Couric Scolds McCain for Palin's 'Great Depression' Scare -- Which Couric Proposed to Palin

Interviewing John McCain on Wednesday's CBS Evening News, Katie Couric informed him and viewers that, during an interview of Sarah Palin she conducted earlier in the day, Palin warned of a “Great Depression” if the bail out is not passed, leading Couric to scold Palin to McCain: “But isn't so much of this, Senator McCain, about consumer confidence and using rhetoric like the 'Great Depression,' is that the kind of language Americans need to hear right now?” Quite a bit of chutzpah for Couric, chutzpah CBS didn't even hide from viewers since in the subsequent excerpts from the Palin interview which viewers saw it was Couric herself who raised the ominous phrase.

Palin had not used the term when Couric asked Palin: “If this doesn't pass, do you think there's a risk of another Great Depression?” Palin's reaction, in full:
Unfortunately, that is the road that America may find itself on. Not necessarily this, as it's been proposed, has to pass or we're going to find ourselves in another Great Depression. But, there has got to be action taken, bipartisan effort, Congress not pointing fingers at this point at one another, but finding the solution to this, taking action, and being serious about the reforms on Wall Street that are needed.

And Couric was not the only network news star on Wednesday to raise the spectre of a “Great Depression” -- or worse. NBC's Tom Brokaw: “Do you worry about a cataclysmic event coming out of all of this, that we go into a Great Depression?”

Video/audio: Click above for Flash video of Couric's question to McCain followed by what she proposed to Palin. Matching MP3 audio (25 seconds, 150 Kb).

In an interview with Bill Gates on the NBC Nightly News tied to Gates, as head of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, attending the Clinton Global Initiative summit, a dire Brokaw inquired:
As you develop a business plan for the Gates Foundation in the midst of what we're going through right now, do you worry about a cataclysmic event coming out of all of this, that we go into a Great Depression in this country and the ripple effect around the world?
Couric's question to Palin before the “Great Depression” one: “Polls have shown that Senator Obama has actually gotten a boost as a result of this latest crisis, with more people feeling that he can handle the situation better than John McCain.”

From Couric's September 24 session with John McCain at her anchor desk:
KATIE COURIC: Earlier today, Senator, I spoke with your running mate, Sarah Palin, and she told me that if action is not taken, a Great Depression is quote “the road that America may find itself on.” Do you agree with that assessment?

JOHN McCAIN: I don't know if it's exactly the depression, but every respected economist in this country is saying you'd better address this problem and you'd better do it now or the consequences, obviously, of inaction are of the utmost seriousness. So I agree with Governor Palin. There's there's so much at stake here. That's why I am confident that we'll sit down and work together on this thing.

COURIC: But isn't so much of this, Senator McCain, about consumer confidence and using rhetoric like the “Great Depression,” is that the kind of language Americans need to hear right now?

McCAIN: Well, listen, I've heard language from respected people “we're staring at the abyss.” I've heard all kinds of things from people. I don't think we need to scare people, but I certainly think we need to tell them the truth and tell them what's at stake here. And everyone says -- and I say -- this is the greatest crisis since the end of World War II. You cannot, I mean, to tell American citizens that everything's fine I think just would be, that would be outright deception. I think it's of the utmost seriousness and this is a crisis of enormous proportions. But we can fix it. And America's best days are still ahead of us.
CBSNews.com online version of the McCain interview, with a transcript and video.

From Couric's interview of Sarah Plain aired later in the Wednesday CBS Evening News:
SARAH PALIN: The interesting thing in the last couple of days that I have seen is that Americans are waiting to see what John McCain will do on this proposal. They're not waiting to see what Barack Obama is going to do. Is he going to do this [wiggles finger] and see what way the political wind's blowing? They're waiting to see if John McCain will be able to see these amendments implemented in Paulson's proposal.

COURIC: Why do you say that? Why are they waiting for John McCain and not Barack Obama?

PALIN: He's got the track record of the leadership qualities and the pragmatism that's needed at a crisis time like this.

COURIC: But polls have shown that Senator Obama has actually gotten a boost as a result of this latest crisis, with more people feeling that he can handle the situation better than John McCain.

PALIN: I'm not looking at poll numbers. What I think Americans at the end of the day are going to be able to go back and look at track records and see who's more apt to just be talking about solutions and wishing for and hoping for solutions for some opportunity to change, and who's actually done it?

COURIC: If this doesn't pass, do you think there's a risk of another Great Depression?

PALIN: Unfortunately, that is the road that America may find itself on. Not necessarily this, as it's been proposed, has to pass or we're going to find ourselves in another Great Depression. But, there has got to be action taken, bipartisan effort, Congress not pointing fingers at this point at one another, but finding the solution to this, taking action, and being serious about the reforms on Wall Street that are needed.
Online version of the Palin interview, with a transcript of what aired (which I've corrected above) and video clip.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center