Bob Schieffer didn't think much of the accusation that President Obama
is the "campaigner-in-chief" on Friday's CBS This Morning. When anchor
Erica Hill wondered if that charge could be "harmful" to the President, Schieffer laughed aloud and replied, "If he raises enough money, it won't hurt him at all."
Just a day earlier on the morning show, correspondent Bill Plante actually pointed out that as of early June, Obama "will have done 153 fundraisers since formally declaring his candidacy for reelection a little over a year ago. That's nearly double the number President Bush had done at the same point in 2004."
The Face the Nation host's remark came in the midst of two segments on the "week to forget for the Obama administration," as Hill put it. During the first segment, correspondent Jan Crawford outlined that Mitt Romney's fundraising lead over the President in May ($76.8 million for Romney versus $60 million for Obama) was "just the latest example of a not-so-great week for Mr. Obama's reelection bid."
Crawford continued by highlighting the "off message" statements from former President Bill Clinton and former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, and how Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's defeat of the union-led recall effort on Tuesday was "a bad sign for Mr. Obama. Unions have long been important organizing and fundraising forces in Democratic politics." She concluded her report by stating that "those fundraising numbers are important, but so is another bad number: the unemployment rate. It was up slightly in May."
Co-anchor Charlie Rose then brought on Schieffer 12 minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour. The veteran CBS News personality echoed what Crawford had spotlighted, that "the thing that would worry the people at the White House the most is that fundraising number," and adding that "the numbers that are really going to count is what will the economic numbers be in October."
Hill's "campaigner-in-chief" question came near the end of the segment. Despite the larger "week to forget" context, Schieffer tried to find a silver lining, and also took the opportunity to slam the campaign finance system:
HILL: We can't ignore the money factor here. You touched on some of
those figures, Bob. There's been a lot of criticism about President
Obama being the campaigner-in-chief. How harmful could that be to him?
SCHIEFFER: (laughs) If he raises enough money, it won't hurt him at all. (Hill laughs) I think the -- I think he's got to do it. I mean, think about this: both of these candidates are going to raise in the neighborhood of a billion dollars. I mean, that might be -- they might say it's necessary, and I suppose if one is out there raising money, the other one has to, too. But what are the rest of us to say about this? Should we be proud of this, that it takes a billion dollars to run for president, that this is all about money?
We know money is not the only thing. I mean, you know, look at Meg Whitman out there in California last time out. In that governor's race, she raised a hundred and something million of her own money in the race and still lost to Jerry Brown. So money does not ensure victory, but how obscene, that we have reached this stage, that both of these candidates have to raise this much money in order to be competitive.