Conservative columnist Rich Galen lampooned CNN for its liberal bias during his appearance on Monday's The Situation Room. During the bottom of the 4 p.m. hour, anchor Wolf Blitzer threw water on right-wing claims that President Obama is waging a "war on religion," and Galen called him out for one-sided coverage of the matter.
GOP candidate Rick Perry had recently produced a campaign ad accusing Obama of running a "war on religion." Blitzer, noting the accusation, played a moving montage of performances from Sunday's "Christmas in Washington" pageant, attended by the President, and then asked how Obama could be considered anti-Christmas if he had attended such a public display.
Galen called his bluff as he mocked the lengths CNN was willing to go to defend Obama. "CNN just couldn't be more on one side of this thing," he attested while laughing. Galen did relent to Blitzer's point that CNN had given Perry a voice by playing his campaign ad, but continued to insist that the network was biased.
Later on, Blitzer kept defending Obama as he told Galen to watch the full hour of the Christmas pageant and "You'll see if this President has a war on religion." Galen responded that "CNN has a war on Republicans is the issue."
A transcript of the segment, which aired on December 12 at 4:41 p.m. EST, is as follows:
WOLF BLITZER: All the talk, all the Republican, conservative talk about – and Rick Perry's got an ad – President Obama's "war on religion," "war on Christmas." Last night here in Washington, our sister network TNT hosted a "Christmas in Washington" pageant. I'm going to play a little excerpt, because it was, it was good. The President was there, and the First Lady, the daughters. But Justin Bieber, Cee-Lo Green, Jennifer Hudson – watch this.
BLITZER: Alright. If there's a war on religion from this President, or a war on Christmas, certainly wasn't evident at the National Building Museum in Washington.
RICH GALEN: You sure you don't want to replay the whole thing? I mean, why don't you just go ahead and play the whole hour, and we'll just stand here and watch. (Laughter)
DONNA BRAZILE: It was a beautiful ceremony.
BLITZER: I mean, it was a beautiful evening and it was –
GALEN: It was beautiful, but just please, I mean.
GALEN: CNN just couldn't be more on one side of this thing.
BLITZER: What, you think this President has a war on religion?
GALEN: No, I'm not saying that –
BLITZER: Rick Perry does.
GALEN: I'm not defending Rick Perry. Let's see what Rick Perry had to say. [Pause] Oh, you don't have it. I see. (Laughing)
BLITZER: We've had that ad from Rick Perry on several occasions.
GALEN: Okay. (Laughing)
BRAZILE: But Wolf, I think there's another issue here, and that is for years I've heard this criticism from conservatives – not Rich, but others – that somehow the liberals don't care about Christmas. We don't care about religion. We don't talk about our faith. President Obama's a man of faith, he's a man of tremendous faith. And just because he doesn't go to church every five minutes and talk about his relationship with God doesn't mean that he doesn't care about –
GALEN: I don't disagree with a single syllable you just said. But the issue has always been the whole business about you can't say "Christmas tree," you can't have a manger on public property – that's the kind of thing that gets, I think, conservatives –
BLITZER: That's what the courts can decide. By the way, if you want to see the whole hour – and I know you do, Rich –
GALEN: I do.
BLITZER: – Friday night on our sister network, TNT –
GALEN: I want to see it on your program.
BLITZER: – 8 p.m., Eastern, you'll watch it. You'll see if this President has a war on religion –
GALEN: I didn't say he did.
BLITZER: – and a war on Christmas –
BLITZER: – as some of your colleagues suggest.
GALEN: CNN has a war on Republicans is the issue.
BLITZER: Well you're here, right? Do we have a war on you?