A Plea For Longer Campaigns

generic presidentiual election 08 Tom Vilsack Hillary Clinton Rudy Giuliani John McCain campaign white house (Mitt Romney)
Weekly commentary by CBS Evening News chief Washington correspondent and Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer.

People are complaining about longer campaigns, but from the issues that have been raised so far, I think our candidates are going to need more, not less time, to explain themselves.

Like on the crucial issue: Should Hillary apologize for voting to go to war? She keeps saying that had she known then what she knows now, she wouldn't have voted that way. That set off a fierce debate among Democrats – not about the war, but on whether that constituted an apology.

Well, for sure, that's going to take some time to be resolved.

And here's a burning issue: The other day, I heard some talking heads discussing the question, "Is Barack Obama black enough?" I'm serious. The question was even spelled out in a graphic. It reminded me of the story of the Native American who was asked, "Are you a full-blooded Indian?" To which he replied, "No, I'm about a quart low."

I'm going to need a lot more time to understand the tap dancing Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney are doing around a woman's right to choose.

And after what John McCain said about Jerry Falwell during the last campaign, it's going to take a while for McCain to convince me that he and Falwell are now best friends.

It's going to take awhile, as in about 100 years.

In coming months, the candidates will turn to current issues. For now, they're in that phase of the campaign where they try to explain away past actions and what they really meant to say before they decided to run this time.

Yes, that is going to take us a while to sort it out.

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By Bob Schieffer