CNN's Cafferty: 'Are Republican Debate Crowds Bloodthirsty?'

CNN's Jack Cafferty smeared entire crowds of people who attended recent GOP debates when he asked on Tuesday if they were "bloodthirsty."

"For the third time in as many debates, crowd members have either booed or cheered at what some say are highly inappropriate moments," Cafferty stated. He slammed both the crowd behavior and the Republican candidates for not denouncing such antics.

Cafferty's three examples of crowd behavior were when audience members cheered at "what some say are highly inappropriate moments." Two of the examples featured only a couple of rogue audience members; the third involved much of the audience applauding Rick Perry's support for capital punishment.

When a gay soldier asked a question of the candidates about their military policy toward gays and lesbians, a couple of audience members booed. Cafferty apparently indicted the crowds for this, as he included it in his list of examples of their "bloodthirsty" behavior.

Cafferty also mentioned when candidate Ron Paul was posed with a hypothetical situation involving an uninsured man on death's door. When Paul was asked if the state should let him die without covering his medical bills, a couple of crowd members shouted in the affirmative.

Only the third case involved what seemed to be most of the audience, as they applauded Rick Perry's number of executions as Texas governor.

"You know, it's bad enough for these morons that interrupt these proceedings with this kind of stupidity," Cafferty ranted. "What's worse is the candidates don't at the time say, you know what? You don't speak for anybody in this room, and just sit down and shut up, or get out of the hall. But nobody says a word."

A transcript of the segment, which aired on September 27 at 6:14 p.m. EDT, is as follows:

JACK CAFFERTY: The Republican presidential debates are turning into lively affairs – maybe too lively. For the third time in as many debates, crowd members have either booed or cheered at what some say are highly inappropriate moments.

Most recently, former Senator Rick Santorum was asked about the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. When an openly-gay soldier asked what the candidates' intentions were for gays in the military, members of the crowd booed loudly. After the fact, Santorum said he condemned those who booed the gay soldier. And he said he didn't hear the boos in the debate hall.

In another debate, Rick Perry was asked about the death penalty, and the more than 200 executions that have happened under his watch as Texas governor. The crowd cheered that question. In another GOP debate, the crowd got worked up when Ron Paul was asked a hypothetical question about a 30-year-old uninsured man who gets cancer. The crowd cheered when Paul was asked if that man should be allowed to die.

President Obama has criticized the reaction of some of these audience members at the GOP debates, and Vice President Joe Biden called the booing of the gay soldier “reprehensible.”

Politico asks in an online conversation if the GOP debate crowds are bloodthirsty.

Critics say these debates promote extremism within the Republican Party, and show that the “the mean season is upon us.” They fault the candidates themselves for not stamping out the behavior when it happens. And they should. Also, some suggested the booing or cheering could turn off moderate and swing voters in the general election. And it should.

Here’s the question: Are Republican debate crowds bloodthirsty?

(...)

CAFFERTY: You know, it's bad enough for these morons that interrupt these proceedings with this kind of stupidity. What's worse is the candidates don't at the time say, you know what? You don't speak for anybody in this room, and just sit down and shut up, or get out of the hall. But nobody says a word.

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