Two members of the panel that questioned GOP candidates in Thursday's debate defended some of their more controversial queries on Friday's "Fox and Friends." Meanwhile, Sean Hannity seemed to say that one of the questions--from Fox News colleague Chris Wallace--was out of line.
Wallace and columnist Byron York both drew the ire of the Ames, Iowa crowd for asking some aggressive questions of Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann, respectively. Wallace asked Gingrich about his campaign staff exodus, and was drawn into a hostile exchange with the former Speaker, who accused him of posing "gotcha" questions.
One of Wallace's fiercest critics would appear to be Sean Hannity. Just after the debate ended, he had Gingrich on as a guest, and seemed to agree with him that Wallace deserved to be slapped down. He told Gingrich that the Speaker's outburst reminded him of the famous moment in a 1980 debate, when Ronald Reagan angrily told a questioner, "I'm paying for this microphone."
"You really seemed to think, wait a minute, why are we talking about this when we ought to be talking about the substance?" he said.
Hannity also claimed that Barack Obama had never been asked a similar question during the 2008 campaign. "The double standard is clear," he said.
On Friday, Wallace didn't mention Hannity's criticism. He told "Fox and Friends" that he was simply doing his job. "Welcome to the NFL," he said. "We're talking about presidential politics. It isn't beanbag." Gingrich, he suggested, was just unhappy to be asked a tough question.
"I'm sorry Speaker Gingrich was unhappy," he said. "...I guess it was something about shooting the messenger."
Watch (via Johnny Dollar):
York drew even more boos and catcalls than Wallace when he asked Bachmann about statements she'd made indicating that she thinks wives should be "submissive" to their husbands.
He was also on "Fox and Friends," and was asked about his question, which Bachmann batted away with a smile.
"This is a serious and legitimate question about something she has said and believe me, if she progresses very far in the campaign process, she would have been asked this question," he replied. "And I personally thought she handled it very well. She handled it much more human--it was like a very human moment for her."