Echoing The Washington Post's Dana Milbank, Fox News' Neil Cavuto repeated as fact a disputed version of a comment Sen. Barack Obama reportedly made in a closed-door meeting with congressional Democrats, citing it as purported evidence that Obama's “messianic thing is getting a little over the top.”
Echoing Dana Milbank's July 30 Washington Post column, Fox News host Neil Cavuto repeated as fact a disputed version of a comment Sen. Barack Obama reportedly made in a closed-door meeting with congressional Democrats, citing it as purported evidence that Obama's “messianic thing is getting a little over the top.”
Inside, according to a witness, he told the House members, 'This is the moment ... that the world is waiting for,' adding: 'I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions.' As he marches toward Inauguration Day (Election Day is but a milestone on that path), Obama's biggest challenger may not be Republican John McCain but rather his own hubris.
While Milbank interpreted the comment as self-aggrandizing, people who were actually in the meeting disputed that interpretation. Milbank did not cite a source for the quote, but in a July 29 entry on the Post's The Trail blog, Post staff writer Jonathan Weisman reported a similar version of the comments, writing that, “according to a witness,” the reported remark “suggest[ed]” that Obama “was beginning to believe his own hype.” Weisman later posted an update saying that “House leadership aides pushed back against interpretations of this comment as self-aggrandizing,” and reported: "[O]ne leadership aide said the full quote put it into a different context. According to that aide, Obama said, 'It has become increasingly clear in my travel, the campaign -- that the crowds, the enthusiasm, 200,000 people in Berlin, is not about me at all. It's about America. I have just become a symbol.' " Indeed, as Media Matters for America noted, the leadership aide's version of the quote is entirely consistent with numerous other statements Obama has made over the last two years.
But despite Obama's history of making comments similar to what the aide reportedly said Obama said, in his “Washington Sketch” online discussion on August 7, Milbank wrote: “My colleague Jonathan Weisman and I believe the quote was correct as written, and that this supposed 'context' is a recreation, after-the-fact, by Democratic aides who were worried about how the quote looked.”
And despite this history, on the August 6 edition of Fox News' Your World, Cavuto cited Milbank's version as fact, saying of Obama: "[T]his is the same candidate who had said, [former Clinton White House special counsel] Lanny [Davis], 'This is the moment that the world has been waiting for. I've become a symbol of the possibility of America, returning to our best traditions.' You know, I'm not dismissing the fact he is an enlivening, engaging candidate, but the messianic thing is getting a little over the top, is it not?"