How Hugh Hewitt Became the GOP's Go-To Interrogator

The conservative radio host has done 40 interviews with candidates on his show. The debate format may shake things up.

MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r) –Hugh Hewitt, Host, “The Hugh Hewitt Show,” left, and Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Mayor of Baltimore City, right, appear on "Meet the Press" in Washington, D.C., Sunday April 12, 2015.

Photographer: NBC NewsWire

One Sunday in August, Jake Tapper and Hugh Hewitt met for brunch to talk debate prep. Tapper, CNN’s chief Washington correspondent, is moderating the second face-off of the Republican primary, officially the CNN Ronald Reagan Library debate. Dana Bash, the network’s chief political correspondent, will be on stage in Simi Valley, California, asking questions, and so will be Hewitt, although he’s not from CNN. Hewitt, a conservative radio host whose show is syndicated by the Christian-focused Salem Radio Network, had Tapper on the air last month to disclose their brunch and discuss strategy. They spoke of the solemn issues of the day—Iranian nukes, the violation of UN embargoes, cyber warfare—and decried “what the media and political worlds and voters are discussing instead,” which, at that moment, was whether Donald Trump had insinuated that Megyn Kelly was menstruating. How to strike the right balance? That’s “the problem we face here,” Hewitt told Tapper. “We need to be fair,” he said, “but we also have to be of the news and we also have to be about the Republican primary voter. It’s tricky.”

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