Live from Music Row Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed The Tennessee Star’s national political editor Neil McCabe to the newsmaker line to discuss his attempt at an in-person interview with Beth Harwell Tuesday night at the VIEW PAC fundraiser in Washington after her absence at The Epoch Times Nashville debate.
Leahy: On the newsmaker line, the very best Washington correspondent in the country, the national political editor of The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network, Mr. Neil W. McCabe. Good morning, Neil.
McCabe: Hey, Mike. You have kind of a morning zoo vibe this morning. This is fantastic.
Leahy: Yeah, we’re going with that vibe a little bit. So listen, speaking of morning zoos and evening zoos, last night there was a debate in Nashville, really the first debate hosted by The Epoch Times.
The others have been candidate forums for the TN-5 race. Only three of the leading five candidates showed up: Jeff Beierlein, Andy Ogles, and Tres Wittum.
Two of them dodged the debate. One of them, Brigadier General Winstead, had apparently accepted and then backed out on Saturday.
The line from Jeff Beierlein at the debate, by the way, was that this was the first time in Tennessee history that a general has run from a fight. I thought that was a pretty good line at The Epoch Times debate last night.
But also, now, Beth Harwell, the former Speaker of the House here in Tennessee, never accepted this invitation and was busy elsewhere.
She was busy, actually, in Washington, D.C., had a meeting with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at a fundraiser of sorts at a group called VIEW PAC.
You were there in Washington, D.C. You tried to get her to talk to you at the fundraiser. Describe what happened then and subsequently.
McCabe: Yeah, well, we were camped out in front of the Capitol Hill Club, which is sort of the social hub for Republicans on Capitol Hill, particularly the congressmen.
And it’s really where these bachelor congressmen get their one hot meal for the day, and geographically bachelor, I should say. And so we were out there and we were trying to talk to people and, you know, hey, are you up [for us] to see Beth Harwell? We’re with The Tennessee Star.
And then a functionary from the Harwell campaign came out to the sidewalk and said, hey, man, you’re really bothering people. You’re making The Tennessee Star look bad. And I’m just giving you some advice.
I’m not telling you what to do, but you should stop asking people questions about Beth Harwell. And I’m thinking, okay, guy. Thanks.
I always appreciate career advice. You know that, Mike. (Leahy chuckles) But he told us, he said, listen, we’ll bring Beth down after the event, and just stop harassing our guests.
Yes, sir. Okay. I don’t know if we’re going to call it a compromise. Maybe it was a truce. And so after the event wraps up at 6:00 p.m., of course, outside on the sidewalk, we can’t bring our cameras into the Capitol Hill Club to film. They did allow us to hang out in the lobby because this biblical rainstorm was coming down.
But we had permission to film under this sort of roof canopy that they have that extends into the sidewalk from the door. And our trusted videographer Anthony is ready to go, but the guy comes down and says, hey, sorry, we got to go.
I said, what do you mean? You said you’d come down and do an interview. He goes, yeah, but it’s raining outside. I said, no, they got the canopy. We considered the canopy.
He goes, no, our Uber is here. We got to go. And so what are you going to say about a campaign that’s more worried about their Uber than talking to The Tennessee Star, Mike?
Leahy: Yes, well, and again, we did, give the campaign advance notice that we’d be there, and I think it was relevant to say, well, you chose not to participate in this debate in the 5th Congressional District. She didn’t back away from it after making a commitment, as Winstead did.
But there were a number of questions to be asked, I thought, one of which I think this event, the VIEW PAC event, right? Was that the name of the group that was doing the fundraising?
McCabe: Before I go into VIEW PAC, let me just say for the record that she did call me.
Leahy: Oh, she did?
McCabe: And so we did have a seven or eight-minute conversation. She answered the questions, I was recording it, and she agreed to go off speakerphone, which is making [the recording] like crazy.
But she answered the questions and I asked her about VIEW PAC, and I mentioned to her that VIEW PAC has received donations from a man named Tim Ranney, who was fined $8 million for illegal use of credit reports.
I don’t exactly know how he did that, but it was worth an $8 million fine. He gave $200,000 in this cycle to VIEW PAC. Another contributor is abortion philanthropist Melinda Gates who has also given to VIEW PAC, and I mentioned this to the speaker.
You’ve accepted the support. Obviously, this event was sponsored by VIEW PAC and her response was, well, Marsha Blackburn accepts money from this abortionist and this guy who paid an $8 million fine for abusing credit reports. So what’s the big, I guess.
Leahy: Did you feel like, and you’re going to have a report on this, do you feel like that she answered your questions and you got good responses from her?
McCabe: I asked her about how they handled illegals driving in Tennessee, and I thought that was a reasonable answer. She said that she was not beholden to the teachers’ unions, which is one of the knocks against her. She talked about why she’s going to come to Washington and fight Biden’s economic policies.
Leahy: Did you ask her why she didn’t show up at the debate?
McCabe: No, I didn’t ask her that. That was a swing and a miss.
Carmichael: Neil, I have a question for you. When you asked her about …
McCabe: Hold on, Crom, I do want to say one more thing. She did say, which would probably be my headline and lead, she said that she’s lived in the district and she loves the district and its people. Go ahead, Crom.
Carmichael: That’s good. Did you ask her about the $5 billion of tax cuts that she got through as Speaker of the House. And what was her response to that?
McCabe: I didn’t ask her that question.
Carmichael: Oh, you didn’t? Okay. Did you ask her about her repeal, where she co-authored the repeal of the legislation to take away the driver’s licenses from illegal immigrants? Did you ask her that?
McCabe: I asked her about the driver’s license …
Carmichael: No, did you ask her about her repealing it? Because she co-authored …
McCabe: She led the fight to take it away. It was tried, it didn’t work, and she brought her out and she brought it into the program.
Carmichael: Okay, but you didn’t mention that a moment ago. Did you ask her about that? About how hard a fight it was to get that repealed?
McCabe: I didn’t ask her how hard the fight was.
Carmichael: It was a very difficult fight. It was a very difficult fight. She fought against a special interest on that, but she got it done, Neil, so it’d be really good when you’re going to attack a Republican that you get the whole story out. I think that’d be great.
Leahy: I don’t think Neil was attacking.
McCabe: Hold on, Crom. First of all, this is not an American courtroom. What’s going on here? I didn’t put missiles in Cuba, Crom. Come on, man. I’m just doing my job.
Carmichael: Okay. And I’m just doing mine, which is to make sure people know all the facts.
Listen to the interview:
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