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Washington Post Opinion Columnist Catherine Rampell Defends The CNBC Moderators And MSM Bias

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The transcript:

HH: You get to talk to Washington Post columnists like my first guest, Catherine Rampell. She is an opinion writer at the Post. You can follow her on Twitter, @CRampell, a brief bio by Catherine. Welcome, it’s great to have you on the Hugh Hewitt Show.

CR: Thank you for having me.

HH: A brief bio for people that the Washington Post puts out there, she has previously worked as a reporter for the New York Times covering economics, launching the award-winning Economics blog. She also wrote theater reviews for the Times. That scares me. I don’t know anything about that. Catherine frequently writes about the job market, women in the workforce, housing, taxes, health care, education, various other topics with an emphasis on data-driven journalism. Before that, she worked at the Post as an intern, an editorial writer, the Chronicle of Higher Education, NPR, the Village voice, USA Today, NBC and other news outlets. She’s won lots of awards. She is a Princeton woman. So Catherine, let me begin by asking. Your first time on my show, I ask everyone on my show the same two questions. Have you read The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright?

CR: I have not, but please send me a copy.

HH: Oh, I may have to do that. Someone at the Post is going to have to read it one of these days. And was Alger Hiss a communist spy?

CR: My understanding is that the weight of the evidence says yes, although my disclaimer is I’m not a historian or an expert on this, but that’s I think what I learned in school.

HH: Terrific answer. Terrific answer. Well, that’s a start. Now Catherine, how would you put yourself on the political spectrum? Are you a liberal, a lefty, a progressive, how do you describe your own politics?

CR: I would say I’m socially quite liberal, on economic issues, maybe center-left leaning to left, yeah, something like that.

HH: Did you vote for President Obama the last two times?

CR: I did.

HH: And are you pro-reproductive rights?

CR: Yes, I am.

HH: And do you expect to vote for Hillary Clinton regardless of who the Republicans nominate?

CR: Probably, but…

HH: I love you already.

CR: I have reservations. I have reservations, but…

HH: You’re the most honest, you’re the most honest reporter I’ve had in years. You didn’t even put up a fight. You just answered the questions. God bless you. I just, I love that. Someone finally answered the questions. Are you a religious person?

CR: No, I am not.

HH: Are you an atheist or an agnostic?

CR: I would say I’m an agnostic. I was raised Jewish, but now am pretty secular.

HH: All right. Now I want people to understand where you’re coming from. We’re going to talk about your column today about the debate. But your column today is titled, The Republicans Are Right. We In The Media Do Suck, But Not For The Reasons They Think. The previous column was What’s The Scariest Thing In America? Government Corruption. The previous column, Mr. Boehner, It’s Time To Destroy The Debt Ceiling. The previous column, Free Speech Is Flunking Out On College Campuses. The previous column, Politicians Are Invading Our Medical Exam Rooms. The previous column, Paid Family Leave Is No Pipe Dream. The previous column, The Last Time Women Surpassed Men In Schooling. The previous column, Why College Hasn’t Closed The Gender Wage Gap. What do you think people could, now you don’t write your headlines, correct?

CR: I do not, no.

HH: I never write my headlines. So I always warn people columnists cannot be blamed for their headlines. We don’t get to pick them. But what would you think people would conclude from that set of headlines about your spin on the debate?

CR: About my spin on the debate?

HH: Yeah. Before they even read your column, what do you think they’re going to think about the debate?

CR: Probably that I’m going to pick on the candidates for their policy stances. Yeah, probably something like that.

HH: Yeah, and…

CR: I write a lot about taxes. I guess none of the recent columns that you mentioned are on taxes, but I’ve picked on a lot of them, a lot of the candidates for their tax plans.

HH: And that’s fine.

CR: So if they’ve followed my oeuvre, they’d probably expect that.

HH: That’s fine, because there were only two people who defended the panel. I found them both. I had on Ryan Lizza yesterday, and I found Catherine Rampell today, because I wanted to be as fair as I could. I had to search high and low across the land, but you are defending the CNBC panel.

CR: I wouldn’t exactly go that far.

HH: That’s what Ryan said yesterday, too.

CR: I would say I don’t think they handled it well. I do think they asked a lot of silly questions, and could have asked more substantive questions, which is a criticism, actually, I’ve had for previous debates as well. I think the Fox News debate was the toughest in terms of the questions that were asked of the candidates. So you know, I don’t think that they did a great job. I will say that I think the candidates came in having learned from previous debates and what played well and what didn’t play well, and used that to their advantage in a way that made it even harder for the moderators this time around to really control things.

HH: Now I will give you a couple of observations to get your reaction to it. First of all, from the position of having been behind one of those desks, I can unabashedly say I have asked the best questions. And so I’m very proud of that. I’m not perfect, I’m just the best.

CR: You have asked very good questions. I agree with that.

HH: And that’s because they were short. They were short, and I think part of the problem, I think Jake ran a very good debate, by the way, and I thought Anderson Cooper ran a very good debate, because they were designed to get the candidates talking to each other. I think that the CNBC panel were looking to be participants in the debate as opposed to provocateurs or interlocutors. I mean, that was obvious from the moment when John Harwood called Donald Trump a comic book candidate. Wasn’t that awful?

CR: Yeah, I don’t think that was the best way to phrase that question, or even the most important question to ask. Yeah, I do think that they went on too long. They interrupted the candidates. There is a role, I think, for the moderator to ask follow up questions, which is I’m sure very challenging, you would know, when there’s so many candidates on that stage. So I don’t think it’s as if the moderator shouldn’t respond to what the candidates say, but I agree, you know, you kind of got little essays, sometimes, from the moderators, and then a question. And that’s maybe not the best way to elicit the most informative responses.

HH: And I don’t think, Catherine, that they were listening. Let me play you the most astonishing thing in the debate, and it’s something that wasn’t said. Here’s Marco Rubio with a memorable line, but then we’ll talk about what didn’t happen after it.

DT: Not…

BQ: My apologies, I’m sorry.

DT: Somebody’s really doing some back fact-checking.

MR: Since I’ve been mentioned, can I respond?

BQ: Yes, yes you may.

MR: Okay, now the Democrats have the ultimate superPAC. It’s called the mainstream media, who every single day (applause)…and I’ll tell you why. Last week, Hillary Clinton went before a committee. She admitted she had sent emails to her family saying hey, this attack in Benghazi was caused by al Qaeda-like elements. She spent over a week telling the families of those victims, and the American people, that it was because of a video. And yet the mainstream media is going around saying it was the greatest week in Hillary’s campaign. It was the week she got exposed as a liar. It was the week that she got exposed as a liar in Benghazi (applause). But she has her superPAC helping her out, the American mainstream media.

HH: Now Catherine Rampell, no one followed up on that. Another hour in the debate went by, Marco Rubio called the former Secretary of State a liar about Benghazi, and no one said a word. Isn’t that an abject failure by the panel?

CR: Well, what do you think they should have asked?

HH: They should have said excuse me, Mr. Rubio, you just called the former Secretary of State a liar. How is she a liar? That’s the question. It’s not a trick question, and then press him on it, because she stood by her story in the end. She finally said I believe the video did have a role to play, and he should have been pushed on that. I think they didn’t hear him. They were so intent on, I don’t know what they were intent on, but wouldn’t you have followed up on that?

CR: I don’t know. I mean, there was so much going on in that response that, and I actually kind of feel like he explained what his point of view was, why he thought she was a liar within his response, so I’m not sure that that’s the follow up question I would have asked. The follow up question I might have asked on the media bias piece of his response is if the media is really, you know the superPAC for Hillary Clinton, do you think she believes that, because she certainly does not believe the media has shown her any love.

HH: That would have been a fine question. That would have been an excellent, an excellent follow up. But let me ask you something. Do you think Hillary Clinton’s a liar about Benghazi?

CR: I mean, I don’t think so. My general impression is that she did not handle the inquiries about her email particularly well, and was very evasive about that. The Benghazi issues, you know, my general perception was from the 11 hours of testimony that she gave last week that she responded to every question to the best of her ability, and you know, has kind of stuck by her story.

HH: But the three things…

CR: I think the email, the email, the email stuff is a separate issue, and I think she has been unnecessarily evasive on that, and has since corrected course, but yes.

HH: When we come back, let’s continue on with this, because I also want to get through the specifics of why Catherine Rampell, my guest from the Washington Post, thinks that the debate moderators were too easy on the Republican candidates, and the media generally too easy on the Republican candidates. Don’t go anywhere, America, except over to You can follow Catherine, @CRampell, on Twitter, and I’ve linked her column and her bio over at

— – – — –

HH: Catherine, for the benefit of the audience, I want to read them the start of a letter that Reince Priebus sent to Mr. Andrew Lack, chairman of NBC News today. “Dear Mr. Lack, I write to inform you that pending further discussion between the Republican National Committee and our presidential campaigns, we are suspending the partnership with NBC News for the Republican primary debate at the University of Houston on February 26, 2016. The RNC’s sole role in the primary debate process is to ensure that our candidates are given a full and fair opportunity to lay out their vision for America’s future. We simply cannot continue with NBC without full consultation with our campaigns. The CNBC network is one of your media properties, and its handling of the debate was conducted in bad faith. We understand that NBC does not exercise full editorial control over CNBC’s journalistic approach. However, the network is an arm of your organization, and we need to ensure there’s not a repeat performance. CNBC billed the debate as one that would focus on ‘the key issues’ that matter to all voters – job growth, taxes, technology, retirement and the health of our national economy. This was not the case.” Priebus continued. “Before the debate, the candidates were promised an opening question on economic or financial matters. That was not the case. Candidates were promised that speaking time would be carefully monitored to ensure fairness. This was not the case. Questions were inaccurate or downright offensive. The first question directed to one of our candidates asked if he was running a comic book version of a presidential campaign, hardly in the spirit of how the debate was billed.” Now Catherine, is Reince Priebus fair in his criticism?

CR: I think a lot of those criticisms are fair. And I think some of them are just grandstanding, to be honest. You know, I was not aware that the candidates were promised, for example, that the opening question would be something about economic and financial issues. I think that’s what you said. Certainly, the job interview question, I think, was sort of a silly throwaway question that was either fulfilling whatever that promise was, nor particularly helpful to voters who were watching at home. But I would also say that the sort of tone of the letter that indicates that they were, the moderators were out to get the candidates, that, to me, feels a little bit overblown and a little overdramatic. There were silly questions that were asked in previous debates, too. You know, we got questions about what is your Secret Service codename, and what woman would you place on the $10 dollar bill.

HH: Those are both CNN questions at the end of a three hour debate. I agree. They were not the most substantive questions. But that was the lighthearted way to wrap up a three hour marathon. I want to go to your column, because here’s the interesting thing. The reason I loved your column today, I could have written this column if wherever you write Republican, I would have written Democrat, okay? So your column reads, “The Republican presidential candidates are right, the media do suck.” And I would have written the Democratic presidential candidates are right, the media do suck. “But not for the reasons the candidates complained about Wednesday night,” or I would have said last Wednesday night. “We in the media suck, because we have rewarded their rampant, dishonesty and buffoonery with nonstop news coverage, which of course has encouraged more dishonesty and buffoonery. Hence the aggregating behaviors the candidates double downed on during the debate based on lessons that we in the media taught them. To wit, and lesson number one, lie, but lie confidently.” And I go back, Catherine, to what we were talking about last segment. Hillary Clinton sent an email to Chelsea on the night of the Benghazi attacks, said it’s an al Qaeda-like group. Then she calls the Libyan prime minister and says it’s an al Qaeda terrorist group, it’s got nothing to do with the video. She calls the Egyptian foreign minister, says it’s an al Qaeda-like group, it’s got nothing to do with the video. Then she tells the families of the dead people, the four dead Americans, it was the video, we’ll get the filmmaker. How is that not a lie? And how could we not call her on it?

CR: Well, you know, she has her narrative of events that basically talks about her evolution and her thinking. And the lies that I was talking about relating to the Republican debate, you know, they involve things like a candidates saying that he had never made a comment that was on his own website. This is Donald Trump about the dig at Mark Zuckerberg. They involved things like Ben Carson saying he had no involvement or relationship with a somewhat sketchy dietary supplements company, when you can go online and Google his name and Google the name of that company and see a personal testimonial that he filmed for them. So some of these things are, you know, pretty easily fact-checkable, but from the previous experiences that the candidates have had in these debates, I think that they’ve learned that it doesn’t really matter if you say something that’s not true as long as you say it with utmost confidence and authority in the moment. You know, people are going to swept away by your confidence and that drama. And maybe the fact-checkerist will say hey, we saw this thing on your website later, but by then, it’ll feel nitpicky and pedantic. And what really matters is the sort of sweep with which you say things. And I think that they learned from that. They’ve learned from these previous moments that this is how politicians are treated. So you don’t really need to stick to the facts. As long as you say things with confidence, the pundits will applaud you. And that’s kind of what I was trying to hone in on.

HH: Now your first example, that was Carly Fiorina and the Planned Parenthood video, and she did that right in front of me, and I have watched the Planned Parenthood videos. Have you, Catherine?

CR: Yes, I have.

HH: Okay, so there is, in fact, that footage, but it’s not footage of Planned Parenthood. There is the woman saying that’s what she saw, so Carly Fiorina, in my view, objectively, was not lying. But you write that we saw this strategy successfully executed in the second Republican debate when Carly Fiorina confidently described a horrifying undercover Planned Parenthood video. The footage in question turned out not to exist. At best, she was describing a reenactment. That’s a very, a bit fuzzy on your part. What they had done is they had taken stock footage.

CR: Right, well, that’s essentially a reenactment. You know, they’re trying to have an illustration for what a person in an interview, not in an undercover setting, you know, is just trying to…

HH: But it was in the video, right? It was in the video. So when she said she heard the person saying it, and the reenactment is in the video, she watched the Planned Parenthood videos, which are a piece of reporting, edited like everything is edited, even to this extent today’s show is edited, because I’ve got some pieces prerecorded, but you go on to call her a liar about that. And in fact, she wasn’t lying at all. Everyone who watches those videos are horrified, at least any…

CR: Yeah, they’re horrifying. They’re absolutely viscerally horrifying. I agree with that. But what she described on stage, and again, I was watching the debate and I said wow, I don’t remember seeing that, that’s really terrible. And you know, I went back and I tried to look up the video, as many other journalists and other people who are not journalists who were watching the debate did, and what she said was you see a woman on video being told, you know, cut the baby’s brain open or whatever, as the baby is kicking. And okay, yeah, you have a person on the one hand being interviewed saying that this happened, and on the other hand, you have footage of a fetus kicking. That’s not the same thing as what she described. She says that this happened at Planned Parenthood, there is video footage showing this happening with the baby kicking and blah, blah, blah, and all this horrifying stuff. You know, that doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen, but that’s not the video, she claimed that there was video evidence that did not exist.

HH: But I disagree with that, and see, and I asked her spokesperson about this earlier today, and got the response that the media wants to pretend this isn’t happening. It’s why they originally said there was no video. Then they said there was no baby. Then they had to admit it was all exactly like Carly described, but maybe that the aborted baby wasn’t at a Planned Parenthood clinic. Give me a break. Either this is happening, or it’s not. And what she means by this is happening is the harvesting of body parts is going on, and Carly told 23 million people about it that night, and she was right. And the mainstream media, the superPAC, is trying to discredit that. That’s, it’s, to me, Marco Rubio’s point was so obvious. And when people started booing the liberal media panel, they were actually booing all of us, including, I think, me and you and everyone who tries to get in the way of, you know, don’t tell me what I see is not true. Tell me something that you want me to believe. I’ll be right back with Catherine Rampell.

— – – – –

HH: I love Twitter. Chris Slater tweets, Hugh Hewitt, @CRampell is a great guest. I disagree with her, but she is honest and thoughtful. Invite her back. But then you scroll down a little bit later, and you find, Catherine, @CRampell on Hillary and Benghazi hearing, well, she has her narrative. On Republican debate, they lied and lied baldly. So Catherine, what do you think of that last one? That’s basically our complaint, is that you guys always got a finger on the scale.

CR: I just don’t think that’s true. I feel like there is this impression that there’s this vast liberal cabal, you know, that we’re getting together and we’re conspiring to figure out how to take down X Republican candidate that we don’t like, and that’s just now how news gathering works. You know, I’m an opinion columnist, so I’m allowed to express my opinions, and I’m allowed to weigh in and say I think this person has policies that are good, and this person has policies that are bad, that sort of thing. In the newsroom, it’s not as if there’s this meeting where we say, or when I was on the news side, actually, where the reporters say okay, let’s figure out how we can get him.

HH: But nobody believes that. I was on the news side for ten years for PBS doing the nightly news in L.A., and no one has ever alleged there is that conspiracy. What I’ve always alleged is 95% of major media outlets journalists voted for President Obama twice, are pro-abortion rights, are pro-gun control laws, including up to and perhaps massive confiscation, are generally okay with inflationary money printing, and don’t worry about…I just think there’s a mindset on the left that is in the media’s mainstream news bullpens, and that if you go over to the Washington Post, I’m going to find, I think Pew found 90% plus of Washington editorial writers have voted Democratic in the last four election cycles. That’s, it’s not a conspiracy, it is a uniformity that is the problem.

CR: Well, you know what they say, reality has a well-known liberal bias. I would say that I think it’s true that the backgrounds of most journalists, especially at a lot of the elite mainstream publications, are going to look pretty similar – a lot of people who went to Ivy League schools, who come from the upper income stratum, and are probably in urban areas that tend to lead to more liberal views. That’s probably true, and I don’t think that there’s any such thing as complete objectivity. Now whenever you come to a new story, you can try to be as fair as possible, but you’re going to bring all of the baggage of your upbringing and your worldview with you, so I think it’s true that that cannot help but color the kinds of stories that people choose.

HH: So let me ask you.

CR: Yeah.

HH: Did you follow Rachel Maddow’s interview with former Secretary of State Clinton on the Veterans Administration?

CR: I did not.

HH: Here is something that the former Secretary of State said about the VA scandal to Rachel Maddow on Friday night.

HRC: It’s not been as widespread as it has been made out to be.

HH: So she said about the scandal, which is rampant across the United States and has resulted in the death of scores of veterans, and hundreds of thousands not getting, the subject of a federal FBI investigation auditor, and it just sails past everybody. Nobody notices it. It’s not on your radar, and I’m not blaming you. It’s not your beat. But if a Republican were to say something like that, which is objectively not true, and she apologized for it on Monday and her campaign walked it back, but only after people like me had started to call attention to it. That’s the bias. And so when Chris Christie says this to John Harwood, I think he’s speaking for the country. This is where Harwood asks him a question and interrupts him. I think it’s cut number five, guys.

JH: You said something that many in your party do not believe, which is that climate change is undeniable, that human activity contributes to it, and you said, “the question is, what do we do to deal with it.” So what do we do?

CC: Well, first off, what we don’t do is what Hillary Clinton and John Kerry and Barack Obama want us to do, which is their solution for everything – put more taxes on it, give more money to Washington, D.C., and then they’ll fix it. Well, there’s no evidence that they can fix anything in Washington, D.C.

JH: What should we do?

CC: What we should do is to be investing in all types of energy, John, all types of energy. And I’ve laid out…

JH: In government?

CC: No, John, John, do you want me to answer, or do you want to answer (applause)? Because I’ve got to tell you the truth, even in New Jersey what you’re doing is called rude.

HH: Now wasn’t that a great line, Catherine?

CR: It was a great line, especially, I live in New York. We do lots of New Jersey bashing here. So yeah, I’m sure that lots of Americans cheered that on. I do think it was a substantive question, though, what do we do about climate change, assuming you believe it exists, which I do, and Christie has acknowledged that he does as well. So I think it was a perfectly appropriate question and a smart question.

HH: Okay, hold that though. When we come back from break, we’ll talk about how one has to pose that question if you want to elicit a good answer.

— – – –

HH: It will surprise, shock, no, in fact, horrify my audience I’ve been mispronouncing her name, like I do with pretty much everyone else who’s ever been on this show. Catherine, my apologies.

CR: That’s okay, everybody gets it wrong. I’m used to it.

HH: Well now I can, it rhymes with Taco Bell, Catherine Rampell. Now I’ll remember that. Catherine, when we went to break, we were talking about climate change. And I subscribe to the Hayward summary, Steven Hayward, great blogger at Powerline, says the temperature of the Earth’s gone up about one degree over a hundred years. No doubt mankind contributed to some of that. We don’t know how much. No doubt that it’s going to cause some effects. We don’t know what they are. No doubt that even if it is that we the primary culprit and not other forces that led to ice ages past, and global warming past, India and China are driving that boat, so there’s nothing much the United States can do by itself. What else do you want to hear people say? I mean, that’s, to me, what is it you want them, what did you expect Chris Christie to say?

CR: I don’t know what I expected him to day. I can say what I think, what policies I think would be helpful, some sort of carbon tax, you know. This is something that even right wing economists have generally agreed with, that when you have externalities, that is, you know, you have some sort of economic exchange that affects other people in some way, you know, that’s the externality that you should tax for, that you should tax it.

HH: So let me ask you a question. If we had a carbon tax, what affect would that have on climate change? Just in the United States, we put on whatever you want, you know, $.30 cents a gallon, a buck, what affect would that have on climate change?

CR: It would reduce our carbon emissions.

HH: But what affect would that have…

CR: It would curb the, you know, the general arc of global warming. That’s the whole point.

HH: Oh, wait. Now that, oh, stop, now that’s the interesting part, actually. Even if you reduced America’s carbon emissions significantly, if I understand the critique of carbon emissions, even if you got rid of all of America’s carbon emissions, you would not change the arc of significant carbon emissions because of China and India. Am I wrong?

CR: Well, then we should get them on board, too.

HH: So, but that means why start with our economy and pulverize our national power and our national security when those countries are showing no desire to stop air conditioning? They’re impoverished, and raising their people from abject poverty?

CR: Because it’s the right thing to do, I would say.

HH: Well, not if you’ve got a wood-burning stove in your hut.

CR: Look, look, gas is very cheap right now. Energy prices are very cheap right now. If anything, that’s encouraging more carbon emissions. You’ve got to price for these externalities.

HH: Not if they’re not externalities. See, this is where, I know that you write about economics. Externalities may be negative, but if you can’t quantify them and show that they’re actually having an effect that you can curb, they’re not an externality. They’re just an emission.

CR: No, that is in fact the definition of externalities. That’s something, it’s a negative consequence from something that you do that you do not internalize.

HH: Not negative if it doesn’t have an impact, meaning in other words, if you reduced all of America’s emissions, and it didn’t change the arc of global climate change, then it’s not a negative externality. You have to go to China and India. We’re not the problem.

CR: We are part of the problem. They are part of the problem, too. I think that it’s kind of a collective action problem, right, that…

HH: No. No, it’s not. We’re not even close. It’s not us. They’re the coal burner. We cleaned up our coal. Unless you get China to change its coal production, nothing’s going to matter. It’s like saying my ship is sinking, I’m going to take a pile, a bucket of water out of it when it’s sinking. Even if you buy everything that climate change people/enthusiasts believe, that’s why I think it’s a left wing construct.

CR: I think it’s a little bit of a false choice here, though, to say that you know, it’s either China or us. I think it’s both. It’s lots of different countries.

HH: It’s not.

CR: I mean, we have, if you look at the carbon footprint…no, that’s not true.

HH: It is true.

CR: If you look at the carbon footprint of the United States, it’s incredibly high, especially in per capita terms.

HH: But you can’t stop our footprint without destroying the world economy.

CR: I, that’s not true.

HH: But this is the debate. This is the debate that Hillary and the Republicans should have.

CR: I agree.

HH: But in terms of the media panelists…

CR: I agree. I would love to see a debate on that.

HH: And I would love to have it like three minutes, so they’d have to supply. But what the media panelists should have said is what would you do about climate change, and then let them talk for two minutes, and then stop, instead of interrupting him, right?

CR: Yeah, I don’t think it was helpful or productive for the moderator to interrupt Chris Christie, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t think it was an important question to ask. And so I’m glad that they asked about…

HH: Now my frustration with the Democratic debate when it turned to guns, Minnesota Gun Owners Political Action Committee has put out a chart, last 12 horrific massacres of the United States, most often cited twelve gun control measures. Not one of the 12 measures would have stopped one of the 12 massacres. They’re just irrelevant. There’s no causation. I’m a lawyer. I think in causation terms. When they are asked about gun control, does the media ever press them on the specifics about how what they suggest will do anything to stop those massacres?

CR: Yeah, I mean, there have been questions put to the candidates about that all the time. I don’t recall if there was a question exactly of that formulation at the Democratic debate.

HH: It’s never been asked. It’s never, oh, Catherine, believe me on this.

CR: Well, we’ve only had one Democratic debate. Maybe the next time, you could submit that.

HH: But Martin O’Malley was on the, Martin O’Malley was on, I’m never going to be allowed to submit a question to Democrats. You know that. That’s part of the problem, by the way. Every panel is full of, would you guess that those three panelists were all Obama voters, just a guess?

CR: I don’t think so.

HH: Oh, I do. I think all three of them were.

CR: I know one of them, and I don’t know. I’m not sure it’s a slam dunk a case.

HH: If John Harwood didn’t vote for Obama, I’ll take everyone to dinner in Washington, D.C. Maybe he didn’t vote. I shouldn’t bet that way. But O’Malley was on Boulder campus saying the same nostrums about gun control, and no one ever asked them how exactly would your proposals have stopped Aurora? How exactly would your proposals have stopped the Charleston massacre at Mother Emmanuel? How exactly would they have stopped Fort Hood? They never have any answers, because they don’t, unless you want to confiscate, right, Catherine? That’s the real answer, but they’re afraid to say it.

CR: I’m not sure that’s entirely true. I mean, there was the, I forget the name of it, but the loophole in the Charleston case where the guy should have been denied a gun because he had a record, and that’s something that actually could be fixed with law.

HH: If you’re correct, I missed that entirely, or that it was one of many weapons which he could have had the other ones. So I don’t know. The Minnesota Gun Owners’ Alliance says no, but maybe you’re right. Here’s my point. Hillary, if I could ever have an hour and a half with Hillary, she would never be elected president, because there are questions she never gets asked or pressed on, for example, the video narrative, that she gets away with in a setting over and over again. That’s our frustration. I want to give you the last minute. I know you’re, you live in liberal land, and I love the Post, and they’re on all the time. But do you understand the frustration of the center-right in America with the media?

CR: I do. That said, I don’t think that all of the media bashing that was experienced during this last debate was entirely sincere or genuine. I think the kinds of issues that you are raising about the backgrounds of people who go into media, I think those are totally legitimate questions that we don’t wrestle enough with. But the issue of, you know, sort of not answering a question because you don’t like it, and you want to just claim liberal media bias, I think that was more grandstanding.

HH: Catherine Rampell, come back, great to have you on. Great, very provocative column today. You and Ryan Lizza get the gold stars for going out there and getting in front of your media colleagues and taking one for the team. I appreciate you doing so on the radio with me.

End of interview.


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