The journalists on CBS This Morning devoted nine minutes to excitedly reviewing Hillary Clinton's new book. Despite the fact that the publisher, Simon & Schuster, is a division of CBS, co-host Charlie Rose insisted that they scored an advance edition the old fashion way: "But we were able to buy a copy at a bookstore." Sounding more like an excited fan, Rose blurbed: "It is a portrait of doggedness." CBS political director John Dickerson praised Hard Choices as a portrayal of "a hard working person who flew all around the world grinding it out." [MP3 audio here.]
Asked whether opponents will seize on the content of the book, Dickerson enthused, "...The volume of this book is meant in a political context to suggest that the voters can put the world in her hands. She sees the complexity and understands it." CBS offered two segments to the new book totaling nine minutes and seven seconds. Of that, only 13 seconds were devoted to discussing Clinton's role in the terrorist attack at Benghazi that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
That was quickly disposed of as Norah O'Donnell summarized:
NORAH O'DONNELL: Those there is one chapter on Libya and there is one chapter on Benghazi, of course, which her toughest critics come on that particular subject. And she does say that, "far and away, my greatest regret from those years is not being able to bring those four diplomats home."
At another point, O'Donnell simply repeated the book's assertions: "And as she says, life is about making hard choices and our choices and how we handle them will shape who we are to become."
Though the journalists mentioned that there are only a few regrets listed in the book, reporter Nancy Cordes noted that Clinton is still apologizing for Iraq: "And, she says, she's still haunted by her vote to go to war in Iraq in 2002. 'I thought I had acted in good faith but I still got it wrong, plain and simple.'"
A follow-up report in the 8:30am hour focused on Clinton's hair, the impending marriage of the Democrat's daughter and other frivolous topics:
NANCY CORDES: On a lighter note, Clinton offers advice for fellow long distance travelers. To stay awake, I'd drank copious amounts of coffee and tea and sometimes dug the fingernails of one hand into the palm of the other. It was the only way I knew to cope with the crazy schedule and fierce jet lag.
On May 27, CBS This Morning, along with the other two networks, played clips of the audio version of the soon-to-be-released book.
[Thanks to MRC intern Laura Flint for transript help.]
A partial transcript of one of the June 6 segments is below:
CHARLIE ROSE: CBS News correspondent John Dickerson has also been digging into Hard Choices. John, Good morning. Let's begin with an overview.
JOHN DICKERSON: Yeah. There's a lot to dig into there. It requires both hands. 700 pages. The voice -- Secretary Clinton is at ease in this book. But it is a very careful book. We knew it wasn't going to be gossipy. That's not her style. But if you compare it to Secretary Gates, the Secretary of Defense who just wrote a book that was of a bit of tell-all, not gossipy, but about the true behind the scenes. You know, in diplomacy and statecraft, there's a lot of weasel-y behavior and a lot of power plays. There's none of that, really, in this book. It's just very careful and risk-free.
NORAH O'DONNELL: And as she says, life is about making hard choices and our choices and how we handle them will shape who we are to become. Is this book, do you think, because there aren't many mistakes made and she's very careful, a suggestion that she, in fact, is running for president?
DICKERSON: This is not the book of somebody with nothing to lose who is just, kind of, winging it on the porch with a glass of scotch. This is a book there are really no harsh words for anyone. I mean, he said Putin is thin skinned and autocratic. Well, he might wrinkle his nose at the first but the second he would think is a compliment.
ROSE: And he's said worse about her.
DICKERSON: That's right! That's the harshest thing she says.
O'DONNELL: There are chapters on many different countries and hot spots around the world. Those there is one chapter on Libya and there is one chapter on Benghazi, of course, which her toughest critics come on that particular subject. And she does say that, "far and away, my greatest regret from those years is not being able to bring those four diplomats home."
DICKERSON: Yes. She talked about regret there. She talks about regret in Iran, not supporting the youthful protesters. There's not a lot of introspection about mistakes made in this book. She talks about --
ROSE: Are there things they can seize on, her opponents?
DICKERSON: I think her opponents will seize on things that were not said, which is a harder thing in a political context. I mean the volume of this book is meant in a political context to suggest that the voters can put the world in her hands. She sees the complexity and understands it.
O'DONNELL: She says the silver lining of defeat in 2008, she no longer cares so much what her critics think about her. Anybody who's interviewed her recently know there's a calmness about her. She, as Secretary of State, is not the same person she was as First Lady.
DICKERSON: Yeah. Well, that's true. She says that of her last campaign. We'll see if she has another one, if she still feels the same way.
ROSE: It is a portrait of doggedness.
DICKERSON: Of a hard working person who flew all around the world grinding it out.
ROSE: Thanks, John. Hillary Clinton sits down with contributor Jane Pauley for Sunday Morning. You can sse that interview a week from Sunday on June 15 here on CBS.