B²: McCarthy’s Mishap

If Kevin McCarthy taught us anything last week, it’s that words matter.

With one impassioned statement, he not only took himself out of the running for Speaker of the House, but called into question the motive behind the Benghazi hearings and gave Hillary the lifeline she needed.

In an interview with Sean Hannity on September 29th, tension was high from the start. But the wheels came off the moment Hannity asked McCarthy to grade Boehner.

When Hannity disapproved of the “B-“ response, a visibly agitated McCarthy tried to take control of the interview by asking HIMSELF a question – “The question I think you really want to ask me is, how am I going to be different?” His answer to his own question included the now-infamous comment proudly displayed in a Hillary Clinton attack ad.

McCarthy clearly stepped in it, but the catalyst was his frustrated response when asked to grade Boehner’s performance as Speaker. How common is this question? More common than you think. With any major departure in DC, the “report card” question is often asked. Do you know how to answer so as to satisfy the host while keeping your cool?

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

Here is this week’s likely media question and the B² (block and bridge) that sets the narrative straight:

Q: “What grade would you give Speaker Boehner?”

B²: “I’d give him a passing grade for handing over the gavel without a knock-down, drag-out fight, but the reason he had to step down in the first place was because people want leadership that <insert talking point>.”

If you are asked to give a grade, stick to a “passing grade” or a “failing grade,” and then block and bridge to YOUR talking point. Giving a specific letter grade will often not satisfy the host who then has more ammunition for disagreement. Wherever you take the conversation next, don’t get mad – composure will always trump frustration.