Republican strategists Mike Murphy and Peggy Noonan were interviewed today by NBC’s Chuck Todd. At the conclusion of the segment a hot mic overheard them expressing a somewhat more pessimistic view of the election than is generally acknowledged. The conversation centered on the qualifications of McCain’s VP pick, Sarah Palin. [A rush transcript of is included below]
On substance, I couldn’t agree more with the comments of these loyal Republicans speaking honestly amongst themselves. However, I do have a problem with the manner in which this became public.
A couple of months ago, Jesse Jackson was caught making disparaging remarks about Barack Obama. He also was picked up by a hot mic in the studios of Fox News. I had some harsh criticism for the Fox insiders who released the tape:
“Television news studios are not places where recordings are made accidentally. It is, of course, what they are designed for. So people invited inside for appearances ought to be aware that tapes are rolling and mics are hot. But they should not be expected to keep their mouths shut from the time they enter the building until they drive off the lot. They ought to be permitted to have private conversations without fear that they will end up on the evening broadcast.”
I have the same complaint with the release of this video. If someone makes a speech wherein they say something embarrassing, it is fair game. But in-studio guests (or in this case, outdoor remote guests) need to be given extra leeway because they are micced the whole time they are there and the producers have total control of the environment and the product.
As much as I like to hear Republicans declaring McCain’s candidacy over, I cannot approve of those who brought it to light.
Mike Murphy: I come out of the blue swing state governor world. Engler, Whitman, Tommy Thompson, Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, I mean, and these guys, this is all like how you win a Texas Race race, just run it up, and it’s not gonna work.
Peggy Noonan: It’s Over.
Murphy: Still, McCain can give a version of the Lieberman speech and do himself some good.
Chuck Todd: Don’t you think this Palin pick is insulting to Kay Baily Hutchinson?
Noonan: Saw Kay this morning.
Todd: She’s never looked comfortable up there.
Murphy: All bummed out.
Todd: I mean, is she really the most qualified woman they could turn to?
Noonan: The most qualified? No. I think they went for this, excuse me, political bullshit about narratives and youthfulness and the picture.
Todd: Yeah, but what’s the narrative?
Murphy: I totally agree.
Noonan: Every time Republicans do that, because that’s not where they live and it’s not what they’re good at, they blow it.
Murphy: You know what’s the worst thing about it, the greatest of McCain is no cynicism, and this is cynical.
Todd: And as you called it, gimmicky.