CBS: If you’re not going to discuss real issues, why bother interviewing candidates?

Last night on CBS’s 60 Minutes, Steve Croft interviewed Barack Obama while Katie Couric interviewed Hillary Clinton.  Croft asked Obama a serious of interesting questions including (summarized):

  • You want to portray yourself as an underdog.  Explain how you (Obama) are an underdog compared to Clinton, when you may very well have more delegates that she does at this point.
  • You don’t have any executive experience and you haven’t actually run much of anything.  How do you expect to project that you have the experience to be President?
  • You are riding on a platform of change which seems to imply change from both the Bush’s and the Clinton’s.  In what way?
  • Your policies are very similar.  What do you feel is the biggest difference between you and Senator Clinton?
  • A complaint about your campaign has been the lack of specifics.  How do you account for that?
  • What do you think about what’s going on in Iraq right now?
  • At a time when violence is down, is this the right time to set timetables for withdrawal?  Regardless of the situation around sectarian violence?
  • Why do you feel you have the best chance to beat McCain?
  • There has been "nastiness" thrown about.  Is there a point at which you go to the closet and pull out Clinton’s skeletons?
  • Are you the same person you were a year ago?

Alright.  A decent set of questions for mainstream TV.  I’ll take those.  Now meanwhile, Couric hit Clinton with a bunch of questions like:

  • Have you grappled with the idea that the nomination could be Obama’s and not yours?  Even in your deepest darkest moments, don’t you question yourself?
  • It’s exhausting.  The photo shoots, the debates, the schmoozing… how do you do it?
  • Do you pop vitamins or coffee?  How do you stay healthy?
  • What do you think of Barack Obama’s gains?  Will it have sustainable momentum?
  • Do you like Barack Obama?
  • Is there any bad blood between the two of you?
  • Do you think the media has treated Obama the same way as they have you?
  • You’ve implied that the GOP will unearth dirt on Barack Obama.  What do you have to say about that?
  • Why are you seen as poll-rising?
  • Why did you authorize the war?
  • Will you reassess your assertion that we should withdraw troops once you’re in office?
  • It must have been so demoralizing to have your father always tell you that you weren’t trying hard enough.
  • People say that you’re going to be part of a co-Presidency. <what do you have to say about that>
  • What do you see yourself doing if this doesn’t work out?

Uh what?  Can you say "softball questions"?  I’m sorry.  This was a really unbalanced interview.

CBS could have started with the list questions based on the issues highlighted by

Civil Rights Issues

Domestic Issues

Economic Issues

Defense/International Issues

And then there’s issues of character:

  • Visionary, intelligent, & thoughtful
  • Trustworthy, earnest, & principled
  • Effective, savvy, & able to execute

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