It was a classic Fox fail on Fox News Sunday as Chris Wallace tried everything he could think of to get Mitt Romney to criticize MSNBC, but the Republican nominee ruined the whole segment by refusing to play the victim.
WALLACE: Finally, sir, you send out a wonderful Christmas card each year — and we’ve just put it up on the screen — with your beautiful family. I’m fortunate enough to get the Christmas card, to be on your list. This year, you had a new member on your lap, your grandson Kieran, an African-American baby adopted by your son Ben.
For some reason, MSNBC decided to make him a target for ridicule. I know it’s distasteful, sir, but here’s a clip of what went on.
WALLACE: Governor, this must be hurtful, and I know you are a classy guy and you don’t want to get into it, but I’ve got to ask you, honestly, from the heart, how did you — and, quite frankly, how did Mrs. Romney feel when you heard that your little baby grandson, Kieran, was the target for political ridicule?
ROMNEY: Well, first, let me just note, Chris, that we love this little guy a great deal. He was an answer to a prayer and we love that he’s part of our family. He is a part of our family.
That being said, I recognize that people make mistakes. And the folks at MSNBC made a big mistake. And they’ve apologized for it. And that’s all can you ask for.I’m going to move on from that. I’m sure they want to move on from it. Look, I’ve made plenty of mistakes myself. And they’ve apologized for this. And, you know, I think we can go on from there.
WALLACE: Well, let me just ask — and if I can press just a little bit on this, sir, you tend to speak from the head. I know Mrs. Romney tends to speak from the heart. I suspect she took this somewhat more personally. And, you know, the idea that political discourse would include going after a little baby.
ROMNEY: Well, you know, I think people recognize, and the folks at MSNBC who have apologized recognize that people like me are fair targets. If you get in the political game, you can expect incoming.
But children, that’s a — you know, that’s beyond the line. And I think they understand that and feel that, as well. I think it’s a heartfelt apology. And I think for that reason, we hold no ill will whatsoever.
WALLACE: On the other hand, I have to point out, during the segment, she had a good laugh and said maybe Kieran would marry Kim Kardashian’s daughter and then you and Kanye West would be in-laws.
Your reactions to her comments then and her apology yesterday, sir?
ROMNEY: You know, I think her apology was clearly heartfelt. And we accept that. And with regards to the rest of the comments, I hadn’t heard those and don’t really have any comment on those.
WALLACE: Governor Romney, we’re going to leave it there. We want to thank you so much for joining us in the new year. It’s always a pleasure to talk with you, sir.
Chris Wallace tried multiple times to get Mitt Romney to say something bad about Melissa Harris-Perry and MSNBC, but he wouldn’t bite. Romney was never known for his public displays of emotion, but it was clear that he wasn’t going to give Fox News ammo to use against MSNBC. Wallace tried everything to get through Romney’s brick wall. He even asked about Ann Romney’s feelings about the comments, but it went nowhere.
The whole point of having Romney on Fox News Sunday was for Fox to keep the Melissa Harris-Perry story going. Fox News Sunday claimed that they had Mitt on to talk about Obamacare and the upcoming Olympics, but who really cares about what Romney has to say about any current issue? He isn’t in politics anymore.
The only reason that Romney was booked on the show to help fuel the conservative outrage over things that they claim Harris-Perry said that she didn’t say. This final segment was what Wallace kept viewers waiting for, but Romney wasn’t going to play along.
In the end this interview illustrated why Republicans never really liked Romney. Unlike Sarah Palin, Romney is never fully able to be one of them. His blueblood upbringing doesn’t allow him to wallow in the mud that self-pitying Republicans happily reside in.
It was 2012 all over again as Romney was unable to connect and deliver what Fox News and their viewers wanted. Instead of giving Fox News more red meat, Romney buttoned up and shut down. Fox News must have been sorely disappointed, as instead of rage against the liberal scum at MSNBC that they could have talked about for days, Mitt Romney singlehandedly killed the story.
Fox News Sunday had the wrong Romney on. If they wanted someone to whine and play the victim, Ann Romney would have been the perfect choice. Robot Mitt was never going to give Fox what they wanted, which ironically is the story of both of his runs for the White House.
Put it all together, and it adds up to a classic Fox fail.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA.Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association