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Radio host flabbergasted by Karine Jean-Pierre dust-up: 'I'm surprised she was so offended'

A Charlotte radio host who interviewed White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Tuesday and saw the discussion grind to a halt after a question about President Biden’s mental capacity told Fox News he was shocked at her response.

Mark Garrison, news director for WBT, said Wednesday that the White House reached out to inquire about an interview in advance of Biden’s visit to Raleigh this week. 

Former President Trump narrowly defeated Biden in the Tar Heel State in 2020, and it last awarded its delegates to a Democrat in 2008 when then-Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., won them.

Garrison told “The Ingraham Angle” many political interviews distill down to talking points, and that he was hoping to dig deeper.

“So, I thought if I could just ask a couple of questions, maybe we’d make a little news, maybe get a soundbite out of her,” he said. “So I just decided to ask her about all the concern here in North Carolina — even 45% of Democrats are concerned about Biden’s mental state.”

Garrison recounted how Jean-Pierre “dismissed” the question, as she responded instead with praise for what she called his “incredible” State of the Union.

“And then I just said, ‘OK, well, does he have dementia?'” Garrison added. “And I was surprised that she was so offended.”

During the interview, Jean-Pierre audibly bristled at his question and replied, “Mark, I can’t believe you are asking that question.” She called the query “incredibly insulting.”

After a few more moments of back-and-forth on other topics, including gas prices, Jean-Pierre finished her final answer by saying, “With that, thank you so much Mark, have an amazing, amazing day” — and a dial tone was next heard on the WBT airwaves.

“Ingraham Angle” host Laura Ingraham read a statement from the White House in response to allegations Jean-Pierre abruptly ended Garrison’s interview, saying the press secretary “had multiple back-to-back interviews with radio stations who were each offered seven minutes. Once the agreed-upon time was over, she called in to the next interview so everyone could get their full time.”

The statement claimed WBT “chose not to air the full interview and instead artificially attached a sound effect that our phones do not make when calls end.”

Garrison denied WBT added the dial tone in post-production, instead telling “The Ingraham Angle” he was offended at the suggestion.

“We don’t add sound effects to news stories. When she hit the button to disconnect, we got a dial tone. We didn’t add any drama to it,” he said

Further addressing the controversy over the dementia question, Garrison said North Carolinians have been curious about the president’s acuity, and that Jean-Pierre could have responded with even a brief defense of Biden’s faculties. 

“But in fact, what she did was take us down a bumpy dirt road because she went on to say, ‘Well, every year the White House physician examines the president and puts out a detailed report,'” he said.

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Garrison said he reviewed the physician reports, and did not see Biden’s mental acuity addressed in a positive or negative light. 

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