Dismissing Missouri's GOP Primary as nothing more than a "beauty contest," CNN contributor John Avlon used a rather disturbing image to make his point – faces of Republican candidates superimposed onto the figures of beauty queens. The segment aired on Monday's OutFront around 7:15 p.m.
"I just want to give people time to soak in that beautiful graphic," Avlon mused as the picture of Republicans in ball gowns and tiaras appeared in the background of the set. One can only wonder if CNN would have done the same to then-candidate Barack Obama in 2008.
"There are no delegates being awarded and in fact it's been called a beauty contest, and there's reason for that," Avlon said of Tuesday's primary.
OutFront host Erin Burnett was a bit taken aback by the image, and quipped that Newt Gingrich should be thankful that he is not on the ballot in Missouri because his face was crossed out in the picture. "He might have lucked out, John," she told Avlon.
[Video below. Click here  for audio.]
The panel guests were ready with their one-liners. "I was averting my eyes," said National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru amidst laughter.
A transcript of the segment, which aired on February 6 at 7:17 p.m. EST, is as follows:
ERIN BURNETT: All right, now there's one state tomorrow that I don't know really what's going on in this state. The state is voting and then in a few weeks, it's voting again and I don't know if it's ever going to count.
JOHN AVLON, CNN contributor: Yeah.
BURNETT: That would be Missouri.
AVLON: That would be Missouri. And look, I hate to break it to our friends in the "Show Me" state, Missouri doesn't matter tomorrow night. There are no delegates being awarded and in fact it's been called a beauty contest, and there's reason for that. I just want to give people time to soak in that beautiful graphic.
AVLON: It is a beauty contest.
AVLON: There are no delegates being awarded tomorrow night.
BURNETT: This is a drag of – not the drag races.
AVLON: That's – yes that would be this – and Newt Gingrich not even on the ballot. In fact, the real contest in Missouri has been kicked to March 17th, St. Patrick's Day.
BURNETT: He might be grateful he's not on the ballot because his picture and face didn't just get put on a –
AVLON: On a tiara and a ball gown –
BURNETT: Tiara, ball gown lady, yeah. He might have lucked out, John.
AVLON: The big secret about tomorrow in Missouri contest, it is – does not matter. There are no delegates being given. The real fight's going to be March 17th. But it could matter in terms of media momentum and that's what Rick Santorum in particular will be trying to go for tomorrow.
BURNETT: All right, let's bring in Ramesh Ponnuru and David Frum into this conversation. I don't know. Could you both see who looked best in their dress?
RAMESH PONNURU, senior editor, National Review: I was averting my eyes.
DAVID FRUM, CNN contributor: I want to know who won the talent and congeniality contests.
BURNETT: You know what? You're lucky that we didn't do the swim suit edition. All right, we stuck with –
AVLON: There was a conversation about that.
BURNETT: We had a conversation, but we were – we couldn't decide who we should put in a bathing suit, so we decided to go equal opportunity –
PONNURU: We do know Ron Paul would call for world peace though.
- Matt Hadro is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center