CNN's Piers Morgan easily could have been mistaken for Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod on his Monday night show. In two separate interviews -- with RNC chairman Reince Priebus and Hollywood Obama supporter Harvey Weinstein -- Morgan kept chipping in on behalf of the President's re-election in 2012.
When RNC chairman Reince Priebus attacked Obama's low poll numbers, Morgan countered that the President has lately garnered "a few ticks in the box" to use in his behalf, including improving jobs numbers and the end of the Iraq War. The CNN host used the same argument in his interview with David Axelrod last week, emphasizing the positives in Obama's record of late.
And in his interview with movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, Morgan gushed over the President's speech from last week. "I actually thought he had his gander back," Morgan hyped. He also defended the President from conservatives charging him with class warfare.
"People are accusing him now of class warfare. It seems a bit trite to say that, because in any kind of society where you have this kind of financial meltdown, isn't it instinctively the right thing to do, that the rich should contribute a little bit more to the recovery than those with no money?" Morgan teed up Weinstein, who acknowledged that some of the wealthy "can afford to give a little bit more."
Weinstein also lashed out at Tea Partiers, accusing them of being "financed by super, super-wealthy guys who want all sorts of crazy economic laws that will benefit the super, super rich."
A transcript of the interviews, which aired on December 12 at 9:10 p.m. and 9:47 p.m. EST, respectively, is as follows:
PIERS MORGAN: So who is more likely to unite the GOP? Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney? Joining me now is the chairman of the Republican National Committee, and that's Reince Priebus.
And Mr. Priebus, we heard there the spokespeople for either party, both gearing up the rhetoric, getting stuck into each other. So it's clearly gloves-off time. From your perspective, obviously, you have to remain fairly neutral at the moment, but how are you viewing the race as it's progressing?
REINCE PRIEBUS, chairman, Republican National Committee: Well, I don't know if the gloves are off. I mean it's -- I think it's a pretty typical primary battle. And you know I – I really think primaries are good for our party, Piers. I mean if you look at what happened with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama four years ago, I mean, they nearly took a fork to each other's eyeballs through the end of June before the national convention.
And you know, the President won pretty easily and took a supermajority of Congress and 60 votes in the Senate with him. So I know people love to talk about this stuff, but I think in primaries you're going to get a few punches in the nose here and there, but in the end I really feel great about our chance, which is borne out in all of the polling that you're seeing across America. Not one of these polls shows the President not in the toilet. That's where he's at, that's where his numbers are at. That's not good for him.
MORGAN: Well – well, look, he may be not doing not that great in the polling, approval ratings, but what he is seeing is definitely a slight bounce-back now in the situation involving the jobs, unemployment was a much better performance than people expected in the last numbers that came out. You're seeing the Iraq war has now been brought to an end. You're seeing some big –
PRIEBUS: Well –
MORGAN: -- foreign policy hits.
PRIEBUS: But you saw – you see that number, Piers.
MORGAN: With bin Laden and Gadhafi. But there are – yeah, but there are a few ticks in the box now which, from an electioneering point of view I think are important.
PRIEBUS: Yes, but actually –
PRIEBUS: People, things – but wait a minute. On the jobs number, clearly it's not better. It's worse. I mean there are more people unemployed this month than there were last month. More people threw their arms up in the air and said, I don't even want to file a paper with the Department of Labor.
Twice as many people did that than actually received a job, which created the illusion that the jobs number got better, when in reality any person studying the numbers knows that there are fewer people working today than there were working in January of 2009 when the President took office.
I mean, quite frankly, he hasn't fulfilled a single one of his promises, Piers. And whether a number or a percent goes up and down, somebody in Kenosha, Wisconsin, or Roanoke, Virginia, they're not doing better today than they were when the President made these grand promises three or four years ago. I mean, everything's worse. And he -- everything he touched got worse.
MORGAN: Well, it may be not great but it certainly wasn't great when he took over either so it's a debate that will go on raging –
PRIEBUS: That's not a very good bumper sticker --
MORGAN: Reince Priebus, thank you very much.
MORGAN: My next guest is a big supporter of the President and a man who's done fantastically well over the past few decades, Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. Harvey, welcome back.
HARVEY WEINSTEIN, movie mogul: Nice to see you, Piers.
MORGAN: Each time we talk, there have been sort of undulations and swings up and down for President Obama and the Republicans. Where do you think he is right now, given all that's been going on?
WEINSTEIN: When I see a speech like that, it looks like he's getting ready to fight and take some numbers. So I think he looks strong. And I think the Republicans, every time they talk, you know, it just doesn't seem to go too well for them.
MORGAN: Yeah, what do you make of their race? Because it's clear that they can't work out who they really want, because the lead keeps changing. They keep building somebody up as this is the exciting new thing, and then crash and down they come. What do you think of the way their race is going?
WEINSTEIN: I don't think it's going very well at all. You know I think we've seen a lot of mistakes. I think we've seen a lot of people that aren't that prepared.
MORGAN: When you look at President Obama's body language, the thing I've noticed is that through the summer, he seemed to be a little bit flat. He looked a bit on his knees. He was being beaten up by the Republicans. When I watched that speech last week, I actually thought he had his gander back.
WEINSTEIN: I think the President cares deeply about this country and the Constitution. When a bunch of people try to hijack that Constitution -- and let's not pretend. The Tea Party is financed by super, super-wealthy guys who want all sorts of crazy economic laws that will benefit the super, super rich.
MORGAN: People are accusing him now of class warfare. It seems a bit trite to say that, because in any kind of society where you have this kind of financial meltdown, isn't it instinctively the right thing to do, that the rich should contribute a little bit more to the recovery than those with no money?
WEINSTEIN: I think people like Warren Buffett – I'm not in his class – but there are certainly people –
MORGAN: You're not far off, Harvey.
WEINSTEIN: – people like myself, Matt Damon –
MORGAN: Only a couple of knots in it.
WEINSTEIN: – there are people who can afford to give a little bit more. And you know what? In the end, we'll get it back. It's certainly better to do that than finance -- than be secretive billionaires financing the Tea Party because you have untold, untold needs for untold wealth. For what reason?
MORGAN: Who do you think is going to be the Republican nominee, as we sit here today?
WEINSTEIN: I'm a movie maker. You know –
MORGAN: But you're very political, too. You have your antenna.
WEINSTEIN: I'm just for the President. That's – I'm not political, per se. I think it would actually be good for this country and the President when they do choose a candidate and it can be one on one. Whatever the ratings of the President is now, my bet is – and I'll bet -- that they'll double when it's one on one – when it's one up, one race.
But remember, I don't know this game. I know another game.