A visibly annoyed Shepard Smith on Monday decried the "sour grapes" and "slimy motives" of a group of defeated House Democrats who are circulating a letter in opposition of Nancy Pelosi staying on as a leader of the new Democratic minority. The host even appeared to depart from his teleprompter to defend Pelosi.
Introducing reporter James Rosen, the Fox News host complained, "Could it be anything more than sour grapes, really, here?" Smith questioned the journalist about the origins of the letter. After being told that Rosen couldn't identify those involved, the Studio B anchor ranted, "To circulate that thing out there without even putting a name on it. Kind of slimy, it seems to me. I guess that's how politics works though. Sometimes it's a slimy business."
Rosen can be seen visibly baffled by Smith's outburst. Perhaps thinking he was off camera, the reporter frowned and sighed deeply. In another instance during the same segment, Smith seemed to find his own prompter too right-wing and inserted some liberal commentary.
Video after the break.
The anchor began this way before abruptly stopping: "But will Speaker Pelosi's reputation as a lightning rod who pushed a number of Democratic initiatives through Congress-"
Smith then veered in a different direction, suddenly opining, "She got everything the President wanted through. She did everything he wanted, got the entire House organized, put out a record number of pieces of legislation. She is probably the most successful female politician in the history of this country."
The next time someone slams Fox News as only right-wing, perhaps someone should remember Shepard Smith's outbursts.
A transcript of the November 8 segment, which aired at 3:21pm EST, follows:
SHEPARD SMITH: Come January, Nancy Pelosi will no longer be the Speaker of the House but she has made it clear she will fight to stay on as Democratic leader. But will Speaker Pelosi's reputation as a lightning rod who pushed a number of Democratic initiatives through Congress- She got everything the President wanted through. She did everything he wanted, got the entire House organized, put out a record number of pieces of legislation. She is probably the most successful female politician in the history of this country. But the question is, will that be an asset for the Democrats? Fox News has obtained a report, draft letter from defeated Democrat that seems to suggest maybe not. What do we know about this? James Rosen is in Washington. This is from these defeated Democrats? Could it be anything more than sour grapes really here?
JAMES ROSEN: Potentially. A number could be candidates may be candidates in 2012, Shep, and therefore, their opinion could matter. But in quest to remain top House Democrat, Pelosi remains unopposed. Still, this morning's developments are telling. In a letter that she had sent to her colleagues over the weekend, Pelosi made the case she could help vanquished Democrats regain their seats in 2012. She stressed the backing she has secured from outside her liberal base. "In the 24 hours since I wrote seeking your views and your votes for Democratic leader," Pelosi said, "I have been very gratified by the extensive and enthusiast support I have received. Many of our colleagues from all areas of our diverse caucus have been generous with ideas and their support. While we are affected personally, and politically by the loss of excellence members of the caucus," Pelosi added, "nevertheless we hope the colleagues will continue the fight and rejoin us again an in two years." Now, the Speaker did not mention her unrivaled status as a fundraiser but that was pretty well implied, Shep.
SMITH: James, the letter from defeated Democrats circulating now reads more like a rejoinder to Pelosi's letter?
ROSEN: Yeah. These defeated Democrats are taking pen in hand and seeking to strip Pelosi of the gavel she holds in her hands. They argue in this draft letter being circulated, as we speak, among all 60 plus Democrats would went down to defeat on Tuesday, that Pelosi is the number one obstacle to their reclaiming their seats. "Madame Speaker," this draft reads, and I quote, "fairly or unfairly Republicans made you the face of resentment and disagreement in our races. We fear that Republicans will further demonize you in 2012 and in so doing, they will scare potential candidates out. The prospect of running against their own party leadership in addition to their Republican opponents is too daunting. One mark of a strong leader," this draft letter concludes, "is the ability to discern when it is time to pass the baton." One final fact here and this is important and it works to Pelosi's favor, Democratic sources on Capitol Hill tell us that these defeated Democrats will not get to vote in the upcoming leadership election. Shep?
SMITH: Who can we attribute this letter to?
ROSEN: This is a letter that is being circulated amongst defeated Democrats. I can't get into specifics about the origin but, I'm told, its origins lie in the more conservative parts of the Democratic caucus.
SMITH: I'm sure it does. That's kind of that slimy, though, isn't it? To circulate that thing out there without even putting a name on it. Kind of slimy, it seems to me. I guess that's how politics works though. Sometimes it's a slimy business. [Rosen makes a face.]