I've got to wonder why CNN thinks interviewing the washed up, flame throwing, race baiting, ex-Speaker of the House is worth putting on the air with little or no rebuttal. But sadly, here was Newt Gingrich defending his buddy Michele Bachmann and her McCarthyism and host Wolf Blitzer doing very little to counter it.
Today on CNN, Newt Gingrich applauded the central tenets of McCarthyism to justify his support for Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) baseless campaign to root out alleged Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of the U.S. government. Host Wolf Blitzer singled out Bachmann target Huma Abedin, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, telling Gingrich that it’s “ridiculous” to include her and that the whole thing reeks of McCarthyism. But the former House Speaker — and Mitt Romney supporter — wouldn’t back down, praising McCarthyism for rooting out communists and defending Abedin’s inclusion in Bachmann’s witch hunt. “This State Department has been amazingly pro-Muslim Brotherhood,” he said, “American citizens have the right to have the Congress ask the question.” [...]
Bachmann has been widely criticized for her anti-Muslim campaign, including by some top Republicans, particularly for singling out Abedin. But the Minnesota congresswoman has yet to offer substantial proof of any Muslim Brotherhood plot. In fact, actual members of the Islamist group have recently lamented that they can’t even take over the Egyptian government.
You could tell Blitzer was plenty irritated with Gingrich for attacking someone he's friends with, but that didn't stop him from allowing Gingrich from doing his best to justify the witch hunt and with treating Gingrich with a whole lot more deference than he deserved, to put it mildly. I had zero respect for Blitzer before watching this interview. The fact that he could sit there and allow someone like Gingrich attack a friend of his like this without pushing back further is really disgusting. Every time I think CNN can't do something to make sure their ratings tank even further, they manage to surprise me and one up themselves as they did here.
Transcript via CNN below the fold.
BLITZER: Let me ask you a question about Michele Bachmann and some other Republican congressman who wrote a letter questioning basically the loyalty of some patriotic Americans who work in the United States government including one of the top aides to Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin (ph) whom I happen to know rather well. She's married to a former congressman, as you well know. You said this and I'll put it up on the screen.
"The Muslim Brotherhood is a serious worldwide organization dedicated to a future most Americans would find appalling. Seeking to understand its reach and its impact in the U.S. government is a legitimate, indeed a central part of our national security process. Bachmann, Franks, Gohmert, Rooney and Westmoreland -- all congressmen -- are showing a lot more courage than the defenders of timidity, complicity and passivity." You know the criticism that's been leveled against her and these other congressmen, especially with Huma Abedin (ph), who is a wonderful, wonderful person. Have you ever met her?
GINGRICH: I may have met her in passing. I don't know her.
BLITZER: -- to start raising all these issues of McCarthyism to say she's not really loyal because she's Muslim, if you will.
GINGRICH: Let me -- OK -- it's not -- this is -- this is baloney, Wolf. We've known each other a long time.
BLITZER: Tell me why it's baloney.
GINGRICH: First of all behind McCarthyism there were real spies. People tend to forget this. There's a new book coming out on Reagan and Hollywood in the '40s and the book is --
BLITZER: There are a lot of innocent people who suffered --
GINGRICH: And there were a lot of guilty people --
BLITZER: -- because of baseless charges.
GINGRICH: But there were a lot of guilty people who would never have been uncovered if some people didn't have the courage to take them on. There's a brand new book coming out on Reagan and Hollywood in the late '40s and it is appalling the number of hard core communists that were working in the movie industry. There has been an enormous effort to rewrite history, so --
BLITZER: But in this particular case --
BLITZER: -- with Huma Abedin (ph), Huma Abedin (ph) -- you don't know her. I know her --
GINGRICH: (INAUDIBLE) my question.
BLITZER: You know she's married to a Jewish guy, a congressman --
GINGRICH: All right.
BLITZER: -- Anthony Weiner and you know she is not in a part of a Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy or anything like that. That's ridiculous to even put her -- to raise her name like that.
GINGRICH: OK. She is very high up in the State Department.
BLITZER: That's correct. She's --
BLITZER: -- deputy chief of staff to the secretary of state.
GINGRICH: And presumably has some influence.
BLITZER: A lot of influence.
GINGRICH: OK. So to ask the question, this is a question, why have we had a series of decisions and Andy McCarthy (ph), who was a prosecutor in the first World Trade Center terrorism (INAUDIBLE) and has worked on this issue for 20 years lays out case after case after case where this State Department has been amazingly pro-Muslim Brotherhood. Now, whose advice is that? I don't know him. I can't tell you. I'm not accusing anybody of anything. I am saying American citizens have a right to have their members of Congress ask the question --
BLITZER: Here's my point. Here's my point and you and I will disagree on this. Here's my point, you can raise all sorts of questions about the Muslim Brotherhood, whether the Obama administration should have recognized the new president of Egypt, who is obviously a leader in the Muslim Brotherhood, all that is legitimate. But to take a woman who is a wonderful American patriot and to start throwing her name out there as if she's some sort of spy, if you will, or some sort of insider --
GINGRICH: Nobody -- nobody suggested --
BLITZER: -- because -- because maybe you know some distant relative or whatever may have done I mean that's ridiculous.
GINGRICH: Well, I think it was mother and father, so I don't know how distant --
BLITZER: Well I don't think her mother and father were members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
GINGRICH: I'm just saying but I think that was the allegation --
BLITZER: Yes. GINGRICH: So let's not get into distant relatives --
BLITZER: I have a problem questioning the role of the Muslim Brotherhood making sure that there's no one --
BLITZER: But to start throwing out names --
GINGRICH: So let's agree -- well --
BLITZER: -- of wonderful American citizens without the evidence, without any background, that goes beyond.
GINGRICH: One leading figure said, I don't know her but I'm sure she's OK. Now, I just want --
BLITZER: I know her and I'm sure she's OK.
GINGRICH: OK, I'm just suggesting to you that's when you get into a group thing that says don't even ask these questions.
BLITZER: I don't -- you can ask the questions, but I don't think you should smear somebody's reputation unless you have --
GINGRICH: I'm happy to say --
BLITZER: -- you know you have the smoking gun.
GINGRICH: OK. OK. I'm willing to say they probably should have written the letter with no specific name --
BLITZER: That's better --
GINGRICH: But the question in the letter it is totally valid and shouldn't be avoided by hiding behind one person.
BLITZER: On that note we'll leave it.
GINGRICH: All right.
BLITZER: Mr. Speaker, we'll see you at the convention.
GINGRICH: See you there.
BLITZER: See Callista at the convention, too.
BLITZER: Appreciate it very much.
GINGRICH: Thank you.