Oops! CBS's Harry Smith Says Sen. Brownback Called Himself A "Reagan Democrat"

March 13th, 2006 4:35 PM

CBS’s "The Early Show" continued with its practice of bringing in left leaning analysts to explain why things are going so horrendously for President Bush and his Administration. This morning’s guest was Craig Crawford from "Congressional Quarterly."

"Early Show" co-host Harry Smith interviewed Crawford, and once again made a bit of a snafu. He misquoted remarks from Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Memphis on Saturday.

Harry Smith: "So interesting. We heard a couple of sound bytes from this big Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Memphis. Even heard Sam Brownback say I'm a Ronald Reagan Democrat, I'm not a George Bush Democrat."

As noted above, Senator Brownback is a Republican, not a Democrat, and what Brownback said, as shown in an earlier report by CBS News Senior White House Correspondent Bill Plante was:

Sam Brownback: "And I'm Sam Brownback, and I'm a Ronald Reagan Republican."

Yet, there was no attempt made to correct Harry Smith’s misstatement.

This morning's appearance was Crawford’s first on "The Early Show" as a guest since December 20, 2005. However, he was quoted in a news summary on February 12, 2006.  In his previous appearance, Crawford was a critic of the Administration. Even when there was good news for the White House, for instance when a December ABC News/ Washington Post poll found President Bush’s approval rating had climbed to 47%, the highest it had been since March of 2005, Crawford showed his contempt as he dismissed the findings:

Craig Crawford: "Well even up to 47% that still means a slight majority of Americans disapprove of his performance."

This morning, Crawford’s bitterness for the Administration and President Bush were again evident. In answering a question from  Harry Smith regarding how the President can get the public behind the Iraq war once again, Crawford sarcastically responded:

Craig Crawford: "I think giving more speeches would solve his problems, Harry, he'd be at 90% approval."

This response came seconds after the report from Bill Plante who informed viewers that President Bush would "begin a series of speeches today aimed at convincing the United States that the U.S. will prevail in Iraq." However Plante concluded his report conceding:

Bill Plante: "His (President Bush’s) advisers say that he doesn't expect to raise his poll numbers with this series of speeches, only to give the American public some context in a time of war."

If, as Bill Plante mentioned, these speeches are not designed to raise the President’s approval ratings, and the White House has no expectation that they will, Crawford’s crass sarcasm is unwarranted. More importantly, today’s segment with Craig Crawford was just one more example of "The Early Show" interviewing experts who are hostile to the Bush Administration without bringing in experts from the other side to provide balance.