Monthly Archives: August 2011

Will Michele Bachmann’s Robotic Answers Backfire?

In this recent clip from NBC’s Meet the Press, note how Michele Bachmann answers every one of host David Gregory‘s questions with a talking point. In fact, even where Gregory does a good job of asking a follow-up question because Bachmann avoided his original question, Bachmann comes back a second time with the same talking point. That reflects a lot of discipline on Bachmann’s part. The question is whether Bachmann’s robotic answers will backfire on her.

Even Bill Clinton Can’t Handle Wolf Blitzer’s Right Wing Talking Points

Former President Bill Clinton is considered by many to be one of the best politicians of the 20th Century. His intelligence and command of facts and figures are something to behold. But check out this recent interview regarding the debt ceiling debate, where Clinton’s skills fall short in the face of a barrage of right wing talking points in the form of questions to Clinton by CNN‘s Wolf Blitzer:

  • “President Obama at that news conference this week, he really went after Republicans on, it was almost class warfare as they like to say. Does that help or hurt this effort to resolve this crisis right now when you get into that bitter kind of rhetoric?”
  • “‘Cause the President’s accused of being anti-business.”
  • “But the argument is, you know, the top 2% of income earners in America pay, what, 30 or 40% of the federal income tax, and half of the people in America pay no income tax.”

Clinton answers that the media need to be careful about calling President Obama’s call for shared sacrifice “class warfare”, which is a good response as far as it goes. But then Clinton embarks on long, fact-based answers that are likely to cause most viewers (and, apparently, Blitzer himself) to tune out. Such lengthy recitations, while no doubt accurate, are no match for the visceral buzz words like “class warfare” and “bitter” contained in Blitzer’s questions. That’s exactly why those words are a key part of Republican talking points.