Schieffer: Modern American politics is vulgar

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer got in a minor disagreement with President Obama upon his arrival outside Phoenix Wednesday. Their is a now-famous photo from the incident, with Brewer poking her finger in Mr. Obama's face.

Brewer has largely been nonchalant about the disagreement, saying he was upset about a passage in her book. The president said the situation has been blown out of proportion.

"We could have been talking about a million different things," Brewer later told reporters. "Bottom line is that he generally wants to talk about amnesty and I want to talk about securing our border."

CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer spoke with CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley about the coarsening our political discourse Thursday, saying it's not a Democratic or Republican issue, but a question of how the office of the president is treated. A transcript of Schieffer's commentary follows:

This is just another sign of the incivility and really the vulgarity of modern American campaigns. These campaigns have gotten so ugly and so nasty, that they're now tarnishing the whole system.

I think it also underlines the coarseness of our culture in this age of social media when it is so easy to say anything about anybody and get no penalty for saying it.

The thing that has always made our system so strong is that whatever we have thought of the office holders, we have held the offices themselves in high respect. We have respected the office.

I've watched a lot of presidents over the years but I can never recall a president stepping off Air Force One, which is itself a symbol of the presidency and American democracy, and being subject to such rudeness.

I think really we're a better people than this little incident illustrates.

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    Bob Schieffer is CBS News' chief Washington correspondent and anchor of Face the Nation.

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