Senate Republican leaders fled their weekly press conference after delivering prepared remarks Wednesday without taking a single question from reporters eagerly seeking their thoughts on their presidential nominee’s newly unearthed remarks dismissing nearly half of American voters.
Although some of the leadership members addressed journalists in separate huddles as they walked away, the unusual display is symptomatic of the party’s nervousness over Romney’s comments from a private fundraiser deriding the 47 percent of Americans who pay no federal income taxes.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) excused himself in the middle of the availability. The rest — Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Sens. John Thune (R-SD), Roy Blunt (R-MO) and John Barrasso (R-WY) — made no mention of Romney or the race in their comments and instead lamented Senate dysfunctionality and attacked Democratic policies.
When reporters ran after them to ask about Romney’s comments, they dodged.
“First of all I’m not going to get critical — your question implies there’s some really big flaw in the way he’s running the campaign,” Kyl said, when asked whether the GOP nominee has harmed his and Republicans’ hopes in November.