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CNN's Dobbs Cites Liberal Congressman for 'Guts' to Tackle Overspending

     CNN’s Lou Dobbs attacked the federal government for overspending, heavy borrowing, and poor accounting practices on his August 14 program. Yet in doing so, the anchor actually praised a liberal Democrat criticized for his own spendthrift record.


     Dobbs introduced the story by correspondent Christine Romans by remarking that “by almost any measure, the federal government is not a very good steward of taxpayer money, to say the very least and to say it as kindly as possible.”


     Bolstering that argument, Romans featured David Williams of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) charging that the government practices “the same sort of accounting that Enron did.”


     Romans added to the mix Rep. Jim Cooper’s (D-Tenn.) complaint about the level at which foreign creditors hold U.S. securities. Romans even finished her story with Cooper’s concerns without addressing his background.


     Thanking Romans for her report, Dobbs worried that “unless someone finds the leadership and the guts” to deal with overspending and borrowing the United States would be a “debtor nation.” In closing, he hinted that Rep. Cooper was such a politician with such intestinal fortitude, saying America needs leaders for the issues “that are staring us all in the face. Jim Cooper among them.”


     But what the veteran CNN newsman left out was that CAGW criticized as “unfriendly” Cooper’s recent voting record. According to CAGW’s congressional voting scorecard, Cooper voted for the waste-cutting watchdog group’s position only 31 percent of the time in his current term in Congress, and only 26 percent of the time in his previous term.


     Cooper’s 2005 voting record also scored a strong 80 percent liberal ranking by the Americans for Democratic Action (ADA). What’s more, a look at the ADA’s ranking shows that Cooper has become more liberal in his recent time in office over his prior service in the 1980s and early 1990s. Before 1990, Cooper averaged a 65 percent liberal voting record according to ADA, and in the early 1990s his highest average rating was 70 percent in 1993.


     Cooper is also no friend of taxpayers, argues the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), who graded him a “D” for agreeing with the organization on only 33 percent on tax issues in 2005. The year before, during an election year, Cooper did even worse, voting with NTU only 15 percent of the time, earning an “F” from the organization.