Andrea Mitchell to Stacey Abrams: Why Aren’t You A ‘Darling of the Media’?

In a softball interview with failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams on Wednesday, MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell laughably fretted that the potential 2020 presidential contender wasn’t a “darling of the media” like Beto O’Rourke and the other Democratic “white men” who had already announced.

After asking Abrams about rumors of former Vice President Joe Biden considering announcing her as his running mate once he formally enters the presidential race, Mitchell followed up: “How do you feel about some of the white men who are running being asked about a running mate and saying that they would guarantee putting a woman on the ticket?...What about the roles of gender and race and diversity as Democrats struggle over who to nominate?”

 

 

Abrams praised her party for its obsession with identity politics, prompting Mitchell to wonder:

You know, you and Andrew Gillum came way closer to winning your races than Beto O’Rourke did. How do you feel about all the publicity, the campaign that Beto O’Rourke has gained by the listening tour, you know, cooking at home, going to the dentist, his online presence, his fundraising? Why Beto O’Rourke and not Andrew Gillum and not Stacey Abrams as, you know, the darling of the media?

It’s patently absurd for Mitchell to claim that Abrams has not been a “media darling.” For months leading up to the 2018 election, the liberal press was infatuated with the Georgia Democrat. Just hours earlier on Wednesday, the hosts of CBS This Morning were fawning over Abrams and urging her to run for president.

Only one week prior, Mitchell asked a similar question of former Maryland Congressman and 2020 presidential candidate John Delaney, pressing him on how he would overcome O’Rourke’s “celebrity factor” and the media following him “like a magnet.”   

At the top of Wednesday’s friendly exchange with Abrams, Mitchell actually managed to avoid saying that the Democrat had lost her bid for Georgia governor in 2018, instead proclaiming: “When Stacey Abrams, the former Democratic nominee for Georgia governor, delivered a powerful response to President Trump’s State of the Union address, it sparked widespread praise from Democrats who hoped she would play a more prominent role in the party after her historic campaign catapulting her into the national spotlight.”

“Rumors, a lot of talk about her political future, have been swirling ever since,” the host added, before lamenting that the race was “tainted by allegations of voter suppression.”

Welcoming Abrams on the program, Mitchell gushed: “Given your long record in Georgia, your national fame, there’s a lot of talk about what’s happening next.” The anchor excitedly touted one of her political prospects:

We know there are meetings, at least one that we know of with Chuck Schumer. A lot of interest, from the party’s perspective, in having you run against David Perdue for the Georgia Senate race, given how close the Senate might be divided and what the opportunities are. Are you considering that or is that something you’ve already ruled out?

After Abrams acknowledged that she was “absolutely considering it,” Mitchell already worried about the contest being unfair: “With Governor Kemp now – now the governor, having been the Georgia secretary of state and all the suppression issues, how could you be sure that there would be a fair vote in your state?”

The promotional segment winded down with Mitchell teeing up Abrams to denounce Republicans over their opposition to ObamaCare and abortion.

On abortion, the host feared new legislation in the state: “I wanted to ask you also about the Georgia heartbeat bill, this abortion fight, which is – passed by the Georgia senate last week. It is banning almost all abortions after a fetal heartbeat and it would be one of the toughest, if not the toughest, in the country.” In reply, Abrams ranted: “It’s a terrible bill. It’s a forced pregnancy bill. One of the issues is that it criminalizes women.”

Mitchell then claimed that a Trump administration policy preventing taxpayer dollars from going to international organizations that provide abortions would “basically eradicate what other countries and other non-government organizations do to help women’s health,” including treatment for “malaria, tuberculosis, Zika virus.” That prompted Abrams to condemn the pro-life policy as “cruel” and “mean-spirited.”

Concluding their easy chat, Mitchell gleefully remarked: “Stacey Abrams, it’s great to have you. I hope this is the first of many conversations.”

Given Mitchell’s hero worship, I’m sure Abrams hopes so too.

Here is a transcript of Mitchell’s questions to Abrams in the March 27 interview:

12:47 PM ET

(...)

ANDREA MITCHELL: When Stacey Abrams, the former Democratic nominee for Georgia governor, delivered a powerful response to President Trump’s State of the Union address, it sparked widespread praise from Democrats who hoped she would play a more prominent role in the party after her historic campaign catapulting her into the national spotlight. Rumors, a lot of talk about her political future, have been swirling ever since. This week, Abrams announced a new initiative that ensures every vote will count, designed specifically to organize residents in her state ahead of the 2020 census, a response triggered by Georgia’s governor’s race, which was tainted by allegations of voter suppression.

Stacey Abrams joins me now, she’s out with the paperback edition of a new book, Lead From the Outside: How to Build Your Future and Make Real Change. Stacey Abrams, it’s great to see you, thanks so much for being with us.

STACEY ABRAMS: Thanks for having me.

MITCHELL: Given your long record in Georgia, your national fame, there’s a lot of talk about what’s happening next. We know there are meetings, at least one that we know of with Chuck Schumer. A lot of interest, from the party’s perspective, in having you run against David Perdue for the Georgia Senate race, given how close the Senate might be divided and what the opportunities are. Are you considering that or is that something you’ve already ruled out?

ABRAMS: No, I’m absolutely considering it. I had an opportunity to meet with Leader Schumer last week. And I’m continuing to have conversations, but also to think through the best role that I can play in moving our country forward.

MITCHELL: With Governor Kemp now – now the governor, having been the Georgia secretary of state and all the suppression issues, how could you be sure that there would be a fair vote in your state?

(...)

MITCHELL: Now, you also have talked to Joe Biden and there’s a lot of talk to Joe Biden was thinking about announcing you as his running mate when he announces his campaign for the presidency, as we expect. You’ve been asked about that. What’s your response, at this point, as to whether you would even consider that kind of a ticket, running with someone like Biden?

ABRAMS: As I’ve said, I don’t think you run in a primary for second place. If I join the presidential primary, it will be because I intend to become the nominee for President of the United States, and I haven’t decided if that’s what I intend to do. But I’m certainly open to the conversations because it signals that people are interested in the role that I can play, and I’m – it’s not flattery, but it is deeply moving to me that people are excited about what I can offer. My responsibility is to make sure that whatever I run for, it’s the right job, I’m the right person, and I’m doing it because that’s the role that I should play in this moment in our history.     

MITCHELL: How do you feel about some of the white men who are running being asked about a running mate and saying that they would guarantee putting a woman on the ticket? There’s been a lot of confusion, also, as to what former Governor Hickenlooper meant when he said, “Why aren’t they asking the women weather you’d put a man on the ticket?” And he says he just meant as the running mate. But what about the roles of gender and race and diversity as Democrats struggle over who to nominate?

(...)

MITCHELL: You know, you and Andrew Gillum came way closer to winning your races than Beto O’Rourke did. How do you feel about all the publicity, the campaign that Beto O’Rourke has gained by the listening tour, you know, cooking at home, going to the dentist, his online presence, his fundraising? Why Beto O’Rourke and not Andrew Gillum and not Stacey Abrams as, you know, the darling of the media?

(...)

MITCHELL: What kind of timeline do you have? Are you behind on the money front given what Beto and Bernie Sanders and some of the others have been able to do? Kamala Harris. A lot of people have gotten a head start already.

(...)

MITCHELL: Does it seem to you that health care, as it was in 2018, but now more than ever with the Attorney General, perhaps reluctantly, but now going along with his boss, the President, trying to nullify ObamaCare in the last 24 hours?

(...)

MITCHELL: I wanted to ask you also about the Georgia heartbeat bill, this abortion fight, which is – passed by the Georgia senate last week. It is banning almost all abortions after a fetal heartbeat and it would be one of the toughest, if not the toughest, in the country.

ABRAMS: It’s a terrible bill. It’s a forced pregnancy bill. One of the issues is that it criminalizes women.

(...)

MITCHELL: And there’s also a new policy from the State Department, which is going to basically eradicate what other countries and other non-government organizations do to help women’s health if they’re in any way connected with reproductive health, with abortions, it will affect malaria, tuberculosis, Zika virus. How do you deal with that as a candidate or potential candidate?

ABRAMS: As a citizen, as a human, I will call it out as cruel. It is cruel. It is mean-spirited.

(...)

MITCHELL: Stacey Abrams, it’s great to have you. I hope this is the first of many conversations. Thank you for being here. The book is called, Lead From the Outside: How to Build Your Future and Make Real Change. It’s in paperback and thank you very much.

ABRAMS: Thank you.

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