Neil Cavuto Once Made An Osama Bin Laden Reference That Will Shock You

Neil Cavuto, one of the hosts of Thursday's Republican presidential debate, has had a long history in television news. He has been commended for his work many times, and described as the "best interviewer in broadcast business news" by The Wall Street Journal. Perhaps this is true of him talking business, but one incident from his past might make you pause when considering him for presidential election coverage. Surprising as it may seem, Cavuto's issues began with Osama Bin Laden.

Cavuto really blew it during the 2004 election between John Kerry and George W. Bush. He had given money to Bush, so from the get-go, he was not an impartial news anchor. Things quickly got worse after the release of an Osama Bin Laden video on Oct. 29. In the tape, Bin Laden accepted responsibility for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and harshly criticized Bush's military response. Given that it came out four days before the election, the video was thought to have had an outsized influence on the outcome.

At the time, some Fox News guests and personalities argued that Bin Laden was essentially endorsing Kerry. Cavuto was one of them. One of his guests said that the tape did not amount to an endorsement. In response, Cavuto said, "He's all but doing that. I thought I saw a button."

The Kerry campaign was not pleased, and Fox News did not apologize. Kerry spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter gave the channel three hours to issue an apology, a deadline which they did not meet. Then, a Fox News producer came into view of one of Kerry's top advisors, John Sasso. "Is that the one? Is that her? I want her off the plane tomorrow. I'm not kidding," the Boston Globe reported Sasso saying.

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The campaign ultimately let it go, so as not to cause a controversy immediately before the election. That doesn't mean that Cavuto should be let off the hook. He was interviewed by the Capital Times of Madison, Wisconsin about last November's presidential debate on Fox Business News, he described the network as neutral — in a way:

When people ask me what FBN is all about, I like to put it this way: We’re not red or blue, we’re green — just green, just money.

Cavuto has aimed to come off as tough on the candidates, telling them they should be prepared for difficult questions and not to act like "whiners and babies." Maybe he'll be tough on them this Thursday, but given his flippant talk during the 2004 campaign, how can one be sure?