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CNN’s Bash To Eric Cantor: ‘Do You Think there was Anti-Semitism involved In Your Defeat?’

Congressman Eric Cantor (R-VA) made his first television interview appearances on Sunday, June 15 following his primary defeat to his a Tea Party challenger David Brat. The defeat was unexpected by most in Washington and was one of the main topics of conversation across the Sunday shows. 

Cantor sat down with CNN’s Dana Bash on State of the Union on Sunday and was asked by the fill-in host: “Do you think there was anti-Semitism involved in your defeat?" 

The CNN reporter’s question came after hyping Cantor’s faith being potentially out of step with his district:

You are a Jewish Republican, the only Jewish Republican in the House. You started your discussion after you lost, according to the Old testament talking about your Jewish faith. Your district is .25 of 1% Jewish. And your opponent is David Brat really put his Christian faith front and center.  

Bash never qualified why she believed Cantor’s faith may have contributed to his defeat, other than the fact that there are so few Jewish citizens in Virginia’s 7th district. The CNN contributor ignored the fact that Cantor had been serving in Congress since 2001 and his constituents have always known about their congressman’s Jewish faith, but that didn’t stop Bash from wondering about anti-Semitism among Republican primary voters. 

Earlier: “CNBC/NYT’s Harwood Blames Anti-Semitism for Cantor’s Defeat

For his part, Cantor immediately shot down Bash’s assertion about anti-Semitism contributing to his defeat: 

Listen, I don't ever want to impute that to anybody. As you rightly say, I'm born and raised Jewish, my faith is very important to me. I know that I'm going to continue to try and work with the lessons that I've learned from my early years in Hebrew school, learning about the Old Testament and much greater leaders than I with personal setbacks. 

See relevant transcript below. 

CNN's State of the Union with Candy Crowley

June 15, 2014

DANA BASH: The role of religion. You are a Jewish Republican, the only Jewish Republican in the House. You started your discussion after you lost, according to the Old testament talking about your Jewish faith. Your district is .25 of 1% Jewish. And your opponent is David Brat really put his Christian faith front and center. I want you to listen to one of the things he said. 

DAVID BRAT, election night: The miracle that just happened, this is a miracle from God that just happened. But that miracle did not just float down from heaven. 

BASH: Do you think there was anti-Semitism involved in your defeat? 

ERIC CANTOR: Listen, I don't ever want to impute that to anybody. As you rightly say, I'm born and raised Jewish, my faith is very important to me. I know that I'm going to continue to try and work with the lessons that I've learned from my early years in Hebrew school, learning about the Old Testament and much greater leaders than I with personal setbacks. But always focused on being optimistic about the future. Our country has so much potential. I believe that the Republican Party is one that taps into that innate potential. 

— Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Jeffrey Meyer on Twitter.