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CBS's Smith Warns Being 'Agent of Change' May Get Obama Killed --1/30/2008


1. CBS's Smith Warns Being 'Agent of Change' May Get Obama Killed
CBS's Harry Smith on Tuesday morning, after hailing Ted Kennedy's endorsement of Barack Obama as the passage of a "most treasured covenant," suggested the enthusiasm for Obama's "generational change" and his role as an "agent of change" makes him a potential target of an assassination. Interviewing Kennedy on The Early Show, Smith ominously inquired: "When you see that enthusiasm, though, and when you see this generational change that seems to be taking place before our eyes, does it make you at all fearful?" Kennedy either did not get Smith's point or deliberately avoided addressing the obvious allusion to the assassination of two of Kennedy's brothers, leading Smith to reiterate his dire warning about how "sometimes agents of change end up being targets, as you well know. And that was why I was asking if you were at all fearful of that."

2. Media Reality Check: 'Networks Swoon Over New King of Camelot'
The text of a Media Reality Check one-page summary report, "Networks Swoon Over New King of Camelot: Broadcast and Cable Networks Offer Oohs and Ahhs for Kennedy Family Endorsements of Obama," compiled Tuesday afternoon by the MRC's Tim Graham.

3. Andy Card Calls Out MSNBC 'Cynicism,' Bush Like Fibber McGee
Monday's State of the Union speech by President Bush gave the MSNBC team their latest chance to deride a Republican speech, which they eagerly accepted. Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews spent about an hour discussing negative reviews of Bush's speech, with Olbermann calling it "oldies but not so goodies," and fretting about Bush's warnings to Iran about "enriching uranium," with Matthews proclaiming that the speech reminded him of old-time radio character "Fibber McGee saying, 'One of these days, I'm going to clean out this closet.'...it was the theme of this entire speech tonight." When former Bush Chief-of-Staff Andy Card was interviewed at about 11:20pm EST, he chastised the MSNBC team: "I can't tell you how cynical you two sound, and almost every guest you've had on has been very cynical. You can't even find an objective skeptic to interview." Olbermann had trouble keeping his Countdown show's alter ego from filtering through as he repeatedly fretted that Bush's words about Iran "enriching uranium" reminded him of the "infamous 16 words" from Bush's 2003 State of the Union speech before the Iraq invasion, and similarly worried that Bush had plans for "endless war" in Iraq. He also characterized terror plots referenced by the President as being discredited, calling them "so-called terror plots."

4. ABC Offers Dismissive Analysis of Past State of the Unions
Previewing George Bush's State of the Union speech on Sunday's Good Morning America, ABC correspondent John Donvan delivered a condescending, dismissive look at the President's past SOTU addresses. After showing a 2005 clip of Bush touting tax cuts for everyone, Donvan derided the cuts, saying they "came true, most of all, for wealthier Americans..." He also added that "out went balanced budgets and surpluses." While inter-cutting clips of Bush talking about Saddam Hussein, Donvan snidely observed: "And the weapons he said justified going to war -- [State of the Union clip] -- well, they were never found." Donvan also willfully ignored the successful troop surge in Iraq and stuck to the pessimistic outlook of the war. In between a clip of Bush talking about how Iraq's success would inspire democracy in the region, the ABC journalist spun: "And the great hopes for the sacrifice made -- [State of the Union clip] -- those were disappointed hopes."

5. GMA Alone Covers Dem Mayor Accused of Perjury; Ignores Party ID
On Tuesday's Good Morning America, reporter Dan Harris covered the growing sex scandal of Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and, at the same time, skipped the fact that he is a Democrat. The story, which has, thus far, been ignored by both NBC and CBS's morning shows, relates to testimony Kilpatrick gave in the summer of 2007 when he denied having an affair with his chief of staff, Christine Beatty, and of using security to cover up the relationship. (14,000 just discovered text messages between the Mayor and Beatty tend to refute the Mayor's statement.) During Harris's segment, the GMA correspondent described the embattled politician who, prior to the scandal, was "considered a talented politician with a very bright future" in apolitical terms. Other than a brief, onscreen graphic, he didn't verbally mention Kilpatrick's Democratic Party affiliation.


CBS's Smith Warns Being 'Agent of Change'
May Get Obama Killed

CBS's Harry Smith on Tuesday morning, after hailing Ted Kennedy's endorsement of Barack Obama as the passage of a "most treasured covenant," suggested the enthusiasm for Obama's "generational change" and his role as an "agent of change" makes him a potential target of an assassination. Interviewing Kennedy on The Early Show, Smith ominously inquired: "When you see that enthusiasm, though, and when you see this generational change that seems to be taking place before our eyes, does it make you at all fearful?" Kennedy either did not get Smith's point or deliberately avoided addressing the obvious allusion to the assassination of two of Kennedy's brothers, leading Smith to reiterate his dire warning about how "sometimes agents of change end up being targets, as you well know. And that was why I was asking if you were at all fearful of that."

Mark Finkelstein, a blogger for the MRC's NewsBusters blog, on Tuesday morning first posted Smith's questions with the dire implication, illustrated with video posted via YouTube. For Mark's blog entry with video of the January 29 exchange: newsbusters.org

(Skip down three paragraphs in this item for a transcript of the friendly interview with Kennedy in which Smith wondered: "Was yesterday an emotional day for you?")

The MRC's Kyle Drennen recounted, in a Tuesday posting for NewsBusters, how Smith opened the show:

At the top of Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Smith described Ted Kennedy's endorsement of Barack Obama in biblical terms: "In the civic religion that is Democratic politics, the most treasured covenant was passed to the young Senator from Illinois." Smith teased the segment by excitedly proclaiming that "Ted and Caroline set to hit the campaign trail after they announce the heir to Camelot." Smith went on to claim that "It feels like the '60s are back," to which co-host Julie Chen replied: "I think it's safe to say no matter what your party affiliation, you have to admit that no one gives a speech like a Kennedy."

Smith continued to speak of Kennedy royalty as the January 29 segment began: "First, the Kennedys launching a passionate campaign for Barack Obama. The chosen heir to their political dynasty." He went on to praise Ted Kennedy's speech: "With a voice filled with vigor and that unmistakable cadence, Ted Kennedy reached back to the 1960s and said the same sense of possibility and hope that carried his brother to the White House had found a new standard bearer."

For the transcript of the entire segment, check Kyle's blog entry: newsbusters.org

Kyle also corrected the closed-captioning against the video to produce a transcript of Smith's interview with Kennedy, who appeared from Capitol Hill:

HARRY SMITH: As we've been reporting, Senator Ted Kennedy endorsed Barack Obama yesterday in a very emotion and energy-charged speech. Joining us now is Senator Kennedy. Good morning, sir.
TED KENNEDY: Good morning.
SMITH: Was it an obvious or difficult choice for you?
KENNEDY: Well, I've always wanted to support the nominee who's really going to inspire the Democratic Party and inspire the nation. I think what this country needs is the inspirational leadership in order to deal with the challenges that we're facing. We're not making the kind of progress that we need to, whether it's health care, or ending the war, or dealing with the economic issues, or global warming. And Barack Obama, after watching him in the course of this campaign, is able to bring people together and able to inspire people, and I think he's the person to do this.
SMITH: So is that a repudiation of Hillary Clinton and her husband?
KENNEDY: Not really. They're friends. I've known them a long time. I've worked very closely with the Clintons. I have great respect for President Clinton. Should Senator Obama not get the nomination, I'll work and support her nomination or John Edwards. It's enormously important that we elect a Democrat, change the direction of this nation in terms of dealing with the challenges. If you just listened last night to the State of the Union, there wasn't a single bold idea in that speech. It was just a rehash of old ideas. We need to break through. We need new energy. We need someone that can bring people together. And Barack Obama, if you go to those rallies, as I did yesterday, or watch his speech out in the end of the Iowa primaries, look at the young people that are inspired. Look at the support he gets north, south, east and west. It's a different time. It's a different candidacy. It's a different spirit. And this is what we need.
SMITH: When you see that enthusiasm, though, and when you see this generational change that seems to be taking place before our eyes, does it make you at all fearful?
KENNEDY: Well, not really. I think -- what is -- I think people are basically saying is that they want a new day and a new generation in this country at this time. I can remember going to the first anniversary of the Peace Corps after five years and asking the first group of volunteers why they volunteered. And they said it's the first time the country had ever asked them to do something for their country. I think young people, old people want to make a difference, want to help be a part of the solution. And I think Barack Obama gives them that opportunity.
SMITH: I just -- I think what I was trying to say is sometimes agents of change end up being targets, as you well know. And that was why I was asking if you were at all fearful of that.
KENNEDY: Yeah. No, I think there's -- Barack Obama is the kind of candidate for change. And I think the people all over the country. I've been impressed by the breadth and the width of the kind of support that he's getting.
SMITH: Right. It is reported that you asked Bill Clinton to tone down the rhetoric in the campaign last week. Did you do that, and what was his response, as you chuckle?
KENNEDY: Well, as I chuckle, I say nice try. Those conversations -- those conversations are kept confidential, and they certainly are in this case, too.
SMITH: Alright. You sat next to Barack Obama at the State of the Union last night.
KENNEDY: Yes, yes.
SMITH: What did you exchange in asides as you listened to the speech?
KENNEDY: Well, we obviously listened. It's important -- Barack Obama is a listener as well as a talker. And he listened carefully. He spoke and gave his characterization of the talk. It's generally we're there to listen and to be respectful for the institution of the presidency. And I think that's what both of us tried to do and what others tried to do. I personally feel it was kind of an empty talk, it was more for the president to speak to his base rather than trying to outline the challenges that we're facing today.
SMITH: Caroline said that her children actually led her to Barack Obama. How did he come under your radar? Did she lead you to him?
KENNEDY: Her children. This has been a continuing conversation for a number of months. Her children, my children have all gone to the rallies of all of the candidates. And I find that there's an extraordinary resonance among all young people for Barack Obama. That's certainly true in our family, my extended family. They're active. Thankfully they believe in public service, and they listen, and they study these candidates. And they've been inspired. Young people in this country are inspired. That is the hope for our future.
SMITH: Final question very quickly. Was yesterday an emotional day for you?
KENNEDY: Oh, very -- very much so. It's a very -- I take this political life very, very seriously. And I believe -- I love the country, and it's an important time. These are serious issues. And when you pour your heart and soul into a judgment like this, it's at least personally, it's important.
SMITH: Senator Kennedy, thank you so much for your time this morning. Take care.

Media Reality Check: 'Networks Swoon
Over New King of Camelot'

The text of a Media Reality Check one-page summary report, "Networks Swoon Over New King of Camelot: Broadcast and Cable Networks Offer Oohs and Ahhs for Kennedy Family Endorsements of Obama," compiled Tuesday afternoon by the MRC's Tim Graham.

Several of these quotes from Monday night ran in Tuesday's CyberAlert, but most of those from Tuesday morning will be fresh to CyberAlert readers:

Networks Swoon Over New King of Camelot

Broadcast and Cable Networks Offer Oohs and Ahhs for Kennedy Family Endorsements of Obama

To Republicans, the Kennedy "Camelot" lingo is an outdated, cobwebbed piece of political history, a yellowed picture frame from the Marilyn Monroe era. To Democrats, it's still a shining legacy. It's not complicated to figure out which view the national TV news stars embraced on Monday night and Tuesday after Ted Kennedy endorsed Barack Obama for President.

# MSNBC. Hardball host Chris Matthews found a "historic" moment: "Today, we got a glimpse of the early 1960s, when politics was alive, so here and now in Washington, D.C., the era of serious commitment, of short hair, white shirts, narrow ties, and the Peace Corps. Today, for a brief shining hour, the young got to see what we saw, not the gauzy images of Camelot, but the living spirit of the New Frontier."

# ABC. On Monday's Nightline, anchor Terry Moran trumpeted the "new son of Camelot. Ted and Caroline Kennedy pass the torch to Barack Obama to carry the legacy of JFK." Moran soon hailed how "the political world was transfixed by the spectacle of the most powerful Democratic family of the 20th century christening a new torch bearer for the 21st."

David Wright repeated a line from World News about "the audacity of hope had its rendezvous with destiny....merging ideals from two different eras," as "Obama is now an adopted son of Camelot." On Tuesday, Good Morning America co-host Diane Sawyer announced "let's turn to the Democrats and that political lightning bolt from the Kennedy family." The screen graphic read: "Camelot Crowns Obama: Caroline and the Senator Take a Stand."

# NBC. On Monday's NBC Nightly News, reporter Lee Cowan oozed that "the endorsement brought the Kennedy mystique to this campaign, not in a whisper, but a roar." On Tuesday's Today, reporter Andrea Mitchell announced "It was a very big deal, a huge endorsement indeed. A tremendous boost for Barack Obama just one week before 22 Democratic primaries on Super Tuesday....Monday night, all eyes were on Senators Kennedy and Obama. They sat together capping a rousing day of political theater."

In an interview with Sen. Kennedy, co-host Matt Lauer wondered if his speech was meant to mock the Clintons, but he softened the question by suggesting "you did that in a stirring speech, and you've made many of them during your political career."

# CBS. On Monday's Evening News, anchor Katie Couric hyped the event. "Passing the torch: Barack Obama is tapped as the candidate to continue the Kennedy legacy." On The Early Show, co-host Harry Smith was the most effusive man on TV: "It feels like the '60s are back. This morning, Ted Kennedy joins us live to tell us why he and Caroline have made their choice for Barack Obama."

Smith also declared: "With a voice filled with vigor and that unmistakable cadence, Ted Kennedy reached back to the 1960s and said the same sense of possibility and hope that carried his brother to the White House had found a new standard bearer....In the civic religion that is Democratic politics, the most treasured covenant was passed to the young Senator from Illinois."

Smith also asked Ted Kennedy if once again in our history, an inspirational leader would end up assassinated: "Sometimes agents of change end up being targets, as you well know, and that was why I was asking if you were at all fearful of that."

Network political gurus didn't consider whether this endorsement would still be seen as "historic" if Hillary Clinton wins Massachusetts, among other states, on Super Tuesday despite the Kennedy endorsements. If she wins, how was "history" made?

END of Reprint of January 29 Media Reality Check

Andy Card Calls Out MSNBC 'Cynicism,'
Bush Like Fibber McGee

Monday's State of the Union speech by President Bush gave the MSNBC team their latest chance to deride a Republican speech, which they eagerly accepted. Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews spent about an hour discussing negative reviews of Bush's speech, with Olbermann calling it "oldies but not so goodies," and fretting about Bush's warnings to Iran about "enriching uranium," with Matthews proclaiming that the speech reminded him of old-time radio character "Fibber McGee saying, 'One of these days, I'm going to clean out this closet.'...it was the theme of this entire speech tonight." When former Bush Chief-of-Staff Andy Card was interviewed at about 11:20pm EST, he chastised the MSNBC team: "I can't tell you how cynical you two sound, and almost every guest you've had on has been very cynical. You can't even find an objective skeptic to interview."

Co-anchor Keith Olbermann, who normally tones down his anti-Bush bias while anchoring special events, had trouble keeping his Countdown show's alter ego from filtering through as he repeatedly fretted that Bush's words about Iran "enriching uranium" reminded him of the "infamous 16 words" from Bush's 2003 State of the Union speech before the Iraq invasion, and similarly worried that Bush had plans for "endless war" in Iraq. He also characterized terror plots referenced by the President as being discredited, calling them "so-called terror plots," including the case of plotters arrested in Britain: "Another story about passenger jets invoked again, bound for America over the Atlantic, even though it proved later that the people who were supposed to try to blow them up did not have tickets nor passports to even get on board those planes."

Olbermann, who enjoys making fun of Bush's verbal mistakes on his show, notably flubbed his own line as he described Bush's 2003 speech reference to "yellowcake uranium" as "yellowcake pancake, yellow pancake of Niger."

[This item, by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, was posted Tuesday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

MSNBC started its post-debate coverage by interviewing Republican John McCain, then moved to Democratic Senators Barack Obama, Jim Webb and Joe Biden, inviting them to complain about the President's speech, before finally getting to Republican Andy Card. On Sunday's Reliable Sources, Olbermann admitted to recusing himself from a recent interview with Rudy Giuliani, deferring to Matthews, because of his past criticism of the former New York City mayor. On Monday night, he seemed to again recuse himself from Republican guests as he did not participate in questioning McCain or Card.

During the Biden interview, some notable exchanges occurred after the Democratic Senator voiced agreement with some of Olbermann's comments: "It's like a dream world. It's like what Keith said. As they say in my business, I associate myself with the remarks of the gentleman who spoke before me. I mean, it just is, you know, and I know I'm ruining your reputation by doing that, but all kidding aside, I mean, what was this about?"

Matthews brought up his idea that President Bush's speech reminded him of the character Fibber McGee, a character prone to telling tall tales, from the Fibber McGee and Molly radio series, to Olbermann's agreement:

MATTHEWS: You know, Keith, it reminded me of the old line on the radio, before we were really born, with Fibber McGee saying, "One of these days, I'm going to clean out this closet."
OLBERMANN: And it comes down crashing.
MATTHEWS: That was the theme, yeah, it was the theme of this entire speech tonight.

After Biden remarked that seeing a woman or African-American getting elected President was a dream of his, Olbermann joked that Biden "associating yourself with my words" was a "dream" to him before Biden reiterated: "I'm sorry if I hurt your reputation, bud." Olbermann responded: "No, no. It's gone already."

Matthews then spent about 18 seconds thanking Biden for running for President: " And, Senator, thank you for running for President because you added a lot to those debates, and they needed some things, and you gave it to them, and I know it was a hard thing, but thank you. I mean it, as a friend. I really think it showed so much guts to run. And maybe it will be an African-American, maybe it will be a woman, maybe it will be a Republican, but I think the best thing is that you ran, and that's how the system works."

Matthews then immediately introduced Card, who started off chiding Olbermann and Matthews for being "cynical":
"Well, I've been listening to you and Keith. I can't tell you how cynical you two sound, and almost every guest you've had on has been very cynical. You can't even find an objective skeptic to interview. And I can tell you, the President's address tonight was very important because it really was a sobering call to reality for us. And the reality is we have an enemy who wants to hurt us. The primary job of the President is to protect us...."

A bit later, MSNBC's conservative analyst Pat Buchanan and Air America's liberal talk radio host Rachel Maddow came aboard to discuss the speech. Olbermann again brought up his contention that Bush's words about Iran enriching uranium reminded him of the "16 infamous words" from the 2003 speech and wondered if it was wise to include such lines again. After Buchanan pointed out that it is, in fact, true this time that Iran has been enriching uranium, which even Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has admitted to, and contended that Bush had toned down his talk on Iran since the latest NIE report, even Maddow seemed to dismiss Olbermann's fears as she agreed with Buchanan: "I think I heard that as well. It felt like it was saber-rattling, it was very familiar-sounding threats, but they didn't really have the same punch behind them, I think partly because it's so repetitive."

For a more extensive transcript, check Brad's NewsBusters posting linked above.

ABC Offers Dismissive Analysis of Past
State of the Unions

Previewing George Bush's State of the Union speech on Sunday's Good Morning America, ABC correspondent John Donvan delivered a condescending, dismissive look at the President's past SOTU addresses. After showing a 2005 clip of Bush touting tax cuts for everyone, Donvan derided the cuts, saying they "came true, most of all, for wealthier Americans..." He also added that "out went balanced budgets and surpluses."

While inter-cutting clips of Bush talking about Saddam Hussein, Donvan snidely observed: "And the weapons he said justified going to war -- [State of the Union clip] -- well, they were never found." Donvan also willfully ignored the successful troop surge in Iraq and stuck to the pessimistic outlook of the war. In between a clip of Bush talking about how Iraq's success would inspire democracy in the region, the ABC journalist spun: "And the great hopes for the sacrifice made -- [State of the Union clip] -- those were disappointed hopes."

[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Tuesday evening on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Donvan did, however, offer one condescending, back-handed compliment. He seemed to indicate that the President accomplished very little in the past seven years and highlighted a familiar phrase. The segment featured a montage of Bush repeatedly saying, "The state of our union is strong," or some variation. Donvan patronizingly added: "But say this for this President, on this podium, on this occasion, despite disappointments, he always managed to say in a way that says he meant it -- [montage of Bush claiming a strong State of the Union]." Donvan condescendingly closed: "Listen this week, then, when despite all, surely, he will say it one last time."

A transcript of the January 27 segment:

KATE SNOW: President Bush is set to make his final State of the Union Address tomorrow night. With less than a year left in his second term, the President goes into this one with a slowing economy, an ongoing war in Iraq, and an approval rating that has gone down to 32 percent. ABC's John Donvan takes a look back at President Bush's last seven years.
JOHN DONVAN: The State of the Union Address, last year's entry. But let's dial back in time, because you can do that in television. And what we see is not just a president reverse aging, but also if we start at his first address in this venue, it was 2001, how he defined America back then.
PRESIDENT GEORGE W BUSH: A balanced budget, big surpluses, a country at peace with its neighbors.
DONVAN: Less than one year later, however, this was the new reality.
BUSH: Our nation is at war.
DONVAN: And over time, the language would go to this.
BUSH: An axis of evil arming to threaten the peace of the world.
DONVAN: And out went balanced budgets and surpluses. Yet one thing that did not change, a promise.
BUSH: Everyone who pays income taxes will get relief.
DONVAN: Which came true, most of all for wealthier Americans, though his plan to privatize Social Security-
BUSH: And best of all, the money in the account is yours, and the government can never take it away.
DONVAN: Well, that never happened. And the weapons he said justified going to war-
BUSH: Saddam Hussein has gone to elaborate lengths, spent enormous sums, taken great risk to build and keep weapons of mass destruction.
DONVAN: Well, they were never found. And the great hopes for the sacrifice made-
BUSH: The victory of freedom in Iraq will strengthen a new ally in the war on terror, inspire democratic reformers from Damascus to Tehran-
DONVAN: -those were disappointed hopes. But say this for this President, on this podium on this occasion, despite disappointments, he always managed to say in a way that says he meant it-
BUSH [Montage of Bush saying the same phrase throughout various State of the Union addresses]: Our union is strong -- The state of our union is confident and strong -- It's confident and strong -- The state of our union is strong -- The state of our union is strong.
DONVAN: Listen this week, then, when despite all, surely, he will say it one last time. For Good Morning America, John Donvan.

GMA Alone Covers Dem Mayor Accused of
Perjury; Ignores Party ID

On Tuesday's Good Morning America, reporter Dan Harris covered the growing sex scandal of Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and, at the same time, skipped the fact that he is a Democrat. The story, which has, thus far, been ignored by both NBC and CBS's morning shows, relates to testimony Kilpatrick gave in the summer of 2007 when he denied having an affair with his chief of staff, Christine Beatty, and of using security to cover up the relationship. (14,000 just discovered text messages between the Mayor and Beatty tend to refute the Mayor's statement.)

During Harris's segment, the GMA correspondent described the embattled politician who, prior to the scandal, was "considered a talented politician with a very bright future" in apolitical terms. Other than a brief, onscreen graphic, he didn't verbally mention Kilpatrick's Democratic Party affiliation. Harris also brought up related examples of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and San Francisco's Gavin Newsom, both of whom are Democrats. (Those party Ids also went unspoken.)

[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Now, it is true that major elements of the Kilpatrick story are just emerging, but it will be interesting to see how aggressively the media cover this case of perjury and a prominent Democratic politician. (It goes without saying that GMA made no comparison to former President Bill Clinton and his problems relating to a sex scandal and lying under oath.) And while Kilpatrick is not a Congressman like Republican Mark Foley, he is a Mayor of one of America's big cities.

A transcript of the segment, which aired at 7:32am on January 29:

DIANE SAWYER: But now, we turn to the headlines out of Detroit this morning, the political scandal brewing there. The city's mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick and his female chief of staff under fire for allegedly lying under oath about a personal relationship, denying that they had one, a physical relationship. Monday, the chief of staff resigned amid revelations of newly discovered cache of nearly 14,000 text messages between the two. ABC's Dan Harris has more on all of this.
DAN HARRIS: Diane, good morning. What this really is a cautionary tale about the dangers of communicating in this text saturated age. It is also a story that has provoked near political paralysis in a major American city. When Kwame Kilpatrick was elected mayor of Detroit in 2001 at age 31, he was the youngest big-city leader in the country, considered a talented politician with a very bright future.
MAYOR KWAME KILPATRICK [Footage of mayor testifying]: At one setting, she did tell me that.
HARRIS: But, that future is now threatened by what's being called a techno sexual tragedy, involving the mayor and his chief of staff. Christine Beatty. Last week, the Detroit Free Press made public these text messages with the married mayor telling his chief of staff who was also married things like, "I'm madly in love with you" and "I need you so bad" and also making explicit references to making love. Beatty's replies include, "In case you haven't noticed, Im madly in love with you, too" and "did you miss me sexually?"
VOICE OF PROSECUTOR: Were you and Mayor Kilpatrick either romantically or intimately involved with each other?
CHRISTINE BEATTY: No.
HARRIS: The text messages seem to contradict testimony given by both Beatty and the mayor last summer in a lawsuit accusing the mayor of using his security unit to cover up extramarital affairs.
KILPATRICK (D-Detroit, Michigan): I think it's absurd to assert that every woman who works with a man is a [censored]. I think it's disrespectful, not just to Christine Beatty, but to do a professional job that they do.
HARRIS: At the Detroit Free Press, they say they were shocked when they found the text messages.
PAUL ANGER (VP, Detroit Free Press): We were just agog at what they were seeing. It was just, for goodness sake, look at what we've got. This is tragedy. This is sad. This is a great story. We take no joy in it, but we're going to handle it right.
HARRIS: The county prosecutor is now investigating whether Kilpatrick and Beatty lied under oath. On Monday, Beatty announced her resignation. Saying in a statement, "I painfully regret the devastation that the recent reports have caused." Mayor Kilpatrick, meanwhile, is, essentially, in hiding. Holed up in his mansion, issuing only a brief statement saying, "These five and six-year old text messages reflect a very difficult period in my personal life. My wife and I worked our way through these intensely personal issues years ago." Other big city mayors including San Francisco's Gavin Newsom and L.A.'s Antonio Villaraigosa have weathered sex scandals recently, but people in Detroit are now split over whether this mayor should step down.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I think it's a disgrace. What does that say for our children?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It's a black eye for the city, that's what it is.
SECOND UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Nobody is perfect and nobody should be judged in their personal life as long as he's doing what it takes to help the city.
HARRIS: Now, if Mayor Kilpatrick and his chief of staff are charged and convicted of lying under oath, they could each face 15 years in prison. The mayor has now reportedly hired a high-powered, $600 an hour lawyer and, meanwhile, the Detroit Free Press is refusing to say how it got a hold of those text messages.
SAWYER: So many questions.
HARRIS: A lot of questions.
SAWYER: About all those text messages, for one thing. I mean, as you said, it really does raise a cautionary list of text messages, among many others.
HARRIS: As somebody once told me, don't put anything in an e-mail or text that you wouldn't want on the front page of the newspaper.

-- Brent Baker