Ted Kennedy, CBS At the top of the 8AM ET hour of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Russ Mitchell wondered if Ted Kennedy’s death could "spur Congress to pass a health care reform bill?" Correspondent Nancy Cordes answered that question: "Kennedy’s death, in a way, gives new life to health care legislation, which has really taken a beating the past few weeks at town halls across the country."

Cordes went on to declare: "Supporters of health care reform say they’re going to fight even harder to achieve Kennedy’s dying wish, universal healthcare. With Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia even suggesting that the legislation be named after the late great lawmaker."

Earlier on the show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez interviewed Utah Senator and Kennedy friend Orrin Hatch, and asked about the "dying wish" of the Massachusetts Senator: "I’d be willing to bet that he would be smiling down on the capital if Republicans and Democrats could finally compromise to fulfill his dream of health care reform. Do you think that Senator Kennedy’s passing could be the impetus that could finally make that happen, or do you think that the only bridge builder who could have done that is gone now?"

ABC, CBS and NBC on Wednesday night all showcased liberal Democratic Congressman Barney Frank's rejoinder -- “On what planet do you spend most of your time?” -- to a woman's question: “Why do you continue to support a Nazi policy as Obama has expressly supported this policy?” As if the premise were coming from a typical anti-ObamaCare conservative, ABC's Charles Gibson set up the exchange by asserting “the contentious rhetoric over health care reform has gone up another notch. It happened in Massachusetts, after protesters brought pictures of President Obama with a Hitler-style mustache to a town hall meeting with Congressman Barney Frank.”

Though ABC showed a picture of the poster with “LaRouche PAC.com” visible at the bottom, neither Gibson nor CBS's Nancy Cordes (who did not show the LaRouche credit) noted the posters were created and distributed by the group affiliated with Lyndon LaRouche, a seven-time far-left Democratic presidential candidate who spent many years as a Trotsky-ite and is best-known as a propagator of wild conspiracy theories. The New Bedford Standard Times identified the woman as “with the LaRouche Political Action Committee.”

On the NBC Nightly News, fill-in anchor Lester Holt referred to “more rowdy town hall meetings” which led Frank to decide “he'd had enough and faced off against a woman holding a picture of President Obama that was doctored to make him look like Hitler.” After video of the exchange Tuesday night in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, Holt benignly described the source: “That anti-Obama image is being disseminated by supporters of perennial presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche who are campaigning against health care reform.”

Nancy Cordes, CBS After depicting the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ car buying program as a "runaway success" on Friday, on Tuesday’s Early Show, correspondent Nancy Cordes argued: "The Department of Transportation says the program has been great for the environment. 80% of the clunkers have been pickups or SUVs, traded in for new cars with an average mileage nearly 10 miles per gallon higher."

Following that declaration Cordes cited car salesman Mario Sosnowski, who praised the program: "Starting from 8:00, 9:00 in the morning, we’re here till – till midnight every day because of the program, because of the excitement."

At the top of the show, co-host Julie Chen depicted Republican opposition to increased funding for ‘Cash for Clunkers’ as a desire to "put the popular program on the scrap heap." Following Cordes’ report, co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint about his objections: "We now see this morning that this program is, in fact, getting more fuel-efficient vehicles on the road. It’s getting people to spend money. So do you still believe, as you have said in recent days, that this is quote ‘a great example of the stupidity coming out of Washington’?"

Cars for Clunkers, CBS Reporting on the Obama administration’s ‘Cash for Clunkers’ car buying program running out of money, CBS correspondent Nancy Cordes offered a mixed message: "‘Cash for Clunkers’ has been such a runaway success....The program is so popular...word spread it would be suspended...because of fears that sales would soon swallow up the $1 billion for rebates the government had set aside."

At the top of Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared: "It’s a week old and incredibly popular. But is the government’s ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program coming to a screeching halt? We’ll see why it may run out of gas and why so many are angry." She later introduced Cordes’ report by explaining: "It appears that ‘Cash for Clunkers’ could be kaput. There’s been a lot of criticism that the week-old federal program is just too confusing. But the White House says it’s so popular that it’s already running out of money, so they’re reevaluating."

In highlighting a new study which found $147 billion a year is spent on obesity-related health care and obese people spend $1,400 more a year for health services, ABC and CBS on Monday night couldn't resist interjecting a plug for imposing a tax on soda to bring in revenue to pay for ObamaCare.

ABC's Sharyn Alfonsi asserted “health officials seem to like the idea of a federal soda tax” since “adding a tax of three cents a can to high-calorie sodas could generate $24 billion over the next four years,” and while “opponents argue Americans won't tolerate another tax,” supporters “say it could cut health care costs and America's ever- expanding bottom line, all at once.”

Following a full CBS Evening News story on the obesity report, anchor Katie Couric set up a story on the tax idea: “Now, some believe another way to help pay for health care reform is to put a tax on one of the causes of obesity: soft drinks full of sugar. Nancy Cordes has more on that.” Cordes began: “Americans consume roughly 250 more calories everyday than they did in the '70s and half those calories come from sugary drinks, which is why some health advocates are urging Congress to help pay for health care reform with a tax on non-diet sodas...”

Palin Poll Numbers, CBS On Monday’s Early Show, co-host Julie Chen teased an upcoming story on Sarah Palin’s political future: "Also ahead, the always controversial Sarah Palin remains in the headlines this morning. We're going to tell you what she's now saying about her future plans as well as what she's planning to do right after she leaves office later this month."

Chen teased the story later, again labeling the Alaska Governor as controversial: "We're going to tell you where the controversial Alaska governor is headed once she leaves office." In the report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes cited new poll numbers: "According to a new CBS poll out this morning, Sarah Palin faces doubts, even from Republicans, about her ability to be an effective president. Less than 1 in 4 Americans think she has the ability. Among Republicans, only one-third say Palin could be effective."

Cordes went on to describe Palin’s future plans, including an upcoming speech in California: "Her appearance is almost certain to raise speculation about her political ambitions. But some say Palin hasn't done enough to change how people feel about her." After mentioning that Palin was offering to stump for Republican candidates, Cordes observed: "But a couple of Republicans running for governor this year have already appeared cool to the idea of having her in to support them."

As the broadcast network evening newscasts on Friday reported on Sarah Palin's decision to resign as Alaska's Governor, they gave little attention to the toll taken on the Governor by the onslaught of frivolous lawsuits from her political enemies. But, by contrast, FNC gave much of the credit for Palin's decision to these lawsuits that have tied up the Governor's time and forced her family to spend a fortune in legal expenses.

On Friday's Fox Report, FNC correspondent Carl Cameron informed viewers: "Those ethics complaints have all been dropped or dismissed, and yet they've taken a toll and she acknowledged as much earlier." Then came a soundbite of Palin from her news conference, which was partially played on the CBS Evening News but not on ABC or NBC. Palin:

Todd and I, we’re looking at more than half a million dollars in legal bills just in order to set the record straight. And what about the people who offer up these silly accusations? It doesn't cost them a dime. ... My staff and I spend most of our days, we're dealing with this stuff instead of progressing our state now.

As the broadcast network evening newscasts reported Friday on Sarah Palin's decision to resign as Alaska's governor, some of the negative wording on the CBS Evening News sounded eerily similar to the partisan statement attacking Palin that was released by the Democratic National Committee, which was quoted the same evening on FNC's Fox Report, and on Special Report with Bret Baier.

As she began her report, correspondent Nancy Cordes used words with a negative connotation --  "abandoning her job" -- to describe Palin's departure from office. Cordes: "Surrounded by family at her home in Wasilla, Alaska, Sarah Palin said she was abandoning her job because she has no interest in being a lame duck."

Similarly, the statement issued by DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse also used the word "abandon" to refer to Palin's resignation: "Her decision to abandon her post and the people of Alaska who elected her continues a pattern of bizarre behavior that more than anything else may explain the decision she made today.”

On the Saturday Early Show on the morning of July 4, CBS anchor Priya David mocked Sarah Palin’s famous phrase, "You betcha," as she introduced a report by correspondent Nancy Cordes on the Alaska governor’s decision to resign from office. David: "Resign from office? You betcha. Alaska Governor Sarah Palin dropped a political bombshell Friday, announcing that she's leaving her post, but her future plans remain a mystery."

Unlike her report on the CBS Evening News from the previous night, this time Cordes refrained from referring to Palin’s speech as "rambling" and "confusing," but she did run a soundbite of the Politico’s Mike Allen calling Palin’s decision "odd." Allen: "If you’re trying to promote yourself as a steady leader, this is an odd way to run for President." On Friday night, Cordes had run a soundbite of Allen calling the announcement "bizarre." Allen: "This is very unusual, even bizarre. Governors just don't stop in the middle of their terms when there’s no clear reason."

Below is a complete transcript of the relevant report from the July 4 CBS Early Show:

Sarah Palin's “bombshell” holiday announcement that she will resign as Governor of Alaska managed to trump Michael Jackson as the lead on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts Friday night as NBC's Chuck Todd predicted she will now make fundraising appearances for GOP candidates where she'll draw in “car-wreck watchers.” CBS reporter Nancy Cordes reflected the tone of the stories when she described “a rambling, at times confusing announcement,” while on all three newscasts Palin's decision was called “bizarre.”

NBC News White House reporter Chuck Todd, who suggested she decided to quit so she could “make a lot of money” on the speaking circuit free of ethics complaint hassles, also predicted she will bring in big crowds at fundraisers for GOP candidates which will also entice those not so impressed by her:
She may spend the next year campaigning for Republicans all across the country. She's probably going to be the person that can attract the largest crowds, some of it is car-wreck watchers -- you know, they just are coming, kind of curiosity-seekers. It doesn't matter. She can attract a lot of people.

Audio: MP3 clip (16 seconds)

Nancy Cordes, CBS CBS Early Show co-host Maggie Rodriguez wondered on Friday: "Lots of politicians get caught having affairs, as you know. The trick, though, is making a comeback. It’s happened before, but the question is does John Edwards have a political future?"

Rodriguez later introduced the segment by citing Edwards’ recent comments about his political future in a Washington Post interview: "Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton, just two of the high profile politicians who’ve survived the scandal of having an extramarital affair. Now John Edwards is speaking out for the first time, since his affair, about testing the waters for a possible political comeback. But is it too late? Is the damage done?"

In the report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes quoted Kenneth Vogel of Politico on the topic: "His cancer-stricken wife knew about the affair, asked him not to run for president. He did anyway. He kept it from his staffers. His political committees may have paid hush money. All of these things put together just make it that much more difficult for him to find a way to rehabilitate himself in the public eye." Cordes responded to that seeming political obituary by declaring: "Not so fast. Lots of politicians, after all, have had affairs and gone on to successful careers. Crisis management experts say Edwards may be testing the waters and could still have a political future."

Nancy Cordes, CBS On Monday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Nancy Cordes reported on perjury allegations against Illinois Senator Roland Burris and calls for his resignation: "Burris admits he did much more than just talk to one person, in fact, he says he talked to four other people with close connections and took three phone calls from the ex-governor's brother about raising money. In the down and dirty world of Illinois politics, some Republicans are calling on him to resign."

In addition to bashing Illinois Republicans, Cordes’s report featured CBS legal analyst Andrew Cohen, who argued: "From a purely legal point of view, it is not a strong perjury case. All it does is suggest that Mr. Burris was a little bit more involved in all of this than he initially claimed to be."

In contrast, in January 2007, Cohen described perjury charges against Vice President Cheney’s former chief of Staff Scooter Libby this way: "The whole thing reminds me of an experience I had in law school. I was serving as a ‘baby’ public defender and one of my ‘clients’ was a man, already incarcerated, who was being brought up on new charges that he stole a car. "I didn't steal that car," he said to me. ‘Great,’ I said. ‘That's great. Can you tell me what did happen?’ ‘You don't understand,’ he said to me, "I'm a crack dealer. I don't do that petty car (stuff).’ That is darn close to what Libby and his lawyers are saying. He was an architect and implementer of (mostly failed) foreign policies, the defense goes, and thus did not have time, inclination or criminal state of mind to be guilty of the petty offense of perjury and obstruction of justice."