Tapper Asks WH Adviser If It's Appropriate To Raise Money Off Death Threats?
UPDATE AT END OF POST: CBS's Bob Schieffer asked DNC Chairman Tim Kaine about this issue.
On Saturday, NewsBusters asked if journalists should find it interesting that President Obama's campaign arm is using alleged death threats against Democrats as a vehicle to raise funds to defend newly enacted healthcare legislation.
On Sunday, ABC's Jake Tapper was up to the challenge not only addressing this issue on "This Week," but doing so with his guest White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett.
After reading the text of the solicitation that was posted at the Organizing for America website earlier in the week, Tapper asked, "[I]s it appropriate for Democrats to try to raise money off of those threats?" (video embedded below the fold with transcript, relevant section at 5:50):
JAKE TAPPER, HOST: In the wake of the healthcare reform legislation, there have been threats of violence and some acts of violence against members of Congress. And in this fundraising solicitation I want to ask you about, this is from the President's political arm Organizing for America, used to be Obama for America, Mitch Stewart the director writes in this fundraising solicitation: "A conservative blogger posted the home address of Congressman Tom Perriello urging tea partiers to ‘drop by'. Other members have had death threats. Democratic offices have been vandalized. Please chip in $5 or more to defend health reform and those in Congress who fought to make it possible." Obviously those threats and the acts of violence should be condemned. They're not appropriate. But is it appropriate for Democrats to try to raise money off of those threats?
VALERIE JARRETT, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: Look, let's go back to the threats for a second. I think what's great about our country is we're able to have an open and free debate about issues and ideas, and then once a decision is made, we always come together and move forward. And what the President is interested in doing is moving forward. This is a major accomplishment.
TAPPER: Right, but what about the trying to raise money off of the threats? Is that appropriate?
JARRETT: I can't comment on what the political arms are doing.
For those wondering if Tapper got the idea from NewsBusters, he informed me by Twitter that he had gotten it in his inbox earlier in the week, and that ABC's Sunlen Miller had blogged about it.
Although this didn't come from us, we're still quite pleased to see someone in the media not only find this fundraising tactic unseemly, but also question the Administration about it.
*****Update: CBS's Bob Schieffer on "Face the Nation" Sunday asked DNC chairman Tim Kaine about the use of these threats in a Democratic fundraising letter:
BOB SCHIEFFER: --let me-- let me just ask you about this because you all put out a fundraising--
TIM KAINE: Mm-Hm.
BOB SCHIEFFER: --letter at the DNC. After all of this it raised a few eyebrows--
TIM KAINE: Yeah.
BOB SCHIEFFER: --because it talked about this-- these runaway things, these demonstrations-
TIM KAINE (overlapping): The bricks through the window--
BOB SCHIEFFER: --and bricks through the windows--
TIM KAINE: Mm-Hm.
BOB SCHIEFFER: --and stuff and then used it as part of a fund-raising letter.
TIM KAINE: Yeah.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Was that appropriate?