A Hot Mic Moment for a CNN Anchor During McCarthy Remarks

A hot mic moment came for a CNN anchor during remarks by then-House Speaker nominee Kevin McCarthy on Friday.

After failing to nail down a win during the first 13 ballots, McCarthy told reporters, “We’ll come back tonight. I believe at that time we’ll have the votes to finish this once and for all. It just reminds me of what my father always told me. It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. And now we have to finish for the American public.”

A female voice was heard exclaiming, “Oh, for Christ’s sake,” in response to McCarthy.

Although the moment quickly went viral on social media, no one was quite sure of the source.

According to Fox News, the buzz is that the words had been uttered by either Democratic strategist and CNN contributor Karen Finney, who had been on the air before the network cut to McCarthy, or CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash.

Frankly, my money’s on Karen Finney. Dana Bash seems too professional to make a mistake like this.

At the time, McCarthy’s prospects had begun to brighten. His latest compromises with the Freedom Caucus members had brought all but six of the GOP holdouts into his column. Those included Reps.-elect Andy Biggs of Arizona, Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Eli Crane of Arizona, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Bob Good of Virginia, and Matt Rosendale of Montana.

Ahead of the 14th ballot, McCarthy and his supporters felt cautiously optimistic about his chances of victory. And why wouldn’t they? In an appearance on Fox News’ “Hannity” less than an hour prior to the vote, Gaetz, the most outspoken member of the opposition, and Boebert seemed delighted with the concessions they’d extracted. Gaetz even referred to McCarthy as the speaker designate and joked that he’d run out of things to ask for.

Yet, rather than throwing his support to McCarthy, Gaetz voted present. As did Boebert. Although this had the effect of lowering the number of votes needed to win to 217, it still left McCarthy one vote short of victory and neither Gaetz nor Boebert would agree to switch their votes. Moreover, Gaetz was among the group of House members who voted to adjourn the session until Monday morning.

Inexplicably, Gaetz had a change of heart and reversed that decision, opting to move on to a 15th ballot. According to The New York Times, Trump had called Gaetz, Biggs and the other three GOP holdouts.

Gaetz once again voted present. But Biggs and the last three holdouts changed their previous votes for other candidates to present, lowering the threshold for victory and finally, on the 15th ballot, McCarthy won the speakership.

I wonder what Finney, or whoever we heard on the hot mic on Friday afternoon, thought about that.


A previous version of this article appeared in The Western Journal.

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