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On the August 22 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, guest host and chief MSNBC White House correspondent Norah O'Donnell labeled anti-war demonstrators outside President Bush's Crawford, Texas, ranch "anti-war extremists." In an exchange with former FBI agent Coleen Rowley, now a Democratic congressional candidate in Minnesota, O'Donnell declared, "It was reported that Republican leaders in your state were just thrilled that you had decided to align yourself with anti-war extremists." When Rowley took issue with O'Donnell's characterization, O'Donnell defended her description, asking, "But, Coleen, they do oppose the war in Iraq, do they not?"
From the August 22 edition of MSNBC's Hardball:
O'DONNELL: Coleen, let me ask you, why do you support Cindy Sheehan's anti-war position?
ROWLEY: Well, I happened to be a person who spoke out publicly against the war a couple of weeks before it was started and warned that it would prove counterproductive to our efforts to combat terrorism. And if you have gone through this chain of mistakes that started with the pre-9-11 lapses and you have seen all of these errors that have occurred since, very serious to our country's security. I don't think you can do anything, except continue to speak out.
O'DONNELL: You're a Democrat running for Congress. It was reported that Republican leaders in your state were just thrilled that you had decided to align yourself with anti-war extremists. Do you think that this could affect your race for Congress?
ROWLEY: Well, I will quickly correct the record that they are not anti-war extremists. The majority of the people I saw down in Crawford were actually veterans groups. There were military families and --
O'DONNELL: But, Coleen, they do oppose the war in Iraq, do they not?
ROWLEY: Yes, they do. But that does not make, I guess the term extremists. They're really, I think, reflective of mainstream America in many ways.