The Question We Should Ask

This photo released by the US Army shows Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill, third from right, Saturday July 19, 2008 at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan. Obama is posing with Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb. second left and Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., second right. Third from left is Major General Jeffrey J. Schloesser and far right is Sergeant Major Vincent Camacho. Man at left is unidentified. Obama visited with U.S. troops and Afghan officials in this war-weary nation, which is the focal point of his proposed strategy for dealing with threats to the U.S. if elected president. (AP Photo/U.S. Army)
This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
Enough already.

Every couple of hours during Barack Obama's trip to the Middle East, some lucky network gets a sit down interview with the Illinois Senator. We breathlessly promote it. And put the word exclusive underneath it. And somehow try to divine from his few hours of contact with a given country or the U.S. military what he knows now that he didn't know before.

I can't help but, wonder if we would be expending similar resources and air time if John McCain was traveling abroad. The Obama folks have played this perfectly. Access to the senator has been highly restricted so the pictures that do come out are better than if he were surrounded by news cameras.

We're getting viral videos from soldiers. Or cool candids from the helicopter of Obama and David Petraeus over Baghdad. To their credit the reporters and anchors have been asking Obama the hard questions. But, the real question we should ask is did we get used.

By Harry Smith