Why Candidates' Spin Is Spun

Republican presidential hopeful and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani speaks at the 26th Annual South Dakota Law Enforcement Appreciation and Children's Charities Dinner, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2007, in Sioux Falls, S.D. AP

Weekly commentary by CBS Evening News chief Washington correspondent and Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer.


David Brooks, the conservative New York Times columnist, ended his Friday essay on Rudy Giuliani's campaign this way:

"Someday, Rudy Giuliani will look back on this moment and wonder why he didn't run as himself."

It was the last line in a column about how Giuliani has, shall we say, shifted his emphasis on immigration since he became a presidential candidate.

To me, it was not so much a column about one candidate but modern American politics and what it has become.

Telling people what they want to hear to win elections is nothing new.

But advances in technology have taken it to new levels. Because computers and polling have made it so much easier to gauge public opinion, candidates race to tell us what we "want" to hear.

They load us down with spin, tip toe around issues, and give us tortured explanations of how a change in their position really wasn't a change at all - that somehow what we thought they believed back then is just the opposite of what they believe now.

My bet is not many people believe any of it because frankly, we're not that dumb.

What annoys me is these candidates must think we are.


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

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