Schieffer: What American Voters Want

People wait in line to vote at a Hollywood, Fla., polling site as the voting begins in Florida's presidential primary Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2008.
AP Photo/J. Pat Carter
Weekly commentary by CBS Evening News chief Washington correspondent and Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer.

Here is what I think I've learned, halfway to Election Day, in our longest campaign ever.

Americans like candidates with a positive message - those who appeal to our better angels, who believe this is a good country which has within itself the ability and strength to be a better country.

Voters responded favorably this campaign season when candidates promised to bring us together and didn't like it when candidates or their surrogates tried to divide us.

They are proud we have reached the point where a woman OR an African American can be president - and that has a lot to do with the success of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

They didn't like it when those two got into a nasty, petty, partisan fight during one debate, and the way both have dialed back since then shows that they have figured that out.

Rudy Giuliani did a fine job on 9/11 but his campaign showed us you can't scare people into voting for you.

Fred Thompson showed us that unless people believe you WANT to be President, you WON'T be President.

Mitt Romney had good credentials and great wealth, but he showed us you still can't buy the Presidency.

No, voters showed us they prefer someone who sticks to his principles, like John McCain.

And, let's face it, Americans still have a soft spot for a candidate who just seems like a nice guy, which is why Mike Huckabee is still hanging in there (if only by a fingernail).

I think we've learned a lot in this campaign - about the candidates, and about us.

As we leave you this morning we want to acknowledge the loss of two men who were a big part of this broadcast over the years: Paul Taylor, who directed this broadcast for many years until his retirement in 1999, and Frank Giles, who was big as a bear and gentle as a puppy, our longtime cameraman here in the studio.

Our condolences to their families.

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By Bob Schieffer
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    Bob Schieffer is a CBS News political contributor and former anchor of "Face The Nation," which he moderated for 24 years before retiring in 2015.