CBS Can't Decide If Frank Luntz Is Still A Republican Consultant

CBS News can't seem to decide whether CBS News analyst Frank Luntz is still a Republican pollster and strategist.

CBS This Morning has contradictorily introduced Luntz as both a “Republican pollster” or strategist and “former Republican” pollster or strategist during numerous segments in recent months (see video and transcript below). There shouldn't be any confusion: Luntz is a Republican pollster and strategist whose firm has received money from Republican groups this election cycle, according to a Media Matters review.

Luntz, who was hired by CBS earlier this month, helped lay the ground for Republican efforts to win back the U.S. Congress and White House. New York Times Magazine contributor Robert Draper reported in his recent book that Luntz “organized a dinner” on President Obama's inauguration night featuring several of “the Republican Party's most energetic thinkers.” During the meeting, Republicans formulated a plan which involved showing “united and unyielding opposition to the president's economic policies.”  

According to a search of Federal Election Commission records, Luntz and his firm Luntz Global LLC have received payments from several Republican groups this cycle:

  • The Alabama Republican Party paid Luntz Global a total of $20,288 in March and April for “Party Meeting-Keynote speaker.” Luntz was the party's keynote speaker at its 2012 Chairman's Dinner in February.
  • House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's (R-VA) congressional campaign paid Luntz Global $8,000 on April 9 for “speech writing.”
  • Rep. Jeff Denham's (R-CA) congressional campaign paid Frank Luntz $5,000 on September 15, 2011, for a “fundraising event.” The campaign also disbursed Luntz $879 for “fundraising catering.”  
  • Rep. Tom Price's (R-GA) congressional campaign paid Luntz Global $11,658 total in April, May and July for polling.

The super PAC American Crossroads also paid Luntz Global $46,301 on March 23 for “SURVEY / POLLING.” Karl Rove is a senior adviser and co-founder of Crossroads.

The Republican National Committee disbursed $2,585 to Luntz Global on July 18, and $245 on September 15, 2011, for “travel expenses.”

Luntz has also reportedly given several strategy talks to various Republican groups this cycle, such as House Republicans, the Western Republican Leadership Conference (schedule), Georgia Republicans (additional reporting), and Tennessee Republicans.

Watch CBS go back and forth on Frank Luntz: 

June 22:

CHARLIE ROSE: The campaigns and their supporters will spend billions of dollars on television ads before it is all over. Longtime Republican strategist Frank Luntz has studied hundreds of these TV spots. He says most of them don`t work but he brought a few of them that do. Good morning.

July 19:

CHARLIE ROSE: The latest CBS News/New York Times poll shows President Obama and Mitt Romney running neck and neck. Forty-seven percent of registered voters who say they have a favorite candidate, back Romney while forty-six percent say they support the President--a statistical tie. Meanwhile, both candidates are sparring over the latest political ads. Frank Luntz is a Republican strategist and pollster. We`re pleased to have him back. Welcome.

August 27:

CHARLIE ROSE: Tampa is more than just the site of the Republican Convention. Hillsborough County, where Tampa is located, has voted for the winner nearly every presidential race in the last thirty years. On Sunday some of those local voters spoke out on this year's race during a focus group conducted by Republican pollster Frank Luntz.

August 30:

GOVERNOR JOHN KASICH (R-Ohio): People that criticize folks in business just simply don`t get it.

BILL PLANTE: It`s all part of a carefully scripted event, organized by the Romney campaign, selecting specific words and phrases to build the Republican brand and to make their case that President Obama is bad for the economy and that Mitt Romney can fix it. Democrats do the same thing.

FRANK LUNTZ: Both sides employ wordsmiths to test and try to figure out what is the key phrase that really grabs at the heartstrings of the public.

BILL PLANTE: Frank Luntz is a Republican pollster and author of the book, Words that Work.

August 31:

CHARLIE ROSE: Jan Crawford, thank you. We bring in now pollster Frank Luntz, a former Republican strategist. Good Morning. Here is the question. 

LUNTZ: Good morning. 

September 4:

NORAH O`DONNELL: Well, the latest polls in the state show this year's race is also close. Republican pollster Frank Luntz met with a focus group of swing voters in North Carolina, and here`s what some of them had to say.

September 19:

NORAH O`DONNELL: With us now is former Republican strategist Frank Luntz, a CBS News political analyst. Frank, good morning. 

LUNTZ: Good morning. 

September 26:

CHARLIE ROSE: Frank Luntz is a CBS News analyst and a former Republican pollster. Good morning. 

LUNTZ: Good morning.