Run, Stacey, run? That seemed to be the message from the hosts of CBS This Morning on Wednesday as the journalists talked to the failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate. The question of her running for president or vice president in 2020 was raised multiple times. Co-host Bianna Golodryga wondered, “During the lunch with [Joe Biden], did the conversation of a potential future ticket between the two of you... you being his vice president on the ticket? Did that come up?”
Co-host John Dickerson offered a cutesy version of this query: “You said you've been meeting with and having drinks with everybody who's thinking about running for president. When you drink alone, are you having drinks with somebody who is thinking about running for president?”
Wagner then hinted: “There are a number of women, there are a number of minority candidates running for the Democratic nomination. Is this the year one of them ends up being the nominee?” At no time did any of the hosts bring up Abram’s far-left positions on abortion, guns, and other issues. Instead, Dickerson mentioned that the Democrat “earned the support of former President Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey.”
He didn’t note, however, the tangled conflict of interests CBS has with Winfrey. She is a 60 Minutes contributor who was forced to step away from the network because of her campaigning for Abrams. Winfrey is best friends with co-host Gayle King. King has lobbied Winfrey to run for president against Donald Trump.
The only hint at a tough question came when Wagner hit Abrams from the left, quizzing her on potential running mate Biden:
His vote during the Clarence Thomas confirmation. His position on Anita Hill last night, he said, “I wish I could have done something to get her a fairer hearing.” Is that legitimate scrutiny? Did you talk to him about that? Does that matter in 2020?”
A transcript of the questions is below:
CBS This Morning
8:33:24 to 8:41:03
JOHN DICKERSON: Former Georgia House Minority leader Stacey Abrams is considering joining the crowded Democratic field for president. Abrams gained national attention during her battle to win the hotly contested Georgia race last year, which she narrowly lost. She earned the support of former President Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey. Her well-received State of the Union rebuttal this year further fueled speculation of a presidential or Senate bid. In her newly reissued memoir, Lead From the Outside: How to Build Your Future and Make Real Change, Abrams reflects on her career in politics and business. She also shares advice for those who want to follow in her footsteps. Stacey Abrams joins us first on CBS This Morning since her book was reissued. Welcome.
STACEY ABRAMS: Thank you so much.
DICKERSON: So you had lunch with Joe Biden who's thinking about running, too. It was —
ABRAMS: I did. I did, indeed.
DICKERSON: It was the “thinking about running” lunch. And you said — you talked about the presidency and what it means.
ABRAMS: I absolutely —
DICKERSON: What does the presidency mean right now?
DICKERSON: Is this the — you're saying that's challenge for the nation. Is this the political challenge for Democrats running for president because speaking about identity is important in primaries for both parties. But it can sometimes cause parties to be defined by those and identity conversations happening within the clubhouse and the country, some say they're talking to themselves?
BIANNA GOLODRYGA: During the lunch with the vice president, did the conversation of a potential future ticket between the two of you, vice president, you being his vice president on the ticket? Did that come up?
ABRAMS: We talked about a lot of things, but that was not the core issue.
ALEX WAGNER: Joe Biden's record has come under a lot of scrutiny. His position on school desegregation, his vote during the Clarence Thomas confirmation, his position on Anita hill last night, he said, “I wish I could have done something to get her a fairer hearing.” Is that legitimate scrutiny? Did you talk to him about that? Does that matter in 2020?
ABRAMS: So, I'm having lunch and coffee and drinks and water with everyone running for president who is willing to talk to me. Part of the ability to do that is I'm not going to talk about what we talk about. I will give broad brush strokes.
WAGNER: As a politician --
ABRAMS: Here's what I would say — in my book Lead From the Outside, I talk about the fact that we make mistakes based on the information we have at the time, and one of our responsibilities is to create space for people to understand that mistakes happen and that you can grow. And what I hope anyone running for president will do is acknowledge mistakes made, talk about what you've learned, and then apply the new lessons to how you intend to lead.
GOLODRYGA: Let me ask you about the Barr report. You gave an interview where you commented on it. Barr's interpretation of the Mueller report. Right. And you said that “I tend to think it's like having your brother summarize your report card to your parents. We should be deeply suspicious, especially since he had 12 tardies and at least three times ditching class.” What are you trying to say with that?
DICKERSON: One quick piece of political business. You said you've been meeting with and having drinks with everybody who's thinking about running for president. When you drink alone, are you having drinks with somebody who is thinking about running for president?
WAGNER: Good question.
ABRAMS: Yes, we sip English breakfast together in the morning.
GOLODRYGA: What was the most important takeaway for you having lost that — the governor's race? What was most important —
ABRAMS: I would like to go say that I didn't win the governor's race.
WAGNER: There are a number of women, there are a number of minority candidates running for the Democratic nomination. Is this the year one of them ends up being the nominee?