Rachel Maddow invites Republican officials to appear on her show "every day," the popular MSNBC anchor said Saturday, but only about one out of ten take up her offer.
Those numbers suggest Congressional Republicans are especially wary of a Maddow interrogation, since most politicians jump at the chance to appear on prime time news shows with good ratings. The "incentives" to appear differ for elected officials and operatives, she said, and the show draws more conservative "lobbyists and P.R. guys," who are paid to push their clients anywhere they can. (See Phillips, Tim.)
Maddow's comments came during an appearance at The New Yorker Festival on Saturday, in a sold-out session moderated by staff writer Ariel Levy.
The forum also presented an opportunity for Maddow to respond to an unusual attack from George H.W. Bush.
On Friday, the former President said Maddow and MSNBC host Keith Olbermann were "sick puppies" who dished out "horrible" treatment to their ideological opponents -- and to George W. Bush. "When our son was president, they just hammered him mercilessly and I think obscenely a lot of the time," he told CBS Radio.
Maddow said she was "flattered" by the response. She said that the comments also drew a one-line note from her father, who asked if the barb meant that the former President watched the show.
Maddow also discussed the book she is writing, which analyzes why the American foreign policy consensus supports a kind of perpetual war, but warned that the release date is still "anybody's guess." Queried about the superficial pressures of a television career, she volunteered that it was a "great relief" that her appearance does not define her career. "I don't feel like my job depends on my looks," she said, noting as an aside that few would mistake her for a "Fox Business anchor."
And in response to the last question from the audience, Maddow said if she dresses up for Halloween this year, she will be a modified "man in the moon" -- with a black eye -- to mark NASA's recent program bombing the moon.