Incivility, misstatements and the two-step again on Sunday talk shows

Posted on August 6, 2012 by


The Sunday talk shows featured misstatements and incivility once again. ABC’s “This Week” today hosted Republican National Committee chairman, Reince Priebus, and his counterpart for the Democrats, Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Priebus commented on the Senate majority leader’s statement that Mitt Romney didn’t pay taxes for ten years.  He said, “And as far as Harry Reid (D- NV) is concerned, listen, I know you might want to go down that road, I’m not going to respond to a dirty liar who hasn’t filed a single page of tax returns himself. ”

[A] dirty liar.  The phrase itself is crude. And does Priebus know what Romney has paid? The phrase is unsupported.

The GOP leader went on. “Complains about people with money but lives in the Ritz Carlton here down the street. So if that’s on the agenda, (apparently a reference to the general issue of Romney’s taxes) I’m not going to go there. This is just a made-up issue. And the fact that we’re going to spend any time talking about it is ridiculous.

Host George Stephanopoulos responded,  “You say you are not going to respond, but you just called him a dirty liar. You stand by that, you think Harry Reid is a dirty liar?”

Priebus said, “I just said it.”

More from the Republican chairman. “And it’s hard to believe that the president  in 2008, when he campaigned and said he was going to bring America together, that he would trot out Harry Reid and try to divide this country and spread this division and hatred. It’s ridiculous, it’s wrong, it’s untrue. And it’s just going to hurt the President.”

Priebus doesn’t know that Pres. Obama or anyone in the White House inspired Reid’s statement. As for the President trying to divide the country and spread division and hatred, that doesn’t sound like a good tactic for getting reelected and we call that charge erroneous.

He has been cited before for misstatements. Will this continue for the rest of the campaign?

Wasserman Schultz succeeded in her interview in avoiding the two questions Stephanopoulos asked. She was questioned about whether she could support Reid’s unsupported claim that Romney hasn’t paid any taxes for 10 years. But her answer was not to the query, and instead she repeated that the former Massachusetts governor could halt the discussion by releasing 10 years of his returns.

On whether the President can get by the flap over his comment, “You didn’t build that,” the Democratic chief tried to divert the discussion away from the question.

Stephanoupolis tried, but high-level guests, like many others, can’t seem to embrace civility and/or stick to the truth. How sad for our democracy.