CNN's Don Lemon launched a heavy defense of President Obama's apology
for the Koran burnings in Afghanistan, in lieu of criticism Obama has
received from GOP presidential candidates. In his Sunday night segment
entitled "No Talking Points," Lemon ironically threw Democratic talking
points at the Republicans.
Lemon claimed neutrality over Obama's apology before offering all the reasons why it is not the scandal Republicans are claiming it to be. Lemon quoted Presidents Bush, Clinton, and Reagan apologizing for the slave trade, the Abu Gharib prison scandal, and the internment of Japanese-American citizens during World War II.
"Not up to me to decide whether President Obama should have apologized. He's not the first. He certainly won't be the last," stated Lemon. However, at the end he offered a parting shot to Republicans, and to Rick Santorum in particular.
[Video below the break. Click here  for audio.]
"And if one of the GOP hopefuls ends up in the Oval Office, more likely than not, he too, at some point, will have to say sorry, my bad. And as Rick Santorum said at last week's debate, 'take one for the team'."
A transcript of the segment, which aired on February 26 on CNN Newsroom at 10:32 p.m. EST, is as follows:
DON LEMON: Time now for "No Talking Points." Alright, so tonight we're
taking on a very touchy subject, the burning of the Muslim holy book,
the Quran. U.S. military brass, well, they said it was an accident, but
President Obama apologized for the mistake anyway. Was it right for him
to do it? Not for me to say, but I'm not running for president.
RICK SANTORUM, Republican presidential candidate: I don't think the President should apologize for something that was clearly inadvertent.
NEWT GINGRICH, Republican presidential candidate: The President of the United States as commander in chief, apologizes to the Afghan government.
MITT ROMNEY, Republican presidential candidate: For us to be apologizing at a time like this is something which is very difficult for the American people to countenance.
(End Video Clip)
LEMON: Alright, you heard from all three candidates but the last guy you heard from, Mitt Romney even named his book "No Apology."
And from the way these guys are hammering the President over his mea culpa, one would think that Mr. Obama is the first president to ever apologize on behalf of America for an international blunder. Truth is – he's not. His predecessor, George W. Bush, apologized to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in 2008 for, guess what, a U.S. soldier mishandling the Quran, using it for target practice. He also apologized in 2004.
GEORGE W. BUSH, then President of the United States: I told him I was sorry for the humiliation suffered by the Iraqi prisoners and the humiliation suffered by their families.
(End Video Clip)
LEMON: That was just part of Mr. Bush's mea culpa to the King of Jordan for that infamous Abu Ghraib incident involving the humiliating treatment of Iraqi prisoners.
And then there was President Bill Clinton in Uganda in 1998.
BILL CLINTON, then President of the United States: European- Americans received the fruits of the slave trade, and we were wrong on that as well.
(End Video Clip)
LEMON: Now, there was some argument about whether it was an outright apology for slavery, but it sure sounded like one.
Let's go back even a bit further to a 1991 letter written and signed by President Bush 41, apologizing to Japanese-Americans uprooted and mistreated during World War II. And by the way, that letter was accompanied by $20,000 reparation checks to 82,000 Japanese-Americans and their heirs, totaling $1.6 billion.
Ronald Reagan, President Bush 41's predecessor, was responsible for those reparation checks. That's him right there signing the authorization back in 1988.
So what's the "No Talking Points" point? Not up to me to decide whether President Obama should have apologized. He's not the first. He certainly won't be the last. And if one of the GOP hopefuls ends up in the Oval Office, more likely than not, he too, at some point, will have to say sorry, my bad. And as Rick Santorum said at last week's debate, "take one for the team."