On Monday's New Day, CNN's Kate Bolduan blasted conservative super PAC America Rising for a supposedly bigoted attack on Hillary Clinton. The group recently attacked the former secretary of state as being out of touch: "If Hillary is going to run for president, she might be advised to take a lengthy sabbatical from her $200,000 per pop speaking tour and private shopping sprees at Bergdorfs to try and reconnect with what's happening back here on Earth."
Bolduan asserted that America Rising's statement was a "stupid, sexist remark on a shopping spree that has nothing to do with...or shouldn't have anything to do with" the recent criticism of Clinton for her "dead broke" claim. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Bolduan turned to Daily Beast editor-in-chief John Avlon for his take on the ongoing controversy over Mrs. Clinton's recent gaffes about her family's wealth. The anchor pointed out the former senator's assertion to The Guardian that she's not "truly well off," and asked Avlon, "What do you make of this explanation?" The CNN contributor replied by downplaying the remarks:
JOHN AVLON, DAILY BEAST EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Oh, sure she did. Yeah, because there's a narrative that Republicans are trying to push – knowing that hypocrisy is the unforgivable sin in politics – saying that the Clintons are out of touch; that they've become wealthy; that they want to keep the estate tax, but they want to avoid it themselves.
Look, you see the quote in full context – this is not the end of the world. What she's trying to say, is she and Bill Clinton are self-made super rich. But it's the not 'truly well off' that indicates that hermetically-sealed environment, when people run for president, they spend most of their time with billionaires, who are raising the money. This is true on both sides of the aisle, and Republicans are trying, at the beginning of this book tour, to just push, push, push any way they can to nudge her numbers down, to make her look vulnerable; and, in effect, make her – influence her – and hope – they hope to have her not run for president. That's their best scenario.
Bolduan then brought up the super PAC's supposedly "stupid, sexist" attack, and continued by wondering, "Where does everybody else shop? Who knows? We don't care, because we don't talk about it when men are doing it." She then asked her guest, "Is this a valid point the Republicans are making?" The Daily Beast editor answered, in part, that "what they're trying to do is take away credibility from Hillary Clinton when it comes to associating with her own past and the middle class. It's a tactic you're going to see them continue to hammer away at."
Later in the segment, the CNN anchor raised a supposed specter from the 2012 presidential race: "How much of this is lessons learned, maybe, or still it hurts a little bit from the 2012 election, where Mitt Romney really could not shake the image that was created for him by Democrats – that he was too wealthy, too out of touch – didn't pay his taxes, didn't pay enough taxes?" Avlon replied that "this is absolutely Republicans getting revenge for that – trying to tar Hillary with that particular brush."
One wonders if Bolduan would have reacted the same way to the left's outcry in the fall of 2008 over the $150,000 the RNC spent on Sarah Palin's clothing. Then-anchor Campbell Brown called out the "double standard" in an October 23, 2008 segment on her CNN program:
CAMPBELL BROWN: ...[A] lot of sniping and a lot of stories today about Sarah Palin's clothes. Politico.com reports that the Republican National Committee spent more than $150,000 on clothes, hair, and makeup for Palin on the campaign trail....My issue: there is an incredible double standard here, and we're ignoring a very simple reality. Women are judged based on their appearance far, far more than men. This is a statement of fact. There has been plenty of talk and plenty written about Sarah Palin's jackets, her hair, her looks. Sound familiar? There was plenty of talk and plenty written about Hillary Clinton's looks, hair, pantsuits. Compare that to the attention given to Barack Obama's $1,500 suits or John McCain's $520 Ferragamo shoes. There is no comparison.
[Update: The transcript of the relevant portion of the John Avlon segment from Monday's New Day on CNN is available at MRC.org.]