CNN’s Martin and Toobin Come Out Hard Against Palin After Speech

Minutes after Republican vice-presidential pick Sarah Palin finished her speech on Wednesday night, CNN’s Roland Martin and Jeffrey Toobin went on the offensive against the Alaska governor. Co-host Anderson Cooper first asked Martin for his reaction. He first stated that "she gave a solid speech" and then focused on Palin’s dig at Barack Obama being a community organizer in Chicago: "...[S]he mocked community organizers, and this audience laughed at them. Don't be surprised if Obama and Biden says, you know what, it's community organizers who are keeping people from losing their homes in [the] subprime crisis.... It's community organizers who are the ones trying to save your job. They're going to say the GOP does not give a flip about community organizers -- it means they don't care about you...."

Two minutes later, co-host Wolf Blitzer went to Toobin for his reaction. The senior legal analyst for CNN first complimented Palin: "Well, let's just start with an obvious point that I don't think anyone has made yet. This speech was a heck of a lot better than Joe Biden's speech. I mean, it just was much more dramatic, much more interesting, much more entertaining." He then continued with a more blunt analysis of the speech: "But it was also, I thought, very smug, very sarcastic, very cutting. And you know what? The Republicans had been trying to portray her as a victim for the last couple days. Well, she's not going to be a victim anymore. She's going to be a target..." As if she hasn’t been a target since John McCain announced her as his running mate?

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Jeffrey Toobin, CNN Senior Political Analyst | NewsBusters.orgToobin then tried to "fact check" Palin’s stances on two issues: "...[L]et's start with some fact checking of some of the things she said in that speech, starting with the 'Bridge to Nowhere,' where she bragged about her efforts to cut pork barrel spending -- a project that, it turns out, she was in support of. Now, you know, that didn't -- that wasn't raised in the speech." Yes, Palin did support the proposed bridge between the town of Ketchikan in Alaska and Gravina Island when she campaigned for governor in 2006, but Toobin didn’t mention the fact that she later cancelled the project in September 2007.

The senior legal analyst continued on the issue of taxes, and mouthed the Obama campaign’s talking points: "She talks about taxes. You know, Barack Obama's proposal will cut taxes for 80% of the American people and raise taxes on people making more than $250,000 a year. Those kind of things, I think, are appropriate to bring out at this point because she is no shrinking violet. She's no victim. She is a tough, effective pol, and, you know, game on." The "game on" slogan was also earlier used by Martin during his response to Palin’s speech. CNN’s senior political analyst Gloria Borger then added that she more or less agreed with Martin and Toobin’s points about the Democrats’ possible response to Palin.

The transcript of Martin and Toobin’s responses to Palin’s speech, which aired at 48 and 52 minutes into the 11 pm Eastern hour of CNN’s coverage of the Republican convention:

-11:48 pm EDT

ANDERSON COOPER: Roland Martin?

ROLAND MARTIN: Yeah Anderson, first of all, she gave a solid speech, and look, same thing I said about -- last week about Senator Barack Obama to John McCain -- game on. Same thing, she basically threw down the gauntlet tonight. Now, all this talk about whether or not Joe Biden is going to be able to dance around the whole issue and going after her -- you know what, forget all of that. I expect the Democrats to go hard after her, hard after John McCain. When you listen to something -- talk about the mocking, those kind of things like that. But not only that -- my parents are watching, Reginald and Emelda Martin in Houston, Texas. And let me tell you something, they were community organizers, and this audience here -- she mocked community organizers, and this audience laughed at them. Don't be surprised if Obama and Biden says, you know what, it's community organizers who are keeping people from losing their homes in [the] subprime crisis. It's community organizers who are keeping people from -- having their lights turned on [sic]. It's community organizers who are the ones trying to save your job. They're going to say the GOP does not give a flip about community organizers -- it means they don't care about you. Watch them come out and hit them hard on that and say, you want to talk about small town values? Don't you dare criticize the people who fight for community people who have community issues. Expect them to come down tomorrow.

-11:52 pm EDT

WOLF BLITZER: All right. We're going to go down to the floor and check in with our reporters. But I want Jeffrey Toobin to weigh in. I know you've been itching to comment on what we heard tonight. Jeff, tell the viewers what you think.

JEFFREY TOOBIN: Well, let's just start with an obvious point that I don't think anyone has made yet. This speech was a heck of a lot better than Joe Biden's speech. I mean, it just was much more dramatic, much more interesting, much more entertaining. But it was also, I thought, very smug, very sarcastic, very cutting. And you know what? The Republicans had been trying to portray her as a victim for the last couple days. Well, she's not going to be a victim anymore. She's going to be a target, and let's start with some fact checking of some of the things she said in that speech, starting with the 'Bridge to Nowhere,' where she bragged about her efforts to cut pork barrel spending -- a project that, it turns out, she was in support of. Now, you know, that didn't -- that wasn't raised in the speech. She talks about taxes. You know, Barack Obama's proposal will cut taxes for 80% of the American people and raise taxes on people making more than $250,000 a year. Those kind of things, I think, are appropriate to bring out at this point because she is no shrinking violet. She's no victim. She is a tough, effective pol, and, you know, game on.

BORGER: The speech tonight -- the Democrats were kind of holding back on talking about Sarah Palin. They didn't want to kind of get in the way of the story. They thought -- they were, they were very nervous about attacking a woman. They didn't know what to do. I think after tonight's speech, they're not going to be so shy, because Sarah Palin has shown herself to be a very tough adversary, and I think the gloves are going to come off about her on the very issues that Jeff Toobin is talking about.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center