Paul Backs Out Of Meet The Press Appearance

May 21, 2010 12:45 p.m.

At the end of a rocky week, newly chosen Senate nominee Rand Paul (R-KY) has canceled a planned interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” citing exhaustion. It’s only the third cancellation from a major guest in 62 years, the show’s Executive Producer Betsy Fischer said in an interview this afternoon.

“It is a big deal when somebody cancels an appearance,” she said.

Fischer and host David Gregory have been attempting to convince Paul’s press secretary and campaign manager since the Paul camp scrapped the interview this afternoon. They first arranged the Sunday show interview on Wednesday after he won the party nomination Tuesday night. Fischer said Paul’s press secretary said he was exhausted.“They called a short time ago and said he was very sorry he is exhausted and he needs to cancel,” Fischer told me. She tweeted the news this afternoon, calling it “Friday drama.” She will be finding another guest.

Of course, Paul’s troubles started Wednesday night when he debated the Civil Rights Act with Rachel Maddow on her MSNBC show. He’s done rounds of interviews since then, and his team said that he’d done a “Good Morning America” appearance on ABC today. According to the Washington Post, campaign spokesman Jesse Benton said that interview served to “set the record straight, and now we are done talking about it,” adding, “No more national interviews on the topic.”

“He committed to come on Wednesday,” Fischer said. “We were hoping he would reconsider and keep his commitment, but he doesn’t seem to be changing his mind.”

She said the only other cancellations from major guests were Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan in 1996 and Saudi Arabia’s Prince Bandar on May 18, 2003.

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