SOUTHAVEN, Mississippi — Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) pulled the old “bait-and-switch” to avoid a televised CNN interview, reporter Dana Bash says.
Bash tried to interview Cochran for CNN at a Memorial Day event in Vicksburg, MS, but Cochran dodged the interview. His staff was “going to head-scratching extremes to avoid talking,” Bash reported in a piece posted late Tuesday.
“We tried to catch Cochran after this event,” Bash said, while video of Cochran standing on stage for the event played. “But when an aide came out and saw us, they did a bait-and-switch.”
“The car they told us Cochran was getting in, screeched away without him, while he snuck out another door to a different car, leaving reporters like us in the dust, unable to talk to the senator,” Bash added.
The Jackson Clarion-Ledger, which picked up the story right after CNN on Tuesday evening, noted that Cochran’s actions “make him look equally as suspicious” as how his primary challenger state Sen. Chris McDaniel has handled the response to blogger Clayton Kelly’s allegedly illicit photographing of Cochran’s wife Rose.
The Clarion-Ledger’s Sam Hall wrote that Cochran also refused to sit down with the newspaper’s editorial board for an interview.
“Cochran’s staff has repeatedly refused to set a date for an editorial board meeting,” Hall wrote. “‘We’re still working on a date,’ is the gist of any answer they give us. Such dodging makes us — and voters — wonder what he has to hide. Is he afraid of tough questions? Or is his staff handling him too much because they are afraid of what he might say? My guess: both!”
Cochran has similarly avoided interviews with Breitbart News — his campaign staff ignored requests — and most other media outlets, and refused to debate McDaniel ahead of the primary.
CNN’s Bash interviewed McDaniel, but he wouldn’t answer a question about the blogger story.
“You personally, when did you find out about the break-in?” Bash asked McDaniel.
“Look, we’re going to focus on his record right now,” McDaniel replied after a long pause.
“So, with a week to go before the primary election, we’ve got one candidate dodging a question he should be able to answer and shrug off, and we have another candidate — the incumbent, no less — dodging reporters and still refusing to sit down with the largest newspaper in his state,” Hall summed it up.