As often happens during a “remote” interview like this one communications between the interviewers and the interviewee were not great. (Gregg was at the Capitol and MSNBC correspondents Contessa Brewer and Melissa Francis were in their NY studio.)
Gregg had just made a rambling statement and Francis tried to get him to be more specific saying “That’s a good theory, Senator…” Before she could complete the sentence — asking him to cite examples of what he meant — Gregg got gruff.
Francis: tell me how to put it to work …
Gregg: No you don’t tell me it’s theory. What are you… How do you get off saying something like that?
A short while later, Francis’s colleague Brewer got on the wrong side of the Senator by saying:
Contessa Brewer: So my partner Melissa, Senator Greg, is really asking for specifics. If you don’t believe that we should have a 1.3 trillion dollar budget, which programs are you willing to cut. Are you willing to tell schools, no money for you?
Gregg was predisposed to be offended — and he was.
Gregg: Well first off, nobody is saying no money for schools. What an absurd statement to make. What a dishonest statement to make. On its face you are being fundamentally dishonest when you make that type of statement.
And a short while later:
Gregg: The problem is that this administration’s view of governance is that economic prosperity is created by growing the government dramatically and then it gets misrepresented by people like yourself who are saying that if you do any of this stuff you are going to end up not funding education. That statement alone is the most irresponsible statement I’ve heard probably in a month.
Brewer: it wasn’t a statement, it was a question…
Gregg: And there are a lot of irresponsible statements made by reporters and that was the most irresponsible I’ve heard.
Francis: Senator, with respect, that’s not what she said, she was asking you what you would like to cut ..
Gregg: That’s exactly what she said! Go back and read your transcript.
Brewer: thank you for your time, Senator …
Gregg: You can’t be duplicitous about this! You can’t make a representation and then claim you didn’t make it. You’ve got to have some integrity on your side of this camera too.
Francis: She asked you what you would like to cut, she asked you if you would cut schools. You said no.
Gregg: You’re suggesting we should have a zero in education. Well of course, nobody’s suggesting that. Nobody’s even implying that. But in your introduction to me you said that. That education funding would be cut. Well, education funding isn’t going to be cut.
Brewer: Well Senator, I’m sorry for any communication problems that we’ve had, but as always, we appreciate your time …
The video is below h/t Crooksandliars.com
Even if your interviewer IS saying irresponsible things — the best tactic is to try to be the reasonable one in the conversation. Having a hair-trigger like Gregg is never a good idea. Especially when you are missing the context of the question.
Neither side was without fault. Brewer DID say “no money for schools.” Presumably what she meant to say was “no additional money” – but by jumping all over he,r Gregg made himself look like an unreasonable bully.
Back to interview school for you, Senator.