Under the Dome

GOP mad about Maddow

Republicans have a new hero: Commentator Rachel Maddow on the liberal cable news channel MSNBC.

Why the newfound love? Maddow was critical of Sen. Kay Hagan Tuesday night after the Democrat didn’t attend a televised forum on TWC News with Republican Thom Tillis.

Hagan had turned down an invitation to a debate hosted by TWC, The Charlotte Observer and The News & Observer in July. The two campaigns had agreed to three debates – the same number as in the 2008 Senate race – and Hagan did not agree to a fourth. Tillis, who missed several Republican forums in the primary, said he wanted as many as 10 debates with Hagan.

Despite the insistence of the Hagan campaign that she would do only three debate, the media partners went forward with their plans to hold the event.

On Tuesday, Tillis appeared alone on the show next to an empty chair. The empty chair – which TWC put out “in case Hagan showed up” – was not visible for most of the night but that didn’t stop conservative groups from seizing on the “empty chair Hagan image.”

After showing a clip of the forum, Maddow points out the empty chair and mocks the scenario.

“For you voters, we present this hourlong conversation with just the Republican candidate – on TV, for an hour, uncontested, so he can tell you what he thinks, without any time constraints, and without anybody rudely interrupting – two weeks before election day,” Maddow said.

“Did I mention this race is basically tied?”

Republicans were quick to seize on Maddow’s comments, posting the clip to YouTube: