CNN Suffers Blooper, Wonders if Biden is Too Nice to Fight GOP, Court

CNN Newsroom wondered on Wednesday if President Biden is the best man for the job of combatting the Republican Party and the Supreme Court because he is too invested in the polite ways of how Washington used to operate. After deciding that he isn’t, CNN suffered a blooper as a commercial aired in the middle of PBS NewsHour White House correspondent Laura Barron-Lopez’s remarks.

Before that, co-host Erica Hill addressed The Atlantic senior editor Ron Brownstein, “Bakari Sellers this morning said, he needs to fight, Biden needs to fight with more than just words, there’s talk of executive orders, getting rid of the filibuster, and the fear, right, of what that could mean if and when Republicans then take back control in Washington, but the reality is there ain’t a lot happening. What are the chances any of that changes? That you do see some fight to Bakari’s point? Or some action?”

Brownstein agreed that Biden’s not up to the task, “there’s a feeling that, in effect, he has a job vacancy in the Democratic Party for voices that will push back harder against what is happening in the red states and the Supreme Court to roll back seemingly long settled civil rights and liberties. I think the risk he faces is a growing sense that he is a man out of time, as I wrote. That while he was the right candidate to beat Trump, he may be the wrong leader to combat Trumpism.”

He then laid out two problems that Biden faces. The first is that “he is someone who was elected to the Senate in 1972, he is shaped by Washington when it was clubbier and more cooperative. The first instinct is always to uphold the old rules, whether that’s the filibuster or not criticizing the Supreme Court too harshly. He eventually gets to where the party is, but he always seems to be behind.”

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Biden’s second problem that is that he cares more about economic issues than culture war ones, “Instead, he’s president while these rights are being threatened and as one activist said you go to war, ‘you know, you go to war with the Republican Party you have, not the Republican Party you want,’ you know, channeling Donald Rumsfeld and it’s not clear that Biden made the transition.” 

Not only did this activist butcher the meaning of the Rumsfeld quote—from that perspective it should be “you go to war with the Democratic president you have”–, it is laughable that Biden didn’t focus on culture war issues.

Co-host Jim Sciutto then asked Barron-Lopez if Democrats have it in them to play the long game like Republicans did, because executive orders cannot save them. Barron-Lopez echoed Brownstein, “they understand that but what they’re saying is that the president, you know, to Ron’s point, needs to battle on the same playing field as this Republican Party.”

It was at this point that comedy intervened and CNN went to a Gold Bond commercial for 10 seconds, before Barron-Lopez returned to report on the left’s disappointment Biden hasn’t done more and they want him to issue executive orders anyway. 

This segment was sponsored by Gold Bond.

Here is a transcript for the July 6 show:

CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto

7/6/2022

10:31 AM ET

ERICA HILL: Picking up on—on– Isaac’s excellent reporting there, there is some frustration, I know, at a lack of action and Ron, you had, have a similar piece out where you—you—found these frustrations in your reporting, as well, among Democrats that the president is following not leading.

Bakari Sellers this morning said, he needs to fight, Biden needs to fight with more than just words, there’s talk of executive orders, getting rid of the filibuster, and the fear, right, of what that could mean if and when Republicans then take back control in Washington, but the reality is there ain’t a lot happening. What are the chances any of that changes? That you do see some fight to Bakari’s point? Or some action? 

RON BROWNSTEIN: Well look, I think the feeling in the Democratic Party, obviously as—as– Isaac said, I think there’s a recognition that Biden, you know, came into a difficult situation, but I think the risk he faces is a growing sense that he is a man out of time, as I wrote. That while he was the right candidate to beat Trump, he may be the wrong leader to combat Trumpism. 

And–and there’s a feeling that, in effect, he has a job vacancy in the Democratic Party for voices that will push back harder against what is happening in the red states and the Supreme Court to roll back seemingly long settled civil rights and liberties. 

I think there are two separate issues, Erica, one is his pedigree. You know, he is someone who was elected to the Senate in 1972, he is shaped by Washington when it was clubbier and more cooperative. The first instinct is always to uphold the old rules, whether that’s the filibuster or not criticizing the Supreme Court too harshly. He eventually gets to where the party is, but he always seems to be behind, but there is a second, it’s—it’s– exemplified by today.

You know, Biden’s political strategy was to try to mute these, kind of cultural, polarizing issues and focus on lunch table, kitchen, you know, lunch bucket, kitchen table concerns like he’s never happier than he is today, you know, appearing before a union hall in Cleveland talking about pension benefits. That’s what he wanted his presidency to be. Instead, he’s president while these rights are being threatened and as one activist said you go to war, “you know, you go to war with the Republican Party you have, not the Republican Party you want,” you know, channeling Donald Rumsfeld and it’s not clear that Biden made the transition. 

JIM SCIUTTO: Well Laura, on these issues, not just abortion, but—but– gun rights and even the decision on—on– climate, right, these were the results, as—as—Isaac—Isaac– and I were saying of a—of a– many years, even decades long effort by Republicans and conservatives to—to– get influence on the Court to overturn past decisions, and—and– create new precedents here. I mean, is there an understanding, you know, inside the party that that’s—that’s– what’s required on the flip side? There’s no executive order the president can issue today that—that– turns that around? 

LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ: Definitely, Jim. The party members understand that anything that president Biden ultimately does via the executive action is not going to reverse what the Supreme Court just did on Roe v. Wade, what they’ve done on guns, but they—they– understand that but what they’re saying is that the president, you know, to Ron’s point, needs to battle on the same playing field as this Republican Party. 

Which, it may not mean he’s able to get any Supreme Court justices on the Court anytime soon other than the recent historic one of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, but that he looks for creative ways—

[TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES, GOLD BOND COMMERICIAL}

— surprised by the fact that the White House didn’t issue even, you know, low-hanging fruit executive actions on the day that the Roe decision came down, but also, they’re trying to tell the White House that ultimately anything they do is going to be challenged by Republican states and in the courts. We saw that with the eviction moratorium, which the White House still ultimately moved forward to—to– decide to extend that, and so they’re just saying, just try it and see what happens and see what, where ultimately the courts end this. 

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