CNN Hounds Pataki on Cruz: Didn't He 'Smear' 'Regular New Yorkers'?

CNN's Alisyn Camerota pressed former New York Governor George Pataki on Tuesday's New Day over Ted Cruz's "New York values" attack on Donald Trump. Camerota noted how Pataki asserted that Cruz "was obviously referring to the liberal values of New York politicians," but wondered, "Wasn't he also talking about...regular New Yorkers?" When the Republican politician denied this was the case, the anchor followed up by asking, "The people of New York voted these politicians in. So, isn't there some smear that they, too, are morally bankrupt?" [video below]

Fill-in anchor John Berman raised Cruz's remark at the beginning of the interview of the former Republican presidential contender: "So, you got out just before New York became the central issue of the entire campaign. Ted Cruz says Donald Trump has New York values. Donald Trump says, how dare you question my values — you know, New York values? We stood up after 9/11, worked together, rebuilt the city." Pataki responded, in part, that "the idea that Donald Trump is the great defender of the diversity and the values of New York, to me, is a little offensive."

Camerota then pointed out that "it sounds like you're kind of sticking up for Ted Cruz and what he said, because you Tweeted this out: 'Any suggestion that Ted Cruz was referring to 9/11 is absurd. He was obviously referring to the liberal values of New York politicians — such as liberal New York politicians like Bill de Blasio, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, New York Governor [Andrew] Cuomo, Chuck Schumer.'" She continued with her "regular New Yorkers" question.

Pataki replied, "I don't think he was talking about regular New Yorkers....there is an image, in the country, of New York; and it's not the guy who rides the subway....It's the political leadership. Bill de Blasio is in the national press all the time. He's not a liberal. He is a leftist....The people of New York are great, and I think that Americans know that. I think Ted Cruz knows that...and I don't want to defend somebody attacking New York, but I'm also not going to deny the fact that this, politically, is a very liberal, one-party city."

When the CNN anchor asked her "morally bankrupt" question, the Republican guest again denied that Cruz was attacking "regular" New Yorkers, and added, "The people of New York are great." Berman interjected, "Except those ones you identified in your Tweet." Pataki underlined, "I'm not criticizing them. I just disagree with them....They have a right to be there. I'm not criticizing them and saying they're bad people because my political philosophy is different. But my political philosophy — and, I believe, the philosophy of America — is different from the very left leadership we have here in the city."

The transcript of the relevant portion of the George Pataki interview from the January 19, 2016 interview of CNN's New Day:

JOHN BERMAN: So, you got out—

GEORGE PATAKI (R), FORMER NEW YORK GOVERNOR: I got out—

BERMAN: Just before New York became the central issue of the entire campaign. Ted Cruz says Donald Trump has New York values. Donald Trump says, how dare you question my values — you know, New York values? We stood up after 9/11, worked together, rebuilt the city.

[CNN Graphic: "Cruz, Trump Trade Insults Ahead Of Iowa Caucuses; Pataki On Cruz's 'New York Values' Comment"]

PATAKI: If I have any regrets about getting out, it's that Donald Trump is the one defending New York values — the guy who demonized Mexicans and veterans, and goes after minorities on a regular basis. I just think it's unfortunate. This is a great city. I'm proud to have represented it — led it for 12 years. I'm proud of how New York responds to all sorts of crises — how patriotic the city is — but it is liberal. You know, it is a very liberal, political city. There's no question about that. But the idea that Donald Trump is the great defender of the diversity and the values of New York, to me, is a little offensive.

ALISYN CAMEROTA: But it sounds like you're kind of sticking up for Ted Cruz and what he said, because you Tweeted this out: 'Any suggestion that Ted Cruz was referring to 9/11 is absurd. He was obviously referring to the liberal values of New York politicians — such as liberal New York politicians like Bill de Blasio, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, New York Governor [Andrew] Cuomo, Chuck Schumer.' But wasn't he also talking about New Yorkers — regular New Yorkers?

[CNN Graphic: "Pataki: Suggestion Cruz Was Referring To 9/11 Is Absurd"]

PATAKI: I don't think he was talking about regular New Yorkers. I think he — there is an image, in the country, of New York; and it's not the guy who rides the subway — brings his lunch with him. It's not the cop or the firefighter. It's the political leadership. Bill de Blasio is in the national press all the time. He's not a liberal. He is a leftist. The city council is not liberal. It is leftist.

The people of New York are great, and I think that Americans know that. I think Ted Cruz knows that — you know — and I don't want to defend somebody attacking New York, but I'm also not going to deny the fact that this, politically, is a very liberal, one-party city.

CAMEROTA: Well, sure, but — I mean, these — the people in New York voted—

PATAKI: Well, sure! (laughs)

CAMEROTA: It is a liberal city—

PATAKI: Correct—

CAMEROTA: But the people of New York voted these politicians in—

PATAKI: That's right—

CAMEROTA: So, isn't there some smear that they, too, are morally bankrupt?

PATAKI: No, I don't think so at all. The people of New York are great, and I'm proud to—

BERMAN: Except those ones you identified in your Tweet— (Camerota laughs)

PATAKI: I'm not criticizing them. I just disagree with them. They are liberals — liberals or leftist. De Blasio is an unabashed leftist. They have a right to be there. I'm not criticizing them and saying they're bad people because my political philosophy is different. But my political philosophy — and, I believe, the philosophy of America — is different from the very left leadership we have here in the city.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center