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Harwood: Carson and Rand Too Sensitive To Questioning, Cruz Isn’t

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CNBC Chief Washington Correspondent and New York Times Political Writer John Harwood argued that GOP presidential candidates Dr. Ben Carson and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) are too sensitive to tough questions, while Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is better at handling tough questions in an interview set to broadcast on Tuesday’s “Hugh Hewitt Show.”

Harwood discussed an interview he did with Carson during which Carson argued that Hewitt “was so gleeful about thinking that he had caught me on something,” during a questioning on the Baltic states and NATO on Hewitt’s show back in March. After hearing the exchange between Hewitt and Carson, and his own interview with Carson, he remarked, “if he thinks that you were gleeful in trying to trip him up, that suggests to me that the defense mechanism and the instinctive aversion to the back and forth of questions is very powerful in him. And it’s not just liberal media, it’s anybody closely questioning him.” Hewitt also stated that he didn’t think that Carson know the Baltic states were in NATO.

Harwood added, “There’s a defensiveness there that, you know, I think he’s — as he gets out on the trail, if he’s going to be a durable candidate, he’s going to have to overcome that, I think.”

Hewitt then played fellow presidential candidate Ted Cruz’s interview with Mark Halperin. He said, “Now John Harwood, contrast that with my conversation with Ben Carson. If I were — Cruz kept his calm through that when it’s obviously gotcha, and Ben Carson is still kind of ticked off over a non-gotcha. That’s not good, actually.”

Harwood agreed, stating, “I see it exactly the same way that you do, and you know, he’s not the only one who — in this race who is prickly at questions. Rand Paul does not like being questioned in a skeptical way. Many people have experienced that, including me. I interviewed him on the radio a couple of years ago, and he bristled at some of the questions. And I remember thinking at that time if you’re going to play Major League Baseball in a presidential campaign, you’ve got to be able to stand in, you know, stand in the box and watch the fastballs come.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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