CNN Host Smears Rumsfeld as ‘an Obnoxious Jerk and a War Criminal’

CNN’s Jack Cafferty chose the day before the election to morph into a complete Daily-Kos/left wing clone. He slammed Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as "an obnoxious jerk and a war criminal." The comments, made in reference to an editorial in the ‘Military Times’ newspapers, came during the 4pm hour of Monday’s "Situation Room." A transcript of the November 6 segment, which began at 4:11pm with Cafferty reading from the editorial, is below:

Jack Cafferty: "‘The time has come, Mr. President, to face the hard, bruising truth. Donald Rumsfeld must go.’ That is a quote from an editorial in this week’s ‘Military Times’ newspapers. The independent publications owned by Gannett, include ‘The Army Times,’ ‘The Navy Times,’ ‘Air Force Times,’ and ‘Marine Corps Times.’ The piece goes on to say, quote, ‘Rumsfeld has lost credibility with the uniformed leadership, with the troops, with Congress and with the public at large. His strategy has failed, and his ability to lead is compromised. And although the blame for our failures in Iraq rests with the Secretary, it will be the troops who bear its brunt.’ They didn’t even mention that he’s also an obnoxious jerk and a war criminal. A top editor says this wasn’t timed for the midterm elections, but, rather, by the President’s statement last week that he plans to keep Rumsfeld on the job until the end of his second term. The Defense Department says that the editorial contains a number of inaccurate and misleading statements and the White House calls it ‘a shabby piece of work.’ Here’s the question: What does it mean when an editorial in the 'Military Times' newspapers says Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ‘must go?’ E-mail your thoughts to or go to How many people do you suppose are going to have to suggest that it’s time for him to go?"

Blitzer: "The President last week said he’s doing a fantastic job."

Cafferty: "Yeah, well, a majority of one, I suppose. He’s signing the paycheck."

Blitzer: "We’ll see what happens after the election."

Cafferty didn't bother to offer any evidence for his "war criminal" smear. Not surprisingly, his statements have become more fevered as the election grew closer. On October 10, he lamented George Allen’s lead in the polls. A little over a week later, Cafferty wondered if Karl Rove would engineer an "October Surprise."

Update: Almost three hours later, at 7:09p.m., Jack Cafferty grudgingly admitted that his "war criminal" comments went to far:

Cafferty: "One more thing this evening, at 4:00 on ‘The Situation Room,' I said some unflattering things about Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in conjunction with some other unflattering things that were said about him in an editorial in the ‘Military Times’ newspapers. At one point, I referred to Rumsfeld as a war criminal and I stepped over the line. However, on the eve of tomorrow's election, it's worth remembering that it was President Bush who raised the issue of Rumsfeld and the kind of job he's doing last week. The president said he wanted Vice President Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld to remain with him for the duration of his administration."

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the associate editor for the Media Research Center's site.