Kucinich, Ahmadinejad and the tongue stud

The worst interview yet of the campaign season?

By Tim Grieve
November 2, 2007 7:55PM (UTC)
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We know it's still early in the race, but CBS's Hannah Storm made a strong play this morning for "Worst Interview of the 2008 Presidential Campaign." Her victims: Dennis Kucinich and his wife, Elizabeth.

You can watch the interview here, but we'll try to save you the agony.


Kucinich has said before that he believes, like Barack Obama does, that the president of the United States should be willing to talk directly with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. So it's a little strange that Storm begins her interview by asking Kucinich to react to Obama's statement that he'd "engage in aggressive personal diplomacy with Iran."

But anyway, Storm asks Kucinich if he thinks Obama's concept is a "smart idea." Kucinich says, as he has before, that he'd meet with Ahmadinejad himself.

"So," Storm asks, "you'd meet person to person, backdoor the State Department?" Kucinich again says that he'd meet with Ahmadinejad and, indeed, that "there is no one I wouldn't meet with to create more security for our nation and peace in the world."


Storm's next question: "Do you have plans to meet anyone there -- or Ahmadinejad?"

"I'm telling you," Kucinich says, "that I'd meet with anyone to make our nation more secure and to achieve peace in the world."

Storm, again: "All right ... are you going to request a meeting?"


Politely exasperated, Kucinich says: "You know, I just gave you a blanket statement." Storm says, "OK, all right," then turns the subject of the interview to the candidate's wife.

"You've gotten a lot of attention," Storm says to the candidate. "You have a core group of supporters for your political views, but a lot of people [are] talking about your wife and the fact that she's over three decades younger and she's statuesque and beautiful and has a pierced tongue. What do you make of the attention on her?"


"Well," Kucinich says, "the most important thing I would tell you, Hannah, as a professional, is it's important not to trivialize a woman who has worked on international humanitarian matters, you know, helping people in Africa get access to energy and to housing and to education, helping poor people and children ... in India, working with a group connected with Mother Teresa, working with the Mission to Seafarers in London. I mean, here's a woman of great accomplishment with a master's degree in international conflict resolution. And I hope that you're going to talk about more than a tongue stud."

Storm asks Elizabeth Kucinich one question -- "What do you think that you would bring to the White House?" -- then turns immediately to ... the tongue stud.

Storm: I know that your husband doesn't want to focus on your tongue ring, but you do have one, correct?


Elizabeth Kucinich: Yes, I do.

Storm: And would you remove it if you became first lady, or leave it in?

Elizabeth Kucinich: It's part of me now. It's been there 10 years. So ...

Storm: Can we see it?

Elizabeth Kucinich says no. Dennis Kucinich says seeing the tongue stud is his "privilege. And with that, Storm ends the interview.


Or at least she tries to. As she's signing off, the Kuciniches interject some news about his standing in the polls. The congressman says he's running fourth among Democrats in New Hampshire, and that "everything" will change if he can get to third. Storm's response: "When you get to third place or you meet with Ahmadinejad, we'll have you back."

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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2008 Elections Dennis Kucinich D-ohio