Channeling liberal disenchantment with President Obama, CNN anchor Don Lemon wondered Monday if the President would be "better off running as a conservative" in the next election.
"Your colleague in New York Gary Ackerman said the Republicans invited the President, quote, 'to negotiate at a strip poker table, and he showed up half-naked,' and then liberal columnist Paul Krugman calls the deal an abject surrender," Lemon quoted the two liberals downcast over the debt ceiling deal. "Would the President be better off running as a conservative in 2012?" he asked Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.)
Lemon, like colleagues Anderson Cooper and Piers Morgan, recited the Democrat criticism that Republican Tea Party members were acting like "terrorists," and asked Republican guests to respond. At no point did CNN anchors ask Democrat guests if the remarks were out-of-bounds.
For instance, former CNBC anchor Erin Burnett outright accused the Tea Party members of Congress of playing "chicken" with the debt ceiling. Nevermind that in order to play "chicken," two participants risking a collision, not one, are needed.
9 p.m. host Piers Morgan remarked that the Tea Party members "shoved the President into a corner, made a crisis out of something that shouldn't have been a crisis really in terms of the debt ceiling being raised, and pretty much stabbed the Speaker, John Boehner, flat in the back didn't they?
Anderson Cooper asked Tea Party favorite Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) if the "terrorist" allegations by Democrats were accurate. Host Don Lemon asked Tea Party Congressman Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) to respond to the smear as well.
"What they're saying is that a small group of Tea Party Republicans, a powerful group, were willing to hold the full faith and credit of the United States essentially hostage," Cooper explained to his guest. "Is that a fair criticism?" he asked.
Anchor of CNN's American Morning, Ali Velshi, clamored that in order to substantially reduce the deficit, tax revenue increases must be on the table. "There's no way to bring that math in line and really bring the deficit down, down, withour increasing what Republicans call revenues, but taxes. There's just no math," he claimed.
A transcript of the segments is as follows:
IN THE ARENA
8:07 p.m. EDT
DON LEMON: Listen, before I ask you about your vote, what do you say to the Democrats who compared some Republicans to terrorists and who said Republicans held the country hostage?
Rep. JOE WALSH (R-Ill.): Again, fairly outrageous, and you know, we see often the media goes after Republicans and right-wing folks when they use this language. The other side does it as well, and they need to be called to the carpet. That's not at all appropriate. But you know, look, enough with the name calling. We're are all big boys and big girls. We're doing serious work up here. We should just focus on what we've done today and what we need to do.
LEMON: Yeah. And listen, I don't want to get our eyes off of the ball here, because I think that we in the media will do it to both sides if they name-call here. It's not just Republicans – at this network.
WALSH: I –
LEMON: I want to make that clear.
WALSH: No, I agree with you, but I do think – and again in your profession, there tends to be a bit of a bias to go after our side. I mean, the president, I think said – and I could be off – a month and a half ago that those Republicans aren't going to put a gun to our head. I mean, and I didn't hear anybody in the media, the mainstream media, go after him.
LEMON: (to Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) Well, let's talk about this. Let's talk about this if you're going to bring the debt ceiling up. There are many who say the debt ceiling and the deficit talks really had nothing to do with each other and that this crisis was manufactured. All you had to do is raise the debt ceiling and then promise at least some sort of talks or at least come to a consensus that we need to bring down our deficit, we really need to talk, let's get the president involved. But by bringing in the debt ceiling that you in some way hijacked the American people for a time.
LEMON: (to Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) Congressman, I want the ask you this. Really it's about the president's political future and whether or not it's helped him. But let me read this first, and then you can answer. Your colleague in New York Gary Ackerman said the Republicans invited the president, quote, "to negotiate at a strip poker table, and he showed up half naked." And then liberal columnist Paul Krugman calls the deal an abject surrender. Would to president be better off running as a conservative in 2012?
9:04 p.m. EDT
PIERS MORGAN: And Erin Burnett, let me turn to you. I mean, just an impartial observer watching all this slightly aghast might think the Tea Party have done well politically, but in terms of their behavior, and they shoved the president into a corner, made a crisis out of something that shouldn't have been a crisis really in terms of the debt ceiling being raised, and pretty much stabbed the speaker, John Boehner flat in the back, didn't they?
ERIN BURNETT, CNN anchor: I think that's a pretty good way of putting it. I mean you could say, Piers, that in a sense they were playing chicken with this whole situation. If they had ended up getting out of it massive cuts that really moved the needle – which the cuts that are on the table now do not, and they don't address the major entitlement programs – well, if they had accomplished that, then you could say, well, yes, it was worth it. But all of that storm for, well, frankly not very much.
So I would say, yes, not very much was accomplished that was positive from this and now you still have great uncertainty about the economy, as Wolf indicated, that's by far the top story. You saw the market rally today on news of a deal, then we had some terrible data on manufacturing, back in recessionary territory, and the markets gave all that back.
ANDERSON COOPER 360
10:07 p.m. EDT
ALI VELSHI: And there's no way – we've done the math – there's no way to bring that math in line and really bring the deficit down, down, without increasing what Republicans call revenues, but taxes. There's just no math.
ANDERSON COOPER: No way to do it?
VELSHI: The only way to that – well, the only way to do it is have grow like India grows and grow like China grows. That's not going to happen in America. That's the only way you can get your way out of this. So there has to – this has to happen. President Obama, as John said, wanted a $4 trillion deal. That's what the ratings agency said we needed. He got half of that. You can't get to that $4 trillion without tax increasing.
COOPER: According to multiple sources, in a meeting with Vice President Biden today Democrats were venting anger about Republicans saying that they negotiate like terrorists.
Sen. RAND PAUL (R-Ky.): (Laughs)
COOPER: What they're saying is that a small group of Tea Party Republicans, a powerful group, were willing to hold the full faith and credit of the United States essentially hostage. We're willing to risk the full faith and credit and not realizing that at a certain point, you know what, we're not getting what we want so we have to compromise. Is that a fair criticism?