Bob Schieffer Bashes Boehner for Smoking and Taking Tobacco Money

CBS's Bob Schieffer made it crystal clear Sunday that he is going to do his part to prevent House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Oh.) from replacing Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as Speaker this January.

In a hard-hitting interview about a variety of subjects on "Face the Nation," Schieffer actually hammered his guest for smoking cigarettes and taking campaign contributions from the tobacco industry.

"How do you square that with the fact that cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable deaths in this country; 435,000 people -- their deaths are linked to cancer. That`s one in five," scolded Schieffer.

"How do you justify that in your own mind?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):  

BOB SCHIEFFER, HOST: Mr. Boehner, I`m going to ask you this question because I`m not objective about this. I`m -- I`m a cancer survivor. I used to be a heavy smoker. Do you still smoke?

JOHN BOEHNER, HOUSE MINORITY LEADER (R-OHIO): I do.

SCHIEFFER: You have taken $340,000 from the tobacco industry. They`ve been the largest contributor to your political campaigns over the year.

How do you square that with the fact that cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable deaths in this country; 435,000 people -- their deaths are linked to cancer. That`s one in five. How do you -- how do you justify that in your own mind?

BOEHNER: Bob, tobacco is a legal product in America. And the American people have the right to decide for themselves whether they want to partake or not. There are lots of things that we deal with and come in contact with every day, from alcohol to food to cigarettes, a lot of things that aren`t good for our health. But the American people ought to have the right to make those decisions on their own.

SCHIEFFER: Well, I mean, they have a right to shoot themselves if they choose to.

Actually, Bob, suicide is against the law in America. Nice try! 

SCHIEFFER: But, I mean, shouldn`t we do something to try to encourage them not to? I mean, do you think that`s a good example?

BOEHNER: Well, listen, I wish I didn`t have this bad habit. And it is a bad habit. You`ve had it. You`ve dealt with it. But it`s something that I choose to do. And, you know, at some point maybe I`ll decide I`ve had enough of it.

SCHIEFFER: Well, I mean, if you should become speaker, you could set a good example for the country by saying, I`m going to try to stop smoking. Maybe you could get the president. I understand he smokes too. Maybe the two of you could find a way to try to stop smoking. That would be kind of a good thing, wouldn`t it?

BOEHNER: Bob, I appreciate your suggestion.

The hypocrisy on display here was astounding. After all, as Schieffer noted, Barack Obama is a cigarette smoker.

But something Schieffer didn't mention was that in 2008, Obama took more money from the tobacco industry than Boehner did.

Yet, according to LexisNexis, Schieffer has never scolded Obama for his smoking or asked him to quit in order to "set a good example." 

Why might that be, Mr. Schieffer? Is this something else you're not "objective about?" 

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.