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Paula Bolyard

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November 9, 2013 - 7:46 am
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On Friday, Texas Senator Ted Cruz made his first appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Leno, allegedly in his last season as host of the Tonight Show, has not been known as a particularly partisan entertainer, so it was surprising to see him go “Candy Crowley” on Ted Cruz.  You may recall that CNN’s Crowley, who moderated a debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney, became part of the debate when she began reciting (false) White House talking points on Benghazi. Some on Twitter compared Leno to a prosecuting attorney as he interrupted Cruz and accused him of everything from shutting down the government to wanting violent psychopaths to have guns.

Cruz, for his part, used the appearance to his advantage, clearly understanding both the venue and the audience. Although Cruz is certainly more than capable of holding his own in a debate with Leno, he chose mostly to keep his powder dry, defying the media-generated image of him as a hostile aggressor. He was relaxed and laid back, despite the tough questioning. It seemed to go over well with the audience, which erupted into cheers after several of Cruz’s points.

It’s interesting to go back and watch Leno’s interview with President Obama from this past August and compare the questions and tone with Leno’s interview with Cruz last night. The most obviously noticeable difference is how often Leno interrupts Cruz compared to Obama. Leno lets the president finish nearly every answer. Even when Obama lapses into “um…uh….uh…,” Leno patiently waits for Obama to continue.

There is a stark contrast in how often Leno uses the pronoun “you” when questioning Cruz. Also, Leno speaks about policies and events as if the president has nothing to do with them.

On the following pages you can read the questions side-by-side. Where a question is preceded by dashes (- – ), it means Leno interrupted the interviewee.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
It is the difference between how you would question a child vs. how you would question an adult. Leno treated Cruz like an adult, and Cruz responded accordingly.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
One reason I've favored Cruz's "antics" is that he's been cool under fire. The Pubs haven't many like him.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Cruz did great. I was amazed at the audience reaction. I handful (one?) of people clapped at Leno's line on brinksmanship. It seems the place went nuts at Cruz's line about entrenched politicians of both parties being against the American people. Cruz rocked.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (26)
All Comments   (26)
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THANK YOU for this WONDERFUL ANALYSIS!
We just used it as the heart of our "after action" report, now posted on the conservative news forum, Free Republic, here:
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/3090334/posts
"Serious" TED CRUZ rocks TONIGHT SHOW with "Bad Jay" LENO
[PHOTOS, analysis, FReeper "after party"!]
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think it was done on purpose and with Cruz's prior consent. It did an EXCELLENT job of showing contrast and will most assuredly be used in ads coming soon. I hate to jump on a bandwagon this early but Cruz has thus far proven to be honest and principled. Rubio was like this, till he strayed...we shall see how history treats them both.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Some deference to the president is probably warranted. And it is not unreasonable t ask challenging questions to senators. But what irks me is they don't ask similar hard questions to other dems either, and nobody grilled Obama when he was still a candidate. But Leno is much more fair than others in the MSM, so I am willing to cut him some slack. And Cruz answers were very strong, it should be good practice when hard left reporters hit him with even more biased questions.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Does Jay have a double standard?
Yes, and No.
Yes: softballs to the one who can't articulate a coherent thought without a teleprompter, hardballs to the one who wins Supreme Court cases.
No: the standard is to get the show moving: big boys can take tough questions.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Leno seems perfectly willing to perpetuate the fawning, "May we kiss your ring, Dear Leader?" stereotype of the media so snarkily satirized by "Saturday Night Live" quite a while back........
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Leno may sort of lean right, but he's still old school. He's not ready to embrace the open frankness so desperately needed to speak unadulterated truth as Cruz is. The truth only hurts those who are unwilling to admit the truth.

Leno, too, has obviously not considered (as have few others) the whole part of the gun control debate centered around "not letting crazy people have guns". By accepting that part of the debate as sensible they're actually allowing the government to define "crazy". I'm not at all comfortable with that. They're also not considering that by eliminating the "crazy" people from having guns, they're also admitting that your private medical records will no longer be private. I'm not comfortable with that either.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Jay Leno does not "sort of lean right". Leno leans Hollywood. He's a go-with-the-flow Hollywood entertainer type who is fine with the Democrat Party agenda. Leno's wealthy enough that Obammunism Care doesn't really affect anything but pocket change to him. Nothing in the veering hard-left Democrat agenda is going to change Jay Leno's lifestyle.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
I wouldn't mind felons or people undergoing psychiatric treatment for violent tendencies be banned from owning a gun.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
If a Monica Lewinsky-type scandal were to occur in the Obama administration, his defense would be, "It wasn't sex; it was journalism."
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yeoman's work, Paula, job well done. Even trying to rationalize Jay's aggressiveness since I know he wants one last Obama interview before he leaves, he was an ass, period.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
one is the sitting president of the United States, the other a United States senator-------you wouldn't expect Leno to treat them the same. I'm sure Cruz is astute enuf to realize that. That said he did a terrific job.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
The difference is simple. Cruz has no sway over the FCC. Obama does. NBC holds about 30 very valuable TV licenses from the FCC. It would be a real pity to see something bad happen to them.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
And, as already demonstrated by the way Obama sent the IRS after Tea Party groups and political opponents, he's not above using Federal agencies as his "enforcers" of petty revenge. Not at all.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Jay Leno bowing to political correctness seems like a long shot.

The FCC under its previous Obama guy Julius Genachowski was as sycophantically in service to the Obama admin. and it's "silence the opposition" code as most extra constitutional agencies are under this president.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
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