Rather than provide objective analysis of President Obama’s performance at Wednesday’s White House press conference, on Thursday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Bill Plante issued what amounted to a press release and brushed aside criticism of Obama’s expansion of government during the first 100 days: "The President laughed off charges that he's intent on making the government bigger...And said the 100-day mark was just the beginning."
Plante offered no facts about the massive spending and growth of government under the Obama administration, but instead concluded his report: "Anyway, they [the White House] think that the public is well disposed to give the President some more time. How much, is the question."
At the top of the show, co-host Harry Smith declared: "A lot of people watching President Obama last night. How do you celebrate 100 days in office? Speak to the news media." Based on reporting from Plante and New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny’s "enchanting" question to Obama, that would be a party with close friends for the President.
Here is the full transcript of Plante’s report:
HARRY SMITH: A lot of people watching President Obama last night. How do you celebrate 100 days in office? Speak to the news media. Also coming up this morning, we're going to talk to Vice President Joe Biden and we'll have a chat with Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele.
JULIE CHEN: In other news, on his 100th day in office, President Obama held his third prime-time news conference. CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante joins us with more. Good morning, Bill.
BILL PLANTE: Morning, Julie. Some highlights: the President urged people not to panic and to take safety precautions on the flu epidemic. He said that the waterboarding, as practiced by the Bush administration, was torture. He said that he thinks Chrysler can remain a viable company, but that he's anxious to get the U.S. government out of the private sector.
BARACK OBAMA: I don't want to run auto companies. I don't want to run banks. I've got two wars I've got to run already.
PLANTE: Asked about Senator Arlen Specter's switch to the Democrat side of the aisle, the President said he knew that Specter is still likely to be a man of strong opinions.
OBAMA: I am under no illusions that suddenly I'm going to have a rubber stamp Senate.
PLANTE: The President laughed off charges that he's intent on making the government bigger.
OBAMA: No! I would love a nice, lean, portfolio to deal with. But that's not the hand that's been dealt us.
PLANTE: And said the 100-day mark was just the beginning.
OBAMA: I think we're off to a good start. But it's just a start.
PLANTE: They've always maintained here that the 100 day mark is an artificial construct. But, they played to it. Anyway, they think that the public is well disposed to give the President some more time. How much, is the question. Maggie.
MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: Yes, we shall see. Bill Plante in Washington. Thank you, Bill.