Dan Rather on CNN: Obama Inspired Protests in Egypt
On Monday's Piers Morgan Tonight on CNN, disgraced former CBS anchor Dan Rather attributed the current protests in Egypt to President Obama's June 2009 speech to the Muslim world in Cairo: "He [Obama] fueled this uprising in Egypt. When he came to Cairo, let us remember, and he spoke of- listen, we stand for freedom and democracy and listening to people. The Egyptians believed his rhetoric" [audio available here].
Host Piers Morgan's segment with Rather aired 36 minutes into the 9 pm Eastern hour. He devoted the entire interview to the Egyptian issue. Near the end of the segment, the CNN personality asked, "If you were President Obama right now, what would you now say?" The former CBS Evening News anchor began by voicing his sympathy for the President: "I'm glad I'm not because it's a real dilemma." He then placed himself in the Democrat's shoes: "I would quietly send word to Mubarak that his days are finished, that we will do our best by him. We appreciate what he's done, but events have moved past him. I would do that quietly. I wouldn't say that publicly."
[Video embedded below the page break]
Rather continued with his theory about Obama's Cairo speech:
RATHER: Speaking of President Obama- you know, in a way, he fueled this uprising in Egypt. When he came to Cairo, let us remember, and he spoke of- listen, we stand for freedom and democracy and listening to people. The Egyptians believed his rhetoric. The actions since then have not matched that.
Morgan followed-up by noting one international critique of the American president: "Well, there are many in Israel, apparently- in the media- now saying that President Obama will go down as the president who lost Egypt, which is a pretty damning thing to be saying, from a country that's been protected, in many ways, by keeping Mubarak there."
The journalist replied with further advice for Obama:
RATHER: Well, that would be a devastating commentary on this administration, but we haven't seen the last card- not by a long shot have we seen that. But I would think that President Obama would want to do a number of things. First of all, assess U.S. intelligence. Our intelligence and diplomatic core is top-heavy. It talks to the wealthy people in every country. It talks to the business people. It talks to the military people. We don't seem to be able to get the intelligence from the bottom-up- from the ground-up- and part of what's fueled this in Egypt are these day-to-day humiliations and insults, particularly with young people- police who want to bribe and kick over a fruit stand- that kind of thing. The cumulative effect of that leads to this kind of business. Now, in the case of Tiananmen Square, which I mentioned earlier, and the government eventually was willing to turn the guns on its own people, I would be very surprised if that happens in Egypt. But if I were President Obama- who am I to give him advice- but you asked-
MORGAN: You know something? I wouldn't like to be him right now either. It is a very difficult situation. Dan, thank you very much for your time.
RATHER: Thank you, Piers. Thank you very much.
On the September 12, 2010 edition of The Chris Matthews Show, Rather saw the President's name as profitable to U.S. relations with the Muslim world: "On balance, and in the main, it's still a net plus in terms of the country's reputation."