According to a Politico report, CNN commentator S.E. Cupp and Fox News media consultant Jon Kraushar both gave media training to most major Republican Senate candidates leading up to Tuesday's midterm elections.
The "bootcamp" was arranged by the National Republican Senatorial Committee and intended to keep GOP candidates from making campaign-crippling media gaffes. Politico pointed to former congressman Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" remarks in 2012 as a prime example of such a blunder.
Cupp, who was a panelist on "Crossfire" before CNN canceled the show in October, remains a commentator at the network. She conducted mock interviews with candidates, simulating the kind of interrogation they might receive from the media in weeks prior to the elections. Kraushar, who has worked for Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan and Dick Cheney, handles most of the on-camera training at Fox News. He was also present to ensure that candidates were primed.
"Over the next two days, for eight hours a day, the candidates had to watch each other stumble, stammer, run from the cameras. They were drilled on policy, then had the cameras turned on them," Politico's Edward-Isaac Dovere, Manu Raju and John Bresnahan report. "They were briefed on common media mistakes, then had the camera turned on them. They were shown footage of Akin and Richard Mourdock making fools of themselves two years ago, then had the camera turned on them again."
According to Time magazine, this was the first election for which such media training was made mandatory by the NRSC for candidates who wanted its financial backing. Not only was it important to prepare candidates for traditional interviews, but, in today's world, any embarrassing moment, in any setting, can be easily caught on camera and broadcast to voters.
"It’s just a course of learning how to deal with this new wrinkle in the campaign environment, which is reality TV presence of cameras in your life," NRSC Executive Director Rob Collins said in an interview with Time. "I think the training worked. I don’t think you've seen a lot of Republicans saying things that they later regretted.