If Rick Perry was the big loser in Wednesday's debate, then last night's CBS/National Journal debate also has an official whipping boy: CBS. Michele Bachmann is ripping the network for the lack of time she got, and she's got ammunition in the form of an errant email the network's new political director accidentally sent a Bachmann aide saying the Minnesota congresswoman was “not going to be getting many questions” because she was polling “nearly off the charts." John Dickerson was defiant, telling Politico, “Bachmann is at 4% in the polls. Other candidates aren’t. I sent an email based on that."
“It’s not their job to determine this stuff," complained Bachmann's campaign manager. "It’s just outrageous." Ron Paul's campaign chair also slammed the network for sidelining his candidate, saying CBS "should be ashamed." Jon Huntsman, the Republican with the deepest foreign policy resume who spoke for all of six minutes, later sighed, "What can you do?" Finally, the network's decision to cut away for the final half-hour of the debate is being dubbed disastrous: The full 90 minutes were to be aired only in South Carolina markets, but all four CBS affiliates cut away, and the live-stream to which viewers were directed became quickly choppy as it was overwhelmed by demand. CBS, Politico notes, carries precious little cred with Republicans following Katie Couric's interview with Sarah Palin and Dan Rather's erroneous report of George W Bush's National Guard service.