MSNBC's Wolffe Lauds Hillary's 'Monumental Effort' to Fix Bush's 'Mess'

On Wednesday's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, MSNBC.com Executive Editor Richard Wolffe credited Hillary Clinton with a "monumental effort" in "recovering from" the Bush administration's alleged mistakes as he responded to conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer's assertion that the former Secretary of State had no significant accomplishments she could point to in a presidential run. Wolffe:

Can I just pick up on this question because, you know, the gang that brought us the war in Iraq and America's being, you know, this loath superpower in the world, you know, recovering from that was no small diplomatic feat. And, okay, you don't have a Dayton Peace Accords, but cleaning that mess up was a monumental effort. And it's easy for us to say now, "Oh, you know, well, that was obvious, right? Anyone could do that."

He added:

How come over eight years of the Bush administration, Krauthammer cheering them on, they never managed to do that kind of basic diplomacy? I don't know, I think that's an achievement, even if you don't have a peace treaty at the end of it.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the segment from the Wednesday, November 20, The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC:

LAWRENCE O'DONNELL: Now, Republicans are starting to make counter noises to all the Democratic Party enthusiasm about Hillary Clinton running for President. Charles Krauthammer saying, you know, she's a paper tiger, you know, I really think the Republicans can beat her. But let's listen to Krauthammer talking about what she actually accomplished as Secretary of State.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: You know, she's got her strengths, but let me ask you this, you know, the hyperbole about her being Secretary of State: Name me one thing she achieved in the four years, one. I'm not asking for a, you know, Kissinger-China-Middle East. I'm not asking for a Baker. I'm not asking for a George Shultz or a George Marshall. Tell me one thing she achieved in the four years.

HUGH HEWITT, CONSERVATIVE TALK RADIO HOST: Now, that, I have posed that question to Politico reporters before, and they can't come up with anything because there isn't anything, Charles.

KRAUTHAMMER: She travels a lot.

HEWITT: Yup.

KRAUTHAMMER: Well, so do I.

O'DONNELL: All right. Well, I can pose it to a Politico reporter and to Richard Wolffe. Tell me what she accomplished as Secretary of State. Jonathan, go ahead.

JONATHAN ALLEN, POLITICO: Look, I think there were some small ball accomplishments, certainly opening things up in Burma. If you look at the Iran sanctions that she worked on as Secretary of State. They're now obviously opening up a door to possible negotiations with Iran, a new START Treaty with Russia. There are different some things at the margins, certainly not a Middle East peace deal. Of course, anybody who struck a Middle East peace deal in the past has seen that fall apart, maybe not when they were secretary but at some point.

But I think that is the major criticism of her tenure, is that there isn't a sort of a marquee peace deal, anything like the Balkans Accord or anything like a Middle East deal for her to hang her hat on, and that's something that she's going to have to talk about on the campaign trail.

O'DONNELL: Richard, the Republicans are saying, "Look, she was overestimated as a candidate the first time she ran and she got knocked off by the new guy and she's being overestimated again."

WOLFFE: Can I just pick up on this question because, you know, the gang that brought us the war in Iraq and America's being, you know, this loath superpower in the world, you know, recovering from that was no small diplomatic feat. And, okay, you don't have a Dayton Peace Accords but cleaning that mess up was a monumental effort. And it's easy for us to say now, "Oh, you know, well, that was obvious, right? Anyone could do that."

How come over eight years of the Bush administration, Krauthammer cheering them on, they never managed to do that kind of basic diplomacy? I don't know, I think that's an achievement, even if you don't have a peace treaty at the end of it.

O'DONNELL: Richard Wolffe and Jonathan Allen answered the big question that apparently no one can answer for Charles Krauthammer. Thank you both for joining me tonight.

--Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Brad Wilmouth on Twitter.