The gang at “Fox & Friends” thought it had landed an interview with a young, disillusioned, out-of-work former Obama supporter who had shifted his allegiance to Mitt Romney. Instead, the hosts found themselves on the receiving end of a practical joke.
Seeking to highlight the unemployment rate among 18- to 24-year-olds, “Fox & Friends” on Monday brought on Max Rice, who, co-host Gretchen Carlson claimed, is an unemployed college graduate who recently moved out of his parents’ home. But from the start, it was obvious that Rice was not much concerned with his alleged employment situation.
“Hello, Miss USA, it’s an honor,” Rice said with a laugh, a reference to Carlson’s 1989 reign as Miss America.
“Miss America, but close enough,” Carlson said.
“Miss Universe, in my book,” Rice said.
Carlson tried throughout the interview to steer Rice back to the stagnant unemployment rate and weak job market that has purportedly prompted young Obama supporters to abandon the president. It proved to be a futile effort, as Rice responded with a series of incoherent non-sequiturs about both presidential candidates.
Why did he support Obama four years ago?
“Oh, I was a huge Obama supporter in 2008, I met him in the third grade,” Rice said while taking a drink from a white cup. “I met him when I was little.”
And why is he now supporting Romney?
“Why I am supporting Mitt Romney? It’s actually a funny story,” Rice said as a visibly uncomfortable Carlson awaited his response. “I lost a basketball game to a friend of mine.”
By then, Carlson had caught on that she was being duped. “OK, so it sounds like you’re not being very serious,” Carlson said before being cut off by Rice, who feigned the anti-Obama sentiment that the show had originally sought.
“I’m also disappointed in the direction that Obama has taken this nation,” Rice said with a smirk, while continually glancing off-camera. “But yeah, I will be casting my ballot for Mitt Romney.”
A still-unconvinced Carlson asked Rice about his time living at home with his parents. Rice casually detailed his post-college struggles, but he said things have begun to look up for him — and he pointed to his appearance on cable’s No. 1 morning show as evidence.
“Oh, yeah, after I went to college for a bit, I had to go back and live with my parents this summer,” Rice said. “I’m back on my own, independent, I’m on national TV. I feel like I’m doing good. It’s an honor.”
But just as it seemed he might be on message, Rice went rogue again.
“I can’t see your face right now, this is so weird,” Rice said.
“I’m not sure that you’re ready for primetime yet with this interview,” Carlson said as she wrapped up the segment, adding that the show will give Rice “another chance maybe when he’s ready to do the interview.”
The race appears to be on in the effort to identify the supposed Obama apostate. In the introduction to the interview, Carlson did not divulge any of Rice’s biographical information. The website Uproxx unearthed a 2010 commencement speech by someone named Max Rice, who sounds similar to the man who appeared on Fox Monday morning.
Fox News did not immediately respond to TPM’s request for comment.
Tom Kludt is a newswriter for TPM. A former research intern and polling fellow for TPM, he lives and works in New York City. Tom graduated summa cum laude from the University of South Dakota in May of 2010 with a B.A. in Political Science and History. He can be reached at Tom (at) talkingpointsmemo.com.