Speaking on a live broadcast Friday morning, CNN anchor Carol Costello quoted from a recent interview the president gave to Rolling Stone and said the word "bullshit" without any attempt to self censor.
Discussing the outpouring of Republican consternation over the ad, CNN host Carol Costello invited contributor LZ Granderson on Friday morning's broadcast and asked him to discuss a recent CNN op-ed by a Republican strategist who compared Obama's "cool" to Romney's "square," and concluded that "square" might be more appealing to voters.
The conversation touched off with a discussion about Republican outrage over a new ad featuring the star of HBO's "Girls" talking suggestively about her "first time." In the ad, it's clear that actress Lena Dunham is talking about Obama, but she sort-of implies something else entirely by saying that women want to "do it" with a guy who got the troops out of Iraq, and not a guy who would refuse to sign the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. "It was this line in the sand -- before, I was a girl; now I was a woman," she closes. "I went to the polling station, I pulled back the curtain, I voted for Barack Obama."
Although Dunham's ad is only mildly suggestive, conservatives seem to have been driven into a frenzy of anger by the segment. (The deputy chair of the Minnesota Republican Party, a woman, even said the ad was inspired by "Putin" and "Satan," who she apparently thinks are working together these days.) In spite of their outrage, President Ronald Reagan personally made the same comparison in 1980, telling a group of voters in New Jersey: "I know what it's like to pull the Republican lever for the first time, because I used to be a Democrat myself, and I can tell you it only hurts for a minute and then it feels just great."
That conservative reaction, Costello seemed to imply, bleeds into this perception of Obama being cool versus Romney being square. "You're cool, you have dreadlocks," she told Granderson, prompting him to respond to the column by couching the writer's message in her own words "[Voters have] had it with this cool dude who's in Rolling Stone saying -- you know, I'm just gonna say it -- 'bullshit,' and he's gonna be on MTV tonight," she declared.
The bluntness of her summary immediately drew a yelp of "Woah!" from someone in the studio.
Nevertheless, Granderson seemed unmoved. "When I look at the two candidates and I think about hard work and preservation, I think about, 'Hm, which person seems like they had to work a little bit harder?'" he said. "The one who came from nothing and became president of the United States? Or someone who grew up in a rich suburb of Detroit, had their rich father be governor of the state, and then became a success in life?"
Although the word "bullshit" is on the Federal Communication Commission's list of indecent language, it's not likely that Costello or CNN will face a fine. Because CNN is a cable network and doesn't transmit "by means of radio communications," they are not held to the same indecency standards as broadcast networks -- meaning they can, in effect, curse all the want to (even though the station's hosts very rarely ever do).
This video is from CNN, broadcast Friday, October 26, 2012.