For analysis of the special election in New York's 9th Congressional District, CNN hosted Hilary Rosen – a former Democratic strategist and former interim head of the Human Rights Campaign, a leading LGBT civil rights organization.
The network simply listed Rosen as a "CNN political contributor," failing to disclose her past as a Democratic strategist. Not surprisingly, Rosen downplayed the shock of a Republican victory in former Congressman Anthony Weiner's district, which had been Democratic since the 1920s, remarking that "there's too much made of it."
Rosen claimed that "it wasn't a particularly liberal Democratic seat" and "this is a district that barely supported President Obama the last time around." However, Obama won the district by 11 points in 2008 – not a landslide, but not a very close victory either. The 2010 Almanac of American Politics states that the district is "unquestionably a Democratic district, but conservative by New York City standards," so Rosen's first point may well be valid.
[For audio, click here.]
Rosen blamed the defeat mainly on the disgrace of former Congressman Anthony Weiner, not the policies of President Obama. As a good Democratic strategist she turned the focus to the effect the loss would have on the morale of Democrats and noted that the White House would have to "pay attention" to the media's reaction and make sure the party was supporting its candidates.
The analyst also gushed over rumored Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, who could challenge incumbent Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) for the Massachusetts Senate seat.
"Here you have somebody who's sort of the anti-politician in Elizabeth Warren, really just a phenomenal consumer advocate, a professor, perceived to be the kind of nice lady truth-teller who really is smart and accomplished and almost single-handedly brought some of the Wall Street reforms to Washington to encourage them to be enacted – and President Obama embraced them, of course," lauded Rosen.
A transcript and video of the segment, which aired on September 14 at 12:32 p.m. EDT, is as follows:
T.J. HOLMES: Hilary, let's turn to New York and that election. Republican Bob Turner won that special election, a heavily Democratic district here. A Democrat hasn't held this seat – or excuse me – a Democrat has held this seat since the 1920s. So is it a lot going to be made of this? Too much made of this that this is a signal that Obama's in trouble? Or is this really a signal that Obama might be trouble next year?
HILARY ROSEN, CNN political contributor: Well, my instinct is that there's too much made of it. First rule is, like, don't tweet pictures of yourself without your underpants because you'll turn all your constituents kerflooey. And they won't know what to do.
HOLMES: Yeah, that's rule one.
ROSEN: You know that was Anthony Weiner's seat. It was a Democratic seat before. And it wasn't a particularly liberal Democratic seat. So I think the Republicans, while they're going to try and make a lot out of this, this is a district that barely supported President Obama the last time around, and you know, not in the sort of maelstrom of kind of political liberal New York.
Having said that, the fact that it's an isolated seat, and there will be a lot of media around the Republicans taking charge, you know, the White House is going to have to pay attention to this because members of Congress who are being asked to go out on a limb for the President – we want to get this economy moving, we want to pass the President's jobs bill – you know, they're going to want to make sure that the White House and the Democratic Party has their back.
And so if the party can't support their candidates in these races, that's going to give members pause. So, the White House does have to pay attention.
HOLMES: And last thing here, is Elizabeth Warren the right person, the person, the best chance for Democrats to unseat Senator Scott Brown in Massachusetts?
ROSEN: I love this race. I'm going to be watching it so closely. Here you have somebody who's sort of the anti-politician in Elizabeth Warren, really just a phenomenal consumer advocate, a professor, perceived to be the kind of nice lady truth-teller who really is smart and accomplished and almost single-handedly brought some of the Wall Street reforms to Washington to encourage them to be enacted – and President Obama embraced them, of course – against another kind of anti-politician, Scott Brown, who sort of came out of nowhere, was in the state legislature but not particularly noteworthy. This is going to be sort of a matchup of the Senate, I think. This is the race of the year.