Eric Engberg's Reality Check

Veteran CBS News Correspondent Eric Engberg has taken a searchlight and a stiletto to campaign 2000. His against-the-grain Reality Checks appear regularly on
Nov. 8: Campaign 2000 has about it the feel of fiction, only it's all true, writes Eric Engberg.

Nov. 7: Dot-commers favor Dubya over Al, and presidential kingmakers have lost their political Midas touch, observes Engberg.

Nov. 7: Pander Barriers, earth tones, and DUI convictions - what did they all mean in Campaign 2000? Engberg lists a few lessons learned.

Nov. 2: Engberg says if you're looking for the next campaign finance scandal, look no further than your state political party.

Oct. 17: Al and George remind Engberg of an old married couple rehashing ancient grievances. He wonders why the impeachment of you-know-who was never even whispered about at the presidential debates.

Oct. 15: Perhaps Slobodan Milosevic's exit speech as Yugoslavia's leader should have included the line, "You won't have Slobo to kick around anymore," Engberg suggests.

Oct. 12: Have a hard time following the presidential debates? Not to worry. Engberg translates the candidates' Politics-speak into plain English.

Oct. 5: Cheney-Leiberman has inspired Engberg. He's brimming over with ideas to improve democracy, including a pro-active debate between those Cabinet nominees who fail to get confirmed because of some scandal or other.

Oct. 3: Engberg has everything you need to know about the first presidential debate, including the exact number of know-it-all pundits orbiting the Campaign 2000 sun.

Sept. 27: Do you think Kennedy beat Nixon in their 1960 debate? Or that presidential debates are as American as school gunfire? Well, think again. Engberg explores the Top Ten Debate Myths.

Sept. 20: Engberg traces the surge of interest in women's athletics to that least heralded of American political phenomena: the law of unintended consequences.

Sept. 9: Engberg goes several rounds with this year's official campaign punching bag: Dick Cheney.

August 30: Engberg wants to know what religion has to do with presiding over the Senate, which will be Joe Lieberman's job if he's elected vice president.

August 17: Conventional wisdom has it that Americans just need to get to know "the real Al." Well, guess what? Nobody gives a hoot about the real guys inside the politicians' suits. It's a proven fact of the post-Clinton era.

August 16: The vice presidency has come a long way since FDR's veep said the post wasn't worth a "warm bucket of spit." Today, as Engberg writes, the vice presidency has emerged as a springboard to the Holy Grail Of American politicians: the presidency.

August 15: Day two of the Democratic convention was capped by "Liberal Night." Jesse Jackson, Bill Bradley and the Kennedy legacy were in the spotlight. But, says Engberg, "Nostalgia Night" would have been more accurate.

August 14: Looks like the Democrats still need to polish their convention stagecraft. Engberg reviews the L.A. convention's first night.

August 3: George W. Bush is ready for the World Series, says Engberg. Sharpened by a tough primary fight, the now formidable GOP nominee delivered a speech Lee Atwater would have hated.

August 2: The crowd went crazy when Dick Cheney smacked slick Willie upside the head, but as Engberg points out, the attack looked ferocious only because the GOP is in full summer-of-love mode.

August 2: Picture this: 10 vice presidential hopefuls locked up together in a simulated White House. Every 10 hours, convention delegates and the home audience vote one candidate out. Engberg has seen the future.

August 1: An openly gay GOP congressman strides proudly to the stage to discuss ... free trade. What does this mean? Engberg plumbs the murky depths of the subliminal convention.

July 31: The Republicans accentuated the positive, eliminated the negative and latched on to the safe, happy middle on the opening night of the GOP convention in Philadelphia.

July 29: "Handsome" wants advice on how one might go about serving more than two terms as president. "Mr. N. Gingrich" points to his immortal professional beach volleyball speech. Both citizens have written to Engberg for advice. He treats them badly.

July 20: You only wanted to buy a quart of milk, but suddenly you're being subjected to an amateur version of The Vagina Monologues. Engberg feels your pain. He holds forth on the evils of cell phones and their chatty users.

June 23: Once again, the world's oil producing nations are in the crosshairs of American politicians. But it turns out that punishing the OPEC cartel is not as easy as tough-talking pols would have you believe.

June 16: You probably never suspected that friendly little Norway is part of an "international criminal conspiracy" against the good old U.S. of A. That's because you're not up to speed on the politics of gasoline prices. Engberg takes care of that problem in this Reality Check.

June 2: Engberg presents the coveted Reality Check Award for shameless flackery to Indiana University's PR honcho for the choke hold he put on the news media in the latest Bobby Knight affair.

May 17: Engberg finds its easier to pack a pistol than to sail a boat.

May 16: Engberg says political operatives are making hay off a giant loophole in the campaign-finance laws.

April 24: What would the political giants of yesteryear have said if they'd followed John McCain's example in the Confederate flag flap?

April 16: Engberg critiques the flavors of criticism against the IMF and the World Bank - and whether they have any taste.

March 16: Engberg bemoans the wretched state of campaign pranks and provides a list of top campaign pranks of the past.

March 8: Engberg wonders why the presidential candidates - some of the least funny men around - are standing in line to do stand-up on the late-night network talk shows.

March 3: Check your jihad at the door, especially if you're the Fun Candidate. Engberg says this year's fun candidate, John McCain, forgot to do so.

March 1: In the grand tradition of Fiorello LaGuardia, Engberg takes you through the political funny papers.

Feb. 26: Engberg marvels at how the fast pace of information technology has altered national politics in ways politicians are only now beginning to understand.

Feb. 16: Could John McCain win the California presidential primary and walk away without a single delegate? Engberg's political novel has the answer.

Feb. 11: Engberg says the Bush brain trust dropped the ball by failing to grasp the importance of independent voters.

Feb. 1: Engberg says Bradley and Gore are from wimp city when it comes to negative campaigning.

Jan. 27: Engberg dissects one of America's cruelest political jokes: The New Hampshire primary.

Jan. 20: Engberg discovers the Iowa of skyscrapers and industrial giants. Can the little guy win here? In your dreams.

Jan. 14: Engberg does Iowa and discovers that the nightmare of nuclear holocaust isn't exactly at the top of the political agenda. Do you care whose finger is on the button?

Jan. 7: Debates: designed to be dull? Or, why do we need panelists? Can't the candidates be insipid on their own? In this Reality Check, Engberg solicits solutions to the presidential debate debacle.

Jan. 5: Campaign finance reform? Engberg says when it comes to presidential politics, money still tals. And big money talks the loudest.

Dec. 20: The Ten Greatest Plagues? Yes, Eric Engberg is making lists for the first thousand years. Acne-faced Web billionaires get zapped in this anti-millennium Reality Check.

Dec. 20: Al Gore challenged Bill Bradley to swear off political commercials. Gore's gambit was a ploy. Bradley knew it. The pundits knew it. Even Homer Simpson knew it. Who is Engberg to disagree?

Dec. 16: If you think Mr. Spock is the only person capable of a mind meld, think again. Engberg takes a daunting journey into the mind of George W. Bush

Dec. 10: Engberg rubs his eyes and reports that the planned joint appearance of Bill Bradley and John McCain may actually contain some substance.

Dec. 8: Many political pundits are measuring George W. Bush for an empty suit. Engberg offers a counterweight to the rush to judgment on Bush's IQ.

Dec. 6: Engberg appeared ready to shout "No Mas!" after the GOP debate in Arizona. Find out why he was ready to follow in the footsteps of Roberto Duran.

Dec. 3: What was the worst question asked by a moderator? Which candidate coined a new political word? Engberg picks apart the GOP debate in New Hampshire.

Oct. 29: How bad is the American campaign finance system? So bad, Engberg discovered, that even the fat cats are disgruntled.

Oct. 25: Americans love an underdog and root for the little guy. So what happens when the little guy turns out to be a Washington insider? Engberg has the story.

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