Letting down her guard on the Lean Forward network, Politico's Lois Romano, ostensibly an objective journalist, descended into biased -- and racially conscious -- commentary. Appearing on MSNBC’s NewsNation on March 25, Romano made disparaging comments of the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre.
Speaking with host Tamron Hall -- who happens to be African-American -- Romano suggested that Wayne LaPierre is, “looking like a tired old white guy that is clinging on to something of the past.” [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
Romano was reacting to Mr. LaPierre’s appearance on Meet The Press on March 24, in which the NRA executive said of liberal New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg:
He is going to find out this is a country of the people, by the people and for the people. And he can't spend enough of his $27 billion to try to impose his will on the American public.
Romano continued to show her disgust at LaPierre’s defense of the Second Amendment, commenting that:
But the one thing that is going on here is optics. Basically, Bloomberg has on his side sort of this whole notion that it is time to do something different.
So Mr. LaPierre is a tired old white guy, even though Mayor Bloomberg, also white, is 6 years older than Mr. Pierre? What Romano means is that she as a “reporter” is tired of Mr. LaPierre’s ideas because they're too "of the past," namely 1791 when the Second Amendment was ratified, securing the right of the people to keep and bear arms.
To be fair, Romano's comments are tame compared to some of the insane rhetoric out in liberal radio land. Take Mike Malloy, who on March 21, went on his own anti-LaPierre rant, asking whether LaPierre was:
Afraid of some fiery-eyed liberal rushing out of a crowd and pumping five or six slugs into his uh weird looking body? I mean, what is he afraid of? Four man security team? Jesus, that's like our people when we invaded and started our murder trip to Iraq!
Malloy then continued his rant, proclaiming that:
Truth is, Wayne LaPierre is afraid of everything! He's a cowardly little schmuck who's afraid of his own shadow and he wants everybody else to participate in his fear and loathing.
Romano is a lot more refined than Malloy, of course, but her disdain for for LaPierre and what he stands for is no less palpable.
See relevant transcript below.
March 25, 2013
2:23 p.m. EDT
TAMRON HALL: Two of the richest men in Americaare pouring big money into the political arena as they seek to use their financial weight to shape policy on gun control and immigration reform. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as you already know has spoken out about gun control. He is now putting $12 million of his own money behind a new ad campaign that will air in 13 key states.
UNKNOWN PERSON: For me, guns are for hunting and protecting my family. I believe in the second amendment and I'll fight to protect it. But with rights come responsibilities. That's why I support comprehensive background checks. So criminals and the dangerously mentally ill can't buy guns. That protects my rights and my family.
HALL: And today we learned that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is forming a political campaign group that will pour millions to advocate on a number of issues starting with immigration reform. Zuckerberg has reportedly pledged an initial $20 million to the effort. And also this week, the pro-Obama group Organizing for Action will begin an aggressive online campaign pushing for immigration reform. Joining me now, NewsNation political panel, Democratic strategist, Chris Kofinis. Lois Romano, senior political reporter for Politico. Thank you for joining us. Lois, let me start off with you. I want to play what Wayne LaPierre said on "Meet the Press" in response to Mayor Bloomberg and his millions of dollars he is willing to put up in this battle. Let’s play it.
WAYNE LAPIERRE: He is going to find out this is a country of the people, by the people and for the people. And he can't spend enough of his $27 billion to try to impose his will on the American public. They don't want him in their restaurants. They don't want him in their homes them don't want them telling them what food to eat. They sure don't want to him telling them what self-defense firearms to own and he can't buy America.
HALL: Interesting remarks for many reasons Lois. He weaves in this soda ban and some other things but basically paints Bloomberg as Daddy Warbucks, trying to dole out his cash. But we know the NRA has its arsenal as well and has too, shelled out millions of dollars in an effort to impact who is representing us in Washington D.C.
LOIS ROMANO: Exactly, and I think before this whole fight is over, we’re going to be spending hundreds of millions of dollars on this. He made a very clever point. He is trying to paint Bloomberg as a guy that is just going to buy everything. But the one thing that is going on here is optics. Basically, Bloomberg has on his side sort of this whole notion that it is time to do something different. And Wayne LaPierre is looking like a tired old white guy that is clinging on to something of the past.
HALL: Well, I'll let you say that. But let me bring you in on this. Chris Cillizza, the other Chris that we like so much in The Washington Post wrote this. He said that it is harder to change politicians' minds on an issue when an election is more than a year off. Timing still matters a great deal in politics and it is hard to see how $12 million spent in March of an off year will have a tremendous persuasive effect on the incumbents. That is Chris Cillizza's analysis of Michael Bloomberg and his $12 million buy. Do you see it that way?
CHRIS KOFINIS: I think there is a lot of truth to that. When you’re talking about as many states as the map shows. You’re talking about 13 states, $12 million. We're not talking about a very serious buy. If you wanted to get serious, you're about tens and tens of millions of dollars. That being said what it does do is start a conversation in some of these red states and the language in that commercial is very mainstream acceptable language.
HALL: Well not just the language. The look. I'm from Texas. That's a good old boy on his pick-up. And he is appealing to a certain audience.
KOFINIS: Right. So part of this, I think, is to make people comfortable with the debate. There’s going to be around two and a round three. Especially when you're talking about gun control. This thing’s not going to be settled in the next few days or next few weeks. So I consider this an opening salvo for a guy who’s got billions of dollars. But you’re not going to win this. Let's be honest. You not going to win this by pouring money into ad buys. You're going to win this by the folks that are negotiating this right now in the Senate. Come to terms with some kind of deal on, particularly on criminal background checks and what that entails. That's kind of where the sticking point is right now.