Was Brooke Baldwin's kid-glove treatment of candidate Jon Huntsman a harbinger of things to come in CNN's Tuesday night debate? The CNN host tossed the liberal media's favorite GOP candidate softball after softball in a Tuesday afternoon interview – while conservative candidate Michele Bachmann was asked Tuesday morning if she regretted running for president.
In an cushy interview during the 3 p.m. hour of Newsroom, Baldwin heaped praise on the Republican who supports same-sex civil unions and who ripped conservatives as "anti-science " for not believing in global warming. The CNN host fawned over Huntsman's "lovely" daughters and slobbered that "you seem pretty unflappable, and if I may, governor, downright nice."
Contrast this with the harsh treatment  conservative Michele Bachmann received on American Morning, where she was pointedly asked if she regretted following God's "edict" in running for president. In addition, CNN's Carol Costello tried to silence Bachmann's disapproval of the super committee, flatly telling her that it was necessary and "It's reality."
Baldwin's "questions" consisted of asking for "one point" Huntsman hoped to make in Tuesday night's debate, imploring him to decry the imprisonment of a raped woman in Afghanistan, wanting to know "one thing" that makes the "downright nice" candidate very angry, wondering how he would overcome low poll numbers, and asking him to explain the role of his "lovely" daughters in his campaign.
[Video below. Click here  for audio.]
Even when Baldwin mentioned Huntsman's low poll numbers, she whitewashed the situation by noting "it wasn't too long ago" that Gingrich, the current front-runner, was polling low.
In addition, she gleefully played a web ad the Huntsman daughters made for their father. "I read the article not too long ago in the Washington Post about calling them the quote, unquote 'breakout stars' of the GOP primary trail," Baldwin touted.
The CNN host was also busy on Twitter before the interview, tweeting  at the Huntsman girls to tell her one thing they wanted Americans to know about their father.
A transcript of questions from the interview, which aired on November 22 at 3:45 p.m. EST, is as follows:
BROOKE BALDWIN: Welcome, governor. It's nice to have you on. And if I may just run down your resume here, you've served as Deputy U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador to Singapore, Ambassador to China – so global affairs, national security kind of your home turf here. If you can, governor, just give me one point you're hoping to drill home tonight.
BALDWIN: Governor, speaking of values, and also overseas, I just want to play something for you – this is actually just a piece of a story we played for our viewers this hour. I want you to listen, if you would – you're going to hear from our correspondent Nick Paton Walsh – this is part of his report from Afghanistan about a woman who's now in prison for being raped. Take a listen.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN international correspondent: Her rapist was the husband of her cousin, but in Afghanistan's draconian society, this 19 year-old is also blamed. Her rape, sex with a married man, was seen as adultery by the courts, and she was sentenced to 12 years in jail.
(End Video Clip)
BALDWIN: She was raped, she was blamed, sent to jail – Jon Huntsman, I mean your Afghan policy aside, as a presidential candidate, are you willing to speak out against an injustice? I mean, Afghanistan is a country where we're fighting, we're dying for, we've given them nearly $60 billion. Will you call out this injustice tonight at that stage right behind you?
BALDWIN: Before we go on, and I know this is the first time I've ever spoken with you, but I've seen you a lot, and you seem pretty unflappable, and if I may, governor, downright nice. Is there anything that makes you red-in-the-face angry? Just give me one thing.
BALDWIN: Okay, we'll get to the dad of seven part in just a minute, but I do need to ask about the race. And we have a new poll out, I'm sure you've seen the numbers. The names that stand out to me, if we all look at this – (Audio Skip) – Gingrich first, Huntsman last. In a way, the first part of that equation should give you hope, because it wasn't too long ago, it was just this summer, governor, when (Audio Skip) was – he was down in the single digits himself, right?
BALDWIN: Governor, before I let you go, I know you have a busy couple of hours ahead to prep for this debate. As you mentioned, you have seven kids, including three lovely women. Abby, Mary Anne, and Liddy collectively known – I follow them on Twitter, so I know this – the @Jon2012Girls. Let's watch this.
MARY ANNE HUNTSMAN: We need you to get involved to make sure our next president is based on substance.
ABBY LIVINGSTON: Not soundbytes.
LIDDY HUNTSMAN: Check out our dad at Jon2012.com. And follow us on Twitter @Jon2012Girls.
(End Video Clip)
BALDWIN: Obviously, that's a spoof on the Herman Cain/Mark Block ad. Tell us – tell us, governor, about these three Huntsman girls and their role in your campaign. Because I read the article not too long ago in the Washington Post about calling them the quote, unquote "breakout stars" of the GOP primary trail.
- Matt Hadro is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center