RUSH: Scott Pelley at this debate Saturday night was amazing to watch. This is the anchor of the CBS Evening News, and he thought he had Newt Gingrich twisted in circles over foreign policy. At one point, Pelley got this contorted, smug, all full-of-himself smile on his face while he could not have been more wrong about something. Newt slapped him down and put him in his place, but Pelley to this moment doesn't know that that's what happened! Newt put this guy in his place. Pelley still thinks that he won that little tete-a-tete. I'm convinced he does.
I'm convinced Pelley has no clue how stupid and idiotic he looked after Newt finished with him. I've got the sound bite coming. I'll play it for you in just a second here. Let me find it. Do we have time? Let's see. Ta ta ta ta. Yeah, it's number 14. I really wish I had a still shot of Pelley after he argues with Newt here. It's one of the most convoluted, contorted, smug looks I've ever seen on a journalist's face. Here's the question from Pelley: "Speaker Gingrich, as president, would you sign the death warrant for an American citizen overseas who you believe is a terrorist suspect?"
GINGRICH: If he's a person who was found guilty under review of actively seeking the death of Americans.
PELLEY: Not found guilty by a court here.
GINGRICH: He was found guilty by a panel that looked at it and reported to the president.
PELLEY: Well, that's extrajudicial.
GINGRICH: Let me tell you a story --
PELLEY: It's not -- it -- it -- it's not the rule of law.
GINGRICH: That is explicitly false. It is the rule of law! If you engage in war against the United States, you are an enemy combatant. You have none of the civil liberties of the United States.
GINGRICH: You cannot go to court. There's a huge gap here that, frankly, far too many people get confused over. Civil defense, criminal defense is a function of being within the American law. Waging war on the United States is outside criminal law. It is an act of war and should be dealt with as an act of war, and the correct thing in an act of war is to kill people who are trying to kill you.
RUSH: Now, that's the sound bite. Now, the question was first asked of Mitt Romney -- and Pelley thought he was tripping these guys up. Pelley thought he was gonna get these guys to all show that they're a bunch of murdering, killing, anti-civil rights people. "Do you think an American citizen ought to be targeted? If you have a terror suspect without a warrant, would you sign a death warrant kill somebody?" and Romney said, yeah. Newt didn't say yeah. Newt corrected the question. Newt said, "He's not a terror 'suspect,' Mr. Pelley. He is a person who was found guilty under review of actively seeking death of Americans." That escapes Pelley. Pelley says (shouting), "He was not found guilty by a court, sir."
Newt says, "He was found guilty by a panel that looked at it and reported to the president." And then Pelley said, "Well, that's extrajudicial. That's not truly of law." And that's when Pelley backed up, raised his head and had that cockeyed stupid look grin smile (like he had just nailed Gingrich to the cross) on his face. I wish I had that shot. It's the most telling, grotesque at the same time. He coulda qualified for a horror movie with that look. 'Cause he thought he had Gingrich nailed, and Gingrich summarily told Pelley: You don't know what you're talking about, your question's premise is full of beans -- and then proceeded to answer the question and set the interrogator correct, set him right at the same time. Now, I'm telling you, I don't believe that Scott Pelley has the slightest idea even now what happened to him during this little tete-a-tete. I don't think so. I think he thinks he got the best of Newt and that Newt was trying to cover up his own lack of knowledge and the applause didn't work all that well. Pelley thinks he won it.
RUSH: Harold in Boca Raton, Florida, welcome to the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Rush.
CALLER: I don't know about you, but it seems to me demeaning for any of these Republican candidates to go on these quiz show-style gotcha debates where they have liberal questioners. I mean, if I was running, I wouldn't go on any of these. They're not true debates. They're like quiz shows designed to make Republican candidates look silly like they're on a quiz show and maybe Sarah Palin had the best strategy of staying out of this thing 'til later and not even going. Don't get involved in the silly process.
RUSH: I kind of like analogy: Quiz show. That's the way Scott Pelley was playing this thing on Saturday night. He was playing as Alex Trebek who didn't know the answers on his own quizzes.
CALLER: Yeah, why do they even go on it? It's demeaning.
RUSH: That's where the Republicans think they have the best opportunity to reach people is through the mainstream media. I've explained this countless times before. That's what the Republican Party believes, that they, to be successful, have to go through the mainstream media. The mainstream media has to be the organ that reports what they're doing. That has to be the organ that believes them, that gives them credibility, what have you. They do it because they think it's gonna be good coverage. I'll tell you this, this debate Saturday night, take away the substance of it and it was a debacle. It was an absolute debacle. Pelley ran this debate like a schoolmaster. "Your time is up! Your time is up! That's time, Senator! That's time. That's time, Congressman! That's time, Mr. Mayor! That's time! It's time, Mr. Speaker!"
And then he said something really weird. You know, he said -- while not looking at the audience, the audience is behind him! Gosh, I wish I could remember this word-for-word. Somebody booed somebody, and Pelley said, "We won't have that! We'll put up with the applause, but we will not have the boos." Yeah! "We will not have the boos!" (laughing) It was just strange, and then they only tell if it was an hour and a half debate, but they only televised the first hour of it. This is CBS' first debate, and they put it on a Saturday night? Saturday night is the least watched night of the week for television. So they put the Republican debate on Saturday night from eight to nine o'clock, but it's an hour and a half. The last half hour is on the Internet, but they blew it. Nobody could get the feed in the last half hour. Or very few could. So here's CBS' first shot at a debate with the Republican presidential candidates, and they can't even deem to televise the whole thing. They put the second half of it on their website, which did not go well.
Here's Adam, Farmington Hills, Michigan. Welcome, sir, to the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: (whispering) Hey, Rush. Mega dittos.
RUSH: You bet, sir.
CALLER: Longtime listener, first-time caller.
RUSH: Thank you.
CALLER: Like you, I was just channel surfing Saturday night, and I came across the Republican debate, and I'm going, "Wow, this is the first time I get a chance to see it." So I'm listening, and I was kind of impressed when the moderator asked I think it was Newt, and he was asking, "What would you change about Romney?" or he made some comment about what he didn't like about Romney. And Newt said, "I'm not here to question what's wrong with Romney. I'm against Obama," and he never answered him. He didn't answer him, and I thought that was pretty impressive. Finally they're joining together, maybe, you know? I don't know.
RUSH: Well, no. Newt has adopted this position throughout all of these debates. Newt is remaining very consistent in suggesting that for everybody on that stage real opponent is Obama and that anybody on that stage would beat Obama and anybody on that stage would be preferable to Obama -- and the enemy here is the media. That's been the position that Newt has taken. He's been very consistent with that. Different politicians answer questions in different ways. Some answer the question; some take the question as an opportunity to say something entirely different from the question.
RUSH: Here's Scott Pelley admonishing, lecturing the booers Saturday night at the Republican debate.
PELLEY: That's time, Governor. Ladies -- ladies and gentlemen -- ladies and gentlemen, the applause are lovely but we will not have booing. Thank you very much. We'll have -- we'll have courtesy for all of the candidates on the stage.
RUSH: (laughing) Have courtesy for all -- (laughing) we just won't have it. We won't have the booing.
RUSH: I've got the picture -- and I really am embarrassed to admit. This is not how I remember Pelley looking. I've zoomed in as tight as I can. This is during the debate with Newt, and Newt has just answered the first phase of the question, and Pelley says, "But that was extrajudicial! That was not truly of law," and my memory of this is Pelley with his mouth wide open and leaning backwards in the chair, but apparently that didn't happen. Now, again, I saw this on an eight-foot screen, so maybe it just looked that way -- and it went by pretty quickly. But he looked smug. He looked full of himself when he thought he had nailed Newt, but he hadn't nailed Newt. Newt ended up explaining things to him. This is in a discussion earlier today about how these people in the media -- really, folks -- don't even know what conservatism is, in general or issue to issue. They just have no clue. They think they do. They're not curious about it and they just treat it as some sort of insane abnormality in people. They don't even know.