From there, it was a mad dash to figure out questions and logistics before taping the exchange with Judge Kavanaugh and his wife, Ashley Estes Kavanaugh, for Fox News Channel. “It was a quick turnaround,” MacCallum told Variety, in an interview after the exchange aired on her 7 p.m. program, “The Story.”
She landed what is known in the news business as a “big get.” The nation is riveted to Kavanaugh’s nomination process, which has been knocked off its traditional path by accusations from women that he initiated unwanted sexual contact with them when he was younger.
“I think he was anxious to get his story out,” said MacCallum, who noted she and her staff have been furiously working this story, reaching out not only to Kavanaugh’s team, but also the women who have made allegations against him. She believes she got the interview in part because Kavanaugh felt her show would offer “a fair shake.”
What viewers may not realize, she said, was how emotional Kavanaugh was during their talk. “It was very clear to me that underneath it all, he was choking up,” MacCallum said. His feelings, she added, “were very palpable.”
Kavanaugh was more candid than expected, telling MacCallum that he was a virgin into college. “We’re talking about allegations of sexual assault. I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone. I did not have sexual intercourse, or anything close to sexual intercourse in high school or for many years thereafter, and the girls from the schools I went to and I were friends,” he said to MacCallum.
MacCallum noted that some of the allegations against Kavanaugh are not related to intercourse.
Immediate reaction to her interview has been favorable, even from Democrat supporters. “Martha MacCallum is pressing Kavanaugh more than I would have guessed,” said Brian Fallon, the former Hillary Clinton campaign official, on Twitter.
MacCallum chalks the whole thing up to being available at the right time. “That’s sometimes how things work in this business,” she said.