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Outfoxed By Democratic Governor O’Malley, “Liberal” Van Susteren Leaps To Defend Republicans

Reported by Ellen - August 12, 2011 -

“Liberal” Greta Van Susteren obviously got more than she bargained – or was prepared for – during an interview with Maryland’s Democratic governor, Martin O’Malley Wednesday night (8/10/11). O’Malley was there to discuss how his state's sound financial footing might be threatened by the federal government's credit downgrade. But when O’Malley seized the framing of the conversation and insisted on making calm, civil but pointed criticisms of Republicans and their policies, Van Susteren couldn’t handle it. I think it’s crucial that Democrats who go on Fox seize control of the agenda just this way. For that, O’Malley is our latest Top Dog.

O’Malley signaled right at the start he was not going to be a Tea Party kind of governor when he announced that his state’s AAA rating was due to both “cuts and revenue.” Noting that fiscal responsibility hasn’t been easy, he added that he’s done “unpopular things like raising the sales tax by a penny.” But, he continued, “for that, we have a very good quality of life, an innovation economy that’s well poised to create jobs.”

Van Susteren didn’t show a moment’s interest in how O’Malley or Maryland was managing. Instead, she moved on to prompt him to criticize the federal government, by pointing out that Maryland’s rating was now in jeopardy because of S&P’s downgrade of the U.S.

But if she thought O’Malley was going to use the opportunity to attack Obama or Congress in general, she was wrong. He blamed “the dysfunction with the extremists in the Republican party in Congress.”

That’s pretty mild compared to a lot of the accusations against Democrats on Fox - and on Van Susteren's show - but Van Susteren jumped in to argue against this one. “There’s another view on that, by the way, you know that,” she said testily.

“Oh, I was hearing that, from the gentleman that was in front of me" O'Malley said. That gentleman was Rep. Allen West. It just so happens that West’s segment made it to FoxNews.com, while O’Malley’s didn’t.

Van Susteren shot back, “That acrimony’s the thing the American people have been complaining about.” Yet, Van Susteren didn’t have a problem when West referred, in his segment, to Senator Harry Reid as “obstructionist” or “failing in his duties as Senate Majority Leader” (at about 3:50) or his not-so-vague complaint about a lack of “leadership.” Nor did she confront him on his recent, much more acrimonious comments about Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

O’Malley had a great answer. “You know what else they’re complaining about? They’re complaining that we’re not focusing on job creation.” He went on to say that 55% of the deficit was caused by “Bush-era tax cuts that primarily benefitted the most wealthy.”

Van Susteren interrupted. “And the other 45%?” she snapped. When O’Malley blamed the two wars – and Bush – for that, too,” she quickly changed the subject to “get beyond” that past.

But O’Malley continued, undeterred. He went on to criticize “massive public sector cuts.”

“Let’s stop for a second,” Van Susteren said, and then she launched into an attack on the stimulus. She was visibly flustered while O’Malley was ready with a slew of facts, figures and analysis. Unable to debate him, she interrupted to say, “That was not much of a discussion but it was rather a nice speech that I’ve heard many times before.”

O’Malley replied, “I thought it was a good discussion… You’re my favorite person on Fox!”

Van Susteren said, “And you know what, I like your wife very much.”

Video of the O'Malley segment is below, followed by West interview for comparison and contrast.

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