Roberts’ ‘birth control’ joke upsets some NPR listeners

Occasional NPR political commentator Cokie Roberts put herself in the line of fire this morning when she made a joke about birth control and Latino influence in tomorrow’s election.

It happened when Roberts was asked by Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep about the likelihood that the Latino vote could swing the election.

“It another reason for the electoral college,” she said. “You wouldn’t be paying that much attention to Latinos nationwide. They’re only about 12 percent of the vote. But in states like Florida, Nevada, Texas, Arizona, it’s a much higher percentage.”

Tucker Carlson, the Republican analyst, sounded his own alarm, saying when Texas goes Democrat, “there’ll be no need to have presidential elections; the numbers are just too overwhelming electorally.”

He suggested tightening immigration to prevent Latino influence.

That’s when Roberts stepped in it.

“Well immigration wouldn’t do it,” she said, “you’d have to do birth control.”

Few of these interviews are actually broadcast live. Most are pre-recorded. So NPR could have edited out the comment, which created an immediate backlash against Roberts. (Update: NPR says interview was live)

Her points seems to have been that a Republican strategy to tighten immigration to protect their political chances would not work. There were, obviously, better ways to make the point.

Last spring, NPR distanced itself a bit from Roberts when she said Donald Trump “is one of the least qualified candidates ever to make a serious run for the presidency.”

Related: How does the Electoral College work and is it fair? (NPR)