Bank Robberies And Politics

"police Line Do Not Cross" crime scene tape graphic
Weekly commentary by Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer.

When John Kerry and his caravan of buses showed up in Davenport, Iowa, on the same day as President Bush and his bus brigade, it took every cop in Davenport to guard them. And wouldn't you just know it? While the cops were guarding the candidates, there were three bank robberies across town.

It's like what happened back in 1977 on the professional golf tour. Police noticed that bank robberies were occurring in towns where golf tournaments were being played. It turned out that one of the golfers, a guy named Richard Meister, was robbing banks after finishing his round of golf. He never won a dime playing the tournaments, but the $400,000 he made robbing banks as the tournaments moved from town to town was more than the top golfer, Tom Watson, won that year.

Well, he went to jail, but here's what's worrying me. In this age when our politics is marked by such wild rumor and savage innuendo, another bank robbery on the campaign trail could cause people to believe that one of the reporters covering these candidates is moonlighting as a bank robber.

This is wrong. It is unfair, and we must stop such talk before it starts. For one thing, I know for a fact that Brokaw and Rather were nowhere near Davenport that day. Furthermore, I'm told, Russert and Stephanopoulos claimed to have alibis. My law enforcement sources tell me they are not suspects, either, at this point. But we'll keep you posted.

By Bob Schieffer