John Blackstone promoted Hillary Clinton's potential 2016 presidential run on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, and minimized the ongoing questions about her leadership before, during, and after the September 11, 2012 Islamist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya. For opposition, Blackstone merely noted that "a new ad, just released by the GOP, criticizes Clinton's handling of the terrorist attack in Benghazi", without further explaining the issue.
The correspondent also buried the staunchly pro-abortion and partisan stance of Emily's List. He vaguely labeled the pro-Democratic PAC a "group that promotes women candidates."
Blackstone led his report with Mrs. Clinton's Monday speech to the left-leaning American Bar Association, and highlighted how she "criticized the Supreme Court decision striking down protections in the Voting Rights Act." After playing three straight clips from the former First Lady's speech, the CBS journalist turned to Stanford University's Bruce Cain, who claimed that Clinton's public behavior points to a "shadow campaign" for the presidency: "Everybody in the party presumes that Hillary Clinton will run. Everybody in the Democratic Party presumes she'll be the frontrunner."
The correspondent then added his passing sentence about the RNC's ad on Benghazi, which features Clinton's now infamous "What difference, at this point, does it make?" line to a congressional committee. But Blackstone didn't dwell any further on this controversy, and continued with his ill-defined language about Emily List.
Blackstone's report is far cry from CBS's stand-out coverage in April 2013 of the House GOP's "blistering report today criticizing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton" on the Benghazi issue. Both CBS This Morning and CBS Evening News devoted full reports on the congressional report, while ABC and NBC ignored it.
The full transcript of John Blackstone's report from Tuesday's CBS This Morning:
CHARLIE ROSE: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is doing little to end speculation she wants to be the next president. In San Francisco, she announced she'll be making policy speeches in the fall.
John Blackstone shows us how political watchers are reading between the lines.
[CBS News Graphic: "Clinton 2016? Speech Outlines Makings Of A Presidential Platform"]
HILLARY CLINTON, FMR. SECRETARY OF STATE (from speech to American Bar Association): I am so deeply grateful to you for this award.
JOHN BLACKSTONE (voice-over): Accepting an award from the American Bar Association, Hillary Clinton criticized the Supreme Court decision striking down protections in the Voting Rights Act.
CLINTON: As secretary of state, I saw other countries take steps to increase voter participation and strengthen their democratic processes. There is no reason we cannot do the same here in America. (audience applauds)
BLACKSTONE: While the potential presidential candidate did not mention the 2016 election, she outlined plans that sounded a lot like a launchpad for a campaign.
CLINTON: I will talk about the balance and transparency necessary in our national security policies, as we move beyond a decade of wars to face new threats.
BLACKSTONE: Bruce Cain, Stanford University political scientist.
BRUCE CAIN, STANFORD UNIVERSITY POLITICAL SCIENTIST: It's definitely a shadow campaign. There's no question about that. Everybody in the party presumes that Hillary Clinton will run. Everybody in the Democratic Party presumes she'll be the frontrunner.
BLACKSTONE: Republicans seem to presume that, too. A new ad, just released by the GOP, criticizes Clinton's handling of the terrorist attack in Benghazi.
CLINTON (clip of congressional testimony, as used in Republican National Committee ad): A protest, or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they go kill some Americans. What difference, at this point, does it make?
BLACKSTONE: In Iowa, the first caucus state, Emily's List, a group that promotes women candidates, has just launched a 'Madam President' campaign. Clinton wasn't at the town hall meeting, but she was undoubtedly on everyone's mind. For 'CBS This Morning', John Blackstone, San Francisco.