CNN’s Begala Slams Bush And ‘Kook Right’ For Dropping The ‘Ic’ in Democratic

At the beginning of Tuesday’s State of the Union address, President Bush graciously discussed Nancy Pelosi and her history making role as the first female Speaker. He also congratulated Democrats on their new majority status. This, however, wasn’t enough for Paul Begala. The CNN contributor appeared on a post-speech edition of "Anderson Cooper" and digressed into a rant about how Bush referred not to the Democratic Party’s success, but, rather, the Democrat majority. According to the always polite Begala, this is something only the "kook right," "the fringe" and the "Rush Limbaugh crowd" engages in:

Paul Begala: "At the very beginning, [Bush] opened with this beautiful grace note to Nancy Pelosi, talked about how her father, Thomas D'Alessandro, had served in the House, and the daughter had grown up to become Speaker. It was beautiful....And then in the very next paragraph -- I have it marked here on the White House text -- he congratulated the new ‘Democrat’ majority, as he said. Now, the White House transcript says ‘Democratic.’ There is a difference. My party's the Democratic Party. But the sort of kook right, not the responsible Republicans, but the fringe, the Rush Limbaugh crowd, likes to call my party the Democrat Party. They think it's some sort of insult or something. And frankly, I guess it is insulting. Why would you do that when you're the president of both parties and the majority of your country now is affiliated with the Democrat Party? Why would you say that?"

Begala continued a few seconds later, calling the phraseology "self defeating" and an example of "arrogance." Apparently this "ic" factor has become a very big deal for left-wingers. The liberal Media Matters For America put out a press release attacking Fox News for "falsely claiming Bush referred to [a] ‘Democratic majority’ in State of the Union." Interestingly, when Virginia Senator Jim Webb gave the Democratic rebuttal, all the networks but Fox News used the phrase "Democratic response."

Does that mean that Mr. Begala will now go after FNC? Considering that the CNN analyst is not known for his grace and dignity, on election night 2006 he referred to the aforementioned Limbaugh as a "drug addled gasbag," perhaps he shouldn’t get quite so upset over two missing letters.

The transcript of the exchange, which aired at 10:54pm on January 23, follows:

Paul Begala: "The President's currency now is his -- the faith that the American people have in him, that is his, his sense that he has a bond with the American people. He once had one that was extraordinary. I mean, he stood up there a few years ago, he had 84 percent of the country behind him. Today he barely has 34 percent. And that has consequences. I think -- let me give you one little example, a rhetorical thing. At the very beginning, he opened with this beautiful grace note to Nancy Pelosi, talked about how her father, Thomas D'Alessandro, had served in the House, and the daughter had grown up to become Speaker. It was beautiful. You could see the Democrats just melting and you think Nancy Pelosi just thought it was so wonderful and gracious. And then in the very next paragraph -- I have it marked here on the White House text -- he congratulated the new ‘Democrat’ majority, as he said. Now, the White House transcript says ‘Democratic.’ There is a difference. My party's the Democratic Party. But the sort of kook right, not the responsible Republicans, but the fringe, the Rush Limbaugh crowd, likes to call my party the Democrat Party. They think it's some sort of insult or something. And frankly, I guess it is insulting. Why would you do that when you're the president of both parties and the majority of your country now is affiliated with the Democrat Party? Why would you say that?"

Anderson Cooper: "Do you think that was intentional?"

Begala: "Oh, absolutely. I guarantee it was. I'm 100 percent certain it was. It's sort of a bizarre article of faith on the right wing, that you can't call the Democratic Party by its name. It has to be the Democrat Party. Well, he just threw away all the lovely goodwill that his speech writers earned for him with that nice grace note that he began the speech with. I don't understand why he's so self-defeating. Maybe it's just arrogance."

Cooper: Mike Murphy, is that a good strategy?

Mike Murphy (Republican Strategist): "Well, I think my friend, Paul, if that's all -- the biggest complaint, I think the president had a pretty good night. You have to look at the substance of the speech. What did the President do? He's in a tough political situation, and so he recognized reality, and he made a bipartisan outreach to the Democrats."

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