CNN's Foreman misleadingly cropped Pelosi comments

››› ››› RAPHAEL SCHWEBER-KOREN & BRIAN LEVY

On The Situation Room, Tom Foreman reported, "From Iraq to domestic programs, Democrats face White House vetoes and little support from Republicans on Capitol Hill." Foreman then aired a clip of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying, "I know that Congress has low approval ratings. I don't approve of Congress because we haven't done anything." However, Foreman cut off the end of Pelosi's remarks, in which she made clear that she was referring only to Congress' not having done anything that brought an end to the Iraq war.

During the 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET hours of the November 9 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, correspondent Tom Foreman reported, "From Iraq to domestic programs, Democrats face White House vetoes and little support from Republicans on Capitol Hill." Foreman then aired a clip of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) saying, "I know that Congress has low approval ratings. I don't approve of Congress because we haven't done anything." But Foreman cut off the portion of Pelosi's statement that made clear she was saying that Congress specifically had not "done anything" that brought an end to the Iraq war, the effect of which was to suggest that Pelosi was saying that Congress had not "done anything" on any issue. During the briefing, Pelosi stated: "I know that Congress has low approval ratings. I don't approve of Congress because we haven't done anything to -- we haven't been effective in ending the war in Iraq. And if you asked me in a phone call, as ardent a Democrat as I am, I would disapprove of Congress as well." Indeed, Pelosi highlighted several accomplishments at a press conference held earlier in the day on November 1 to tout the legislative achievements of the Congress. Moreover, the question to which Pelosi was responding in the footage Foreman aired began with a reporter noting: "In your event this morning, you and your colleagues touted all the accomplishments so far."

By contrast, host Wolf Blitzer aired the full Pelosi quote on the November 1 edition of The Situation Room. And in a November 2 article, The Hill reported that Pelosi "criticized Congress, acknowledging it hasn't forced the change in the course of the Iraq war that many expected" and then quoted the complete sentence from the remarks in question: "I don't approve of Congress, because we haven't done anything that -- we haven't been effective in ending the war in Iraq ... And if you asked me in a phone call, as ardent a Democrat as I am, I would disapprove of Congress as well."

From Pelosi's November 1 weekly legislative briefing:

Q: In your event this morning, you and your colleagues touted all the accomplishments so far.

PELOSI: Yes.

Q: But polls are showing that the American people aren't convinced you're doing a good job. In fact, one poll said that a majority of Americans don't believe the Democrats -- don't approve of the job the Democrats are doing since you've taken office. Are you concerned --

PELOSI: Well, that -- I haven't seen that, but the polls that I have seen that are most current -- in fact, today -- talk about a record, record number. Listen to this. This is the largest gap in 20 years.

"What is your party identification?" Democrat, 50 per-- Democratic, 50 percent; Republican, 36 percent. That's the biggest gap.

I know that Congress has low approval ratings. I don't approve of Congress because we haven't done anything to -- we haven't been effective in ending the war in Iraq. And if you asked me in a phone call, as ardent a Democrat as I am, I would disapprove of Congress as well.

But the fact is, "Which party is concerned about people like me?" November 1st, 2007 -- 54 percent Democratic; 25 percent Republican. "Which party can bring needed change?" Forty-eight percent Democratic, 26 percent Republican. "Which party can better manage government?" Forty-four percent Democratic, 32 percent Republican. "Which party is more honest and ethical?" Then 40 percent Democratic, 28 percent Republican. Not all those figures are over 50 percent, but whatever they are, they're double-digit or two times as good as the Republican numbers.

So I'm very proud of what we have done. I -- this isn't about looking for the next headline. This is about making the biggest difference for the American people. This is about a legislative process that has its ups and downs. And it is -- again, I stood there with great pride and great confidence about what the Democrats had accomplished.

And now, as we go out to talk to the American people, to get through the fog of war -- because there is no question that the war in Iraq has eclipsed much of what we have done -- but still, with all of that, these numbers for the Democrats are approximately the same as they were at the time of the election last year. And again, on the party identity, the largest gap in party identification, 50 to 36, in 20 years.

From the press conference on the morning of November 1:

PELOSI: One year ago, the American people -- the American people entrusted their hopes and their dreams, their aspirations for themselves, for their families, and for the future in this new-direction Congress. We come here today with great pride and great confidence in what we have achieved and what remains for us to be done. I am proud to stand before our majority House Democratic Caucus and salute them, our chair-- from our chairmen to our newest members, for their great leadership on behalf of the American people.

With their leadership, this new-direction Congress is focusing on creating a great America for our children and our grandchildren. We have begun to restore the American dream by rewarding work, by creating new jobs through innovation, and by making college more affordable for many, many young Americans.

We have begun to restore accountability by making this the most honest, the most open, and the most accountable Congress in history. We are holding the Bush administration accountable for its failed policies in Iraq. Because our first responsibility is to make America safer, we will never stop fighting for a new direction in Iraq -- a direction that strengthens our military, refocuses on the real war on terrorism, and brings greater stability to the region. Every day, we will work very, very hard to bring our troops home safely, honorably, and soon.

With faith in the future, the new-direction Congress will continue to make progress for America's children. With faith in God, I know that we will succeed. Thank you.

Indeed, at the same press conference, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said: "We are proud that our record of achievement includes more than 90 pieces of major legislation, nearly 70 percent of which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support."

From the 7 p.m. ET hour of the November 1 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:

BLITZER: I want Jack [Cafferty, CNN commentator] first to respond to Nancy Pelosi. Congress' approval ratings are really bad, but listen to what she said today, Jack.

PELOSI [video clip]: I know that Congress has low approval ratings. I don't approve of Congress because we haven't done anything to -- we haven't been effective in ending the war in Iraq. And if you asked me in a phone call, as ardent a Democrat as I am, I would disapprove of Congress as well.

BLITZER: What do you think, Jack?

CAFFERTY: Well, I -- she should disapprove of Congress, and she's part of the reason that the Congress has failed. I looked up the duties of the speaker of the House today. She sets the calendar for the votes on bills when they come to the floor, when they're debated, when they're voted on. That includes appropriation bills for the war in Iraq. The House Appropriations Committee is controlled by the same Democrats that Nancy Pelosi is a member of their party. The appropriation bills for the war in Iraq have to clear that committee before they come to the floor for a vote. It is within the power of the Democrats in the House of Representatives to cut off the funding for the war in Iraq. They won't do it, they don't have the guts to do it, and yet they promised the electorate that's what they were going to do.

From the November 9 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:

BLITZER: Tom, public opinion of Congress just keeps getting worse. What's the latest?

FOREMAN: Wow. The latest is just going lower and lower. I think I've figured out why people have so many congressmembers in Washington -- because it's pretty clear the rest of the country doesn't want them.

[begin video clip]

UNKNOWN MALE: House will be in order.

FOREMAN: Fifty-three percent of those we questioned in our new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll say that most members of Congress do not deserve to be re-elected. That is the highest number since the question was first asked 16 years ago. And here's why.

PELOSI: Today, the American people voted for change.

FOREMAN: But Democrats have not been able to deliver much change.

SEN. TED KENNEDY (D-MA): Important to know that the minimum wage is going to go up.

FOREMAN: Other than some big-ticket items like raising the minimum wage and ethics and lobbying reform, Democrats have not been able to turn their agenda into law.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Congress is not getting its work done.

FOREMAN: From Iraq to domestic programs, Democrats face White House vetoes and little support from Republicans on Capitol Hill.

PELOSI: I know that Congress has low approval ratings. I don't approve of Congress because we haven't done anything --

FOREMAN: With the next battle for control of Congress starting to heat up, you would think our poll would be bad news for Democrats and good for Republicans. But when we asked your choice for Congress, 53 percent still said Democrat, and 42 percent said Republican. Here's why:

KEATING HOLLAND (CNN polling director): Politics is a zero-sum game. Anything that hurts one side, helps the other. And for now, it looks like Americans are angrier at the Republicans than at the Democrats.

[end video clip]

FOREMAN: Here's a rule of politics: Americans always rate their own representative higher than Congress as a whole, but even there, almost four in 10 people we polled want to throw out their own lawmaker. And that, Wolf, is big news, and that's an all-time record, too.

Posted In
Government, The House of Representatives, National Security & Foreign Policy, War in Iraq
Network/Outlet
CNN
Person
Tom Foreman
Show/Publication
The Situation Room
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