December 15, 2004 | Broadcast

American Morning

Good morning, gentlemen.

Cliff, we’re going to begin with you this morning. When you look at the three guys who were given this incredibly prestigious award, George Tenet, Paul Bremer, who we spoke to a little bit earlier this morning, and General Tommy franks, some people have said might be too soon in the process for them to get this award, considering things are not quite resolved in Iraq. And others, like Senator Jack Reed, said this, “I don’t think history is going to be as kind to these gentleman as the president was today.”

So, Cliff, the question to you what do you think of Senator Reed’s comment. Was he right?

CLIFF MAY, FMR. RNC COMM. DIR: Well, it’s hard to say what history is going to show. I think with regard to General Tommy Franks, he’s a soldier’s soldier, he devised a brilliant battle plan to bring down Saddam Hussein. I think he absolutely deserved it.

In terms of Paul Bremer, he worked very hard. He risked his life, maybe on that basis. So I’m not sure his regency will be looked upon by history as being all that successful.

And as for George Tenet, I think he’s a good man, but with all due respect, it’s like giving a medal to the admiral in charge of the Pacific at the time of Pearl Harbor.

O’BRIEN: Vic, what do you think? Do you agree with the comment about George Tenet and Paul Bremer, and Tommy Franks as well.

VICTOR KAMBER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, let me say, first of all, I believe the president of the United States, this is one of the perks he has the right to do, and we can criticize the president for a lot of things. I’m less concerned about criticizing him over some medals that he gave. I will be very concerned about appointments like Supreme Court, cabinet and so forth.

Having said that, I totally, I associate myself, to some extent, with Cliff’s remarks. Tenet, as seven years as head of the CIA, I don’t think this country was prepared the way it should have been with intelligence information when 9/11 happened and during this war with Iraq, and to honor him at this point while Iraq is still certainly not a secure nation and not under the — in a peaceful situation, I think is a mistake.

You know, if bush wanted to honor, Colin Powell would have been a terrific person to receive the medal for his present service and his past service. It would have covered the same thing. This is a P.R. ploy by the president to keep attention on Iraq. Wrong people, wrong time. But I think it’s the president’s perks to do it.

O’BRIEN: And you know Colin Powell did get a Medal of Freedom.

KAMBER: No, I didn’t.

O’BRIEN: So that would be his second.

KAMBER: Give him a second one.

O’BRIEN: I want to know, that you said you associate myself with Cliff remarks. I think you’re struggling to say you agree with him. It’s interesting.

KAMBER: I do. You know, it’s close to the holidays. I want to be generous.

MAY: He barely associates with me in any sense,.

O’BRIEN: Barely get it out.

Let’s talk about Sinclair Broadcasting, they are planning — and, Vic, I’ll throw this one at you again — maybe a broadcast, because they think that’s what’s aired is too partisan. One, do you think that’s fair? Do you think it will work?

KAMBER: Well, I think, frankly, I’m critical of the liberals for not going far enough. All they’re going to do is a protest. I would like to see them lift the licensing of Sinclair Broadcasting, or call for a boycott and see how effective they are. I mean, the airwaves are not a private company; the airwaves are public. You have to get licensing to be there, and I think you have to be neutral. If it’s determined that Sinclair stepped over the bounds, and I think Sinclair clearly did in the case of that movie on the swift boats, I think that there should be a question about their ability to broadcast within the American airwaves, and I would go after their license.

O’BRIEN: Cliff, lifting the license. MAY: Look, first of all, I don’t think it’s at all clear that Sinclair stepped over any bounds. They were covering the news they saw it. Secondly, if liberals started to get angry at Sinclair and tried to lift their license, let me tell you, there are a lot of conservatives out there that are angry at a lot of the mainstream media, from CBS and Dan Rather to “The New York Times” over their coverage. That’s all we need to start a war over the airwaves and over the media. I just think it’s going to divide us more, and it’s a big mistake for it to begin.

KAMBER: We have been divided. For years, it’s been a claim that the media has a liberal bias. Let’s bring an end to this. I mean, the airwaves are not own the by private companies; they are owned by the American public. And if there is a bias, let’s get the bias out.

MAY: Well, the problem is that there has been bias, and it’s very difficult to have a neutral and disinterested media. That has been kind of the motto, but it has not been achieved to a great extent, except of course on this show, Soledad and Bill.

O’BRIEN: Well, thank you. I associate myself with those remarks. We are out of time. We’re going to leave it at that. As Always, nice to see you guys, Cliff May, Victor Kamber, joining us this morning.