Monday, September 25, 2006

The Bill Clinton Interview

How you feel about the Chris Wallace interview, depends on what you think of Clinton. About half of the nation likes him, the other half doesn't. So, it would come as no surprise that each camp is following the normal course of post-event inflammatory rhetoric, against each other. One side thought he was brilliant, the other side thinks he was deplorable.

Me? I think it was somewhere in between.

Here's how I saw the exchange:

1. Clinton was primed and ready to defend himself against what he perceives to be the "evil" Fox News bias. He came on the show, knowing fully good and well that he was not going to be softballed. Since the airing of the Path To 9/11, he has been eager to defend himself against what he believes to be unfair treatment by the movie and some in the media. What better way to mount a serious campaign is there, than by taking on a so-called "right wing" outlet?

2. I felt the interview was a hardball interview, if it had not been, Wallace would have led the questioning with Clinton's work on "The Global Initiative", then gradually steered his way into the hard questions on 9/11. Just as Clinton knew what he was going to do, Wallace knew what he was going to do. Anyone that feels sorry for either, probably doesn't understand the nature of politics, very well.

3. Clinton found out just how George Bush feels when he gets interviewed. I saw the recent Lauer/Bush interview and it was just as harsh (if not harsher) as Wallace/Clinton. This is what the GOP puts up with each and every time, they give an interview to the MSM. It's not a hell of a lot of fun to have to face that kind of treatment, time in and time out. And Clinton just found that out, today.

4. The whole idea of casting blame on Clinton (and him alone), is ludicrous. I have said before and will say again, everyone from Carter on, shares in the blame. To cast Clinton or Bush, as the more responsible of the two, shows just how naive a person can be. To believe this is an either/or situation, demonstrates a lack of responsibilty towards the truth.

If you really want to point the finger at someone, you have to understand one simple thing. The people most responsible for 9/11 never occupied the residence at 1600 Pennsylvania. They trained in terrorist camps in Afghanistan.


A.C. said...

Good summary. You seem to be in the camp that thinks Clinton exploded on purpose, and I'm coming around to that myself. Both him and wifey have been posturing for a WH re-entry since 2001, and maybe he thinks this proves he's a tough guy on terror, even when he's not. If nothing it proves he's a tough guy against harmless journalists at FNC..

LASunsett said...


To my knowledge, I have not seen him on Fox, before this. He knew that the others in the MSM would not ask him about this, at least not in the direct way that Wallace did. I think he was there chomping at the bit to unleash.

Like I said in the post, Wallace should have started light and worked his way up to it. He should not have led with it.

Mary Ellen said...


Personally, I don't think Bill Clinton went on Fox in order to pick a fight or with an agenda to put them in their place. He had already gone on quite a few talk shows and radio shows in order to discuss his "Global Initiative". However, Clinton was never one to put up with any crap from the right wing.

When Bill Clinton ran his most successful campaign as president, he had his "war room" that put out the facts whenever the right wing tried to put out false information to smear him. They were fast and efficient. That's the way Bill works.

Of course he was ready for Wallace's smear tactics. Do you think he never watched Fox News in action before? Unlike President Bush, Bill goes into an interview prepared and ready for anything.

The fact of the matter is, I've heard nothing but rhetoric from the right wingers about Bill Clintons "angry outburst" than the point that he dispelled every one of their talking points they put out in order to smear him. Why aren't they speaking out about how he set the record straight? Where are their "facts" that say that he was wrong in anything he said? There are none...because he told the truth. That is something that the right wingers have a hard time dealing with.

Always On Watch said...

I didn't see the entire interview, but the snippets which I managed to catch seemed to me to show Clinton overreacting. If I recall correctly, he alluded to "the right wing conspiracy," though he didn't use those exact words.

LASunsett said...

Hi Mary Ellen,

Slate, which is certainly not a right wing publication, believes the outburst was planned You can read the article here

Dick Morris is not a right winger and he has a piece today that refutes some of the information that Clinton claimed as facts, here

And the LA Times, which is widely accepted as a liberal newspaper, published some criticism here

While I have no problem with him defending himself against unfair criticism, the manner in which he did it makes me suspicious. Remember the indignant response he gave when he said " I did not have sex with that woman". That turned out to be false. Not that I cared, but it did hurt his credibility, severely. This reminded me of that. Not that this is enough to draw a conclusion from, mind you. But, as one who is trained in watching body language and other forms of non-verbal and verbal communications, he seriously looked as if this was rehearsed and appeared to be very defensive about the accusation.

But, all in all, I think this can be chalked up as another election year ploy. Many a politician has used this strategy to counter what he/she perceived to be infair treatment, in the past. George H. W. Bush did it with Dan Rather and it worked. Whether this works to the Dems advantage this time, remains to be seen. It's awfully hard to win a campaign with nothing other than a campaign AGAINST something (in this case, the Bush Presidency).

People may not be happy with Bush right now for a variety of reasons. But I doubt they are willing to take a chance with a party that offers little, other than a litany of complaints. They need solid alternate plans to the course the President is taking and so far, I haven't seen any.

LASunsett said...


He seemed to be well-rehearsed, to me. He also seemed to be deflecting criticism back towards Bush, something that he (himself) hasn't done too much of, since he has been out of office.

If anything he has been fairly silent on the Bush administration, while people like Gore, Kennedy, Dean, Kerry, and others have done the hatchet jobs. This is why blame placing is counter-productive. There is enough of it to go around and no one President in the past 30 years or so, can be considered blame-free.

The question that needs to be answered is not who is at fault, but where do we go from here? That question seems to be the more important of the two, by a mile.

A.C. said...

Mary Ellen, you're not the only defender that thinks Clinton was somehow "jumped" by one single question about how he reacted to bin Laden. The reason it seems that way is because nobody has ever asked the question.

There's nothing wrong with the question. Touching the interviewer is a form of intimidation.

As to getting misrepresented facts straight, hardly. His comment about Somalia is suspect once you look at the history of AQ in the 9/11 report. Also, the bit about the CIA/FBI not certifying the Cole didn't make any sense, as he'd already bombed Afghanistan previously and he's the CIC.

Neither Clinton nor Bush caused 9/11 or the terrorism that led to it. But the left can't pretend that only Bush was to blame and pretend the 90s didn't happen. That serves no purpose. We're in this together, I think.