60 Minutes last night featured “a revealing side-by-side look at the candidates and their positions” (Steve Kroft interviewed Obama; Scott Pelley interviewed McCain). The results were better, journalistically-speaking, than the “side-by-side look” 60 Minutes gave us of Obama and Clinton back in February (Kroft on Obama, Couric on Clinton) in that actual issues were actually discussed. Here are some press-centric moments:
PELLEY: Senator Biden, Senator Obama’s running mate, has done 84 interviews and news conferences by our count. And Governor Palin has done two. And I wonder why that is. There’s a perception that you might be nervous about what she might say, that you’re not putting her in front of reporters.
McCAIN: She’s gonna be doing more all the time. She’s, as you know, been introduced to the country. We’re campaigning hard. Look, everybody that has met her and known her and the enthusiasm of these crowds, the American people are vetting her. And they’re liking a lot what they’re seeing.
(VOICEOVER): Early in the campaign, McCain told a reporter that the economy wasn’t his strong suit. The Obama campaign picked that up. Pelley didn’t ask about that quote, but it was clear in this interview that he’s still sore about it.
PELLEY: You’re not an expert on the economy. Senator Obama is not an expert on the economy. So let me ask you what traits would you bring to the Oval Office that would help navigate this country out of the current emergency?
MCCAIN: Never complain, but maybe I can explain. That statement about me and the economy was made in the context of a long conversation. Moral of the story is, don’t have long conversations, especially with 60 Minutes. Point is, no seriously, is that I understand the economy as chairman of the Commerce Committee…
Both candidates were asked whether we’re in a recession. Can you match the answers below with the candidate who gave them?
Oh, I think there’s no doubt that we’re gonna see, when the numbers come out, that we are officially in recession. I think, for a lot of people, they’ve been feeling like we’ve been in a recession for years now. When their wages and incomes don’t go up, and the cost of gas and groceries and home heating oil and prescription drugs are all going up, that feels awfully like a recession to them.
Sure. Technically I don’t know. Unemployment is up. Wages are down. Home foreclosures are incredibly high. Those people, they don’t care whether technically we’re in a recession or not. The fact is they’re hurtin’. And they are hurting very, very badly.
(HINT: The first answer was delivered to Kroft; the second answer was delivered to Pelley).
Liz Cox Barrett is a freelance writer and graphic designer in Kalispell, Montana. She worked as a newspaper journalist in Denver and Kalispell for 20 years.