CNN anchor Kiran Chetry referred to John McCain’s warning of Democratic Party rule in both the White House and the Congress if Barack Obama is elected president as "scare tactics" during a preview of a report on Thursday’s American Morning: "Five more days -- the scare tactics continue. Should you be afraid of one party rule?" A clip of McCain naming Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a possible "dangerous threesome" played after Chetry’s line.
During the actual report, correspondent Jim Acosta highlighted such "scare tactics" from both presidential candidates. First, he described how McCain "is telling voters to be afraid, very afraid of Democratic dominance in Washington." He later stated how Obama "has his own boogieman, as in the man who has controlled the White House for the last eight years," meaning President Bush. Note that while Acosta gave examples of both candidates playing the so-called fear card, Chetry’s preview only referred specifically to McCain.
Towards the end of his report, Acosta revisted past occasions where one party controlled both the presidency and the Congress: "...[V]oters have little patience for one party government. Bill Clinton’s Democratic Congress was swept way in just two years by Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America, and Karl Rove’s dream of a permanent Republican majority didn't last long."
The full transcript of Chetry’s preview, which aired 52 minutes into the 6 am Eastern hour of Thursday’s American Morning, and Acosta’s report, which began just after the bottom half of the 7 am hour of the CNN program:
-6:52 am EDT
KIRAN CHETRY: Five more days -- the scare tactics continue. Should you be afraid of one party rule?
SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN: My friends, this is a dangerous threesome.
-7:33 am EDT
KIRAN CHETRY: Well, John McCain [is] trying to raise fears of a government controlled by the far left. He’s telling voters that Barack Obama will be in lock-step with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. But if history is any guide, the voters could spoil any one party -- party. American Morning’s Jim Acosta is here to explain. Hey, Jim.
JIM ACOSTA: Good morning, Kiran, and it is just one day before Halloween and John McCain is telling voters to be afraid, very afraid of Democratic dominance in Washington.
ACOSTA (voice-over): John McCain is warning of a Washington horror show. Barack Obama, Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are quote, ‘lowering our defenses,’ as the GOP nominee puts it, and raising our taxes.
SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN: My opponent is working out the details with Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid of their plans to raise your taxes, increase spending, and concede defeat in Iraq.
ACOSTA: It's a campaign message some dub as ‘boo.’
MCCAIN: You know, my friends, this is a dangerous threesome.
ALEX CASTELLANOS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: The idea of letting these guys spend and tax without anybody there to stop them scares the American people. Those undecided voters who are -- have not yet committed to Obama, this argument could work with them.
ACOSTA: Pelosi, who remains a popular conservative target, says there’s nothing to be afraid of.
SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI: If the Democrats win and they have substantial majorities, [the] Congress of the United States will be more bipartisan.
ACOSTA: But many Republicans are still fuming over what they consider Pelosi’s less-than-bipartisan speech in the House, just before the initial defeat of the bailout package.
PELOSI: They claim to be free market advocates when it's really an anything goes mentality. Those days are over.
ACOSTA: Obama has his own boogieman, as in the man who has controlled the White House for the last eight years.
SENATOR BARACK OBAMA: The biggest risk we can take is to embrace the same old policies that have failed us over the last eight years.
ACOSTA: But voters have little patience for one party government. Bill Clinton’s Democratic Congress was swept way in just two years by Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America, and Karl Rove’s dream of a permanent Republican majority didn't last long.
CASTELLANOS: So if Obama is elected, Republicans may not be in the wilderness for very long. You can see a Republican Congress back in two years.
ACOSTA (on-camera): And one party in power can only do so much. Unless the Democrats can gain nine seats in the Senate and reach that magic number of 60 seats, the Republicans will still have the power of the filibuster.
CHETRY: Yeah, but --
ACOSTA: Remember that word.
CHETRY: Right, but there is a chance that they could gain those nine seats.
ACOSTA: It’s a real chance. We'll have to look at how things shape up. A lot of people thought it was a stretch six months ago -- not so much now.
CHETRY: A tough fight for a lot of incumbents. Jim Acosta, thanks.
ACOSTA: You bet.