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Opinion ‘So vote Roy Moore?’: ‘Fox & Friends’ flusters Kellyanne Conway

White House counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway arrives at a news conference on tax reform Nov. 7. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The interview started out just as you’d expect from “Fox & Friends,” that reliable booster of President Trump, his agenda and his frequent outrages. Addressing the pending matter of tax reform proposals on Capitol Hill, co-host Steve Doocy stuck it to the people who oppose Trump: “Partisan politics is getting in the way and Democrats don’t want to give the president a win,” commented Doocy. “That’s too bad, because it’s a win for the American people,” responded counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, who added that this is “not about giving the president a win. That’s silly. He’s the president. He won. Tell Hillary Clinton, by the way. P.S.”

On and on Conway went, riffing on the grand history of bipartisan tax legislation in the United States, the need to help the forgotten American people, and the bind in which Democrats allegedly find themselves these days. Her monologue was entering its second minute when Conway veered into the politics of Alabama — the top news story in the country ever since The Washington Post reported that Republican candidate Roy Moore had allegedly pursued a 14-year-old girl in 1979, when he was 32. Ever since, Moore’s Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, has surged in the polls.

“And Doug Jones in Alabama? Folks, don’t be fooled. He’ll be a vote against tax cuts. He’s weak on crime, weak on borders. He’s strong on raising your taxes. He’s terrible for property owners. And Doug Jones is a doctrinaire liberal, which is why he’s not saying anything and why the media are trying to boost him,” said Conway.

Chuck Todd, the moderator of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” recalls the moment counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway mentioned “alternative facts.” (Video: Bastien Inzaurralde/The Washington Post)

Precedent has taught us to expect nodding assent from the “Fox & Friends” team at such a moment: Let the Trumpite hold court, smile and move on to the next mindless segment.

That didn’t happen, however. Sensing an endorsement of sorts in Conway’s words, co-host Brian Kilmeade interjected, “So vote Roy Moore?”

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Maybe because she didn’t expect pushback, Conway seemed a bit wobbly in her comeback: “I’m telling you that we want the votes in the Senate to get this tax bill through. And if the media were really concerned about all these allegations and that’s what this was truly about … Al Franken would be on the ash heap of bygone, half-funny comedians. He wouldn’t be here on Capitol Hill.”

As Conway relaunched her argument about Jones being a doctrinaire liberal, Kilmeade said, “The RNC has withdrawn support for Roy Moore. Mitch McConnell has withdrawn support, so has the Young Republicans.” Co-host Ainsley Earhardt noted, too, that “a lot of women” have as well. Preferring not to talk about Moore, Conway again deflected to her points about Jones. The conversation moved on.

Post media critic Erik Wemple frequently skewerws Fox News, and, well, some of the network's loyal viewers have something to say about it. (Video: Gillian Brockell, Kate Woodsome/The Washington Post)

Two takeaways: 1) “Fox & Friends” has a conscience hiding somewhere in the seams of that couch; 2) Conway’s remarks represent a switch from previous statements about Moore from the White House, which initially said that Moore should step aside if the allegations are “true,” and later punted the matter to the “people of Alabama.“; and 3) Conway’s remarks represent a contrast to what she said last week about all of this:

Just hours after the “Fox & Friends” interview, CNN’s Kaitlan Collins was playing up the clash as “quite a departure from what we’ve heard from Kellyanne Conway before on these Moore accusations, when she said that no Senate seat was worth more than a child.”

Good work, “Fox & Friends.”

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