A Smattering of Harry Smith’s Liberal Smugness
For the past seven years, Harry Smith has co-hosted CBS's The Early Show,
currently the third-place broadcast network morning news program. Smith
previously co-hosted CBS’s This Morning from 1987 to 1996 while also
serving as a contributor to the CBS Evening News, 48 Hours, and
various documentaries. In 1996, Smith left CBS to narrate various programs for
the History Channel and A&E’s Biography. Smith returned to CBS in
2002 to replace
as co-host of The Early Show; he also occasionally fills in as host of
Face the Nation and anchor of the CBS Evening News.
Over his lengthy career at CBS News, Smith has continually shown his detest for
conservative figures and causes, while at the same time promoting mainstream
liberalism. He has praised liberal figures like Barack Obama and Al Gore in
quasi-religious terms, but made little effort to hide his contempt for
Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. He has championed liberal crusades
like global warming, predicting “Manhattan will be underwater by 2050.” He
condemned the Iraq War, claiming it “didn’t make sense,” and denounced the
Second Amendment as “the right to deliver instruments of certain death.”
“As the nation prepares for President-elect Barack Obama to move into the White
House, many Americans can’t help but draw similarities between him and the late
President John F. Kennedy....The similarities are striking. JFK was 43 when he
was inaugurated. Obama is just three years older, bringing a certain youthful
vigor to the White House, including, young children....Kennedy had more than his
share of charisma and Obama knows how to light up a room. But it’s their wives
who might be the real superstars.”
– Smith on The Early Show, November 7, 2008.
“President-elect Barack Obama has been named one of GQ magazine’s Men of the
Year....Why was he a good choice? ...Can a guy who’s cool be President of the
– Smith on The Early Show, November 17, 2008.
“I’m just not so sure I’ve ever witnessed anything like this in all of the
politics that I’ve covered, which goes back quite a few years already. This
place rumbled. And there were certain points during the speech when the stadium
was just so alive, and the ground was almost quaking.”
– Smith on The Early Show, August 29, 2008, the morning after Barack Obama’s
“Powerful, far-ranging speech this morning that President Obama has delivered in
Cairo....He was not only presidential, he was also professorial. He was very
much a teacher this morning. He was giving Americans and Muslims a history
– Smith on CBS’s The Early Show, June 4, 2009.
“It feels like the '60s are back....In the civic religion that is Democratic
politics, the most treasured covenant was passed to the young Senator from
CBS’s Harry Smith: “People in the mainstream media have been accused of being
afraid to speak truth to power, and I’ve got — I’ve got some truth to power for
you right now.”
– Smith on The Early Show, January 29, 2008, discussing Senator Ted Kennedy’s
endorsement of then-candidate Barack Obama.
President Barack Obama: “Okay, go ahead.”
Smith: “I’ve been observing, your dog looks like he’s out of control.”
– Interview shown on CBS’s Early Show, June 23, 2009.
[Audio/video (0:18): WMV |
America the Racist
“Many white Americans felt their fears were justified this week when they
learned that one in four young black men in this country is a criminal....23
percent of the young black men in America are behind bars, on probation or on
parole. As surely as an assembly line, America turns thousands of innocent black
children into castoffs....It’s one of the accomplishments of America’s system of
– Harry Smith, March 2, 1990 CBS This Morning.
“If you are like most Americans, you figured you were lucky that it couldn’t
happen in your town. Well, you might want to think again. America was shocked
and appalled by the violence and riots in Los Angeles last week. But what we saw
was not an aberration...Imagine a day when it’s true in every American city.
Impossible, you say? Wait, and you’ll see what happens.”
– Smith commentary, May 4, 1992 CBS This Morning.
Surviving Under the Reagan-Bush Regime
“He talked about being proud of what’s happened with the economy, about the
millions of new jobs that have been created. And as I listened to that, I also
thought one out of five babies born in the United States are born into poverty.
There are hundreds of thousands of people in this country now that are homeless,
have no place to live. I wonder, how does your father reconcile that in his
mind? How does he reconcile those two things?”
– Smith to Maureen Reagan on the January 12, 1989 CBS This Morning, the morning
after President Reagan’s farewell address. [Audio/video (0:42):
“We would like to believe the State of the Union address is a time when the
President tells the American people the way it is. But no one really wants to
hear that, so the President keeps reality down to a minimum. The President was
remarkably upbeat for a man who runs a country with a monstrous national debt,
huge balance of trade problems, a crumbling infrastructure, dirty air, countless
homeless people, a coast-to-coast drug epidemic, and a faltering self-image.”
– Smith, February 2, 1990 CBS This Morning.
“Some of the blame for this ‘have everything attitude’ could easily be placed on
the Reagan administration and a compliant Congress. You remember, ‘Morning in
America.’...Face reality, like Governor Jim Florio has in New Jersey and you’ve
got a revolt on your hands. The recession has cut revenues there, so he’s trying
to raise taxes in order to still deliver the services the people in New Jersey
say they want. That, of course, is political heresy.”
– Smith, November 2, 1990, CBS This Morning
“We saw the icons of American politics bow down to the almighty dollar [Reagan
and O’Neill]. And we threw one last party [Malcolm Forbes] to celebrate the end
of the decade of greed. Yet we continued to dirty our planet like there was no
– Smith, December 29, 1990 CBS This Morning.
“There were 300 of you on the Capitol steps a couple of days ago, got together
to sign this pledge which kind of harkened up a lot of memories of Ronald
Reagan...Among the things you talk about wanting to do — raise defense
spending, cut taxes, balance the budget — but did you all neglect to figure out
how to pay for all of that?...But the real deal here if we’re talking about
Reaganomics, which this seems to be harkening back to, tax cuts for the rich and
everything else...You’re talking back to the days when budget deficits ran out
– Smith to Newt Gingrich, September 30, 1994 CBS This Morning.
Cold War a Waste
“It’s hard to get the world psyched up for a summit when the stakes keep going
down. It used to be the future of all mankind hung in the balance every time the
Soviets and Americans talked. That’s all changed since our respective leaders
finally figured out the expensive and dangerous race to build more and more
nuclear weapons was pretty much a waste of everyone’s time and resources.
There’s a limit, after all, to how much of the world you can wreck and still
feel good about yourself.”
– Smith in his weekly “Record of Who We Are” commentary, June 1, 1990 CBS
Damn Those Scary and Mean Conservatives
“You talk about victims and victimhood in America, which I think is a serious
problem. On the other hand, the more I listen to your complaints, the more I
kept thinking, well, you’re the whiner. You’re the one who’s claiming victimhood
here. That you’re the victim of this great left-wing conspiracy....You should —
you should have a cross. You should put yourself up on a cross.”
– Smith on the January 6, 2009 Early Show scolding conservative author Ann
Coulter about her new book Guilty: Liberal Victims and Their Assault on America. [Audio/video (1:48):
“In 1980 [actually 1984], Ronald Reagan’s optimistic ‘Morning in America’
appealed to the most basic beliefs about who we are as Americans, and it gave
Reagan a big boost. There’s a high road and a low road. Remember Willie Horton?
The ads played to racial fears and portrayed Massachusetts Governor Michael
Dukakis as soft on crime.”
– Smith reviewing TV commercials from previous campaigns on The Early Show,
March 10, 2008.
“Empathy has never been one of Rush’s strongest suits. Do you detect anything in
his broadcast yesterday that would suggest that Rush is now going to become a
kinder, gentler Rush Limbaugh?”
– Smith to media expert Robert Thompson on The Early Show, November 18, 2003,
the day after Rush Limbaugh ended five weeks of treatment for drug addiction.
“Do I need to be concerned that I’m going to go live with a church family, are
they going to proselytize me, are they going to say, ‘You better come to church
with me or else, I’m, you know, you’re not going to get your breakfast this
– Co-host Harry Smith asking author/pastor Rick Warren about church families
taking in those displaced by the hurricane, on CBS’s Early Show, September 6,
2005. [Audio/video (0:17):
“Even on the radio on the way in this morning, I was listening to a roundtable
of older Americans, and they’re –- it’s worse than not thrilled — they’re
downright afraid of you. Do they have anything to fear from you?”
– Smith to Newt Gingrich, April 4, 1995 CBS This Morning.
“Many of the attacks that have come from John McCain’s campaign have been, quite
frankly, condescending. Are you surprised by that? Does it anger you?”
– Smith to Democratic candidate Barack Obama on The Early Show, August 22, 2008.
“You fought a long battle with the [Bush] White House over this issue [waterboarding
terror suspects], said they ought to follow the Army manual, which the White
House refused to [do]....Why do you feel so strongly that those who helped
create this policy should not face some sort of recrimination?”
– Smith to Republican Senator John McCain on CBS’s Early Show, April 23, 2009.
“Explain the difference between the private man and the public Pope that some
Americans are maybe even a little unsure or fearful of.”
– Smith questioning Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George on CBS’s
Early Show, April
15, 2008. [Audio/video (0:23):
“Fred, you’ve said time and again that character is an important issue in the
campaign. Clearly, that red-baiting junk didn’t work for the President last
night. What’s he going to try next?”
– Smith, October 12, 1992 CBS This Morning, to pundit Fred Barnes following the
first presidential debate between President George H.W. Bush and Arkansas
“Brad and Angelina, Charles and Diana, Burton and Taylor, and you can count Bill
and Hillary’s union as one of the most scrutinized marriages of our time. A
simple Google search reveals there are more than 40 books about this still young
couple. They met in law school — two bookish, wonkish, idealistic kids who
somehow transformed themselves into political rock stars.”
– Smith introducing an interview with Sally Bedell Smith, author of a new book
on the Clintons, on the October 23, 2007 Early Show.
“Jimmy Carter the President wasn’t particularly well liked. Carter the prophet
was right on the money. The gas lines of the Arab oil embargo apparently left
little lasting impression, though....Just this week, the Senate killed a bill
that would have forced car makers to significantly improve gas mileage. Maybe we
just don’t care that much.”
– Smith, September 28, 1990 CBS This Morning.
“Helen Thomas has been covering the White House for-ever, almost 50 years now.
We’re going to talk to Rory Kennedy, director of a new documentary about the
legendary journalist....Where she sits and what she does day after day after
day, I’m not sure we value enough.”
– Smith on The Early Show, August 14, 2008.
“I’ve actually admired Dennis Kucinich for a long — since he was Mayor of
– Smith on The Early Show, November 2, 2007.
“A lot has been written about you in the last couple of weeks. Much of it has a
sense that Mario Cuomo is a man full of promise and now that your 12 years in
Albany is done, much of that promise is unfulfilled. Do you disagree with
that?....The sense of the promise that you may have been able to deliver to
people, your eloquence, your intelligence, that did not translate, for lack of a
better term, into dynamic governance?....How are you going to use this? Are you,
will you continue to use this passion, will you continue to use this eloquence?
Some people have suggested you should become a counterbalance to Rush Limbaugh.”
– Smith’s questions to Mario Cuomo, December 30, 1995 CBS This Morning.
Fighting the War in Iraq
“You know, I remember being in Iraq...a couple of weeks before the war started
and it came — it was really, really clear to me on the ground that this didn’t
make any sense. And I remember coming back, but there was all this, sort of,
preponderance of opinion that this, this thing should go on. And I kept thinking
to myself, ‘This doesn’t — there’s — I’m not connecting the dots everybody else
is connecting.’ And if I have a regret in my reporting life that I didn’t stand
up then and say, ‘This doesn’t make any sense.’”
– Smith on CBS’s Early Show, May 15, 2009.
“No weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq, this was certainly a
cornerstone of the rationale for going to war there last spring. Tony Blair was
charged with sexing-up intelligence to justify war. Do you think that charge
could be put on President Bush?”
– Smith to Senator Ted Kennedy on CBS’s Early Show, September 9, 2003. An
official investigation had already discredited the BBC story claiming Blair
“sexed-up” the British report.
“The President said during his remarks to the troops, he said: ‘You’re defeating
terrorists in Iraq so we don’t have to face them in our own country.’ Now,
there’s no connection between Iraq and 9/11. Why does the President persist in
tying those two together?”
– Smith to National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice on the November 28, 2003,
“Sock and awe. How the Iraqi shoe-thrower is now being hailed as a hero and
drawing thousands of supporters....It’s being referred to as the ‘toss heard
around the world.’ In fact, many Iraqis are showering accolades on the
journalist who threw his shoes at President Bush.”
– Smith on The Early Show, December 16, 2008.
Guns Don’t Kill People, the Constitution Does
“A constitutional right which gun lovers have lorded over us for years. But the
right to bear arms has blossomed into the right to deliver instruments of
certain death into the hands of people who probably aren’t sportsmen and
probably aren’t collectors...While our children are being gunned down by thugs
and criminals, we continue to allow ourselves to be bullied by a gun lobby which
refuses to budge on issues which make simple common sense....Constitutional
rights? Ask the parents of the children who were shot this summer about the
right to bear arms. They bear only the pain of their loss.”
– Smith in his Friday CBS This Morning feature “The Record of Who We Are,”
August 31, 1990.
When Harry Met Al: A Love Story
“Former Vice President Al Gore and Virgin Group Chairman Richard
Branson....announced here in London today that they are teaming up to save the
planet, offering a $25 million prize to fight global warming....[to Branson]
You’ve only known each other about a year or so as I understand it. Is Al Gore a
– Smith on The Early Show, February 9, 2007.
Co-host Harry Smith: “President Bush getting ready to go to Europe for the G-8.
The folks in the European Union want to do emissions reductions. The President
said yesterday we’re not going to participate....If you were President, you
would have probably signed on?”
Former Vice President Al Gore: “Yeah, yeah.”
Smith: “Do you mind if I-? [holds up a ‘Gore 2008' pin]...There you go. You can
hold it. [laughter]....Here, let’s see what it looks like.” [holds pin to Gore’s
lapel]...All right, all right. Save that in a freeze frame.”
– Exchange on CBS’s Early Show, May 30, 2007. [Audio/video
“Since his still controversial loss to George Bush in the 2000 election, [former
Vice President Al] Gore has recast himself as a road warrior for the
environment. Traveling from town to town, country to country with a message of
warning, a message that’s now been made into a movie.... Out of the shadows of
yesterday’s news, Al Gore has suddenly emerged as the comeback kid....
I’m watching you in this film, you look so comfortable in your own skin. You
look like Al Gore in full, as it were....The box office receipts would indicate
that it’s an action movie — you did better per screening then almost anything
that’s come out this week.”
– Smith introducing his interview with Al Gore and some of his comments to Gore
on CBS’s Early Show, May 31, 2006. [Audio/video (0:39):
Weatherman Dave Price: “I want to show you some video. A lot of people saying
global warming, or at least higher temperatures, being blamed for this massive
collapse of an ice shelf in Antarctica....In the event that land-based glaciers
begin to really melt, you could be talking about a rise in water levels which
could be catastrophic, so this is really — look at this video.”
Co-host Harry Smith: “Right, right. And they also talk about — because as this
disappears, this reflects light, alright? That’s another huge issue because that
ice reflects the light. It turns to water, which absorbs the light. That could
be another exacerbating factor in global warming.”
Price: “Right. And so we continue to watch that situation.”
Smith, pointing to himself: “Al Gore, Jr.”
Price: “You are.”
Co-host Maggie Rodriguez: “Yeah, you are.”
– CBS’s Early Show, March 26, 2008.
Apocalypse Now: Promoting Global Warming Hysteria
Co-anchor Julie Chen: “You’ve taken personal action. Tell me what are some of
the changes you’ve made in your day to day life.”
Actor Leonardo DiCaprio: “I try to live a ‘green lifestyle,’ quote/unquote. I
mean, I’ve, I’ve done the things that I can do in my house to make it, my house
green, energy efficient appliances. I drive a hybrid car. I have solar panels.”
Chen: “Where did this passion come from?...”
Co-anchor Harry Smith: “He’s such a smart guy.”
Chen: “He is a smart guy and he’s such a great spokesperson to have for this
very important cause.”
– CBS’s Early Show promoting The 11th Hour, DiCaprio’s apocalyptic movie about
global warming, August 13, 2007. [Audio/video (0:33):
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg: “There’s no question that we’re damaging
our environment. Here in New York City we’ve got a plan to plant a million
trees, to reduce the number of cars on the streets, to make buildings pollute a
lot less....Congress talks about goals to reduce carbon in the year 2050. How
many people in Congress today are going to be alive in 2050? Just do the math,
not very many.”
Co-host Harry Smith: “Right.”
Bloomberg: “We need to do something now.”
Smith: “Manhattan will be underwater by 2050.”
– Exchange on CBS’s Early Show, November 5, 2007.
True Patriots: Illegal Immigrants
“When you saw these pictures yesterday from these demonstrations in all these
cities across the country, hundreds of thousands of people, American flags
unfurled, people draping themselves in the American dream, what did you
think?...It’s really unprecedented, this groundswell that has come up...People
literally all over the country walking away from their jobs to stand in the
street and say, ‘I count for something.’”
– Smith to CNN’s Lou Dobbs and Governor Bill Richardson (D-NM) on The Early
Show, April 11, 2006.
Conservatives Are Downright Dangerous
“Let’s talk about his words for a second. Because it’s not that many months ago
that a lot of people were accusing Bibi Netanyahu of fanning the flames of the
Israeli right, of setting the rhetorical tone for Rabin’s assassination.”
– Smith to CBS News consultant Fouad Ajami, May 31, 1996 CBS This Morning.
Host Harry Smith: “When you see that enthusiasm, though, and when you see this
generational change that seems to be taking place before our eyes, does it make
you at all fearful?”
Senator Edward Kennedy: “Well, not really. I think — what is — I think people
are basically saying is that they want a new day and a new generation....”
Smith: “I think what I was trying to say is sometimes agents of change end up
being targets, as you well know. And that was why I was asking if you were at
all fearful of that.”
– Exchange on CBS’s Early Show, January 29, 2008.
Pushing Liberals and Conservatives to Move Left
“Did you run too close to the middle? There’s grousing already in the Democratic
Party that Democrats didn’t act like Democrats, they acted like watered-down
– Smith to Democratic National Chairman Terry McAuliffe on The Early Show,
November 6, 2002.
“The margin of victory is so narrow in so many of these races and it’s just a
razor thin difference in some cases between the parties. Does that give you a
responsibility to govern from the middle or with the majority do you go all the
way to the right?”
– Smith to incoming Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott on The Early Show,
November 6, 2002.
Spend More and Tax More
“We have seen in the past, during Reagan-Bush administration days, when huge
slashes went through, when entire programs were dismantled, and what ends up
being left sometimes in its wake is the sort of vacuum and chaos and even more
problems than were there to begin with.”
– Smith responding to Pat Buchanan’s criticism of the “Reinventing Government”
report, September 8, 1993 CBS This Morning.
“How do we do all of this stuff? And we’re not making more money, the tax rolls
are not growing, the coffers are not full. We’re just talking about deficit
if nobody’s going to get taxed, isn’t this just going to be Deficit City?”
– Smith to ex-Hewlitt-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, a McCain advisor, on The Early
Show, July 7, 2008. [Audio/video (0:17):
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