CNN's Bernstein: 'Zealots Are Winning the Soul of the Republican Party'

Appearing as a guest on Friday's CNN Newsroom, CNN political analyst Carl Bernstein asserted that "zealots are winning the soul of the Republican Party" as he blamed the "zealots of his party" for Republican House Speaker John Boehner's announced resignation from the House of Representatives. [video below]

Moments later, as he praised the Pope's speech to Congress, Bernstein took a shot at Texas Senator Ted Cruz as he suggested that "I don't think the Pope's message had much of an effect on Ted Cruz."

The segment began as substitute CNN anchor Brianna Keilar posed:

And I wonder, obviously, to say that the Speaker was facing some difficult political headwinds within his own party is a bit of an understatement. But I wonder also, as well, how much the Pope's visit and his address to Congress and almost sort of this moral authority talking to Congress, how much that weighed in on the specific timing?

Bernstein complained of GOP "zealotry" and brought up the tag "crazies" as he responded:

Well, these two stories are clearly intertwined. We saw a remarkable event. The Pope yesterday in the well of the House speaking about humility in the political process, speaking about common good, speaking about the need to do away with zealotry. And, clearly, Boehner has tried not to be a zealot. And who has driven the agenda that has now forced him to resign? The zealots of his party.

And those zealots are winning the soul of the Republican Party. And it's going to figure in the presidential address -- election as well. This is a really sea change that makes it possible for many, many people who didn't quite get was going on, to see, as Peter King, he called them "crazies."

Moments later, as he praised Pope Francis, Bernstein began:

He is preaching this message of the common good, of humility, that we must join together to protect humanity, to protect the marginalized, the poor. He uses the example of the unborn as well. But he has a very whole notion of a philosophy of doing good and of doing good to each other. He cites and takes his name from St. Francis. He recites the St. Francis prayer which is about loving not to be loved but to love another and to love the other and serve.

The CNN political analyst then took his shot at Senator Cruz as he added:

That's a message that we don't get to hear very often and pause to think about it. We often dismiss it and say, "Oh, that's pie in the sky stuff." He gets our attention. And he's won our attention in the media as well as the people in this country and around the world in a way that no other leader is. And he's saying things, and people are saying, as they did in his address to Congress yesterday, except for perhaps for those who have now pushed Boehner out -- you can listen to Ted Cruz, and I don't think the Pope's message had much of an effect on Ted Cruz.

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Friday, September 25, CNN Newsroom from about 3:10 p.m.:

BRIANNA KEILAR: And I wonder, obviously, to say that the Speaker was facing some difficult political headwinds within his own party is a bit of an understatement. But I wonder also, as well, how much the Pope's visit and his address to Congress and almost sort of this moral authority talking to Congress, how much that weighed in on the specific timing?

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, these two stories are clearly intertwined. We saw a remarkable event. The Pope yesterday in the well of the House speaking about humility in the political process, speaking about common good, speaking about the need to do away with zealotry. And, clearly, Boehner has tried not to be a zealot. And who has driven the agenda that has now forced him to resign? The zealots of his party.

And those zealots are winning the soul of the Republican Party. And it's going to figure in the presidential address -- election as well. This is a really sea change that makes it possible for many, many people who didn't quite get was going on, to see, as Peter King, he called them "crazies." Well, let's-

KEILAR: Moderate, more moderate Republican Peter King.

BERNSTEIN: I'll leave the language to Peter King.

KEILAR: Yeah.

(...)

BERNSTEIN: He is preaching this message of the common good, of humility, that we must join together to protect humanity, to protect the marginalized, the poor. He uses the example of the unborn as well. But he has a very whole notion of a philosophy of doing good and of doing good to each other. He cites and takes his name from St. Francis. He recites the St. Francis prayer which is about loving not to be loved but to love another and to love the other and serve.

That's a message that we don't get to hear very often and pause to think about it. We often dismiss it and say, "Oh, that's pie in the sky stuff." He gets our attention. And he's won our attention in the media as well as the people in this country and around the world in a way that no other leader is. And he's saying things and people are saying, as they did in his address to Congress yesterday, except for perhaps for those who have now pushed Boehner out -- you can listen to Ted Cruz, and I don't think the Pope's message had much of an effect on Ted Cruz.

But he's saying, "Wait a minute. Let's look at the logic of what we must do for mankind, for the goodness of others, for ourselves, for solidarity," a word that he uses constantly. You know, his message is very much the same as John Paul II's was, especially when he gets into the talking about economic disparity, about the excesses of capitalism. This is Catholic social teaching at its greatest. And Catholic social teaching is an enormous, immense contribution to mankind.

2016 Presidential Congress Conservatives & Republicans Religion Christianity CNN CNN Newsroom Carl Bernstein Brianna Keilar Ted Cruz John Boehner Pope Francis


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