Video: Feinstein walks out on interview when challenged on debate

posted at 10:41 am on September 10, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

This is actually a few days old, but it’s just getting attention after Breitbart picked it up earlier today. The video comes from a Wednesday night report from ABC’s San Francisco affiliate KGO from the Democratic National Convention, where reporter Mark Matthews caught up with both of California’s US Senate candidates.  Republican Elizabeth Emken told Matthews that Dianne Feinstein refused to debate her, apparently even once, which even had the LA Times scratching its collective head in July:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein had an excuse for not debating her opponents in the first round of this year’s election — there were 23 of them. But now that the voters have winnowed the field to two, the four-term Democratic incumbent owes it to California’s voters to appear publicly with Republican challenger Elizabeth Emken.

Emken, an advocate for autistic children, is obviously the underdog in this election. But she received 12.6% of the primary vote in the crowded field, almost twice as many votes as the third-place finisher. More to the point, as the only alternative to Feinstein, she has earned the right to challenge the incumbent on the issues — and to be challenged in return. …

Feinstein’s long tenure and familiarity with California were obviously assets for her in the primary — she is, by most measures, the state’s most highly regarded public official. But the risk for any long-serving official is the perception that she is taking her public trust for granted. Nothing screams “entrenched incumbent” more than a refusal to debate an opponent.

Two months later, Feinstein’s still not listening … literally.  The incumbent walked out on Matthews after he pressed her to answer why she won’t debate Emken:

Matthews: I got to ask you about Elizabeth Emken. She wants to debate you. The L.A. Times came out and said you ought to debate her.
Feinstein: I’m running my own campaign.
Matthews: Is there anything more you can add to that?
Feinstein: I did a large event in Modesto, did three or four meetings, I’ve been to Southern California’s and that’s what I’ll continue to do.
Matthews: Wouldn’t it be better for the voters to hear both sides?
Feinstein: Thank you very much.

You’re welcome … for nothing.  The most interesting moment in this video is where Feinstein gets ready to walk out of the interview after Matthews asks the first question, but then suddenly sits back down when she thinks the next question is about her.  I’m sure that Matthews appreciated the patronizing pat on the shoulder at the end, too, just as much as California voters appreciate the patronizing attitude from Feinstein towards them as well.


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