October 16th, 2009
04:06 PM ET
4 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. matthewdetroit

    Ask OBAMA about the 1.42 TRILLION added to the national debt.

    Everyone liked calling out Bush for 5.5 Trillion over 8 years.

    Well. I think Bush was wrong and he should have been booted for his lack of fiscal responsibility...

    But call it as it is, Barack is a spend thrift socialist.
    The health care bill is going to cost us.
    The tax and trade bill is going to cost us.
    We need to cut spending NOW.

    October 16, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  2. victim of republican greed

    I noticed that a wingnut talks of Tibet and Iran, but is OK with 45,000 Americans dying each year due to no health care. Oh the hypocrisy.

    October 16, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  3. Glen Beck is Rush Limbaugh's Evil Spawn

    Clearly Mr. Beck does not understand that one can admire the pure political philophy of a person without admiring or condoning their political actions. It takes an educated, intelligent mind to understand the distinction and, again clearly, that is something that Mr. Beck is sorely missing.

    October 16, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  4. jobless recovery

    victim of repub greed is obviously a victim of being lazy and unwilling to learn and work like the rest of the welfare class. Our President should be respected, but he should be constantly watched, critiqued and questioned....especially when this guy is trying to trample over the constitution.
    BTW, we are now 1.42 Trillion in debt for the fiscal year. thanks stimulus

    October 16, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  5. Glen Beck is Rush Limbaugh's Evil Spawn

    Hey phoenix86, do you care as much about the 45,000 Americans die every year because they can't afford health insuranc?

    October 16, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  6. Pragmatic

    Gingrich, also a Fox News contributor, quoted Mao in a 1995 Roll Call profile."War is politics with blood; politics is war without blood," Gingrich said, citing Mao.

    Karl Rove, another Fox News contributor, wrote in a December 2008 Wall Street Journal op-ed that President Bush "encouraged me to read a Mao biography."

    Its these people (rove, newt & bush) Dunn should be wary of hanging out with ... but of course Glenn just takes a sound bite – something to rant about ... without a broader context.

    October 16, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  7. Ray

    Haven't Newtie Boy and Rove quoted Mao too?

    October 16, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  8. matthewdetroit

    Nothing was MADE UP.
    You dems really drink the kool aid.
    Even when they have her on tape and she states her case, you still refuse to believe it.
    Much the same with Van Jones.
    They have him on Tape Video. He joins the communist party. He stands against America,... But no in your eyes it never happened.

    Yep and OJ didnt kill Nicole.

    You people are loons and simply sheep.

    October 16, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  9. Rob

    Glenn Beck is clearly insane. Anyone who spends even one second of their life listening to his delusional rantings needs to think about what they are doing. The guy has completely lost it.

    October 16, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  10. Mike in MN

    What the hell does Lee Atwater have to do with it? Does it mean it is OK to admire the political philosophy of a man who murdered millions if someone else does to? Was she actually trying to say Republicans admire Mao because some old dead guy did? She told a group of people she admired Mao's philosophy and relied on it. Since she did not state she did not approve of the brutality of it and the mass murder, you would have to assume she supported everything about Mao. If she did not mean what she said, she should not have said it. She needs to explain herself on what part of Mao's philosophy she admires and what part she does not. Beck has nothing to answer for and deserves out thanks for exposing her.

    October 16, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  11. matthewdetroit

    I watched 5 minutes of the clip not 5 seconds.

    She said and meant what she said.

    She believes in the ideals of socialism and communism. She just refuses to air it in public where she will be stopped.
    She can move to China or Russia any time she wants.

    What Beck has a problem with is the FACT that she would like to turn the United States of America into a socialist or communist country.

    She is NOT a Patriot. She does not believe in the US. That is a fact.

    October 16, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    The whole phoney socialist intellectual trend should have died in the 80's woth whatever drug inspired it. Cnn is just as left as fox is right. Just bandwagon nonsense for followers. The weak minded are easily controlled.

    October 16, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  13. mjm

    "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."

    Sounds like Obama alright. Especially that White House website that wanted people to report anyone making "false" statements about health care. Not to mention how Obama wants his supporters to get into people’s faces.

    Health care reform forces people into a public option, Cap-and –Trade forces us to go “green. Then there’s the Fairness Doctrine.

    I say Beck got it right.

    October 16, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  14. File under "Sarcasm"

    Watch the video and make your own decision. She doesn't even pause or smile when she makes the "favorite political philosophers" reference to Mao and Mother Theresa. She just goes right into an explanation of why she appreciates his philosophy.

    I would also offer the opinion that she makes a pretty terrible speaker for a communications director leading me to believe her position is the usual Chicago style "it's who you know, not what you know" political appointment.

    With the continuing disclosures about the philosophies of President Obama's advisors and appointees, may be Ms. Dunn should brush up on another Chinese "philosophy", death by a thousand cuts, as this appears to be the future of the Obama Presidency.

    October 16, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  15. Lynda

    Beck is a pathatic Rush Limbaugh want – a – be..........both are sick, lame excuses for MEN.......why any intelligent person would want to listen to their Lies, their Racist comments is beyond me......but I guess the majority of the Republican conservatives aren't Intelligent.......and are Racist just like them........

    October 16, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  16. Chad

    This is the problem: educated people often quote historical figures/philosophers if it is interesting or relevant to a given situation. That does NOT mean that they commend that figure's actions or career. For, example, Dunn was not quoted as saying how great it was to starve your own people. Beck, because he is poorly educated, does not think critically and does not distinguish between a quote and a career.

    October 16, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  17. bri 6

    The whole phoney intellectual socialist fad should have died out in the 80's, with whatever drug inspired it. The weak minded are easily controlled.

    October 16, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  18. jobless recovery

    Notice the White House has its weekly hate target. Tea Parties, racists, white cops, fox news, rush , beck, ....i mean i thought this was suppose to be change? This president is such a manipulator...you obamabots just lap it up all the way to the welfare office.

    October 16, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  19. indiana voter

    It is hilarious to see all the liberals on here go back to their name calling once again, when they can't actually refute anything that Beck said. Beck is the one doing the research and the liberals are the ones coming apart at the seams that he is exposing the paper heroes for who they are. Fox will win this battle and the Obama White House better wise up about taking on the media like they are. Poll numbers keep dropping for a reason. More people believe Fox than they do the President or his cronies.

    October 16, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  20. Allen in Hartwell GA

    The worst thing that could happen to Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity, and their like is for the administration to ignore them. The best thing Americans could do is to ignore Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity, and their like. They are comedians who are laughing all the way to the bank.

    October 16, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  21. Paul fom Kissimmee

    I can only imagine what these comments would look like if Bush said Hitler was his favorite political philosopher. Typical liberals.

    October 16, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  22. Rob Braswell

    This Dunn woman is an archetypical Obama administration liar. Now she claims that an quote about Mao Tse-Tung is something she plagarized from a long dead Republican political operative, and that far from idolizing Mao, she was being wittily ironic and clever. I think Obama must give all his appointees lie detector tests, if they fail miserably then they are hired on the spot. He has car czars that don't drive a car, clean air czars that think CO2 is a greenhouse gas(hello idiot we exhale Co2 and plants use it for photosynthesis). He hires communists like Van Jones, Cass Sunstein, and Anita Dunn to slowly infect the government with roach like efficiency in communist and marxist failed and immoral policies. Barrack Obama is the worst president ever, worse than even Franklin Pierce and Jimmy Carter

    October 16, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  23. Mike in MN

    Is she for real? She made excuses about some dead guy saying the same thing. Does that make it OK then? And she pointed out a couple of Republicans who read a book on Mao or quoted something he said. Neither example displayed that the Republicans in question either admired or paterned their philosophy after Mao. But she clearly says she does. Pitiful. Contrasting Mao to Mother Teresa is funny. Admiring Mao is not. Keep up the good work Beck. We need to know who is in the Whitehouse, what they really believe.

    October 16, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  24. jobless recovery

    FYI- Beck is not a republican. He has ripped on bush for years. He is a libratarian. To you left-wingers, that's is some who believes in less government interference, freedom and abides the by the constitution. Such crazy ideas.

    October 16, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  25. sickofthe right

    If Beck and his think-a-likes had their way we would all be oppressed. All except the right wing enlightenend types who know whats best for everyone.

    It's very sad that right wing has become synonymous with uneducated dolts.

    October 16, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
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