On Friday, embattled incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., was derided on social media for supposedly not knowing about the defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., at the hands of an obscure Tea Party challenger.
In fact, Foxnews.com went so far as to say that the longtime Mississippi senator “had no idea what happened in Virginia.”
The supposed gaffe stems from an interview Thursday when Cochran, who is currently fighting a vicious re-election battle against Tea Party-backed primary challenger, Chris McDaniel, was asked if "what happened in Virginia" concerned him.
"I don't know what you're talking about — what happened in Virginia?" the senator said.
Cochran's staff claims the remark was simply a joke, adding that the senator has grown annoyed with being asked about Cantor's defeat.
The Fox News interviewer informed Cochran that Cantor had lost his seat to Dave Brat, a 52-year-old economics professor.
“Well, I haven't really followed that campaign very closely at all,” Cochran responded.
The interviewer continued, noting that Cantor had formally announced that he would resign as House majority leader later this year.
"Yeah, well, it happens. Uh, you know, members of Congress -- some win, some lose. It's not an automatic proposition that you get re-elected just because you've done a good job. Voters make their own decisions and I respect their judgment,” Cochran said.
However, the senator is clearly aware of Cantor's loss, contrary to earlier claims made on Friday.
Indeed, Cochran commented on the defeat of the Virginia congressman the day after it happened.
“That's politics,” Cochran said Wednesday. "I think there was a lot of surprise everywhere on the size of the victory and the fact that the leader couldn't defend his service in Congress. So what else is new in politics? Some people win, some people lose."
So, yes, Cochran is clearly aware that Cantor was defeated this week by a relatively unknown Tea Party candidate.
Still, considering the fact that the Mississippi incumbent is running a very close re-election campaign against McDaniel, it's probably best that Cochran avoid coming off as uninformed or flippant in interviews. Otherwise, his campaign staff will end up spending more time dealing with questions about the senator's intelligence than it will winning an election.