On Wednesday’s "Early Show," co-host Rene Syler offered results from Tuesday’s primaries, but the labels were remarkably different. In Rhode Island, Syler classified Senator Chafee’s opponent as a "conservative," but in New York, Senator Clinton’s ultraliberal opponent was simply classified as "anti-war." Bob Schieffer offered commentary on the Rhode Island race, and called the Club for Growth "very conservative." Back in August, Connecticut Senate candidate Ned Lamont was labeled as "anti-war" while the "Early Show" never referred to Lamont backers as "very liberal."
The top story on the "Early Show" was the primary results, and the story was narrated by Rene Syler. She noted Stephen Laffey was a conservative:
"Tuesday's vote was a run-up to November's elections and the battle for control of Congress, in a critical race for Republicans, Rhode Island moderate, Lincoln Chafee defeated a conservative challenger."
While in the New York race, Senator Clinton’s left wing opponent was described as simply "anti-war":
"...New York Senator Hillary Clinton easily defeated her anti-war opponent winning the right to run for a second term."
Today was not the first time the "Early Show" classified a liberal as simply being "anti-war." In the days following the Connecticut primary, the "Early Show" failed to label Ned Lamont as a liberal challenger in Connecticut, instead, it utilized the label "anti-war." Nor did they identify his backers, such as Moveon.org, as "very liberal" organizations. However, this morning, Bob Schieffer described the Club for Growth as a "very conservative" group. Schieffer talked with co-host Harry Smith in the first installment of a weekly segment the "Early Show" has dubbed "Capitol Bob." Schieffer offered his insights on the November Congressional elections, including his take on the Rhode Island primary:
"...So the Republicans simply had to keep this seat. Now, what happened was that some economic conservatives, this Club for Growth, this very conservative group put a bunch of money in up there and backed this mayor of the town of Cranston, Steve Laffey and he made a very formidable candidate..."
So the Club for Growth is "very conservative," while groups like Moveon.org were simply part of Mr. Lamont’s "anti-war" base.
Schieffer continued, and promoted a "Washington Post" article by Dana Milbank that appeared this morning:
"The fall out since the president's speech has just been extraordinary. Dana Milbank and the 'Washington Post' this morning said we are now into the 'treason season,' where both sides are sort of accusing the other side of being unpatriotic because of their stand on the war."
However, Schieffer makes Milbank’s column sound as if it attacked all sides, when in fact it was an article that spouted the Democratic talking point that the Republicans are attacking their patriotism. But it is refreshing to note that even if Milbank’s desire was to portray it as strictly a GOP tactic, that Schieffer pointed out that neither party has a monopoly on the tactic.
During Schieffer’s segment, Harry Smith made perhaps the biggest understatement of the day:
"Here's this moderate Republican from Rhode Island, which is kind of a left-leaning state."
Rhode Island is only left leaning? Rhode Island is the bluest state in the union, yet perhaps not blue enough for Mr. Smith’s taste.
Smith continued, seemingly shocked the Republicans could be happy with a Chafee victory:
"This is a guy who's been sort of a thorn in the side of the Bush administration for years now. He actually had the support of the Republican party. Is it a primary hunt with a guy who is a real live conservative, and the Republicans are happy about it? Explain it."
Yes, Senator Chafee has been a thorn in the side of conservatives and has casted votes that make the stomachs of Republicans churn. Yet his victory shows, that there is room in the Republican party for those with differing views on issues such as Iraq, a point the media missed.