CNN's Costello Called Out by Guest as 'Left-Wing Media,' 'You Pollute the Discussion'

As Ken Cuccinelli of the Ted Cruz presidential campaign appeared as a guest on Monday's CNN Newsroom with Carol Costello, host Costello spent her first several questions hitting Senator Cruz over his "likeability" in the U.S. Senate and his unwillingness to negotiate as she debated her GOP guest over the Texas Senator's fitness to be President.

Cuccinelli finally hit back at the CNN host, charging that she is the "left-wing media" and that she was "really pollut[ing] the discussion."

Costello brought up Cruz's lack of endorsements from U.S. Senators in her first question:

You heard what Donald Trump said. Not a single Senator has come out and backed Ted Cruz. Interestingly enough, the former Senator, Chuck Grassley, introduced Donald Trump at a campaign rally. He didn't endorse him, but he was there. Does that matter?

She then followed up by pressing against Cruz's "likeability" and his ability to do the job as President:

Well, just going back to Ted Cruz's likeability for just a second because, you know, we live in a very divided time, right? Partisanship rules in Washington. Not much gets done. People know that. If Ted Cruz is so unliked by members of Congress, how as President will he be able to get anything done?

As Cuccinelli started to argue that a President Cruz would be able to do the job, Costello jumped in to promote negotiation as she debated him:

KEN CUCCINELLI, TED CRUZ CAMPAIGN: Well, I don't think Obama is all that well liked by the same people in the Republican party that say they don't like Ted Cruz. A lot of the Democrats are upset with Obama. Look, when you're the President, you have a job to do. You're going to do that job. Ted has told us what he's going to do. And the fact of the matter is, the Republican-

CAROL COSTELLO: Yeah, but you have to, you have to-

CUCCINELLI: Well, let me finish. The Republican leadership-

COSTELLO: You have to negotiate to do that.

CUCCINELLI: No, you don't. Obama hasn't negotiated with the Republican leadership. He has-

Presumably alluding to Cruz's criticism of President Barack Obama's tendency to issue executive orders, Costello hinted that a President Cruz would only be able to govern by executive order as she interrupted again: "So Cruz is for executive orders?"

Cuccinelli responded:

No, no, oh my gosh, no. First thing he'll do it he'll undo a lot of those unconstitutional executive orders. But decisions have to be made. And ultimately you've got to come to some conclusions with the people in Congress, though they have shown a complete willingness to give the President everything he wants -- everything. Which makes this race for the President all the more important.

And for those of us on the Republican side of the aisle, it's all the more important to have a consistent conservative -- a proven consistent conservative -- like Ted Cruz there because it's going to matter so much who the President is.

Combining her previous points of attack, the CNN host followed up by challenging again:

So Ted Cruz will have the ability somehow to tell Congress what to do, even though no one gets along with him and he's not for executive orders of any kind except for rescinding those that President Obama has implemented?

Cuccinelli finally had enough and complained about her biased questions. Cuccinelli:

Okay, look, what a left-wing media you are. Come on, now. That is total generalization, and you really pollute the discussion with things like that. Look, his likeability ratings, if you compare where he was in March to today, among Republican voters -- not among the left-wing media -- are among the highest in the entire field.

He added:

Donald Trump whose clip you just played cannot claim that. This is a guy who runs around calling people losers and names and teasing handicapped people. Likeability is not a contest that he's ever going to win. And Ted Cruz, as more Americans have met him, has become more and more liked across the country.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Monday, January 25, CNN Newsroom with Carol Costello:

10:25 a.m.
CAROL COSTELLO: Ken, I want to start with you. You heard what Donald Trump said. Not a single Senator has come out and backed Ted Cruz. Interestingly enough, the former Senator, Chuck Grassley, introduced Donald Trump at a campaign rally. He didn't endorse him, but he was there. Does that matter? [KEN CUCCINELLI]

COSTELLO: Well, just going back to Ted Cruz's likeability for just a second because, you know, we live in a very divided time, right? Partisanship rules in Washington. Not much gets done. People know that. If Ted Cruz is so unliked by members of Congress, how as President will he be able to get anything done?

KEN CUCCINELLI, TED CRUZ CAMPAIGN: Well, I don't think Obama is all that well liked by the same people in the Republican party that say they don't like Ted Cruz. A lot of the Democrats are upset with Obama. Look, when you're the President, you have a job to do. You're going to do that job. Ted has told us what he's going to do. And the fact of the matter is, the Republican-

COSTELLO: Yeah, but you have to, you have to-

CUCCINELLI: Well, let me finish. The Republican leadership-

COSTELLO: You have to negotiate to do that.

CUCCINELLI: No, you don't. Obama hasn't negotiated with the Republican leadership. He has-

COSTELLO: So Cruz is for executive orders?

CUCCINELLI: No, no, oh my gosh, no. First thing he'll do it he'll undo a lot of those unconstitutional executive orders. But decisions have to be made. And ultimately you've got to come to some conclusions with the people in Congress, though they have shown a complete willingness to give the President everything he wants -- everything. Which makes this race for the President all the more important. And for those of us on the Republican side of the aisle, it's all the more important to have a consistent conservative -- a proven consistent conservative -- like Ted Cruz there because it's going to matter so much who the President is.

COSTELLO: Okay, so I just want, I'm sorry I'm ignoring you for the moment, Mark, I just want to get this straight. So Ted Cruz will have the ability somehow to tell Congress what to do, even though no one gets along with him and he's not for executive orders of any kind except for rescinding those that President Obama has implemented?

CUCCINELLI: Okay, look, what a left-wing media you are. Come on, now. That is total generalization, and you really pollute the discussion with things like that. Look, his likeability ratings, if you compare where he was in March to today, among Republican voters -- not among the left-wing media -- are among the highest in the entire field.

Donald Trump whose clip you just played cannot claim that. This is a guy who runs around calling people losers and names and teasing handicapped people. Likeability is not a contest that he's ever going to win. And Ted Cruz, as more Americans have met him, has become more and more liked across the country.

COSTELLO: All right, so I'll go to Mark Preston now. So, Mark, I guess I'll ask you that, as a political observer that you are, is Ted Cruz, is it possible for him to negotiate with members of Congress? Are we all, like, overplaying this notion that nobody in the Senate gets along with Ted Cruz?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: You know, I think you have to look at this as a two-step process. There's a campaign, and then there's the election and when you take office. And I think that Ted Cruz to the point to the fact that he has no U.S. Senator is backing his candidacy necessarily, I think that he is embracing that because he is playing this outside Washington image. When he came to Washington, he certainly wasn't supported by the establishment Republicans. When he came in, he beat an establishment candidate to come in and do that, as did, you know, others.

But the thing about Ted Cruz right now is he's going to have to make a turn at some point. Right now, I don't think that is when he wants to make the turn. He wants to appeal to evangelical conservatives here in Iowa. He wants to show folks that he is an anti-establishment candidate. And that's why we're seeing him and Donald Trump locked in this pitched battle right now about who can go in, who can dismantle Washington, and who can rebuild Washington.

(...)

Brad Wilmouth
Brad Wilmouth is a contributing blogger to NewsBusters