Blitzer failed to challenge Romney's suggestion that he had not attacked McCain's lack of accomplishment "in the world of business"

››› ››› TOM ALLISON

CNN's Wolf Blitzer did not challenge Mitt Romney's false suggestion that during the Republican presidential primary campaign he had not attacked Sen. John McCain's lack of accomplishment "in the world of business." In fact, during the primary campaign, CNN had aired a clip of Romney saying, "I think, at a time like this, it makes sense to have a president who's actually had a job in the real economy."

On the May 8 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, during an interview with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), host Wolf Blitzer said: "I asked him [Sen. Barack Obama] to respond to your criticism of him that he really hasn't accomplished much legislatively or in the world of business." Blitzer then played a video clip of Obama, who said: "I think he was making those same arguments against John McCain, suggesting John McCain, as a senator, hadn't done what Mitt Romney had done. And yet, here we are, and there Mitt Romney is." Following Romney's response, Blitzer asked Romney, "But what about his argument that you used to make the same criticisms of McCain when you were running against McCain?" Romney responded, "No, he's not quite right on that. I always recognized Senator McCain's long service in our United States Senate, as well as his tested and proven status as a leader, and as a member of our military. There's no question about where John McCain has earned his stripes and how many years he's taken to do that." Blitzer did not challenge Romney's false suggestion that during the Republican presidential primary campaign he had not attacked McCain's lack of accomplishment "in the world of business."

In fact, Romney did attack McCain's lack of accomplishment in the "world of business." Indeed, on the February 5 edition of CNN's American Morning, co-host Kiran Chetry reported: "Mitt Romney is promising a Super Tuesday surprise saying don't count on a McCain sweep. Romney told voters in Oklahoma that he's the true conservative choice and the man who can protect their money." She then played a clip of Romney saying: "How executive leadership works, you've got to get out of the Senate and the House where you're there with what? Hundreds of other people voting yes or no, serving on committees. But the real economy is where I've been, it's where these folks have been and we need to have somebody from the real economy, in my view, go to Washington and make sure we keep the real economy strong." Later in the same American Morning broadcast, CNN correspondent Mary Snow aired a clip of Romney saying, "I think, at a time like this, it makes sense to have a president who's actually had a job in the real economy."

Additionally, an April 15 Associated Press article by AP political writer Glen Johnson, headlined "Romney reverses on McCain's economic credentials," reported, "Three months after Mitt Romney said Washington experience does not translate into economic wisdom, the former Republican presidential contender was on television Tuesday touting the economic credentials of John McCain in part on the strength of his congressional tenure." Johnson reported: " 'Now he's engaging in "Washington talk," ' Romney said of McCain, jabbing as the senator's self-professed 'straight-talk' mantra. ' "Washington talk" says that somehow, because you've been in Washington, and you've been on a committee, that you somehow know about how the jobs of this country have been created.' "

From the April 14 AP article:

Three months after Mitt Romney said Washington experience does not translate into economic wisdom, the former Republican presidential contender was on television Tuesday touting the economic credentials of John McCain in part on the strength of his congressional tenure.

[...]

[Q]uestioning McCain's economic credentials was the centerpiece of Romney's recent Florida primary campaign. It continued through their Feb. 5 Super Tuesday showdown, which McCain won and forced Romney from the race.

For example, on Jan. 25 in Pensacola, Fla., Romney mocked McCain for equating his Senate tenure and committee chairmanship with Romney's prior work in the private sector as a venture capitalist and outside the Beltway as governor of Massachusetts.

"Now he's engaging in 'Washington talk,' " Romney said of McCain, jabbing as the senator's self-professed "straight-talk" manta. "`Washington talk' says that somehow, because you've been in Washington, and you've been on a committee, that you somehow know about how the jobs of this country have been created."

[...]

Romney said in a phone call to The Associated Press later Tuesday that his comments in part acknowledged the verdict of the voters.

There's no question any one of the three would have benefitted from a lifetime of service in the private sector that I enjoyed. That's why I thought I was the strongest candidate. The voters chose differently," Romney said. "All three of them have experience in the Senate. In that regard, he has a lot more experience than them."

Romney added: "I wouldn't have run for president if I didn't think I were the best guy for the job, but when it comes to comparing John McCain's experience with that of Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, he stands hear and shoulders above them."

From CNN's transcript of the February 5 edition of American Morning:

CHETRY: You know, on the Republican side, Mitt Romney is promising a Super Tuesday surprise saying don't count on a McCain sweep. Romney told voters in Oklahoma that he's the true conservative choice and the man who can protect their money.

ROMNEY [video clip]: How executive leadership works, you've got to get out of the Senate and the House where you're there with what? Hundreds of other people voting yes or no, serving on committees. But the real economy is where I've been, it's where these folks have been and we need to have somebody from the real economy, in my view, go to Washington and make sure we keep the real economy strong.

[...]

SNOW: Well, John [Roberts, anchor], they believe that there's a change in the tide and they believe that they have some real opportunity in California and states like West Virginia. You mentioned the convention, Mitt Romney will be here, along with Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee. John McCain is the only candidate who won't be addressing the convention today. He'll send a representative. But they were hitting the campaign trail hard.

Yesterday, Senator John McCain campaigning in New York City. One of the main themes, of course, has been national security. But also another theme -- the Republican Party. He's been stressing that he can be the uniter.

Mitt Romney has been trying to make the case that he is the true conservative, trying to take and poke a holes in Senator John McCain's conservative credentials. He made that last-minute trip to California in hopes of securing a good portion of delegates out there. Here's a little bit of what they had to say on the campaign trail.

McCAIN [video clip]: If you look at the numbers, I can match up against either Senator Obama or Senator Clinton very well and compete with them in every state in the United States of America.

ROMNEY [video clip]: Just stay ahead on the race for the world. And I think, at a time like this, it makes sense to have a president who's actually had a job in the real economy.

SNOW: Mitt Romney making the economy, of course, one of his big themes. This really, John, is his last chance to derail Senator John McCain's momentum. He's hoping that California will help him do that if he can do well there.

From the May 8 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:

BLITZER: I asked him to respond to your criticism of him that he really hasn't accomplished much legislatively or in the world of business. The presidency, you said, of the United States is not an internship. Here's how he responded.

OBAMA [video clip]: The contest didn't work out so well for Mitt Romney. I think he was making those same arguments against John McCain, suggesting that John McCain, as a senator, hadn't done what Mitt Romney had done. And yet, here we are, and there Mitt Romney is. Look, when it comes to national security, I think that what people are looking for is good judgment.

BLITZER: And he says he had good judgment in not supporting the war from the beginning. All right, you want to respond?

ROMNEY: Well, his response, of course, was not to discuss the merits of the issue. The truth of the matter is, just as I said, that he doesn't have a record of accomplishment in the private sector or in the governmental sector. He hasn't led any kind of entity. He hasn't pushed a major piece of legislation. He's a -- he seems like a charming guy who's very well-spoken, but in terms of actually having led, actually having accomplished something, actually having been the kind of leader that America needs at a critical time -- with our economy fragile, with us facing real challenges around the world -- he's untested and unproven.

BLITZER: Well, what about --

ROMNEY: And, frankly, Senator McCain is someone who's very tested and very proven.

BLITZER: But what about his argument that you used to make the same criticisms of McCain when you were running against McCain?

ROMNEY: No, he's not quite right on that. I always recognized Senator McCain's long service in our United States Senate, as well as his tested and proven status as a leader, and as a member of our military. There's no question about where John McCain has earned his stripes and how many years he's taken to do that. He is someone well known for his legislative accomplishments, for bringing Republicans and Democrats together. He's a person of experience and capability, which, by the way, is something the American people recognized, I think, when they selected him in the primary process.

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
CNN
Person
Wolf Blitzer
Show/Publication
The Situation Room
Stories/Interests
Mitt Romney, John McCain, 2008 Elections
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