"Romney Condones Right-Wing Biden Interviewer: ‘They Were Legitimate Issues To Probe’"
On Friday, Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) sat for an interview with Barbara West of WFTV Orlando, FL. West loaded her interview questions with right-wing smears, claiming that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) wanted to “turn America into a Socialist country like Sweden.” The interview was so unprofessional that Biden wondered if it was a “joke,” although West responded that she was just “probing and maybe tough.”
Today on Fox and Friends, top McCain surrogate Mitt Romney strongly defended West:
I must admit I thought they were, you know, tough questions, but certainly nothing out of bounds. I was surprised that the — that the campaign reacted so tenderly to that and was so upset by it. You know, get used to tough questions; that’s the was the nature of a political campaign. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. I really was surprised at their reaction. And I thought they were legitimate issues to pose.
Journalists disagree with Romney; the questions were “out of bounds.” Mike Thomas of the Orlando Sentinel said it was “the most embarrassing interview I’ve ever seen on local television.” Politico’s Ben Smith called it “hostile.” The Chicago Tribune’s Frank James labeled the interview “a joke,” “embarrassing,” and “painful.”
Additionally, the McCain campaign has repeatedly criticized the “heat” of reporters’ questions. Complaining about the tough treatment of Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK), in fact, has been one of the campaign’s most common refrains. After CNN’s Campbell Brown asked spokesman Tucker Bounds about Palin’s foreign policy experience, the McCain campaign canceled an interview with Larry King scheduled for the next day. The campaign also demanded that reporters show Palin “deference” before they were allowed to speak with her.
More recently, the campaign has started locking reporters into designated areas and using the Secret Service to prevent them from talking to event attendees so that they don’t write “negative things.”
DOOCY: Now, Governor, when you’re sitting there at that remote location in Ohio, as people far away via satellite ask you questions, do you find of feel like Joe Biden did a couple of days ago where he was sitting for an Interview with an Orlando reporter by the name of Barbara West? She started asking him questions about, you know, This spread the wealth thing; isn’t that Marxist? Asked about ACORN, all sorts of stuff. At the end the interview — the Biden and Obama campaign was so unfair they canceled a future interview.
What did you make of that one-on-one with Biden and Barbara?
ROMNEY: You know, I read the transcript of the interview, and I must admit I thought they were, you know, tough questions, but certainly nothing out of bounds. I was surprised that the — that the campaign reacted so tenderly to that and was so upset by it. You know, get used to tough questions; that’s the was the nature of a political campaign. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. I really was surprised at their reaction. And I thought they were legitimate issues to pose.
Today in a Washington Post chat, media reporter Howard Kurtz called West “blatantly biased.”