'Early Show' Praises Democrats, Criticizes Republicans One Week Apart
One week apart, "The Early Show" provided very different segments about 2008 presidential contenders. The April 2 edition provided a very glowing, positive review of the candidates. The April 9 edition was far more critical of the contenders. Why the difference? The former reviewed the Democrats. The latter reviewed the Republicans.
On April 2 Hannah Storm discussed Hillary Clinton’s "amazing [fund raising] numbers." John Harris of Politico.com agreed noting "they are incredibly impressive numbers." Though Democratic rival John Edwards raised a much smaller $14 million, Storm wanted to know if the former vice presidential nominee saw a "spike in donations" after his wife announced her breast cancer is not curable.
One week later, host Hannah Storm high lighted that McCain announced "lower fund-raising numbers than his rivals," though his $12.5 million is not far behind Senator Edwards’s $14 million. Storm also inquired whether McCain "lost some credibility when it comes to the war" after his recent positive statements regarding Iraqi progress.
After McCain, "The Early Show" co-host moved on to another Republican with alleged problems, Rudy Giuliani and his association with Bernard Kerik. Storm noted Kerik’s alleged ties to the mob and asked "how problematic" that is. Harris added that voters may "find some of the details...less than attractive." The transcripts both from April 2 and April 9 are below.
STORM: Why haven't any Republicans announced their fund-raising totals?
HARRIS: Well, they're going to be out, but they're probably not in a big rush to have their number compared to Hillary Clinton and the rest of the Democrats. My guess is that this is going to show that Democrats, for this election cycle, are way ahead of Republicans. That's a huge anomaly. Ordinarily, Republicans are way ahead in the fund raising. It shows that Democrats have a lot of energy behind them for this campaign.
STORM: Let's talk about these amazing numbers from Senator Clinton. She's on track to raise 100 million in 2007. I mean, that is a very achievable benchmark. What does this mean for her campaign?
HARRIS: They are incredibly impressive numbers, and what it means is that she is going be able to wage a national campaign. Remember, a lot of the early primaries have been moved up, the calendar's compressed. So, effectively, after New Hampshire and Iowa, those first contests, you've got a national primary. Most candidates won't be able to compete nationwide. She clearly will. I will say that--we'll find out what Obama's numbers are when they release them--she probably is not going to be able to blow him out of the water. That was the hope of Clinton supporters, that she would be so far ahead other Democrats, effectively, wouldn't be able to compete. That's not the case.
STORM: Obama hasn't released his numbers, and I'm curious what your thoughts are as to why he hasn't released his numbers, and what do you think they'll be?
HARRIS: Well, my guess is they're working on those right now. Numbers are things you want to be very careful about because you don't want errors in there. That'd be embarrassing. His people are signaling that, although Hillary Clinton clearly is going to be ahead, he's going to be competitive. Somewhere between that Edwards figure of 14 million and Senator Clinton's of 26 million, if Obama's up around 20 million, people will say, `Look, he's in the same league, he's going to be competitive.'
STORM: So we'll see if he's somewhere in the 20s. Let's talk about Edwards for a minute, the 14 million. Did he see a spike in donations after all the publicity about his wife and her battle with cancer?
HARRIS: I believe. I have not looked at the actual flow with Senator Edwards, but, certainly, the indications we were getting at the time was that--the fact that he--obviously, it was a tragedy but put them very much on the national stage, that there usually is a correlation between fund raising and prominence. And, you know, frankly, a lot of sympathy for the ordeal that the Edwards are going through.
STORM: But his camp had a very interesting point. They said that having the most money is not necessarily the key to getting the nomination. Is that true?
HARRIS: I think they are right about that. There is a clear correlation. And, again, I go back to that point that, after New Hampshire and Iowa, you are going to have a very compressed national contest. So you've got to have enough money to compete in that national contest, but it's...
STORM: All right.
HARRIS: ...it doesn't correlate 1-to-1, money and success.
Then April 9
HANNAH STORM: Welcome back to the "CBS Early Show." I'm Hannah Storm. Republican presidential candidate John McCain told "60 Minutes" Sunday it was a mistake to tell reporters in Iraq that conditions had improved so much, Americans could now walk freely through parts of the capital. The Arizona Senator was ridiculed after armored U.S. forces were shown escorting McCain through a market in Baghdad. John Harris is the editor-in-chief at Politico.com, a CBS partner in political coverage. Good morning John.
JOHN HARRIS: Hi Hannah.
STORM: Well, not only has he caught a lot of heat for the Baghdad comments, but also last week announced lower fund-raising numbers than his rivals. Is McCain's campaign in trouble and was this damage control, the "60 Minutes" interview?
HARRIS: Well, there's no question that it was. He needs to re-energize his campaign as far as message and and he needs to re-energize his campaign organizationally specifically getting those fund-raising numbers up and competitive with both Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney. His campaign is at a difficult period and clearly he needs to pivot.
STORM: In a "Washington Post" op-ed McCain said of himself, this was his quote, "no one has been more critical of sunny progress reports that defied realities in Iraq." But with his comments now about being able to walk freely through Baghdad neighborhoods has he actually lost some credibility when it comes to the war?
HARRIS: Well, this is a very, very difficult political problem that it's a familiar one. President Bush has the same thing. How to convey both resolve and optimism with the sense of realism. It's a very difficult line to walk. McCain, clearly as he acknowledged in that interview with Scott Pelley on "60 Minutes" last night stumbled as he tried to do that.
STORM: Because he also reiterated in this "60 Minutes" interview his comments that "I'd rather lose a campaign than lose a war." How tightly is his campaign tied to this surge and future success in Baghdad? Is it too late for him to broaden out his campaign so it's not defined by the war in Iraq?
HARRIS: Well, he and his advisers, for now, have clearly made the judgment that it is tied, for better or worse. His campaign is about Iraq. And he's trying to make this question of almost a character or a leadership issue, can I be trusted to do the right thing even when it's unpopular? There's no question his position is unpopular. He's going to be putting the focus on Iraq. He's giving a speech at Virginia Military Institute, in Lexington, Virginia later this week when he's saying, "look victory in this is essential. I know it's unpopular but we must win and that's why I'm doing something that's unpopular."
STORM: Let's move on to Republican frontrunner Rudy Giuliani who is having some issues because of his ties to his former police chief Bernard Kerik, the man that he recommended at one point to be head of the Department of Homeland Security. New details about Kerik are emerging about him, as the business dealings, accused of mob ties. How problematic is that relationship with Kerik for Giuliani?
HARRIS: Well, the attention on it now a couple of years after Kerik had his nomination withdrawn to be Homeland Security secretary obviously is problematic. To me, what it raises is the whole prospect that there's going to be lots of these things. Looking into Giuliani's, you know, generally pretty admirable record in running New York. Big city politics are not a tea party. And I think a lot of people as they learn more details are going to be occasionally -- find some of the details, you know, less than attractive.
STORM: And the leading fund-raiser is former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. The recent numbers in New Hampshire show him actually tied for the lead there. He's nearly doubled his numbers in the Zogby poll, he's even tied with McCain at 25 percent, Giuliani's behind at 19. Real quickly, is he getting a lot of traction?
HARRIS: Well, these numbers have put him in the top tier and said look, you have to take Mitt Romney seriously. So, yes, the fund-raising has helped increase his viability as an actual candidate