CNN anchor Don Lemon was letting his personal ardor for Barack Obama hang out in the 7 pm hour on Saturday night. He attacked Rep. Joe Wilson and implied racism was a factor in his outburst. Get a load of these teases before commercials:
The president knew the stakes before he addressed Congress on Wednesday, but he could not have imagined it would be a Republican congressman from South Carolina that would steal the headlines, and really he would do something that was very rude and uncalled for. What was behind Joe Wilson’s outburst? And has it changed how opponents on either side will behave in the future? We’re talking about that.
....What about name calling? A member of Congress calling the president a liar. Town hallers, yelling at lawmakers, carrying guns to rallies, refusing to let kids hear the Commander-in-Chief, and on and on and on. What’s behind it? Is it racial? Yeah, I said it. And we’re going to talk about it.
The screen during that tease read "MOTIVATED BY RACE."
Lemon interviewed Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer and leftist columnist David Sirota -- except Lemon was too busy demanding a party-wide apology from Greer to speak to Sirota. Lemon began by asserting the outrage at Joe Wilson’s remark was unanimous wherever he was:
I’m watching the president’s speech with my family, home for a family [event]. The entire family, white and black, in the family. And when that happened [the ‘You Lie!’], everyone gasped. And I’ve gotten the same reaction from every single person I’ve run into in the airport, the supermarket. Everyone’s like – ‘How disrespectful of him to do that!’ If you don’t agree with the president’s policies, that’s one thing. But you should respect the office.
That wasn’t a question, it was a lecture. But Greer said Wilson was wrong, and that Wilson apologized. Lemon protested it wasn’t really an apology, since he suggested the party leadership urged him to call the White House. Then Lemon expressed disbelief that anyone might defend Wilson. He couldn’t imagine that Obama had just finished denouncing the entire conservative side as lying about the Democratic health care bills:
Why hasn’t there been a call by all the members, all the GOP, saying ‘you know what? This is –‘ Why haven’t you denounced? Some people are defending him! How can you defend that!?
Sirota tried to answer, and Lemon cut him off: "David, I want to get to Jim, as Jim is a Republican and I wanna know from a Republican, why not?"
Since he’d already denounced Wilson’s remarks as wrong, Greer tried to explain why someone would defend Wilson: "He’s tapped into the frustration of many Americans." Lemon interrupted: "But that is an excuse! That is an excuse! And the reason I say that, hang on. People defend him all the way up to the top." Lemon claimed RNC chairman Michael Steele was defending Wilson, and then played a video clip where Steele said Wilson was wrong, and it’s over.
Lemon couldn’t stop asking: "Again, why hasn’t the GOP en massse said hey? What haven’t you denounced this guy?"
Lemon was so upset at the disrespect for Obama, he went on to denounce Republicans tapping at a BlackBerry or holding a sign during the speech. "I was floored by that!"