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Bloomberg Editor Al Hunt Attacks Tea Partiers: 'That's Not America'

Bloomberg Washington Editor Al Hunt appeared on the web-only section of Sunday's This Week and dismissed the idea that the Tea Party movement has broad appeal. He derided, "They love Glenn Beck and they're skeptical of John McCain. That's not America."

Hunt's comments pivoted off of remarks from the conservative George Will, who pointed to a new Rasmussen poll showing Americans more in line with the thinking of the tea partiers than Barack Obama. Hunt scoffed, "They are angry, conservative, little bit more upper-income Republicans...I don't think they're closer to the country, George, than Barack Obama."

During the panel discussion in the televised portion of This Week, the veteran journalist gushed over Jake Tapper's interview with Bill Clinton: "Jake, we forget how good he is, too. I mean, he really is."

On the rehabilitation of Clinton's image, he cheered, "Bill Clinton had a very rough 2008. His standing was badly hurt with some of the things he said in the campaign, some of the way he behaved. He was bruised after it. He kept a very low profile. I think he's had a very good last year. I think he is slowly coming back."

Hunt even recounted a favorable comparison of the former President to General Douglas MacArthur: "He gave a speech at the Gridiron dinner several weeks ago, and he began by noting that it was the anniversary of the 1942 speech of General Douglas MacArthur when he said, 'I shall return.' And I think that was Clinton's message that night."

A partial transcript of the exchange on the April 18 This Week and the online Greenroom segment, follows:

10:35

JAKE TAPPER: Al, President Clinton - former President Clinton really has so much to say and really seems to be - to miss being in the thick of it.

AL HUNT: Jake, we forget how good he is, too. I mean, he really is. He gave a speech at the Gridiron dinner several weeks ago, and he began by noting that it was the anniversary of the 1942 speech of General Douglas MacArthur when he said, "I shall return." And I think that was Clinton's message that night. Bill Clinton had a very rough 2008. His standing was badly hurt with some of the things he said in the campaign, some of the way he behaved. He was bruised after it. He kept a very low profile. I think he's had a very good last year. I think he is slowly coming back. Many people thought he'd embarrass his wife. He certainly has not done that. He's been very actively and admirably involved in Haiti, involved in North Korea. There are more Democratic politicians I know now who, in what's going to be a tough year, are turning to Bill Clinton for advice. There's one place, however, that doesn't turn to Bill Clinton very much for advice, and that is the Obama White House. The tensions between the Obama top people and the Clinton top people remain very raw, Jake.

...

TAPPER: The $50 billion fund would be not funded by the taxpayers. It would be funded by the big banks. But, Al, do you want to respond to...

HUNT: Yes, I would disagree with Ms. Strassel on this, but I'm amused by Mitch McConnell being this great anti-Wall Street populist. He was just up shaking the Wall Street money trees last week. You know, Mitch McConnell as an anti-Wall Street populist is about as credible as, what, John Edwards heading a family values conference. I mean, this is a guy who's voted with Wall Street every step of the way. This is just a Frank Luntz memo talking point. I think there's probably problems with this bill. George, I think every government is going to - is going to - is going to bail out certain types of entities if they fail, if they threaten the economy. You shouldn't announce it. You shouldn't say it. You shouldn't set those parameters so it's clear they're going - it's like a ransom policy. Every government has a ransom policy, but you don't announce it up front and say, "Here's our ransom fund," because that encourages bad behavior. I don't think this bill totally addresses some of the complaints. I think it goes at least in some direction, however, Jake. And I'll tell you, at 10 o'clock on Friday morning, I thought the odds were about 60 percent or 70 percent this bill would pass. I don't think the politics are with the Republicans. This is not like health care. By 11 o'clock on Saturday morning, the odds went up to about 90 percent, because when the SEC brought that fraud suit against Goldman, I think that was the clincher.

...

[In the Greenroom segment from the This Week website]

HUNT: [On the Tea Party movement]: I think that they're an interesting group. They'll galvanize votes for Republicans this November. They'll be very helpful. I don't think they're this new phenomenon, however. They are angry, conservative, little bit more upper-income Republicans. They existed during the New Deal. It happened during the Goldwater years. I don't think it's any new deal. And I do think- I don't think they're closer to the country, George, than Barack Obama. They love Glenn Beck and they're skeptical of John McCain. That's not America.

GEORGE WILL: All I'm- I was just quoting the Rasmussen poll. Those are the results he came up with.

-Scott Whitlock is a news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.