CNN Looks to Obama to Solve Crisis of Partisanship

After quoting an op-ed which criticized President Obama for his partisanship, CNN's Carol Costello then asked her audience to chime in on how the President could "end the partisan bickering."

She appeared exasperated later in the hour when she read the responses to the question – all of them negative – and whined that there just had to be something Obama could do about America's partisan problem. "I mean, we're Americans, for god's sakes!" she exclaimed.

Costello had quoted a Washington Post op-ed that criticized Obama for "pulling a blatantly partisan stunt" in scheduling his address to Congress for the night of the Republican Presidential Debate, on September 7. "This spat sums up so well the image problems that Obama has faced since the start of his term," the article stated.

Then after reporting the White House statement on the matter, Costello sounded like a disillusioned liberal. "Yawn," she described the statement, before reporting a liberal criticism of the President. "Obama's critics say he may want to look Congress in the eye and challenge them on jobs, but any dream of bipartisanship is just naive. The Daily Beast called the President the 'wimp in the White House' for expecting Republicans to compromise.

CNN anchor Suzanne Malveaux showed some more sense on the matter, remarking that it was a "tall order" for Obama to end the partisan sniping. "You know, every President tries to do this. It doesn't happen. It doesn't work," she told Costello.

"President Bush tried it before, as well. And President Obama said he tried to do the same – it's still essentially where it is. It's a – who knows what to do," Malveaux added.

A transcript of the segment, which aired on September 1 at 11:05 a.m. EDT, is as follows:

[11:05]

SUZANNE MALVEAUX: Carol, you know, it's not surprising, but it's another ugly dust-up in Washington between the President and Congress. But this time, it's not the economy, jobs, debt, right? It's over a scheduling conflict? Really?

CAROL COSTELLO: (Laughing)

MALVEAUX: Really?!

COSTELLO: Really! I wish I could say it isn't so, but it is. You know, Suzanne, President Obama's jobs plan is not exactly off to a fantastic start. The President has already had to postpone the unveiling of his plan by 24 hours to avoid a clash with Republicans. As a Washington Post op-ed put it, "This spat sums up so well the image problems that Obama has faced since the start of his term. If the White House has spent months working to appear above the partisan fray – as they insist they have – then pulling a blatantly partisan stunt like this torpedoes all of that PR work."

And don't think the Republicans running for President didn't pile on.

(Audio Clip)

Rep. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-Minn.), GOP presidential candidate: Now does this show maybe a little insecurity on the part of the President? Either A, he wants to distract the American people so they don't watch it, he doesn't want the American people to hear what the next president of the United States is going to say about the President's job plan.

(End Clip)

COSTELLLO: Whether you think that's fair or not, it may resonate more than a statement from the White House saying, quote, "the President is welcoming the opportunity to address a joint session of Congress on Thursday, so our nation's leaders can focus 100 percent of their attention on doing whatever they can to help the American people."

Yawn. Obama's critics say he may want to look Congress in the eye and challenge them on jobs, but any dream of bipartisanship is just naive. The Daily Beast called the President the wimp in the White House for expecting Republicans to compromise. The Daily Beast says, quote, "The plan can be bold. The plan can be modest. The point is that he has to fight for it like hell. But he won't. Please Mr. President – you're the guy who ran on change. Well, change."

So the "Talk Back" today: How can Obama end the partisan bickering?

(...)

MALVEAUX: Yeah, that's a tall order to ask the President.

(...)

[11:52]

COSTELLO: Give me a solution, people! There has to be one!

MALVEAUX: You know, every President tries to do this. It doesn't happen. It doesn't work. President Bush tried it before, as well. And President Obama said he tried to do the same – it's still essentially where it is. It's a – who knows what to do.

COSTELLO: I know. There's some – there has to be something you can do, though. I mean, we're Americans, for god's sakes!

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014