CNN host Don Lemon challenged a Democratic commentator to defend President Obama’s attack on Fox News during a recent interview, asking, “Isn’t the president above that?”
Lemon spoke with liberal commentator Hilary Rosen and conservative columnist Reihan Salam about the president’s comments in an interview with The New Yorker published this week. “The issue,” Obama claimed during that interview, “has been the inability of my message to penetrate the Republican base so that they feel persuaded that I’m not the caricature that you see on Fox News or Rush Limbaugh.”
The CNN anchor seemed perplexed by President’s Obama’s griping. “Can the president really blame Fox News for his problems?” he asked Rosen. “I mean, there are liberal outlets that do the same thing on the other side.”
Rosen claimed that “his words and his intentions are completely blown out of proportion by — I mean, not just Fox News, by so many in the Republican party.”
But Lemon persisted. “The question is, should the president be above that?” he said. “Isn’t the president above that? Like, you don’t punch down . . . Is he giving them ammunition just by speaking about this?”
Salam noted that it’s not just Republicans and Fox News. “There are a lot of people — including Democratic lawmakers, including women who served in the Obama administration — who say that this is a difficult guy to work with . . . I have a feeling that the president sometimes wants to sometimes shift blame to other people for some of his failures as a communicator, as someone who’s building coalitions.”
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