NBC's 'Meet the Press' Hops Aboard Hillary in 2016 Bandwagon

On Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory eagerly touted the approval rating of outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and gushed over the prospect of her running for president in 2016: "...her popularity has soared to an all-time high. According to a new Washington Post/ABC poll out this week, 66 percent view the country's top diplomat favorably..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Gregory then teed up a fawning promotional video about Clinton: "A recent campaign-style tribute video that was played at the Saban Forum here in DC left the political world abuzz..." A clip of the Hillary propaganda film followed, with sound bites from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair predicting a Clinton political comeback.

Later, during the show's panel discussion, Gregory raised Clinton's political future as a topic: "Would you vote for Hillary Clinton as president? 57 percent, according to a Washington Post/ABC New poll, saying yes....She's pretty hot right now politically. Is she not?"

Washington Post editor Bob Woodward proclaimed: "She should take that 57 percent and bank it and go write a book for three and a half years and say, 'Now I'm running.' I mean, she has got the perfect resume."

New York Times White House correspondent Helene Cooper applauded the job Clinton had done as secretary of state – avoiding any difficult decisions or controversial positions:

And what I think is so interesting is just how skillfully she has navigated all of the foreign policy crises of the last four years and managed to come out of the last four years relatively unscathed. She's stayed away from...the Palestinians and the Israel....she hasn't been dragged into any of that. She has somehow managed to come out of the Benghazi thing unscathed. Susan Rice is taking – is taking most of the political heat for that....I don't know what I would say right now about what, you know, huge things that have been accomplished. But she's certainly managed to come out of it, you know, without a lot of nicks at all.

Bloomberg White House correspondent Julianna Goldman declared: "And in the poll you just cited, she gets the backing of more than 60 percent of Republican women. So if Hillary Clinton decides that she wants to get in, she clears the field."

Left-wing MSNBC Last Word host Lawrence O'Donnell chimed in: "The reason it's easy for you to get Democratic insiders to say she's absolutely running is because she's absolutely running....she had a negative that was higher than her approval rating. That's completely reversed."


Here is a transcript of the December 9 coverage:

10:54AM ET TEASE:

GREGORY: Coming up here, as Hillary Clinton prepares to step down as secretary of state, her popularity has soared to an all-time high. According to a new Washington Post/ABC poll out this week, 66 percent view the country's top diplomat favorably, up from just 44 percent in April of 2008. So, what does all that mean for her future? Well, that's one of Washington's favorite what-ifs. And a recent campaign-style tribute video that was played at the Saban Forum here in DC left the political world abuzz, especially after comments like these from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: As someone who knows a thing or two about political comebacks, I can tell you I don't think we've heard the last of Hillary Clinton.

TONY BLAIR: I just have an instinct the – the best is yet to come.

GREGORY: According to that same poll, 57 percent say they would back a Clinton presidential bid. Later, we'll talk more about 2016. Whether Clinton will run and what her departure means for President Obama's second term.

(...)

11:15AM ET SEGMENT:

GREGORY: Hillary Clinton, I talked about it earlier. Here's her approval rating now, or rather, would you vote for Hillary Clinton as president? 57 percent, according to a Washington Post/ABC New poll, saying yes. She's leaving, she's – she's pretty hot right now politically. Is she not?

BOB WOODWARD [WASHINGTON POST]: Right. She should take that 57 percent and bank it and go…

GREGORY: Exactly.

WOODWARD: …write a book for three and a half years and say, "Now I'm running." I mean, she has got the perfect resume. And, as I've talked about in one of my books, when she decided that she would become secretary of state for Obama, which surprised lots of people, her advisers said, "Look, this is the perfect resume-building action. And number two, if you run in 2016, you will be younger than Ronald Reagan was…

GREGORY: Right.

WOODWARD: …when he was inaugurated." And as we know, women are so much healthier than men, particularly at that age.

GREGORY: Helene, I talked to a Democratic senator this week who said she's absolutely running. Given everything that she's doing, how she's reaching out to – to supporters and positioning herself, it would put a lot of pressure on other Democrats as to whether they want to try to stand in the way.

HELENE COOPER [NEW YORK TIMES]: I think it is. And what I think is so interesting is just how skillfully she has navigated all of the foreign policy crises of the last four years and managed to come out of the last four years relatively unscathed. She's stayed away from the Israel-Mideast, the most contential – contentious politic – domestically-politically national security issue…

GREGORY: Mm-Hm.

COOPER: …which is, you know, the Palestinians and the Israel. She stayed away from that. So she hasn't been dragged into any of that. She has somehow managed to come out of the Benghazi thing unscathed. Susan Rice is taking – is taking most of the political heat for that. So if you look at how Secretary Clinton has navigated the last four years as secretary of state…

GREGORY: Mm-Hm.

COOPER: …it's been – it may not have been – it's not – I don't think it's going to go down in history as, you know, one of the most influential secretaries of state ever, because I don't know what I would say right now about what, you know, huge things that have been accomplished. But she's certainly managed to come out of it, you know, without a lot of nicks at all.

GREGORY: Mm-Hm.

JULIANNA GOLDMAN [BLOOMBERG]: And in the poll you just cited, she gets the backing of more than 60 percent of Republican women. So if Hillary Clinton decides that she wants to get in, she clears the field. You could be seeing other Democratic potential candidates like Governor Brian Schweitzer, Governor Martin O'Malley trying to test the waters, in case she decides not to run or auditioning to be a vice presidential nominee also.

GREGORY: Right. Let me – before I – yeah.

LAWRENCE O'DONNELL: The reason it's easy for you to get Democratic insiders to say she's absolutely running is because she's absolutely running.

GREGORY: No doubt about it?

O'DONNELL: No, there's no doubt about it.

GREGORY: Right. Newt – Newt as you look at that – as you look at her prospects, you look at the demographic shift that was evidenced by this last election, she has a perfect opportunity to –  to harness that and become the first female president.

NEWT GINGRICH: Yeah. She – look, she – first of all, she's very formidable as a person. I mean this is a very competent person. She is married to the most popular Democrat in the country. They both think it would be good for her to be president. That makes it virtually impossible to stop her for the nomination, I think. But then I thought she was frankly going to be the nominee in '08. And I – I went all through the spring of '08 thinking she would beat Obama.

GREGORY: Let me-

O'DONNELL: The poll numbers were so different…

GREGORY: Yeah.

O'DONNELL: …and she had a negative that was higher than her approval rating. That's completely reversed.

WOODWARD: She – she knows how to seize the moment also.

GREGORY: Yeah.

WOODWARD: In 1991, she was the one who persuaded Bill Clinton to run. He was telling her, "No, I'm not sure this is my moment." And he – and she said, "This is your moment, take it." And of course he did.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC