We noted this yesterday, when the panel on Morning Joe scoffed at Michelle Nunn’s answer to Kasie Hunt’s hypothetical on whether Nunn would have voted for ObamaCare if she had been in the Senate. Chuck Todd called her dodge on the question “terrible,” and that “it doesn’t come across as credible.” Here is the video as presented on MSNBC yesterday morning:
NBC’S KASIE HUNT: “Would you have voted for the Affordable Care Act?”
MICHELLE NUNN: “At the time the Affordable Health Care Act was passed, I was working for Points of Light. I wished that we had more people who had tried to architect a bipartisan legislation.”
HUNT: “So yes or no?”
NUNN: “So I think it’s impossible to look back retrospectively and say what would you have done if you were there?”
The Nunn campaign contacted Slate’s Dave Weigel and claimed that MSNBC had edited her answer to make it more ambiguous than it was. They provided a transcript from their own recording of the conversation — which most campaigns now do during media interviews for this very reason. Here is the amended transcript, with Dave’s bolding showing what MSNBC kept:
HUNT: But you’re not sure if you would have voted yes or no?
NUNN: When I look back at what they were doing when this was passed, I think, I wish that we had more people who had tried to architect a bipartisan legislation. And who had worked together across the aisle.
HUNT: So, yes or no?
NUNN: I think it’s impossible to look back retrospectively and say, “What would you have done if you were there?” Because I wasn’t there, and we now have hindsight. What I can do is say: Here’s where we are today, and here’s what we should do, which is move forward.
HUNT: So do you think it should be repealed?
NUNN: I do not.
The complaint about shaving the Q&A is quite valid, at least in one sense. The clip aired on MSNBC was very short, and the longer answer looks only a bit longer. Why not air the whole thing? It’s not as if Nunn filibustered Hunt in her response, and chopping her brief reply was unfair to her. That’s a poor editing decision for a network that has gained a reputation for them.
On the other hand, does this really change her answer? Nunn still didn’t answer Hunt’s first question, which was whether she would have voted for ObamaCare had she been in the Senate. She dodges this the way we saw in the original clip, with the only substantial addition being a declaration that hindsight negates the question. Actually, it doesn’t, and it undermines her firm position in opposition to repeal, which MSNBC for some reason left on the cutting room floor. If hindsight shows the law was a bad idea, why not say so and support repeal? If not, then why not claim that the law is still mostly a good idea and she would have voted in favor of it?
Noah Rothman believes the bad edit came from an attempt to save Nunn from herself:
Edits like those done to Nunn can be innocuous and may simply have been made in order to package the interview to meet broadcast time constraints. Even if this was true, however, the practical effect of those edits made Nunn seem slightly more in line with Georgia’s voters on the Affordable Care Act rather than the national Democratic Party. As the transcript that Nunn’s campaign provided Weigel shows, she is far more in tune with her party’s position on the ACA than MSNBC’s interview made it appear.
As Rothman also points out, Joy Reid challenged Nunn to answer on ObamaCare, and got the same dodge. Reid asked why Nunn doesn’t mention health-care issues on her website in a separate MSNBC interview. Once again, she refuses to answer whether she supports ObamaCare, even after given two opportunities by Reid to endorse or oppose it. This time, Nunn doesn’t bother to mention opposition to repeal, at least not in this MSNBC edit:
So yes, the edit on the original piece was poor. That doesn’t change the fact that Nunn doesn’t want to answer questions about ObamaCare except to oppose repeal only when directly asked about it, and would rather not discuss it at all, as her own website makes clear:
Even under “Strengthen Georgia Families,” there is no mention of health-care policy at all.