CNN’s Dana Bash did a heck of a job Sunday on her “State of the Union” show. She pressed Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake on election integrity in her state. And the response made Lake look small.
Lake, a former TV reporter and anchor who is running against Democrat Katie Hobbs, has publicly said she believes the 2020 presidential election was stolen. When Bash asked Lake — three times — if she would accept the results of next month’s gubernatorial election, Lake said, “I’m going to win the election, and I will accept that result.”
Bash didn’t stop. She followed up with, “If you lose, will you accept that?”
Lake again said, “I’m going to win the election, and I will accept that result.”
The Arizona Republic’s Bill Goodykoontz wrote, “It may not be satisfying, but Bash got Lake on the record, sort of — twice.”
Goodykoontz added, “Bash pushed Lake on why she repeats the false claims that Trump won the 2020 election. And she asked it the right way.”
In fact, what Bash asked directly was, “You called the 2020 election corrupt, stolen, rotten and rigged. And there was no evidence of any of that presented in a court of law or anywhere else that any of those things are true. So why do you keep saying that?”
Lake argued there was evidence and Bash didn’t stop. Bash asked, “Where is the evidence of that?”
Lake said she would send it to Bash’s team. As Goodykoontz wrote, “She didn’t elaborate on what ‘it’ was, though she did repeat a disproven chain-of-custody claim.”
Hobbs also appeared on “State of the Union,” where Bash asked her why she refused to debate Lake.
Hobbs said Lake wasn’t interested in debating the issues, adding, “She only wants a scenario where she can control the dialogue.”
But, again, Bash did her job, telling Hobbs, “She just came and sat down with me and answered my questions for a lot of minutes. If you think she’s as dangerous as you’re saying to democracy, is it your responsibility as a candidate who wants to run Arizona to show and explain who their alternative is?”
As far as Lake potentially not accepting the results of the election, Hobbs said, “This is somebody who will have a level of authority over our state’s elections, the ability to sign new legislation into law, the responsibility of certifying future elections. And she has not only, as you heard, refused to say if she will accept the results of this election, but also whether or not she would certify the 2024 presidential election if she’s governor. This is disqualifying. This is a basic core of our democracy.”
Who performed the best in these interviews? That’s easy: Dana Bash.
Speaking of Lake …
The Washington Post’s national political enterprise reporter Ruby Cramer has a deep profile of Lake in “On Kari Lake’s campaign for Arizona governor, the mic is always hot.”
Cramer describes one exchange with Lake:
“Is this paper owned by — who is it owned by?” she asks.
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, owns The Washington Post.
“Oh, I thought so,” she says, her voice turning hard. “You don’t give anybody fair coverage, unfortunately.”
She walks away, and a gaggle of Lake staffers are waiting, laughing.
“That was gonna happen. That was gonna happen,” one of them says.
“She’s actually like that all the time. She’s real!” says another.
“It’s not staged,” he added. “It’s real.”
I relay just this brief passage, but check out Cramer’s well-reported and comprehensive story on Lake.
What’s Herschel Walker’s appeal? Here’s one theory
On the most recent episode of his HBO show, Bill Maher absolutely destroyed Georgia GOP senatorial candidate Herschel Walker, saying, “First of all, he’s just a (expletive) idiot on a scale almost impossible to parody.”
Maher called Walker “unfit for office.”
Maher isn’t alone in thinking such things about Walker, and yet Walker has the support of many Republicans and has a real chance to win in November.
Why? How? How can Republicans support someone who has said and done so many hypocritical and off-the-rail things?
Maher said, “The easy answer is they’re deplorables, ignorant and bad. Yes, there is some of that, but I’m sorry if I’m going to stay in America and America’s going to stay America, I can’t write off half the country that easily. Also, I talk to deplorables, so let me try to translate, not endorse, but translate for Liberal America. Part of the appeal of a Herschel Walker or a Donald Trump or any number of egregious (expletives) Republicans have backed is, in their mind, the worse a candidate is, the more it says to Democrats, ‘Do you see how much we don’t like what you are selling? All that socialism and identity politics and victimhood and oversensitivity and cancel culture and white self-loathing and forcing complicated ideas about race and sex on kids too young to understand it. Literally anything would be better than that.’ That’s their view.”
Maher continued, “This is a clear difference between the parties — Democrats also think the other side is an existential threat, but their response is not to nominate sickos to make a point. Anyone can do absolutely anything in the name of wokeness and the left will never stop them. And that’s when Republicans say, ‘Well then we’ll have to no matter who we have to elect to do it. The fact that Republicans have no shame in their game and will vote for any monster with an R by his name is their way of signaling how serious they are about blocking this.”
Speaking of Walker …
The New York Times’ Frank Bruni wrote about Walker in “Why Herschel Walker May Win.”
Bruni wrote that, despite a few blunders, Walker’s performance in Friday’s debate against Sen. Raphael Warnock might have done him “significant good,” especially by comparing Warnock to President Joe Biden and then emphasizing Biden being unpopular among many Georgians.
Bruni wrote, “I think Walker has a lot of nerve. I think he has no business in the Senate. I think he’s unfit for political office, period. But he did a surprisingly effective job of showing that while he has enormous shortcomings, he won’t necessarily come up short in a Republican-friendly year in a Republican-friendly state.”
Bruni added, “Walker’s task on Friday night wasn’t to make voters excited about him. It was to make them less apprehensive. It was to affirm or reaffirm for them that, whatever his lack of charisma and no matter his deficit of coherence, he’s a reliable vessel for their concerns and a viable expression of their qualms.”
One more Walker note
Walker was interviewed by NBC News’ Kristen Welker in an interview that will air, in part, on this morning’s “Today” show.
Welker asked Walker about the police badge Walker pulled out during his debate last week with Warnock. Walker pulled it out after Warnock said during the debate, “One thing I have not done — I’ve never pretended to be a police officer, and I’ve never threatened a shootout with police.”
A campaign spokesperson for Walker told The New York Times’ Maya King and Neil Vigdor that the badge was given to him in recognition of community service work he had done with the Cobb County sheriff’s department.
The following quote is from the transcript sent out by NBC News:
Walker told Welker, “This is from Johnson County from the sheriff from Johnson County, which is a legit badge. Everyone can make fun, but this badge gives me the right — … If anything happened in this county, I have the right to work with the police getting things done. People that don’t know that — I’ve been working with law enforcement for years. I do training program but they get to get credit for it. I do a program, a leadership program. I do health and wellness programs. I visit prisons so, everyone will make fun, but I’ve been — have my men and women in black — men and women in blue backs since I’ve been doing this.”
Welker asked him if it was an honorary badge, to which Walker said, “It is an honorary badge, but they can call me whenever they want me and I have the authority to do things for them to work with them all day.”
A special episode
Legendary journalist Ted Koppel hosted a special episode of “CBS Sunday Morning” that explored how America has drifted apart, and how we can still come together. (Here’s the full episode.) Specially, you can see segments on talk radio and “How online behavior turns people from Jekylls into Hydes.”
- The Washington Post’s Drew Harwell with “Co-founder of Trump’s media company details Truth Social’s bitter infighting.”
- The Wall Street Journal’s Cara Lombardo, Dana Cimilluca and Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg with “Rupert Murdoch Explores Reuniting His Media Empire by Recombining Fox and News Corp.”
- In a guest essay for The New York Times, David M. Perry with “Why That John Fetterman Interview Caused a Furor.”
- Fetterman talks to Rolling Stone’s Kara Voght in “Fetterman Calls Controversy Over NBC Interview ‘Surreal,’ ‘Bizarre’”
- Mediaite’s Sarah Rumpf quotes an unnamed source “close to CNN leadership” who says that rumors the network is going to fire reporter Jim Acosta are “absolutely bull (expletive).” The source added that new CNN boss Chris Licht himself said Acosta is safe.
- Writing for The Hill, Joe Ferullo with “Crickets: Jan. 6 Committee about to learn how Trump journalists feel.”
- My Poynter colleague Barbara Allen with “Why Hurricane Ian brought the college journalism classroom to mind.”
- Both New York NFL teams won on Sunday and are now a combined (and surprising) 9-3. The NFL and TV networks must love that, right? The Athletic’s sports media columnist Richard Deitsch with “Do good New York teams boost NFL ratings? Here’s why it’s not that simple.”
- NFL great Rob Gronkowski is returning to the NFL. No, not as a player. Not yet, anyway. He has joined Fox Sports as an analyst on “Fox NFL Sunday” and “Fox NFL Kickoff.” He made the announcement Saturday night on Twitter. And here is some of Gronk on the air Sunday.
The Atlantic’s Rachael Bade and Karoun Demirjian with “What Republicans Really Thought on January 6.”
The Washington Post’s Robert Barnes and Ann E. Marimow with “New Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson makes herself heard.”
And The New York Times’ Ian Prasad Philbrick talks to Times’ Supreme Court reporter Adam Liptak: “Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Debut.”
Have feedback or a tip? Email Poynter senior media writer Tom Jones at email@example.com.
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