Ugh: Charlie Rose Starts Interview With ‘Friend’ Hillary Clinton With a Gooey Maya Angelou Poem

On Thursday night’s episode of his PBS show, Charlie Rose began by showering guest and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with praises from the likes of Henry Kissinger, the late Maya Angelous and, naturally, Charlie Rose himself! From reading a glowing quote from Henry Kissinger to reading a Maya Angelou poem all about her to Rose announcing “I consider Hillary Clinton a friend,” it was a slobbering start to a softball interview.

After summarizing the premise of her book about her time as Secretary of State, Rose gushed that “few people have spent the past 20 years as she has” with all the positions of power she’s held. It was then that read the following quote from former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger: “[W]hen I call Mrs. Clinton Hillary, I do that not so much to indicate familiarity, but to use a name that the whole world uses. It shows to what extend she has succeeded in her people-to-people work.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]

Rose went even further, by reading a poem from the late Maya Angelou that she wrote during the 2008 presidential campaign about Clinton. He read the following excerpt from the larger poem

There is a world of difference between being a woman and a being an old female. 

If you're born a girl, grow up, and live long enough, you can become an old female. But to become a woman is a serious matter. 

A woman takes responsibility for the times she takes up and the space she occupies. Hillary Clinton is a woman. 

Just when you thought the nonsense would stop, Rose had one last nugget for viewers. After welcoming her to his program, Rose said “full disclosure: I consider Hillary Clinton a friend and proud to have her here and look forward to a conversation with all of and the best questions that I know how to ask.” Yikes.

After asking her what she made of the news that a Malaysian Airlines plane was shot down over eastern Ukraine, Rose began the discussing Clinton’s book in a way only “a friend” could. He asked her: 

But in terms of choices and hard choices, where did you find the strength at these difficult moments in your personal life? Whether it’s losing an election – or whatever it might be, was it people? Was it an inspiration from religion? Was it something else that gave you the courage to keep moving ahead? 

Absolutely delighted, Clinton told him that “[i]t's a great question and it's really at the heart of this book.”

Following her retelling of her background and her own mother’s upbringing, Rose paid homage to another “friend” of hers: Warren Buffett. He asked the billionaire businessman what he would ask Clinton and Buffett said that he would ask her what “the one big idea” she would focus on if she ran for and became president. Rose relayed that Buffett believed that it was, in his opinion, “the unequal distribution of the rewards of this country and how do we make sure more people participate in the greatness of the country.”

Clinton wholeheartedly agreed, calling Buffett “also a friend of mine and I'm not surprised that is on his mind because he understands how critical it is.”

After gushing over their feelings for Buffett, Rose allowed Clinton to compare her husband’s eight years in office as president with Ronald Reagan’s and declare that the differences in jobs created, people lifted out of poverty and growth between the two administrations “is like night and day in terms of the effects” (with her arguing Bill’s years were better, of course).


The relevant portions of the transcript from Charlie Rose on July 17 are transcribed below.

PBS 

Charlie Rose

July 17, 2014

11:07 p.m. Eastern

CHARLIE ROSE: Hillary Clinton is here, her new book is titled Hard Choices. Some people liked it, some have some criticisms, others fret about what she did not say. It is the story of her time as Secretary of State, in the administration of President Obama. The book takes the reader from the campaign trail to Foggy Bottom, from Burma to Benghazi and from the Asian pivot to the Russian reset. Few people have spent the past 20 years in the public eye as much as she has. She has been First Lady, United States Senator and then Secretary of State. Henry Kissinger has said “when I call Mrs. Clinton Hillary, I do that not so much to indicate familiarity, but to use a name that the whole world uses. It shows to what extend she has succeeded in her people-to-people work.” Maya Angelou, the late Maya Angelou wrote a poem about her during the 2008 presidential campaign. It contains these lines: “There is a world of difference between being a woman and a being an old female. If you're born a girl, grow up, and live long enough, you can become an old female. But to become a woman is a serious matter. A woman takes responsibility for the times she takes up and the space she occupies. Hillary Clinton is a woman.” Some say she may be the first woman in the White House. I am pleased to have Hillary Clinton back at this table. Welcome. 

HILLARY CLINTON: Thank you, Charlie. 

ROSE: It's a pleasure to have you. 

CLINTON: It is great to be back with you. Thank you. 

ROSE: I – I – I – umm – full, full disclosure: I consider Hillary Clinton a friend and proud to have her here and look forward to a conversation with all of and the best questions that I know how to ask.

(....)

ROSE: But in terms of choices and hard choices, where did you find the strength at these difficult moments in your personal life? Whether it’s losing an election – or whatever it might be, was it people? Was it an inspiration from religion? Was it something else that gave you the courage to keep moving ahead? 

CLINTON: It's a great question and it's really at the heart of this book. It was my faith and I reference that very early in the book. I was born into the Methodist faith and raised in it and very grateful for that because it was a combination of sort of personal faith that was nurtured, but also a sense of service and social obligation. And for me, getting up every day and thinking about the blessings that I have, despite the hardships sometimes, keeps me going and I also write about my mother who I lost when I was Secretary of state. She had been living with us and she was my real inspiration because of her very -- 

ROSE: What she sacrificed for you. 

CLINTON: And the miserable life that she had as a child and how she showed resilience....

(....)

ROSE: I had – right before I came to see you, I had a conversation with Warren Buffett and I said if there's one question you would ask Hillary Clinton in this conversation, he said I want to know the big idea she wants to carry forward if she's in the political process and runs for president and becomes president. The one big idea and he said I know what it would be if it was me. It would be the unequal distribution of the rewards of this country and how do we make sure more people participate in the greatness of the country. That raises the question and you agree with that. What would you do and how important would that be as the foremost idea of what you want to see done in this country?

CLINTON: Well, Warren's also a friend of mine and I'm not surprised that is on his mind because he understands how critical it is. 

ROSE: And the country's been hugely good to him. 

CLINTON: Absolutely and he knows that and – well first of all, I'm not here to talk about a campaign. If I do make a decision, I will lay out a very extensive and specific agenda, but I will make two points in response to both you and to Warren because it doesn't matter whether I run or not. 

ROSE: It is the priority for this country. 

CLINTON: It is. But with a -- we have an economic crisis and political crisis of our democracy and I think they are related. 

ROSE: What would you do? 

CLINTON: Well, we have to make a campaign about what we would do. You have to run a very specific campaign that talks about the changes you want to make in order to tackle growth which is the hand maiden of inequality. You know, if you look at two Republican two term presidents, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush and two Democratic two term presidents, Bill Clinton and now Barack Obama and I compared Reagan's eight years with Bill's eight years, it's like night and day in terms of the effects. The numbers of jobs that were created, the number of people lifted out of poverty, a hundred times more when Bill was president and did policies have something to do with that? I would argue that they did and did then the fact that with lifting 7.7 million people out of poverty with 23 million new jobs you also ended up with a balanced budget and a surplus so you were handling both sides of the debates simultaneously. That makes sense.

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is a news analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division