Wolf Blitzer surely succeeded in “making news” with his interview of Vice President Dick Cheney on last night’s Situation Room — though, perhaps, not in the way the CNN anchor intended. Today, the story is as much about Blitzer as it is about the V.P.
After querying Cheney on hot button issues like the Iraq War, the Scooter Libby trial and Hillary Clinton’s presidential run (Blitzer: “Do you think Hillary Clinton would make a good president?” Cheney: “No, I don’t.” Blitzer: “Why?” Cheney: “Because she’s a Democrat…”), Blitzer wrapped up by asking Cheney how he felt about conservative groups like Focus on the Family who have criticized his daughter Mary’s decision to have a child with her female partner. Cheney refused to respond to these critics, responding instead directly to Blitzer by telling him he was “out of line.” Blitzer’s seemingly startled replies included, “[Mary’s] obviously a good daughter” and, “We like your daughters.”
Not surprisingly, this Blitzer-Cheney confrontation has sparked some highly-charged chatter in the blogosphere. So, which man should be hanging his head in shame today? Depends who you ask.
To Seething Mom’s mind, Cheney came off the coward. “When I saw this video clip of Wolf Blitzer asking the Vice President how he felt about groups like Focus on the Family’s reaction to his daughter Mary Cheney’s pregnancy, I actually got a little hopeful,” Mom writes. “I mean c’mon, so many of these supposed ‘family advocacy’ groups wasted no time stepping up onto their bully pulpits to wave their fingers in righteous indignation at the horror of Mary’s decision to start a family with the woman she loves. So I was kind of hoping that maybe, just maybe Dick Cheney would finally stand up, be a DAD and not a politician, and put these judgmental ninnies in their places, right there on national television for everyone to see. But alas, it was not to be. In fact, for playing such a tough guy on the political scene, Mr. Cheney’s response was pretty damn chickensh*t and embarrassing.”
David Holtzman of Global POV agrees. Writes Holtzman: “The Veep refuses to discuss the issue, in this case telling Wolf that he was ‘out of line.’ Why is that out of line? The administration’s political base is made up of conservatives who are probably offended at Ms. Cheney’s lifestyle. For any other politician I would find this subject out of bounds, also. But not for these guys who have crossed the Potomac River, walking on the backs of evangelicals. I think that bad boy Cheney needs to ‘fess up with his religious minions. I hope that if he ever does so, he will truly defend his daughter and her lifestyle choices instead of ducking the issue.”
To others, it was Blitzer who seemed spineless during the exchange. Greg Sargent at the Horse’s Mouth scolds: “No question, [Cheney’s] scary. But come on, Wolf! Backbone!”
And Morris, on his MySpace blog, had this to say: “Finally a Republican with balls. Cheney had enough of the sycophant media toad, Wolf Blitzer, and tore his head off and stuffed it down his neck in a recent interview.”
Calling Blitzer “a fine reporter and a gentleman,” Hugh Hewitt still celebrated Cheney’s “clobber[ing]” of Blitzer and concurred that Blitzer’s question was “out of line” (you know, that “important line that separates public life from private life”). Both Blitzer and CNN should be “embarrassed in retrospect,” Hewitt concludes.
Iron Lady sounds a similar note on Newbusters.org, insisting the “Mary” question “was way, way beyond the bounds of propriety.” Protests the Lady: “Wolf’s little pretense (‘We all like Mary’) was breathtaking in its duplicity. Every person knows he intended to get Cheney to say something the media can use to bash him, his daughter, pro-lifers, Bush, and anyone else they can twist into the mix.” Apparently, this was the “maddest” the Iron Lady has “ever seen [Cheney] look.”
Satta Sarmah is a CJR intern.
Well, there’s always hope for a reconciliation — and blogger Don Surber has a thought on how to make this happen: “Hey, how about a nice hunting trip to get these two boys to patch things up again?”