David Shuster Slams 'Hypocrite' Lieberman for Touting Obama After Opposing Some Policies

MSNBC host David Shuster on Monday assailed independent Senator Joe Lieberman as a hypocrite for daring to compliment Barack Obama after opposing some of the President's policies. Shuster sneered, "Showering praise on the Obama administration and then opposing most of what the administration is doing, its critical policies, it's politically slick, but it's also hypocrisy and it's wrong."

He prefaced this critique by playing a clip of Lieberman asserting that Obama is off to a "very, very good start" on issues such as foreign policy. Shuster then whined that the senator "publicly opposed most of the President's most crucial policies." (These issues include Israeli settlements and not supporting a public option in the health care debate.) But, even Shuster had to concede that Lieberman "supported the budget bill, the credit card bill, S-chip."

Still, the MSNBC News Live host referenced the June 13 Bloomberg News interview Lieberman gave in which he complimented Obama. Shuster complained, "And when you try to ride that wave, when you try to convince voters that you approve of the Obama presidency, it makes some of your crucial Senate actions even more jarring."

In April, the MRC released a fax report which found that most of the targets Shuster selected for his "Hypocrisy Watch" segment were conservative or Republican. (The purported purpose of the segment is to expose hypocrisy wherever it may be found.) Apparently, disagreeing with Obama, even some of the time, is enough to make one a hypocrite.

A transcript of the June 15 segment, which aired at 4:40pm, follows:

DAVID SHUSTER: Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman has been praising President Obama and his administration these days even as Lieberman fights most of the most crucial Obama policies. And that takes us to tonight's "Hypocrisy Watch." First the background. Joe Lieberman is a former Democrat who became an independent a few years ago and successfully won re-election in Connecticut. Last fall, Lieberman campaigned for Republican presidential nominee John McCain and said Mr. Obama should not be president. But, last week in an interview that aired over the weekend on Bloomberg News, Lieberman seemed to go out of his way to praise the Obama presidency.

SENATOR JOE LIEBERMAN: I think he's been strong, particularly on foreign policy. I think President Obama is off to a very, very good start at a very difficult time in our nation's history.

SHUSTER: Off to a very good start? Well, that's interesting to hear you say that, Senator Lieberman, because you've publicly opposed most of the President's most crucial policies. You've publicly declared it's a mistake to engage in dialogue with Iran. You've taken issue with President Obama offering a time table for withdrawal of troops from Iraq, and regarding the President's speech last week in Cairo, you told Bloomberg News that President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton should not telling Israel to free settlements in the occupied territories.

LIEBERMAN: The Israelis can freeze settlements altogether today and there wouldn't be peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

SHUSTER: Oh, and when it comes to domestic policy, Senator Lieberman, even though you supported the budget bill, the credit card bill, S-chip and whatnot, you oppose President Obama's signature domestic policy, health care reform plan and a government option.

LIEBERMAN: I don't favor a public option and I don't favor a public option because I think there's plenty of competition in the private insurance market.

SHUSTER: Well, the issue here is not Senator Lieberman that you take the policy positions that you do. It's fine if you want to oppose the President on health care reform, Israeli settlements, Iraq and Iran. It's also fine if you want to support him on stimulus, the budget, credit card bill. Furthermore, most of us appreciate a vigorous, vigorous policy debate. But, you clearly seem to be trying to reach out to moderates in Connecticut who approve of the job President Obama is doing. And when you try to ride that wave, when you try to convince voters that you approve of the Obama presidency, it makes some of your crucial Senate actions even more jarring. Showering praise on the Obama administration and then opposing most of what the administration is doing, its critical policies, it's politically slick, but it's also hypocrisy and it's wrong.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org