Tony Abbott appeared on breakfast television today, and the rest of this sentence is unnecessary, because you know when you start out with those words, you’re not going anywhere good.

A few hours ago, the Prime Minister went on Sunrise to take a grilling from Kochie, who came in hot, with “why do you think you’re so unpopular?” as his first question, then made things more awkward from there.

The truly squirm-worthy part commences at around the 3:30 mark in the below video, when Koch addresses the rumours that Abbott asked deputy Julie Bishop to rule out a leadership challenge, and she refused to do so:

“Did you ask her not to challenge and did she refuse?” the host asked. “Kochie, I think people find all that insider Canberra stuff so boring, so absolutely and utterly boring,” he replied.

Koch pressed on. “Did you ask her not to challenge and did she refuse?” he asked again.

“I have meetings with Julie Bishop all the time. The public elected me as Prime Minister to end Labor’s mess, to end Labor’s chaos,” Abbott said. 

Kochie wasn’t letting go. “Can you just answer me, though, did you ask Julie Bishop not to challenge and did she refuse?” he persisted, asking the Prims Minister to at lase “clear the air.”

“I’m not going to play these Canberra insider games,” Abbott said, clearly not having it. “Kochie, you know that the public aren’t interested. Why don’t we just leave all that insider gossip to the Canberra insiders and get on, get back to work?”

There are probably better ways he could have handled that – screaming “YOU WANT THE TRUTH? YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH” at Kochie comes to mind as one.

Senior Liberals Julie Bishop and Malcolm Turnbull have not yet commented publicly on a rumoured leadership challenge, and as of this morning, IsAbbottStillPM.Net.Au reads “yes, for now.”