CNN New Day's Alisyn Camerota is one of the better interviewers out there. She's dogged, she usually knows the subject matter, and she's not afraid of confrontation.
This morning, she methodically deflated talking points from Matt Schlapp, founder of CPAC.
"Let's start with Wayne La Pierre, CEO of NRA. He made eyebrow-raising comments yesterday. Let's play that for our viewers."
The elites don't care, not one whit, about America's school system and schoolchildren. If they truly cared, what they would do is they would protect them. For them it's not a safety issue. It's a political issue. Their goal is to eliminate the Second Amendment and our firearms freedoms so they can eradicate all individual freedoms.
She asked Schlapp if those who want expanded background checks 'hate freedom and want to take away all individual freedom.' "
No no no, it's time to come together, Schlapp insisted.
"Why is Wayne La Pierre stoking that division?" she asked.
Nah, he's just defending the Second Amendment! he said.
"Why does he say people who want some sort is of measure against gun violence, quote, hate freedom and want to take away, all, all is his word, individual freedoms? You don't think that's divisive?" she prodded.
"I think if you understand the antecedent, it makes more sense. There are people who stoke the push for gun control because they think it is good politics. The sad thing, it's false hope for people. Where we have the most gun control, we have the highest crime. We're not talking about the violence," Schlapp said.
"That's not true, Matt. It's just not true. It's not true," she said.
"In Connecticut, Newtown, they made all sorts of different new laws and measures. And now their crime and homicide rate went down, okay? The point is, Matt, I'm saying Wayne La Pierre is your chosen speaker --
"I live in Washington, D.C. I read the statistics in Chicago. they have the highest incidence of gun control. It is not controlling crime," he said.
"Because it's coming from Indiana where the gun control is lax. You know that, Matt. But, listen --"
"You're blaming Indiana for the crimes in Chicago. That's not fair."
"Matt, you know where the guns in Chicago come from."
"Yeah, they come from the a criminal element that has their guns even though they might be illegal to obtain."
"Okay. the larger issue is, is this a moment of unity or a moment of division? If it's a moment of unity, why does Wayne La pPierre want some measure like the kids in parkland and their parents, some measure of expanded background checks trying to take away all freedom and hate freedom?" she asked.
Schlapp said he was for expanded background checks. "Even the NRA is for expanded background checks." (Editor's note: They're not.)
"Let me just keep going real fast. It is unfair to say that Wayne La Pierre shouldn't be a part of this conversation. If the leaders of the Second Amendment groups are cut away from this conversation, America can't get to a consensus is. He represents millions of Americans. And the people in the room at CPAC deserve to have a chair around the table."
(Editor's note: No one really knows how many dues-paying members the NRA has, since they won't release that information. When they say 5 million members, they mean they have 5 million people on their email list who probably have signed a petition. Like most email lists, a lot of the names are likely duplicates, or deceased.)
"Why the message? Matt, why the message? The message is one of division where he claims that people who are trying to solve gun violence hate freedom. I mean, that's what he said. I'm using his words. You just heard them. They hate freedom. they want to take away your individual freedom. That's not helpful," she said.
"I'm responsible for the words that come out of my mouth," Schlapp insisted
Matt, sidestep all you want. This is your circus, and those are your crazed monkeys. Maybe that's why you don't allow weapons at CPAC?