As the Media Research Center has documented, CNN's Anderson Cooper has been targeting Republicans far more than Democrats with critical "Keeping Them Honest" investigative reports – and Cooper continued that trend Wednesday night. The CNN host scrutinized Republican presidential candidates for statements they made in Tuesday night's debate, but has not reported controversial statements made this week by President Obama and Vice President Biden.
Cooper also hit candidate Herman Cain with a "Keeping Them Honest" on Monday night, the third time he has focused such a report on Cain in the last two weeks. In contrast, President Obama has been the target of three such reports in the last three months.
Then on Wednesday night, Cooper predictably authored a "Keeping Them Honest" round-up of the CNN Republican debate from the night before. He fact-checked various statements made by the candidates to report if they were true or false.
Cooper has questioned comments made in the past by presidential candidates Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann, among others. However, he could easily have brought to light controversial statements made this past week by President Obama and Vice President Biden regarding Obama's jobs bill.
On Monday, Obama slammed Republicans for not supporting his jobs plan, accusing them of wanting "Dirtier air, dirtier water, less people with health insurance." Cooper has not yet reported the comments on his show this week.
Then on Wednesday, Vice President Biden said he wished people opposing the jobs bill "had some notion" of what it felt like to be raped or robbed, insinuating that police and emergency responder shortages could lead to rising rates of rape and robbery. When pressed later by Human Events about his comments, he essentially re-affirmed what he had previously stated.
Cooper made no mention of those remarks on Wednesday night's Anderson Cooper 360, however.
A transcript of the segment, which aired on October 19 at 8:01 p.m. EDT, is as follows:
ANDERSON COOPER: Texas Governor Rick Perry today promising to be a truth teller, suggesting his GOP rivals are not. "Keeping Them Honest," though, last night there were a number of incorrect statements made at the Republican debate. Let's take a look at some of the statements made and how they fit the facts.
MITT ROMNEY GOP presidential candidate: Over the last several years, 40 percent, almost half the jobs created in Texas were created for illegal aliens, illegal immigrants.
RICK PERRY, GOP presidential candidate: That is an absolute falsehood on its face, Mitt.
COOPER: You have 30 seconds, Governor Perry.
ROMNEY: It's actually --
PERRY: That is absolutely incorrect, sir.
ROMNEY: We'll take a look at the study.
PERRY: There's been a third – take a look at the study? And it is absolutely incorrect.
(End Video Clip)
COOPER: Well, the study in question was done by the Center for Immigration Studies, and in fact a third party did question how CIS got that 40 percent figure. What's more, even the CIS – even CIS admits that looking differently at its own data could give a much lower percentage. Now here's Governor Perry on the Mitt Romney job creation record.
PERRY: Mitt, while you were the governor of Massachusetts in that period of time, you were 47th in the nation in job creation. During that same period of time we created 20 times more jobs. As a matter of fact, you've created 40,000 jobs total in your four years. The last two months we created more jobs than that in Texas.
(End Video Clip)
COOPER: Well, in fact, Texas has created more jobs than Massachusetts, but that's largely because the state is so much bigger and the population is growing so much faster. According to figures from the Labor Department and the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank, Governor Perry is wrong about that part about the last two months. The Fed numbers are 3,000 short. The Labor Department's are about 20,000 fewer. And Governor Romney is flat out wrong about this.
ROMNEY: Americans are hurting across this country and the President's out there campaigning. Why isn't he governing? He doesn't understand – he doesn't have a jobs plan even now.
COOPER: "Keeping Him Honest," you can say that President Obama is in campaign mode traveling to swing states around the country. You can't deny what he's out there campaigning for.
President BARACK OBAMA: Last month I sent Congress a piece of legislation called the American Jobs Act. Don't just applaud about it, vote for it. Vote for it.
I want you to send a message to Congress that this is important. Let them know.
And this is the bill that Congress needs to pass.
– you should pass right away.
You should pass it right away.
Pass this jobs bill –
– now. Pass this bill. We need to pass this bill.
And everybody would be better off if we pass it. (...) Pass the jobs bill.
They should pass it right away. I'm ready to sign the bill. I've got the pens all ready.
(End Video Clip)
COOPER: President Obama campaigning for the jobs plan that Mitt Romney says the President doesn't have. Now other candidates laid into Governor Romney for the health care reform he instituted in Massachusetts.
RICK SANTORUM, GOP presidential candidate: You've blown a hole in the budget up there and you've authored in Obamacare which is going to blow a hole in the budget of this country.
(End Video Clip)
COOPER: Well, actually that's not true. A recent report in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that employers, government and individuals, pay approximately the same proportion of health coverage costs after reforms as they did before the law went into effect.
On the other hand, Factcheck.org found that the governor went too far when he said the government insurance didn't play a role in his plan. Some of the newly insured did in fact qualify for state provided Medicaid. Others, as Mr. Romney said, either got state help in buying private insurance or paid for it all themselves. Governor Romney fired back and so did Rick Santorum over the TARP bank bailout program which President Bush created and President Obama continued.
SANTORUM: The problem is, in the first place, is that several people up here, the, quote, "business people," supported the TARP, supported the bailout.
(End Video Clip)
COOPER: Well, at issue, a letter sent as Congress was debating TARP, from the chairman of the Democratic and Republican Governors Association, Joe Manchin and Rick Perry. It reads, and I quote, "As leaders of our respective organizations, we don't always see eye to eye on policy but we come together today with one clear purpose."
But it goes on, "We strongly urge Congress to leave partisanship at the door and pass an economic recovery package." The same day Governor Perry issued this statement, quote, "In a free market economy, government should not be in the business of using taxpayer dollars to bail out corporate America."
So in one sense Governor Perry was for Congress doing something when the only thing they were considering was in fact TARP. On the other hand, the governor was also on record opposing that same one thing Congress was considering.
"Keeping Them Honest," CNN and other non-partisan fact checkers have also found problems with Herman Cain's claim that middle and working class people would not pay more under the 999 plan. Another false claim, Mitt Romney saying that Rick Perry was Al Gore's campaign chairman in 1988. Perry, a Democrat at the time, had no leadership role in the campaign. And finally, "Keeping Them Honest," the moderator, me.
COOPER: Congressman Bachmann, you also said at the last debate that everyone should pay something. Does that mean that you would raise taxes on the 47 percent of Americans who currently don't pay taxes?
(End Video Clip)
COOPER: I said it during the debate and the discussion afterwards, I was flat out wrong of course. What I knew and meant to say was 40 percent of Americans do not pay federal income tax. They do of course pay plenty of other state, local and federal taxes including federal payroll taxes, gasoline taxes and on, on, and on. I made a mistake last night and I apologize.