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Tucker Carlson Found a Temporary Gig

Since being dumped by Fox News, Tucker Carlson has been looking around for something to do. He doesn't need the money since he is an heir to the Swanson frozen TV dinner fortune, but he misses the attention and power. One gig he found was going to Iowa, where the Family Leadership Summit was being held. He got the job of interviewing the six presidential candidates who dropped by.

The organizers were kind of hoping Carlson would say Jesus was his hero, but it was more "Vladimir Putin is my hero," despite the latter being a Godless Communist, which Republicans nominally hate. That came up when it was Mike Pence's turn. Pence talked about his support for Ukraine, which Carlson opposes. Carlson tried to shut him up by saying that Volodymyr Zelenskyy (who is Jewish) was suppressing Christianity in Ukraine. Pence retorted that he has just come back from Ukraine and had spoken with the Christian leader there. According to Pence: "I asked the Christian leader in Kyiv if that was happening, and he assured me it was not. People were not being persecuted for their religious beliefs." Carlson tried to interrupt Pence but Pence fought back, saying: "The problem is you don't accept my answer. I just told you that I asked the religious leader in Kyiv if it was happening. You asked me if I raised the issue, and I did." It got worse from there, especially when Carlson said that the folks at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, were just a bunch of tourists. Pence said: "Make no mistake about it, what happened that day was a disgrace, and it mocks decency to portray it in any other way."

Carlson was also the story when he interviewed Asa Hutchinson. Carlson asked the candidate how many COVID shots he took. Hutchinson asked him right back how many he had. Carlson said: "Zero." The audience applauded. Hutchinson didn't answer the question but did say he signed a law forbidding the government from mandating the vaccine in Arkansas. Saying that you got the vaccine is toxic in Republican politics. Carlson is not stupid and we really wonder if he didn't perhaps put on a disguise, go to a CVS just before closing time when it was probably almost empty, and get a shot off in a corner in the back behind a screen.

The last candidate to go on stage with Carlson was Ron DeSantis, but he was the first one to be asked about abortion. It is possible that Carlson didn't want to give any of the others air time to explain how much they hate the procedure. When Carlson asked DeSantis if he would sign a 6-week federal ban like the 6-week state ban he signed, DeSantis didn't answer the question. Consequently, the topic got almost no attention—at an event run by a group whose raison d'être is banning abortion. And this on the day the governor of the state signed a 6-week abortion ban. Maybe Carlson was playing 3-D chess here and we just don't get it.

Interestingly enough, Donald Trump didn't show up for the cattle call in Iowa. Organizer Bob Vander Plaats said: "He's choosing not to show up. I don't think it is just a smart idea on his part." It is possible that Trump's boycott is intended to embarrass Kim Reynolds, who has declined to endorse anyone in the caucuses. (V)

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