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CBS's Smith to Schwarzenegger: Can GOP 'Exist Without Moderates'?

Speaking to California Governor Arnold Schwarzengger on Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith noted the success of the tea party movement, but spun it as a negative for the Republican Party: "There are winds of change blowing in the Republican Party. The tea party has met. There's a - it feels like a significant shift to the Right. Can the Republican Party exist without moderates?"

Prior to that, Smith asked if Schwarzenegger had any helpful advice for President Obama: "His approval ratings are dropping. He's under fire from all kinds of quadrants. If you're going to give him some advice as to how to stay his course, what would you tell him?" Schwarzenegger initially replied: "I don't think that...he needs advice from me." He then went on to praise the President's efforts on health care reform: "you have to give him credit for taking the risk. You have to give any leader credit for always going out on a limb and to go and fight for something."

Smith failed to wonder if Democrats could survive without moderates following the announced retirement of Indiana Senator Evan Bayh last week.

At the beginning of the interview, Smith asked about the Governor's efforts to combat obesity: "Can the state of California, or the country for that matter, afford not to act on this?" Schwarzenegger responded by attacking the slick advertising of the food industry: "You have to understand that $1.5 to 1.6 billion a year is being spent by the food industry and by the soda industry on marketing. So they make it, of course, very delicious and very seductive to have those kind of foods."

Here is a portion of the interview:

8:14AM

HARRY SMITH: We appreciate you having this conversation with us about obesity, which everybody cares about. But since we have you in the chair, I know you've agreed to take on some other subjects. And I know you met with President Obama earlier this week. He's been in office 13 months. His approval ratings are dropping. He's under fire from all kinds of quadrants. If you're going to give him some advice as to how to stay his course, what would you tell him?

SCHWARZENEGGER: Well first of all, I don't think that, you know, he needs advice from me. I think that the bottom line is this is a very difficult job today to be a leader because of the world economy being down. No matter where you pick up news papers, it's all the same headlines,: 'this is a disaster, the economy is down, money is not available, the banking system is a problem, people are losing jobs' and all of this stuff, and people are hating their politicians.

Remember, with health care reform, Teddy Roosevelt talked about health care reform in 1912. So that's 100 years ago. And since then, no one was able to do it, and you know, now Obama is another president that is giving it a stab and trying to get it done. It could work. I mean, you have to give him credit for taking the risk. You have to give any leader credit for always going out on a limb and to go and fight for something. It may not work out, but in the end, you've got to try.

SMITH: There are winds of change blowing in the Republican Party. The tea party has met. There's a - it feels like a significant shift to the Right. Can the Republican Party exist without moderates?

SCHWARZENEGGER: I think that there are great leaders in the Republican Party and I think that the key thing is to always, when you're the minority party, that you have good solutions so the people can see what the majority party has to offer and what then the minority party has to offer. And so to me, the most important thing is you always have great solutions, not just say no, but have great solutions and have a whole menu of things of what you would do if you were in power.

SMITH: Governor, thank you so much for your time today. We do appreciate it. We hope we can visit again soon.

-Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center.