Novak: Dems are “nasty,” inauguration protesters are “punks”

Nationally syndicated columnist and CNN host Robert Novak said that people who protested President Bush's inauguration “are a lot of punks and it's none of their business and it isn't free speech.” He also claimed that Democrats are “so nasty” and that Republican partisans are “nothing like these Democrats.”

From the January 22 edition of CNN's The Capital Gang:

NOVAK: But I just have to say that this partisanship by the Democrats is just -- and people like you, Mark [Shields], can't appreciate just how nasty they are that they were all over the television, all over the town in the last week saying it's terrible to have this inauguration. Let it alone.

And what I'm really sick of are the protesters. They just are a lot of punks and it's none of their business and it isn't free speech. It's just nastiness, and I'm sick of it.

MARK SHIELDS (moderator): I am sorry, Bob, but I mean, dissent is the lifeblood of democracy -- dissent and debate.

NOVAK: That isn't dissent and debate. It is hooliganism.

SHIELDS: It is dissent and debate. We have a policy of war, which two-fifths of the American people now think is the right decision, was the right decision originally. Three-fifths of them oppose it. And the idea that we've got to still all debate is somehow -- I don't know what you think of. For a man who loves civil liberties, you're an autocrat.

NOVAK: They had -- the people who didn't like that war had a very good chance to protest on November 2. They didn't protest it.

ALBERT R. HUNT (panelist): Can I ask you a question about-- is there such a thing as a partisan Republican in this town?

NOVAK: They're nothing like these Democrats. They're so nasty. I can tell you that. Nothing like that.

HUNT: So, the partisanship is -- the partisanship is one-sided.

NOVAK: Pretty much so.

HUNT: Is it really? That's interesting. That's interesting, OK.

SHIELDS: It's a different Washington that you live in.

Here are just a few examples of Novak's “nothing like these Democrats” partisan attacks: