Who is Pat Caddell?

Pat Caddell, a FOX News Channel contributor and onetime pollster for former President Jimmy Carter, has made the rounds on cable television this campaign season, apparently being booked as a counterbalance to Republican pundits. But on almost every occasion, Caddell has attacked the Kerry-Edwards '04 campaign and the Democratic Party, reinforcing Republican pundits' attacks rather than refuting them.

An MMFA LexisNexis search revealed that Caddell has made 20 primetime appearances on cable news networks in 2004, including 16 appearances on FOX News Channel and four on MSNBC; three of Caddell's appearances on FOX occurred in the first half of September.

In eight separate appearances on the FOX News Channel in 2004, Caddell -- identified as a “FOX News contributor,” “Democratic strategist,” “Democratic pollster,” or “former Democratic strategist” -- appeared opposite Republican pundits. But on almost every occasion, he issued harsh attacks on Senator John Kerry and other Democrats:

  • Hannity & Colmes, September 15: “Former Democratic strategist” Caddell appeared opposite nationally syndicated radio host, author, and 2004 Republican National Convention speaker Michael Reagan. During the interview, Caddell compared The New York Times to “the czar's secret police,” suggested that Swift Boat Veterans for Truth deserved to appear on NBC's Today show, and said of Democratic criticism of President George W. Bush's military record: “This is the anger that's killing my party.”

  • Hannity & Colmes, September 3: “FOX News contributor” Caddell appeared opposite Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway. He said of a Democratic strategy of attacking Bush's military service: “It just makes them [Democrats] whine.”

  • Hannity & Colmes, August 27: “Former Democratic strategist” Caddell appeared opposite former U.S. Representative Bob Dornan (R-CA). Caddell criticized the Democratic National Convention and the Democratic Party, saying: "[W]hen everyone was running around saying what a great convention this was, I said, 'This is insane,' because going around saying 'strength' 80,000 times isn't going to replace having a program."

  • Hannity & Colmes, August 13: “FOX News contributor” Caddell appeared opposite William J. Bennett, conservative movement leader; Heritage Foundation Distinguished Fellow; and conservative radio host. Caddell criticized Democratic tax policies: “I never understood why my party has never gotten a hold of it in terms of the tax issue of going back and dealing with the payroll tax and cutting that and really benefiting their constituents. ... You know, they fight the president's tax cut, but we don't fight for the, you know, for the things that are so obvious and imbalanced.”

  • The Big Story with John Gibson, July 20: “Former Democratic pollster” Caddell appeared opposite former Republican strategist Craig Smith.

  • The Big Story with John Gibson, June 30: “Democratic strategist” Caddell appeared opposite Republican pollster David Winston. Caddell praised the state of the economy and then predicted, without saying in whose favor: “I'm not sure it's [the election] going to be close in the end.”

  • The O'Reilly Factor, May 24: Caddell appeared opposite conservative radio host Monica Crowley.

  • The O'Reilly Factor, March 30: “Former Democratic strategist and pollster” Caddell appeared with FOX News Channel political analyst and conservative radio host Tony Snow. Both men criticized Richard Clarke, a former Bush administration official turned Bush critic. Caddell also noted that he would not advise Kerry to challenge Bush on the issue of fighting terrorism because “I think that John Kerry would have a hard time making a case he'd be better on that than President Bush.”

    Following are highlights from some of Caddell's other 2004 FOX News Channel appearances, as well as one MSNBC appearance, during which he attacked Kerry, the Kerry-Edwards '04 campaign, Democrats, and the 9-11 Commission:

  • The O'Reilly Factor, September 7: “Former Democratic strategist” Caddell attacked new Kerry-Edwards '04 campaign advisers:
    "[T]hey're all out for themselves. ... They don't care if John Kerry wins, they are for Hillary Clinton."

  • The Big Story with John Gibson, May 17: “Former presidential pollster” Caddell criticized Kerry's vote on the Defense of Marriage Act, saying of Kerry: "[H]e says he is for marriage between a man and woman, but he is not really -- he didn't really do very much."

  • The O'Reilly Factor, May 10: “Former Democratic strategist” Caddell said of Kerry's call for the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in the wake of the Abu Ghraib scandal : “I don't believe this, but people would start saying he [Kerry] doesn't care what happens to the troops as long as he can make political hay out of it.”

  • The O'Reilly Factor, April 14: “Former pollster for the Democrats” Caddell said of the 9-11 Commission: “I find it an annoying distraction. I find it annoying.”

  • Special Report with Brit Hume, March 4: “Former Democratic strategist” Caddell refuted Democratic claims that “the president has no chance to win California,” saying: "[T]he revolution that took place here last year, in the recall, is still reverberating. And I think that the -- you know, that's what Bush people want to explore. And I don't blame them."

  • The O'Reilly Factor, February 13: “Former Democratic strategist” Caddell disparaged DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe, and then added: “I'm a Democrat, but I mean this thing on the National Guard is ludicrous.”

  • The Big Story with John Gibson, February 10: “Long-time Democratic pollster” Caddell suggested that the press pays too much attention to Democrats. Caddell emphasized his Democratic credentials before attacking his party: “I'm a Democrat and I'm a liberal Democrat. But I'll tell you, I've said to the party before and I said it in speeches, paranoia is going to kill this party. By the way, what I want to know is how much of the press seems to take its instructions from Terry McAuliffe and the DNC. ... I swear to God, I do believe a whole faction of the Washington press corps believes its job is to be out writers [sic] for the Democratic Party. And what it does is it really distorts reality.”

  • MSNBC's Scarborough Country, January 22: “Former Democratic pollster” Caddell claimed Kerry has “raised more money from financial and special interests and telecommunications special interests, and done their bidding, than anybody in the Senate,” then called Kerry “a guy up there [with] just basically the crudest cynicism of all, saying, I can just reinvent myself and the press will go along with it, because they think it's kind of neat.”

Pat Caddell split from Democratic consulting firm Caddell, Doak & Shrum in December 1985, six months after its creation [Washington Post, 12/18/85], with what The Washington Post described as an “acrimonious lawsuit.” Robert M. Shrum is one of Senator John Kerry's closest political advisers, and Doak is a prominent media consultant with Democratic advertising firm Doak, Carrier, O'Donnell & Associates.

Caddell's harsh criticism of Democrats and questionable allegiance to the Democratic Party have been evident for more than a decade. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times on April 5, 1992, which Representative David Dreier (R-CA) relayed on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on April 7, 1992, Caddell claimed: “Democratic corruption is much worse than the Republican corruption,” and that "[i]n 1976, the [Democratic] party was still a good party. It had not become what it is today. ... My party [the Democrats] is standing at the verge of following the Whigs into history, of disappearing overnight if they keep this up." As Salon.com opinion columnist Michelle Goldberg noted on November 18, 2003, Caddell “loathed” former President Bill Clinton “as intensely as [conservative author and columnist] Christopher Hitchens did."

During the 2000 presidential election, Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund noted that Caddell supported Green Party candidate Ralph Nader, not former Vice President Al Gore. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Caddell contributed $1,000 to the Nader-LaDuke 2000 campaign. In 2001, Caddell was hired -- along with Susan Estrich, another FOX News political analyst and putative Democrat who routinely sides with conservatives -- to work on the 2002 California gubernatorial campaign of former Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan, a Republican opposing Governor Gray Davis (D-CA) [Los Angeles Times, 10/21/01, 10/27/01].

Most recently, on September 10, right-wing website NewsMax.com reported that, on FOX News Live, Caddell claimed (of the controversial memos relating to President George W. Bush's National Guard service): "[Democratic officials are] so involved in this. ... It's incredible to me that they've gotten in this." No credible evidence has been offered to support his claim. Caddell has made other unsubstantiated accusations of Democrats. For example, Daily Howler editor Bob Somerby has noted that on the September 9, 1999, edition of Hardball with Chris Matthews, Caddell accused former Attorney General* Janet Reno of doing anything to “cover up for the [former] president [Bill Clinton].” Caddell cited only “common knowledge” as the basis for his accusation.

Prominent conservative pundits have taken note of Caddell's attacks on Democrats. Hannity said that he has “some serious agreements” with Caddell on the September 15 edition of Hannity & Colmes, and offered to “bring [Caddell] over to my [Republican] side.” On the September 14 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show, Limbaugh said Caddell had succumbed to “Limbaugh Echo Syndrome.” And in a December 11, 2000, article, David Horowitz, editor-in-chief of the right-wing website FrontPageMag.com, praised Caddell: “Pat Caddell is a Democrat with a conscience. Is there another?”

*Correction: When originally published, this item incorrectly stated that Janet Reno is the former secretary of state. Reno is the former attorney general. MMFA regrets the error. [return to the article]