CNN Tees Up John McCain to Bash Republicans for Partisanship

CNN's Chris Cuomo teed up Sen. John McCain to bash fellow Republicans on Monday's New Day, for putting partisanship before the country on Syria and the budget.

"Do you believe if there were President Romney that members of your party would have the same resistance to going in that they are showing right now?" Cuomo pressed McCain on a Syria intervention. Would Cuomo ask if Democrats were supporting President Obama's foreign policy purely out of partisanship?

McCain responded that "probably some" Republicans oppose intervention in Syria "just because they dislike President Obama." That enabled Cuomo to continue putting the GOP on the hot seat, this time over the budget battle.

"I wonder if Syria aside, because it does seem the urgency has been taken out of the situation, is what we are seeing politically here a window into just this circus that's going to happen here domestically with the spending bills and the politics there? If they're playing politics on something like whether or not to help a humanitarian situation, what happens when it comes to dollars and cents in the budget?"

Again, Cuomo didn't ask conversely if President Obama was being partisan by refusing to negotiate with Congress on the debt ceiling. Yet McCain again called out some Republicans to get in line and support raising the debt ceiling:

"I think we're in for some very serious problems here, and I think that Republicans ought to understand that if we shut down the government, Congress always gets blamed, rightly or wrongly, Congress gets blamed."

It's not the first time Cuomo's called out Republicans for partisanship.

Later on, Cuomo showered praise on McCain for being "non-partisan" and framed him as a courageous senator risking defeat at the polls:

"[Y]ou have your positions, you have your strength about the ideas of a military action being what will be the game changer in Syria. But are you worried about the political costs to you of staking out non-partisan positions?"

Below is a transcript of the segment, which aired on September 16 on New Day at 7:15 p.m. EDT:

[7:15]

CHRIS CUOMO: You think that your view is suffering from politics here domestically? Do you believe if there were President Romney that members of your party would have the same resistance to going in that they are showing right now?

Sen. JOHN MCCAIN (R-Ariz.): I think there is probably some, Chris, in all honesty, that just because they dislike President Obama. But I think that the President went to the American people saying two things – one, I want to strike, two, I want to pause. That's a very confused message to give the American people when he spoke to the American people. I think that if he had acted, he had the authority to do so. Ronald Reagan invaded Grenada one night. Bill Clinton did carry out strikes. Every president has, but once he decided to go to the Congress, it's the first time in history a president has announced he's going to act militarily then turn around and said he had to go to Congress to get their permission.

CUOMO: We were just talking about this because I wonder if Syria aside, because it does seem the urgency has been taken out of the situation, is what we are seeing politically here a window into just this circus that's going to happen here domestically with the spending bills and the politics there? If they're playing politics on something like whether or not to help a humanitarian situation, what happens when it comes to dollars and cents in the budget?

MCCAIN: I think we're in for some very serious problems here, and I think that Republicans ought to understand that if we shut down the government, Congress always gets blamed, rightly or wrongly, Congress gets blamed. And we've seen the movie before. Just some of them weren't around at the time. I was.

BOLDUAN: What do you think – the President in his interview with ABC over the weekend said that he is not going to be negotiating around the debt ceiling. Where are you on that?

MCCAIN: I think that the President has the ability to say what he wants to say, but there is going to have to be some negotiations. But there has got to be a willingness to negotiate because we all know that we're not going to cut off Social Security checks. We're not going to cut off the salary and payment to the men and women who are fighting in Afghanistan. It's not going to happen and for us to say that you've got to repeal Obamacare in order to get that done as Charles Krauthammer said, that's a suicide note. That's the best depiction I can have, and I hope my colleagues in the House who believe that we need to shut down the government will understand that that's not what the American – they hate government, but they don't want it to stop functioning.

BOLDUAN: That's a good point. I want to get your take finally on some of the news coming out this morning about the fed chairmanship, Larry Summers taking his name out of contention, good move, bad move? What do you make of it?

MCCAIN: That's one of the things I've stayed out of. I admire Larry Summers. He has served honorably. He has obviously picked up enemies on the way, but this was more inside the Democratic party issue than it was to do with Republicans.

BOLDUAN: Do you think – we talk about these nominations once in a while. And I think you are in the camp of a president should have his advisers that he wants surrounding him and his –

MCCAIN: Unless it's extraordinary circumstances. Elections have consequences as I found out to my sorrow.

(Laughter)

CUOMO: Are you worried that with all of this you know, you have been incredibly – you have your positions, you have your strength about the ideas of a military action being what will be the game changer in Syria. But are you worried about the political costs to you of staking out non-partisan positions? You have been doing it more and more. You have been attacking me all along the way, I want to point that out.

MCCAIN: Well deserved.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

CUOMO: You've turned my whole family against me. Good job. But do you feel that – what does that mean to you? Why are you doing this? Are you are worried about your own political future?

MCCAIN: The one thing – I paid a visit to Syria and I met these brave people, and I saw the carnage. I talked to a group of young women in a refugee camp that were gang raped. And that is Bashar Assad's indoctrination. I saw these orphans. I saw a young woman who was a teacher said Senator McCain, you see these children all running around here, there's thousands of them. She said they're going to take revenge on the people who they believe abandoned them and refused to help them. You know, I will admit to emotional attachment to the tragedy that continues to go on and us watching it go by, and if that's a fault, then I plead guilty.

BOLDUAN: Senator, it's great to have you here in the studio. It's great to have you on the show all the time, but a special treat this morning.

CUOMO: Good luck with the fights abroad and at home that are upcoming.
 

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