Russert Lets Hillary Off Hook Concerning MoveOn’s ‘Betray Us’ Ad (updated w/video)

As NewsBusters reported, the Senate voted Thursday to condemn MoveOn's "General Betray Us" ad, even though most Democrat presidential candidates including Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) opposed the resolution.

With this in mind, it seemed logical that when Clinton was Tim Russert's guest on Sunday's "Meet the Press," and MoveOn's ad came up, the host would have asked the junior senator from New York about this vote, and why she opposed the amendment.

Amazingly, Russert never did.

In fact, as the following partial transcript of this part of the interview demonstrates, Russert not only let Clinton off the hook on this issue, but appeared to assist her in clarifying her point (video available here):

TIM RUSSERT, HOST: Let me show you an ad that has caused a lot of controversy in this debate about Iraq. MoveOn.org took this ad out, "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?: Cooking the Books for the White House." Do you believe that General David Petraeus has betrayed the American people?

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY): Absolutely not. He is a man of great honor and distinction who has served admirably. I don't condone anything like that, and I have voted against those who would impugn the patriotism and the service of the people who wear the uniform of our country. I don't believe that that should be said about General Petraeus, and I condemn that. I didn't think it should've been said about Senator Cleland or Senator Kerry. I think it's important that we end this kind of attacks on the patriotism of those who serve our country.

But let's be clear about this: This is not a debate about an ad.

[...]

MR. RUSSERT: Is it fair to--(clears throat) excuse me-is it fair to say, then, that this ad was an unhelpful distraction to the real debate about the war, and you wish that MoveOn.org had not taken it?

SEN. CLINTON: Well, when I voted for Senator Boxer's resolution, that was certainly clear. I do not condone, and I do condemn any effort to impugn the patriotism and the service of anyone who's worn the uniform of our country. I think it should be across the board because, as you certainly know well, many people who have served with distinction, like Senator Kerry or Senator Cleland, have been the subject of extraordinary attacks. Let's end this, and let's focus on what we do to support our troops. I believe the best way to support our troops is to begin to bring them home.

With Clinton having mentioned the Boxer resolution, wouldn't this have been a perfect time to question Hillary about Sen. Cornyn's (R-TX) amendment that ended up passing 72 - 25? Apparently not:

MR. RUSSERT: And MoveOn.org should refrain from similar ads in the future?

SEN. CLINTON: Everyone should, Tim. Everyone should.

MR. RUSSERT: Yeah.

Yes, everyone should, Tim. So, why didn't you bring up the actual amendment that 72 senators, including many Democrats, voted for on Thursday? And, more importantly, why didn't you ask Sen. Clinton why she voted against it?

Would that have been too much like journalism for your taste?

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.