At the top of Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared: "A new CBS News/New York Times poll shows Barack Obama maintains a double digit lead over John McCain, he's now ahead by 11 points, 52% to 41%." However, the current Real Clear Politics average of polls, which includes the CBS/New York Times poll, only gives Obama a 6-point advantage. That is because all other polls range from Obama being up three to being up eight, the CBS/NYT poll is clearly the outlier.
In a report that followed, correspondent Jeff Glor looked at poll numbers on the economy: "A new CBS News/New York Times poll asked if the candidates would raise taxes on people like you. 50% said Obama would, 46% said McCain would. But when asked which candidate will make the economy better, 54% said Obama, 32%, McCain." In contrast to that 22-point gap, a recent Rasmussen poll shows that 48% of voters trust McCain more on the economy, while 47% trust Obama more. In addition, Rasmussen gives Obama only a 4-point lead nationally. Given such great disparity in the results and the fact that most other polls show the race tightening, one wonders about the credibility of the CBS/New York Times poll.
On Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez talked to Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer about Obama’s Wednesday night campaign infomercial and Schieffer offered rave reviews: "...this was something we haven't seen the like of in American Politics...It reminded me so much of the commercials that Ronald Reagan ran in 1984, the ‘Morning in America’...What Barack Obama’s message was last night, ‘things are not so good, but take heart, because we can make it okay.’ I thought it was very, very effective...it was a very effective piece of campaign advertising."
Following Rodriguez’s discussion with Schieffer, co-host Harry Smith talked with Washington Post media critic and CNN contributor, Howard Kurtz, about the commercial. Kurtz’s review was a bit more mixed: "This wasn't a 60-second ad. It wasn't a "Morning America" ad by Reagan, it was a show, and as a show it had to draw people in. I think it did a pretty good job of that, but as I said, at times it was a bit over the top." Earlier, Smith asked Kurtz: "What did you not like?" and Kurtz replied: "Well, for example, Maggie mentioned the faux Oval Office at the beginning, a lot of people, I think are going to find that a tad presumptuous-" Smith interrupted: "The Oval Office is not brown. It doesn't -- I don't think the Oval Office is brown, but go ahead." Kurtz pointed out: "Look at that tree in the window, it looks just like the South Lawn, he's got the flag." As Kurtz mentioned, in her discussion with Schieffer, Rodriguez observed: "...it opens with him standing in an office that some people thought looked like the Oval Office."
At the top of Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Jeff Glor reported on the presidential campaign and continued to portray Barack Obama as the victim of John McCain’s attacks: "Meanwhile, the campaigns were making their closing arguments, with special emphasis on the arguing part...John McCain backers have launched an array of new attacks on Barack Obama, including more robocalls." Glor then skipped over any of Obama’s robocalls and instead delcared: "The Obama campaign's relentless responses come quickly." Glor then played a clip of the "response": "John McCain wants to tear Barack Obama down, with scare tactics and smears."
Following Glor’s report, co-host Maggie Rodriguez discussed the candidates’ chances in Pennsylvania with former Republican Governor Tom Ridge and current Democratic Governor Ed Rendell. Rodriguez began by asking Ridge: "Last week you said that you thought that McCain would be faring much better in your state had he chosen you as a running mate. Sarah Palin certainly is trying really hard, she's been there 11 times, four more times today. Do you think she's been a drag on the ticket in your state?" Ridge responded by correcting Rodriguez’s mis-characterization of his comments: "Well, first of all, I said that Senator McCain chose a vice presidential candidate not to win one state, but someone who had appeal across the board in all fifty states. It would be like saying would Senator Obama be doing even better in Pennsylvania if he had Ed Rendell as a running mate, I suspect he would."
Continuing the theme that John McCain has lost the election, Monday’s CBS ‘Early Show’ already began the post mortem as co-host Harry Smith declared: "This is the final full week of the 2008 campaign. Barack Obama is pressing in on states that were once GOP strongholds and John McCain is on the defensive about himself and his running mate." Later in the show, Smith interviewed McCain supporter Mitt Romney and asked: "So much time and attention has been spent talking about John McCain's running mate in this -- in this case and, now it's -- they're defending themselves about clothes and all of these other things. One wonders if there's a presidential campaign going on here. Is Sarah Palin, has she turned out to be a drag on this ticket?" In the 7:30AM half hour, co-host Julie Chen did an entire segment on Palin’s fashion purchasing habits.
Following Smith’s interview with Romney, fellow co-host Maggie Rodriguez interviewed the Democratic Governor of Virginia, Tim Kaine, and asked about Palin: "One of the concerns that people have in your state, about Senator McCain, is his choice of running mate. Do you think that if he had chosen someone like, let's say, Mitt Romney, this would be a much tougher battle for Barack Obama?" That gave Kaine the opportunity to bash the Alaska Governor: "When you pick somebody who's in the midst of an ethics investigation in their own state legislature, called by the Republican legislature, you know, there's just going to be surprises, and I think the stories, as they come out about it have raised questions about Senator McCain and kind of his decision-making process." Rodriguez never asked about Obama picking Joe Biden, despite the Delaware Senator's numerous gaffes.
"Societies in which the few are allowed to fatten themselves without limit on the labor of many are not just."
A. Friedrich Engels B. William Ayers C. Michelle Obama D. Timothy Rutten
Any of the answers would make sense, but the headline kind of gave it away. It was Timothy Rutten of the LA Times who penned that immortal line in his column of today. In doing so, Rutten echoes other in the MSM, as here and here, who in the wake of the financial markets' travails indulge in a certain anti-capitalist chic.
Let's have some fun deconstructing the intrepid class warrior's musings . . .
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith discussed a pro-Obama video created by actor/director Ron Howard with fellow co-host Maggie Rodriguez: " You ever look at the -- Will Ferrell's website?...Well, there's some pretty interesting stuff on there from time to time...Look at -- take a look at this." In the video, posted on Will Ferrell’s website Funny or Die, Howard plays some of his past well-known television roles, Opie from the Andy Griffith Show and Richie Cunningham from Happy Days:
RON HOWARD: When I'm a grown-up, I sure would like to vote for somebody as good as Mr. Obama.
ANDY GRIFFITH: Well, if you stay healthy and strong, avoid any felonies and stay away from the butterfly ballot, I bet you'll get a chance.
HENRY WINKLER: And after we vote, you want to double date?
WINKLER: My friend Janet Powcowski she's got this girl friend from Alaska.
HOWARD: You mean the girl who shoots moose?
WINKLER: Wait a minute. Shoots moose? I thought she said she was loose.
On Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez discussed the congressional races with the editor of the liberal New Republic magazine, Michael Crowley, and asked: "Now, if the Democrats get to 60 seats, as they hope to, what would be significant about that?" Crowley replied: "...in the Senate the other -- the opposition can filibuster. And if you have 60 votes you can basically tell them to 'shut up and we're going to pass our bill, sit down.' So 60 votes is the magic number because the opposition, if they have 41, can draw things out and prevent you from passing a bill so 60 is a magic number and it's one Democrats are really hoping they can get..." Rodriguez never identified Crowley’s liberal leanings and Thursday’s segment marks his forth appearance on the Early Show since July, always depicted as a neutral political analyst.
Throughout the segment, Rodriguez highlighted possible seats that Democrats could gain: "In North Carolina, a seat that's been held by -- for 36 years by a Republican, could be in danger of going to a Democrat, right?" Crowley replied: "It's a sign of the kind of year we're in...North Carolina is becoming a more Democratic state. Democratic registration has just really exploded, outpacing Republicans...there's a lot of Democratic energy in that state right now." Rodriguez moved on to Kentucky: "Kentucky, red state through and through. John McCain will probably get it, but not necessarily Mitch McConnell, who's been there for two decades." Crowley responded: "McConnell, I think maybe seen as tied to the Bush Administration, helping them shepard some of their things through. Supported the bailout bill, which his colleague from Kentucky opposed. He's being tied to special interests. So really dramatic race there."
Wednesday’s CBS Early Show continued pressing the theme that the election is over as co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared: "Countdown to election day. The swing state showdown continues as Obama appears to open up an advantage in early voting." Co-host Harry Smith cited polls with wide margins to further shovel dirt on the McCain campaign: "New polls out with just 13 days to go until election day. A poll by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal gives Barack Obama a ten-point lead over John McCain, that's 52% to 42%. A poll by Reuters, C-Span, and Zogby shows the same ten-point spread." Correspondent Jeff Glor followed with a report: "Those poll numbers you mentioned and the math in these states makes the situation look increasingly difficult for John McCain."
Glor went on to describe how: "John McCain will campaign today in New Hampshire, Ohio, and Florida, following a big push for Pennsylvania." However, Glor immediately threw out the wet blanket: "Though registered Democrats now outnumber Republicans in the state by more than a million voters..." Glor also touted how Smith’s Tuesday interview with McCain was referenced by Joe Biden during a recent stump speech: "Joe Biden is sharply challenging John McCain over those controversial robocalls...Following Harry Smith's interview." Highlighting an Obama stump speech, Glor declared: "Obama pointing out that Florida, where he spent Tuesday, and where we've seen those long early voting lines, lost more jobs than any other state in the past year." Glor concluded the segment by observing: "In Florida, and other battleground states, officials say Democrats are early voting in greater numbers than their Republican counterparts, a good sign for Obama."
Tuesday’s CBS Early Show promoted a narrative of Barack Obama courageously suspending his campaign to visit his sick grandmother in Hawaii, while a losing John McCain runs negative attack ads. Co-host Harry Smith led the show by declaring: "Breaking news. Barack Obama set to leave the campaign trail to be with his ill grandmother. We'll assess the impact on the race, just two weeks from election night." Meanwhile, in a later report, correspondent Jeff Glor explained: "And the latest CBS News/New York Times poll is giving him a 13-point national lead, despite what the Obama campaign considers unfair attacks...The poll showed Obama's favorability rating went up ten points, while John McCain's held steady."
In a 7:30AM news brief co-host Russ Mitchell proclaimed: "...just two weeks before the election and Barack Obama is putting family before politics for two days beginning on Thursday. Obama will fly to Hawaii to visit his ailing 85-year-old grandmother." In a segment later in the 7:30AM half hour, co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked Democratic strategist Dee Dee Myers: "Barack Obama taking two days off the campaign trail, with our latest poll showing that he's 13 points ahead of John McCain. Will that make a difference?" Myers replied: "His grandmother is ailing, he wants to make sure he gets home to Hawaii to spend time with her. And, you know, consequences be damned-" Rodriguez added: "Exactly."
In the same segment, Rodriguez turned to Republican strategist Kevin Madden and asked: "...the same CBS News/New York Times post poll, shows that John McCain's strategies are not necessarily working. I'd like to show you that his favorability, since the debate, has gone down and people cite these as the reasons: His attacks on Obama and his choice of Sarah Palin, the top two reasons. Let me ask you, Kevin, is it working to be out there on the trail saying he's a socialist, to put out these robocalls?"
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez discussed former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama with Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer: "To hear Colin Powell say that he's not sure John McCain can handle the economy, he's not sure if Sarah Palin is qualified, he doesn't like the nasty tone of this campaign, how significant was that, Bob?" Schieffer replied: "...this just adds to the good news that Barack Obama's been getting lately. Things seem to be breaking his way. This just adds to the momentum."
Rodriguez then followed up by wondering: "What do you think privately the McCain campaign is making of this endorsement?" At that point, Schieffer proclaimed: "Well, I'm sure they don't like it but, you know, this is -- what Colin Powell said yesterday and why it was so riveting to hear him, he was saying aloud what a lot of Republicans are saying privately, I think, or at least what I've heard some Republicans tell me. They think the pick of Sarah Palin reflects on John McCain's judgment, they think the campaign has turned too nasty and is not inclusive. I think Colin Powell said aloud yesterday what some Republicans, at least, are saying privately." [audio excerpt here]
Prices shouldn't be set by supply and demand. They should be determined by, well, what prices "should" be. That's the innovative theory Maggie Rodriguez propounded on today's Early Show.
The Early Show anchor's unique take on economics came in the course of a segment on the falling price of gasoline. Rodriguez lamented to co-anchor Chris Wragge that grocery prices weren't falling along with gas prices. In Maggie's view, grocers who set prices based on demand rather than on what prices "should" be are the culprits.
At the top of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez claimed that Joe Wurzelbacher, the Ohio plumber who criticized Obama’s tax policy, was upset that McCain mentioned him in Wednesday’s debate: "This is the small businessman first mentioned by John McCain, but then referenced repeatedly by both candidates. I had a chance to speak with Joe after the debate and he told me he did not like being mentioned, he feels like he is being used by the Republican Party as a pawn to make their point..." Despite that assertion, Rodriguez never offered any audio, video, or even a direct quote of Wurzelbacher saying any such thing.
However, in the same sentence, Rodriguez did admit: "...at the same time, he said since he has been thrust into this, he wants America to know that he absolutely disagrees with Senator Obama's tax plan. He says it punishes him for making more money and he even called it Marxist." In the report by correspondent Jeff Glor that followed, such criticism of Obama was backed up as audio of Wurzelbacher talking to Evening News anchor Katie Couric was played: "You know, I've always wanted to ask one of these guys a question and really corner them and get them to answer a question for once, instead of tap dancing around it. And unfortunately I asked the question but I still got a tap dance. He [Barack Obama] was almost as good as Sammy Davis Jr."
In preparation for a report on the investigation into whether Sarah Palin fired Alaska’s public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan, for personal reasons, on Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared: "Palin on the hot seat. Alaska lawmakers set to release a report today on the Troopergate investigation. We'll go live to Alaska for the latest details on the potentially explosive report." Co-host Julie Chen later introduced the segment by explaining: "The McCain-Palin ticket is bracing for what could be an embarrassing report. Lawmakers in Alaska are expected to release the results of an investigation into possible abuse of power by Governor Sarah Palin in the so-called Troopergate inquiry."
Correspondent John Blackstone reported: "Well, when the Troopergate report is released later today, it will show that since Sarah Palin became governor, her husband Todd repeatedly and frequently had conversations with government officials, all aimed at having their former brother-in-law, state trooper [Mike Wooten], thrown off the force." Blackstone never made mention of charges made against Wooten that he threatened to shoot Palin’s father, tasered his ten-year-old stepson, or was caught drinking on duty. The closest Blackstone came was to quote the man Palin fired: "Although the trooper has a disciplinary record, [former public safety commissioner Walt] Monegan said in a phone interview last night, he's not a bad cop."
While commemorating the tenth anniversary of the beating death of gay college student Matthew Shepard, on Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez wondered: "Since then, there's been outcry for tougher laws, but how much progress has been made?" Correspondent Thalia Assuras then reported: "The Human Rights Campaign here in Washington D.C. is the largest gay rights advocacy group in the country...Campaign president Joe Solomnese says more must be done to change attitudes...And more must be done to enact laws. Wyoming is among 19 states that still don't address hate crimes based on sexual orientation, something Matthew's family and friends are still working to change." No opponents of hate crimes legislation were featured in the segment.
Following Assuras’s report, co-host Maggie Rodriguez interview mother of Matthew Shepard, Judy Shepard. Rodriguez asked if the men responsible for the murder showed any remorse, Shepard replied: "...they actually wonder still why they're in such trouble for what they did, just, you know, killing a young gay man. They were -- the environment was set up for them that it was okay to do that to Matt." Rodriguez followed up: "And do you still find that kind of attitude as pervasive as it was then or have you seen positive changes in the last ten years?" Shepard then explained:
Oh, there's definitely been positive changes and for a lot of reasons. Theatrical productions, literature, television, novels, movies, all portray the gay community in a very positive forward-thinking way and that has really helped. People understand the gay community. The level of ignorance is just -- it's amazing that people just don't know more about the civil rights that are being denied the gay community and we're moving forward and working at the grassroots level now trying to really educate people and make them aware of the gay community.
For someone who doesn't know something as obvious as the fact that—given her upcoming book—Gwen Ifill has a financial stake in an Obama win, Maggie Rodriguez has an awfully high opinion of the knowledge level of ordinary Americans. Rodriguez interviewed a feisty Fred Thompson on today's Early Show. During the course of the contentious exchange:
Questioning Thompson on Sarah Palin's inability to name a Supreme Court decision other than Roe v. Wade with which she disagreed, Rodriguez claimed that “everybody” and “ordinary Americans” can cite Supreme Court cases.
When Thompson stated that Palin would be dealing tonight with a moderator with a financial interest in an Obama win, Rodriguez retorted “I don’t know about that.”
At the top of Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen declared: "Palin on the hot seat as she readies for her debate. Some conservatives want Sarah Palin off the Republican ticket." In the segment that followed, co-host Maggie Rodriguez similarly proclaimed: "...the question a lot of Americans are asking this morning, including some prominent Republicans, is whether Sarah Palin is ready." Correspondent Jeff Glor then explained: "Sarah Palin has mostly been kept away from reporters but the interviews she has done are raising eyebrows."
Glor went on to cite one conservative columnist calling for Palin to step down: "But even some conservatives are concerned, including syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker who said 'Palin is clearly out of her league' and called for the Alaska governor to leave the race." Based on that, Alex Burns from politico.com concluded: " I think there are a small number of people who will publically say that they're worried about her abilities as a candidate. I think there's a larger number of people who privately express kind of muted criticism and concern."
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Chip Reid reported on congressional efforts to negotiate a bailout plan for the financial industry and took the Democratic line that Republicans prevented an deal from being reached: "At one point, yesterday, it looked like the $700 billion bailout deal was ready to have the 'I's dotted and the 'T's crossed, but that's when the wild roller coaster ride began and by the end of a tumultuous day, Democrats were blaming John McCain for standing in the way of the deal instead of helping to get it done. The wild ride began Thursday afternoon when a bipartisan group of senators announced the outlines of a bailout deal."
However, since House Republicans were not consulted on such deal "outlines," no real agreement had been made, even so, Reid continued: "Three hours later when John McCain and Barack Obama arrived at the White House for a highly anticipated meeting with the president and congressional leaders, it appeared all they had to do was give the agreement their blessing." Reid later reiterated the idea that a "bipartisan agreement" had been reached: "But as negotiations continued late Thursday night on Capitol Hill, some Democrats accused McCain of souring the negotiations by failing to speak out strongly in support of the bipartisan agreement during the White House meeting."
On Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez interviewed BET Tonight host Ed Gordon about a recently released Associated Press-Yahoo! poll which found that forty percent of white Americans and one-third of Democrats and Independents harbor negative feelings about African Americans. The segment did not include any critique of the poll or the suggestion that such a large amount of people hold these negative feelings. Instead, Rodriguez asked Gordon questions such as, "In a race as tight as this one is, do you think race could be the or a deciding factor?"
To identify the percentage of certain demographic groups who have "negative feelings" about African Americans, inferences were made about how respondents feel towards the minority group from the answers they gave to certain questions. Some of the possible answers to certain questions, however, may suggest more of a disagreement with liberal policies like Affirmative Action and welfare rather than negative feelings towards African Americans.
For example, one of the questions asked respondents to indicate how much they agree or disagree with certain statements. One of these statements said, "Most blacks who receive money from welfare programs could get along without it if they tried."
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez interviewed ‘Star Trek’ actor George Takei and his partner Brad Altman about their wedding following California legalizing gay marriage and asked: "George, how was the wedding? Was it everything you dreamed of?" At the end of the segment, Takei declared: "And may sweet equality live long and prosper," making the Star Trek Vulcan hand sign. Rodriguez showed her solidarity, making the hand sign back and replying: "Let me do it. Same to you." [audio excerpt here]
During the segment, Rodriguez asked about the California ballot initiative designed to overturn the state supreme court’s decision to legalize gay marriage: "But there's this proposition on the November ballot, which you're very familiar with, Proposition 8, that may allow California voters to essentially nullify your marriage if they vote for it. George, talk about what that would mean for your marriage and for you emotionally." Takei replied by denouncing the ballot initiative, yet praising democracy:
Well, first of all, we're not going to let it get there, we're going to fight it tooth and nail. Because it's against the basic fundamental ideals of democracy. You know, we're a pluralistic society and there are many, many faiths and beliefs here. Now we respect everybody's faiths, their right to their beliefs. But there's no right for any one faith group to write those -- their own particular beliefs into civil law that applies to everyone. That's not democracy. That's not the way it works in the American way. And we are going to make sure that democracy prevails here.
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith interviewed John McCain about the recent collapse of Wall Street investment banks: " I want to make sure I have this straight now. Yesterday, on the campaign trail, you reiterated that you believe the fundamentals of the economy are strong. At the same time, we understand your campaign is issuing an ad that says the economy is in crisis. Which is it?" After McCain explained that he was referring to American workers, and that there is a crisis, Smith asked: "And the answer for which is what? Because throughout your campaign, you have said you are anti-regulation. Would not oversight have helped avert this crisis?"
Later, Smith asked: "Let me ask you this. Earlier this year on the campaign trail, you said -- or you admitted that you didn't know a lot about the economy. Why should voters trust you in these perilous times with the economy of the United States?" McCain responded: "You know, that's one of the interesting things about having long conversations. The point is, I was chairman of the Commerce Committee. Every part of America's economy, I oversighted. I have a long record, certainly far more extensive of being involved in our economy than Senator Obama does. I understand the economy. I know the issues-" At that point Smith interrupted: "Well, if that's the case, wouldn't you bear more responsibility for some of the crisis we're in then?"
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.
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."
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith talked to a panel of working moms about the media questioning Sarah Palin’s duel role as a mother and a vice presidential candidate: "Why is it that every time a woman starts ascending up a certain part of the food chain, we have this conversation all over again?...Now, if Sarah Palin's husband were in her spot, would we have asked that question in one second?...Fair or unfair, all this -- this whole conversation, and do you still feel there's a double standard?"
Compare those questions by Smith to comments by co-host Maggie Rodriguez on Wednesday, during an interview with Rudy Giuliani. The former New York City mayor and McCain supporter criticized the questions of Palin’s parenting: "They're asking can she be vice president and be a mother. Come on." Rodriguez replied: "I think they're fair questions. It's a lot to juggle." Also on Wednesday, Rodriguez led a panel discussion on Palin by asking: "The question, can a mother of five, including an infant with Downs Syndrome, be an effective vice president?"
During Friday’s segment, one of the members of the panel, Lisa Witter, observed: "Well, I personally think that if Sarah Palin were Joe Palin, we wouldn't be having this conversation." Smith replied to that with: "Amen."
While the majority of Thursday’s CBS Early Show coverage of Sarah Palin’s convention speech was positive, at the top of the 8am hour, co-host Maggie Rodriguez talked to Palin’s sister, Heather Bruce, and asked: "There's been a lot of talk this weekend about family, talk that family is off limits in a campaign. Yet we see your sister with her kids, introducing them, showing them on camera, and she even mentioned you in her speech last night. So the question is, is it okay to use family in a campaign when it benefits the candidate and not okay when it's negative?"
Bruce responded: "I just thought it was okay that Sarah introduces her family just to show that she's a real American family. I don't really have an opinion on whether it's beneficial or not, but in my opinion tonight, I thought it was just a gracious act for Sarah to recognize because I think she realizes that without a lot of family support in her situation that, you know, this -- this has come a long way with a lot of family support." Rodriguez then followed up: "And you're okay that...she gave you -- gave you your five seconds of fame last night?" Bruce replied: "I don't seek the limelight, or the press. I was surprised, but I wasn't offended whatsoever. You know, it was pretty gracious of her. That was kind of nice."
Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden made the morning show rounds on Thursday to respond to Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s convention speech, and journalists at NBC, MSNBC, ABC and CNN all encouraged Biden to strongly confront his Republican counterpart, as if Palin has been enjoying some sort of honeymoon from criticism over the past few days.
CNN’s John Roberts pressed Biden: “Before her speech last night you said that you were not going to attack Governor Palin. Are you feeling a little differently this morning?”
NBC’s Matt Lauer similarly pleaded: “Sarah Palin made a speech last night...It was tough. It was direct, hard words for Senator Obama. I’m curious, has this taken away any concern you may have had about tone or words you choose in the coming weeks?”
Unlike the celebratory response to the opening nights of the Democratic convention a week ago, the three network morning shows offered restrained recaps of Tuesday night’s speeches at the Republican convention, and continued to portray Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as a liability for the GOP ticket.
On Wednesday’s Today, NBC’s David Gregory had the GOP taking “swipes at Senator Obama’s limited experience” and described Fred Thompson’s speech as a “hard-edged attack on Senator Obama.”
But a week earlier, Gregory described Hillary Clinton’s speech as “rousing” and “playful,” and offered no negative adjectives as he replayed soundbites of Clinton attacking John McCain:
Appearing on all three network morning shows on Wednesday, Rudy Giuliani was inundated with questions about McCain vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, including one question by Meredith Vieira on NBC’s Today: "So, what do you say to the people who are questioning the judgment of McCain in selecting her? He has always been known as a maverick, but also as somebody who can veer towards the reckless side. Some see this as a decision that was made in haste, I.E., reckless."
Meanwhile, on the CBS Early Show, Giuliani criticized the media for questioning Palin’s parenting ability: "They're asking can she be vice president and be a mother. Come on." Co-host Maggie Rodriguez replied: "So you're saying you have no doubt and voters shouldn't either. That she can do it?" Giuliani fired back: "Where are the feminists? I mean, is it just -- there are all these feminist groups. Where are they?" Then Rodriguez argued that questioning Palin as a mother was fair game: "I think they're fair questions. It's a lot to juggle."
On ABC’s Good Morning America, co-host Diane Sawyer was concerned with Palin’s travel habits: "Has Governor Palin traveled? Where?" Giuliani replied: "I'm sure she has a real knowledge of what's going on in the world. I'm sure she's going to be able to demonstrate that, but all things that, you got to, in fairness, before everybody jumps on her, I mean, when Barack Obama started they certainly didn't all jump on him this way." Sawyer then wondered: "We had heard she that got her first passport in order to go to Kuwait once and then go to Germany and that's the extent of her travel. Bother you?" Sawyer went on to ask: "She's going to be speaking tonight. Everyone says it's high stakes. It is a kind of make-or-break night for her. Should she be nervous?"
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez had a roundtable discussion on Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s ability to serve in office and be a mother: "The question, can a mother of five, including an infant with Downs Syndrome, be an effective vice president?" Washington Post reporter Sally Quinn was part of the panel and responded:
...it's interesting that here I am, supposedly part of you know, the -- what one would call the liberal elite media. That's what we've been all -- the critics of Sarah Palin have been called. And yet, taking the position that a woman with five children, including one with special needs, and a daughter who is a 17-year-old child who is pregnant and about to have a baby, probably has got to rethink her priorities. It seems to me that there is a tipping point, and I think that she's crossed the tipping point. I believe that it's going to be very difficult for her...I think this is -- this is too much.
Quinn made similar comments about Palin in a WashingtonPost.com "On Faith" blog posting last Friday, the day Palin was announced as McCain's VP. On March 26, Quinn told the Early Show's Harry Smith that the media should have gone after Chelsea Clinton more aggressively, Smith admitted: "We're not exactly watchdogs here" Well, CBS certainly seems to be a watchdog when it comes to Bristol Palin.
The other members of the panel were Republican congresswoman Kathy McMorris Rogers and the daughter of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Sarah Huckabee, who earlier condemned the questioning of Palin as a mother:
Tuesday’s CBS Early Show devoted four separate segments to news that the teenage daughter of McCain running mate Sarah Palin is pregnant, with co-host Maggie Rodriguez declaring: "Private lives, pregnancy, and politics. A stunning start to the Republican convention, as delegates grapple with Sarah Palin's family life. I'm Maggie Rodriguez in St. Paul. The bombshell pregnancy announcement that's stolen John McCain's limelight and why some insiders say it may help him." Later, Rodriguez explained: "We've got a couple of storms brewing here in St. Paul, as well. The headline in the local paper calls day one of the Republican National Convention 'A Day of Distractions' for the GOP. The focus not on John McCain, but on Hurricane Gustav and on the political storm involving the presumptive vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, and the revelation that her teen daughter is pregnant."
In the first segment on the issue, in the 7am half hour, correspondent Jeff Glor announced: "Four days ago, hardly anybody knew anything about Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Now they know a lot, including that news that her teenage daughter is indeed pregnant." Glor concluded his report by seeming to suggest that a planned address by Palin to the Republican convention was cancelled in the wake of the controversy: "Interesting to note that on the original schedule, Sarah Palin was scheduled to speak tonight. That will not happen." However, Glor never explained that while Palin was originally scheduled to give a prime time speech on Tuesday night of the convention, that speech was scheduled before she was named the vice presidential nominee, who traditionally accepts the party nomination on Wednesday, with McCain accepting the presidential nomination on Thursday.
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez talked to former FBI agent and body language expert, Joe Navarro about some of the controversial scenery at the Obama speech: "What did you think about the open stadium? Was it too much? Too over the top? Or was it effective?" Navarro responded: "Absolutely not. You know, months ago they were talking about decisions were going to be made behind closed doors. This was democracy at its best." Rodriguez added: "Because so many people were involved." That prompted Navarro to declare: "Involved. You know, you look at the -- everything, the people, the surroundings, the colors, the imagery. It reminds you of Athenian democracy."
On Wednesday, Navarro was on the show to analyze Michelle Obama’s body language during her convention speech: "I think it was a home run. She's a beautiful woman. You know, her hugs are genuine. She has those beautiful high cheek bones that we see in models. The broad shoulders. Look how wide her stance is. Her gestures are huge. They're very encompassing. These things draw us in."
Rodriguez did raise the controversy surrounding Obama’s backdrop during his nomination acceptance speech: "That was one of the criticisms, though. You said Athenian, that the temples made it look -- I mean, the columns made it look a little bit too much like a temple, like this was meant to worship Barack Obama as a god." Navarro completely dismissed such criticism: "Not at all. This was about that, you know, we use the images of these columns from Athens to tell us about our history of democracy, about openness, about the people. And we have a great example of this where this has been opened up, I think, for the first time and may set a precedent for future conventions. Very powerful."