Appearance Alert
MRC's Bozell to appear on FNC's 'Kelly File' at 9:40pm ET

Carol Costello: Republicans Fomented 'Fear and Confusion Among Voters'

CNN's Carol Costello reminisced enthusiastically about President Obama's inauguration a year ago on Tuesday's American Morning, highlighting how, at the time, "the hearts of millions of Americans were ready to burst- with a Woodstock kind of love." Costello also took a shot at Republicans, stating that they "used the President's strategy [on health care] to create fear and confusion among voters." [audio available here]

Anchor Kiran Chetry set the gushing tone for the correspondent's report, which aired at the bottom of the 6 am Eastern hour: "It was a year ago that love was in the air. America seemed to come together behind the nation's first African-American president." Costello lead the segment with footage of the enthusiastic crowd at the inauguration and her reporting inside the crowd, accented with a graphic of President Obama's head inside a beating Valentine's heart and Cupid's arrow: "Inauguration Day, January 20th, 2009....The hearts of millions of Americans were ready to burst- (unidentified women singing) with a Woodstock kind of love."

The day after the Inauguration, during a January 21, 2009 report on CNN, Costello dubbed the festivity "a gigantic love fest," and gave an enthusiastic account about her time with the masses on the National Mall: "Suddenly, someone would just come up and hug you. It was just amazing. It was - it was like you were standing in the middle of these strangers, and all of a sudden, you had a million friends around you. That's what it felt like yesterday."

Later in the segment, the CNN correspondent highlighted the President's difficulty over the past year in getting parts of agenda passed, and launched her attack on Republicans:

COSTELLO: Drew Westen, a political psychologist and Obama supporter, says from the get-go, some of the rhetoric did become poisonous. But instead of loudly fighting back, the President tried to bring Republicans into the fold, and it backfired.

DREW WESTEN, EMORY UNIVERSITY: You don't compromise with the people who completely disagree with everything you believe in. You clearly enunciate a vision and you say, this is my vision for America, and not- you know, my vision is, somewhere between what I believe and somewhere what people on the other side believe.

COSTELLO: Like on health care reform- instead of telling Americans exactly what he wanted in a health care bill, President Obama left it up to lawmakers. Republicans used the President's strategy to create fear and confusion among voters. It also fueled the tea party movement.


Costello also tried to put the best spin on the President's speed bumps by highlighting one demographic who still broadly supports him: "All is not lost. For some, there is still a sense change will come. Recent polls show overwhelming support for the President remains high among African-Americans, even though standing in the unemployment line."

The correspondent continued in this vein at the end of the report by invoking the difficult first year of Ronald Reagan, and included a surprising line: "Keep in mind, it is only year one, and other presidents have suffered through their first year, like President Ronald Reagan. You know, he first took office at a terrible time, when the economy was in a terrible shambles. And look at President Reagan's place in history- he's become one of the best."

The full transcript of the Carol Costello's report from Tuesday's American Morning:

KIRAN CHETRY: Well, still ahead - actually right now, we're going to show you something that you will only see on 'American Morning.' It was a year ago that love was in the air. America seemed to come together behind the nation's first African-American president.

JOHN ROBERTS: Anything seemed possible, but what a difference 365 days could make.

Carol Costello this morning with an 'A.M. Original.'

CAROL COSTELLO (voice-over): (crowd cheering) Inauguration Day, January 20th, 2009.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

COSTELLO (with graphic of President Obama in beating heart and Cupid's arrow): The hearts of millions of Americans were ready to burst- (unidentified women singing) with a Woodstock kind of love.

Carol Costello, CNN Correspondent | NewsBusters.orgCOSTELLO (on-camera, at the 2009 Inauguration): You cannot believe-

COSTELLO (voice-over): In 25 years of reporting, I've not experienced an event like it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE 1: Love, the joy, their humor, the smile.

COSTELLO: Obama supporters nearly swooned over a First Couple that seemed so different.

Three hundred sixty-five days later, that Woodstock kind of love went the way of the hippies' movement.

JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION: We thought that we were at a new moment and go to a new place, but the level of resistance has been historical and ugly and very divisive.

RUSH LIMBAUGH (from CPAC 2009): What is so strange about being honest and saying, 'I want Barack Obama to fail'?

COSTELLO: Drew Westen, a political psychologist and Obama supporter, says from the get-go, some of the rhetoric did become poisonous. But instead of loudly fighting back, the President tried to bring Republicans into the fold, and it backfired.

DREW WESTEN, EMORY UNIVERSITY: You don't compromise with the people who completely disagree with everything you believe in. You clearly enunciate a vision and you say, this is my vision for America, and not- you know, my vision is, somewhere between what I believe and somewhere what people on the other side believe.

COSTELLO: Like on health care reform- instead of telling Americans exactly what he wanted in a health care bill, President Obama left it up to lawmakers. Republicans used the President's strategy to create fear and confusion among voters. It also fueled the tea party movement. (women screaming at health care town hall meeting) This continued divisiveness is clearly something the President regrets. In an interview with People magazine, he says, 'What I haven't been able to do is bring the country together in a way we had done in the inauguration. That's what's been lost this year- that whole sense of changing how Washington works.'

All is not lost. For some, there is still a sense change will come. Recent polls show overwhelming support for the President remains high among African-Americans, even though standing in the unemployment line.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE 2: He's helping. He's helping as much as he can. I don't know how much more he can do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE 1: We gave Bush eight years, and look what it gave to us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE 1: I feel like he's trying to help people who are out of jobs right now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE 3: And we're looking for miracles, and he's not a miracle worker.

COSTELLO: Even the President himself admitted that exactly one year ago today.

OBAMA: They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America, they will be met. (audience cheers)

COSTELLO (live): And they'll say the problem with that, of course, is that many Americans don't believe that. But, keep in mind, it is only year one, and other presidents have suffered through their first year, like President Ronald Reagan. You know, he first took office at a terrible time, when the economy was in a terrible shambles. And look at President Reagan's place in history- he's become one of the best. So, year two begins. We'll see what happens. John, Kiran?

CHETRY: There you go. Former President Clinton also had a tough first year, you remember that whole thing. So, there you go. All right. Carol Costello for us this morning- thanks.

-Matthew Balan is a news analyst at the Media Research Center.