CNN's Kiran Chetry failed to challenge a McCain campaign adviser's criticism of Sen. Barack Obama for "claim[ing] that the American military was just air-raiding villages and bombing civilians" in Afghanistan, even though Chetry herself has reported that Defense Secretary Robert Gates has offered "personal regret[s]" to Afghanistan over air strikes that killed civilians.
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On the October 6 edition of CNN's American Morning, co-host Kiran Chetry did not challenge McCain campaign senior adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer's assertion that Sen. Barack Obama "claimed that the American military was just air-raiding villages and bombing civilians" in Afghanistan, and that Gov. Sarah Palin "brought that out in the debate and said, 'I'm not -- that's a reckless statement and frankly don't know whether he's qualified to be commander in chief if he's making statements like that.' " Pfotenhauer was referring to Obama's August 13, 2007, statement that "[w]e've got to get the job done there [in Afghanistan] and that requires us to have enough troops so that we're not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there." Chetry did not note in response that U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan -- and accounts of resulting civilian casualties -- have been widely reported in the media, and have reportedly provoked criticism from Afghan President Hamid Karzai and a British commander stationed there. Moreover, on the September 17 edition of American Morning, Chetry herself reported: "Defense Secretary Robert Gates this morning offering, quote, 'personal regret[s]' to Afghanistan over recent air strikes that killed civilians. ... Afghanistan alleges as many as 90 civilians were killed in an air strike last month."
The Associated Press reported in an August 14, 2007, "Fact Check" of Republican attacks on Obama's comments that "Western forces have been killing [Afghan] civilians at a faster rate than the insurgents."
From the October 6 edition of CNN's American Morning:
CHETRY: When he says, "He doesn't see America as we see America," who's the "we" she's referring to?
PFOTENHAUER I think to most middle-class Americans. I mean, one of the statements that she emphasized during her debate that I also think is emblematic of how Barack Obama views America differently --
CHETRY: Wait, hold on a second. Let's just go back to this real quick --
CHETRY: -- because there's an article today, and there's been some analysis, saying there's a "racial tinge" to what she said.
PFOTENHAUER: Oh, my.
CHETRY: "Doesn't see America as you and I see America." What do you say to that?
PFOTENHAUER: It's absurd. I mean, I think maybe people don't like what Sarah Palin is saying, and so they're ascribing to the worst possible motive. Point to one thing she's ever done in her life that would reveal any type of racial tendency. That's ridiculous. But what she's saying is that he doesn't see America the same way middle Americans do -- or middle-class Americans do. Remember his statement about Afghanistan, where he claimed that the American military was "just air-raiding villages and bombing civilians." And she brought that out in the debate and said, "I'm not -- that's a reckless statement and frankly don't know whether he's qualified to be commander in chief if he's making statements like that."
CHETRY: All right, we're going to have to leave it there. I want to thank you for joining us this morning. Nancy Pfotenhauer, senior adviser for the McCain campaign. Thanks.
PFOTENHAUER: My pleasure. Thank you very much.
From the September 17 edition of American Morning:
CHETRY: Defense Secretary Robert Gates this morning offering, quote, "personal regret" to Afghanistan over recent air strikes that killed civilians. Gates' comments came during a meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Gates promising more accurate targeting in the future. Afghanistan alleges as many as 90 civilians were killed in an air strike last month.