CNN Accuses Obama of 'Swiftboating' Romney

CNN on Friday surprisingly accused President Obama of "swiftboating" presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney with continuously false attacks regarding his service at Bain Capital.

The idea appears to have first been raised by CNN correspondent Jim Acosta during his interview with Romney on The Situation Room (video follows with transcript and commentary):

MITT ROMNEY: They announced early on, one of their insiders said that they -- their -- their campaign was going to be based upon the strategy of -- quote -- "kill Romney," end of quote. That's what they're doing. It's disgusting. It's demeaning. It's something which I think the president should take responsibility for and stop.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN: And do you believe you're being swiftboated in this campaign?

A few hours later on Anderson Cooper 360, CNN correspondent Tom Foreman significantly elaborated on this theme:

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NARRATOR: When a president doesn't tell the truth, how can we trust him to Romney's companies were pioneers of shipping U.S. jobs overseas.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even in the flood of negative ads pouring out of each side of this race, Democrats are hitting one target again and again and again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bain capital.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bain capital.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bain capital.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bain capital.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bain capital.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bain capital walked away with a lot of money that they made off of this plant.

FOREMAN: The White House clearly wants to portray Mitt Romney's time at the helm of Bain Capital as a weak spot. In ad after ad, Democrats are suggesting Romney is a fat cat job outsourcer, an opportunistic financial predator, and a leader's out of touch with the working class. Never mind that many of those claims appear to be backed with little or no evidence.


KEN GOLDSTEIN, PRESIDENT, CMAG-KANTAR MEDIA: The Obama campaign is absolutely doubling down on the Bain attack, no doubt about it. And if the work triple down existed, they would be doing that as well.

FOREMAN: Ken Goldstein is the political media analyst who believes President Obama was at one point looking to steal a page from Ronald Reagan's playbook, planning an optimistic, positive reelection campaign until economic troubles and weak poll numbers hit hard.

GOLDSTEIN: I think the Obama folks were hoping to run a campaign like "morning in America" in 1984. But the campaign I think they're look at is much more the George W. Bush campaign in 2004.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The accusations that John Kerry...

FOREMAN: He's talking about the swiftboat campaign, in which President Bush's challenger John Kerry was demonized over what his campaign considered an attribute. His decorated service as a soldier in Vietnam. The swiftboat ads, backed by a group of pro-Bush veterans, questioned the Democratic challenger's conduct in the war, his anti-war activities later and his patriotism.

(on camera): Kerry was slow to respond and never very effective in refuting their claims even though his critics offered little in the way of proof. He lost the election of course. And for many Democrats, swiftboating became a catch-all term for any unfair, untrue, personal assault on a candidate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Romney's companies...

FOREMAN (voice-over): But if the president is troubled by the comparison of his Bain attacks to Republican swiftboating, he's not showing it.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I think that when you're president, everything's call into questions. When you are president, everything is coming across you.

FOREMAN: Romney's tough responses this week appear to have been spurred by Republican calls for him to hit back fast.

GOLDSTEIN: Because as much as a presidential election is a referendum on the incumbent, the challenger still needs to reach that threshold level of credibility.

ROMNEY: I need you guys to work.

FOREMAN: And if he doesn't, some Republican analysts fear Mitt Romney could become the second politician from Massachusetts swiftboated out of the presidency.

Irrespective of the veracity of the claims by the Swiftboat Vets, the term "swiftboating" has indeed become a pejorative on the Left and in the media.

For any news outlet to be accusing the sainted Obama of this is truly shocking.

On the other hand, CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 on Thursday sided with Romney concerning his departure from Bain prior to its involvement with outsourcing with David Gergen and John King accusing the President of falsehoods regarding these attacks.

Is it possible the outlet once disaffectionately referred to as The Clinton News Network is drawing a line in the sand when it comes to verifiably false information being disseminated by the White House?

Far more importantly, might other Obama-supporting outlets with the obvious exception of the farce known as MSNBC start similarly exposing fraudulent attacks when they happen?

Or would that be too much like journalism for folks that helped get the former junior senator from Illinois into the White House in the first place?

Stay tuned.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.