For anyone who watches the CBS Evening News at least somewhat frequently, anchor Scott Pelley is known for his share of cheesy jokes, puns, and rhymes to engage with his audience in reporting on both hard and soft news stories.
Wednesday’s show was no exception as Pelley quipped that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton “look like a cinch to clinch” the nominations of their respective parties as “[t]heir taillights are getting smaller” for their opponents.
Right off the show’s first opening tease, Pelley was locked and loaded: “The frontrunners look like a cinch to clinch....some Republicans fear it is over.”
Prior to chief White House correspondent Major Garrett’s lead story on the Super Tuesday fallout for Republicans, Pelley continued touting the line that the presidential primary process has essentially ended as Trump’s opponents are left with “only an obstacle course” that “nearly insurmountable” to maneuver:
Their taillights are getting smaller as front-runners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton race down an open road toward a nomination in the summer and a face-off in the fall. Trump has won 10 states, seven on Super Tuesday. He now has more than a quarter of the delegates he needs....there is only an obstacle course left for Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and John Kasich, a nearly insurmountable course because of the delegate math and the nature of the states remaining.
Minus the humor, Face the Nation host John Dickerson echoed Pelley’s observations later in the program by dubbing the chances of stopping Trump “a long shot” but carries “a big risk” for opponents in that they could find themselves “on the wrong side of public opinion, and there's no guarantee attacks from the establishment could very well make Trump stronger.”
The relevant portions of the transcript from the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley on March 2 can be found below.
CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley
March 2, 2016
6:30 p.m. Eastern [TEASE]
HILLARY CLINTON: What a super Tuesday!
SCOTT PELLEY: The frontrunners look like a cinch to clinch.
DONALD TRUMP: If winner took all, this thing is over.
PELLEY: Some Republicans fear it is over.
REPUBLICAN SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (S.C.): Here's what I'm going to say in November when we lose — I told you so.
6:31 p.m. Eastern
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: Road to the Nomination]
PELLEY: Their taillights are getting smaller as front-runners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton race down an open road toward a nomination in the summer and a face-off in the fall. Trump has won 10 states, seven on Super Tuesday. He now has more than a quarter of the delegates he needs. Today, Republican candidate Ben Carson said he no longer sees a path forward for his campaign and there is only an obstacle course left for Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and John Kasich, a nearly insurmountable course because of the delegate math and the nature of the states remaining.
6:35 p.m. Eastern
PELLEY: To make sense of all of this, we're going to turn now to John Dickerson, our CBS News political director and anchor of Face the Nation. John, there's a lot of talk among Republicans of stopping Trump, but how practical is that?
JOHN DICKERSON: It's a long shot. There is definitely motivation. I asked someone involved with the anti-Trump effort to rank the Republican panic on a scale of 1-10, and he said 11, but harnessing that panic requires politicians and party regulars to organize themselves quickly and there's no leader of this effort and it requires them to take a big risk. Normally, they don't like to be on the wrong side of public opinion, and there's no guarantee. Attacks from the establishment could very well make Trump stronger.
PELLEY: What is one of the most plausible approaches?
DICKERSON: I guess the shortest long shot would be to deny Trump the delegates needed for the nomination by launching a withering set of ads immediately in delegate-rich states like Ohio and Florida, which vote on March 15, the hope would be to tear Trump down and give some other candidate a chance to win. Then there would be no clear winner, and the delegates could be persuaded to pick someone other than Trump in the possibly more-controlled environment of the convention.