During Wednesday's 5 a.m. hour of Early Start, CNN had two starkly different reactions to the respective victories of a liberal senator-elect and a conservative congresswoman.
For Democratic Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren's victory in Massachusetts, anchor Ali Velshi gushed, "I have to say, regardless of party, good for her." Anchor Soledad O'Brien called her a "reformer," adding "that's what she ran on."
Velshi affirmed Warren's perseverance. "She prevailed. She got crushed and now she's going to be a U.S. senator," he noted her prior setback, when she failed to become the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
In contrast, contributor John Avlon dumped on Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) as a "wing-nut." Reporting on her re-election, he quipped, "And I mean, look, it was a bad night for wing-nuts last night, but Michele Bachmann is straight through in a redrawn district that was drawn to be more conservative." That slight elicited a laugh from liberal panel member Roland Martin.
The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza then blamed Bachmann for Mitt Romney's "crisis" in the primaries. "And if you want to point fingers at someone who created the crisis that Mitt Romney faced, in terms of moving him to the right during the primaries, Michele Bachmann," stated Lizza.
[Video below. Audio here.]
A transcript of the segments, which aired on November 7 on Early Start beginning at 5:23 a.m. EST:
JOHN BERMAN: And then maybe the most high-profile race in the country, in Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren becomes the first female senator from the Bay State by defeating Republican incumbent Scott Brown. What a whirlwind two years for Scott Brown. It was in January of 2010 when he really ignited the Republican revolution by winning the seat that had once been held by Ted Kennedy there. But a mere two years later, he suffers defeat at the hands of Elizabeth Warren. And she will be the next senator. Soledad?
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: It will be interesting to see her impact. She's a reformer, that's what she ran on. It will be interesting to see what she's able to bring to Congress.
ALI VELSHI: You know, the thing about Elizabeth Warren, which is interesting is that she would never have been in the Senate, she wouldn't even have been running if those Republican senators didn't work so hard to block her nomination as the chairman of the CFPB.
O'BRIEN: That's true.
VELSHI: Now, who would they rather be dealing with in the Senate, the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or a senator? They lost big betting against –
MARTIN: Let's also understand with her, when you talk about – she was extremely tough on Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner when she over the – the Oversight panel. If you go back and look at some of that testimony, I mean, she was nailing the Obama administration on housing, on many of those issues, because she – I had her on my show several times, she was not all about hailing this administration.
VELSHI: And they kind of threw her under the bus a little bit on her nomination.
MARTIN: It wasn't a little bit, they did.
VELSHI: I have to say, regardless of party, good for her. She prevailed. She got crushed and now she's going to be a U.S. senator.
JOHN BERMAN: We have a projection to make in a high-profile House race. You will recognize the names here. Michele Bachmann, CNN now projects that Michele Bachmann has been re-elected to the sixth Congressional district in Minnesota. It was a really, really close race against wealthy businessman, Jim Graves, just about 3,000 votes separating them.
Now Michele Bachmann is no stranger to close races. She's actually just won her last two Congressional races by a fairly slim margin, but this district was redrawn to make it safer for her, but not safe at all. Both candidates spent well over a million bucks in October on ads and she barely squeaked through again by just over 3,000 votes. So, a narrow win for Michele Bachmann. Soledad?
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: All right. Thanks. John Avlon, you covered a lot of this race and that candidate.
JOHN AVLON: I have. And I mean, look, it was a bad night for wing-nuts last night, but Michele Bachmann is straight through in a redrawn district that was drawn to be more conservative. She got her first serious competitor Jim Graves, self-made centrist businessman, put up a really good fight.
O'BRIEN: Three thousand votes.
AVLON: Three thousand votes. And it was amazing. Michele Bachmann's final ad in this race was presenting herself as an independent-minded thinker and someone who could reach across the aisle to solve problems. I mean, it was an SNL skit.
MARTIN: Talk about fiction.
AVLON: Oh yeah.
LIZZA: And if you want to point fingers at someone who created the crisis that Mitt Romney faced, in terms of moving him to the right during the primaries, Michele Bachmann. I mean, he had to –
O'BRIEN: Brings us back to the fiscal cliff, doesn't it? How you get to some kind of resolution when-
-- Matt Hadro is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center