks throwing liberal questions during their morning show interviews of GOP presidential candidates. A MRC study released on Thursday found that 83% of the "ideological questions" asked of these Republicans between January 1 and September 15, 2011 reflected a liberal policy agenda.
The full transcript of Erica Hill's interview of Rep. Michele Bachmann, which aired at the top of the 8 am Eastern hour:
ERICA HILL: As we've been reporting this morning, nine Republican presidential candidates squared off in Orlando last night, the third debate in as many weeks, battling over everything from illegal immigration to Social Security. At one point, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann made a pitch to GOP voters, saying think carefully about just what kind of candidate you want to represent you.
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, 2012 REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (from Republican presidential debate in Orlando, Florida): Every four years, conservatives are told that we have to settle and it's anybody but obama. That's what we're hearing this year. I don't think that's true. We need to choose a candidate who represents conservatives and constitutional conservative positions.
[CBS News Graphic: "Race For 2012: Bachmann On Right For GOP Nomination"]
HILL: Michele Bachmann making her case there. She joins us this morning from Orlando. Congresswoman, good to have you with us.
BACHMANN: Good morning! It's a beautiful morning, Erica.
HILL: It looks like it is there in Orlando. There's been so much talk, of course, over the last few weeks, and since Rick Perry jumped into the race, that this has essentially become a two-man race between Romney and Perry- the numbers starting to reflect that. How do you then change that perception, because you have said, you're in it for the long haul?
BACHMANN: You're right, I am in it for the long haul, and remember, there's only been one true vote so far where all of the candidates were competitive. That was in the Iowa straw poll- or at least the majority of the candidates were competitive- and when the voters went out to cast their ballot, I won the Iowa straw poll. We're in this for the marathon, for the long haul. So we're in it to win in Iowa, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Florida. And so, those primary and caucus states we're focusing on, and we've been active and we're on our way, as soon as we're done here this morning.
HILL: In terms of Florida, there is a straw poll there coming up this weekend. It's accurately predicted the primary pick the last three times. And, yet, after Iowa, one of your spokespeople said, we're not as concerned with that poll. Has that changed for you in the campaign?
BACHMANN: Wel, we're not actively participating in the straw poll, neither is Mitt Romney. I think there's other candidates that aren't participating either. I think it was a very late entry for a couple of candidates. We can't participate in all of those polls, but the one that really counted, when the general public was allowed to vote, that was in Iowa's straw poll. The Florida straw poll is a very small poll with pre-selected delegates. It's very different than the Iowa straw poll.
HILL: There's been a lot of talk about your campaign. An article just this morning saying that you haven't been able to bring in big donors. Your former campaign manager, of course, Ed Rollins, speaking out a lot, saying you may not have the resources to go beyond Iowa, but that he is still advising your campaign. Talk to me about those two issues. What about bringing in big donors, first of all? How are you faring on that?
BACHMANN: Well, of course, we're actively pursuing the resources that we need, and we have them. We're actively working all across the country, and my former campaign manager was on television this week, as well, saying that I'm the best candidate in the race, and we're doing really well. And I think the reason is because of the positive message for pro-growth policies. What people are interested in is, who can best turn the economy around? I'm a former federal tax litigation attorney. I've started a small business. I'm a private businesswoman. I understand the problems with the economy, how we turn them around. But even more importantly, I understand job creation because I've done it in the real world.
We need to have a presidential nominee who understands the economy and job creation, and I'm committed to- the number one job killer in the United States, according to a UBS study that came out this week: ObamaCare. And I will repeal ObamaCare and open credit up. I'm the person who introduced the bill to repeal Dodd-Frank, which is killing credit for businesses and people that want a mortgage.
HILL: Obviously, the economy, the number one issue for most Americans. Immigration is also becoming increasingly important, getting more attention-
HILL: That was a focus last night. Rick Perry- and I want to quote here- said he took a little heat for in-state tuition for children of illegal immigrants in Texas, and he said, 'If you say we should not educate children who come into our state by no fault of their own, I don't think you have a heart.' Basically, saying to the other eight folks on the stage there, including yourself, that you don't have a heart. In some ways, I know you said you don't want any resources to go to illegal aliens or their children. Why not, though, give them a tuition break now, rather then, perhaps, down the line, having to hand over unemployment, or even welfare?
[CBS News Graphic: "Race For 2012: Bachmann On Illegal Immigration"]
BACHMANN: Well, because we have laws in this country, to secure our borders, and unfortunately, those laws are being violated. We shouldn't be benefitting people who are violating our laws. What I hear-
HILL: Even if it wasn't their own choice? These are children, as Governor Perry said, who were brought here by their parents without any knowledge.
BACHMANN: Well- and again, if a student comes from any other state into Texas, they pay out-of-state tuition. And, as was brought up in the debate last night, that's $88,000 worth of taxpayer-subsidized value that the people of Texas are giving to individuals who come in. It's a magnet. That's really the point of this. We're inducing more people to break the law by giving them inducements, and if someone comes into this state, they can subsequently also obtain other benefits, on occasion, as well. And so, we don't want to have any inducements that will be a magnet to induce more people to come into the United States illegally.
What we have to do, quite frankly, is support United States sovereignty and build the fence. That's what Governor Perry said- he would not build a fence. He would continue to give taxpayer-subsidized benefits to illegal aliens. This is not what the people of the United States want, and that's why this was such a crucial issue last night.
HILL: Congresswoman, we will continue this discussion, I'm sure, over the next few months. Thanks for being with us this morning.
BACHMANN: Thank you.