CNN Touts Another Panel of Voters Who Slant Heavily Liberal

A week after CNN's New Day aired a pair of pre-recorded segments focusing on an allegedly balanced group of New Hampshire voters who ended up displaying political views stacked heavily in the liberal direction, this week's batch of voters -- this time from Charleston, South Carolina -- appear even more slanted to the left in spite of suggestions of a balanced sample with equal numbers of Republicans, Democrats and independents.

Whereas the two Republican voters used last week both were shown to hold liberal views on at least some issues, with only one of the Republicans articulating even one conservative view -- on taxes -- this week's selection of Republicans -- in the first two out of three planned segments -- has so far displayed both GOPers articulating views or interests that fit more on the liberal side while the only panel member to appear more right-leaning was technically an independent. Similarly, last week, one of the two independents seemed more conservative than either of the Republicans.

The segment shown on Wednesday focused heavily on issues pertaining to the Charleston church massacre and showed that all six panel members -- two Democrats, two Republicans and two independents -- supported taking down the Confederate flag from the state capitol grounds in South Carolina. All six members also supported putting into place more stringent background check requirements for gun purchases, although one of the two independents -- Heather Heath -- was seen declaring her view that, "as individual citizens, we should have the right to bear arms," before adding, "I think there needs to be more regulation."

A more balanced segment might have included the argument that mass shooters often target locations where people are unlikely to be armed, and that loosening restrictions so that armed citizens can take their guns into some public places could make those locations less attractive targets or at least offer a method of self-defense.

On the second day, after CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota was seen asking participants about their own priorities in the presidential election, one of the two Republicans -- Ashley Caldwell -- not only identified social issues as being "at the top of my list," but she actually sounded liberal in her views on gay and transgender rights:

ALISYN CAMEROTA: How about social issues for you?

ASHLEY CALDWELL, REPUBLICAN: It's definitely at the top of my list as well. In my mind, if I'm not able to comfortably live in a place where we're all equal, the other things just don't matter.

CAMEROTA: What does that mean to you, all being equal?

CALDWELL: There's the gay rights, gay marriage, all of the racial issues. Now there's a lot of kind of talk about the transgender community which I think is really important, and really kind of looking at a more diverse candidate and really see what they can bring to the table.

Additionally, the same Republican, a small business owner, also spoke of wanting help in providing health insurance to her employees, even though she is not required to do so, and so still did not seem to offer a conservative slant on any issue discussed. Could she have been labeled as a Republican by accident? Or was she perhaps originally from Massachusetts?

The two Democrats and one of the independents were more consistently liberal in their viewers, citing issues like income inequality, education, student loans, and civil rights as issues important to them, although one of the Democrats supported the U.S. helping to fight the terrorist group ISIS, while the other Democrat pined for America to withdraw its involvement in Iraq and from fighting ISIS.

The other independent, Heather Heath, who had been seen articulating pro-Second Amendment views, had concerns about whether Social Security would still exist she retires -- which is a concern sometimes voiced by those on the right who advocate more privatization -- while she also supported the U.S. helping to fight ISIS, but in more of a "support role."

After the second segment aired on Thursday, as the three regular co-anchors had a discussion, Michaela Pereira was so impressed with the liberal views expressed by the panel that she suggested that they should be sent to Congress where congressional members should have to listen to them, with Camerota voicing agreement:

MICHAELA PEREIRA: You know what? I just had a thought while I was watching the last bit of that, is that it might be wise for Congress to do "Bring a Voter to Work Day" and take your panel with them to maybe have them listen to what, I mean, these young people, they're, you know, our age and a little bit younger, they're really plugged in and they have really serious concerns.

ALISYN CAMEROTA: I thought that. That's a great suggestion.

On the bright side, unlike the voters featured by CNN last week, neither of the Republicans has so far talked up socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, but there will be a third segment airing tomorrow, so there's still time for things to get worse.

Below are transcripts of relevant portions of the Wednesday, June 24, and the Thursday, June 25, New Day on CNN:

#From the Wednesday, June 24, New Day on CNN at about 6:50 a.m.:

ALISYN CAMEROTA: I'm here at the state house in Columbia to find out how South Carolinians feel about the Confederate flag as well as race and gun rights following the tragedy here last week. We assembled a cross section of voters at the historic Nathaniel Russell House Museum. These are men and women, white and black. Some are students, some small business owners -- Democrats, Republicans and independents. And we had hoped to have a retiree, but, at the last minute, she regretfully canceled to go to a funeral for one of her friends killed in the church massacre. So here is what this group is saying, starting with the Confederate flag.

CAMEROTA (PRE-RECORDED): Can I get a show of hands for those of you who think that the Confederate flag should be moved from the state capitol?

[Everyone supports taking the flag down and each person talks about their reasons for thinking so.]

CAMEROTA: Let's talk about the issue of gun control. Before this happened, gun control was not at the top of your list for, you know, what you will be deciding on in terms of 2016. Because of the tragedy that happened here last week, are you revisiting your attitudes about guns?

HEATHER HEATH, INDEPENDENT: No, I still think, as individual citizens, we should have the right to bear arms. I think there needs to be more regulation.

CAMEROTA: Show of hands, who's comfortable with more stringent background checks? [All six voters raise their hands.]

Did you feel that way before this tragedy? [All six nod their heads and some say "Absolutely" or "Yes."]

Did this tragedy change anything for you all? [Five out of the six are shown commenting on the racism that still exists in parts of the state.]

CAMEROTA (LIVE ON SCREEN): So, tomorrow, we'll have much more of that conversation with these voters talking about all sorts of other issues that they think should be at the fore. But, Chris and Michaela, I was struck that they all felt the same way about the Confederate flag because, again, we did have Republicans, we had independents, we had Democrats. I thought that some of them would feel that it should stay up here at the state capitol, but none of them felt that way.

MICHAELA PEREIRA: It would have been really interesting and, again, it was also poignant to note that the retiree that you wanted to join, it would have been interesting to get their perspective, but you mentioning that she lost a friend in that massacre, the very reason that some of these conversations are so very, very important and urgent right now.

CHRIS CUOMO: Younger group, also.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I mean, so true.

CUOMO: That may speak to it. But there's certainly a diversity of opinion about this flag where the people want their voices big or small and now we're going to have on the show a man who wants to be President, and he has a message for those fighting for the flag. His name is Dr. Ben Carson, and he's coming up along with a lot of other news we're following this morning.

#From the Thursday, June 25, New Day on CNN at about 6:50 a.m.:

ALISYN CAMEROTA (PRE-RECORDED): What are the issues that you will vote on or that you think will be important to you in 2016 that you're looking to the candidates for?

COREY VAN HANNEGEYN, DEMOCRAT: Income inequality, student loan debt.

CAMEROTA: Whitney, what issues are you listening for?

WHITNEY RINGLER, REPUBLICAN: For me it's very personal, so health care obviously is going to be one of the things for me-

CAMEROTA: And you say it's personal because you have a sick child.

RINGLER: That's correct, yes.

CAMEROTA: And what have your health care challenges other than his sickness been?

RINGLER: When he was diagnosed, it was stage four cancer, and so we went through two years of intense treatment with him, and, you know, our insurance we didn't need to be fighting with insurance. We needed to be helping our child survive.

[Ringler recalls having to fight with her insurance company to get them to pay for the $1,000 a day treatment her son needed and now worries about whether he can get insurance in the future.]

(...)

CAMEROTA: Ashley, what issues will you be listening for?

ASHLEY CALDWELL, REPUBLICAN: As a small business owner, I definitely care about the health insurance, and I'm not -- I have a small staff and I'm not legally required to provide health insurance for them, but I want to, and I work really hard to be able to, and I would love to be able to have a solution that makes it easier.

CAMEROTA: How about social issues for you?

CALDWELL: It's definitely at the top of my list as well. In my mind, if I'm not able to comfortably live in a place where we're all equal, the other things just don't matter.

CAMEROTA: What does that mean to you, all being equal?

CALDWELL: There's the gay rights, gay marriage, all of the racial issues. Now there's a lot of kind of talk about the transgender community which I think is really important, and really kind of looking at a more diverse candidate and really see what they can bring to the table.

HEATHER HEATH, INDEPENDENT: [HEATH is concerned about corruption, lobbyists and whether Social Security would still be around when she retires]

[JOHN DODDS, INDEPENDENT]: [DODDS is concerned about education, civil rights, gay marriage, gender inequality]

[BO MADEO, DEMOCRAT] [Education could help fight poverty and racism, but his big issue is income inequality]

[CAMEROTA brings up foreign policy]

[COREY VAN HANNEGEYN, DEMOCRAT] [Wants the U.S. to scale back its involvement in Iraq and in fighting ISIS and leave it to Middle Eastern countries to solve]

[HEATH thinks the U.S. should be involved in combating ISIS but more in a support role]

[MADEO thinks there is a "moral imperative" to fight ISIS]

CAMEROTA (LIVE ON SCREEN): So, Chris and Michaela, it was really interesting to talk to this group of relatively young voters. They all, as you could hear, their own personal priorities. And none of them has their mind made up whatsoever about which candidates they want to go with. But you heard that health care for some, foreign affairs for some, income inequality -- they were really sort of plugged in.

MICHAELA PEREIRA: You know what? I just had a thought while I was watching the last bit of that, is that it might be wise for Congress to do "Bring a Voter to Work Day" and take your panel with them to maybe have them listen to what, I mean, these young people, they're, you know, our age and a little bit younger, they're really plugged in and they have really serious concerns.

CHRIS CUOMO: Well, that's what the representatives are-

CAMEROTA: I thought that. That's a great suggestion.

CUOMO: -supposed to be doing when they're not in session, you know, they're supposed to be back in their home districts canvassing people all the time. That's the work they're supposed to be doing. I think that it's interesting, you know, they say intelligent things, they're picking the right kinds of things they should care about, but there's also a disconnect, though, between what their leaders can do and how they see the problems.

You know, one example the young man talked about money in politics. The Supreme Court has passed its judgment on that. Citizens United is the standard. I think people also have to learn what the barriers to change are and how do you get past those, you know, the complications of it usually end up not being discussed in the election. But it was a great interview, Allison. Good look at that group of voters from there.

CAMEROTA: Thanks so much, and they did talk about, by the way, they did talk about Citizens United and how disappointed they were about that. So, yes, there is still idealism and some practicality there.

2016 Presidential Crime Social Security Wages & Prices Education Iraq Middle East Transgender Guns Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Race Issues Racism Homosexuality CNN New Day Alisyn Camerota Michaela Pereira


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