It was supposed to be a softball question from a reporter working for a friendly network, but it turned into a crash-and-burn.
MSNBC political correspondent Kasie Hunt posed a fairly simple question to Democratic Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor: did he think the Obama administration’s response to the Ebola crisis has been aggressive enough? Pryor, who is currently in the middle of a tough re-election fight against Republican Rep. Tom Cotton, completely bungled his answer.
HUNT: Do you think the Obama administration has done an appropriate job handling the Ebola crisis?
PRYOR: Uh, I would say that it’s hard to know, because I haven’t heard the latest briefing on that to know all that — I read the paper and all. But my impression is that we have people over there, both from CDC and other medical type people and even some engineers to try to build, you know, medical facilities. That’s what they need over there. They need the medical infrastructure.
HUNT: Have we been aggressive enough over there?
PRYOR: Uh, again, I’d have to see the latest numbers.
When the interview aired on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Hunt and co-hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough were mystified by Pryor’s answer.
“Just stop! Throw in the towel!” Scarbarough yelled, “Kasie, what was going on there?”
“I’m honestly not sure,” she responded, “I thought he would have a yes or no answer.”
“She asked a gentle question,” Brzezinski agreed, “She was just being honest, and the guy just collapsed.”
Pyror’s inability to answer the question was even more embarrassing given his August attack ad essentially blaming his opponent for the Ebola crisis. The RealClearPolitics average of recent polls has Cotton leading Pryor by 3.7 points.