Appearance Alert!
MRC's Brent Bozell on FNC's The Kelly File, Friday 9:40pm ET/PT

CNN's Spitzer: 'Every One of Us is Being Held Hostage' By Senate GOP

CNN's Eliot Spitzer blasted Senate Republicans on Wednesday's Parker-Spitzer for their promise to hold up legislation unless the current tax rates are extended: "Every one of us...[is] being held hostage by 42 Republican senators." Predictably, co-host Kathleen Parker agreed with Spitzer to a point, and snarked, "I got stuck on the image of being held hostage by 42 Republicans- talk about a bad date."

The former Democratic governor of New York led the 8 pm Eastern hour of the program with his rant against the senators. After twice using his "hostage" term, which likens the Republicans to terrorists, Spitzer bewailed how "the day after the Republican leadership meets with the President, and says we want bipartisanship, they send a letter saying, no way, no how. We will do nothing until you give a tax cut to the rich. No START Treaty- something that has been endorsed by...every major Republican foreign policy leader...No unemployment benefits for those who are looking for jobs- can't get it with unemployment at 9, 10 percent." He ended this initial bombast with another cliched label for Republicans: "This is outrageous. This is not the way to govern. The party of no has gotten worse. I think it is a shame, and it is just beyond comprehension."

Parker replied with her "bad date" crack and continued that she agreed with her co-host on the START Treaty issue, and reenforced her "moderate" credentials by conceding that tax rates needed to be raised on some of the rich:

PARKER: To get to your point, I assumed, when I heard that there was opposition to the START Treaty, that there must be some legitimate concerns, and I did a little reporting and asked around. And I'm convinced by the people I've spoken with who are knowledgeable in foreign affairs, and certainly with this particular treaty, that it is important to go ahead and do it.

SPITZER: Yeah.

PARKER: On the tax issue alone, let's just say- you know, let me be wild and crazy here and propose a compromise that seems to me- you know, the Republicans are using this as leverage, obviously, and they're doing it rather successfully. But you know what? Why not say, we're going to do what's best for the country and let's find a compromise position? One of which that I find rather appealing is, raise the definition of rich. You and I both know that a two-income family earning $250,000 a year- that's not rich-rich, certainly in urban areas. So, raise the ceiling- raise it to a million dollars, or postpone it for- you know, to some period- bring it up to $500,000.

After their initial exchange, the two CNN hosts brought on Republican Congressman Greg Walden, and Spitzer used his "hostage" term in his first question to the Oregon representative:

SPITZER: Congressman, thank you for joining us, but I just got to ask you a question. It seems as though the Republicans in the Senate are holding us hostage. Every major piece of every issue that needs to be addressed for this nation is being held hostage to the one issue of tax cuts for the rich. Is that any way to govern right now?

The former Democratic politician used the term one more time 45 minutes into the hour during a panel discussion with author Annabelle Gurwitch, former Bush advisor Dylan Glenn, and HBO boxing analyst Max Kellerman: "Anyway, the Republicans in the Senate have taken the entire agenda of progress in this nation hostage. Is this good for America? What's going on in Washington?"

This isn't the first time Parker and Spitzer have landed on the same side of an issue. On the September 9, 2010 edition of Anderson Cooper 360, about a month before their program started, the two CNN hosts were unanimous in their agreement that "well-spoken" Imam Feisal Rauf had changed few minds concerning his planned mosque near Ground Zero in New York City with his Larry King interview. They also forwarded CNN's charge that "Islamophobia" is growing in the country.

The full transcript of the first segment on Wednesday's Parker-Spitzer, along with Spitzer's first question to Representative Greg Walden:

SPITZER: As always, tonight's 'Opening Argument'- you know what, Kathleen? We are being held hostage- every one of us. We are hostages, being held hostage by 42 Republican senators. The day after the Republican leadership meets with the President, and says we want bipartisanship, they send a letter saying, no way, no how. We will do nothing until you give a tax cut to the rich. No START Treaty- something that has been endorsed by Henry Kissinger, Jim Baker- every major Republican foreign policy leader says pass the START Treaty- Colin Powell said it today- they say, no way. No unemployment benefits for those who are looking for jobs- can't get it with unemployment at 9, 10 percent. This is outrageous. This is not the way to govern. The party of no has gotten worse. I think it is a shame, and it is just beyond comprehension.

PARKER: Gosh, you're just so cute when you're angry, Eliot. (Spitzer laughs) I know it's not funny, but I don't know why-

SPITZER: I don't understand this-

PARKER: I'm smiling, because I got stuck on that- the image of being held hostage by 42 Republicans- talk about a bad date. (laughs)

SPITZER: (laughs) I certainly agree with you on that one.

PARKER: To get to your point, I assumed, when I heard that there was opposition to the START Treaty, that there must be some legitimate concerns, and I did a little reporting and asked around. And I'm convinced by the people I've spoken with who are knowledgeable in foreign affairs, and certainly with this particular treaty, that it is important to go ahead and do it.

SPITZER: Yeah.

PARKER: On the tax issue alone, let's just say- you know, let me be wild and crazy here and propose a compromise that seems to me- you know, the Republicans are using this as leverage, obviously, and they're doing it rather successfully. But you know what? Why not say, we're going to do what's best for the country and let's find a compromise position? One of which that I find rather appealing is, raise the definition of rich. You and I both know that a two-income family earning $250,000 a year- that's not rich-rich, certainly in urban areas. So, raise the ceiling- raise it to a million dollars, or postpone it for- you know, to some period- bring it up to $500,000.

SPITZER: As we speak, there are millions of Americans whose unemployment benefits have run out.

PARKER: Yeah.

SPITZER: Congress- I think any person with a sense of justice would say we need to help these folks. They're looking for jobs. There simply aren't jobs aren't there. We have unemployment that simply is twice as high as it ordinarily is- families that can't afford to put food on their table, and the Republican leadership is saying, until we give a tax cut to the rich, we won't even consider extending unemployment benefits for those folks. It just isn't the sense of justice that should permeate our politics, and I'm just almost- I'm almost outraged at the callousness with which these issues are being played with at a moment of such desperation.

PARKER: Well, I don't think that the American people are going to be- are feeling very positive right now about the way the Congress is behaving, and this is- you know, as you say, our problems are really, really, really serious-

SPITZER: Yeah-

PARKER: And we've got to do something- move it forward. Digging in the heels right now is not the right approach-

SPITZER: Yeah- not the way to govern.

PARKER: All right.

SPITZER: All right. For more on the impending clash in Washington, let's go into 'The Arena.'

PARKER: Joining us in 'The Arena' to talk about what this means is one of the Republicans' rising stars, Congressman Greg Walden. Thanks for joining us, Congressman.

REPRESENTATIVE GREG WALDEN: Glad to be with you today.

SPITZER: Congressman, thank you for joining us, but I just got to ask you a question. It seems as though the Republicans in the Senate are holding us hostage. Every major piece of every issue that needs to be addressed for this nation is being held hostage to the one issue of tax cuts for the rich. Is that any way to govern right now?

WALDEN: (laughs) Eliot, you're always good with the questions. Let me just say this: first of all, I'm in the House, not the Senate. Second of all, Americans spoke and the referendum in the country was on the House, and the problem is that the White House and the Senate and the U.S. House, under the same leadership as before the election, hasn't gotten the message of the American people, and that is it's about jobs and cutting spending, not growing the government. That's really the issue.


- Matthew Balan is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.