Bill Kristol Ribs Chris Wallace for Asking Michele Bachmann if She's a Flake

Fox News's Chris Wallace on Sunday actually asked Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann if she's a flake.

Possibly feeling the question was a bit over the top, the Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol during the panel discussion segment of "Fox News Sunday" ribbed the host saying, "You can call me a flake if you want" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: Finally, let's talk about Michele Bachmann because -- and you say -- it's interesting. You say that the people saw in the debate and saw you as a serious person. I don't have to tell you that you have -- the rap on you here in Washington is that you have a history of questionable statements, some would say gaffes, ranging from -- talking about anti-America members of Congress -- on this show -- a couple of months ago, when you suggested that NATO airstrikes had killed up to 30,000 civilians.

Are you a flake?

CONGRESSWOMAN MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MINNESOTA): Well, I think that would be insulting, to say something like that, because I'm a serious person.

WALLACE: But you understand when I say that, that that's what the rap on you is? [...]

BILL KRISTOL, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: I don't know. And I have just personally been radicalized on this in the last couple of months. And maybe you can call me a flake if you want.


WALLACE: I simply asked the question.

KRISTOL: No, that's OK.

WALLACE: It's a perfectly sensible answer.

KRISTOL: She gave a good answer. I'll associate myself with her, on this issue at least, as a flake, because I don't really know why the Republicans should negotiate.

Yes, she did give a perfectly sensible answer, but was it a perfectly sensible question? Would Wallace ask a male political figure that?

Vice President Joe Biden has made his share of gaffes during his career. Would it be acceptable to ask if he's a flake?

As NewsBusters has been reporting almost since the moment former Alaska governor Sarah Palin was announced as John McCain's running mate in August 2008, there has been a rash of sexist attacks by the press on conservative women the past three years.

As a huge fan of Wallace's, I would never accuse him of acting like his liberal colleagues, but have to wonder what got into his head Sunday to ask such a question.

Was he consciously or sub-consciously feeling the need to be extra hard on his guest after last Sunday's showdown with comedian Jon Stewart?

Rather shockingly, Bachmann got more of a grilling on Fox Sunday than she did on CBS's "Face the Nation." Seems a metaphysical certitude she didn't envision that happening when she woke up this morning.

On the other hand, Wallace is by far one of the best interviewers on television, and has a reputation for being as tough on Republicans as he is on Democrats.

With this in mind, maybe I'm being hyper-sensitive given all the conservative woman bashing the past three years.

Regardless, it will be fascinating to see the media response to this exchange in the coming days.

If the usual liberal suspects call Wallace out for this, it will be the height of hypocrisy given their own behavior regarding Bachmann, Palin, et al.

If they don't, it might likely be because they recognize how hypocritical it would be, and they're better off letting the matter rest.

Either way, it'll be very telling. Stay tuned.

*****Update: Well, that was fast. Being one of the classiest people on television, Wallace has already issued an apology (h/t Hot Air via NBer bkeyser):

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