During this primary election cycle, a deceptive ploy by Democrats to get their candidates an easier ride into office has emerged–funneling campaign ad dollars into efforts to get the opponent of their choosing on the other side. The topic was brought up Sunday, surprisingly, during ABC News’ “This Week With George Stephanopoulos,” by co-host Martha Raddatz.
Earlier in the program, as my colleague Bonchie shared, former mayor of Atlanta and current Biden senior adviser Keisha Lance Bottoms doubled down on the dangerous, hateful rhetoric President Joe Biden spewed during his prime time address Thursday.
But the host also tried to ask Bottoms whether she supports the Democrat tactic of boosting what they consider, to borrow a term from Joe, “ultra MAGA” and unelectable Republican candidates–to handpick for their nominees to defeat in the fall.
Here’s the exchange:
RADDATZ: The president criticized MAGA Republicans for electing election deniers, yet Democrats are promoting far right candidates in GOP primaries. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan tweeted in response, if President Biden is truly serious about threats to democracy, then he would condemn the tens of millions of Democratic groups who have spent money promoting extremists threatening democracy. Obviously in the end, they hope that Democrats will win. That’s why they’re spending that money.
But should the president speak out against members of his party who have boosted these so-called extreme candidates?
BOTTOMS: I think what the president will continue to do is encourage people to go out and vote their conscience, whatever their conscience maybe. And what the president will continue to do is what we saw him do just this week, is to remind people of who we are as a country, who we are a nation. We are a nation that —
RADDATZ: So, does he support that? Does he support supporting those extreme candidates?
BOTTOMS: I cannot speak to what the president support. I can speak to what he has said publicly. And what he has said publicly is that we are a nation that values the rule of law, that we are nation of peace, that we are a nation that values a peaceful transition of power and this MAGA agenda has no place in our democracy.
So, that’s a duck of answering the question.
During the panel segment, Raddatz returned to the topic, asking USA Today Washington bureau chief Susan Page about the question “[she] asked Keisha Lance Bottoms and that is, the funding of extreme candidates by the Democrats. How much does that hurt them and should Biden speak out and say, wait a minute?”
The host continued:
I mean, again, the Democrats are hoping if they fund these extreme candidates they’ll run against those extreme candidates and they’ll win. But the look is not good.
Page noted, and Raddatz agreed, that both Bottoms’ non-answer and the look she shot Raddatz showed she didn’t want to answer a question like that. You’d have to guess she thought she was in friendly territory on a show like “This Week,” full of softball questions she’s prepared to knock out of the park.
Then Page delved into the ramifications of Democrats ducking the question–including the leader of their party, Joe Biden:
The question — she didn’t defend this practice of trying to boost the most extreme candidate on the other side in the hopes of an easier general election. But the risk is, sometimes the other candidate might get actually elected. And you have helped elect put in office an election denier.
It also cedes the high ground. The Democrats — the cases where the Democrats have done it, they have ceded the political high ground and I think that — I think — I would like to hear President Biden answer a direct question about this.
When you’ve lost USA Today and ABC News, you’re not doing all that well.
Watch their exchange in the video below:
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) September 4, 2022