Wednesday morning, Virginia State Assembly member Barbara Comstock, an adviser to former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA)’s presidential campaign appeared on CNN’s “Starting Point.” When the interview got heated, the former lobbyist and Republican strategist accused anchor Soledad O’Brien of using political “spin” and anti-Romney “talking points” as her interview technique.
The interview kicked off to a contentious start after O’Brien asked Comstock how she felt Wednesday night’s scheduled debate would go for Romney. While some Romney advisers and surrogates have been playing a game of diminished expectations with regards to the debate, Comstock chose to go on the attack.
“Well, listen,” she said, “I think the press will probably — no matter what happens, they can already write their stories, many of the mainstream press.”
When O’Brien asked what she meant, Comstock said, “They’ve been cheerleading for Barack Obama for weeks now and I think they’ll continue, but I’m not concerned about that.”
She went on to say that the debates will provide an “opportunity for Mitt Romney to speak directly to the American people without that filter.” His plan, she said, will be so persuasive as to put the candidate’s poll numbers back on track and enable him to defeat President Barack Obama.
Comstock said that Romney policies like supporting the Keystone Pipeline and a 20 percent tax cut for everyone in America are the key to jump-starting the slowly recovering U.S. economy.
O’Brien countered that economists and “people who have crunched the numbers” say that the Romney/Ryan plan’s math “does not work out.”
“No, Soledad, that’s incorrect,” said Comstock, arguing that an un-named “left-wing group that has Obama people in it” came to that conclusion. She said that the right wing think tank the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) claims that Barack Obama’s plan will actually hurt the middle class and raise taxes.
O’Brien responded that “numerous” groups have actually reached that conclusion and that even in the friendly waters of Fox News, vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan is ducking the question by saying he “doesn’t have time” to do the math. Comstock said that regardless of that, the president’s stimulus program gave us higher unemployment, “Obamacare” has raised health insurance premiums and that “tax increases” on the wealthy will “kill 700,000 jobs.”
“You’re throwing out a lot of numbers right now, and a lot of people would completely disagree with you,” O’Brien said.
“Soledad, I know your your talking points,” said Comstock, “but the 700,000 comes from an independent study.”
“I don’t have talking points, I have questions,” O’Brien responded, “and I believe that you have talking points and that people on both sides of the aisle have their talking points and it’s my job to navigate through them.”
Comstock brought up recent remarks by Vice President Joe Biden, saying, “The middle class has been buried for the past four years,” she said. “They know that experience. So it doesn’t matter how you want to spin it. The past four years we’re not better off.”
O’Brien, visibly frustrated, said, that there was “only one person who is spinning at this moment, and that would be you. But I appreciate you joining us.”
In the wake of the president’s stimulus program, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate reached a high of 10 percent in October of 2009 and is now at 8.3 percent, down from 8.9 percent one year ago.
According to a report by the nonprofit, nonpartisan consumer health care advocacy group Families USA, insurance premiums would actually spike under Romney’s health care plan. If the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare” were to be repealed, “those who buy their own insurance would pay $10,044 – 67 percent more – under Romney’s plan in 2016 compared to $6,006 under ‘Obamacare.’”
The so-called “independent study” was done by economists at the accounting firm Ernst and Young, one of the firms sued by New York Attorney General Anthony Cuomo for fraud relating to the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
Watch the clip, embedded via CNN, below: