CNN's Borger Excuses Obama's Decision Not to Meet Privately With World Leaders

CNN's Gloria Borger provided the Obama campaign spin on Tuesday afternoon, excusing the President's choice to not meet privately with any foreign leaders at this week's UN General Assembly. This despite the previous two presidents having met with world leaders at the UN during a campaign year.

"This is kind of a 'don't rock the boat' strategy. I think there's a sense that no good can come of any controversy right now," Borger explained the President's decision. However, even anchor Wolf Blitzer called it "probably a missed opportunity" for Obama, and reporter John King said even some Democrats questioned it.

What was Borger's explanation? "And that if you have one bilateral meeting, and only one bilateral meeting, you're going to get other people angry. If you have a host of bilaterals, there's more of an opportunity to get more people angry," she sounded, painting the private meetings as a lose-lose situation for Obama.

"So if you're – if you're in the Obama campaign, and you're looking at the next six weeks, you're saying why do we want to cause ourselves any problems? And that's exactly what's behind this," she continued.

Borger was not so defensive of GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan when he joined Mitt Romney's ticket, calling him a "polarizing figure" and re-airing Paul Krugman's disgusting smear of the Ryan budget. She also saw it fit to question Artur Davis' political motives when he spoke at this year's RNC after addressing the DNC in 2008.

CNN's John King addressed the concerns of "a lot of people in the foreign policy community, even Democrats" over Obama's decision to duck meetings at the summit by noting that "The new Egyptian leadership is there. The new Libyan leadership is there. The President of Afghanistan is there. You have fires burning around the world, if you will, right now."

"And I think a lot of people are saying, is the campaign really that important that he [Obama] can't spend some time eyeball-to-eyeball with those leaders?" he added.

Wolf Blitzer provided more context. "[W]hen George W. Bush was seeking re-election in 2004, he went up six weeks before the election, met with a whole bunch of world leaders. And when Bill Clinton was seeking re-election in 1996 against Bob Dole, six weeks before the election he was at the U.N. General Assembly meeting with a whole bunch of world leaders," he said.

A transcript of the segment, which aired on September 25 on The Situation Room at 4:08 p.m. EDT, is as follows:

[4:08]

JOHN KING: For a lot of people – it's not just the Republicans – a lot of people in the foreign policy community, even Democrats, quietly wondering if the President's making a mistake by not having the bilateral meetings at the U.N. General Assembly. The new Egyptian leadership is there. The new Libyan leadership is there. The President of Afghanistan is there. You have fires burning around the world, if you will, right now. And he might be President for four more years. He's certainly going to be President for the next couple of months. And I think a lot of people are saying, is the campaign really that important that he can't spend some time eyeball-to-eyeball with those leaders?

WOLF BLITZER: And Gloria, I want you to weigh in, but the fact is that when George W. Bush was seeking re-election in 2004, he went up six weeks before the election, met with a whole bunch of world leaders. And when Bill Clinton was seeking re-election in 1996 against Bob Dole, six weeks before the election he was at the U.N. General Assembly meeting with a whole bunch of world leaders.

GLORIA BORGER: This is kind of a "don't rock the boat" strategy. I think there's a sense that no good can come of any controversy right now. And that if you have one bilateral meeting, and only one bilateral meeting, you're going to get other people angry. If you have a host of bilaterals, there's more of an opportunity to get more people angry. So if you're – if you're in the Obama campaign, and you're looking at the next six weeks, you're saying why do we want to cause ourselves any problems? And that's exactly what's behind this.

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