CNN Slobbers Over 'Star' DNC Keynote Speaker

In a pathetic display of adulation for a Democratic "star," CNN aired a total puff piece about the keynote speaker for the upcoming Democratic National Convention, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro. Correspondent Rafael Romo's report dripped with praise for the "very successful" Castro.

Romo hailed Castro as a "very successful mayor" and a "young charismatic Latino leader" who is "media savvy," with an "only in America" story. Anchor Suzanne Malveaux wondered if he had future presidential aspirations.

"He is pretty young. Are people looking at him as potentially a future candidate, presidential candidate perhaps?" Malveaux asked. "[H]e is definitely a star in the Democratic Party," answered Romo, who then tempered Malveaux's expectations.

Castro was compared to Republican Senator Marco Rubio (Fla.). "And he is very different than Marco Rubio, who the Republicans have pushed out there as someone who's representing the Hispanic community," Malveaux prodded Romo.

"So it is just incredible that in only two generations you go from poverty to having two children who went to Stanford and also he graduated from Harvard Law School together with his brother, Joaquin," Romo said of Castro and his family. "And also he's been a very successful mayor and that's probably one of the reasons why he was selected."

"It's a golden opportunity for Julian Castro, who is only 37 years old," hyped Romo at the beginning of his piece..

A transcript of the segment, which aired on CNN Newsroom on August 2 at 1:32 p.m. EDT, is as follows:

(Video Clip)

JULIAN CASTRO, (D), mayor of San Antonio, Texas, and keynote speaker at DNC: Hey, everybody. I'm Julian Castro.

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN senior Latin-American correspondent (voice- over): It's a golden opportunity for Julian Castro, who is only 37 years old.

(Music playing)

(Cheering)

ROMO: The Mayor of San Antonio was selected this week to deliver the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in September, the first Hispanic to do so.

CASTRO: It's a real honor to get to speak on behalf of re-electing President Obama. I believe that he's done a terrific job for the United States, considering where we were when he started and where we are now.

ROMO: But being the mayor of the seventh most populous city in America and a young charismatic Latino leader may not be enough.

CASTRO: I know I've got some big shoes to fill. Two conventions ago, the keynote speaker was a guy named Barack Obama.

ROMO: Analysts say there will be a lot of pressure on Castro to hit a homerun.

JAMES CARVILLE, Democratic political strategist: He will have this problem. Expectations for him are going to be sky high. He looks like the kind of man who can meet those expectations, but no one is coming into this thing expecting just an okay speech.

(Applause)

ROMO: Castro, who is also the youngest mayor of a major American city, has shown before that he is media savvy. When basketball star Charles Barkley suggested San Antonio had more than its share of overweight women, instead of demanding an apology, Castro fired back with this video that went viral.

CASTRO: We have four NBA championship rings and on our way to the fifth, and you -- okay.

ROMO (on camera): Obama has honored Castro before. The President selected Castro to sit with the First Lady at this year's State of the Union address just weeks after San Antonio was ranked the top performing local economy by the Milkin Institute. The Obama campaign also named Castro co-chairman.

(voice-over): (Applause) Castro, a graduate of Stanford and Harvard Law School, says he is a strong believer in affirmative action, a policy he says gave him and his identical twin brother, Joaquin, the opportunity to attend two of the most prestigious colleges in the world. After alienating some Latinos with massive deportations, the President is trying to court again a voting bloc that heavily favored him in 2008.

(End Video Clip)

MALVEAUX: Rafael joins us now. A lot of people don't know this mayor. I have a lot of relatives in San Antonio, so they know who this guy is. But he doesn't really have a big national footprint if you will. So tell us who he is a little bit, and what kind of impact this might have for him.

ROMO: Well, he has one of those only in America kind of stories. His mother actually ran for the city council at a time when it was very difficult for Hispanics to actually enter politics. His grandmother came from Mexico when she was six, after becoming an orphan, and never had anything more than a third-grade education, worked as a cook, a maid, a babysitter. And so it is just incredible that in only two generations you go from poverty to having two children who went to Stanford, and also he graduated from Harvard Law School together with his brother, Joaquin. So that's probably one of the reasons. And also he's been a very successful mayor and that's probably one of the reasons why he was selected.

MALVEAUX: He is pretty young. Are people looking at him as potentially a future candidate, presidential candidate perhaps?

ROMO: Well, he is definitely a star in the Democratic Party. He, as you said, very young. He was in his late 20s when he successfully ran for city council in San Antonio.

But when you take a look at the big picture, it is probably too early to tell which way he is going to go. You would probably want to have him have more experience in maybe the governor's office or run for the Senate. His brother is running, apparently, has a very good chance of winning the 20th Congressional district in Texas. So both brothers are very involved in politics and also very successful as well.

MALVEAUX: And he is very different than Marco Rubio, who the Republicans have pushed out there as somebody who's representing the Hispanic community.

ROMO: He has very much aligned himself with the politics of the Democratic Party. He has become supportive of things like affirmative action. Also, he says he benefitted from affirmative action. Also, he has a more liberal stance when it comes to immigration. And when you look at the numbers and the fact that President Obama won the election in 2008 with 67 percent of the Latino vote, it is easy to tell why he was selected, because President Obama's trying to court the Latino voting bloc.

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