CNN’s Fluff Interview with Elizabeth Warren and Husband Glosses Over Her Republican Past… and Everything Else


CNN’s interview with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and husband Bruce Mann was an unmitigated bit of useless fluff, even skirting away from the one remotely interesting issue that came up: Warren’s long history as a registered Republican.

In case there was any doubt which Democratic candidate is the mainstream media’s favorite, campaign reporter M.J. Lee’s fawning sitdown with Warren and Mann should remove all doubt. Yes, you expect a certain amount of airiness to these interviews, and there was airiness to spare. Twitter impresario and towel enthusiast Yashar Ali summed up that portion of the interview best with his comparison to a Christopher Guest mockumentary.

But even the minimal expectations of the interview fell short. In the intro, Lee promised that Warren and Mann would open up about “how they’re handling attacks from the critics, including from President Trump.”

That portion consisted of Lee asking “if she does become the nominee, she will go up against President Trump. Are you ready for that?”, to which Mann replied “I’m not sure if anyone — how anyone trains for it. You just jump into the deep end and you swim.”

That was it.

The only other tangentially relevant issue to come up was Warren’s decades-long history as a registered Republican, right up until at least 1996.

“When you first met the senator, she was a Republican,” Lee said.

“I’m not — I don’t think I knew that at the time,” Mann said, adding “However conservative she might have been at the time, it was not particularly apparent. And we really didn’t discuss politics.”

That was it, no follow ups like “Wait, what? You didn’t talk about politics?” or “When did you find out she was a Republican?” or “Did the Republican Party’s racism, misogyny, and homophobia ever bother either of you prior to 1996?”

Lest you think I’m judging Lee too harshly, this isn’t the first time Warren and Mann have done one of these. During Warren’s 2012 Senate run, they did at least two, and both yielded more revealing news and (relatively) more challenging questions than this outing.

In one package that barely lasted two minutes, Warren was asked if she had “anything in the house that reflects her Native American heritage,” and Warren replied “I have plenty of pictures. They’re not for you.”

The other interview, with Greater Boston host Emily Rooney, was more extensive, covering a lot of the puffy territory that CNN did, but also covering some politically meaningful territory. For example, Rooney broached the Native American issue in as positive a fashion as she could, but also asked Warren why it “took so long to craft a response?”

Warren responded with a detailed account of her parents eloping because her grandparents wouldn’t allow the marriage in the grounds that Warren’s mother “was part Cherokee and part Delaware,” and said “We grew up… with these two very different families.”

Rooney also managed to ask Warren about being a Republican, and even ask a few follow-ups. Asked why she eventually switched, Warren said “Ask the Republicans. I mean, come on. Pretty big change in that party.”

She added that “for me, it’s always been a lot less about party and a lot more about the issues I care the most about, which is what’s happening to America’s working families and small businesses.”

Voters could then at least decide for themselves which issues Warren did not care enough about to abandon Republicans.

One clue might have been how Warren answered when Rooney asked “Why is there so much resentment towards people who are needy?”

In the midst of a presidential election in which Republicans were running around calling Barack Obama the “food stamp president,” Warren chalked it up to… Grover Norquist’s tax pledge.

Even when the interview got weird, it was revealing, like when Rooney bizarrely asked if Warren “knows how to use a hammer,” and Mann completely fell apart under the strain.

“Hey, I’m sure you do,” he said, to which Warren agreed “Yeah, lots.”

“I’m sure you do? You don’t…” Rooney queried.

“The, the, it’s, using a hammer is just, it’s not something couples tend to do together, so she may never have seen me use a hammer either, but the, but I’ve used one, so,” Mann comically stammered.

“Actually I have,” Warren said, then added “You’re the one who hangs all the pictures, while I keep standing there saying a little more to left, and you’re the one who’s had to hammer in all the holes.”

Why did Mann and Warren act like they had a small contingent of corpses behind their drywall? Who knows, but it sure was amusing.

With Rooney’s interview, you can even chart the progress of Warren’s and Mann’s hobbies, which according to the CNN interview now consist of walking the dog twice a day. But in 2012? It was hiking, watching Homeland, and Tivo-pausing Simpsons sight gags.

Maybe CNN has fawning couples interviews lined up for the other Democratic candidates, or even just for the other women who are still running for president, but for now it looks like somebody’s playing favorites.

Watch the full CNN interview above, via CNN.

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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