Caplis: "[T]he enemy's going to be extremely encouraged already by the results" of the November 7 election, "so I think the timing is right to get rid of Rumsfeld"

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

During The Caplis & Silverman Show, co-host Dan Caplis stated he supported President Bush's decision to replace Donald Rumsfeld as defense secretary because "the enemy's going to be extremely encouraged already by the results" of the November 7 election. He also parroted a GOP smear that Democrats "tried to hide" U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi before the election.

During the November 8 broadcast of 630 KHOW-AM's The Caplis & Silverman Show, while discussing the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, co-host Dan Caplis stated that although he once thought the advantages of removing Rumsfeld were "outweighed by the encouragement it would give the enemy," he supported President Bush's decision to replace Rumsfeld because "the enemy's going to be extremely encouraged already by the results" of the November 7 election. Caplis further reasoned that because of Democratic victories, "you've already got the encouragement working for the enemy; so I think the timing's right to get rid of Rumsfeld." From the broadcast:

CAPLIS: In the last exchange Craig had mentioned Donald Rumsfeld. And quite correctly I've said for a long time two things: One is that you can make a real good case to get rid of Rumsfeld. For years I've been saying we need more troops. But beyond that, I thought that was outweighed by the encouragement it would give the enemy to remove Rumsfeld. And I think the president struck the proper balance, because now you get the benefit of that change and of those fresh eyes, and someone who's more free to make changes without it implicitly admitting that he himself made mistakes in the past.

But, you really mitigate as best you can the encouragement to the enemy because a), the enemy's going to be extremely encouraged already by the results last night, if you believe Thomas Friedman, the New York Times columnist and Mideast expert; he said the enemy was killing more people in the run-up to the election in order to try to steer votes to Democrats. And let's face it, the enemy's gotta be encouraged when the commander in chief's party loses control of the House and Senate to leaders who have promised to get us out of there. So you've already got the encouragement working for the enemy; so I think the timing's right to get rid of Rumsfeld. And Bush said he was going to dump him anyway if they'd won -- he would make the announcement to. So again, same thing: If he had won, well then, at least you are letting him go from a position of strength -- you just won the election. So I think the president struck the proper balance there.

Caplis's comments echoed similar claims he made before the election. As Colorado Media Matters previously noted, during the October 19 broadcast of the show, Caplis declared, "If you want America to surrender in this war [in Iraq], then vote for the Democrats. You have a shared interest at that point with the terrorists." Citing an October 18 column [subscription required] by New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman, Caplis later asserted that "the reality is, if Friedman is right -- I believe he is ... then by electing Democrats, you will be encouraging the terrorists to use this tactic again." In his column, Friedman argued, regarding recent increased violence in Iraq, "The jihadists want to sow so much havoc that Bush supporters will be defeated in the midterms and the president will face a revolt from his own party, as well as from Democrats, if he does not begin a pullout from Iraq."

During the November 8 broadcast, Caplis also suggested that Democrats "tried to hide" and "bury" presumed future Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) "as much as they could during the campaign." As Media Matters for America noted, Caplis's comments echoed a pre-election Republican smear that apparently originated from current U.S. House Majority Leader John Boehner's (R-OH) political action committee, The Freedom Project.

Contrary to Caplis's assertion, a November 2 New York Times article reported, Pelosi "seems to be in the thick of campaigns for Congress from Illinois to Georgia and several places in between." The Washington Post further noted on November 5 that "Pelosi will continue campaigning for Democratic hopefuls. She's been in 20 states since August, and planned to barnstorm in Pennsylvania and Connecticut this weekend."

From the November 8 broadcast of 630 KHOW-AM's The Caplis & Silverman Show:

CAPLIS: And when it comes to the war, I disagree with Craig. I think the Dems now have to show their hand. They now have to have a plan, and we're gonna find out pretty quickly who's controlling the Democratic Party. Is it the far-left Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean, or is it some other more moderate, reasonable Democrats in that party? We're gonna find out, 'cause it ain't gonna be good enough anymore to just sit back and throw stones. Now they're going to have to offer up a plan. And when Craig tries to make Nancy Pelosi out to be some mainstream moderate, hey -- she opposed the Department of Homeland Security; she opposed the Patriot Act; she supports gay marriage; she opposed the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which was supported by the vast majority of Dems and Republicans. She opposed using force against Saddam even if it was proven he was hiding and making weapons of mass destruction. On top of that, she just isn't very smart. There are many, many very, very smart Dems in office. She isn't one of them, and at least now, you know, the late-night dumb jokes will start to shift away from the president a bit and more toward Nancy Pelosi the more we hear from her. I mean, they could bury her during the election, but they can't bury her anymore. So let's hope and pray the Dems change and the Dems break through now and support victory.

[...]

CRAIG SILVERMAN (co-host): And say what you will about Howard Dean -- and I've not always been favorably disposed toward him -- it appears he made the right call on Iraq, and everybody who's said, "Let's not go to war in Iraq" is looking pretty good right now.

CAPLIS: You see, because it's tough right now, you can say that, but I don't think it was the right call at all. And like Nancy Pelosi, who came right out and said, "Listen, I believe Saddam has weapons of mass destruction and I believe he's brewing them up, but I still won't support a war against Iraq." No, and I do think first of all, you know, Howard Dean, like Nancy Pelosi, I think they tried to hide as much as they could during the campaign, and now they can't. And it's going to be a battle between the extremists Dean-and-Pelosi wing and then other Dems. It'll be interesting to see who wins.

[...]

CAPLIS: In the last exchange Craig had mentioned Donald Rumsfeld. And quite correctly I've said for a long time two things: One is that you can make a real good case to get rid of Rumsfeld. For years I've been saying we need more troops. But beyond that, I thought that was outweighed by the encouragement it would give the enemy to remove Rumsfeld. And I think the president struck the proper balance, because now you get the benefit of that change and of those fresh eyes, and someone who's more free to make changes without it implicitly admitting that he himself made mistakes in the past.

But, you really mitigate as best you can the encouragement to the enemy because a), the enemy's going to be extremely encouraged already by the results last night, if you believe Thomas Friedman, the New York Times columnist and Mideast expert; he said the enemy was killing more people in the run-up to the election in order to try to steer votes to Democrats. And let's face it, the enemy's gotta be encouraged when the commander in chief's party loses control of the House and Senate to leaders who have promised to get us out of there. So you've already got the encouragement working for the enemy; so I think the timing's right to get rid of Rumsfeld. And Bush said he was going to dump him anyway if they'd won -- he would make the announcement to. So again, same thing: If he had won, well then, at least you are letting him go from a position of strength -- you just won the election. So I think the president struck the proper balance there.

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.