Would the Democrats have been better off if Fox News had run their debate? The candidates are boycotting Fox as a way to please their far-left base, but Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace on this morning’s Fox & Friends criticized how CNN’s Wolf Blitzer repeatedly interrupted exchanges among the candidates last night (“It reminded me of Joe Pesci in Lethal Weapon 2.”) and forced candidates like Joe Biden and Dennis Kucinich to beg for airtime.
“Fox, I have to say, I think we’re smarter,” argued Wallace, who has moderated a couple of GOP debates this year and would presumably play a role in a Democratic debate on FNC if the candidates dropped their boycott. “We let the guy talk for a minute. At the end of the minute, the bell rings, and that’s it. You’ve got a minute, and you can do with it what you want. But instead we have Wolf Blitzer every 30 seconds going, ‘Okay, okay, okay.’ It reminded me of Joe Pesci in Lethal Weapon 2.”
Wallace said he turned off the debate after just an hour: “I watched about the first hour of it, and then I thought I was getting stupider so I turned it off....But that’s more a commentary on CNN than it is on the Democrats.”
Here’s the full transcript of the 8:30am ET exchange, which included a lot of kidding around on the part of the regular Fox & Friends hosts, Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade and Gretchen Carlson:
STEVE DOOCY: What’d you think about the big debate last night, everybody taking shots at the frontrunner?
CHRIS WALLACE: Yeah, I watched about the first hour of it, and then I thought I was getting stupider so I turned it off. [everybody laughs] I should say “even stupider.” But that’s more a commentary on CNN than it is on the Democrats. I thought that Clinton came with a couple of good lines to take them on, the one about the mudslinging and the Republican playbook -- and that’s a pretty good blow in a Democratic debate. I also thought -- I don’t know if it was Clinton’s supporters or just the crowd, but when Edwards started attacking and they started booing him, I winced-
GRETCHEN CARLSON: I thought that was huge, Chris. I thought that was huge.
WALLACE: I agree, and, you know, it just shuts you down. I don’t know how you can continue the attack. And then Obama later on tried to do it, and they booed him as well. It just doesn’t -- you know, again, sitting at home you don’t know who’s doing it, but to think that a Democrat is being booed by a Democratic audience at a Democratic debate is not a path to victory.
BRIAN KILMEADE: Chris, when I work live events I’m used to the booing, so if you ever have to deal with a hostile crowd, I’ll work with you on that. [Steve Doocy starts booing]. See, it didn’t faze me. I’m going to plow straight ahead. Doesn’t work. I’m unfazed. Chris, when I watched this -- what is the reluctance to let one candidate engage another candidate? It seemed like someone -- there was a buzzer going off every time things got real.
WALLACE: Well, you know, I have to say, that was one of the things I didn’t like about the way CNN did the debate. You know, Fox, I have to say, I think we’re smarter. We let the guy talk for a minute. At the end of the minute, the bell rings, and that’s it. You’ve got a minute, and you can do with it what you want. But instead we have Wolf Blitzer every 30 seconds going, “Okay, okay, okay.” It reminded me of Joe Pesci in Lethal Weapon 2.
KILMEADE: And one time, Dennis Kucinich actually yelled out, “What about me? Hey, what about me? Ask me a question.” It was the saddest thing I’ve ever seen, since Old Yeller died.
WALLACE: And also Joe Biden at one point, he’s trying to make his point, and he keeps getting interrupted by Wolf Blitzer, and he says, “Well, I know you don’t really want to get an answer from me.” Just let the person talk, give them a minute, ring the bell at the end of the minute, there’s no partisanship. [a buzzer sounds] Okay, I’m done.