David Gregory on Sunday asked what he must have thought was a loaded question concerning alleged racism in the Tea Party.
Likely much to his surprise, both his Republican and Democrat guests on "Meet the Press" said they hadn't seen any evidence of that (video follows with transcript and commentary):
DAVID GREGORY, HOST: But, you know, it's--is that point, there are a lot of folks who, supported by the tea party, in the tea party, say, `Oh, there's a mainstream movement.' But there are others who say it is anything but. As a matter of fact, the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights and the NAACP are releasing a report this coming week. And here it is, I'll show it on the screen. The "Tea Party Nationalism, a critical examination of the Tea Party movement and the size, scope and focus of its national factions." And there are some serious charges that I want you to respond to. "The result of this study contravenes many of the Tea Parties' self-invented myths, particularly their sole concentration on budget deficits, taxes, and the power of the federal government. Instead, this report found Tea Party ranks to be permeated with concerns about race and national identity and other so-called social issues. ... Tea party organization have given platforms to anti-Semites, racists and bigots, Further, hard-core white nationalists have been attracted to these protests, looking for potential recruits and hoping to push these (white) protestors toward a more self-conscious and ideological white supremacy." If you're senator, do you think these elements in the tea party need to be dealt with and need to be rebuffed?
KEN BUCK, REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE FOR COLORADO SENATOR: Absolutely. First of all, I haven't seen it. I've been to over 800 events in Colorado in, in the last 20 months. I have not seen that. And, and I find it offensive that folks would try to label the tea party in that way. It's just not true in Colorado. I don't know if it's true in other states, I haven't been to the other states. But I can tell you that if there are people that hold those views, they are quickly asked to leave meetings. I have not seen them in, in meetings.
MR. GREGORY: Senator, is this a legitimate question? Is this a mainstream movement? Because this is high stakes in your, in your campaign, in this debate.
SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D-CO): Yeah. Well, you know, David, over the last 22 months, I've had town halls in every part of our state, red and blue, and said the same thing in all those places. And what I'll tell you is this, my favorite rooms are the ones where there are Democrats, Republicans, unaffiliated voters, and tea party people, because when folks are together in a room, they actually have to listen to each other. I think one of the things that we are facing right now is that we've stopped listening to each other in our politics. So I haven't seen a lot of that either, and I have had the opportunity to engage with people who are self-described tea party people, to have a serious conversation rather than just a bunch of slogans about how we are not going to become--you know, what, what we need to do so that we're not the first generation of Americans who leave less opportunity, not more, to our kids and our grandkids.
A good attorney knows not to ask a question of a witness if he doesn't already know the answer.
The wisdom of this approach was clearly evident in this MTP segment, for Gregory never would have brought this issue up if he knew Bennet was going to completely agree with Buck.
In the end, his guests answered his obviously loaded question with blanks.
Wasn't it marvelous?