Charlie Rose seemingly can't handle a Republican attacking President Obama, as he interrupted Haley Barbour on Monday's CBS This Morning. Rose took Rick Santorum's criticism of JFK out of context in a question to Barbour. When the former RNC head accused Obama of "forcing...abortion pills" on the Catholic Church, the anchor replied, "Wait...he [Santorum] was talking about...Kennedy, not...Obama" [audio available here; video below the jump].
Just over a month earlier, Rose took issue with Senator Marco Rubio accusing the chief executive of being "divisive." Rubio tried to use the President's State of the Union as an example, but the journalist also interrupted the Florida Republican, and touted that "I saw him honoring the military of America and a lot other things where we should be coming together. That doesn't seem to be divisive."
The CBS morning show anchor led his interview of the former Mississippi governor by highlighting a Politico/George Washington University poll that, in his words, "suggests that while the Republicans are fighting each other, the President's poll numbers are going up both on job approval, as well as right track." However, three out of five polls taken since February 14 on Obama's job approval (including the Politico one) have it dropping by two to eight points.
Barbour replied that "the economy is being ballyhooed by the administration and a lot of people in the media, as if there's this great surge in the economy....this is not a real recovery....the attention is being taken away from Obama's policies and the results of those policies, which are mighty poor."
Later in the interview, Rose raised Santorum's comments on President Kennedy. The former Pennsylvania senator explained his criticism of the sole Catholic president on ABC's This Week on Sunday: "Kennedy for the first time articulated the vision saying, no, faith is not allowed in the public square. I will keep it separate....To say that people of faith have no role in the public square, you bet, that makes you throw up." But the anchor oversimplified the remark as "Santorum suggesting that he wanted to throw up when he heard President Kennedy's speech to the Baptists in Texas." This led to Barbour's attack on Obama over the controversial federal contraception mandate, as well as the anchor's interruption:
BARBOUR: Well, when the President rips the Constitution to shreds, in terms of the rights of the Catholic Church- religious constitutional rights by forcing on them- not contraception, but abortion pills. I mean, what we're talking about here-
ROSE: No, I mean about President Kennedy- wait, Governor, you know, he was talking about President Kennedy, not President Obama.
BARBOUR Well, I was taking your question to be when the campaign turns to these issues, people are not going to ignore what the administration did. As far as the speech on President Kennedy- candidly, I didn't even know it happened until I saw the little clip just a minute ago. We believe in separation of church and state. But we don't believe in freedom from religion. We believe in freedom of religion. We don't believe that if you're a Christian, you can't be involved in politics. That's the Soviet Union, where that used to be the law. In our country, remember, the civil rights movement was led by Catholic priests, by Jewish rabbis, by Protestant clergymen. And I assume- because I didn't hear it- but I assume that's all that Rick Santorum was saying.
Barbour apparently didn't even need to hear all of Santorum's speech to know what he was talking about, but Rose was too busy running to the President's defense to care.
The full transcript of Charlie Rose's interview of former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, which aired eight minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour of Monday's CBS This Morning, is available at MRC.org.