Confident, efficient and calm under pressure, Anaya Vinay is the Peyton Manning of spelling. The 12-year-old sixth grader spelled 35 words correctly and dispatched 290 competitors to become the first solo champion of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in three years. And then the word nerd met a pair of political punks.
On CNN's New Day, Alisyn Camerota and Chris Cuomo let political stupidity eclipse intellectual achievement, asking Vinay to spell one more word, "covfefe." You know, just for giggles.
It wasn't clear whether the grammatical champ was in on the joke during the television spot. But it was definitely uncouth and almost exploitive.
Shifting from one foot to the other, Alisyn asked for the definition of the word, the word's part of speech, and any of the word's alternate pronunciations. At one point Cuomo shouted jokingly "stop stalling, do you know how to spell this word?" But why would she know how to spell a stupid typo that journalists have whipped into a frenzy and why would you ask her to?
Like most normal people this week, Vinay hasn't been obsessively refreshing Twitter looking for an opportunity to point out the president's stupid typos. Vinay had plenty of real and obscure words to memorize like "marocain," which is apparently a type of cloth and the word she spelled correctly to clinched the championship.
The little girl from Fresno, Calif., has spent years of her young life absorbing the dictionary in order to win the most prestigious intellectual prize for anyone under 15. She battled back after stumbling to an early defeat during last year's competition over the word "multivalent." But forget that comeback story.
Camerota and Cuomo just had to make her part of their gimmick about the president. Honestly, it's not that unexpected anymore. Politics crowds out everything else, consuming anything that was once apolitical like professional sports. Now at least we know that includes national spelling bees.
Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.