You might have seen stories that MItt Romney’s campaign only allowed interviews with the candidate Thursday if reporters first agreed no questions about abortion or Missouri Congressman Todd Akin. A Denver reporter even mentioned the restriction as she introduced her report today. Barack Obama’s campaign had fun with that after the story became public.
Talking Points Memo called me and asked if I had those same stipulations. For the record, I did not. Now, let’s be honest about this, the Romney people don’t want their guy to keep answering questions about the Akin “situation”. Romney has already said, along with almost every other prominent Republican, besides Mike Huckabee, that Akin should get out of the U.S. senate race for his baffling comments about “legitimate” rapes and for some even more baffling claims that a woman getting raped can physically prevent herself from getting pregnant during her attack. Those who I’ve heard vocally support Akin seem to focus on attacking the liberal media, establishment Republicans, etc., instead of focusing on how a man running for the United States senate could make such a remarkably inaccurate claim, not to mention the furor he caused when talking about “legitimate” rapes. The voters of Missouri can sort all of that out.
That aside, the Romney people with whom I spoke before the interview never told me not to ask about the topic. They did ask some topics about which I might ask, similar to what other campaigns do. But I don’t feel obligated to stick to those topics, as new issues always pop up between the time you talk to the campaign and the time you do the interview. And we are talking about the presidency here. Candidates should be already well-versed on all the important stuff.
What may or may not have happened with other reporters in the round of satellite interviews, I don’t know. All I knew is that I had 5 minutes to try to get as many questions answered for voters as I could. And 5 minutes goes awfully fast. I chose not to ask about abortion or Akin. To be honest, I didn’t know what else new there was to talk about. Romney said he wanted Akin out. But Akin doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. I didn’t want to use up my limited time to re-hash Sunday’s news. I’m sure some may disagree. And if so, I’d love to hear your reasons why. But I think this story has been talked about enough. I figured far more people wanted to hear about plans for the future.
Now, if we could just get these campaigns to give us more than 5 minutes!