McDaniel: Absolutely here is what it boils down to and I want to be very very clear about this. What happened there is reprehensible. It’s probably one of the worst things I’ve heard in an awfully long time. And I can tell you this: our campaign had absolutely nothing to do with it. No knowledge of it at all.
Gallo: No knowledge…prior?
McDaniel: This Clayton Kelly guy is absolutely foreign to us. I have no idea who he is.
Gallo: Did he do an interview with you?
McDaniel: No he did not. He did not do an interview with me. The video I think you are referencing is pieces he had taken from other interviews and placed together.
Gallo: You never met him face to face?
McDaniel: No we have probably met at a meet and greet. There is a picture that shows us shaking hands at a meet and greet. It is kind of strange the way the press ran with that considering I take dozens if not hundreds of pictures every day
McDaniel: No I mean that’s the nature of politics. Literally every day we have 3 or 4 or 5 events and there are dozens if not a hundred or more people at these events. So to say that I haven’t met him, that wouldn’t be right. To say that we had anything to do with this…let me be really, really clear this campaign had nothing whatsoever to do with this.
Gallo: Clarify the Melanie/Jaffe timeline. Did you know at that craft fair when Jaffe asked you the question?
McDaniel: I was not fully briefed at the time.
Gallo: Did you know there was an arrest made at that time?
McDaniel: No at that time I did not. I did not.
McDaniel: At 7:30 in the morning…
Gallo: Melanie was working on it all night, and called you but you didn’t know?
McDaniel: Let me tell you what’s going on I can explain it. At 7:30 in the morning is when I received a phone call from Melanie roughly about that time period. I had not been up all night. The job of a staff is to handle these things. To go and look at the press and make sure things are going smoothly or badly as the case may be. I’m asleep. I’m ashamed to say that morning I slept a little late and the phone call awakened me and basically she said some things about Mrs. Cochran and I said whoa stop right there. I said you know our campaign’s position in regards to that
Gallo: She didn’t tell you there was an arrest?
McDaniel: No…Paul let me finish ok and I can explain this. I said Melanie our position on this has always been the same Paul we been…let’s’ just back up…and I can tell you what’s going on here please give me the courtesy and I can tell you. For years we’ve all in this state heard various rumors about politicians. From day one it was our campaign’s intention to never, not for a second, become scandalous, salacious, or to get into those issues. Senator Cochran has a 42-year record of liberalism that was our focus, it always has been. I’ve had this conversation with Melanie she knows how I feel about this. She knows how sensitive this issue is.
Gallo: I can’t imagine the campaign manager not telling you.
McDaniel: No…it’s the nature…I was asleep!
Gallo: She called you and told you…what did she tell you?
McDaniel: She did.
McDaniel: I can tell you what she said. She said Chris, we have an issue involving Mrs. Cochran. I said let me do this. Let me get up. Let me take a shower. You can fully brief me when I get to Hernando. And that’s where it went down. We did not get any further in the initial conversation.
Gallo: All the way to Hernando, she never called you?
McDaniel: Paul. No. We’re busy.
Gallo: It’s a little bizarre…
McDaniel: It’s not…I trust…We had nothing to do…
Gallo: It kept Melanie up all night long?
McDaniel: You’ll have to ask her about that.
Gallo: She’s in the studio I could ask her.
McDaniel: It’s up to you guys. It’s whatever you want to talk about.
Gallo: You said no personal attacks, but your campaign delivered a lot of personal attacks re residency.
McDaniel: Deliver an inference? No we are not delivering an inference. What he does in his residency issues I think that is a matter of public…
Gallo: You don’t call that personal?
McDaniel: It’s a matter of public knowledge how could that be personal? These are public documents Paul let me explain these are public documents. What we know is he has said his primary residence is in Washington D.C. Now secondly the issue…we haven’t inferred anything we have stayed away from the rumors every single time they have come up. But his travel on my dime is a legitimate public issue. It’s a matter of public record. Hold on for a second.
Gallo: You travel. As a state senator you travel.
McDaniel: You believe I’ve ever taken a trip outside the state of Mississippi? I haven’t. I haven’t.
Gallo: A lot of senators do.
McDaniel: It’s not a normal practice if it’s abused. No. Hold on Paul.
Gallo: You are saying it’s been abused?
McDaniel: I believe it is. He has take dozens and dozens of trips all over the world on my dime. I don’t like it when Michelle Obama does it. I don’t like it when Senator Cochran does it.
Gallo: So you are saying you will never travel?
McDaniel: I’m not saying I’ll never travel. I guarantee you I wont take dozens and dozens of trips to exotic locations.
Gallo: How do you determine exotic locations?
McDaniel: Come on Paul. You believe these politicians are travelling around the country…to uh…outside of…(inaudible)…There is abuse every year. Michelle Obama has shown us that and Senator Cochran has shown us that.
Gallo: Inference that Senator Cochran didn’t release news sooner?
McDaniel: That came first of all from the Hill didn’t? Everybody keeps saying this is out campaign. It’ s funny when the press breaks something negative about me, it’s never Senator Cochran’s campaign.
Gallo: Do you think he should have done it sooner?
McDaniel: Let me tell you something Paul. If someone were to break into or come into or acquire a picture of my mom or my wife in a nursing home I don’t wait 3 weeks to file charges. I don’t wait 2 weeks from a primary date to file charges. I file charges that day.
Gallo: That’s what you would have done?
McDaniel: Paul that’s a serious offense. Absolutely.
Gallo: You are an attorney:
McDaniel: I am.
Gallo: You wouldn’t investigate first?
McDaniel: My goodness. You believe that? Oh come on Paul. Paul. If that picture exists that picture is the evidence. No further investigation is required. You take it to the police you file your charges.
Gallo: Is that an indictment of Cochran?
McDaniel: It’s interesting. It’s always defending Cochran’s campaign and that’s fine. Let me tell you something: anybody with any sense recognizing the severity of that activity the fact that somebody has taken a picture of a vulnerable adult you don’t wait three weeks to go charge it to the police officers, you do it three hours not three weeks later.
Gallo: When Tara Kelly said “the big man” wanted it taken down. Who was the liaison?
McDaniel: Melanie. Let me tell you what happened there. You know it’s funny everyone keeps trying to concoct a story here. Everybody wants to talk about something besides Senator Cochran’s record.
Gallo: So Melanie was in contact with Kelly?
McDaniel: Yeah. No. No Paul. It’s really simple: there is nothing here. This is a fiction you guys are creating. Here is what happened: Facebook. Every day on Facebook there is a new rumor. There is a new allegation. Wouldn’t you know. In April we received some sort of notice that there was a video floating around about Kay and Thad. I’ve never laid eyes on the video. Never. But what I was sure of was that was not anything our campaign was going to be involved in.
McDaniel: It looks great. It looks great. We took the lead in the polls, etc.
Gallo: One more question. Why, if so upset about this, why did you wait until the arrest. Why didn’t you do something the day of?
McDaniel: If we took action every time we heard a rumor.
Gallo: This wasn’t a rumor.
McDaniel: No the point is Paul we hear things like this every single day of this campaign. We get wind of some sort of video never laid eyes on it never seen it. Our position has always been we are not going to talk scandal politics. We are not going there.
Gallo: You are giving me political speak here.
McDaniel: Senator Sojourner fired out an email that day saying if you touch this you will be terminated.
Gallo: Why did you send to staff? Did you think somebody on staff was involved.
McDaniel: Not at all. Not at all. We wanted to be absolutely certain that our campaign never went down that path. It’s not the place of politics. It’s not the place…
Gallo: Melanie didn’t communicate with you all that night or morning?
McDaniel: Melanie has a job as my campaign manager and she was communicating with the Cochran campaign.
Gallo: Did she not communicate with Noel, the communications director?
McDaniel: That’s not my job. You’ll have to ask her. Paul. Paul. I understand people want to concoct a story around what you see as misstatements. Here is my question to you do you have any evidence whatsoever that this campaign was involved with this outside…you are all hanging a theory because someone allegedly misspoke.
Gallo: You are an attorney. The investigation is not over.
McDaniel: The investigation needs to go on.
Gallo: You can’t tell me it’s not somebody from your staff.
McDaniel: What are you talking about? This situation? Our people have nothing to do with this.
Gallo: If it is somebody on your staff would you withdraw from race?
McDaniel: It’s not. I’m not going to answer a hypothetical. What are you talking about?
Gallo: You don’t know what Noel is doing. You don’t know what Melanie is doing…
McDaniel: I tell you what I’ll answer that question when Senator Cochran answers a few questions about whether he will withdraw from the race. Hold on Paul. This is is the point you told me you were going to let me talk and now you wont let me talk.