On Sunday's CBS Evening News, John Dickerson candidly admitted that a failed recall attempt of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker "would be a big blow" to the unions, and that it "would be a sign to any Republican contemplating similar action to limit unions that you could survive, and Walker will become the poster child and hero of that effort." Poster child?
Dickerson predicted that there "would be a lot of infighting in Democratic circles, with unions saying the national Democratic parties and their president didn't do enough" if Walker won. But he immediately added a more sunny spin, that "it might galvanize union supporters for the presidential election, on the theory that they're under threat and they need a president who's on their side. "
Anchor Jeff Glor brought on Dickerson for his take on the upcoming election in Wisconsin. Glor noted that "the latest polling would seem to indicate that Scott Walker does survive," and then asked, "If that happen, what does that mean moving forward?"
The former Time journalist said Walker’s victory should be seen as imported: "In part, you would survive because you got outside help. Walker outspent his opponent three to one. Anyone raising money for conservative causes could point to Walker's survival and say, we can defeat the vaunted machine of organized labor if we just have the money."
Dickerson gave his spin immediately after noting the potential for "infighting" between the unions and prominent Democrats. Glor followed up by asking about President Obama's hands-off approach to the recall: "John, Wisconsin is a battleground state. Why is the President not been campaigning there?"
In reply, the CBS on-air personality played up that Wisconsin is "a battleground state in which the President is ahead, at the moment, of Mitt Romney in the polls, and his approval rating is above 51 percent, which is above where he is nationally. That means he's healthier politically in Wisconsin." But he added that "it doesn't mean he has enough power to sway the recall election. So, if he did insert himself, the recall might have become a referendum on him, dealing him a blow in a contest over which he really doesn't have much control."
Three weeks earlier, on the May 11, 2012 edition of CBS Evening News, Dickerson touted the supposed veracity of the allegation that probable Obama opponent Mitt Romney bullied a classmate in high school: "He's [Romney] in a pickle there because, on the one hand, he can say it didn't happen at all. The reporting of the story seems pretty solid. Every single detail may not be exactly as it happened, but certainly, something happened, and a lot of people are on the record."
[Update: The full transcript of the Dickerson segment, which began six minutes into the 6 pm Eastern hour on Sunday's CBS Evening News, is available at MRC.org.]
[Special thanks to MRC intern Kelly McGarey for transcribing the Dickerson segment].