Gregory Grilling Gets to Hillary: 'No, Wait a Minute!'

Is the MSM turning on Hillary?

Clinton began her Today interview with David Gregory with the radiant smile on display here. But it wasn't long before an irate Hillary was demanding "no, wait a minute" when things didn't go to her liking.

That's what a few minutes of serious Gregory grilling did to Clinton this morning. It was by far the most intense -- dare-I-say aggressive -- examination of Clinton I've seen this campaign season.

Throughout, Hillary clung as if to a life preserver to the endorsement she received from the Des Moines Register, whose editor is that same mirthless Carolyn Washburn who moderated the past week's debates. Strict School Marms of the World, Unite!

But Gregory kicked off his questioning by discounting the endorsement's value and things went downhill from there. Add the rough ride Gregory gave Clinton to the battering she took yesterday as noted here, here and here, and it's hard to escape the conclusion that the MSM has had it with Hillary.

View video here.

DAVID GREGORY: Despite this endorsement from the Des Moines Register, as we mentioned in the piece, your husband said it would be a miracle if you won the caucus in Iowa. Where has all your momentum gone from six weeks ago?

Hillary thought she had "tremendous momentum," adding that "the Des Moines Register endorsement was a great validation."

Gregory followed with a serious shot.

GREGORY: Senator, if people look at the last six weeks and they might question how Hillary Clinton responds to a crisis or how she handles pressure and they might point to the fact that you complained about the all-boys network of presidential politics in the wake of the Philadelphia debate, they would see your husband complaining about media coverage of you, they'd see your campaign raise the past drug issue and use by Barack Obama or question him for his ambition, and they might say, well, this is really what we don't like about politics [read: about the Clintons]. Is that fair?

Be sure to view the video of Gregory posing this question. At one point Hillary bursts into an inexplicable cackle, as if this was all so funny. She then immediately glances off-camera at someone next to her. Was it just a passer-by in the diner, or was Hillary perhaps looking at a campaign aide as if to demand "what the hell has gotten into Gregory?"

When Hillary denied that Gregory's account was "at all accurate," the NBC correspondent followed up.

GREGORY: I'm sorry. You said that was unfair. You dispute that those were how you handled things in the wake of hitting that rough patch?

Revealing her displeasure with the less-than-kid-glove treatment, Hillary allowed as to how she's going to let voters decide that, "not the press." She again cited her favorite newspaper: "I'm a proven leader. That's what the Des Moines Register said." She added this laugh line: "I really don't pay a lot of attention to the day-to-day" of campaigning. Right.

There followed a protracted exchange in which Hillary evaded Gregory's repeated attempts to get her to explain what Bill meant when he claimed Americans in electing Obama would be "rolling the dice."

GREGORY: Let's talk about a key issue that you raise on the campaign trail, that's your experience. It was your husband, the former president, that said Barack Obama as president would be rolling the dice with America's future. So assuming you agree with that, let's be clear. An Obama presidency is a risk to what? America's national security? America's economic health? What precisely?

HILLARY: Well, I would ask people to read the Des Moines Register editorial [Carolyn, help!]. Basically what they said is we need a proven leader. We have tough times.

GREGORY: But rolling the dice. What does rolling the dice mean? We know what the Register said.

Ouch!

HILLARY: Well, but I think that's one of the principal cases for my candidacy. If you want to know what changes I'll make, look at the changes that I have already made.

Gregory was intractable.

GREGORY: But what's the risk of an Obama presidency?

HILLARY [the ire in her voice rising]: Everybody talks about change. Everybody talks about change in this campaign. Some people think you get change by demanding it [John Boy]. Some think you get it by hoping for it [hear me, Barack?]. I think you get it by doing really hard work. And that's what I've done.

GREGORY: Senator, you're not really addressing this question, though. Your husband said it would be rolling the dice for America's future if he were elected. What is the risk to America if Barack Obama is the president?

HILLARY: You know, he not only said that, but the Des Moines Register editorial implied that [enough with the Register already!] And a lot of people are making up their minds among real candidates, not abstractions, not hypotheticals. And I welcome that scrutiny. I welcome that kind of examination of our records, our experience, our qualifications, our vision for the country. That's what elections are about.You know, this is --

GREGORY: OK, but you're --

HILLARY: This is what elections are as you move toward decision making.

GREGORY: OK, so you're choosing not to answer that question. Let me ask you another issue that has to do --

Hillary, angered at being called on her evasiveness, interrupted.

HILLARY: Well, I'm doing no, no wait a minute, no, wait a minute. I am making the case for my candidacy.
GREGORY: But your husband -- Senator Clinton, it was a very clear statement.

HILLARY: I am very happy that I have -- I have strong supporters and I have editorial support. [For the love of mercy, Hillary!]
GREGORY: I want to ask you another question about the former president on the issue of not only experience but also his concerns about the campaign. The last couple of weeks have been dominated by headlines not about your policy positions or where you would take the country, by about what your husband thinks about how your campaign is being run. Has that been a distraction?
HILLARY: No, it really hasn't, because there is -- you know, no basis to it [right]. I know that in a campaign, people have lots of advice and opinions. And I welcome that. But it's my campaign, just like it will be my presidency, as it was when he ran and when he was president. And what I do every day is make the best decisions that I can make, taking a lot of good ideas that people give me. I'm very happy with my campaign. I think we have a great team and they're doing tremendous work. And I think we're going to do quite well. What I don't do is get distracted by frankly you know all the horse race, who's up, who's down. I really have never paid much attention to that [of course not]. I'm not going to start now. I don't think that's the way a leader tries to lead. I think you set a course, you make adjustments if they're necessary, but you don't get knocked off course just because people are talking about it. My view is I have a big job to do. This country deserves a leader who will make the changes that we need, and I intend to be that leader.

Hillary [and the Des Moines Register, to which Hillary made no fewer than five references] thinks America deserves her. But it's not so clear the MSM still agreesr.

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.