CBS's Early Show on Thursday stood out as the only Big Three network program that covered what anchor Jeff Glor labeled as Vice President Biden's "controversial comments linking rape and the jobs bill," where he attacked the GOP for opposing the legislation. ABC and NBC's morning shows on Thursday didn't air anything on the story, and none of the networks' evening news shows on Wednesday reported on it.
Despite correspondent Bill Plante's full report on Biden's attack on the GOP, which included a sound bite of the Democrat standing by his comments after a question from Human Events editor Jason Mattera, Face The Nation host Bob Schieffer all but defended the Vice President's remarks: "I think the Vice President is just drawing things in the starkest possible terms...it is a little bit difficult to argue with the logic. If you have fewer police on the streets, you're probably going to have more crime."
Schieffer even went so far to reference the recent incident where an owner of exotic animals in Ohio released his menagerie before taking his own life:
SCHIEFFER: Republicans are going to try to make the most of it, just like the Vice President has been trying to make the most of- if you don't pass this bill, bad things are going to happen. I mean, it's another way of saying, I guess, if they had more cops up there in Ohio, maybe they could have had- you know, saved some of those animals. But I think basically that's what it is.
Earlier, fill-in anchor Jeff Glor trumpeted that "Vice President Joe Biden is under fire for controversial comments linking rape and the jobs bill" and stated in his introduction to Plante's report that "Biden is getting a lot of attention over some tough language." Co-anchor Erica Hill added that "critics say references he made to murder and to rape were insensitive." The correspondent later highlighted that the politician "really took off the gloves" and that he "reacted angrily" to Mattera's question.
The full transcript of Bill Plante's report, which began nine minutes into 7 am Eastern hour, along with Schieffer's comments, which immediately followed:
JEFF GLOR: Meanwhile, this morning, as President Obama pushes Congress to pass key parts of his jobs bill, Vice President Joe Biden is getting a lot of attention over some tough language.
ERICA HILL: Yeah. Critics say references he made to murder and to rape were insensitive.
CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante has more for us this morning. Bill, good morning.
PLANTE: Good morning, Erica. Well, you know, the President and Vice President have been out there pushing Congress to vote more money for police, firefighters, and teachers. But the Vice President really took off the gloves. In Flint, Michigan last week, Biden argued that fewer police mean more rape and murder.
[CBS News Graphic: "Biden's Tough Talk: Controversial Remarks Over GOP & Crime"]
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN (from October 12, 2011 speech in Flint, Michigan): In 2010, when Flint had only 144 police officers, the murder rate climbed to 65, and rapes- just to pick two categories- climbed to 229. God only knows what the numbers will be this year for Flint if we don't rectify it.
PLANTE (voice-over): After the complete jobs bill was voted down last week, the White House set out to get the legislation passed piecemeal, including $35 billion for jobs, some of them for first responders. Some Republicans in the Senate are pushing back.
SEN. DAN COATS, (R), INDIANA (from October 13, 2011 press conference): Well, the President's plan creates jobs- temporary jobs. Our plan creates policies that allow for economic growth.
PLANTE: In Philadelphia Tuesday, Biden hit back heatedly at Republican charges that the bill is a one-time fix, which would provide only temporary jobs.
BIDEN: It's not temporary. To the guy whose store is being held up and there's a gun pointed at his head- if a cop shows up and he is not killed, that's not temporary! I wish they had some notion what it's like to be on the other side of a gun, or a 200-pound man standing over you telling you to submit.
PLANTE: Republicans are taking issue with the Vice President's language, saying that Biden's focus on rape and murder goes too far.
SEN. JOHN BARRASSO, (R), WYOMING: The Vice President, through his recent comments, are trying to use scare tactics against the American people.
PLANTE: Late Wednesday, when a conservative blogger confronted Biden about his policy, he reacted angrily.
BIDEN (from Human Events video): Let's get it straight, guys. Don't screw around with me. I said rape was up three times in Flint. They're the numbers- go look at the numbers.
PLANTE (on-camera): Well, the Vice President is famous for shooting from the lip, and sometimes has had to backtrack. But not this time, and that encounter you just saw with reporters- he doubled down, saying that if Republicans don't pass this bill, incidents of rape and murder will rise because there are fewer cops on the beat. Erica?
GLOR: All right, Bill, it's Jeff. I'll take it- thanks very much. Joining us now is CBS News chief Washington correspondent and host of 'Face The Nation,' Bob Schieffer. Bob, good morning to you.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Good morning, Jeff.
GLOR: Let's start with the Biden flap. What do you make of it?
SCHIEFFER: Well, I think the Vice President is just drawing things in the starkest possible terms. But when you come right down to it, it is a little bit difficult to argue with the logic. If you have fewer police on the streets, you're probably going to have more crime. So all sides are, you know, trying to draw the other side's position in the worst possible terms. But I think basically that's what the Vice President did. I don't see any long-term fallout from all of this, but, you know, Republicans are going to try to make the most of it, just like the Vice President has been trying to make the most of- if you don't pass this bill, bad things are going to happen. I mean, it's another way of saying, I guess, if they had more cops up there in Ohio, maybe they could have had- (Glor laughs) you know, saved some of those animals. But I think basically that's what it is.