Frank Luntz rose to fame as the GOP pollster who poll-tested every word in Gingrich's 1994 Contract On America to conceal its true purpose - to trick Americans into thinking Gingrich's agenda was centrist, rather than a figleaf to cover Gingrich's plan to rape, plunder, and pillage America on behalf of the corporate elite and the radical right. Since Gingrich's scandalous collapse (much like Enron's), Luntz has tried to "reinvent" himself as nonpartisan. He was even hired by MSNBC as a "nonpartisan" pollster. Unfortunately for Luntz, he got caught writing the pre-Christmas "Daschle Democrats" memo, which was set new standards for partisan vitriol. Once exposed, MSNBC was forced to fire him. But the question remains: given Luntz's notorious past, why did MSNBC hire him in the first place as a 'nonpartisan' pollster?
February 11, 2002
Luntz Under Fire. GOP pollster Frank Luntz raised a few eyebrows during a closed-door meeting with Republican Senators at the recent GOP retreat by lashing out over the fact that his memo bashing Daschle was leaked to the media by a lawmaker.
Luntz griped to the GOP Senators that the leak "undermined" his effort to burnish nonpartisan credentials and may now hit him in the wallet. Shedding some of his Republican ties had enabled Luntz to rake in lucrative work conducting polls and focus groups for MSNBC as well as various corporate clients, such as the National Association of Broadcasters.
MSNBC officials called Luntz on the carpet for the memo, which leaked out before Christmas and slammed "Daschle Democrats" for obstructing the economic stimulus bill and other legislation. In fact, the network canceled a planned focus group that Luntz was going to conduct after President Bush's State of the Union address.
Luntz confirmed to HOH that he "got questioned" by MSNBC officials about the attack on Daschle, though he said the cancellation was unrelated. "They said, 'Why the memo?'"
Senior Republicans were not pleased that Luntz, who's already controversial, decided to raise a petty issue about himself after being invited to speak to a group of GOP Senators. Mitch Bainwol, a friend of the pollster who serves as executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, approached him after the presentation and gently suggested that the bit about the leak was not the best way to open his remarks.
Luntz said that while he has heard Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) name come up as a suspect in the leak, he doesn't know who did it. "Others have suggested [McCain] - I don't know," he said. "I know John McCain. I don't think he would do this to me.
"All I know is, I was told by someone at CNN that the memo went from the hands of a Republican Senator to a Democratic Senator," the pollster claimed.
Isn't it ironic that Luntz, who made his name by purposely leaking his memo to GOP leaders, is now complaining about leaks? "I'm a lot less public than I was eight or nine years ago," he responded. "My business has changed. I work for a lot of Fortune 100 companies."
In order to win those contracts, Luntz has tried to claim that he's now down the middle politically. "I worked very hard to establish a nonpartisan reputation," he said, adding that it's "more difficult" to seem bipartisan after the Daschle memo.
When it's pointed out that Luntz added fuel to the fire by attending the GOP retreat and blasting Daschle in writing, he insists the memo was not political. "What Daschle was doing made me so, so angry," he said. "I wrote the memo on my own. I didn't write it as a Republican or a strategist."
He's just a concerned citizen.