In a quick round of team coverage of top Democratic and Republican candidates in Iowa on Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show, " Political Correspondent Dean Reynolds led the segment with this glowing assessment of Barack Obama’s campaign:
Well, it's all about momentum now, and thanks to a promising poll from an influential newspaper, Barack Obama seems to have it and the others don't. Obama flew across Iowa lifted on the wings of a private jet and the news that he's ahead of his two main rivals. He was clearly encouraged by the priceless publicity.
Reynolds went on to promote the idea of Obama’s inevitability, something once reserved for Hillary Clinton: "A selling point now is Obama's electability, that the polls show him beating any Republican."
That observation was followed by this cheap shot sound-bite from Obama speaking about Republican rivals: "I intend to whup’em so good that it won't even be close and they can't steal the election." So much for Barack Obama reaching out to "every potential voter," as co-host Harry Smith suggested in his December 18 interview with the Illinois Senator: "Up in the northwest part of the state, the politics are conservative, but for a candidate locked in a tight race, every potential voter needs to be reached."
Here is the full transcript of the January 2 segment:
HARRY SMITH: The countdown to the Iowa caucus is on. Our CBS News team coverage of the Democratic candidates begins with Correspondent Dean Reynolds in Dubuque. He has the latest on Barack Obama's campaign. Good morning, Dean.
DEAN REYNOLDS: Good morning, Harry. Well, it's all about momentum now, and thanks to a promising poll from an influential newspaper, Barack Obama seems to have it and the others don't. Obama flew across Iowa lifted on the wings of a private jet and the news that he's ahead of his two main rivals. He was clearly encouraged by the priceless publicity.
BARACK OBAMA: It looks like we just might do this thing.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We really appreciate your support.'
REYNOLDS: Campaign volunteers in Des Moines were deep into get-out-the-vote efforts.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN B: If you need a ride or anything like that, please feel free to give us a call.
REYNOLDS: Relying on phones, e-mails, and social networking websites to uncover undecideds.
OBAMA: If you believe --
REYNOLDS: A selling point now is Obama's electability, that the polls show him beating any Republican.
OBAMA: I intend to whup’em so good that it won't even be close and they can't steal the election.
REYNOLDS: And he's drawing impressive crowds. On New Year's day in Sioux City, several hundred people came to see him, despite near zero temperatures, as bitter as a third-place finish in the caucuses. But this race is so nerve-rackingly close that Obama can leave nothing to chance. He has a full day of campaigning today so that if somebody says he didn't try hard enough, they can't make that argument against him. Also trying hard is Hillary Clinton, and for more on her campaign, let's go to my colleague, Jim Axelrod.
JIM AXELROD: Well, Dean, all along the Clinton campaign has been trying to keep expectations low, guarding against precisely what's happened here, a late poll placing an opponent with a clear advantage. Hillary Clinton will blitz the state today, five stops on her last full day of campaigning here.
HILLARY CLINTON: It comes down to this -- who's ready to be president and ready to start solving the big challenges we face on day one.
AXELROD: She'll also add this two-minute television ad during the 6:00 newscast statewide. Hammering home at the campaign's closing argument -- she's the only candidate who's ready for the job.
CLINTON: And you all are going to lead the way.
AXELROD: With 60% of her supporters never having caucused before, Clinton's challenge is to convince Iowans like Christine Wrage to take a break from their normal Thursday night activities and help pick a president. Are you going to caucus on Thursday night.
CHRISTINE WRAGE: I'm not sure yet. I'm supposed to bowl.
AXELROD: Supposed to bowl. So you've got a choice?
WRAGE: Yeah, I haven't decided yet.
AXELROD: When the Des Moines Register endorsed Hillary Clinton, the campaign couldn't talk about it enough. But now, it's down playing the influential paper's last-minute poll. Obviously, not the headline that they were looking for. Now to the Edwards campaign and my colleague, Chip Reid.
CHIP REID: Well, thanks, Jim. As you can see, even at this early hour, there's a crowd out here in Centreville for John Edwards. In fact, while other candidates slept, Edwards campaigned straight through the night. He calls it his 36-hour marathon for the middle class. The starting line was in Ames, Iowa, Tuesday where a crowd of hundreds gave Edwards an enthusiastic send off.
JOHN EDWARDS: We're going to fight for our children, fight for our grandchildren, fight for the legacy of our parents and our grandparents.
REID: When the tour ends tonight at midnight, his bus caravan will have taken him and his message of fighting for middle-class families to fifteen cities and small towns, from one side of the state to the other. Early this morning, the stops were at the homes of supporters in small towns.
EDWARDS: And at least at this moment we're awake. In about 15 minutes ago I wasn't, but I am now.
REID: Edwards' wife, Elizabeth, his most trusted adviser, is along for the grueling ride and as usual has been taking the microphone whenever she has something to add.
EDWARDS: One of the things I -- stop.
REID: And, in fact, Edwards was just here. He was not here very long. In fact, I asked one of the women behind me how long he was here, and she said, 'not long enough.' Harry.
SMITH: Chip Reid, thanks very much, including a broken-down bus for John Edwards.