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Chuck Roberts Apologizes For Calling Lamont The ‘Al Qaeda Candidate’

Think Progress | August 15 2006

Last week, Think Progress documented CNN Headline News anchor Chuck Roberts’ reference to Ned Lamont as “the al Qaeda candidate.” Arianna Huffington then appeared on CNN and, referring to Roberts’ statement, called on news stations to demand more accountability for comments made by their anchors. And yesterday, MediaMatters CEO David Brock wrote a letter to CNN President Jonathan Klein urging him to discipline Roberts.

The progressive community’s efforts have paid off. Today, Roberts issued an apology, saying he had posed the original question “badly” and “stupidly.” Roberts then gave Lamont a chance to correct the record about his views on terrorism and Iraq. Watch it:


Full transcript:

ROBERTS: I owe you an apology. Last week I led into an interview with a guest analyst and really botched the set-up. The guest had wanted to discuss the Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman statement suggesting that terror groups, al Qaeda types, to use Cheney’s word, would be buoyed by your win. But I posed it badly, stupidly, ad-libbing about some saying the al Qaeda candidate. No one, in fact, used that construction. Anyway, I wanted to correct the record. I’m glad we had this chance to do it.

Now, let’s get to the insinuations that were lobbed. Here’s what they were trying — here’s what we were trying to spotlight a week ago. First of all, from The Washington Post: Democratic primary and (ph) is now running as an independent, said the anti-war views of primary winner Lamont would be ‘taken as a tremendous victory by the same people who wanted to blow up those planes in this plot hatched in England.’ The comments from Joe Lieberman.

And then, in the New York Times, this from the vice president: “The attacks came in searing remarks from, among others, Ken Mehlman, chairman of the GOP and Vice President Cheney, who went so far as to suggest that the ouster of Mr. Lieberman might encourage ‘al Qaeda types.’”

What do you make of that?

LAMONT: Look, I thought those were incredibly unfortunate comments, demeaning to the voters of Connecticut. I think the voters of Connecticut last Tuesday said, ‘We need a change.’ And having 132,000 troops stuck in the middle of a civil war over in Iraq is not helping us fight the terrorists, is not making us safer, is not protecting our shorelines.

I salute Scotland Yard and I look at what the British were able to do in thwarting that terrorist attempt. And I think we’re much stronger as a country when we work in concert with our allies, we have shared intelligence and we go forward together with good old-fashioned police work.

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