Wolf Blitzer, on Friday’s "The Situation Room," conducted a softball interview of Arianna Huffington, helping her to promote her new book, "Right is Wrong: How the Lunatic Fringe Hijacked America, Shredded the Constitution, and Made Us All Less Safe," and asking her for her take on the three presidential candidates. He failed to identify her "Huffington Post" website, "one of the most popular websites," as he put it, as a liberal stomping ground, and basically sucked up to her during the entire segment. "I read ‘Huffington Post.’ I read your blog on Huffington Post all the time." Also, "You've really created an enormous success with HuffingtonPost.com, in part because everyone there seems to be blunt, honest. They don't hedge."
Blitzer’s gentle treatment of Huffington could be put into the context of what happened two days later. The Fishbowl DC blog exposed that on Sunday night, Blitzer himself appeared at Huffington’s "Right Is Wrong" book release party, which major Democratic contributor Beth Dozoretz held at her home [see picture above, via Fishbowl DC].
After giving his "I read Huffington Post" endorsement, Blitzer threw a series of softballs on her new book. "Your book is subtitled, ‘How the Lunatic Fringe Hijacked America.’ Who's the lunatic fringe?" Then, "Like who? Like who do you mean specifically?" And finally, "And you're suggesting in your subtitle of the book that they also shredded the Constitution and made us all less safe. Are these the same people?"
Speaking of a "lunatic fringe," the most recent example of the Huffington Post’s contributors being so "blunt" and "honest" is Jeffrey Feldman comparing Rush Limbaugh’s "Operation Chaos" to the "radio broadcasts that incited violence in Rwanda and Kenya." Only a few months ago in September 2007, the MRC’s Tim Graham detailed "Huffington’s House of Horrors: A Compendium of Far-Left Flame-Throwing, Name-Calling, and Attack-Dogging."
Earlier, at the beginning of the interview, Blitzer asked Huffington, "[L]et's talk about Hillary Clinton. What's wrong with her?" Her reply consisted entirely of comparing the New York senator to Karl Rove. "Well, she has really taken a page out of Karl Rove's play book, when it comes to her advertising especially. The ad -- the ‘3:00 a.m.’ ad -- basically was straight out of the ‘04 campaign against John Kerry.... And then, on the eve of the Pennsylvania primary, we had the Osama ad appear, which is again straight out of the ‘04 Karl Rove playbook."
Blitzer then asked her McCain and Obama. She repeated the standard liberal talking point that a McCain presidency would be a "third Bush term," and that she has "a whole chapter in my book called ‘John McCain: Hijacked By the Right,’ because on every major issue, he has basically surrendered -- on tax cuts, on immigration, even on torture." She had noted earlier that she hadn’t endorsed any of the candidates, but she all but gave Obama her endorsement. "I definitely believe that the key thing right now is for the Democrats to rally, preferably around Barack Obama."
The full transcript of Blitzer’s interview of Huffington, which began 13 minutes into the 5 pm hour of Friday’s "The Situation Room:"
WOLF BLITZER: She's editor-in-chief of one of the most popular websites, thehuffingtonpost.com, and now she has a brand new book out called ‘Right is Wrong: How the Lunatic Fringe Hijacked America, Shredded the Constitution, and Made Us All Less Safe.’ Arianna Huffington is joining us now in ‘The Situation Room.’ Arianna, congratulations on the new book. Thanks for coming in.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: Thanks a lot, Wolf.
BLITZER: You've really created an enormous success with HuffingtonPost.com, in part because everyone there seems to be blunt, honest. They don't hedge. So I'm going to ask you your thoughts right now on these candidates. What do you -- and I don't think you've endorsed anyone yet, have you?
HUFFINGTON: I haven't endorsed. The site has not endorsed. But in my writing, I have definitely been more critical of Hillary Clinton.
BLITZER: All right, let's talk about Hillary Clinton. What's wrong with her?
HUFFINGTON: Well, she has really taken a page out of Karl Rove's play book, when it comes to her advertising especially. The ad -- the ‘3:00 a.m.’ ad -- basically was straight out of the ‘04 campaign against John Kerry. The assumption was that if people elected Obama they would not be as safe as they would be if they elected her -- their children would not be as safe. And then, on the eve of the Pennsylvania primary, we had the Osama ad appear, which is again straight out of the ‘04 Karl Rove playbook.
BLITZER: That was the Osama ad, as you say, where they showed a brief little picture of him when she was talking about dangers facing the United States?
HUFFINGTON: Right. But, you know, Wolf, it can be a brief little picture, but it's a very powerful symbol, as you know, in America. And no matter how bad the economy gets, I really believe that, in the end, every election after 9/11 is going to be a national security election, and manipulating the electorate's fears has been key to the reelection of George Bush.
BLITZER: All right. What do you think about Barack Obama?
HUFFINGTON: I think Barack Obama had a really bad week thanks to Reverend Wright. And he's put it behind him and it seems like the media have also put it behind him. So Indiana is going to be key for him. But in the end, the math is still with him and the superdelegates are still going his way.
BLITZER: Why is John McCain doing as well in these polls as he seems to be doing, given the right track/wrong track numbers? For example, when people are asked, is the country moving in the right direction or the wrong direction, 70 percent now think the country is moving in a bad direction.
HUFFINGTON: This is one of the big questions, Wolf, and that will determine what happens in '08. I have a whole chapter in my book called ‘John McCain: Hijacked By the Right,’ because on every major issue, he has basically surrendered -- on tax cuts, on immigration, even on torture. He has embraced George Bush's position. On immigration, he has gone against George Bush, but he has embraced the right's position. So, basically, here is the man who wants to prolong the war in Iraq, who whatever happens, somehow he explains it as a positive thing in Iraq. Right now, he's told us that the latest bout of violence in Iraq is a spike that was to be expected as things are improving. It's a little bit like arguing with Marxists. You know, whatever happens for him, as for George Bush, being in Iraq is a matter of faith, not a matter of facts.
BLITZER: It sounds to me...
HUFFINGTON: And so everything can be justified.
BLITZER: It sounds to me, Arianna -- and correct me if I'm wrong. If you had to vote right now -- and you don't, obviously, but if you did, it looks like Barack Obama would be your candidate.
HUFFINGTON: Yes. Oh, definitely. I mean I think that -- I definitely believe that the key thing right now is for the Democrats to rally, preferably around Barack Obama, but definitely rally around their nominee and unmask John McCain, because this country cannot afford a third Bush term.
BLITZER: I read ‘Huffington Post.’ I read your blog on Huffington Post all the time. One of the things you rail against is that we have moved -- when I say we, the mainstream media, if you will, we've moved away from covering the war in Iraq and you're angry about that. Explain what's going on, from your perspective.
HUFFINGTON: Well, the war in Iraq, Wolf, really affects everything. It hurts our safety. I don't like the way that the war in Iraq is covered in isolation. And we are in Iraq, which means we don't have sufficient forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan, in terms of protecting ourselves from the reconstituted al Qaeda in Pakistan. So here we are. We have the commanders on the ground in Afghanistan saying that we need to widen the war there, because in Pakistan, al Qaeda is actually working on credible threats against the West right now. And yet the White House -- no matter what they say about listening to their commanders on the ground -- are not listening to them. Iraq is an obsession for the White House. I wish it would be an obsession for the media, because that's the only way to let the American people know the truth. Look at the Pentagon military analysts continuing to pass misinformation to the American people through the American media.
BLITZER: Your book is subtitled, ‘How the Lunatic Fringe Hijacked America.’ Who's the lunatic fringe?
HUFFINGTON: The lunatic fringe is the right -- the extreme right of the Republican Party -- not at all the entire Republican Party. There are many disaffected Republicans, as you know, Wolf. It's basically the people who believe in torture and don't believe in evolution.
BLITZER: Like who? Like who do you mean specifically?
HUFFINGTON: Well, obviously, all the obvious people, of the Rush Limbaughs, the Sean Hannitys, the Ann Coulters. But, also, the Dick Cheneys, the Wolfowitzs, the Richard Perles, all the neo-cons, including Bill Krisol, who basically promises that the war was going to be cheap and easy and have never been accountable when the war became a $3 trillion disaster that has affected the American people and is really breaking the American military.
BLITZER: And you're suggesting in your subtitle of the book that they also shredded the Constitution and made us all less safe. Are these the same people?
HUFFINGTON: They're all the same people. And, unfortunately, as the center has expanded -- and a lot of people now, the majority of the American people are accepting positions that used to be seen as left-wing -- you know, bringing the troops home, universal health care, doing something about global warming. The right is marginalized, but yet continues to dominate the debate and set the agenda.
BLITZER: The book is entitled ‘Right is Wrong: How the Lunatic Fringe Hijacked America, Shredded the Constitution and Made Us All Less Safe’ and the in parentheses, ‘And What You Need to Know to End the Madness.’ Arianna Huffington, thanks for coming in.
HUFFINGTON: Thank you so much.