After Obama Goo, CBS's Charlie Rose Pounds Eric Cantor With Questions On GOP Intolerance Of Gays, Muslims

When CBS This Morning co-host interviewed the Obamas earlier this month, Matthew Balan revealed it was mostly personal goo and political softballs. So it was more than a bit shocking on Friday morning when Rose interviewed House majority leader Eric Cantor and whacked him with four questions hammering him about the "intolerance" of the Republican Party -- like the networks do every four years around the conventions.

Rose was playing off an interview Cantor gave to the website BuzzFeed in which he said "absolutely" the Republicans should do more to accept Republicans who differ from party orthodoxy. That could make conservatives queasy, but the media bias point is this: When are Democrats ever asked about their tolerance of Democrats who support traditional marriage, gun rights, or the pro-life cause? Here were the attack questions:

CHARLIE ROSE: Here's what's interesting about you -- a man who may, very well may be, in the future Speaker of the House of Representatives, the number two man in the Republican House today. [reading] 'Cantor urges tolerance on gays, Muslims. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor Thursday urged his party and the nation to guard against intolerance on issues ranging from gay marriage to the role of Muslims in the government, arguing the country's diversity of opinion and acceptance are part of America's basic fabric.' Are you worried that there is today too much intolerance, and some of it is coming from within your own party?

ERIC CANTOR: You know, there is, I would say equal opportunity of intolerance, unfortunately, Charlie, in this country. To me, it's really important for us to remember that we are a country that appreciates freedom and diversity. If I have an opinion and believe in traditional marriage, I think that deserves respect just like I'd respect someone with a different opinion, and that was the point I was making.

ROSE: Do you think Congresswoman Bachmann was out of line? I mean, it does not square with this.

CANTOR: Well, again, I think that if you read some of the reports that have covered the story, I think that her concern was about the security of the country. So it's about all I know.

ROSE: Beyond your own visit -- beyond your own sense of diversity and tolerance, does this reflect on your own part some sense that this may damage the party in the general election if there's a perception that the party and its ideas do not reflect diversity and intolerance?

CANTOR: I feel very strongly about the fact that we are a nation of inclusion. We're built on the waves of immigrants that have come to these shores. I myself am a member of a minority faith and have enjoyed the ability to pursue and practice that faith -- unlike I could anywhere else in the world. And that is the point here: We all have the freedom that was given to us by our Creator and was memorialized, if you will, in the documents that provide the legal framework for us to live.

ROSE: But there's also this, on the issue of same-sex marriage, some of the leading fundraisers in your party are urging a different look at that. Paul Singer and others.

CANTOR: Well, again, I'm not so sure what the reference to a fundraiser is. What I can tell you is I feel very strongly. I have my views, again, on traditional marriage, which I support. But I respect people who don't agree with me just as I would expect them to respect my opinion.

Singer, a hedge-fund manager and thus not a normal hero to CBS personalities, is donating millions to gay-Left causes and super PACs even as he supports Romney. Apparently, Rose thinks the Republicans should bow to him -- but the Democrats must never, say, stand up for Chick-fil-A.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis