CBS This Morning brought on liberal Colin Powell on Thursday so he could break his endorsement of President Obama and boost the Democratic candidate that he supported in 2008. Norah O'Donnell spotlighted Powell's service with "several Republican presidents" and wondered if he was "still Republican." When the former secretary of state claimed that he's a "Republican of a more moderate mold," Rose pressed him if he "may have to leave the Republican Party, if it continues in the direction that it's going."
Despite noting Powell's past service as secretary of state and national security advisor, and asking for his "concerns...about Governor [Mitt] Romney's foreign policy," neither Rose nor O'Donnell once mentioned the ongoing issue of the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. They decided instead to joke with their guest about his love of the viral musical track, "Call Me Maybe."
The PBS veteran led the interview with the Obama endorsement question. It only took seven seconds for the morning show to get the "Breaking News: Powell Endorses Obama" graphic up once the former general confirmed that he was voting for the incumbent. The guest then had over a minute and a half without interruption to make his case for the President's reelection by repeating the Democratic campaign's talking points on the economy.
When Powell ended this long answer with a critique of Romney's economic plan, Rose followed up by asking if he had spoken with either Obama or the former Massachusetts governor. The former Bush administration official replied by targeting the Republican nominee:
POWELL: ...[N]ot only am I not comfortable with what Governor Romney is proposing for his economic plan, I have concerns about...his views on foreign policy. The governor who was speaking on Monday night...at the debate was saying things that were quite different from what he said earlier. So, I'm not quite sure which Governor Romney we would be getting with respect to foreign policy.
O'Donnell then asked her "concerns" question about Romney's foreign policy proposals. The guest basically extended his argument about the former governor's supposed inconsistencies in that area. Her co-anchor prompted even more criticism by asking whether Powell was "concerned about the people that are advising Governor Romney." Even with this much attention on foreign policy, the two CBS anchors completely ignored the Libya issue.
The only time they even mentioned negative comments about the President was when Rose pointed out that "the principal criticism of some about the President is they do not know how the second term would be different, and he has not laid that out and that's some concern." Powell acknowledged this "concern," but then went on the attack against Congress, which the journalist was all too eager to facilitate in a follow-up question: "So, you blame the failure to find a grand bargain on the Congress and not on the President?"
O'Donnell and Rose's question about their guest's Republicanism came near the end of the interview. Powell cracked back by asking the PBS veteran what his party affiliation was:
O'DONNELL: General, you worked for several Republican presidents. Are you still a Republican?
POWELL: Yes. I think I'm a Republican of a more moderate mold, and that's something of a – of a dying breed, I'm sorry to say. But, you know, the Republicans I worked for are President Reagan, President Bush 41, the Howard Bakers of the world - people who were conservative; people who were willing to push their conservative views; but people who recognized, at the end of the day, you've got to find a basis for compromise. Compromise is how this country runs.
ROSE: But then, General – are you then saying that you think you may have to leave the Republican Party, if it continues in the direction that it's going?
POWELL: No. I didn't say that at all, Charlie, but nice try. (Rose and O'Donnell laugh) I said I'm a moderate Republican, and there are fewer of us. What party are you in, Charlie?
ROSE: I'm an independent. (laughs) General Powell, any time you want to come and make news, please come here. We love having you here to talk about important issues, because of the number of important roles you have served. So, thank you very much for this.
POWELL: Thank you, Charlie. I'll call you, maybe. (Rose and O'Donnell laugh)
It's hard to take CBS seriously when they spend more time kidding around with Colin Powell about a stupid music number than they do on a continuing national security scandal.
The full transcript of the Colin Powell interview from Thursday's CBS This Morning can be read at MRC.org.