A panel on Fox News’ “Outnumbered” agreed Thursday that Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) heated interviews with female journalists present bad optics for his presidential campaign, regardless of whether the senator bristles at male reporters as well.
Paul said Wednesday afternoon that he had no problem with female journalists after he was heavily criticized for talking over NBC’s Savannah Guthrie and instructing her on how to ask questions.
“I think I’ve been universally short tempered and testy with both male and female reporters. I’ll own up to that,” Paul told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, adding that it was difficult to do long-distance interviews where he couldn’t see his interlocutor.
But on Thursday, “Outnumbered” co-host Kirsten Powers said she didn’t think Paul “came off very well” in the interview with Guthrie. She said, however, that she didn’t believe the senator bristled at Guthrie’s line of questioning because she was a woman.
But co-host Andrea Tantaros pointed out that it would be hard for Paul to shake that perception, given another high-profile interview in which the senator shushed a female CNBC anchor.
“I said it’s gonna come back and haunt him,” Tantaros said. “One time, two times, now they can start to paint a pattern and it just happened to be two female reporters. Now, he says he’s had testy exchanges with men. You can’t do that. You have to learn from the Reagan model. You have to work on your temperament.”
She added that Hillary Clinton, who is expected to announce her own presidential campaign in the coming weeks, could easily seize on Paul’s attitude toward female interviewers as a line of attack.
“I have to admit listening to him shush a woman and telling her to calm down, it’s the worst thing you can say to a woman,” Tantaros said. “They will replay that and put this side by side with his finger up to his mouth and it will be problematic.”