CNN’s Jack Cafferty Slams Limbaugh as 'Corpulent Oxycontin Aficionado'

Jack Cafferty, CNN Commentator | NewsBusters.orgCNN commentator Jack Cafferty, who had bashed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for “starting to sound a little like Chairman Mao” the previous day, labeled Rush Limbaugh “that corpulent Oxycontin aficionado of right-wing talk radio” during his usual “Cafferty File” segment on Tuesday’s Situation Room. The slam came during as Cafferty launched a mild criticism of President Obama’s first week in office on issues like his reluctance to answer questions from the press, the closing of Guantanamo Bay, and making an exception on his ban on lobbyists from his administration.

Cafferty began his commentary, which aired nine minutes into the 5 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, by acclaiming the apparent success of President Obama’s first week in the White House: “It’s been exactly one week since Barack Obama became our 44th president -- what a week it’s been: signing executive orders; meeting with his teams of advisers on the economy, national security, Iraq, the Middle East.” He continued by focusing on how the new president has also been “learning some things along the way,” and began his critique of some of the actions by the Democratic executive, which included his smear of the conservative talk show host.
CAFFERTY: For example, the White House press room is where the press is, and if you don’t want the press to ask you questions, then don’t go there. And if you’re going to ban lobbyists from working for you, then you have to ban the one that used to lobby for Raytheon from working in the Defense Department as well. And if you’re going to close Guantanamo, you have to have a plan for what to do with the inmates there. You see, a couple of them have turned up in recent al Qaeda videos. And you cannot overturn President Bush’s executive order banning abortion funding for charitable groups overseas without incurring the wrath of the anti-abortionists in this country. And picking a fight with that corpulent Oxycontin aficionado of right-wing talk radio, Rush Limbaugh -- well, that mobilizes a bunch more on the conservative right, and eventually, it will begin to bring down your approval ratings.

The CNN commentator’s broadside against Limbaugh seems to come with a lack of understanding on his part, to say the least, since Cafferty himself admitted to a long struggle with alcoholism in the past. Stay classy, Jack.

The full transcript of Cafferty’s “Question of the Hour” segment, along with his reading of some of the viewers responses from near the top of the 6 pm Eastern hour of Tuesday’s Situation Room:

CAFFERTY: It’s been exactly one week since Barack Obama became our 44th president -- what a week it’s been: signing executive orders; meeting with his teams of advisers on the economy, national security, Iraq, the Middle East. He’s also been meeting with lawmakers from both parties, trying to win support for that emergency stimulus package.

In addition to getting his feet wet, the new President’s also learning some things along the way. For example, the White House press room is where the press is, and if you don’t want the press to ask you questions, then don’t go there. And if you’re going to ban lobbyists from working for you, then you have to ban the one that used to lobby for Raytheon from working in the Defense Department as well. And if you’re going to close Guantanamo, you have to have a plan for what to do with the inmates there. You see, a couple of them have turned up in recent al Qaeda videos. And you cannot overturn President Bush’s executive order banning abortion funding for charitable groups overseas without incurring the wrath of the anti-abortionists in this country. And picking a fight with that corpulent Oxycontin aficionado of right-wing talk radio, Rush Limbaugh -- well, that mobilizes a bunch more on the conservative right, and eventually, it will begin to bring down your approval ratings.

Nevertheless, the new President seems to be weathering it all quite well. The latest Gallup Poll, taken over the weekend, gives him a 69% job approval rating, roughly 40 points higher than his predecessor.

So here’s the question: how would you rate President Obama’s first week in office? Go to CNN.com/CaffertyFile [and] post a comment on my blog.

WOLF BLITZER: A lot of people, including his critics, are very impressed, I have to tell you, Jack, and you know that. Thanks very much.

-5:52 pm EST

CAFFERTY: The question this hour is -- how would you rate President Obama’s first week in office?

Andrew writes from California, “As long as President Obama continues to distance himself from the Bush administration, like he did in his first week, he will maintain his support nationally. It’s too early to grade him on his performance, but I like what I see so far.”

Markel in Houston: “Obama has been impressive, Congress has not. Change takes time. Obama’s making his mark. He’s still trying to show Congress a new, involved management style. I think our hyper-partisan Congress ought to look to the youngster for guidance on how to get along with their colleagues.”

Joey in Yankee Island, New York: “Personally, I'd give him an F. He’s doing all the things he thinks are politically-correct, not what the American people want. He needs to cut the pork out of the stimulus package [and] not try to get the Republicans on-board with some sort of barter. Pork is pork, and it’s the taxpayers’ money that they’re spending. Plus, he moved a criminal into the Treasury Department.”

Susan writes, “I think his first week in office has been outstanding. Reagan used to be known as the Great Communicator. I don’t have a catchy phrase to describe him, but President Obama has demonstrated, through his actions and words, that he understands the basic human need to communicate and be respected by going to the State Department, to inspire that workforce that’s been shabbily treated, going to the Hill to meet with the House Republicans, to granting his first interview to the Arab media -- a stroke of genius. I’m more excited than ever about his presidency and the future of our country.”

Kay in West Virginia says, “I give him a solid ‘D.’ Comments like, ‘Well, I won, so I'm going to get my way,’ are in no way bipartisan; signing executive orders with so many loopholes to give himself wiggle room, like he did on Gitmo, is a complete copout. Making new lobbying rules and then immediately giving one [a] personal waiver is a reminder of the kind of thing we’ve seen for the last eight years. Where’s the change?”

And Jeremy writes, “For a guy who has walked into hell, he seems cool as a cucumber.”

If you didn’t see your e-mail here, you can go to my blog, CNN.com/CaffertyFile -- look for yours there among hundreds of others.

BLITZER: I love our viewers, Jack. Thank you very, very much. 

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