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Friday, May 16, 2014

Tom Cotton gets a little touchy in TV interview, apologizes

Posted By on Fri, May 16, 2014 at 7:24 AM

click to enlarge TOUCHY: Tom Cotton's in a hurry. TV interview glitch gets him a little put out.
  • TOUCHY: Tom Cotton's in a hurry. TV interview glitch gets him a little put out.
Without the video clip, I make little of this. But I did track down a hot current rumor that indicated Republican Senate candidate Tom Cotton might be feeling a bit of pressure from his inability to smack down incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor. He got snippy with TV interviewers recently, enough that he apologized later.

Here's what happened, according to Brook Thomas, news director of KNWA in Fayetteville. (Cotton's office and campaign didn't respond to requests for comments.)

May 5, the station arranged an interview by satellite with Cotton from Washington. Technical issues arose that made it difficult to conduct the interview. Thomas put it diplomatically: "He voiced frustration." Cotton said if the problem wasn't fixed he was going to leave and at one point did get up and walk away from the interview briefly. He directed his displeasure at the TV station staff.

Thomas said it was no Bill O'Reilly-style meltdown. "He was just being a little snippy." Eventually, the interview was completed. Thomas talked later with a member of Cotton's staff. "I told him he just should know my staff was coming in saying the congressman was being a jerk and they weren't doing anything wrong."

Thomas said the PR rep apologized and said Cotton regretted what had happened. With good reason. Cotton's staff had learned, Thomas said, that the technical difficulties arose on their end, on account of an inexperienced staffer handling the transmission.

Soon after Cotton himself called Thomas and he also called the KNWA anchor who did the interview to apologize. "It was a great apology and it was accepted," Thomas said. He said the station edited the interview from the transmission, but kept none of the off-air interchanges. Thomas said, in the end, it was a "very minor incident."  if Cotton had been threatening and done an all-out "tantrum," he would have viewed that as newsworthy and aired it.

Hot-mike episodes are always good political fodder. Rumors about this one, though circulating widely, apparently won't come with a "roll video" accompaniment. Unless there's a bootleg out there?

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