Bloomberg’s D.C. Bureau Chief Job Allen joined me today to discuss the waterfront of political issues, chief among them the GOP field, and whether Ohio Governor John Kasich will be joining:
HH: It’s Hugh Hewitt with one of my favorite MSM’ers. Jon Allen is the DC bureau chief of Bloomberg, and once you’ve had a martini with a guy, you really can’t dislike him. And so we were together on the night that Eric Cantor got knocked off, and knocking a couple back with David Drucker across the street from the Heritage Foundation. I can’t ever be upset with him. But I’m wondering, Jon Allen, if you’re sharing the shock of other MSM’ers that the conservative media has breached the wall of the presidential debates today?
JA: I love it, Hugh.
JA: I think it’s great. I mean, you know, and not just because I’m on your radio show. I’m a fan of yours. You go far beneath the surface in your interviews, and I think you bring out a lot of great stuff from the people that come on your show. So I’m excited to see that in action. And I don’t see a downside. I’m not as un-enamored of the MSM as you call it, as you are, but…
HH: You know, you’re…
JA: There’s room for a lot of people on the stage. There’s a lot of room for a lot of people in the debate, and I think more and varied voices are good, and I think that somebody coming from a perspective of very pure interests in what these guys have to say about particularly the primary audiences is valuable.
HH: You know, your reporter, Dave Weigel, called me up today, and I had a great conversation with Dave, and that’s my point. The whole thing has changed. Everything has changed. And Bloomberg’s been rolling with that, and adding people left and right. But I wanted to ask you about something you tweeted out today. First of all, I have kept the tweet you sent this morning to Liz Smith – Everyone makes mistakes sometimes, no harm intended. And I’m going to save that for after I do my Red from That 70s Show, dumbass question, in the presidential debates. And I’m going to send that to you. But you were also talking about the VA secretary. And I honestly, I have no idea why you would write that both parties are invested in his survival. Would you explain that, because that caught my eye today.
JA: Yeah, so I think you’re talking about a guy who was very well-respected by Republicans when he came in. He’d been the CEO of Proctor and Gamble, somebody that they either knew or certainly respected his business acumen. He’s somebody who was not seen as your sort of typical cabinet pick in terms of being somebody that worked on the Obama campaign, or had been a donor, or worked in Democratic politics for a long time. This is somebody who came, you know, I think by all accounts, the business world. And that was something that I think appealed to them. On the Democratic side, obviously the President tapped this guy to be, to clean up the VA. And all he needs is another scandal over there. Now look, if it turns out that he said this one time, I think it’ll blow over. If it turns out that every time where was a Proctor and Gamble board meeting he regaled everyone with stories of being in Special Forces, which is a very specific thing within the Army, that’s another matter. But you know, if we don’t see anything else come out here, I just think there’s political support for him on both sides.
HH: Now that takes us into the larger question of journalism ethics. I had a very long interview with David Corn yesterday who attacked O’Reilly last week, and I put O’Reilly on the grill on Friday. I asked him when have you been in combat, how do you define it, that sort of stuff. It’s, they’re legitimate questions. But I also think, I don’t want to begin to see the Salem witch trials for everyone in the media. And I actually think I’m kind of Caesar’s wife on this, because I’ve just been a radio show host, and I’ve never been anywhere interesting and done anything remotely dangerous. So I don’t have to worry about having told fish stories.
JA: Although you could get your wires crossed.
HH: That’s it. I could electrocute myself. I have no producer, so I could electrocute…but do you think this is getting a little out of control?
JA: Yeah, I think it’s getting a little out of control, but you know, it’s not super out of control. Look, you can’t, as a journalist, you’re trying to present the truth. And any time you do something that damages your ability to present the truth, you know, it’s something you’re going to be called to account for, and that’s a good thing as a general matter, as a very specific matter in some cases. I mean, we, at some point, we’re going to get to the level of you know, how big was the fish that I caught?
HH: Exactly, exactly.
JA: And to be honest, Hugh, I never caught a fish.
HH: I never caught a fish, either, and I’ve been on the Madison a couple of times. Okay, bigger story. You have a big story over at Bloomberg about Hillary’s pitch on women’s issues. The GOP, I had Reince Priebus on to start the show today. They put out a big hit on her saying that she paid women 72 cents for each dollar paid to men during her Senate years, and that the median annual salary for a woman working in Clinton’s office was $15,708 less than the median salary for a man. I’m pretty sure, this is a Free Beacon story by Brent Scher, so I’m pretty sure it’s a very good, he’s a good journalist. So given that, does that impact Hillary at all that she’s out talking about issues for which she has the opposite record?
JA: Yeah, I mean, look, I think she would prefer to be in a place where she could say that her Senate office paid people equally. And I think for those who are, those who would vote for Hillary Clinton because she’s a woman are probably not going to be deterred by this. I think those who would vote for her because she’s a champion of women’s issues probably will not be deterred by this. But it’s something, you know, something she’ll get asked about, I’m sure, during a debate or on the campaign trail somewhere, and she’ll have to have a good answer. And you know, there are a lot of reasons for discrepancies in pay. The question, I think the general, there are a couple of questions you want to ask, and I think every office is different. Every agency is different. You want to ask are men and women paid the same amount for the same jobs? And are women getting the opportunity to get those same jobs as men? I don’t know if you’re ever going to get 100% parity. There may be some instances where you have women paid more than men in particular offices, but I think the basic questions are ones of fairness.
HH: But you hire people at Bloomberg. Do you sit down with a gender chart when you do so and say I’ve got to make sure that my senior political reporter of X years is getting the same depending on male/female? Or do you say that the man who wants to be s stay at home mom at the same time that he’s reporting is going to get paid less than the full-time woman? I mean, do you worry about this stuff as a hiring guy?
JA: Well, as a moment, in a moment of honesty here, Hugh, I won’t let that go without responding. I actually don’t, I’m not the hiring authority. I’m involved in hiring decisions. I recruit people, I make suggestions, I’m not the actual hiring authority. That said, I’ve never had a gender chart. But I can also look around and see what a room looks like, and I can tell when you know, you start making a list of candidates, whether you’re thinking globally or you’re in a very narrow silo. And I think most places benefit from having a diversity of opinion and a diversity of experience.
HH: Well, you’ve got Del Wilber there, and he’s a Northwestern Wildcat, so you have a diversity of losing football programs versus good football programs.
JA: That’s right. We have a couple of Big 10 teams represented. I’m a University of Maryland guy.
HH: Are you really?
JA: I am, new to the Big 10.
HH: You’re not really in the Big 10. You’re on probation, double secret probation.
JA: If we beat Wisconsin tonight in basketball, I’ve got a bet going with Great Van Susteren. If we beat them in basketball tonight, we really are Big 10.
HH: You are so not Big 10. You tried to sneak that in. That is like, that is so, you’re the homecoming team, is what you are. And Big 10 basketball, anyway, Jon, John Kasich is giving his state of the state speech tonight. Do you think he has made up his mind, yet? And I’ll ask Eliana Johnson later in the program if there are any late entrants, whether it’s Mike Pence or Rick Snyder or John Kasich, is there anyone coming into this field that we don’t know, yet, in your opinion?
JA: Well look, I mean, I think John Kasich’s likely to run.
HH: Oh, you do? Oh, interesting.
JA: You know, I first got this sense when Rob Portman decided he wasn’t. And of course, that could also be very tied to Jeb Bush, since Portman’s close to Bush. But I just started to get the sense, I mean, he said something about Kasich at one point, and I just thought something, maybe he knows Kasich’s running, and that the two Ohio things, two guys from Ohio could be problematic. But I certainly don’t know anything on that score. It’s just my spidey-sense. I think Pence probably doesn’t run, because Scott Walker fits a similar profile and deals with a similar donor base.
HH: That’s interesting, and Rick Snyder probably not, either. What about Marco Rubio? What’s your spidey-sense on Rubio?
JA: Seems like he wants to run. I think he might stick around a little while and see if Jeb Bush fails to get traction, and if he does, go ahead and run. And if it Bush seems like he’s getting a lot of traction, you know, that sort of squeezes Rubio out.
HH: You know what is a big deal? Jeb Bush agreed, Jeb’s coming on the program tomorrow, the former Florida governor, he agreed to sit down for a Q&A with Sean Hannity at CPAC. Now that is actually a big event. That’s going to be a big deal, Jon Allen, don’t you agree?
JA: Absolutely, for both of them. It’s important for Jeb Bush to talk to Sean Hannity’s audience, and I think it’s a great get for Sean Hannity.
HH: And what do you think their, I have a guess as to what most of that conversation is going to be about. It’s not on my agenda for tomorrow, because I’ve talked to the governor about it already.
JA: You’re talking about Common Core?
HH: That’s it. That’s it. Do you have like a Common Core reporter, yet?
JA: We don’t have a Common Core reporter, so to speak. We have education reporters.
HH: Because I’ll tell you, I’m on a local committee on Common Core at one of the school districts from which my kids graduated, and they asked me back to be on this committee. I have never seen parents so energized by this math. It’s not the English Common Core, by the way. It’s the math. And Jon, were you a math guy?
JA: No, no.
JA: I did journalism. I can do journalism math.
HH: I did okay. I mean, I got my calculus behind me, but I didn’t take a lot of it as an undergrad. But parents can’t…
JA: I can spell calculus.
HH: Yeah, parents can’t do the math, and it’s really driving them crazy. So it’s this huge just Gibraltar of an issue out there. Jon Allen, always a pleasure…
JA: Hugh, Hugh, let me give you a subject to ask Jeb Bush about, if you don’t mind.
HH: Okay, go.
JA: Big government conservatism.
JA: George W. Bush spent a lot of money, did a lot of big government programs, H.W. with the read my lips, and then the new taxes to fund government spending. To me, that’s going to be an issue for him going forward.
HH: All right, torpedo in the water from Bloomberg DC. I’ll put your name of it like the old days, the bombs being dropped, put people’s name on it. I’ll put Jon Allen – Bloomberg on that one. Jon Allen, good to talk to you.
End of interview.