NBC Hails Hillary Clinton Book as 'Opening Argument for Her Next Presidential Campaign'

On Friday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie gushed over the network getting an advanced copy of Hillary Clinton's new book: "Well, here it is. It's the memoir that a lot of people are talking about, waiting to read, Hard Choices by Hillary Clinton. We happened to find this copy actually at a bookstore in Los Angeles just days ahead of the official release." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

In the report that followed, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell touted the 600 pages of Clinton spin as "an opening argument for her next presidential campaign – if, if she decides to run again." O'Donnell added that the potential 2016 contender "writes about her time as secretary of state on a range of issues where she could make news again."  

Framing obvious flip-flopping by Clinton as a savvy political move, O'Donnell declared: "On Iraq, Clinton writes, 'I got it wrong, plain and simple.' Backtracking on her 2002 vote to authorize military force in Iraq, a position that cost her with liberal voters against Barack Obama in 2008....Clinton's reversal could help block a 2016 challenge from the left."

A soundbite followed of the Washington Post's Anne Gearan: "It does neutralize it. It does allow her to start on a much cleaner slate."

O'Donnell noted how Clinton "readily shared the victory" of killing Osama Bin Laden in 2011, quoting from the memoir, "I looked at the President. He was calm. Rarely have I been prouder to serve by his side as I was that day."

CBS This Morning similarly promoted an early copy of the book, with co-host Charlie Rose praising it as "a portrait of doggedness."


Here is a full transcript of the June 6 Today segment:

7:00 AM ET TEASE:

MATT LAUER: Here it is. Hillary Clinton's new memoir isn't out until next week, but we've gotten our hands on a copy. What she reveals about the push to free Bowe Bergdahl, her relationship with President Obama, and her own presidential aspirations.

7:13 AM ET SEGMENT:

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Well, here it is. It's the memoir that a lot of people are talking about, waiting to read, Hard Choices by Hillary Clinton. We happened to find this copy actually at a bookstore in Los Angeles just days ahead of the official release. And NBC's Kelly O'Donnell has got more of what's in the book. Kelly, good morning to you.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Hillary Clinton Book Revealed; New Details on Bergdahl, Benghazi & 2016]

KELLY O'DONNELL: Good morning, Savannah. Hillary Clinton is giving us what may be seen as an opening argument for her next presidential campaign – if, if she decides to run again. In this book, Hard Choices, she – that doesn't come out until next Tuesday, that's the big day – but we've been poring through it and we can tell you that in her memoir, she writes about her time as secretary of state on a range of issues where she could make news again.

While Hillary Clinton writes that she tried but could not win the release of P.O.W. Bowe Bergdahl, she did predict the controversy. "Opening the door to negotiations with the Taliban would be hard to swallow for many Americans." But on Iraq, Clinton writes, "I got it wrong, plain and simple." Backtracking on her 2002 vote to authorize military force in Iraq, a position that cost her with liberal voters against Barack Obama in 2008.

BARACK OBAMA: Part of the argument that I'm making in this campaign is that it is important to be right on day one.

O'DONNELL: Clinton's reversal could help block a 2016 challenge from the left.

ANNE GEARAN [WASHINGTON POST]: It does neutralize it. It does allow her to start on a much cleaner slate.

O'DONNELL: Clinton gets more personal about her secret meeting with Obama in 2008.

BRIAN WILLIAMS [JUNE 6, 2008]: They went to extraordinary lengths to throw reporters off the trail.

O'DONNELL: "We stared at each other like two teenagers on an awkward first date, taking a few sips of Chardonnay." They each had "long lists of grievances. It was time to clear the air." But when Sarah Palin was picked by John McCain, Clinton refused to back up a "dismissive statement" from Obama's campaign. "I was not going to attack Palin just for being a woman appealing for support from other women, so I said no."

Years later, Clinton readily shared the victory, watching the Bin Laden raid unfold. "I looked at the President. He was calm. Rarely have I been prouder to serve by his side as I was that day."

And she talks more about that secret meeting, saying that she and Barack Obama had some – some really painful moments from the campaign in 2008 that in some ways had been taken out of context, she says. She wanted to go over that in the secret meeting and she refers in particular to "painful exchanges about charges of racism against Bill," as she writes it. And she says that Barack Obama said he and his team knew that was not a real thing with Bill Clinton during the campaign. That was one of the many issues they had to sort out before the relationship that became the one we all witnessed when she was secretary of state and he president.

Lots of interesting detail. Lots to read in this book. Again, it doesn't come out until next Tuesday. Matt.

LAUER: Alright, Kelly, thank you very much. We're going to be talking to Hillary Clinton. We'll have that conversation for you here on the show.

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