Friday, March 28, 2008

Anderson Cooper, Candy Crowley Mislead on Obama

On the 3/27/08 edition of CNN's AC360, host Anderson Cooper and reporter Candy Crowley did not do their homework on democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama (and I let Cooper know that on his blog too). Cooper simply reported that he was the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate for 2007, according to National Journal. He never went into why that rating is misleading or just outright BS, instead just stating that the Obama camp considers it a "flawed" report. Nor did he cite any other report on Obama's voting record. He and Crowley also failed to report evidence that Obama has reached across party lines in his short time in the U.S. Senate. I will go into that in a moment.

According to a VERY credible report by political scientists Keith Poole and Jeff Lewis, Obama is tied with democrat Joe Biden as the 10th most liberal Senator in the U.S. Senate. Why does this report look more credible than the NJ study? First of all, avid socialist and liberal democratic Senator Bernie Sanders and pure liberals like Russ Feingold and Chris Dodd are all at the top of the Poole-Lewis study, ahead of Obama as they should be. The NJ study, on the other hand, has Obama ahead of everyone, which makes no sense given Obama's post-partisan rhetoric and work across party lines, a fact that extends to his time in the Illinois state senate (a fact that Cooper and Crowley casually mentioned).

Cooper and company apparently did not understand that the National Journal rating on Obama is flawed now, just as it was in 2004 when its study said John Kerry was the most liberal Senator. Read this Media Matters item to see why.

And that's not all that's wrong with National Journal's studies. The current one considers, for example, the vote (and Obama's in particular) on passing the 9/11 recommendations to be a "liberal" issue when it was clearly bi-partisan, as was the 9/11 Commission's report. It also wrongly considers votes on the federal minimum wage, embryonic stem cell research, and children's health insurance to be "liberal" issues as well, even though they all got bi-partisan support in Congress.

And Candy Crowley is a lazy journalist. She says Obama has no record of cooperating with Republicans in the U.S. Senate. Just go to Obama's Wikipedia page: there you will find that he has helped to pass ethics(/transparency) reform with Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn and a bill to reign in nuclear and conventional weapons with Indiana Republican Dick Lugar. It was dubbed the "Obama-Lugar" bill. He also co-sponsored an immigration bill that John McCain introduced to the Senate in 2005.

So shame on Crowley and Cooper for not doing their homework on Obama, a democrat who has gotten support and votes from both sides of the aisle in this primary campaign, including from the likes of former president Eisenhower's granddaughter and hundreds of Republicans in Colorado. Thus, he is a liberal/moderate democrat who definitely has a bipartisan track record. Anderson Cooper and Candy Crowley, like so many supposed so-called journalists and pundits, simply didn't look hard enough to find it.

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