More than an hour into the program, Wednesday's CBS This Morning finally acknowledged that "this race is not over for Mitt Romney," based on the network's own polling. Norah O'Donnell noted that "in our new polls...Republicans are more enthusiastic than Democrats about voting this year in general, and that enthusiasm has actually...grown since early August."
O'Donnell's reporting came almost an hour after Bob Schieffer's apocalyptic spin about the Republican presidential nominee's campaign. Before getting to the poll numbers, she pressed Frank Luntz on whether the hidden camera videos were "a turning point in the campaign," and claimed that "Romney was suggesting that those people are mooching off the system. He wasn't offering a helping hand in that statement, or, at least, that's how they might interpret it."
The anchor led the segment with her "turning point" question to the
Republican strategist. Luntz answered, in part, that "it clearly puts
him on his back feet, and he doesn't need this when he's behind in the
polls. But they're not criticizing him for the overall philosophy.
They're criticizing him for how he articulated it."
O'Donnell followed up with a refutation of the most publicized line from the Romney videos: "Those 47 percent of Americans, who don't pay federal income tax, are not victims or dependent on government. Many of them do pay payroll taxes. Many of them are seniors, who worked hard their entire life, and now, just live on Social Security, of which, you don't have to pay income taxes."
Later, the former NBC correspondent made her Romney "wasn't offering a helping hand in that statement" assertion. Luntz acknowledged that "it's how they might interpret it, and that's the whole issue," but then added, "I want to make this clear. This race isn't over. It's not a game changer. It just puts him behind a couple of days." O'Donnell seconded her guest's assessment and disclosed the poll numbers - three minutes and 35 seconds into the segment.
O'DONNELL: Can I just point out one thing, too, though? In our new polls that are out this morning, we've seen, though, that still, Republicans are more enthusiastic than Democrats about voting this year in general, and that enthusiasm has actually – enthusiasm has grown since early August. So, this race is not over for Mitt Romney.
Instead of reporting these figures during the earlier segment with Schieffer, the anchor helped the Face the Nation
host paint a dark outlook for Romney: "Karl Rove, who is involved in a
super PAC that helps fund campaign ads that support Mitt Romney's
election – I mean, even he said Americans who don't pay income
taxes are part of the GOP coalition. So there – it's not just pundits
and columnists. You have strategists, like Karl Rove, who suggested this
is a problem."
The full transcript of Frank Luntz segment from Wednesday's CBS This Morning: