Former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu is no stranger to the media and how certain issues with little or no merit become top of the day news. In this case, Sununu appeared as a guest on CNN likely knowing full well there would be a barrage of questions about Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney and any connection he has with Donald Trump over the “birther issue”. The story is not about the issues in the campaign and Sununu wanted to focus on those. CNN did not. As a senior member of government, Sununu can get away with this confrontation and actually did a very good job save for the occasional slip. He wanted to stay on a serious point about the campaign and the economy. Soledad O’Brien had other things in mind. Sununu raised his voice a tad more than we would advise, but he got his message across and made O’Brien look bad. This is NOT the exact manner in which we instruct our partners in how to defuse a situation such as this, rather to tailor each response to the audience and the questioner. In other words, don’t try this at home until we talk about the alternatives.
John Sununu Spars With Soledad O’Brien Over Trump: ‘Why Is CNN So Fixated On This?’
Following a contentious opening segment on CNN’s Starting Point on Wednesday, former New Hampshire Governor and Romney surrogate John Sununu clashed with Soledad O’Brien over CNN’s Donald Trump coverage.
“Why the birther thing?” O’Brien questioned Sununu. “I don’t know,” Sununu shot back. “Why is CNN so fixated on this? Why don’t we talk about the jobs issue in this country?”
“Sure and we’ll get to that in a moment but let’s start with this,” O’Brien pressed.
“It’s CNN that wants to bring it up. I don’t want to bring it up. Mitt Romney made it clear that he believes that President Obama was born in the U.S. You had Donald Trump on last night. And now you are asking the question this morning. It’s CNN’s fixation,” Sununu responded sharply.
“You don’t think it’s a valid question of someone posing as a supporter/surrogate?” O’Brien countered. “He’s a high level big funder. He’s talking about millions of dollars he’s thinking of donating. You don’t think it’s a big deal that person talks about the fact that the President of the United States is not a citizen of the country?”
“I think it’s equivalent an issue as Bill Maher, who gave a million dollars to President Obama talking with such a foul mouth about women,” Sununu explained. “But you can’t pick your supporters in this country. The fact is that this country has a jobs problem and supporters of the President like CNN keep wanting to talk about other issues.”
O’Brien doggedly stuck to peppering Governor Sununu with questions relating to birtherism.
“Come on, let’s talk jobs,” Sununu said.
“Is that because you don’t want to talk about the fact that a major fund-raiser is a birther?” O’Brien asked.
“It’s not an issue,” Sununu argued. “There is nobody in the Romney campaign that believes that the president was not born in the United States.”
“So then how come someone doesn’t say, Donald Trump is wrong?” O’Brien pressed.
“Donald Trump is wrong,” Sununu acknowledged. “The President was born in the United States.”
“That may be the first time,” O’Brien grinned.
“No it isn’t, ma’am,” Sununu snapped. “It’s just because you don’t read enough.”