Huckabee Chairman Ed Rollins on the Wisdom of the Washington Press Corps

Chris Wallace and Mike Huckabee campaign chairman Ed Rollins got into it a bit during an interview on Fox News after the announcement that Huckabee took Iowa. During the exchange Wallace had asked Rollins about a blog article that appeared on Townhall.com where Rollins was allegedly overheard bad mouthing Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani. The blog article must have hit a sore spot as Rollins became defensive in explaining his comments that appeared in the blog entry while confirming that he did indeed say some of the things that were attributed to him. (video at Webloggin)Wallace took the opportunity to follow up on that answer in an exchange where Rollins became agitated, calling Wallace and the rest of the Washington press corps "wise men", with a final swipe that "all the wisdom doesn't live in the press corps."Chris Wallace became a bit defensive himself in response. Brit Hume and crew at Fox News Studios had a good time with it, laughing that "It's always good to get an interview with a joyful victor."The short exchange involved the two talking over each other as Chris Wallace tried to get out a question that eventually led to the following statement by Rollins.

Wallace: The question I'm just asking is have, has he and has you learned anything from those and will he be a more effective campaigner down the road?Rollins: We learned that the wise men who sit like you and the others and basically said that Huckabee doesn't have a snowballs chance in heck can still go out to the public and make their case so all the wisdom doesn't live in Washington and all the wisdom doesn't live in the press corps. We're very grateful for you giving us the opportunity to go talk to the public but the public is ultimately who gets to make the decisions.

The full transcript was a bit more colorful with Rollins having a couple of tense exchanges with Wallace while discussing the Townhall.com report.

Wallace: Ed, I'm not sure if you're aware of this but you are the subject of a blog on Townhall.com tonight. Someone says they overheard you eating at a restaurant called Winstons. Let me ask you first of all, did you eat at a restaurant called Winstons?Rollins: I did and the tall beautiful blonde that they are referring to is my wife. We snuck off to have a little lunch today and obviously when you have thousands of thousands of reporters covering it, ah, there was no one else in the restaurant but one woman at another table and obviously she was the blogger. She certainly sat down and took whatever we were saying. It was a private conversation between my wife and I.Crosstalk as Wallace and Rollins talk over each otherWallace: Well let me ask you, since she was right so far let me ask you about another couple of things that you allegedly said. Rollins: She was right. I had carrot cake and (unintelligible) sandwich. Wallace: Ed it says that you talked about going negative in South Carolina and said "put some good in there if you have to, with the bad. Do what you gotta do." Did you say that?Rollins: What I, listen it was a private conversation between my wife and I. I talked in terms of South Carolina as a different place. Once again, it was not for public consumption and the reality is Mike Huckabee makes the decisions in this campaign, I don't. It is a more negative statement, were used to those kinds of things. I was talking to her about where this thing goes. She's a political novice and this is a whole new game to her and I don't think that she expected to have our lunch, private lunch, with no one else in a private restaurant sitting there and taking notes at an adjacent table.Wallace: Unfortunately it isn't private anymore, it is all over the web so I am going to ask you one more question about it. Rollins: Sure.Wallace: In quotes you were saying that Rudy Giuliani is “done,” quote “has no money,” and was “hurt terribly by those police cruises with his girlfriends.”Rollins: I'm happy to confirm that, obviously he has no money, and if you good reporters want to go, go ah talk to the Giuliani campaign they'll tell you that they've been hurt and that they are not raising money. Wallace: And what about his girlfriends? Rollins: You can't rai (sic), well he had a girlfriend, it's now his wife. Ah, you know the issue was that the basically sent police cars out to take his girlfriend shopping across the state and I think a lot of people didn't like that and I think a lot of people thought it was a misuse of public property and a misuse of office.Wallace: You know there obviously were seen bumps in the road over the last week or so and understandably because Huckabee has gone from the longest of long shots to now one could say perhaps the front runner in this race, the foreign policy mistakes, Rollins and Wallace talking over each other:Rollins: Well Chris there were obviously some good thingsWallace: Let me just ask you the question and you can answer it sir. Also the fact that heRollins: Go ahead and ask the question and I'll be happy to answer it.Wallace: Ok. You know, foreign policyRollins: All of you Chris, all of you guys sat there and said,Wallace: And also the negative ad that you made and then pulled. Rollins, No, noWallace: The question I'm just asking is have, has he and has you learned anything from those and will he be a more effective campaigner down the road?Rollins: We learned that the wise men who sit like you and the others and basically said that Huckabee doesn't have a snowballs chance in heck can still go out to the public and make their case so all the wisdom doesn't live in Washington and all the wisdom doesn't live in the press corps. We're very grateful for you giving us the opportunity to go talk to the public but the public is ultimately who gets to make the decisions. Wallace: Let me just say Ed that I can be accused of a lot of things but we've had Mike Huckabee and he's been happy enough to come on Fox News Sunday many times. I've been reporting his story every step of the way. Rollins: (talking over Wallace again) I just said we're very grateful, we're very grateful for you giving us the opportunity to take our message across the country, in Iowa.Wallace: Ed thank you so much, congratulations again tonight.Rollins: My pleasure. Thank you very much.Wallace: Brit back to you.Hume: (laughing) Chris, thanks. It's always good to get an interview with a joyful victor.

Terry Trippany is the editor and publisher of Webloggin where this article is crossposted and discussed further.