CNN’s Borger Slams Giuliani for ‘Hateful’ Comments, He ‘Hijacked’ the Debate

On Sunday’s State of the Union, CNN’s Gloria Borger hosted three prominent Republican politicians to discuss the ongoing debate surrounding Rudy Giuliani and his suggestion that President Obama doesn’t love America.

Throughout the combative segment, Borger hit the former New York City mayor for his “hateful” comments and went so far as to claim that he “kind of hijacked the conversation in a different direction.”

The heated back-and-forth began with former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge disagreeing with Giuliani’s statements to which Borger insisted were “hateful. It was a hateful remark.” After Ridge noted that Giuliani is known for is straightforward answers, the CNN host continued to hit the mayor by insisting that this “was a personal insult to the president of the United States.”

Later on, Borger asked Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) if there was any way he could defend Giuliani’s comments but the Republican refused to take the bait and instead turned the tables on the CNN host:

Well, you know what? When President Obama -- but when President Obama implied that -- actually, he said that Bush was unpatriotic for his spending in 2008, that was wrong, too. There's plenty of that kind of behavior that goes on. But the policies that Rudy is talking about on the trail are important. And the policies have to be about national security. 

As the segment progressed, Borger continued to condemn Giuliani and insisted that “there's one thing to have frustration with the president, and there's another thing to demean the president.” For his part, Congressman Issa pushed back at the CNN host for obsessing over the mayor’s comments:

If we wanted to get -- get on top of the vice president every time he says something flip and foolish or vulgar, we could have this discussion every Sunday…. The -- Rudy Giuliani -- and I think Marco Rubio said it very well when he said exactly that. Look, we can find somebody who believes strongly something.  

Unsurprisingly, the CNN host rushed to the vice president’s defense and argued that he “may very well be clumsy, but these remarks were hateful." Borger then decided to rehash Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” comments from the 2012 election and suggested that Giuliani's comments reflect a larger problem within the Republican Party:

In the last presidential election, you had a Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, who was in a private fund-raiser and made the now infamous 47 percent remarks, which really hurt his candidacy. You now have Rudy Giuliani at a private event making some very direct and inflammatory remarks about the president of the United States, at a private event.   

Despite Governor Pataki reminding Borger that the GOP had just achieved a major electoral victory in November, the CNN host concluded the combative portion of the segment by once again arguing that Giuliani had “hijacked” the debate and even wondered “what can the Republican party do to convince voters that, in fact, it wants to broaden itself, it has a real foreign policy message that it wants to deliver.”

See relevant transcript below.

CNN’s State of the Union

February 22, 2015

GLORIA BORGER: I mean, it was hateful. It was a hateful remark. 

TOM RIDGE: Well, but let's -- but I think the point that George is trying to make and I'm trying to make is that he's got the strong opinion. Everybody knows Rudy articulates his opinions that way. He's zealous about that. But we need to get beyond that. He was expressing a frustration in a way that I don't agree with. I don't doubt the president's patriotism. It's not about love of country. It's about leadership or lack of leadership. And the way he articulated it, I don't particularly care for it. I don't think George cares for it. I don't think Darrell cares for it. But it's typical Rudy. But I think the end of the day is, it's about...

RIDGE: Well, but he's always aggressive. He's always up front. I mean, you never walk away from a conversation with Rudy Giuliani questioning how he feels about a particular point of view.

BORGER: Yes, but this was a personal insult to the president of the United States.

--

BORGER: Well, he kind of -- he kind of hijacked the conversation in a different direction. 
--

BORGER: Right. But there's one thing to have frustration with the president, and there's another thing to demean the president. 

(CROSSTALK)

ISSA: Yes, but, Gloria -- but, Gloria, we -- we -- if we wanted to get -- get on top of the vice president every time he says something flip and foolish or vulgar, we could have this discussion every Sunday. 

BORGER: Well, but -- let me just say something about -- let me just say something about that, Congressman Issa.

ISSA: The fact is, the story -- the story -- the...

BORGER: The vice president may very well be clumsy, but these remarks were hateful. 

ISSA: The -- Rudy Giuliani -- and I think Marco Rubio said it very well when he said exactly that. Look, we can find somebody who believes strongly something. Rudy Giuliani said he didn't believe. He didn't say the president wasn't. He said he didn't believe. Now, the reality is that I do believe that the president believes strongly in America. I just think he views America differently. I was there when he denounced the U.S. Supreme Court in the halls of Congress during the State of the Union for their decision. 
--
BORGER: Well, and, Governor Pataki, let me say this to you, if you might run for the presidency. In the last presidential election, you had a Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, who was in a private fund-raiser and made the now infamous 47 percent remarks, which really hurt his candidacy. You now have Rudy Giuliani at a private event making some very direct and inflammatory remarks about the president of the United States, at a private event. So, what can you say to people who might be thinking about...

--

BORGER: I -- right. And I think -- and I think -- and I think we are having them. And I think it's been hijacked. But let me get to my question about you as a potential presidential...

PATAKI: OK.

BORGER: ... candidate, which is -- which is, why should voters who are thinking of voting Republican say -- believe that people are saying one thing about how they -- how they feel privately to the -- to fundraisers, to people who want to, you know, throw red meat out to candidate backers and another thing in public? So what can the Republican party do to convince voters that, in fact, it wants to broaden itself, it has a real foreign policy message that it wants to deliver--

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential CNN Other CNN Gloria Borger Rudy Giuliani Darrell Issa George Pataki

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