Some Liberals Speaking Out Against Nancy Pelosi's Iraq War Plan

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," March 12, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: Big developments in the battle between the liberals. War protesters are turning on Madam Speaker Nancy Pelosi, setting up shop, a protest vigil, at her San Francisco home — the place they are calling "Camp Pelosi." The big stink is all about her Iraq war plans.


CATHERINE HOURCASE, WAR PROTESTER: We are in front of Nancy Pelosi's home because it is a way of symbolically bringing the message home that we want the funding stopped.

CELEST DURRUM, WAR PROTESTER: We have heard a lot of talk from the Democratic Party. Now they have the power and now we expect them to walk their talk.


GIBSON: Not only is Nancy Pelosi unpopular with her far-left followers, but now even her own left-wing California newspaper is beating her down along with her fellow anti-war lefties.

The Los Angeles Times is speaking out against what they call "General Pelosi's micromanagement of the war." And congressional Democrats have become too frightened of the far left wing that even liberal newspapers need to step in to restore order.

With me now is Tim Graham, director of media analysis at the Media Research Center.

So Tim, this might have startled you as it sure startled me to look up and see The L.A. Times taking Nancy Pelosi to task. What am I supposed to make of that?

TIM GRAHAM, MEDIA RESEARCH CENTER: Well, it seems weird that somehow the editorial pages are a little bit tougher on the Democrats than the news reporters seem to be. So that's sort of backwards.

I think the weird thing about Speaker Pelosi is just how absent she has been from the national discussion. She was sworn in in January with all sorts of pomp and circumstance and promptly went into a closet, never to return. So this is an interesting editorial.

And it is sad, really, when you watch television today, the only way you will really see Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats are still those unpowerful critics of Bush who can't seem to stop the surge, who can't seem to cut the funding off. And now as you say, you have got the left-wingers going out and protesting her in San Francisco like she is somehow not an ultra-liberal.

GIBSON: Let me put up on the screen what she had to say today, sort of responding to The L.A. Times. She writes: "A shift in mission will allow the number of U.S. troops in Iraq to be reduced, diminishing their presence in the daily lives of Iraqis and minimizing the chances of these troops being caught in the crossfire between rival Iraqi factions."

Nonetheless, The L.A. Times criticizes her as micromanaging the war. If she has to balance out all of these left-wing constituencies, is she necessarily getting in the position where it seems that she is micromanaging?

GRAHAM: Well, absolutely. If you are following sort of the Murtha plan here — and let's remember the news media made John Murtha into this fantastic war hero — is she necessarily getting into the position where it seems like she is micromanaging? If you follow that policy, it is all about micromanaging the troop levels, micromanaging the way that the president fights the war.

And their whole design is to say we want to think that the 2006 election were an accountability moment for Bush. But the news media certainly isn't having an accountability moment here for the Democrats in saying you are now half in charge of the war.

And what The Los Angeles Times is basically saying today in its editorial is you are going to have to pick A or B. You cannot pick A and a half which is what they are trying to do. They are trying to still say we want Bush to be criticized for the war, we want Bush to have a low approval rating, and we are not going to be discussed at all. We don't want to take any responsibility for anything. That is not governing, that is just playing games.

GIBSON: Tim Graham, director of media analysis at the Media Research Center, thanks very much.


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