During the panel discussion on the September 14 edition of ABC's "This Week," an interesting exchange occurred between conservative columnist George Will and ABC senior national correspondent Claire Shipman. On the topic of Senator John McCain's recent ad about a sex education bill Senator Barack Obama voted for while in the Illinois state legislature, Shipman could not seem to understand Will's point of view.
Host George Stephanopoulos described the ad as "looking at a vote that Barack Obama had in a committee when he was a state senator that advocated comprehensive sex education from grades K through 12.... The debate is whether -- what comprehensive sex education means and whether it means that kindergartners should be taught how to ward off a sexual predator or something more extensive than that."
In response, Will argued:
It is very common across the centuries for parents, not schools, parents to tell their children to be aware of strangers. What's new here and reflects a conservative-liberal difference is the idea, a, it has to be tarted up as sex education to be wary of strangers, and b, parents can't but the schools must in the kindergarten. Now that's a cultural divide and let's vote.
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez teased an upcoming segment on the presidential campaign by implying a new scandal was brewing around Sarah Palin: "Palin-tology, Obama sharpens his attacks, as questions are asked about Todd Palin's role in his wife's office." In the later segment, Rodriguez talked to former Bush advisor Dan Bartlett and Democratic strategist Joe Trippi about the campaign and asked Bartlett: "We see new investigations springing up this morning, allegations that she consulted with her husband before making major decisions and vetoing millions of dollars of projects, that she appointed friends in key positions. Dan, do you think that this could hurt?"
Bartlett responded by observing: "Well, show me a politician who doesn't consult their spouse or their friends when they get into political office. I think there's nothing here yet that I've seen that's gained any traction." Meanwhile, Rodriguez has not asked similar questions about what degree of influence Michelle Obama has over her husband’s political decisions.
On Monday, "Good Morning America" kicked off a week-long train tour Across America with a fawning look at the younger generation of the Kennedy family, a clan that reporter Claire Shipman gushed is "the closest thing we have in this country to political royalty."
The train journey, which is intended to see what Americans across the country really think about the upcoming presidential election, began in Massachusetts and featured Shipman rhapsodizing, "Baby boomers grew up watching them play football, sail off Hyannis Port, walk down the aisles swathed in glamour." (Of course, no mention was made of any of the various Kennedy family scandals.) Much of the segment featured the ABC journalist talking to fourth generation Kennedys. Over video of old footage of John F. Kennedy playing football off of Cape Cod, Shipman cooed to high school student Kerry Kennedy, "But one thing hasn't changed at all, games on the Cape just as cut throat as ever. Are there still big, gigantic get-togethers like that and is it still football?"
Just over two months ago, on June 5, Shipman filed another story in which she rhapsodized about the similarities between Robert F. Kennedy and Senator Barack Obama. After mentioning RFK's 1968 assassination, she indicated that an Obama election could be something similar to a "happy ending" for liberals: "The search to shift that mantle, futile of course. But also a quintessentially American desire for, if not a happy ending, some sense of completion."
Where Charles Gibson's 2007 interview with Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) "was one part This is Your Life, one part Oprah Winfrey," McCain running mate Gov. Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) faced a "harsh interrogation" with the ABC anchor in "total attack mode," MRC Communications Director Seton Motley told Fox News Channel's Megyn Kelly on the September 15 edition of "America's Newsroom." [audio available here]
An excerpt from the interview:
KELLY: Let me ask you about the editing process. What exactly was arguably unfair about the way ABC edited the interview with the governor?
In a Sunday Washington Post hit piece on Sarah Palin, “As Mayor of Wasilla, Palin Cut Own Duties, Left Trail of Bad Blood,” reporter Alec MacGillis took this inadvertently humorous shot at the growth of Wasilla during her years as Mayor, an observation that could be made just as well about many booming suburban and ex-urban areas of the lower 48:
The light hand of government is evident in the town's commercial core, essentially a haphazard succession of big-box stores, fast-food restaurants and shopping plazas.
Sounds like most of Northern Virginia outside of Washington, DC, or many other areas of the country, most with a pretty heavy hand of government-ruled zoning.
Speaking of “dishonesty” in McCain's TV ads, on Fox News Sunday Brit Hume pointed out Barack “Obama goes around claiming he's going to cut the taxes of 95 percent of the public, which is literally impossible” since “40 percent of American taxpayers don't pay any income tax,” but that hasn't stopped ABC (directly) and CBS (implicitly) in recent days from advancing that Obama claim as fact. Charles Gibson, in his third interview session with Sarah Palin excerpted on Friday's 20/20 and Nightline (see earlier NB item), stated that Obama will extend the “Bush tax cuts on everything but people who own or earn more than $250,000 a year -- cuts taxes on over 91 percent of the country.”
On Tuesday's CBS Evening News, Anthony Mason looked at how the Obama and McCain tax plans would impact three Ohio families, including Charles and Joi Beacham who earn $32,000. Mason asked them: “In terms of taxes, what do you want from the next President?” Joi, a school teacher with an astounding level of chutzpah, replied: “Relief.” Chutzpah because, as Mason only noted later (and deserves credit for doing so unlike many of his colleagues over the years), the Beachams “paid no taxes in 2007.” Nonetheless, Mason proceeded to report how the Beachams would benefit more from Obama than McCain since they “would see no change in their taxes under McCain, but the Obama plan would help them” because they would get refundable credits and thus “receive a check from the government for more than $2,200.”
The New York Times is clearly in full meltdown mode concerning the popularity of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, and is having a hard time covering up its obvious state of panic.
In its popular Sunday edition, the Gray Lady published four hit pieces about the Alaska Governor: a 3,100-word article prominently placed on the front page; two scathing columns by Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd, and; an article questioning Palin's husband's role in their state's government.
That's over 6,000 words about the vice presidential nominee, most of them quite hostile as evidenced by the following from Dowd's piece (emphasis added):
On Sunday, Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell noticed in passing an obvious example of front-page Obama favoritism in the Post. On Thursday, the huge McCain-Palin rally in suburban Fairfax, Virginia, with an estimated crowd of 23,000 reported in the story, was bizarrely placed on the front page of the Metro section. On June 6, the Post put an Obama rally in Virginia at the Nissan Pavilian concert venue with an estimated attendance of 10,000 people on the front page. (Actually, they offered two front-page stories.) How does the Post defend itself?
Then McCain and Palin's large Fairfax County rally was on the Metro section front page Thursday; a June 6 rally for Obama at Nissan Pavilion was on Page A1. [Assistant managing editor Ed] Thiede said, "We had a busier day with more competing for A1 play Wednesday, including a main art package commemorating the opening of the Sept. 11 memorial." These are logical answers in a newsroom, but they don't cut it with Republican-leaning readers, especially when, as I've reported, Obama has had a preponderance of Page 1 stories and photos throughout the paper.
On August 17, Howell noticed a dramatic three-to-one imbalance in Post front-page stories from June 4 to August 15, especially around Obama’s Nissan Pavilion event:
Democratic VP nominee Joe Biden's Friday release of his tax returns embarrassingly revealed, according to a Bloomberg item in Saturday's Boston Globe, that Biden and his wife have, over the past ten years, donated a piddling “two-tenths of 1 percent” of their income to charities, but Saturday's Washington Post article didn't mention that and instead allocated six of ten paragraphs to how “progressive groups...want to determine whether [Sarah] Palin skirted tax obligations.” (In the middle of a paragraph deep into its story, Saturday's New York Times reported the mere “$995 in gifts to charities” by the Bidens in 2007, but made no further note of it.)
In the Post article, “Biden Releases His Tax Returns,” reporters Lyndsey Layton and Matthew Mosk pointed out how Biden is the “poorest” U.S. Senator, and then pivoted to Palin:
The disclosure came as Democrats tried to put increasing pressure on the Republican vice presidential nominee, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, to release her returns. Progressive groups said they want to determine whether Palin skirted tax obligations on about $17,000 in per diem payments she received as part of an arrangement that paid her extra for the nights she stayed in her home in Wasilla instead of the governor's mansion in Juneau, 600 miles away....
With “Where's the Fight?” on screen under video of a man in New Hampshire who pushed Barack Obama (“When and how are you going to start fighting back?”), Katie Couric teased Friday's CBS Evening News: “Supporters of Barack Obama are frustrated and letting him know it.” Couric set up the story by highlighting how “an Obama campaign official sent out a memo saying 'today is the first day of the rest of the campaign,' and vowing to take the fight to John McCain. But Dean Reynolds reports the new edge Obama tried out today wasn't sharp enough for some of his supporters.”
Indeed, Reynolds, who soon asserted that “many think” McCain's ads are “lies,” began his piece by showcasing the one questioner: “At a stop in New Hampshire today, Glenn Grasso of Dover asked Barack Obama a question on the minds of many Democrats.” Grasso pleaded: “When and how are you going to start fighting back against attack ads and the smear campaigns?” After a clip of Obama insisting “our ads have been pretty tough,” Reynolds focused on how “the audience here was clearly expecting more” and “what bothers many Democrats is what happened next. The audience literally coaxing a word from him that baldly describes what many think of the McCain camp's tactics.” Viewers then heard a man in the audience yell “lies!” before Obama endorsed his word: “Lies, that's the word I was looking for.”
ABC's Charlie Gibson continues to receive poor reviews for his obvious attempt to perform a hatchet job on Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
One of the harshest assessments of Gibson's performance came from syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer Saturday who also took the opportunity to bash the New York Times for misrepresenting some of the specifics of the interview in order to discredit Palin (emphasis added throughout):
In portions of Charles Gibson's third interview with Sarah Palin aired on Friday's 20/20 and Nightline, but not earlier on World News, Gibson demanded to know why she and John McCain “keep saying” Barack Obama will raise taxes when he says he won't, followed up her wish that Roe v Wade be overturned by -- in a question left out of the ABCNews.com transcript -- contending “it's a critical issue for so many women. You believe women should not have that choice?” and after Palin expressed support for gun rights, he asserted “we spend billions of dollars a year every year treating people who are victims of gun violence” and pleaded, as if more gun control is the only solution: “Nothing we can do about that?”
As the two sat in Palin's Wasilla home, Gibson scolded her and McCain:
Why do you both keep saying that Obama is going to raise people's taxes? It's been pretty clear what he intends. He's talked about middle-class tax cuts, extending Bush tax cuts on everything but people who own or earn more than $250,000 a year -- cuts taxes on over 91 percent of the country. Why do you keep saying he's going to raise people's taxes?
In Charles Gibson's third interview session with Sarah Palin, conducted at her home in Wasilla and featured on Friday's World News, Gibson asserted “we've got a very sick economy,” pressed her to list how she'd change Bush economic policy, insisted she concede “it's now pretty clearly documented you supported that bridge before you opposed it” (and to defend Alaska's continued earmark requests), all before he ran through several social issues -- from abortion to guns -- forcing her to state positions Gibson certainly realized would cement her to ideologically conservative positions seen as extreme by many of his viewers.
On the economy, with the Palin's airplane visible lakeside in the background, Gibson proposed: “John McCain and you are now talking about the GOP as a party of change. We've got a very sick economy. Tell me the three principal things you would do to change the Bush economic policies.” Amongst his follow-ups: “Summarize the three things that you'd change in the Bush economic plans.” Gibson soon ran through a list of social issue topics:
> Roe v. Wade, do you think it should be reversed?...John McCain would allow abortion in cases of rape and incest. Do you believe in it only in the case where the life of the mother is in danger?...Would you change and accept it in rape and incest?
> Embryonic stem cell research, John McCain has been supportive of it.
> Homosexuality, genetic or learned?
> Guns: 70 percent of this country supports a ban on semiautomatic assault weapons. Do you?
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith talked to Rudy Giuliani about Sarah Palin’s performance in an interview with ABC’s Charlie Gibson on Thursday’s World News and Giuliani observed: "The whole issue of whether she knows world affairs or not, these are questions that were never asked of Barack Obama, never asked of him to this day."A visibly upset Smith vigorously denied such bias: "That's not true. That's not true." Giuliani continued: "To this day he hasn't been asked these questions, about travel-" Smith kept up his defense: "That's not true. That is absolutely not true...That is absolutely not true. Those -- all those questions have been asked over the last 19 months." Giuliani got in the last word: "I don't know where."
ABC’s come a long way on middle-aged moms in politics. Four years ago, ABC’s lead anchor interviewed a Democratic vice presidential nominee’s wife, Elizabeth Edwards, and let her boldly speak about how men "with good hearts" don’t understand how they seem to disparage women's opinions. On the July 28, 2004 World News Tonight, the Wednesday night of the Democratic convention in Boston, Peter Jennings asked Mrs. Edwards questions Charles Gibson didn’t ask Sarah Palin: "So much is being made all the time about how real you are...And how refreshing it is to have a mother of young children out there in a very public way." Jennings also asked about her husband John: "Many months ago, he told me not only were you the most beautiful girl in your class, but he also said you were smarter than he was. Is that true?" Here's the meat of it:
PETER JENNINGS: So much is being made all the time about how real you are.
ELIZABETH EDWARDS: Whatever that means.
JENNINGS: And how refreshing it is to have a mother of young children out there in a very public way. But you are millionaires. How do you stay in touch with what it means to struggle?
New York Times reporter Adam Nagourney's front-page story on Friday, "Obama Raises Level of Attack As Party Frets," tipped its hand on one part of Barack Obama campaign's strategy: Relying on turnout from its loyal supporters in the press.
By every indication, Mr. Obama's aides underestimated the impact that Mr. McCain's choice of Ms. Palin would have on the race. Mr. Obama and his campaign have seemed flummoxed in trying to figure out how to deal with her. His aides said they were looking to the news media to debunk the image of her as a blue-collar reformer, even as they argued that her power to help Mr. McCain was overstated.
As Charles Gibson interviewed young vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin, some might wonder: did Gibson (then a co-host of Good Morning America) throw tough foreign-policy questions at John Edwards in 2004, since he had only four and a half years experience in public office? No.
Gibson’s first John Edwards interview after he was nominated for vice president came on the September 2, 2004 Good Morning America, on the Thursday morning of the Republican convention in New York. Gibson didn’t ask any quiz questions about his readiness or about foreign policy. Instead, he asked six questions about how the Democrats would respond to the GOP going after the Democrats "hammer and tong last night." Gibson merely asked Edwards how he felt about it, and then demanded to know: "You speak with such equanimity this morning. Didn't they make you mad last night?" Edwards replied in part: "Oh, I thought they were over the top, completely over the top." Gibson repeated: " Did you get mad, though?"
Newsweek reporter Suzanne Smalley declared on MSNBC shortly before 1 PM EDT this afternoon that “over the past few weeks, the McCain campaign has really gotten down and dirty. A lot of their ads have been flat-out lies.” So, she pleaded: “Obama needs to really take the steering wheel back. Many Democrats in Washington are worried.”
Smalley was encouraged, however, by how at Thursday night's National Service Forum “McCain gave Obama a present on a silver platter by talking about the fact that he's divorced from the every day challenges that people in America face. So I think Obama is going to be using that in the coming days.”
On Friday, "Good Morning America" previewed five special editions of the ABC program that will air live from a train from September 15 through the 19. As the GMA anchors and reporters travel around America, will their election '08 questions follow the standard liberal perspective?
Robin Roberts previewed the type of queries that she asserted everyday Americans are concerned about. Three out of the four appeared to take the Democratic perspective or assume that the answers would always involve government doing more. In video clips, an unidentified male asked, "What do you plan on doing to make health care more affordable for the average American?" A child followed up by querying, "I'm wondering if you will lower the cost of college?" The next question saw a woman wanting to know, "When are you going to get our soldiers out of Iraq?"
The legalization of slavery is a big campaign issue. Just ask Whoopi Goldberg. Republican nominee John McCain appeared on the Septemeber 12 edition of "The View." Answering a question about his opposition to Roe v. Wade, McCain insisted that he would support judges who strictly interpret the Constitution. This must have set alarms for Whoopi Goldberg who asked "do I have to worry about becoming a slave again?" [audio available here]
If Goldberg -- who in the past has shown clear ignorance about the Constitution -- would actually read the Constitution, she would know a strict constructionist would not return America to slavery. The 13th Amendment to the Constitution states that "neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except for punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."
Initially Senator McCain ignored Goldberg's question, but Whoopi expressed her enslavement anxiety again adding "there are certain things in the Constitution that you had to change." The "View" co-host should know that, unlike the legalization of abortion, slavery was abolished through a constitutional amendment, not a Supreme Court decision.
While FNC’s The O’Reilly Factor this week has been featuring portions of Bill O’Reilly’s interview with Barack Obama which stands out as being more challenging to the Democratic candidate than those interviews conducted by the more liberal mainstream media, it is noteworthy that on Tuesday’s show, during the "Pinheads and Patriots" segment, O’Reilly awarded Michelle Obama the "Patriot" distinction because she danced with Ellen Degeneres during a Monday appearance on her show Ellen. But, by contrast, he then suggested that conservative Elisabeth Hasselbeck, co-host of ABC’s The View, may deserve the "Pinhead" dishonor because Hasselbeck recently criticized Michelle Obama for having a list of demands when she appeared on The View, as Hasselbeck spoke at an event praising Cindy McCain. O’Reilly: "I say [Obama and Degeneres are] both patriots because we need all the dancing we can get in America. It lightens the mood. On the pinhead front, I'm not sure about this, so you can decide if View host Elisabeth Hasselbeck was out of bounds at a fundraiser honoring Cindy McCain." Notably, last February, O'Reilly seemed to suggest that conservatives were acting like a "lynching party" for their attacks on Michelle Obama's declaration that "for the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country."
Nearly a year ago, when the inexperienced presidential candidate Barack Obama sat for his first interview with Charles Gibson, the ABC anchor did not try and expose any gaps in Obama’s foreign policy knowledge or press him about his readiness for the job he was seeking. Instead Gibson emphasized Obama’s personal story, about how his parents met, how Obama met his wife, etc.
But just as he did with his Thursday night interview with GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, Gibson did ask Obama about the “hubris” he displayed in seeking the presidency. Here’s the exchange from the November 1, 2007 World News interview:
CHARLES GIBSON: So did you think to yourself, 'Barack, what kind of hubris is this that I am thinking about being President?"
ABC's Charles Gibson pressed Sarah Palin repeatedly, in a fresh interview excerpt aired on Thursday's "Nightline," to cry uncle and concede global warming is “man-made” -- but even when she did he wasn't satisfied and pushed for more of a mea culpa. "Nightline," which made “War, God and Oil” the on-screen header for excerpts from Gibson's interviews, began with a slightly longer version of what "World News" carried earlier, mostly about foreign policy, followed by new video from a second interview Gibson conducted as the two walked alongside the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline.
Gibson presumed not believing global warming is “man-made” is some kind of shameful oddity as he wondered: “Do you still believe that global warming is not man-made?” Palin offered that “I believe that man's activities certainly can be contributing to the issue of global warming,” but that wasn't enough for Gibson, who held up John McCain as the oracle and lectured:
Charles Gibson's interview with Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, the first since her selection, not surprisingly focused mostly on pressing her to prove she's qualified for the job and quizzing her about foreign policy issues. While Gibson certainly treated her with more respect than would have many other national media figures, he did suggest her willingness to unhesitatingly accept John McCain's offer demonstrated “hubris” and he delved into what he described as her “provocative comments” on the Iraq war being part of “God's plan.” When he seemingly caught her unaware of the definition of the “Bush Doctrine,” he outlined its tenets without embarrassing her, yet he also veered close to condescension in asking if she had “ever travel[ed] outside the country” and: “Have you ever met a foreign head of state?”
Gibson began the World News excerpt, of the session recorded in Fairbanks, with what he termed “the central question,” namely: “Can you look the country in the eye and say 'I have the experience and I have the ability to be not just Vice President, but perhaps President of the United States of America?'” When she denied any hesitation about her abilities, Gibson asserted: “Doesn't that take some hubris?”After she cited her energy expertise, he countered: “National security is a whole lot more than energy.” He moved on to quizzing her about how, if the U.S. followed her advice to admit Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, “wouldn't we then have to go to war if Russia went into Georgia?”, whether she'd let Israel attack Iran and if she would approve of cross-border raids into Pakistan.
That segment consumed the first ten minutes or so of World News which ended with another interview excerpt in which Gibson paraphrased her as saying in June that “our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God.” After supporting You Tube video of Palin, Gibson demanded: “Are we fighting a holy war?” Unconvinced by her answer about how she only meant, as Lincoln urged, “let us pray that we are on God's side,” Gibson pounced: “But you went on and said, 'There is a plan and it is God's plan.'” He soon followed up again: “Are you sending your son on a task that is from God?”
On Thursday's "Today" show, co-host Meredith Vieira actually challenged former Clinton administration advisor Paul Begala about the significance of Barack Obama's recent "lipstick on a pig" comment.
As was typical for this shameless pol, Begala viewed the McCain campaign's complaints concerning this remark as a distraction "from the fact that, you know, in the eyes of most people, the economy's going in the wrong direction, health care's going in the wrong direction, the whole country's going in the wrong direction."
However, Vieira surprisingly disagreed, and wasn't letting her guest get away with simply echoing Democrat talking points (partial transcript and embedded video follow, file photo right):
Washington Post staff writer Kevin Merida talked to NewsBusters at a rally for John McCain in Fairfax, VA and denied that the media are biased. He asserted, "I think that most journalists are really conscientious about, you know, really looking at all sides of issues and subjects." However, he did hedge that "there's always some bias in media coverage and some, just, not-terrific journalism."
When asked about intense scrutiny into the life of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, Merida didn't see an issue of unfair coverage. "...She's somebody new on the scene and she's getting a lot of, you know, scrutiny, like anyone would, I think, in her position, with her background, her resume and, kind of, bursting onto the national scene in this sudden way." Asked specifically about possible double standards, such as when "Today" reporter Amy Robach speculated on September 3 about whether a Vice President Palin will "be shortchanging her kids or will she be shortchanging the country," Merida declined to comment on other media outlets.
CNN correspondent Gary Tuchman’s report detailing the abortion stances of the four major presidential and vice-presidential candidates on Wednesday’s Anderson Cooper 360 program gave a fairly neutral portrayal of how "Biden and Obama both favor abortion rights" and how "Palin and McCain are both anti-abortion," despite Tuchman describing how Palin is "considered fervently anti-abortion." However, host Anderson Cooper, in his introduction to Tuchman’s report, gave no reaction or labeling as he mentioned South Carolina Democratic Chairwoman Carol Fowler’s slam against Palin, that John McCain picked her because she "hadn’t had an abortion," other than stating, "Just the mention of that word [abortion] stirs up intense emotions for a lot of voters."
Like many liberal media outlets totally apoplectic over Sarah Palin being John McCain's running mate, the New York Times has continually questioned her qualifications as having "only" been a governor and a mayor.
Yet, 24 years ago, when presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Walter Mondale was considering who his running mate should be, the Times editorial staff asked, "Where is it written that only senators are qualified to become President," as it made the case that the women on Mondale's list were qualified despite lacking senatorial experience.
Is this because those were Democrats and Palin is a Republican?
Consider the answer as you read a July 3, 1984, Times editorial (emphasis added, taken from LexisNexis, no link available, photo courtesy AP):
What media outlets are the ladies of "The View" watching? After Joy Behar the previous day spoke of an alleged media love affair with Sarah Palin, Barbara Walters echoed Joy’s charge on the September 11 edition. Responding to Joy Behar’s statement that a "Bush operative" wrote Palin’s speech, Elisabeth Hasselbeck noted the media’s double standard that they never inquired as to who wrote Obama’s speech. Barbara Walters then jumped in and exclaimed that Governor Palin has "had a glorious ride with the media."
As reported yesterday, Sarah Palin’s ride with the media has been anything but glorious. MRC’s Rich Noyes reported on the media’s rough, often unfair treatment of the Alaska governor. ABC, "The View’s" own network, ran a hit piece on Mrs. Palin. Elisabeth Hasselbeck swiftly responded "it was glorious when they attacked her daughter too."
In the wake of the controversy surrounding Barack Obama’s use of the phrase "lipstick on a pig," on Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared: "Lipstick wars. Barack Obama fires back." A clip was then played of Obama on Wednesday’s Late Show with David Letterman: "Technically, she [Sarah Palin] -- had I meant it this way, she would be the lipstick. You see?... The failed policies of John McCain would be the pig." In a later segment, the on-screen graphic appeared: "‘Lipstick On A Pig’ Dustup: Smear Tactics?"
In the second half of that segment, Rodriguez talked to liberal George Mason University professor Michael Fauntroy about the issue and Obama’s comments on Letterman: "I want you to listen to what he said to David Letterman last night about his lipstick comment...Michael, do you think he explained it or made it worse?" Fauntroy replied: "I think he explained it." Rodriguez went on to question whether Obama should have just avoided using the phrase to begin with, but Fauntroy disagreed: "...then both candidates are in big trouble because you end up in a circumstance in which you have to censor yourself in a way that may be -- may go beyond who you are as an individual. And what voters want to be able to see from the candidates is authenticity and that may not be possible if candidates are worrying so much about what they say."