The Dumbest Question Anybody Was Asked Today

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 16 2012 2:29 PM

The Dumbest Question Anybody Was Asked Today

I'd hoped against hope that Phil Rucker's desperate, truncated, shouted question to Mitt Romney -- "What about your gaffes?" -- would be the lamest presidential candidate query* of the month. But, oh, Fox News White House correspondent Ed Henry. You raise the bar.

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What a strange question. "Let's just settle it, once and for all, all of this speculation -- this is the ticket, Obama/Biden?" What's "all of this speculation?" If you watch the earlier parts of the briefing, you learn that the speculation comes from Sarah Palin and John McCain, neither of whom are Democrats with particular interest or influence in the process of nominating a Democratic veep. In 2008, there was considerable (and even then, overblown) buzz about angry Democratic delegates who wanted Hillary Clinton to be the veep nominee. There is none of that now. We know because any story like that would rise with rocket speed to the top of the cable news pile. Henry was asking about "speculation" that does not exist in any meaningful form, and allowing that the speculation was kicked off because the vice president said something that no elected Democrats have taken issue with.

One of the strange paradoxes of political journalism is that the televised presser with the president's spokesman -- probably the most prominent and prestigious regular briefing there is -- lends itself to imbecilic showboating that you'd laugh out of the room in any lesser context.

*In Rucker's defense, he was one of several reporters on the Romney euro-trip who'd worked long hours at great expense to be in Poland, only to get no questions. So there was an attempt to get Romney to say something/anything.

David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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