Former NYT Columnist Rich: Weiner Scandal Won't Harm Hillary, Will Boost Bill Clinton's Profile

Former New York Times columnist Frank Rich showed up on Joy Behar’s Current TV program Say Anything! on Wednesday to chat about some hot news topics – chief among them, the ongoing Anthony Weiner saga. Rich assured Behar that the Weiner situation would not affect Hillary Clinton’s future. On the contrary, he said, it would make people love her husband Bill Clinton even more.

Rich made his remarks after Behar mentioned that the Clintons seem to be distancing themselves from Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin. Rich remarked, “[L]ook, Weiner had a lot of enemies in the Democratic Party well before the scandals, but I also think it’s not going to have any effect on Hillary Clinton's future, whatever it is.


That must be music to a liberal's ears. Recently, some media liberals have worried about the impact that the Weiner scandal might have on Mrs. Clinton’s presidential chances, given Bill Clinton’s history of infidelity and the fact that Huma Abedin was a long-time Hillary aide.

Behar drew the obvious connection between Weiner and the Clintons: “Well, it reminds people of the Lewinsky, you know, thing.” Whatever, Rich shot back, because that “ then makes them love Bill Clinton even more. He’s a lovable rogue.”

Leave it to a left-wing columnist to turn the Weiner scandal into a positive for the modern-day Democratic hero, Bill Clinton. Seriously, how do Weiner’s misdeeds make people love Clinton even more? Is Weiner’s chronic sexting really so much worse than President Clinton’s multiple extramarital affairs and dehumanizing exploitation of a young intern?

Predictably, Behar agreed with Rich (who once called her the “new Edward R. Murrow,” by the way) and heaped more praise on Clinton: “Well, he also was a brilliant rogue. He’s got a great brain.” So now we know what Anthony Weiner’s real faults are. I guess if Weiner were only “lovable” and “brilliant” like Clinton, the liberal media would forgive him.

Below is a transcript of the segment:

JOY BEHAR: What about Huma? Do you have a take on that, what that’s about?

FRANK RICH: I only know what everyone else reads. That obviously she is an incredibly capable person –

BEHAR: Everyone says how brilliant – David Axelrod is waxing eloquent over her.

RICH: And she is obviously very highly valued as a friend, but also as a colleague by Hillary Clinton.

BEHAR: Yeah.

RICH: And – but who knows what goes on in anyone's marriage? Why she stays with him – look, maybe she thinks it’s a laugh riot. You know, maybe she’s loving it, who knows?

BEHAR: She doesn't look like she’d think it’s a laugh –

RICH: Well, maybe that’s for show. Maybe, you know maybe, who knows? Imagine the alternative scenario: they go back home at night –  can you believe we're getting away with this? Can you believe all the attention we’re getting?

BEHAR: If that's true, that’s funny.

RICH: We don't know.

BEHAR: Well, you know, the Clintons are not happy with all of this. They seem to be distancing themselves. Why do you think that is? [said sarcastically]

RICH: Can't imagine. I would say though, I'm sure they are. And look, Weiner had a lot of enemies in the Democratic Party well before the scandals, but I also think it’s not going to have any effect on Hillary Clinton's future, whatever it is.

BEHAR: Well, it reminds people of the Lewinsky, you know, thing.



RICH:  And then makes them love Bill Clinton even more. He’s a lovable rogue.

BEHAR: Yeah, he is. Well, he also was a brilliant rogue. He’s got a great brain. I don't know that this one’s got a great brain.

RICH: Well, we know where his brain is.

BEHAR: Exactly, exactly. I think some of them get away with it and some don't. Sanford married his love interest, so women around the world hate him for that, I guess.

RICH: Although he got reelected.

BEHAR: He did get reelected.

RICH: In a very conservative state.

Paul Bremmer
Paul Bremmer is a Media Research Center News Analysis Division intern.