Jan 26, 2020

Chris Wallace on impeachment, Buttigieg and smart reporting

In May, Chris Wallace held a town hall with Pete Buttigieg in New Hampshire. Photo: Fox News

"Fox News Sunday" anchor Chris Wallace — who has covered the Iowa caucuses since 1980 — is back in Des Moines, and he talked to me ahead of a town hall he's moderating with Pete Buttigieg tonight at 7 pm ET.

The big picture: I asked Wallace about Buttigieg's secret sauce: "Buttigieg is young, smart as the dickens, and a fresh face on the national scene when folks are pretty tired of politics as usual. But are they willing to push the envelope this far — 38, medium-town mayor, openly gay?"

  • And I asked Wallace how impeachment is playing in the Hawkeye State: "Voters are asking what the mayor thinks about impeachment. So we will reflect that in the town hall. But I don’t get the sense anyone thinks the president is actually going to be removed. So it just factors into how folks think about Trump."

Buttigieg senior adviser Lis Smith told me why the mayor is going on Fox News: "We know we can't win the primary or general by just talking to the same people over and over again."

  • "Our campaign is also about elevating qualities like respect, decency and thoughtfulness in the political discourse," Smith continued. "Those are definitely qualities that Chris embodies. ... He's a tough questioner, but he's fair and has established a massive platform for himself."

A reporting tip from Chris Wallace: Instead of just interviewing aides when he's doing background reporting, he tries to talk to the Cabinet members and lawmakers themselves: "Often they don't know what's out there or don't know the talking points, and they tell you more!"

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Buttigieg sweeps Sunday shows just one day before Iowa caucuses

Buttigieg on "Meet the Press" on April 7, 2019. Photo: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC Newswire/NBCUniversal via Getty Images.

Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg took over cable news on Sunday, appearing on nearly every major network just one day before the Iowa caucuses.

The big picture: While his Senate competitors like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have been tied up with the impeachment trial, Buttigieg has been free to campaign in full force ahead of the official start of primary season.

"Should be on Fake News CNN": Trump attacks Fox News' Chris Wallace

President Trump. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump slammed Fox News on Tuesday, attacking the network for inviting Democrats as guests and singling out anchor Chris Wallace.

"So, what the hell has happened to @FoxNews. Only I know! Chris Wallace and others should be on Fake News CNN or MSDNC. How’s Shep Smith doing? Watch, this will be the beginning of the end for Fox, just like the other two which are dying in the ratings. Social Media is great!"
Go deeperArrowJan 28, 2020

What to watch for at tonight's Democratic debate

Candidates at the last Democratic debate in Iowa. Photo: Robyn Beck/Getty Images

The biggest story heading into New Hampshire is Pete Buttigieg's meteoric rise, which has the potential to shift the dynamics of the primary field and is rattling his rivals to his left and right.

The state of play: Following his strong showing in Iowa, Buttigieg jumped 12 percentage points in a New Hampshire poll between Monday (the day of the Iowa caucus) and Thursday, and his opponents are saying his name more regularly in their stump speeches throughout the state.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Feb 8, 2020 - Politics & Policy