CNN's 'American Morning' Shines A Little Light on Democrats' Pork

The more things change, the more they stay the same. That was the focus of Bob Franken's report on CNN's "American Morning," which focused attention on the pork barrel spending proposals in the emergency funding bill for the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The key excerpt:

REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) HOUSE SPEAKER: "With today's convening of the 110th Congress, we begin anew."FRANKEN (voice over): "That was the rallying cry from the newly in-charge Democrats, the wheeling and dealing and hidden pork barrel spending would be no more. Fast forward just 10 weeks. Democratic leaders face their biggest challenge so far. The legislation providing $124 billion in war funding, combined with a troop pullout from Iraq next year. And they're using every tool at their command. The same tools they criticized the Republicans for using -- good, old fashioned pork."REP. DAVID DREIER, (R) CALIFORNIA: "It enjoys such limited support on the other side of the aisle that it had to be laden with unrelated, unrelated pork in order to win enough votes to have any hope of passing."

Who would have thought that CNN, who saw the Democrats' rise to power as a "moment to savor" (link: http://newsbusters.org/node/9986) , would now highlight their sudden "change of heart" on the matter of pork barrel spending? In fact, in the lead-in to Franken's segment, co-host Miles O'Brien expressed disappointment in the Democrats.

M. O'BRIEN: "In Washington this morning, Democratic leaders are scrambling for votes on a measure that would put the brakes on the war in Iraq. The vote is going to be tight, and that means it is time to pry the lid off the pork barrel, unfortunately.""AMERICAN MORNING'S Bob Franken joining us now with the grim details. Good morning, Bob."

"Grim details"? More like a breath of fresh air in the reporting on "American Morning."The transcript of the full segment:

M. O'BRIEN: "In Washington this morning, Democratic leaders are scrambling for votes on a measure that would put the brakes on the war in Iraq. The vote is going to be tight, and that means it is time to pry the lid off the pork barrel, unfortunately."AMERICAN MORNING'S Bob Franken joining us now with the grim details. Good morning, Bob."BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: "Well, I don't know. Some people would think that they're really delightful details. The recipients of the pork..."M. O'BRIEN: "Because of which side of the pork you're on."FRANKEN: "That's right. One person's pork is another person's badly-needed money. In any case, we all remember that the Democrats came in with all this idealism about a new way to do things just a short time ago, but now they're getting their first big test. And what we're finding out is that they're doing things the old-fashioned way."(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) HOUSE SPEAKER: "With today's convening of the 110th Congress, we begin anew."FRANKEN, (voice over): "That was the rallying cry from the newly in-charge Democrats, the wheeling and dealing and hidden pork barrel spending would be no more. Fast forward just 10 weeks. Democratic leaders face their biggest challenge so far. The legislation providing $124 billion in war funding, combined with a troop pullout from Iraq next year. And they're using every tool at their command. The same tools they criticized the Republicans for using -- good, old fashioned pork."REP. DAVID DREIER, (R) CALIFORNIA: "It enjoys such limited support on the other side of the aisle that it had to be laden with unrelated, unrelated pork in order to win enough votes to have any hope of passing."REP. MARK KIRK, (R) ILLINOIS: "It would provide $25 million in a bailout for spinach farmers. Another $74 million in taxpayer dollars for peanut storage. And $283 million for milk producers." FRANKEN: "And farm relief, which creates quite a dilemma for many members, even Republicans."REP. MARYLIN MUSGRAVE, (R) COLORADO: "Shame on the Democrats for playing politics with people's lives."FRANKEN: "Marylin Musgrave normally wouldn't even consider supporting a troop pullout, but her district really needs relief, put her in the undecided column."MUSGRAVE: "And, of course, my heart is always with our troops. So as it comes down to the wire, I'm just going to make the very best decision I can."FRANKEN: "Democratic leaders insist this is not pork. It's not just peanut storage, but money for spinach farmers and dairy farmers. Billions, by the way, definitely not peanuts. But Republicans are cutting them no slack."REP. CANDICE MILLER, (R) MICHIGAN: "The Democratic leaders offered the voters change in November, but all we are getting, all the nation is getting is politics worse than usual."FRANKEN: "The domestic money in the bill is tempting, but the White House warns that members should resist temptation."TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: "The one they're considering has zero chance of being enacted into law. It's bad legislation. The president's going to veto it and Congress will sustain that veto." (END VIDEOTAPE)FRANKEN: "There are any number of Democratic members who are similarly inclined to vote against this legislation, many because it doesn't go far enough for them. But they too are tempted by the pork, and they're not talking to us. Surprised?"M. O'BRIEN: "The fact that this pork is there reflects deep divisions in the Democratic party, does it not?"FRANKEN: "Well, yes, and what the Democratic leaders will say is this is the way it's done. This is the how you get things done. You can stand on principal only so much, but there are larger principals. They say that requires offering... let's not call it pork, let's call it incentives."M. O'BRIEN: "Incentives - that would be the euphemism of the morning. Thank you Bob."
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center