Cuomo Repeatedly Frets Pence Was Not Pressed from Left on Gay Rights

If you watched most of Wednesday's New Day show on CNN, one thing that was clear is that co-host Chris Cuomo is just itching to see GOP vice presidential nominee Mike Pence challenged from the left on gay rights as he repeatedly brought up the issue -- mostly in the first couple of hours of the special four-hour edition of the show -- commenting on the topic six times in all.

Perceiving Governor Pence's conservative views on the issue as a "significant weakness" with people who have an "open mind," Cuomo first brought up at 5:19 a.m. ET the absence of the issue from Tuesday's vice presidential debate due to Donald Trump being a frequent topic of discussion: "And yet the flood of 'Trump says,' Jackie, actually helped Pence out in two cases. One, he got a pass on LGBTQ last night which, you know, is going to be a significant weakness for Mike Pence with a big chunk of the independent and center electorate, any of those people who are open mind."

He then added:

The other one was on Syria and Syrian refugees. What was your take on the points that were made and how they were handled by Pence? Because he has a bad court case that just came down from the Seventh Circuit hanging over his head about his potential treatment of Syrian refugees.

At 5:44 a.m. ET, during a segment which included liberal CNN political commentator Hilary Rosen, co-host Alisyn Camerota brought up the issue:

Hilary, I want to stick with you for one second because I want to know from your side if you think that Tim Kaine missed an opportunity last night to go after Mike Pence about the LGBT laws that he tried to pass in Indiana that, you know, many Democrats feel were discriminatory?

As Rosen gave her response, Cuomo complained about Governor Pence pushing for "discriminatory" laws as he injected:

And that's why people knew who Governor Mike Pence was. He tried to pass laws unsuccessfully that were discriminatory, not that just Democrats thought they were. But it did not come up last night. Very interesting.

During a discussion segment at 6:07 a.m. ET, Cuomo brought up the issue again:

Because of all of the, "Well, Trump said, Trump said," he got away with not having to answer for his own position on LGBTQ rights in his own state. He got away with with kind of just momentarily discussing his feelings about Syrian refugees and the spanking he just got from a court in his home state.

The Daily Beast's Kucinich declared that the press can "call him out," even if Pence did not have to address such issues in the debate:

But you're right in that Mike Pence didn't have to defend his record in Indiana on Syrian refugees or on LGBTQ issues. And, but, you  have to imagine, I mean, we can do a lot of that, we can call him out for that in the press, but you would have expected in a debate of that scale to get to know these candidates a little bit better and their records, and even having the moderator draw it out, if they weren't willing to weigh in on their own records.

A few minutes later, as he addressed CNN political analyst David Gregory, Cuomo wondered if Pence's image benefited in part from not having to defend himself on gay rights:

So, David, could it be a net net that Pence wound up looking good for him because, in deflecting off of what Trump has said, he didn't have to deal with some of his own problems with LGBTQ positions, his Syrian refugee struggles within his own state? But it also may have made people feel like, "Well, this guy might be better than the guy at the top of the ticket"?

At 6:53 a.m. ET, during a segment with Connecticut Democratic Rep. Jim Himes as a guest, Cuomo wondered if Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine had a "missed opportunity" to press Pence on the subject:

It's easy to come off measured compared to Donald Trump, and Pence definiitely got some points to that. He also was given the luxury by Tim Kaine of talking about Trump all night instead of defending his own record. Tim Kaine did not bring up the LGBTQ situation for Mike Pence, which is how most of the country came to know about him. Missed opportunity?

Cuomo then followed up:

Planned Parenthood came up, but were you surprised that Tim Kaine didn't spend more time going after Mike Pence and what he represents as just being a potential heartbeat away from the presidency?

Near the end of the fourth hour, Cuomo returned briefly to the subject with CNN's David Chalian as the CNN host posed:

A lot about Mike Pence with LGBT rights and Planned Parenthood didn't really come up. There were a lot left on the table maybe even for both sides. What do you think that suggests about what may be doubled up on the next time?

Below are transcripts of relevant portions of the Wednesday, October 5, New Day on CNN:

5:19 a.m. ET
CHRIS CUOMO: And yet the flood of "Trump says," Jackie, actually helped Pence out in two cases. One, he got a pass on LGBTQ last night-

JACKIE KUCINICH, DAILY BEAST: Yes.

CUOMO: -which, you know, is going to be a significant weakness for Mike Pence with a big chunk of the independent and center electorate, any of those people who are open mind. The other one was on Syria and Syrian refugees. What was your take on the points that were made and how they were handled by Pence? Because he has a bad court case that just came down from the Seventh Circuit hanging over his head about his potential treatment of Syrian refugees.

(...)

5:44 a.m. ET
ALISYN CAMEROTA: Hilary, I want to stick with you for one second because I want to know from your side if you think that Tim Kaine missed an opportunity last night to go after Mike Pence about the LGBT laws that he tried to pass in Indiana that, you know, many Democrats feel were discriminatory?

HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I thought he did a good job going after Donald Trump, and, you know, as we saw last night, Mike Pence is a skilled debater and aggressive in his own defense. I do -- I don't think that Donald Trump and Mike Pence are going to get much of the LGBT vote. I think that there are -- so I don't think he was losing much. But I do think, again, emphasizing their really, kind of, traditional, hardcore, very conservative credentials does matter, and I think going forward, as Mike Pence has a higher profile, he's going to have to answer for that as well.

CUOMO: And that's why people knew who Governor Mike Pence was. He tried to pass laws unsuccessfully that were discriminatory, not that just Democrats thought they were. But it did not come up last night. Very interesting.

6:07 a.m. ET
CUOMO: Jackie, one of the interesting dynamics was Pence was definitely not wanting to answer for a lot of what Donald Trump has said. No question. But, because of all of the, "Well, Trump said, Trump said," he got away with not having to answer for his own position on LGBTQ rights-

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.

CUOMO: -in his own state. He got away with kind of just momentarily discussing his feelings about Syrian refugees and the spanking he just got from a court in his home state.

(...)

KUCINICH: But you're right in that Mike Pence didn't have to defend his record in Indiana on Syrian refugees or on LGBTQ issues. And, but, you  have to imagine, I mean, we can do a lot of that, we can call him out for that in the press, but you would have expected in a debate of that scale to get to know these candidates a little bit better and their records, and even having the moderator draw it out, if they weren't willing to weigh in on their own records.

(...)

6:19 a.m. ET
CUOMO: So, David, could it be a net net that Pence wound up looking good for him because, in deflecting off of what Trump has said, he didn't have to deal with some of his own problems with LGBTQ positions, his Syrian refugee struggles within his own state? But it also may have made people feel like, "Well, this guy might be better than the guy at the top of the ticket"?

(...)

6:53 a.m. ET
CUOMO: It's easy to come off measured compared to Donald Trump, and Pence definiitely got some points to that. He also was given the luxury by Tim Kaine of talking about Trump all night instead of defending his own record. Tim Kaine did not bring up the LGBTQ situation for Mike Pence, which is how most of the country came to know about him. Missed opportunity?

REP. JIM HIMES (D-CT): Yeah, that's right, and, of course, you know, Governor Pence saying that we would absolutely take no Syrian refugees. I mean, I think, doing something that most Americans would say, "Wait a minute, that's a little over the top." but you're right, you know, and it did briefly come out, of course, what an aggressive stance Governor Pence takes on women's reproductive rights. That came out-

CUOMO: Planned Parenthood came up, but were you surprised that Tim Kaine didn't spend more time going after Mike Pence and what he represents as just being a potential heartbeat away from the presidency?

(...)

8:39 a.m. Et
CUOMO: A lot about Mike Pence with LGBT rights and Planned Parenthood didn't really come up. There were a lot left on the table maybe even for both sides. What do you think that suggests about what may be doubled up on the next time.

NB Daily Campaign Watch 2016 Presidential Debates Middle East Syria Immigration Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Religion Abortion Homosexuality Same-sex marriage Transgender CNN New Day Video Tim Kaine Chris Cuomo Mike Pence


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