CBS Highlights Criticism of Obama’s Cabinet ... From Liberals

The major broadcast networks have so far lavished praise on President-elect Barack Obama for his Cabinet choices, in contrast to the airing of complaints from liberals over President Bush’s choice of John Ashcroft as Attorney General eight years ago. But an exception came on Sunday as the CBS Evening News anchor Russ Mitchell informed viewers that "not everyone is happy about some of Mr. Obama’s picks." But rather than examining whether conservatives will be unhappy with the liberal views of Obama’s Cabinet members, CBS’s Randall Pinkston instead focused on liberals who believe the President-elect is not delivering on his campaign promise of "change," even playing a clip of political analyst Earl Ofari Hutchinson claiming that Obama had chosen a number of "Clintonesque, moderate, centrist Democrats."

Mitchell set up the report: "Not everyone is happy about some of Mr. Obama’s picks, especially those who say they were looking for something presidential candidate Obama promised." After a clip of Obama’s victory speech from Election Day, Pinkston began: "Change was still the theme on election night, but President-elect Barack Obama’s early appointments have some of his liberal supporters wondering what exactly change means."

Then came a soundbite from Hutchinson: "When we look at some of the names, perhaps many of the names, that have been floated as staff members in the Barack Obama administration, Cabinet appointees in the Barack Obama administration, we see one thing: Many of them are very traditional, Clintonesque, moderate, centrist Democrats."

Pinkston then named several of Obama’s liberal choices, presumably the picks Hutchinson was tagging as "moderate." Pinkston: "From Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, to Economic Policy Advisor Lawrence Summers, to likely Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Commerce Secretary Bill Richardson, all are veteran Washington hands."

Below is a complete transcript of the story from the Sunday, November 23, CBS Evening News:

RUSS MITCHELL: Not everyone is happy about some of Mr. Obama’s picks, especially those who say they were looking for something presidential candidate Obama promised. Randall Pinkston explains.

BARACK OBAMA: We are and always will be the United States of America.

RANDALL PINKSTON: Change was still the theme on election night, but President-elect Barack Obama’s early appointments have some of his liberal supporters wondering what exactly change means.

EARL OFARI HUTCHINSON, POLITICAL ANALYST: When we look at some of the names, perhaps many of the names, that have been floated as staff members in the Barack Obama administration, Cabinet appointees in the Barack Obama administration, we see one thing: Many of them are very traditional, Clintonesque, moderate, centrist Democrats.

PINKSTON: From Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, to Economic Policy Advisor Lawrence Summers, to likely Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Commerce Secretary Bill Richardson, all are veteran Washington hands.

ROGER SIMON, POLITICO.COM: His whole shaping of his current administration, the few names we now know, point to people who know how to work with the Senate and the House, who know how to work with Capitol Hill.

PINKSTON: Obama’s early actions seem intended to avoid errors made by previous new presidents, such as appointing aides with little Washington experience – President Jimmy Carter’s mistake – or delaying key appointments – President Bill Clinton didn’t name his first Cabinet member until December.

SIMON: I think Barack Obama doesn’t want there to be a long learning curve. I think he wants no learning curve at all.

PINKSTON: President-elect Obama knows the list of problems is long, and time is short. He wants his administration to get to work soon after Inauguration Day. Randall Pinkston, CBS News, New York.