Megyn Kelly had some tough words for Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) following his feisty interviews with female reporters — and some tough words for those male reporters who have called him a sexist, as well.
The Fox News host asked the recently announced presidential candidate about the growing perception that he is too “thin-skinned” and short-tempered when he disagrees with an interviewer’s characterizations of his positions, citing recent bouts with CNBC’s Kelly Evans and NBC’s Savannah Guthrie. While he admitted he needs to do a better job of controlling himself, Paul said that the logistics of most interviews, mainly those that are remote, lend themselves to misunderstandings and tense situations, especially when he cannot see his interviewer and visual clues.
He also tried to excuse himself by blaming the abbreviated nature of cable-news appearances — “I would rather do 30 minutes with Charlie Rose, laid back in a La-Z-Boy chair” — but Kelly noted that it is the candidate’s campaign that agrees to do the spots and usually sets the amount of time they’re willing to make the candidate available. Nevertheless, Paul said candidates should display a willingness to confront reporters and correct the record if need be.
“People want someone who will stand up and not just roll over and take it,” he said, referencing Ronald Reagan’s famous “I am paying for this microphone” moment during a debate in the 1980 Republican presidential primary. “I’m not going to lay down and let Clinton talk over me.”
#related#”Although Kelly acknowledged that some in the media may ask “stupid” and “unfair” questions over the course of a presidential campaign, she also took a moment to aim her frustrations at others in her field, specifically Chuck Todd and the Guardian.
“I, as a female reporter, will say to Chuck Todd and the Guardian: We don’t need your help,” Kelly said. “You are entitled to push back on the interviewer just as much as you would if it were a man, so these male commentators can butt out. We can give as good as we get.”
“To me, it’s ironic that the people trying to step in and ‘protect’ these female interviewers are themselves being sexist while they’re suggesting you were being sexist because you didn’t kowtow and you weren’t polite enough to your female interviewers,” she added.
— Andrew Johnson is an editorial associate at National Review Online.