Tapper: "I Haven't Heard Republicans Comparing Democrats To Suicide Bombers Or Kidnappers"


HUGH HEWITT, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: As temperatures rise, America, attention remains focused in a way that I just have never seen on domestic politics outside of an election season. Joining me now, Jake Tapper, host of CNN’s The Lead every single afternoon, and tonight, hosting a CNN special at 11pm eastern, 8pm on the Pacific, specifically on the shutdown for 30 minutes. And I wonder if we haven’t got a new Nightline developing here, Jake. Do you think you’re going to be doing this for a while?

JAKE TAPPER, CNN: Please tell me that this is not going to go as long as the Iranian hostages crisis. That was what, 444 days or something?

HEWITT: Exactly. Exactly.

TAPPER: Oh, my Lord, I hope not. I hope this only goes for a few more days.

HEWITT: But do you plan on doing this every night? Because I think, actually, you’ll have huge ratings.

TAPPER: Well, we’ve had, we did it during that week when it looked like we were about to attack Syria, and the ratings were okay. They were, some nights really good, some nights okay, and then we did it last week, too. And it, you know, it’s challenging, because you’re really, you do a show at 4, and then you do a show at 11. But it’s a totally different format, because it’s basically just me and two other reporters, usually Gloria Borger and Dana Bash sitting down with a lawmaker and just talking, having a conversation about the issue of the day. And to be completely honest, it’s a little bit more interesting, it was a little bit more interesting for me when you have somebody on who is not just reciting talking points, but they’re actually trying to have like a conversation.

HEWITT: I just had that kind of a conversation with Devin Nunes. He’s a terrific…

TAPPER: He’s exactly the kind of person I’m talking about. We had him on last week, and he was fantastic.

HEWITT: Now Jake Tapper, first question, do you think the President and the Democrats’ rhetoric is qualitatively different than the Speaker and the Republicans’ rhetoric?

TAPPER : Well, I haven’t heard the Republicans, we’re just talking about insults now, not anything else. I haven’t heard Republicans comparing the Democrats to suicide bombers or to kidnappers or to arsonists. But it’s possible that I’m not paying close enough attention.

HEWITT: I don’t think I’ve heard it, either. I think the only tough talk from the Republicans has been against Republicans. And I’m curious if you think that is making it more difficult to reach a compromise here, the rhetoric?

TAPPER: Probably, but you know, I mean to be fair to the Democrats here, there has been years of rhetoric of Obama is not from the United States, and he is a socialist, and he is…and so I might be grandfathering in the language that I’ve been hearing for years from the likes of Congressman Brown of Georgia and others, where it’s just so over the top, I don’t even notice it, necessarily, anymore, because he constantly says that Obama and Obamacare and the Democrats are destroying America or taking down America. None of it is helpful. And I know you paid attention when Dan Pfeiffer, the White House advisor was on my show…

HEWITT: Right.

TAPPER: And I think had a hat trick of comparing the Republicans to suicide bombers, arsonists and kidnappers all in one interview…

HEWITT: Right.

TAPPER: …which was quite an accomplishment.

HEWITT: And Nancy Pelosi has said the Republicans were arsonists. And does that help at all, Jake Tapper?

TAPPER: Well, I mean, I think at this point, probably the most helpful thing is for people to, and I think Harry Reid said this, the Senate majority leader, not long ago, for everybody to take a step back and try to you know, dampen down the rhetoric. And the truth of the matter is we are clearly in a situation here where, and both sides need to be able to say that this was a compromise at the end of the day, or I mean, both sides would like to say they win, right? I mean, both Boehner and Obama would like to say we walked away from that and we won. But at this point, in trying to find a way out of this morass, there needs to be at least some sort of face-saving for somebody, for both sides. This isn’t going to be a defeat, because ultimately, we know that defeat ends up hurting everybody, because your retirement, Hugh, not that you’re thinking of retirement, but your retirement and my retirement, and everybody’s investments, could be really hurt by an impasse that ends up going beyond the date of October 17th, which is when we’re told that we hit the debt ceiling. (Hugh Hewitt Show, October 8, 2013)

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