A reporter from WJRT in Flint, Michigan, an ABC News Affiliate, apparently tried to nail GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan on a gun-control ‘gotcha’ question during an interview on Monday.
Reporter Terry Camp asked Ryan, “Does the country have a gun problem?”
Ryan answered brilliantly. “This country has a crime problem,” he said, drawing an important distinction that often gets overlooked (i.e. distinguishing between inanimate objects and the people that use those inanimate objects to perpetrate violence).
But Camp doubled down on his initial question, “Not a gun problem?”
“No,” Ryan answered. “I mean if you take a look at the gun laws we have, I don’t even think President Obama is proposing more gun laws. We have good, strong gun laws. We have to make sure…we enforce our laws. We have lots of laws that aren’t being properly enforced.”
Ryan then suggested that the best way to “enforce these laws” and “prevent violent crime in the inner cities” is to “bring opportunity to the inner cities” and “teach people good discipline, good character.”
“That is civil society,” Ryan continued. “That’s what charities and civic groups and churches do to help one another make sure that they can realize the value of one another.”
Seemingly flummoxed that Ryan didn’t fall into his trap, Camp followed up with a non-sequitur in an attempt to get Ryan to react.
Camp asked, “And you can do all that by cutting taxes? With a big tax cut?”
“Those are your words, not mine,” Ryan retorted.
Following that question, Michael Steel, Ryan’s press secretary jumped in and ended the interview. “Thank you very much sir,” Steel told Camp.
As Ryan began removing his microphone, both him and Camp exchanged words.
“That was kind of strange, you’re trying to stuff words in people’s mouths,” Ryan said, showing a bit of exasperation.
“Well, I don’t know if it’s strange,” the beat reporter countered.
“Sounds like you’re trying to put answers to questions,” Ryan said.
When other media outlets inquired about the interview, Brendan Buck, a Ryan spokesman, commented on the situation, saying that Camp clearly embarrassed himself.
“The reporter knew he was already well over the allotted time for the interview when he decided to ask a weird question relating gun violence to tax cuts Ryan responded as anyone would in such a strange situation. When you do nearly 200 interviews in a couple months, eventually you’re going to see a local reporter embarrass himself,” said Buck.
However, Democrats saw it in a different light. DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse criticized Ryan for the way he handled himself on Twitter.
What’s your take? Did Ryan comport himself well in the interview? Should he have continued to play ball with Camp?