Interviewing David Axelrod on Sunday’s This Week, Christiane Amanpour asked him to explain why “people don't appreciate some of the amazing legislative agenda” that President Barack Obama has “accomplished,” then with Senator Mitch McConnell she denigrated Republican Senate candidates who are Tea Party favorites: “Are you not afraid that their somewhat, one would say, some might say bizarre statements, their sort of fringe quality might actually turn people off?” She also condescendingly demanded of McConnell: “What is Christine O'Donnell's qualification for actually governing? What is Sharron Angle's actual qualification for governing?”
In a third segment, she cued up Jordan’s Queen Rania to confirm “Islamophobia” mars America: “You've seen the reaction and the fallout from the Islamic center, but it goes broader than that. Do you see a sort of a dangerous Islamophobia in the United States?”
While she repeatedly pushed Axelrod about why Democrats were delaying a vote on extending the Bush tax cuts for “the middle class,” with McConnell she tried to discredit extending the tax rates for everyone, childishly describing how “there's also this huge thing that the people of the United States are worried about, and that is the deficit, and keeping the tax cuts will add trillions to that.”
Amanpour proceeded to recite a post ridiculing McConnell:
And let me ask you this: According to Howard Gleckman at the Tax Policy Center, let's see what he's just written: “McConnell would have to abolish all the rest of the government to get to balance by 2020. Everything. No more national parks, no more NIH, no more highway construction. No more homeland security. Oh, and no more Congress.”
In that very same post, Gleckman, a former Business Week correspondent, fretted: “I fear the rest of us will be saddled with the consequences of McConnell’s irresponsible pandering” to “the tea partiers breathing down his neck.”
Amanpour also insisted Obama’s economic policies are a success:
As you know, the recession was declared over. There's no recession. And many will say that, you know, they stopped it from going into a Great Depression and that they inherited this awful situation...
Excerpts from Sunday’s September 26 This Week on ABC, as collected by the MRC’s Brad Wilmouth:
Amanpour to David Axelrod:
But really, a lot of people, I mean, people from all over the world, frankly, say to me, here comes a President with a huge mandate, a huge reservoir of goodwill, huge promises to change, and, with all of that, his popularity is down. People don't appreciate some of the amazing legislative agenda that he's accomplished. Is this a failure of leadership? Has he allowed the opposition to define him?
To Mitch McConnell:
AMANPOUR: You heard what David Axelrod said about the Republican plan on extending all the Bush-era tax cuts, and that it would really, you know, put the country more in hock. Analysts say that it will cause, you know, add some four trillion or so to the national debt. Are you really going to do that? Or do you think there will be a compromise on extending the middle class tax cuts?
So do you not think, I mean, will you quote, unquote, "hold the middle class tax cut hostage" to all the tax cuts you want to extend?
MITCH McCONNELL: Well, nothing is being held hostage to anything. It was the Democrats themselves who decided not to have this.
AMANPOUR: Well, would you compromise on that? Even after-
McCONNELL: I was the only one who offered a bill. There was never a bill in the Senate. And you know why? Thirty-one Democrats in the House, five Democrats in the Senate agreed with me that we ought not to raise taxes in the middle of a recession. What might happen down the road is not the subject today. The question is, do we want to raise taxes in the middle of a very, very tough economy? All the Republicans think that's a bad idea, and a substantial number of the Democrats think the same thing.
AMANPOUR: Right, but there's also this huge thing that the people of the United States are worried about, and that is the deficit, and keeping the tax cuts will add trillions to that. And let me ask you this: According to Howard Gleckman at the Tax Policy Center, let's see what he's just written: “McConnell would have to abolish all the rest of the government to get to balance by 2020. Everything. No more national parks...no more NIH.... No more highway construction. No more homeland security. Oh, and no more Congress.” So where would you get the cuts?
But you're still not saying where the big, big cuts would come from because some of the things you're talking about at this point – I mean, it wouldn't be Social Security or Medicare, Medicaid. It wouldn't be the defense.
So all of this comes into the Pledge for America which was announced this week, a platform for future governing by the Republicans. Now, many people say that it's simply more of the same. You've obviously heard a lot of that over the last couple of days as basically nothing new. And whether they're left, right or center, people are complaining that, in fact, it doesn't go far enough, particularly for the very enthusiastic Tea Party base that you have. So, for instance, Erick Erickson has written about this pledge, “It's full of mom-tested, kid-approved pablum that will make certain hearts on the right sink in solidarity. But like a diet full of sugar, it will actually do nothing but keep making Washington fatter before we crash from the sugar high.” How are you going to, well, you're laughing.
No, that's all right, but I want to ask you, how will you satisfy the base which seems to be really an insurrection now, the Tea Party? Would you agree that they're cascading into your space?
As you know, the recession was declared over. There's no recession. And many will say that, you know, they stopped it from going into a Great Depression and that they inherited this awful situation, but let me ask you this: You say you want to go out and win in November. I want to play for you something that Tom Ross, the chairman of the Republican party in Delaware, said to me on this program right after Christine O'Donnell, the Tea Party candidate, won in that last primary in Delaware.
Right, so that's Mike Castle who they thought would win that election come November. Now, basically he's saying perhaps not. So how do you square that? I mean, do you think these Tea Party candidates will be good for you in November?
But, I mean, she definitely wasn't your candidate. I mean, basically, one would say that the Republican-
MCCONNELL: You picked out one Senate race. I just gave you 12 places where we have a chance of beating Democrats.
AMANPOUR: No, no, no, there are many. Yeah, but there are many, even in your home state. And I want to ask you, actually, what are the qualifications, do these people have? For instance, what is Christine O'Donnell's qualification for actually governing? What is Sharron Angle's actual qualification for governing?
Are you not afraid that they might be a turnoff, whether it's at the-
MCCONNELL: Am I afraid of having more Republicans in the Senate? Of course not.
AMANPOUR: No, that wasn't the question. The question is, are you not afraid that their somewhat, one would say, some might say bizarre statements, their sort of fringe quality might actually turn people off? I mean, for instance, what do you say about a Sharron Angle, who I know you just had a fundraiser for, who basically talks about enemies in Congress and talks and hints about, you know, armed rebellion to put them down. I mean, is that the kind of talk for a United States Senator?
But you didn't tell me what you think about those kinds of comments from people who want to be a, you know, a Senator. I mean, it's kind of bizarre, don't you agree?
To Queen Rania:
You mentioned how this extremist ideology is even coming to play in the United States. You've seen the reaction and the fallout from the Islamic center, but it goes broader than that. Do you see a sort of a dangerous Islamophobia in the United States? How do you assess what's happening here?