Cynthia McFadden Cajoles Secretary of Defense: Hillary Could Do Your Job, Right?

Well known Hillary Clinton fan Cynthia McFadden on Tuesday pushed Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to agree that the former First Lady could do his job.

Talking to both Clinton and Gates for Good Morning America, McFadden noted that the Defense Secretary has pledged to leave within a year. Motioning her head to Clinton, sitting to the left of Gates, the ABC News anchor prompted, "Any thoughts about who might do a good job?"

Assuming a stance of modesty, Clinton protested. But, McFadden continued, "Could she do your job?" The Nightline co-host didn't let up, pushing Gates, "If [Obama] asked you whether she could do it, you'd say?"

[Video after the break.]

Clearly fascinated by the topic, McFadden put the question to Clinton: "If the President asked you to serve as Secretary of Defense?"

The network journalist has a long history of conducting fawning, almost embarrassing interviews with Clinton. On January 30, 2008, during the then-presidential candidate's campaign, McFadden worried, "When you lie awake at night...what worries you?"

On December 19, 2007, McFadden posed a similarly sympathetic question: "There's never a night when you go back to whatever hotel room, whatever city you're in that night, and crawl in a ball and say, 'I just, this just hurts too much?"

The full Clinton interview will air on Tuesday's Nightline. At least in the GMA version, there was, predictably, no elected Republican to contest the idea of Clinton as Defense Secretary.

A transcript of the GMA segment, which aired at 7:40am EST on November 9:


ROBIN ROBERTS: And while President Obama is in Asia, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates were in Australia for meeting with their counterparts there. Nightline's co-anchor Cynthia McFadden is here with a rare glimpse inside their relationship, including how each feels about her taking over his job. And you're just getting back.

CYNTHIA MCFADDEN: Yeah, just a few hours ago. It's been quite an odyssey, Robin. At midnight, on Friday, we took off at Andrews Air Force Base with Secretary Gates. And 20 hours later, we're back on the ground with Secretary Clinton. This is the duo's fourth trip together this year, and while those who have held their offices have historically have poor relations, these two have forged a powerful alliance. They agreed to sit down for an exclusive joint interview. Their first ever outside of the U.S. So, you tell me you're not going to stay on for more than another year, Secretary Gates. Any thoughts about who might do a good job? [Motions towards Clinton with her head.]

HILLARY CLINTON: We're hoping that time line keeps moving further and further beyond. We came in together. We should go out together. That's my theory.

MCFADDEN: Could she do your job?

ROBERT GATES: Sure.

CLINTON: Well, yeah. No, no, wait a minute. It's not fair- First of all, we want Bob to stay. I don't want him on national television, talking about somebody else doing his job. I hope I can convince him to stay.

GATES: But, I will say this. I think that one of the great strengths that Hillary brings to the job of Secretary of State is as spokesperson for the United States around the world. That's not the role of the Secretary of Defense.

MCFADDEN: If the President asked you to serve as Secretary of Defense?

CLINTON: I have made it clear I love the job that I have.

MCFADDEN: [To Gates] If he asked you whether she could do it, you'd say? [Clinton and Gates start laughing.] Hey, you can't blame a girl for asking.

CLINTON [Talking to personnel]: Hello, everybody.

MCFADDEN: Although she says she's completely happy with her current job, when we sat down with her alone, she opened up about her disappointment over last week's midterm elections, which took place when she was half a world away.

CLINTON [to McFadden]: What happened?

MCFADDEN: The Democrats really took a licking.

CLINTON: Yeah. I'm very, very sorry about that. But, I was very sad to see a lot of good people turned out of Congress for doing the right thing.

MCFADDEN: Well, you lived through it.

CLINTON: I did. 1994.

MCFADDEN: Lots of headlines about it, questioning, wondering whether or not President Obama can pivot the way your husband was able to. What do you think? Can Obama pull a Clinton?

CLINTON: Well, I think he can show clearly, the leadership that the country expects from him and which he is providing.

MCFADDEN: Your husband moved toward the middle.

CLINTON: You know, I think that is the conventional wisdom. But I don't think that Bill changed his principles or changed his objectives, or really reversed course in any way.

MCFADDEN: Have you talked to Mr. Boehner?

CLINTON: I have a call into him. I haven't talked to him yet.

MCFADDEN: You're going to work with him, though?

CLINTON: Absolutely. You know, I know him. I was in the senate when he was in the Congress.

MCFADDEN: The election heard around the world. We talked about a wide range of topics from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Don't Ask, Don't Tell, which will be in my full report on Nightline, Robin.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org