Was Soledad O'Brien trying to hit two candidates with one stone? The CNN host combined negative poll results for Mitt Romney with a "conservative" criticism of Newt Gingrich in her tough question to Romney on Wednesday.
O'Brien quoted so-called conservative Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post, who questioned Romney's appeal to voters when "far less perfect" Newt Gingrich is still garnering support "against all reason." O'Brien pressed Romney "How do you fix that?"
CNN recently caught an earful from GOP Senator David Vitter, who asserted that "the good news is" Republican voters and not CNN will determine the party's nominee for president. The fact that CNN quotes criticisms like Parker's in live interviews insinuates that the network is branding certain candidates, like Gingrich, as losers when most of the states haven't even held primaries yet.
Before she quoted Parker, O'Brien cited a Pew poll that had asked participants if a candidate was "understanding the needs of average Americans." Barack Obama was rated at 55 percent, while Mitt Romney fell behind at 39 percent. O'Brien used that statistic to buttress her question about Romney's appearance to average voters.
A brief transcript of the segment, which aired on February 1 at 7:22 a.m. EST, is as follows:
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: (to Mitt Romney) Let me ask you a final question. And there's a poll that came out of Pew that says "understanding the needs of average Americans." And President Obama rates at 55 percent in this polling. You come in at 39 percent.
And the conservative writer, Kathleen Parker, wrote about, you know, it's that Romney can't connect with the people as has been – "It isn't that Romney can't connect with the people as has been pronounced repeatedly. It's that the people cannot connect with him. This also explains why the far less perfect Newt Gingrich can attract support against all reason." How do you fix that?