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Meet the Press Rashomon

By Ezra Klein,

I caught some of Sunday’s “Meet the Press” on NBC and thought Cory Booker had done a serviceable job delivering the Obama campaign’s talking points. Then, later, I learned his comments had been a gamechanging sabotage of the president’s reelection effort:

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I’d chalk this up to my tin political ear, but, at the time, the rest of the panel agreed with me. After Booker called the ads “nauseating,” David Gregory’s next words were, “if the election were held today, Mike, what is the leadership lesson of Governor Romney when he ran Bain that voters are thinking about as they’re going to the polls?” And then Mike Murphy, a Republican campaign consultant, said some stuff, none of which referenced Booker’s apparently gamechanging comments from 10 seconds earlier.

In fact, I went back to the transcript. No one on the panel mentions Booker’s comments. But they quickly became a firestorm. It’s a reminder how different speeches and interviews and comments can look when viewed in context, as opposed to after they’ve been ripped from wherever they originated, spun into a separate narrative, and made into their own story.

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