October 16th, 2009
04:06 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama aide fires back at Beck over Mao remarks

White House communications director Anita Dunn fired back at criticism from TV commentator Glenn Beck on Friday.
White House communications director Anita Dunn fired back at criticism from TV commentator Glenn Beck on Friday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – White House communications director Anita Dunn fired back at criticism from TV commentator Glenn Beck on Friday, saying that a Mao Tse-tung quote Beck took issue with was picked up from legendary GOP strategist Lee Atwater.

"The Mao quote is one I picked up from the late Republican strategist Lee Atwater from something I read in the late 1980s, so I hope I don't get my progressive friends mad at me," Dunn told CNN.

As for Beck's criticism: "The use of the phrase 'favorite political philosophers' was intended as irony, but clearly the effort fell flat - at least with a certain Fox commentator whose sense of irony may be missing."

On Thursday night's program, Beck showed exclusive video of Dunn discussing the communist leader, who was responsible for a cultural revolution in 1966 that included re-education camps and setting the army and students on witch hunts against his opponents.

Millions of Chinese suffered or died, most notably teachers, writers, political opponents or anyone deemed a "reactionary."

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soundoff (112 Responses)
  1. phoenix86

    Thousands of Tibetans are repressed now, thousands of Iranians are tortured now....and Obama does nothing.

    October 16, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  2. Vyker

    those people being repressed by a communist regime are clearly...just racists.

    October 16, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  3. why O why

    No guts to call him...........Looser

    October 16, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  4. Chuck

    So she was being ironic about Mother Teresa being one of her favorite philosophers also? Because she mentioned Mao and Mother Teresa.

    October 16, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  5. Meh

    phoenix86> How much are you being pd by the RNC to go on CNN all day long and diss the President? I'd really like to know....
    Seems to me you're not doing anything to help either of those unfortunate situations, yourself. Glass houses....

    October 16, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  6. victim of republican greed

    Beck is a classic example of what can happen to a child who attends a Catholic school, gets beat up daily, experiments with drugs and alcohol, and gets his own program on Fox lies.

    October 16, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  7. Ray Ray

    Oh Phoenix. What are we supposed to do? You didn't seem to care too much when troops were put into an unnecessary war, or when genocide was the breaking news in Darfur. Or how about the Congo? Or how about all the places where children are being raped and infected with HIV because their attackers believe it will cure them?

    Face it, you care less about the rest of the world. You just want to criticize Obama.

    October 16, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  8. Ajay Jain, Garland, TX, USA

    Way to go Dunn, wild DOGS like Beck need the leash!!

    Obama – Biden 2012

    October 16, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  9. victim of republican greed

    Senior citizens in Arizona are repressed by their elected representatives.

    October 16, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  10. Moderately Moderate

    I thought Red baiting died with the end of the Cold War, but clearly not,

    October 16, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  11. Ryan

    Is there anything else more appropriate than to say just that Glenn Beck is one of the biggest morons this country has ever seen.

    October 16, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  12. Scott L

    Why is the White House engaging with FoxNews?

    It is pathetic how they can't take a little criticism. They have 100 other networks and magazines that bow to their whims. Let Fox be Fox and stop this petty whining.

    It is amazing how weak this administration looks. Get your act together.

    Give Bush credit, he didn't give a darn about what people said and he stuck to his guns whether you liked him or not. Obama and his cronies sway with the breeze.

    October 16, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  13. Lila

    Beck is so ridiculous. I remember listening to his radio show as he was leaving CNN he complained about how they made him "Fact Check" everything. Now that he's on Fox, such pesky things like the truth will never get in his way.

    October 16, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  14. Lori in St Pete

    phoenix, are you suggesting the United States should declare war against China & Iran?

    October 16, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  15. Bananarama Victim II: Electric Boogaloo

    As ususal Beck shooting from the hip, doing no research and coming up short on his dig. Unfortunately facts matter very little to his fan base, the same people aho are convince that whichever "News" station has the highest ratings, must have the most accurate reporting. Also false.

    Sensationalism has replaced any and all information at FoxNews. If that's what you like to watch for entertainment, fine. But don't be surprised when you're laughed at for citing something you saw on Fox News as "news."

    October 16, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  16. Bananarama Victim II: Electric Boogaloo

    Thousands of Americans were oppressed then, and Bush kept on keeping on...

    October 16, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  17. Derrick

    What is Obama suppose to do?? follow Bush tactics and start another war?..No matter what he does you idiots will complain. He is our President fair and square so get over it. He is smarter than you and many of the mindless pundits and Republicans who have nothing to contribute but sarcasm. Party of JERKS!!!!

    October 16, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  18. LA

    Beck is digging for anything negative to say. The man is an idiot.

    He actually is an embarrassment to Bill O'Reiley. AT least, Bill has some common sense, but Beck shows is racism & stupidity everytime he opens his mouth.

    If something happens to Obama, Beck will probably pay a price, and not a small one.

    October 16, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  19. Derrick

    Phoenix86...repressed??....think you meant oppressed you idiot

    October 16, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  20. Jeff in Houston

    No worries. Sophisitcated humor requires an education to be understood, and that is one thing Republicans fear more than anything else, a well-educated populace. The more educated people become, the less they are influenced by fear, stirred up by weird religous shammens, tribal leaders, and other testosterone based life-forms terrified they will loose their grip on power.

    October 16, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  21. Joseph

    If you don't want to be misunderstood, don't even say it. I saw the clip and she looked very sincere. Her response to Beck is just another liberal BS "That's not what I meant" statement.

    October 16, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  22. panem et circensus

    Her excuse is lame and CNN's reporting is even more lame. The rest of the quote to put it in context to allow the reader to draw their own conclusion as to the validity of her "explanation" is:

    "The third lesson and tip actually comes from two of my favorite political philosophers: Mao Tse-tung and Mother Theresa - not often coupled with each other, but the two people I turn to most to basically deliver a simple point which is 'you're going to make choices; you're going to challenge; you're going to say why not; you're going to figure out how to do things that have never been done before."

    I'm with Beck, I'm not seeing the "irony" there...

    October 16, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  23. Thomas

    Glenn Beck is such a PUNK !
    What branch of the Military did he serve ?

    I have such disregard for dry drunk alcoholics such as Beck. They give there worldly advice from a reactionary closed mind !

    October 16, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  24. KMitch

    So, claiming Mao is your hero is equivalent to reading Mao? Come on, wise up! It's important to read about these lunatics so as NOT TO REPEAT HISTORY....NOT TO QUOTE THEM AS YOUR HERO!!!! Go ahead Anita, do the backstroke....we'll award you the Oympic Gold Medal in swimming for 'trying so hard now' – why wait for the games to begin, huh?

    October 16, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  25. johny

    why does the white house waste time dealing with fox news right wing nuts propaganda noise machine, for 24/7 it was negative news lies about Obama and he still won

    October 16, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
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