CNN's 'Obamacan' Worked For Bobby Kennedy

On this afternoon's CNN Newsroom, anchor Don Lemon interviewed Carolyn Lochhead, the San Francisco Chronicle's Washington correspondent. The topic was "Obamacans," conservative Republicans who support Barack Obama for president.

Lochhead wrote a recent article on the phenomenon and was brought on to discuss the mythical beast:

LEMON: Well, we've been hearing about all of these new names being made up during this election season. One is "Obamaicans." We heard that word a lot during the primary season. Now we're hearing about "Obamacans." Like neocons, you know what I'm talking about? Who are they?

Well, joining me from Washington, Carolyn Lochhead, The "San Francisco Chronicle's" Washington correspondent. Thank you of course for joining us.

All right, really. What is an Obamacan? Is this really true? Or is this media-driven? Is this true of what's actually happening on the ground?

CAROLYN LOCHHEAD, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE: No, if anything, I think the media's overlooked it. There's a great deal of discontent in the Republican party and among the intellectual, the conservative intellectual elite that has powered the Republican Party since Ronald Reagan.

LEMON: How much of an affect, though? And you say the intellectual conservative elite. I mean, is that enough to make a real shift?

LOCHHEAD: Well, it's enough...

LEMON: And who are these people?

LOCHHEAD: It might not yet turn up in the voting booth. But, what it does is it reflects a lot of conservative discontent with the Republican Party, with the Bush administration and with John McCain.

LEMON: OK. Now, are we talking names? Are we not talking you know, like Rush Limbaugh or...


LEMON: What names -- are we talking big conservative Republican names?

LOCHHEAD: Not yet, but they're out there. There are more the -- more obscure people. But, people like Milton Friedman's son David, who is endorsing Obama.


LOCHHEAD: Former economist for the Chamber of Commerce, Larry Hunter, endorsing Obama.

LEMON: OK. We talked earlier with our political analyst, Bill Schneider, who talked about red states turning blue. One of them is Georgia. And just in the crowd, just today in Georgia, a woman spoke out and I guess you could consider her -- a man, I should say. Consider him an Obamaican. This is just a short time ago.

Take a listen. I want to talk to you about it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator, I'm a reformed Republican.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: All right, go ahead. You've got to biggest cheer of the day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll take a cabinet post.

OBAMA: There you go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I worked for Bobby Kennedy forty years ago, sir. And what you have done this year has restored that faith.


LEMON: It's a lot of things that we're hearing even in our own personal lives about people who may be -- you know, who are really just struck by Obama, Republican or Democrat.

You saw the response there. You were smiling, I saw you, during that. Why so? I guess you know, this is one person.

LOCHHEAD: Right, but Obama is reaching out and sometimes in very subtle ways using the language of free markets or various ways reaches out to conservatives in a -- with a very subtle message.


CNN's Obamacan worked for Bobby Kennedy forty years ago? Gee, that doesn't sound like much of a conservative to me. Kennedy was a distinctly liberal candidate by the time he ran for president. Vehemently anti-war, he went so far as to suggest sending blood to North Vietnam, which then was engaged in killing American soldiers.

Obviously, CNN's Obamacan must have been a reformed Democrat before becoming a reformed Republican. In all the talk about conservative Republicans jumping to the Good Ship Obama, a nagging question persists: Who are all these alleged converts?

Lochhead's recent article on the subject names Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of a moderate Republican president, and David Friedman, Milton Friedman's son. Wow, most impressive.

She also mentions Andrew Sullivan, described as a "conservative blogger." Not included is the salient point that Sullivan backed John Kerry for president in 2004. Yep, sounds like a real conservative to me.

Another convert identified is Boston University professor Andrew Bacevich. Whatever conservative credentials he holds aren't detailed. He has, however, contributed money to Senator Jack Reed. The Rhode Island Democrat's American Conservative Union rating last year was a whopping zero.

One uncontested conservative who's thinking about voting for Obama is talk show host Armstrong Williams. The Chronicle article quotes him as saying he won't vote based on race, yet he's previously admitted, "I don't necessarily like his (Obama's) policies; I don't like much that he advocates, but for the first time in my life, history thrusts me to really seriously think about it." So, other than race, why would he support the most liberal senator in the United States?

CNN and the rest of the mainstream media want us to believe that significant numbers of conservative Republicans are supporting their preferred candidate. They'll have to do better than trot out guys who worked for Bobby Kennedy, endorsed John Kerry, contributed to liberals, or are thinking about going with Barry.

2008 Presidential CNN Other CNN Journalistic Issues Don Lemon Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Armstrong Williams