Such was the case with George Osborne's appearance before the Treasury Select Committee this morning. The questions, particularly those on whether the Budget hits the poorest hardest, were generally measured and insistent. But Osborne stood up well through it all, pointing out how any party in power would have to implement hefty spending cuts and tax rises. And he seemed to enjoy referencing the supporting testimony in those Mandelson memoirs.
What's more, Osborne will have snatched the headlines with a welcome move: offering the Treasury Select Committee a veto on his appointments to the Office for Budget Responsibility. This has been brewing for a few days, but, now it's official, it should suck some of the sting from the issue. As Andrew Tyrie put it at the end of proceedings: a "useful evidence session".