For Sunday talk shows, thriving in the D.C. ratings — although clearly trumped in size by New York — provides bragging rights over which show reaches more political insiders.
But more importantly, since the Sunday shows’ objective is not only to reflect on the past week’s events but to get political leaders to break news and move the conversation forward in the newspapers and the blogosphere on Monday morning, it’s essential for both leading Republicans and leading Democrats to reach members of D.C.’s chattering class.
“I think the Democrats are damn fools [for] not coming on Fox News,” Wallace said. “And my guess is that once you get a nominee, they probably will come on, because they know that we get a lot of voters they are going to need if they are going to win the election.”
So far, Wallace has interviewed Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Joe Biden and Chris Dodd and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson; both Sen. Barack Obama and former North Carolina Sen. Edwards have declined.
The Edwards campaign confirmed that the candidate declined but did not elaborate further. The Obama campaign did not respond to requests seeking comment.
Aside from his hourlong Sunday show, the Democratic candidates will not participate in any Fox News-sponsored debates, leaving Wallace to moderate three Republican contests over the course of 2007.
“Just imagine if the Republicans, under pressure from right-to-life groups, refused to appear on CNN or MSNBC,” Wallace said.
“I think there would be holy unshirted hell. I think there would be such talk about these people being captives of the extreme right wing and why are they afraid to answer questions. And I think the absence of that is very telling.
“At this point, it has become kind of a loyalty test inside the Democratic Party, … pandering to the far-left-wing,” Wallace added. “And we live with it.”