“Congressman, you have an open invitation to join me in that chair whenever you feel up to it,” Morgan said. “Because if you don’t keep your promise to appear on the show, then you are, what we would call in Britain, a gutless little twerp.”
“It’s been a funny old day,” Morgan said on the show, because Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill — who Akin is challenging for U.S. Senate seat — had already bowed out of that night’s broadcast before the show managed to book Akin. Brian Stelter writes about how that coup went south. Akin “came under immediate pressure from Republican campaign officials to back out of the interview booking,” an anonymous CNN staffer told him.
Around 8:30 p.m., [executive producer Jonathan] Wald decided that he would put the empty chair on screen if Mr. Akin was a no-show. There was still a possibility, he thought, that the candidate would call in by phone — but no.
According to Mr. Morgan’s statement on his program, it was Rex Elsass, a political consultant to Mr. Akin, who “pulled the interview at the last possible moment.”
CNN’s Richard Allen Greene reported on some of the reaction online, not sparing his network:
But not everyone was a fan of the stunt, with Greg Pollowitz of the right-wing National Review tweeting: “I think the empty chair is out-debating Piers Morgan.”