While discussing Sunday’s 60 Minutes interview with former McCain campaign adviser Steve Schmidt on Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer about the claim that Palin knew little of modern history: “Schmidt, last week tells 60 Minutes that she didn’t know anything....that included World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War.”
Rodriguez wondered if such allegations about Palin’s “supposed lack of knowledge” would be a future political liability, to which Schieffer replied: “You know, my take on Sarah Palin has always been she will never again seek public office....[she] resigned the governorship of Alaska and I think it would be very, very difficult for her in any primary that comes up, the first thing a candidate against her is going to say, ‘well, how long do you intend to stay if you get elected? If elected, do you promise to quit if the going gets tough?’”
In a report that preceded Rodriguez’s discussion with Schieffer, correspondent Nancy Cordes detailed charges outlined in the new book ‘Game Change,’ about the 2008 campaign, including how “...there was friction on the Democratic ticket, too. ‘How many times is Biden going to say something stupid?’ an angry Mr. Obama reportedly asked campaign staff over one of his running mate’s legendary gaffes.” For some reason, Rodriguez did not ask Schieffer about this challenge to the Vice President’s intelligence.
Rodriguez did ask Schieffer about another revelation in the book, the comments made by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that candidate Obama would do well in the 2008 campaign because he was “light skinned” and lacked a “Negro dialect.” While Rodriguez initially described the comments as a “political bombshell,” she later asked Schieffer about Republican calls for Reid to step down from his leadership position: “Is it safe to say that no matter how much noise the Republicans make, as long as the Democrats need Harry Reid to push health care reform, need him in that seat, that nothing’s going to come of this?” Schieffer agreed: “I think that’s probably right, Maggie.”
Here is a full transcript of the segment:
MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: A new book has detonated a political bombshell. What Senate majority leader Harry Reid said about President Obama and why Republicans are demanding Reid step down.
MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: First this morning, some Republicans calling on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to resign after questionable comments Reid made about President Obama were disclosed in a bombshell new book. CBS News congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes has the latest. Good morning, Nancy.
NANCY CORDES: Good morning, Maggie. That’s right, Republican leaders argue there’s a double standard going on here, that if any of them had uttered the racial remark now attributed to Harry Reid, Democrats would be calling for their heads. The book quotes Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as saying in 2008 that then Senator Obama had a real shot at the White House because he was a ‘light-skinned’ African-American, quote, ‘with no Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one.’ After the quote was made public Saturday, Leader Reid apologized to a number of black leaders, including the President, who released a statement saying, quote, ‘I accepted Harry’s apology without question. The book is closed.’ Not for Republican leaders, who say Reid should resign from his leadership post.
MICHAEL STEELE: When Democrats get caught saying racist things, you know, an apology is enough.
CORDES: Reid’s comment is only one bombshell in ‘Game Change,’ a new book about the 2008 election and its aftermath. The authors also claim that when President Obama asked Hillary Clinton to be secretary of state, she warned him her famous husband might make trouble. And they claim John McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin, had second thoughts right from the start. Quote, ‘If I’d known everything I know now, I would not have done this,’ she said. On last night’s 60 Minutes, McCain’s campaign manager confirmed there was extension on the trail.
ANDERSON COOPER: You apparently said ‘she doesn’t know anything.’
STEVE SCHMIDT: In the immediate aftermath of her selection, it was clear to us that we had a lot of work to do.
CORDES: The authors contend there was friction on the Democratic ticket, too. ‘How many times is Biden going to say something stupid?’ an angry Mr. Obama reportedly asked campaign staff over one of his running mate’s legendary gaffes. The White House insists that the amount of conflict in the book between these two men was overblown, but they do concede that the relationship between President Obama and Vice President Biden is much better now, much stronger now, than it was on the campaign trail. Maggie.
RODRIGUEZ: CBS’s Nancy Cordes. Thank you, Nancy. Joining us now is Bob Schieffer, chief Washington correspondent and host of Face the Nation. Bob, good morning.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Good morning, Maggie.
RODRIGUEZ: Let’s start with Harry Reid’s comments. He has apologized for them. The President has accepted. The Democrats are rallying behind him. Is it safe to say that no matter how much noise the Republicans make, as long as the Democrats need Harry Reid to push health care reform, need him in that seat, that nothing’s going to come of this?
SCHIEFFER: I think that’s probably right, Maggie. And just for the reasons that you have cited. We were told yesterday that this is different than the time when Trent Lott, the Republican leader of the Senate, said that the country would have been better off, basically, had Strom Thurmond, a segregationist, been elected president. Trent Lott at that point was having a lot of problems with the White House and with his own party. And the White House just sort of threw him over the side, abandoned him. He had to step down. This time you have a White House that does need Harry Reid right now. So I think that Reid will survive as the Democratic leader in the Senate. However, this is going to make it much harder for him to be reelected out in Nevada, where he is already in very bad trouble. He’s running about 10 points behind every Republican that has announced they’re going to run. So I think this is more trouble for Harry Reid than it is for the White House at this point.
RODRIGUEZ: What about Sarah Palin’s political future? This book takes more shots at her and her supposed lack of knowledge. We heard former campaign manager for the McCain campaign, Steve Schmidt, last week tells 60 Minutes that she didn’t know anything. This book goes further, claiming that that included World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War. Does this affect her politically you think?
SCHIEFFER: You know, my take on Sarah Palin has always been she will never again seek public office. This is someone, Maggie, who resigned the governorship of Alaska and I think it would be very, very difficult for her in any primary that comes up, the first thing a candidate against her is going to say, ‘well, how long do you intend to stay if you get elected? If elected, do you promise to quit if the going gets tough?’ I think Sarah Palin is very popular with the right side of the Republican Party. I think she can raise a lot of money for them. I think you’re going to see her on the lecture circuit, but I have never thought that she would be a viable candidate again. This is my opinion, clearly labeled, but I just don’t think she has a future a as a candidate. As a fund-raiser, as a celebrity, yes, but as a candidate, I really don’t think this really makes that much difference.
RODRIGUEZ: Alright, Bob Schieffer, I could talk to you forever. Unfortunately, we’re out of time. Thanks for talking with us.
SCHIEFFER: Well, thank you, Maggie.