CNN commentator John Harwood was among hundreds of left-leaning activists and Dem operatives who shared a visibly altered video of Michigan Republican Senate contender John James Sunday, purporting to show James stumbling on how to replace the Affordable Care Act.
The video, shared by a communications director for the Michigan Democrats, shows James in an interview with a local Detroit NBC affiliate. In the shared clip, which cuts off well before the end of the interaction, James appears to stumble over a question about health care and, specifically, pre-existing conditions, which Democrats believe could be threatened by an upcoming Supreme Court case.
WATCH: John James completely fumbles on @Local4News when pressed on how he'd protect Michiganders with pre-existing conditions. (Hint: it's because he has absolutely no plan to do so) #MISen pic.twitter.com/OA48Pvi4iG
— Elena Kuhn (@elenakuhn) October 18, 2020
The video, though, clearly cuts off before James is able to give a full answer. The Republican candidate shared the rest of his response to his own Twitter account shortly after Kuhn posted hers. It is key to note that the NBC affiliate’s bug appears in the lower right-hand corner of James’ video, showing that it is still part of the interview Kuhn edited for content.
Let’s make the Affordable Care Act affordable. By passing a legislative requirement to protect people with pre-existing conditions while expanding risk pools, allowing biz association plans and reforming the tort & regulatory hurdles that raise cost, we can get this done for MI. pic.twitter.com/T8v58tKo7l
— John James (@JohnJamesMI) October 18, 2020
Plenty of Democrat and left-leaning activists, as well as some of their allies in the media, shared the edited clip. That number, of course, includes CNN’s John Harwood, as well as Soledad O’Brien, and Deray McKesson.
Harwood tweeted, “Revealing.”
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) October 18, 2020
Conservatives quickly pushed back on the edited video, with some even going so far as to point out Twitter’s own hypocrisy, refusing to mark the Michigan Democrats’ video as unreliable, edited, and missing key information, despite the platform’s decision to block the New York Post’s story on Hunter Biden’s alleged influence peddling.
The National Senate Republican Committee’s Matt Whitlock was pointed.
“It seems like @Twitter has an entire team dedicated to adding warnings or taking down the President’s tweets,” Whitlock noted. “A number of people have reported this tweet because it fits the manipulated media standards they’ve used in the past. Let’s see if anything happens.”
It seems like @Twitter has an entire team dedicated to adding warnings or taking down the President’s tweets.
A number of people have reported this tweet because it fits the manipulated media standards they’ve used in the past.
— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) October 18, 2020
Hours later, Kuhn’s tweet remains live.
James became the target of sudden, national focus last week after polls began to show James inching out in front of incumbent Democrat, Sen. Gary Peters. The New York Times reports on Monday that the race is now much closer than Democrats had anticipated and could be key to the Republicans maintaining control of the Senate even if they lose the White House in November.
“The race — one of a handful that could tip the balance in the Senate — is among the most contested and expensive in the country,” the NYT says. “Polls show a tighter race than Democrats had anticipated, and both sides are fighting for the few remaining independent, undecided voters. In an election in which the parties have focused on getting their base to turn out, Michigan stands out as a place where winning the middle could make the difference.”
“Polls have varied but show Mr. James with an outside chance of helping Republicans flip a Democratic seat. A New York Times/Siena College survey found Mr. Peters up by one point, while others put his lead in the mid-to-high single digits,” the outlet continues. James, who is appealing to Michigan voters as a something of a “non-partisan” rather than openly Republican candidate, is gaining among independents and middle-ground voters tiring of partisan rancor, the NYT suggests.
The race has also become one of the costliest in the country for Democrats, who recently poured $4.4 million into Peters’ coffers — bringing the total amount spent on Peters’ race to an astounding $18 million.
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