CNN's Jeffrey Toobin: Obama Wins 'Comfortably,' and 'Absolutely,' Hurricanes Should Be Politicized

CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin appeared on the public-radio talk show Smiley & West over the weekend and gave his election pick: "You know, I don’t think this election is going to be all that close. I’m sorry, you know,, in my newsman hat, you know, we always want drama, we always want chaos and good stories. I think Obama is going to win this election narrowly, but comfortably. I don’t think we’re in for a long night."

When co-host Tavis Smiley asked about the talk of Superstorm Sandy being politicized, Toobin insisted "Absolutely, we should politicize them" to smack those people who think government is evil, and those global-warming skeptics should not be given equal time:

TOOBIN: One of the things that I always object to when big news event hit is people say oh we shouldn’t politicize them. Absolutely we should politicize them and these events don’t occur in a vacuum.

When you talk about you know, government as being evil and government as a negative force in people’s lives, it takes an event like this to remind people – we need government. We need government to help us when things are bad. And I think FEMA and all the government support that’s going to the people that are hurting now is a reminder of how we should politicize these events, not pretend that they happen in a vacuum.

"They sound like Neanderthals, denying climate change," said co-host Cornel West, and Smiley said they "deny the science." Toobin compared denying global warming to denying gravity: 

TOOBIN: Pretending a debate exists when there’s no real debate is not fairness. And this a problem I have frankly with my colleagues and myself in the news media, to pretend that there are two points of view about evolution, to pretend there are two points of view about gravity, to pretend there are two points of view about whether the climate is changing, I don’t think we’re doing our audience any favors. And just because people deny science doesn’t mean they should get the same hearing as people who follow the complete scientific consensus.

Toobin appeared to promote his latest book on the Supreme Court, The Oath. Smiley asked Toobin about the 2012 election result because he was nervous: "What happens in 2012 Mr. Toobin if Mr. Obama wins the Electoral College and Mr. Romney wins the popular vote?" When Toobin dismissed that as a real opportunity, Smiley nudged him about 2000.  He asked if Ralph Nader denied Al Gore a victory.

Toobin then insisted Gore would have and should have been president, whether Nader ran or not, but that Nader was an arrogant jerk for running in the first place: 

TOOBIN: I don’t consider myself obsessive about many things, but let me say one thing. Al Gore won that  election. Al Gore should have been President of the United States on January 20, 2001. I mean, that is the single public issue that sticks in my craw, certainly more than any other certainly that I have covered.

It is certainly true that had Ralph Nader not been on the ballot in Florida in 2000, Al Gore would have won that election, I don’t think there’s any doubt about that, and I thought it was an act of monumental hubris for Nader to run at all, pretending that there was no meaningful difference between George W. Bush and Al Gore. I mean, that is simply a false, false claim, as the Bush presidency demonstrated better than my ability to express it.

Smiley strongly disagreed, saying he hated people blaming Nader. When West strangely said Gore didn't fight Bush for the win, Toobin agreed "It was a failure of nerve, it was a failure of character. I can’t say it made a difference, but it sure seemed like it made a difference."

 

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