On Tuesday’s Situation Room, CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux questioned RNC Chairman Michael Steele about the debate over ObamaCare, and alleged that protesters “from your own party...have talked about and compared President Obama to Hitler” at the health care town halls. The anchor also bizarrely asked Steele if he gave Attorney General Holder “credit...for breaking away from President Obama.”
Midway through her interview with the GOP leader, Malveaux made the left-wing allegation that Republican activists were using Nazi imagery against the President at the town halls: “How honest do you think the debate has been- the discussion? In light of some of the town hall meetings, some of the rhetoric that we’ve seen from both sides, but specifically those who are from your own party who have talked about and compared President Obama to- to Hitler.”
CNN has raised the issue of the Nazi comparisons at the health care town halls in the past weeks, all the while making three significant omissions. First, they neglected to mention that early in August, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused the anti-ObamaCare protesters of “carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town hall meeting on health care,” which led to Rush Limbaugh pointing out the similarities between the DNC health care logo and a Nazi symbol. They have also failed to mention that supporters of leftist Lyndon LaRouche bore posters of President Obama defaced with a Hitler mustache.
Most importantly, the network took no issue to the Bush-as-Hitler mask worn by an anti-war protester in 2006. CNN correspondent Susan Roesgen characterized the mask as a “look-alike.”
Malveaux concluded her interview with Steele by bringing up Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to probe alleged abuse of terror suspects by the CIA. She quoted from White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs that “determinations about whether someone broke the law are made independently by the attorney general.” After getting Steele’s reaction to Holder’s decision, the CNN anchor followed up by mouthing Gibbs’s spin: “The former attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, under President Bush- he was criticized for being too close, too cozy with the president- that he wasn’t independent. Do you at least give Eric Holder some- some credit here for- for breaking away from President Obama?”
The RNC chairman replied, “You call this a breakaway? You’re telling me that this is a separation? I think this is- I think this is a very close tie. The president and everybody’s on board with this- with what the attorney general is doing. Don’t be fooled by that.” It looks like Malveaux was indeed fooled by the White House spin.
The full transcript of Suzanne Malveaux’s interview of Michael Steele, which began 12 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour of Tuesday’s Situation Room:
SUZANNE MALVEAUX: Are Republicans scaring seniors about health care reform? Well, that is the charge by the Democratic National Committee. Joining us to talk about that and much much more- Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele. And Michael, thank you for being here.
RNC CHAIRMAN MICHAEL STEELE: It’s good to be with you again.
MALVEAUX: I want to start off- you’ve been saying that your party- you know, particularly- wants to protect seniors, their Medicare- from President Obama and the Democrats. The DNC is- is responding in this way. They said, ‘It should be no surprise that the Republican Party- which whipped many Americans into a frenzy at town hall meetings on health care this month by spreading one lie about reform after another- has now taken to scaring seniors who have nothing to fear and much to gain from reform.’ They go on to say that it was the Republican party that was fighting Medicare-
STEELE: I know- that’s such a great talking point. We’re such Boogeymen.
MALVEAUX: It was the Republican Party four years ago that was fighting Social Security reform.
STEELE: I know, it’s- it’s amazing. You know, the little party that- you know, been set aside after the last two election cycles, and we have all this power and control. You know, the reality of it is that- you know, it’s a great talking point, and I admire my friends in the party on the other side who- who spin that stuff. But the reality of it is, you have an administration that’s put on the table a massive reorganization of our health care system to deal with what- arguably, are pockets of problems here and there- number one. Number two- when it comes to seniors and- and their health care, there is no accounting what’s going to happen to the Medicare system, which is already on the track for bankruptcy that- everyone’s projecting in the out years. That’s not addressing any of the health care packages that we’re dealing with right now, and my concern and the concern of countless folks around the country- I have two senior parents that I am concerned about and their health care- is, what does this system look like if you are going to take $500 billion out of it? A system that is already on the road to bankruptcy- everyone knows it’s short of money- to put into more government spending for another program that is just going grow the size of government?
MALVEAUX: How do you respond to-
STEELE: And so the impact on seniors is the driving force here.
MALVEAUX: But how do you respond to the critics who take a look at Medicare- you’ve criticized- you say it’s in bad financial trouble. People do not disagree with that-
STEELE: Then let’s fix that-
MALVEAUX: But they say that the Republicans, in 2003- they were the ones that went ahead and- and gave more funds, passed enormous funding for Medicare, and did not actually deal with the deficit- did not lower- actually, raise taxes or make those critical cuts in the budget.
STEELE: The reality of it is, it didn’t happen in a vacuum. It wasn't Republicans by themselves. The Democrats-
MALVEAUX: But certainly Republicans were partly responsible.
STEELE: Because you have the White House and you don't have the Congress. There’s- there’s a partnership here. My point is- now, you've got one party that’s got control of the entire- entire process here. So, this is an opportunity for us to have an honest discussion about how we’re going to address what is fundamentally an important issue to a lot of seniors around the country. And all I wanted to do was place a marker. I wanted to place a marker in the debate that- as we go into the fall and a lot of members come back, that we have an honest discussion that not only addresses the broader question of health care reform, but specifically accounts for and to our seniors about what this reform will mean to them. My prediction is this- under a single payer system- under a public option system, that a lot of our seniors- the vast majority of them- will be pushed into a public health care system that is not necessarily in their best interest because the services will not be able to be afforded or provided under the current Medicare plan.
MALVEAUX: How honest do you think the debate has been- the discussion? In light of some of the town hall meetings, some of the rhetoric that we’ve seen from both sides, but specifically those who are from your own party who have talked about and compared President Obama to- to Hitler and to some of these other images that seem rather [unintelligible]-
STEELE: Look, there’s- Suzanne, there’s hot rhetoric on both sides. I mean, there was hot rhetoric during the Bush administration on the war. There’s hot rhetoric now on- on this issue. Why? Because people are passionate about it and they care. And so, you know, we were- you know, demonized because we complained about people talking about the president at a time of war. Now, we’re being demonized because we’re criticizing this president. The reality of it is, those hot tempers are one thing- having an honest discussion is something different, which is- clearly, this administration doesn't want.
MALVEAUX: Let’s turn the corner real quick here. Attorney General Eric Holder-
MALVEAUX: His decision to- to appoint a prosecutor to take a look at the CIA interrogations, whether or not there was any wrongdoing. Robert Gibbs put it this way- he said that, ‘The President has repeatedly said he wants to look forward, not back. Ultimately, determinations about whether someone broke the law are made independently by the attorney general.’ Do you think- do you think it was a good idea, first, for Holder?
STEELE: No, I don’t. You know, I think it’s astounding to me that the administration is moving in this direction. This is the same president who told us we want to look forward- we don’t need to look backwards, and clearly, the attorney general didn’t get that memo. And I think- I think it’s bad form to- at this time, define yet another bogeyman- to rehash old, old stories, stuff that has already been covered, quite frankly, by the previous- during the previous administration. We’re now going to rehash again, and the other part of this that I find fascinating is we’re trying to federalize terrorism and put it- in in the FBI. Leave it at the CIA- let them handle it, because they know best what to do with it.
MALVEAUX: Real quick here- the former attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, under President Bush- he was criticized for being too close, too cozy with the president- that he wasn’t independent. Do you at least give Eric Holder some- some credit here for- for breaking away from President Obama?
STEELE: You call this a breakaway? You’re telling me that this is a separation? I think this is- I think this is a very close tie. The president and everybody’s on board with this- with what the attorney general is doing. Don’t be fooled by that.
MALVEAUX: Okay. Michael Steele, RNC-
STEELE: All right. You got it.
MALVEAUX: Thank you very much for joining us in The Situation Room.