Mike Barnicle learned a lesson the hard way this morning: don’t challenge Kellyanne Conway without having all your ducks in a row. It won’t end well. On Morning Joe, the subject was the Trump plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. Barnicle snidely asked Conway “now, do you or do you not have a replacement plan ready to go, ramped up, ready to go, say tomorrow?” When Conway pointed out that there wasn’t a confirmed HHS Secretary in place and that she hoped that the Senate Democrats would cooperate on timely and fair hearings, Barnicle sarcastically responded: “so you’re asking the Democrats to be as fair as the Republicans were” at the beginning of the Obama administration?

Conway pounced. Interjecting “they were very fair,” Conway had at her fingertips the fact that President Obama had seven of his cabinet nominees confirmed on the day he was inaugurated in 2009, and five more within the week. She also cited chapter and verse on the numerous cabinet appointees that were promptly confirmed at the beginning of George W’s administration. It was a bravura performance, and Barnicle was heard no more on the subject.

Note: the articles in The Hill and the Washington Post cited by Conway, as well as this one in Politico, report that under Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Democrats intend to slow walk the confirmation process, drawing it out into March. WaPo describes the Dem plan as “an unprecedented break with Senate tradition.”

MIKE BARNICLE: Now, do you or do you not have a replacement plan ready to go, ramped up, ready to go, say tomorrow?

KELLYANNE CONWAY: We have pieces of it that we need to —

BARNICLE: — pieces.

CONWAY: Well, we don’t have an HHS Secretary confirmed yet. Go ask Minority Leader Schumer and the rest if they’re going to give him a fair hearing, if they’re even going to meet with him. I mean, we’re ready to go. But we’re not the only party; we’re certainly the majority party. We need some help and we need some assistance by the Democrats to at least be fair and have meetings and of course timely and fair.

BARNICLE: So you’re asking the Democrats to be as fair as the Republicans were

CONWAY: — they were very fair. Excuse me, President Obama had seven of his cabinet members confirmed on January 20, 2009, his inauguration day. Are you going to guarantee me the same courtesy? It doesn’t sound that way if you read The Hill and the Washington Post, yesterday. And then he had five more that week. President Bush had nine his first week. He had State and Defense and Ag and Commerce and Education and Energy and Treasury. Are we going to have that? It doesn’t seem that way.