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CBS Hosts Discuss 'Insurgent,' 'Orthodox Conservative' in NY-23 Race

While analyzing the off-year elections across the country on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith asked Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer about the New York 23rd congressional race: "...this notion that an insurgent conservative, orthodox conservative, would come in and really unseat the party's choice for nominee there...is this a precursor of what might be happening a year from now?"

Schieffer used similar labeling to describe Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman and race's impact on the GOP: "The Republican Party right now is still split. And I think right now it's the conservatives who kind of have the juice....there is still no overriding philosophy, as it were, in the Republican Party, you've got the hard Right here and you've got the more moderate Republicans, right now I think the hard Right is driving the train in the Republican Party."

Earlier, the two CBS hosts discussed the possibility of Democrats losing both governor's races in New Jersey and Virginia. Schieffer dismissed the idea of such losses being a national referendum on the Democratic Party and President Obama: "I think these are curtain-raisers, Harry. I don't think they're going to give us much of an indication of what's going to happen, you know, in the next presidential election." Smith agreed: "Yeah, because some people would like to say this is about President Obama's very, very short coat tails, but it seems that these races are being very much decided on an individual basis."

On Monday, Smith asked former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney if the NY-23 race would "save or kill the Republican Party."

Here is a full transcript of the segment:

7:00AM TEASE:

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: Americans head to the polls today as some too-close-to-call races have both Democrats and Republicans on edge. We'll hear what it means for the White House and for you.

7:07AM SEGMENT:

HARRY SMITH: Now to politics, it's election day and there are a number of key races that both parties are keeping a very close eye on today. Joining us now, CBS News chief Washington correspondent and host of Face the Nation, Bob Schieffer. Bob, good morning.

SCHIEFFER: Good morning to you, Harry.

SMITH: Let's talk about these governor's races in both New Jersey and Virginia. Do the Democrats there, either of them, the incumbents, do they have a shot?

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, I think in New Jersey, where it is very, very close, Jon Corzine, who is the very wealthy governor, he comes from Wall Street, of course, before he got into politics. He's running about dead even. I think there, if Corzine does pull out a victory, it's not going to be so much because Barack Obama came there to campaign for him, it's going to be because he, again, poured a lot of his enormous wealth into negative campaign ads against his opponent. That's won for him before. If he wins, that'll be the difference this time around.

In Virginia, a much different case. There, the Republican has opened up a very wide lead on the - on the Democrat. In this case, Obama did come to Virginia, of course he carried Virginia the last time, the first Democrat to do that since LBJ. But the Democratic candidate there comes from a rural area and he never really connected with the African-American vote and some of the people from the urban centers and in northern Virginia that carried Obama to victory there. I think it's going to be - it's going to be a surprise if the Democrat pulls it out there. But I think these are curtain-raisers, Harry. I don't think they're going to give us much of an indication of what's going to happen, you know, in the next presidential election. They'll just give us a snapshot of what's going on right now in two very different states.

SMITH: Yeah, because some people would like to say this is about President Obama's very, very short coat tails, but it seems that these races are being very much decided on an individual basis. But another one that may be some sort of a precursor about days ahead, let's talk about New York District 23, this notion that an insurgent conservative, orthodox conservative, would come in and really unseat the party's choice for nominee there, and have a shot, what do you think, is this a precursor of what might be happening a year from now?

SCHIEFFER: I think what it is, is a snapshot of where the Republican Party is right now. The Republican Party right now is still split. And I think right now it's the conservatives who kind of have the juice. I mean, they came in there and just pushed out the Republican candidate. You had a lot of out-of-state Republicans that came in and endorsed the conservative candidate who was on the ballot and forced the Republican to - to withdraw from the race. What this tells you is, as there is still no overriding philosophy, as it were, in the Republican Party, you've got the hard Right here and you've got the more moderate Republicans, right now I think the hard Right is driving the train in the Republican Party. And I think this is the snapshot of where all that is right now, a very interesting development there.

SMITH: Alright, Bob Schieffer, good to see you this morning. Thanks so much for your time.

SCHIEFFER: You bet. Okay.

-Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center.