At the top of Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez proclaimed: "the truth about salt, why a new report wants the government to take salt off the table." She later introduced a segment on the topic by explaining: "Americans eat about 1 ½ tablespoons of salt every day....there's a major new push this morning to curb that habit."
Rodriguez spoke with CBS medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton about the government intrusion and noted that there was "confusion" over "reports that the FDA might regulate salt." Ashton claimed: "there was a fair amount of misinterpretation of yesterday's news....the Institute of Medicine approached the FDA and asked for their assistance in working in conjunction with the food industry and other health services to help increase awareness about salt intake and hopefully, in the future, reduce the consumption of salt that Americans have."
However, near the end of the segment, after Ashton detailed the negative health effects of too much salt, Rodriguez observed: "So then there maybe is an argument for someone getting involved in making these companies put less sodium in their foods." Ashton agreed: "Exactly. And so we're going to be seeing more of that more aggressively from the government in the future."
On Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez described how comedian Conan O'Brien could attract viewers to his new late night show on the TBS cable channel: "if he can get this young revolution, you know, a la President Obama, to follow him, that could be huge."
Rodriguez made the comment after guest Dalton Ross, the assistant managing editor for Entertainment Weekly, observed that O'Brien was: "now competing with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, he's not expected to have these mass numbers. As long as he brings his younger audience, his albeit smaller, but passionate audience to TBS, it's going to be successful."
Ross thought Rodriguez's comparison of Obama and O'Brien supporters was "exactly right."
At the top of the 8:30AM ET half hour of Friday's CBS Early Show, co-hosts Maggie Rodriguez and Harry Smith welcomed a new contributor to the broadcast, the daughter of Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, Ayla Brown. As Smith put it: "she's about to graduate from college and she's agreed to come aboard as a special contributor with us here on the Early Show."
Rodriguez led into the announcement by recalling: "...remember back in January, Ayla Brown made headlines sort of by accident when her father, newly elected Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, announced during his victory speech that she was 'available.'" Smith followed by mentioning Brown's previous appearance on the show: "And remember then a couple of weeks later, we asked Ayla, who's a veteran of American Idol, to sing for us here on the Early Show. She knocked it out of the park."
In addition to the softball interview CBS's Harry Smith conducted with President Obama on Thursday, the Early Show co-host also played some one-on-one with the commander in chief on the White House basketball court, declaring on Friday's show: "it's not just talk, there's a little action too, as we bring in Clark Kellogg of CBS Sports to check out the President's basketball skills." [Audio available here]
In honor of Good Friday, at the top of show, Smith used some religious language to describe where the game took place: "This is the sanctum sanctorum....I'm not sure anybody has ever really been down there with cameras before." Meanwhile, co-host Maggie Rodriguez pretended that Smith actually conducted a hard interview: "you ask him all the tough questions...Does he then proceed to take it out on you on the basketball court?"
At one point in the game, Smith jokingly asked the President: "the question is – that everybody wants to know, can you go to your right?" Obama replied: "I can go to my right, but I prefer my left." Smith laughed gleefully in response. Rodriguez remarked that it was Obama's "comfort zone."
Introducing a segment on Thursday's CBS Early Show about President Obama's decision to open up some new areas to offshore oil drilling, fill-in co-host Jeff Glor warned that some of Obama's "closest allies are especially unhappy." In a report that followed, White House correspondent Bill Plante noted "Environmental groups are disappointed."
However, Plante also touted the idea that the move could help pass unpopular cap and trade legislation, a long-held liberal goal: "Many in Washington see this as a strategy to win Republican support for a climate bill aimed at slowing global warming." He later concluded: "The conventional political wisdom is that this is not the time to have another rancorous nasty debate, like the one over health care, on a climate change bill. But the betting here is that the President's energy policy may make it easier to have that debate."
At the top of the show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez proclaimed: "President Obama's controversial offshore drilling proposal is making big waves. Critics say the risks are obvious, but not the rewards." In a discussion with CBS political analyst John Dickerson after Plante's report, she did little to hide her displeasure with the proposal: "Let's establish right off the bat that this will not – not even remotely free us from our dependence on foreign oil." Dickerson agreed: "You're exactly right."
On Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked political analyst and writer for the left-leaning blog Slate.com, John Dickerson, if Democrats were "worried" about the "ton of momentum" behind the tea party movement. Dickerson replied: "What Democrats can only hope for is that tea party activists somehow overreach and that that ends up becoming a stain on the Republican Party."
Rodriguez agreed and touted Democratic Party talking points on ObamaCare: "Right. And also, if you ask the Obama administration, they'll tell you maybe people will see the few health care changes that are taking effect immediately and actually like them and it'll turn the tide of public opinion."
"That certainly is the hope," Dickerson replied, but then lamented: "The polling right now does not give the Obama administration a lot of encouragement on that front." He explained that the American public was simply afraid of change: "The problem is that people are nervous about change and this is an enormous change in their lives....people really just don't believe it yet."
Introducing a report on passage of the ObamaCare reconciliation bill on Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez referred to a couple upcoming rescue stories on the show and cheerfully remarked: "And speaking of rescues, the Democrats have rescued health care reform, once on death's door, after putting the final touches, finally, on the sweeping legislation yesterday."
At the top of the show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "Health care reform is a done deal after Democrats in Congress make final changes to the historic legislation." In the later report by correspondent Nancy Cordes, an on-screen headline read: "Done Deal; Obama Health Care Plan Gets Final Approval From Congress."
Cordes played a clip of Democratic Congressman Robert Andrews giving a glowing description of the bill: "Tonight the underdogs won. The people who have been abused by their insurance companies, turned down because they had asthma, or had their policies canceled because they got cancer, they won." She framed the GOP as against helping such people: "Republican opposition in the House and Senate was unanimous."
At the top of Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez proclaimed: "The health care debate gets ugly as Democrats who voted for reform report violence and death threats." In a report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes promoted left-wing talking points blaming the GOP: "Democrats accuse Republicans of stoking the anger with violent rhetoric and imagery."
As one example of the threats against Democrats, Cordes played phone messages left for Michigan Congressman Bart Stupak: "You and your family are scum....We think you're a devil....I hope you die." However, the Early Show failed to mention any of the threatening phone calls made to Stupak last week, by liberals upset over the pro-life Democrat still being on the fence over the abortion language in ObamaCare. As NewsBusters' Tim Graham pointed out, CBS's own Political Hotsheet blog reported: "Stupak...says his life has become a 'living hell' because of the debate....'All the phones are unplugged at our house – tired of the obscene calls and threats,' Stupak said in an interview with The Hill."
Citing more examples, Cordes noted that Democrats "point to Sarah Palin's Facebook page, which uses cross hairs to denote districts where vulnerable Democrats voted for health care reform. 'Don't retreat, instead, reload,' Palin told fellow conservatives on Twitter." In addition, a picture of the Republican National Committee website appeared on screen, which featured an image of Nancy Pelosi surrounded by flames and the words 'Fire Pelosi'. On Tuesday, Rodriguez asked RNC Chair Michael Steele if such imagery was "a little bit extreme."
Sounding more like MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann than impartial newscasts, ABC, CBS and NBC all led Wednesday night by legitimizing Democratic talking points meant to discredit critics of the just-passed health care bill. “Opposition to health care turns menacing,” ABC’s Diane Sawyer warned. CBS teased with audio clips -- “Baby-murdering scumbag,”“You are a dirtbag” and “I hope you die” -- as fill-in anchor Maggie Rodriguez cited “threats of violence against Democrats who voted for health care reform, even as public support for the plan is growing.”
On NBC, Brian Williams teased: “It's getting ugly as anger over health care reform erupts into some over-the-top rhetoric, including threats now against members of Congress.” He opened by declaring: “It can now be said that the debate over health care reform has gone too far. It's now veered into threats of violence.” Reporter Kelly O’Donnell relayed how “Democrats accuse Republicans of stirring a hostile mood” before Savannah Guthrie rued “Washington's epic 14-month battle over health care has exposed an angry side of America.” She recounted:
Wrapped around the brick that smashed the door of Democratic party headquarters in Rochester, New York, a note with the Barry Goldwater quote: ‘Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice.’ On Twitter, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin told followers, ‘Don't retreat, reload.’ While an Alabama man advocated armed uprising....At a conservative Tea Party protest at the Capitol this weekend, some demonstrators hurled racially and sexually-charged insults at members of the Congress.
CBS’s Nancy Cordes dutifully reported “Democrats accuse their GOP colleagues of inciting such acts with inflammatory rhetoric” as “Democrats complain Sarah Palin is also using violent words and imagery. On Twitter, she urges conservatives: ‘Don't retreat. Instead, reload.’ And the Web site of her political action committee posts bull's-eyes on districts of vulnerable Democrats.”
In an interview with Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez touted the signing of ObamaCare into law: "the Senate bill...becomes law today. You're going to be stuck with a bill you don't like." She then wondered: "What if the catastrophic scenario that you've been warning about doesn't play out?"
Rodriguez referred to an interview that her fellow co-host Harry Smith had just concluded with White House advisor David Axelrod and asked: "What if, as David Axelrod suggests, now that it's a reality and people start to see the benefits, they actually like it?" Steele replied: "David Axelrod didn't talk about the $506 billion that's being taken out of Medicare....He didn't talk about the $500 billion in new taxes that are going to be imposed on those small businesses....there's a lot in this bill that have yet to be revealed to the American people. And when it's further revealed, it'll be less – less liked."
After Steele's response, Rodriguez felt the need to incredulously repeat: "If it turns out to be the catastrophe that you are predicting." She then criticized the RNC for being too "extreme" in its opposition: "I looked on the RNC website this morning. I have to say, I was surprised by what I saw. The home page shows a big photograph of Nancy Pelosi and in huge block letters it says 'Fire Pelosi' and she is against a backdrop of flames....Isn't this a little bit extreme?...What can you accomplish with this?" A still shot of the RNC website appeared on screen (see picture below). Rodriguez failed to point that in the latest CBS News poll, Nancy Pelosi only has an 11% approval rating.
Steele dismissed Rodriguez's characterization: "Actually, I tamed it down. You know, the reality of it is I don't know why you're surprised. Nancy Pelosi is the architect of the demise, in my view, of one-sixth of our economy. She should be fired for her failure to serve the interests of the American people."
At the top of Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed the passage of ObamaCare: "A major victory for President Obama as House Democrats work late into the night to pass health care reform." A headline on screen read: "Historic Victory."
Co-host Maggie Rodriguez later introduced a report on the legislation by remarking that Smith, who was pleased with his NCAA March Madness bracket picks, was "not the only one who's happy this morning. So is President Obama." She went on to declare: "We begin with Congress's historic passage of health care reform late last night." Rodriguez recited ObamaCare talking points: "Now under this law...insurance companies will not be allowed to drop your coverage if you get sick. There will be no cap on lifetime insurance benefits and you can keep your children on your health insurance through the age of 26. Also, coverage will be available for uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions."
In the report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes began by describing the "sense of relief for Democrats," in the wake of the bill's passage. The on-screen headline read: "Historic Vote; Health Care Reform Passes; Heads to Obama's Desk."
On Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez proclaimed: "After more than a year of debate, Democrats say they're on the verge of passing historic health care legislation." And touted the massive legislation as fiscally responsible: "The government says the final version of the bill will cost $940 billion over ten years, but will reduce the projected budget deficit by $138 billion."
In a report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes gave a fully positive description of the legislation: "The final bill would extend coverage to 32 million Americans who are currently uninsured. It would close the gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage for seniors by the year 2020 and it would penalize businesses with more than 50 workers if they don't offer insurance."
After Cordes's report, Rodriguez spoke with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who praised CBS's adherence to the Democratic Party line: "Maggie, what I think is that we have seen yesterday very important information from the Congressional Budget Office, which as you indicate and Nancy indicated, shows that we are doing exactly what we said we would do."
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show co-host Harry Smith underwent a live colonoscopy in order to raise awareness of colon cancer. Hosting the momentous occasion was CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric, who dressed the part, wearing green scrubs, a white lab coat, and a stethoscope around her neck as if she was a medical doctor. (Click on photo for larger size)
Couric famously taped herself undergoing the same procedure in 2000, while still co-host of NBC's Today, in the wake of her husband, Jay Monahan, dying of colon cancer in 1998.
In the Early Show segment, Couric stood by Smith's bedside as they discussed the procedure and later dressed in full surgical garb as the colonoscopy was being performed.
Co-host Maggie Rodriguez led the coverage by touting the "Couric effect" of Americans getting colonoscopies in wake of Couric's televised exam and hoped for a similar "Smith effect."
See more photos of Couric playing doctor after the jump.
At the top of Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "President Obama makes a tough final push, going on the offensive against health insurance companies. Will it work?" Later, co-host Maggie Rodriguez gushed: "It looked like a campaign rally yesterday with President Obama center-stage taking his fight for health care reform out of Washington and into America's heartland."
White House correspondent Bill Plante followed up Rodriguez's fawning intro by reporting: "It did indeed look like a campaign. I'll tell you, the President is racing hard to get across the finish line with health care reform. He's trying to convince the public to ignore what he calls 'Washington's obsession with keeping score in politics.'" An on-screen headline read: "Obama on the Offensive; Attacks Insurers In Latest Push for Reform."
Plante ignored the Obama administration's constant political score-keeping and instead lamented how despite the President "taking on the pundits and the political establishment...polls show Mr. Obama has an uphill battle." Plante cited a recent Gallup poll showing 49% of Americans oppose ObamaCare, though failed to point out that only 42% of respondents in that poll favored the plan.
On Thursday, the Early Show claimed that ObamaCare was on the "fast-track" to being passed.
Introducing a story on the latest effort pass health care reform on Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez proclaimed: "This morning President Obama is putting health care reform on the fast-track, declaring that it's year-long journey must be completed in Congress quickly."
At the top of the show, co-host Harry Smith had similarly declared: "President Obama says the health care debate is over. He wants a reform bill on his desk in the next few weeks." A Headline on screen read: "Health Care Fast-Track."
White House correspondent Bill Plante reported on the so-called "fast-track" plan: "The President yesterday rejected Republican calls to start over, saying that it is time to make a decision on health care....he made it clear that he's willing to get this done with a legislative maneuver requiring no Republican support." At the end of his report, Plante acknowledged things weren't quite so simple: "this is by no means a done deal....Republicans united in opposition, Democrats wavering because of elections this fall."
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer ranted against Republican Senator Jim Bunning's opposition to a spending bill: "it's unconscionable what has happened here....this is about politics. It is not – it was not about anything of substance." [Audio available here]
Co-host Maggie Rodriguez began the segment by explaining that Bunning had stopped blocking the legislation and asked Schieffer: "Isn't this just another example of why it takes so long to get things done in Congress?" Schieffer agreed, claiming: "it's another example...of why there is so much anger and disillusionment out in the country about Congress."
Schieffer went on to dismiss the Kentucky Senator's concerns over the rising deficit: "[He] claimed he was doing this because he was trying to get the Senate to go along with the Republican principle and that is pay things...before they approve them but this was emergency legislation." In reality, Democrats, not Republicans, just passed pay-as-you-go legislation last week, mandating that all new spending being paid for before passage. As for the "emergency" nature of the bill, on Tuesday's Early Show, CBS White House correspondent Chip Reid claimed it was simply "routine legislation."
In part two of her exclusive interview with First Lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez worried about the toll the presidency takes on Barack Obama: "Your husband is the target of so many of these partisan attacks....He must get frustrated?" Rodriguez later wondered: "Amid all these frustrations, how does he unwind, how does he let that all go?"
Rodriguez asked about Mrs. Obama's reaction to criticism of her husband: "How often do you have to bite your tongue?" The First Lady explained: "You can't go into this if you're thin-skinned or you're worrying about your husband being criticized or you being criticized." Rodriguez remarked, "And criticize they do," and played clips of Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin as examples of the "frustrating partisan attacks" being launched against the President.
Later, Rodriguez asked about the Obama daughters, Malia and Sasha, and how they deal with the "poisonous environment" of Washington: "Do they not hear the attacks?" Mrs. Obama replied: "Everyone in this country cares about those girls....we have been pleasantly surprised that our children have experienced that kind of good naturedness of this country."
In an exclusive interview with First Lady Michelle Obama on Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez fretted over the future of ObamaCare: "Deadlines keep getting missed for passing health care. Obstacles keep mounting....Unfortunately at the moment...health care is being held hostage by partisanship."
Rodriguez introduced the interview by proclaiming that the First Lady: "acknowledges the many hurdles to passing it [health care reform], but insists it will remain a top priority for the President." In her first question to Mrs. Obama, Rodriguez focused on the President's determination to get something passed: "Will your husband ever give up on trying to find a compromise?" After Obama replied that "we can't afford to give up," Rodriguez concluded: "You can't imagine a scenario where he would not finish the job on health care?" Obama declared: "My hope is that the country understands that we need to do this."
Ironically, Rodriguez later focused on political partisanship: "Democrats are losing a lot of legislators, either they're leaving or incumbents are losing. How do you stop the bleeding?...What do you think could help Democrats keep those crucial seats?"
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith teased an interview with the Vice President: "We got a great chance yesterday to spend some quality time with Vice President Joe Biden. He's got a lot to say on a lot of different topics." During the interview, Smith shilled for the failed stimulus package: "The Vice President says the stimulus created or saved 2 million jobs. Many of them green."
At the top of the show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez announced: "Today is the first anniversary of the economic stimulus package." Smith treated it like a celebration, joking: "Where's the stimulus package cake?" Rodriguez replied: "There should be." Smith began the segment with Biden by citing a Pew Research poll showing only 24% Americans actually think the stimulus plan has improved the economy, but rather that challenge the VP on its failure, he simply asked if taxpayers "got their bang from the buck from the stimulus." That allowed Biden to argue: "Absolutely. But I don't think they realize it....The job creating portions are really loaded at the second half here....they have gotten their money's worth."
Traveling with Biden in Saginaw, Michigan on Tuesday, Smith touted one employer who was helped by the stimulus: "At Fuzzy's Diner, a local businessman, Paul Furlo, told us government-backed loans helped him expand and add hundreds of new employees." No critics of the stimulus were featured in the segment.
On Tuesday, both CBS Early Show co-host Maggie Rodriguez and ABC Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos lamented the announced retirement of Democratic Indiana Senator Evan Bayh and proclaimed that his reelection would have been a virtual certainty. Rodriguez described it as "a lock," while Stephanopoulos asserted that it was "almost assured."
In reality, A January 25 Rasmussen poll showed Bayh losing to Republican Congressman Mike Pence, 44% to 47%. While Pence has since decided against running, the poll also showed former Republican Congressman John Stutzman, who has formerly announced his candidacy, getting close at 41% to Bayh's 44%. Numbers like that certainly do not suggest Bayh's reelection was anywhere close to being "a lock."
Both Rodriguez and Stephanopoulos made those comments in interviews with Bayh on their respective shows. Only a brief sound bite of the Senator was featured on NBC's Today on Tuesday.
On Good Morning America, Stephanopoulos almost pleaded with Bayh not to retire, claiming that if "centrists" like him leave, "doesn't that make the problem [of partisanship] worse? Why not stay and fix it?" While Rodriguez did not label Bayh as centrist, she did fret over his decision to retire: "What do you say to critics who say you did leave the Democrats high and dry at a time when they can't afford to be losing anymore seats?"
On Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez reported on a 7-year-old boy who tried to hand deliver a get well card to former President Bill Clinton: "When Bill Clinton returned home from the hospital after a heart procedure on Friday, there were lots of reporters waiting, and one second grader named C.J. Williams, who just wanted to get a get well card to him and some candy."
Throughout the fawning segment, a headline on-screen read: "Get Well Soon, Mr. President; 2nd Grader Attempts To Deliver Message to Clinton." However, while the story suggested that C.J. came up with the idea on his own, when Rodriguez asked "Was that your idea, C.J.? Did you want to do it?," the boy replied: "No, Dad." Rodriguez added: "Oh, it was Dad's idea." The father, Chip Williams, was in studio and had explained: "...we thought it would be a good idea to maybe swing by his house and drop off a card, a little get well card."
Both Rodriguez and co-host Harry Smith lamented C.J.'s inability to deliver the card personally, but Rodriguez did inform viewers it was a Snoopy card and read it aloud: "Would a happy little dance make you feel a little better? In that case, maybe I should do a great big happy dance." Smith was in awe: "Wow."
Reporting Congressman Patrick Kennedy's decision to not run for re-election this fall for his House seat representing Rhode Island, CBS and ABC on Friday night bemoaned the impending lack of a Kennedy in the House or Senate – presuming no other Kennedy runs and wins this November – as the “end of an era.” CBS even created a chart to display the timeline for Kennedys in office, as fill-in CBS Evening News anchor Maggie Rodriguez announced:
It is the end of an era, the Kennedy era. Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy has decided not to seek re-election in November. So early next year there will be no Kennedy holding elected office in Washington for the first time since 1947, more than 63 years.
Over on ABC, Diane Sawyer plugged the upcoming story: “End of an era. The last Kennedy in Congress calling it quits.” In the subsequent report, Sawyer recalled: “It was 1946 when his uncle John Fitzgerald Kennedy was elected to the House. Then, his uncle, Senator Robert Kennedy, and then his father, Ted.” Getting a bit carried away, Sawyer then asserted: “There has always been a Kennedy in Washington.”
While discussing Sarah Palin’s Saturday Tea Party Convention speech with political analyst John Dickerson on Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez remarked: “She was really scrutinized because she wrote those notes on her hand during her speech....I want to show real quick....boy, are her critics having fun with that one.”
As Rodriguez mentioned the incident, a headline on screen read: “Helping Hand? Palin Seen Glancing At Notes On Palm.” Dickerson was forgiving: “Well, we all face a little difficulty getting our words together in public moments,” but added: “I think this will be the kind of thing the Democrats will use to pick at her, you know, the notion is that basically she doesn’t have the capabilities to be president.” Dickerson concluded: “I don’t think in the long term, though, this is – will cause her too much trouble.”
While Rodriguez made sure to point out Palin’s gaffe to viewers, during an interview last February, Rodriguez glossed over an obvious gaffe made by Vice President Joe Biden.
In an interview with Florida Governor Charlie Crist on Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez turned to the hotly contested Senate race: “your opponent in the primary, fellow Republican Marco Rubio, and you...are in a dead heat in this race. Critics say that it’s because he is a true conservative and you are...a RINO, a ‘Republican In Name Only.’ How do you respond to that criticism?”
As Rodriguez spoke, the latest Quinnipiac University poll of the primary appeared on screen, showing Rubio with 47% among Republican voters and Crist with 44%. Crist defended his conservative credentials: “Well, if I’m a RINO, then so is Ronald Reagan.” At the same, time he seemed to attack conservative Rubio for being an “ideologue”: “...we do things a little differently here in Florida, we actually work together to get things done for the people. And I think that’s exactly what the American people want. They don’t want bickering and some ideologue on one end or the other to sort of be a standard bearer.”
While Rodriguez mentioned conservative criticism of Crist, she did not bring up the Governor’s well known hug with President Obama last year and staunch support for the stimulus package. In contrast, back in 2006, CBS correspondent Trish Regan labeled Democratic Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman’s embrace with President Bush as an “infamous kiss.” On the August 8 Early Show she touted how Lieberman’s left-wing primary challenger “Ned Lamont has used this now infamous kiss to his advantage on campaign buttons and television ads, suggesting Lieberman is just too cozy with the President.” Apparently CBS isn’t interested in Crist being “cozy” with Obama.
In the 8:30AM ET half hour on Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez teased an upcoming animal segment: “...we have some visitors to the studio of the animal variety. Some of them are cute and cuddly....But they’re all in trouble due to climate change and you’re going to see these animals from the San Diego Zoo and hear about their precarious situation ahead this morning.”
Rodriguez later introduced the segment by declaring that “climate change is affecting some of the world’s most beautiful animals.” She spoke with senior animal keeper at the San Diego Zoo, Rick Schwartz, who brought out the first guest, an arctic fox. Rodriguez asked him: “How is this animal in danger now?” Schwartz explained:
Well, the problem that we’re having up in the north, mainly with the polar bears. There’s not enough ice forming up there, so the time for them to hunt for their food is being diminished.... If the polar bears can’t hunt and bring food out in the winter time for the arctic fox, we’re going to see them probably – either their numbers decreasing also or possibly moving south and interfering with other species that would rely on the foods that they would be using.
The three morning shows on Thursday reacted to Barack Obama’s State of the Union address by highlighting the risk Republicans run in continuing to oppose the President’s agenda. On NBC’s Today, Meredith Vieira fretted to Joe Biden, "What risk do the Republicans run by continuing to say no, by being the party of no?" NBC put the happiest spin on the speech, featuring a graphic that trumpeted, "‘Never More Hopeful’: Obama’s Renewed Message of Hope for America."
Chuck Todd cooed, "The President took pains to talk about hope at a time when so many Americans seemed to have so little." On the Early Show, Maggie Rodriguez pressed Senator John McCain on GOP accommodation. She wondered if "we are going to hear" more yes answers and fewer no replies from the Republicans. The co-host then chided McCain, "But will you compromise?"
In an amusing moment on Today, Vieira asked Biden what Americans could expect for the economy in the new year. He replied, "Well, I say, they’re going to start to see unemployment grow this spring." Vieira quickly jumped in and corrected, "You mean employment?" [Audio available here.]
At the top of Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez highlighted the latest attempt at populism by the Obama administration: “President Obama calls for a big spending freeze and focuses on plans to help the struggling middle class, but does he have the political support he needs?”
Moments later, co-host Harry Smith introduced the story with a similar declaration: “President Obama will try and calm voter anger during tomorrow’s State of the Union address. He’ll announce plans to cut the growing federal deficit and help the struggling middle class.” Writing for the Heritage Foundation blog, The Foundry, Alison Fraser pointed out the problem with Obama’s supposed “spending freeze”: “If it applies to last year’s supercharged spending on stimulus steroids baseline, it’s no freeze at all, but a locking in of spending that was supposed to be temporary.”
Freezing government spending at its current record-high level would do nothing to “cut the growing federal deficit” as Smith asserted. White House correspondent Bill Plante pushed the same argument in a report that followed: “...the President has been busy for several days spreading his message of fiscal responsibility....in an effort to show that the federal government has to manage its budget by making choices, just as families must, the President is calling for a freeze on non-security spending for the next three fiscal years.”
Speaking to political analyst John Dickerson on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show about Republican Scott Brown winning the Massachusetts Senate race, co-host Maggie Rodriguez lamented: “When it comes to health care, I think it’s so ironic that the late Ted Kennedy’s passion was health care. He dedicated his career to it. And the man who will replace him could be the one to derail it.”
Rodriguez wondered: “Do you think that’ll happen? Do you think that Senator Brown will be seated in time to vote no?” Dickerson replied: “I think so. It looks like there’s not any appetite to try and rush something through quickly. Health care is already unpopular in Massachusetts and across the country. It’s a very tricky thing indeed to take an unpopular bill and then sort of sneak it in through this back door way. So that’s politically too painful.”
Interestingly, Rodriguez’s concern over Kennedy’s health care legacy was almost identical to a question NBC’s Meredith Vieira asked Senator-elect Brown on Wednesday’s Today: “...you plan to do whatever you can to derail what Ted Kennedy called, called ‘the cause of his lifetime,’ which is health care reform?”
There has been something of a debate over whether the Senate can properly delay seating Republican Scott Brown if he wins today’s special election, giving the Democrats time to ram through their unpopular health care bill. The Weekly Standard’s Fred Barnes has neatly summarized the arguments of GOP lawyers that the temporary Senator Paul Kirk’s term expires today with the election of a successor (either Coakley or Brown).
But Democrats are even now preparing the media to accept the idea that Kirk can remain at his post for up to two more weeks while the formal certification process proceeds at the pace chosen by officials in Democratically-controlled Massachusetts. Yet just two months ago, the lack of certification for two Democratic winners of congressional special elections was no barrier to their quick swearing in for a health care vote in the House — and it drew no complaints from the news media (and was enthusiastically received by MSNBC’s left-wing hosts).
Appearing on Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele criticized potential Democratic efforts to delay seating Republican Scott Brown as the Senator from Massachusetts as “unseemly,” but co-host Maggie Rodriguez replied: “Is that fair? Because wouldn’t your party do the exact same thing?”
Rodriguez went on to argue: “Isn’t it true that when the GOP had the majority and the Democrats would filibuster something, you know, you didn’t like that....They’re trying to keep you from doing the same thing to them that you did when you were – had the majority.” Steele began to reply: “You’re mixing an apple and an orange here.” Rodriguez interrupted: “No, no, I’m really not.”
Steele explained: “To filibuster on an issue is not the same as seating a member in the United States Senate regardless of what’s going on in the Senate. There is a process that unfolds....[Democrats] made it very clear that [they] will obstruct this process...will change the rules in order for [them] to get [their] way in the Senate.” A shocked Rodriguez asked: “So you’re implying that they would do something illegal?” Steele replied: “I’m not – illegal is left for lawyers to decide. What I’m saying is that there is a process.”