PBS's Tavis Smiley Thinks Ducking the Press Is 'Sarah-Palinesque,' Not Like Obama

May 27th, 2010 10:49 PM

NBC Meet the Press anchor David Gregory appeared on the Tavis Smiley show on PBS on Tuesday night, and Smiley was outraged at Rand Paul for canceling on Gregory: "I was waiting for you to walk on the set, assuming that there would be steam coming out your ears, but I assume you calmed down now about Rand Paul canceling on you. How often does that happen, when people cancel on "Meet the Press?"

Gregory said a review found there's only been three cancellations, the others by Louis Farrakhan and Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia. Gregory said he thought the cancellation wasn't personal, but was about Paul feeling overexposed. Smiley followed up: "But is there a lesson to learn, though, from that strategy of ducking the national press? Sounds Sarah-Palinesque, ducking the national media."

Smiley said this at a time when President Obama hadn't held a full-blown press conference in more than 300 days. How is it only "Palinesque" to avoid the press? And doesn't it make more sense for Palin to avoid the liberal media than the often-hallowed Barack Obama? Gregory added:

GREGORY: To be fair to him, he certainly hadn't ducked it. It's by not ducking it is what got him into all the trouble. I also want to say that there's an aspect to Rand Paul that I think should be celebrated. We want politicians to come out and talk about what it is they believe, and it's not as if he was caught unawares by this or that he was caught off-guard.

He has well-developed views about the role of the government. Now, a lot of people think that's misguided, particularly as it relates to the Civil Rights Act, but he was even nuanced enough to say it was a title of the Civil Rights Act that he had a problem with.

So he knew what he was speaking about. The difficulty is in politics, when you get undisciplined like that, when you become that honest, you can get scrutinized and then it becomes a distraction. So Republicans said to him, "Don't go on 'Meet the Press,' stop talking about this and get out of the national spotlight. Start talking about issues in Kentucky. That's where you've got to win an election."