Tapper Lets al-Jazeera Host Wrongly Say Bloomberg Was in GOP for 'Many, Many Years'

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Remember the CNN motto "Facts First"? On Tuesday's The Lead with Jake Tapper, during a panel discussion of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders's and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's campaigns for the Democratic presidential nomination, no one corrected far-left guest Mehdi Hasan of al-Jazeera America when he bolstered Sanders by wrongly claiming Bloomberg was a Republican "for many, many years until 2018."

In fact, Bloomberg had been a lifelong Democrat until 2001 when he switched to the Republican party to get elected mayor, but then left the party six years later to become an independent -- presumably to align himself with the Democratic city council so its members would allow him to serve a third term.

Tapper set up the battle between Sanders and Bloomberg by recalling:

JAKE TAPPER: One of the ways that Sanders is really going after Bloomberg is about these entitlement programs -- social safety net programs. Bloomberg says he wants to expand Medicare and create a government-backed savings plan to help people save for retirement. But Sanders is pointing out that Bloomberg in 2012 supported cutting these safety net programs. Take a listen.

After a clip was played of Bloomberg advocating entitlement reform in 2012, Hasan exaggerated the former New York mayor's Republican history:

MEHDI HASAN, THE INTERCEPT: Bloomberg has a long record of calling for entitlement cuts. Under Obama, he said Obama didn't go far enough. He was a Republican for many, many years until 2018. It's not surprising he supports austerity and cuts to these programs. The Bernie Sanders team used that attack line very well against Joe Biden pre the last two primaries, so I don't see -- obviously, they're going to use it again against Bloomberg. He's even worse than Biden on all of these issues.

Hasan scolded the media for being reluctant to label Sanders the "frontrunner," leading to a back and forth as Tapper bragged about doing so himself. 

The frequent liberal guest soon complained that Bloomberg had not been supportive enough of Barack Obama when he was President: "He didn't endorse Obama in 2008. He only reluctantly endorsed Obama in 2012. And in 2016, he blamed Obama for racial division in the country after Trump was elected."

Host Tapper not only did not correct Hasan's exaggeration of Bloomberg's Republican history, but instead bolstered the claim as he turned to right-leaning panel member Bill Kristol and posed: "Bill Kristol, there are a lot of homeless Republicans like you who like the idea of Bloomberg."

Hasan then exclaimed: "Because he's a Republican!"

Instead of seriously setting the record straight, Kristol just joked about Bloomberg's ads making it look like Bloomberg was supportive of President Obama.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Tuesday, February 18, The Lead with Jake Tapper on CNN:

JAKE TAPPER: One of the ways that Sanders is really going after Bloomberg is about these entitlement programs -- social safety net programs. Bloomberg says he wants to expand Medicare and create a government-backed savings plan to help people save for retirement. But Sanders is pointing out that Bloomberg in 2012 supported cutting these safety net programs. Take a listen.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (NEW YORK MAYOR) (on CBS This Morning in 2012): -- ways to slowly decrease the benefits or raise the eligibility age for Medicare and for Social Security. There are ways to have more copay on Medicaid, which will do two things. One, the users of the service will pay a little more. Two, they'll think twice before they use services.

MEHDI HASAN, THE INTERCEPT: Bloomberg has a long record of calling for entitlement cuts. Under Obama, he said Obama didn't go far enough. He was a Republican for many, many years until 2018. It's not surprising he supports austerity and cuts to these programs. The Bernie Sanders team used that attack line very well against Joe Biden pre the last two primaries, so I don't see -- obviously, they're going to use it again against Bloomberg. He's even worse than Biden on all of these issues.

I think the poll that you've referred is very important. I mean, Bernie Sanders, a year ago, had been written of by everyone. He's now the clear undisputed frontrunner.

TAPPER: Not by everyone.

HASAN: Not by everyone. Jake, I think you --

TAPPER: I've called him the frontrunner many times.

HASAN: You and I had a discussion many times, but, in general, if you go back and read what people are saying, they thought he was finished. It was going to be Warren on the left, Biden had it locked up. All wrong -- 31 percent in an eight-way race is pretty astonishing, no matter what you think of him. Just on Bloomberg very quickly. A lot of people are, you know, a friend of mine -- a mother said, you know, "I like Bloomberg."

And when she was asked why, "Because of all those ads with him and Obama," which are so disingenuous because he didn't endorse Obama in 2008. He only reluctantly endorsed Obama in 2012. And in 2016, he blamed Obama for racial division in the country after Trump was elected. So these ads are shameless, but they are working because there are so many of them.

TAPPER: Bill Kristol, there are a lot of homeless Republicans like you who like the idea of Bloomberg.

HASAN: Because he's a Republican!

NB Daily 2020 Presidential Budget Medicare Medicaid Social Security Health Care Medical Insurance Liberals & Democrats Video Jake Tapper Barack Obama Bernie Sanders Michael Bloomberg


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