CNN's Daryn Kagan downplayed Martinez memo, asking: "I don't get it ... Is this town just too sensitive?"
Research ››› ››› SIMON MALOY
Following the revelation that an aide to Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) drafted a memo extolling the potential political windfall from the Terri Schiavo case to Republicans, which Senate Republicans had previously denied producing, CNN host Daryn Kagan downplayed the memo's significance and attempted to shift the discussion to make an issue of how Democrats dealt with the Schiavo case. Ignoring the political impact of Martinez's revelation on conservatives' efforts to blame Democrats for the memo (efforts to which The Washington Post and CNN's Inside Politics lent legitimacy), Kagan asked: "Is this town [Washington, D.C.] just too sensitive?"
Discussing the Martinez memo with CNN congressional correspondent Ed Henry on the April 7 edition of CNN Live Today, Kagan questioned the validity of the controversy surrounding the memo, attributing it to the "sensitivity" of the Washington establishment. She then tried to re-focus the discussion on the Democrats, despite their having had no role in the memo's creation: "the Democrats did have a tough time with it [the Schiavo case]. I think a lot of people felt they didn't speak up like they should have." But it was not clear what Henry's report on new revelations about the source of the memo had to do with the Democratic response to the Schiavo case.
From the April 7 edition of CNN Live Today:
HENRY: I think it's a footnote to the entire Schiavo story. But it was a big political battle, and now we learned it, in fact, was a Republican talking points memo. It was drafted by an aide to Senator Mel Martinez, the former cabinet secretary. As you mentioned, that staffer has now resigned his job, and it's a pretty big political black eye for the Republicans, and I think, again, it's just going to be a footnote in the long run. But it's not a good day for the Republicans on that.
KAGAN: But here's what I don't get it, when I look at it, it just seems -- is this town just too sensitive? It just seems the fight over removing Schiavo's tube, it was a political issue, it did come up, and the Democrats did have a tough time with it. I think a lot of people felt they didn't speak up like they should have.
HENRY: The bottom line is that Tom DeLay and other top Republicans who were pushing this legislation insisted that politics played no role in the debate. They were just trying to save Terri Schiavo's life. This memo said Republicans felt, in fact, it was going to rally their political base. This was going to be a big issue for them in the 2006 election.