CNN's Wolf Blitzer Defends Al Gore's 'Creating the Internet' Statement

Appearing on CNN's Reliable Sources Sunday to mark the 10th anniversary of becoming host of CNN's Late Edition, Wolf Blitzer defended Al Gore's famous statement that he "took the initiative in creating the Internet," as the CNN anchor argued that Gore's words, which came during a March 1999 interview with Blitzer, were "misreported" and "twisted" by the media. Blitzer: "It never dawned on me that that would be exploded and, to a certain degree, misreported on what he said. He never said, 'I invented the Internet,' although that headline was so damaging to him, as a result of that interview."

After host Howard Kurtz asked if the media "kind of twisted the meaning of the words," Blitzer agreed with that assessment, and credited Gore with work in Congress that "resulted in a lot of other people creating the Internet." Blitzer: "Yes, yes. Because if you look precisely at what he said ... when he was a member of the Congress, he did take the initiative in passing the legislation that eventually resulted in a lot of other people creating the Internet, not necessarily him. But all of it, as you correctly point out, was lost because the headline was 'I invented the Internet.' And that really, that really hurt him a lot." (Transcript follows)

Video of Blitzer's question and Gore's response, from a March 9, 1999, primetime edition of Late Edition, can be seen in the March 12, 1999, CyberAlert here.

Below is a complete transcript of the exchange from the Sunday, July 6, Reliable Sources on CNN:

HOWARD KURTZ: I had not realized it until recently, that when you interviewed Al Gore back in the 2000 campaign, that the famous phrase that has always been affixed to him, "inventing the Internet," came in an interview with you. Was it some sort of trick question that you drew this out of him?

WOLF BLITZER: No, it was a simple question: What makes you different than his opponent for the Democratic nomination, Senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey? And I wanted him to give me some examples why he thought he'd be better to be the Democratic nominee than Senator Bradley. And then, at some point, he started talking about, I took the initiative in, to create, I don't remember the exact phrase, to create the Internet. But it never dawned on me that that would be exploded and, to a certain degree, misreported on what he said. He never said, "I invented the Internet," although that headline was so damaging to him, as a result of that interview.

KURTZ: So you think the media kind of twisted the meaning of the words?

BLITZER: Yes, yes. Because if you look precisely at what he said, he was very precise -- and, as you know, Al Gore is a very precise guy -- when he was a member of the Congress, he did take the initiative in passing the legislation that eventually resulted-

KURTZ: Yes, but all that got lost.

BLITZER: -in a lot of other people creating the Internet, not necessarily him. But all of it, as you correctly point out, was lost because the headline was "I invented the Internet." And that really, that really hurt him a lot.