On Wednesday's The Situation Room on CNN, during the roundtable segment, Jack Cafferty charged that Hillary Clinton's recent contention that she would be best prepared to deal with a terrorist attack amounted to "the same boogeyman fearmongering garbage we've had from the Bush administration for the last five years." He added that "it isn't the terrorists that are going to take this country down. We're doing a good job of that all by ourselves." (Transcript follows)
Cafferty also lamented that Republican candidates were talking about issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, and the Confederate flag, which he called "the same crap that we hear every election cycle." He went on to recommend both spending cuts and tax increases to improve the economy. Notably, Cafferty's reference to the Confederate flag gave an impression that he saw one of the candidates pushing the issue, when in reality, as reported by CNN's John King at about 4:30 p.m., the discussion of the Confederate flag consisted of a few people protesting outside, and a man in John McCain's town hall meeting audience bringing up the subject and complaining about the Arizona Senator's opposition to the flag's display above South Carolina's state capitol, with McCain defiantly standing by his opposition. Cafferty also neglected to mention that McCain has been talking about fighting against wasteful spending, which is consistent with some of what Cafferty was pushing for.
Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Wednesday January 16 The Situation Room on CNN, including parts of the roundtable segment, and John King's report on McCain from earlier in the show:
WOLF BLITZER: All right, does she have it right, Jack, Hillary Clinton, when she says that whoever is the next President is going to immediately be tested by al-Qaeda and the bad guys and that she would be ready to take charge and deal with that threat on day one in the White House?
JACK CAFFERTY: Well, let's just hope whoever is President won't continue to sit and read My Pet Goat if it happens. It'll probably happen. This is the same boogeyman fearmongering garbage we've had from the Bush administration for the last five years. Wrap your house in clear plastic sheeting and duct tape because there's terrorists hiding under your bed. We'll probably be attacked again. Britain was attacked. Britain is still there. The prime minister is still doing his job. The country is still functioning. And this country will survive, too. It isn't the terrorists that are going to take this country down. We're doing a good job of that all by ourselves.
CAFFERTY: Well, you know, Romney may be able to capitalize on his background as a businessman, but the legacy that is our current set of economic problems is largely the result of Republican policies that have been in place for the last six years. I listened to the show today. I heard McCain talking about he's proud of his record on abortion. I heard Huckabee wants to amend the Constitution to put God in it in some way. I heard somebody else talking about flying a Confederate flag over a courthouse. Marriage is between a man, it's the same crap that we hear every election cycle. And no one is talking about the kinds of spending cuts and tax increases and sacrifices that the American public are going to have to make if they want to keep this country from sliding off into Third World status at some point.
JOHN KING: [McCain] knows full well he needs to get his campaign back on track here in South Carolina. He has flatly said today that he will win South Carolina on Saturday. To get the votes here in this conservative state, he's appealing to the large veteran population, stressing his credentials, both serving in the Navy and what he believes are his unique credentials to lead the war on terror. He's also appealing to fiscal conservatives here, saying he has a record of fighting pork barrel spending back in Washington and would use the veto pen aggressively to wipe out any wasteful spending passed by Congress. But at the beginning of both of his events so far here today, something you don't always hear in public from John McCain, a passionate defense of what he says his lifelong opposition to abortion.
JOHN MCCAIN: I'm proud of my pro-life record of 24 years in the United States Congress.
MCCAIN: I believe in protecting the rights of the unborn. I have a consistent, unwavering voting record.
KING: McCain telling us after one event that he is doing that at the top of his speeches because of phone calls and some mailings being done here in South Carolina questioning his commitment to the anti-abortion cause. So Senator McCain says he needs to do that to appeal to conservatives here. Tough questions about immigration at a town hall here the senator saying he gets the message from his previous support of allowing illegal immigrants to stay. He says he would now secure the borders first and then worry about the rest. And, Wolf, one ghost of the campaign from eight years ago. Back then, John McCain angered many conservatives in this state by opposing the flying of the Confederate flag above the South Carolina Statehouse. Listen to this exchange at a town hall.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN IN AUDIENCE: You came out in favor of removal of the Confederate battle flag when 76 percent of Republicans in this state, when polled, said they wanted it to stay on the capitol dome. What's your answer for that?
MCCAIN: My answer, sir, is that I cannot be more proud of the overwhelming majority of the people of this state who have joined together, taken that flag off the top of the capitol, put it into the place where it belongs.
KING: After that event, McCain saying the applause at that town hall convinces him that most conservatives stand with him on that issue, and that the people of South Carolina, Wolf, want to leave the flag controversy behind them. Again, the Senator campaigning aggressively. He will be here through Saturday. He says he must win, he knows he must win, and he says he will win.