Dan Rather Mocks Republicans for 'Whining About the Referee' Candy Crowley

Disgraced former CBS News anchorman Dan Rather showed up on MSNBC and CNN this week to stick up for women who stood and mangled the truth with Obama. On MSNBC, he defended Candy Crowley’s pro-Obama moderating and supported Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice on Benghazi-gate on CNN.

On Wednesday’s Rachel Maddow Show, Maddow typically humored Old Dan unleashing his Ratherisms (“this race has been as hot as a burning stump”), and he slammed Republicans for “whining” about Crowley, which showed they believed they had lost the debate:

RATHER: Candy Crowley, you know the Republicans believe they lost the debate last night when they start whining about the referee. And let the record show that Candy Crowley brought, she brought honor to the whole business of moderating, she honored her profession of journalism, she did her job. You don't have to be a Republican, Democrat or Mugwump to acknowledge she did a good job. And the fact that the Republicans are, as I say, whining about it tells you (Rather winks) they pretty much know they lost. Maybe modestly lost, but a loss.

Maddow also easily led Rather into Bush-bashing: “I was struck by the fact that Mr. Romney chose to put Condoleezza Rice out on the campaign trail today after that whole discussion [with the “undecided voter” at the debate who loathed Bush]. What did you make of that?”

Rather replied: “This is a puzzler.... Somebody in the campaign, Romney campaign, has got to be asking, whose idea was that?  Now, there are plenty of people, not all of them Democrats, who are saying, you`re more likely to see the return of a woolly mammoth than you are to see Romney able to separate himself completely from the George W. Bush record. But since he`s trying so hard to do that, why send Condoleezza Rice out first thing the next morning. It makes no sense to me.

On Piers Morgan Tonight on Monday, Rather's folksiness attempt was just gross: "I have a feeling that many people in the public, when they look at both candidates and each candidate individually, they have a feeling of sort of facing a manure spreader in a wind storm."

Morgan actually pushed Rather a bit about Hillary and Susan Rice mangling the truth about what happened in Benghazi.

MORGAN: We're hoping to get some footage of Hillary Clinton tonight, who has been speaking for the first time about the whole Benghazi fiasco, the events leading up to the assassination of the ambassador there. What did you make of that, in particular the way the White House behaved in the aftermath?

RATHER: Well, I think we have to allow for some light and shade and some perspective. But it's not surprising that Secretary Hillary Clinton would come out and take the responsibility for it the night before the debates, because obviously --

MORGAN: Is she just taking the heat away from Obama tomorrow night, do you think?

RATHER: Exactly. I think that's the plan, as much heat as she can, because she knows that this is a vulnerability for them. We will see how President Obama handles that. But she takes the heat of saying listen, it's my department, I'm responsible for it. That was pretty predictable.

MORGAN: Is it credible, though, Dan? In all your experience, is it credible that the White House, the president, the vice president, would have no knowledge of any requests from an embassy for extra security, particularly in a hot spot like Libya, where there's been so much attention from the White House in the last year?

RATHER: I can certainly see where someone else would have a different view, but I think it is credible, particularly in the heat of an election campaign. I'm not saying it did or didn't happen. But denying that it happened, it has credibility with me because the president, let's face it, has been concentrating, as has Governor Romney, on three key states, Florida, Virginia and Ohio, which those three states are going to settle the election.

So I can believe that it happened. But I do understand those who are skeptical and those who just don't believe it.

MORGAN: Ambassador Rice has been criticized. Her people have made it very, very clear to me that she acted honorably, that she acted on the intelligence she was given, and when -- after four or five days after the event, they believed it was to do with protests because of the video. Clearly now it was deemed to be a preorganized attack by al Qaeda. That's what most people assume.

Do you think that she was behaving honorably? Do you believe that? Or do you think it suited the agenda of the administration to not have this as a reminder that al Qaeda's alive and well and killing Americans?

RATHER: Two points. One, I think she's entitled to the benefit of any doubt. I do think she behaved honorably. Without some of the eyewitness or ear witness testimony or testimony to the contrary, I think yes. The second is that in the -- it's impossible to protect every embassy. I'm not making a defense. I think the Obama administration has much to answer for for the way they handled this. But no administration -- President Bush's administration, they had occasions in which the guard was let down here, there, or it wasn't what it was supposed to be.

Rather’s whistling past the reality that no American ambassador was killed during the Bush years – or since 1979. But one also remembers it’s Rather who infamously told Bill O’Reilly in 2001 that “I think you can be an honest person and lie about any number of things.”

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