Different network, same fawning coverage. MSNBC journalists Chuck Todd and Luke Russert fawned over Bill Clinton, Monday, with Todd "loving" the liberal history lesson that the former Democratic President gave on health care.
Rather than show the interview straight through, Russert and Todd would play a clip and then marvel over Clinton's wisdom. Regarding Obamacare, the Daily Rundown anchor introduced, "Well, speaking of health care, I love the history lesson he gave you on health care. Here’s his health care answer."
Clinton proceeded to repeat standard liberal talking points about the health care bill, including historical references that others have made. After the clip, Russert enthused, "John Adams making sea men get insurance!"
Russert offered Clinton softball questions about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who the MSNBC reporter referred to as "somebody who is now the highest rated, in terms of popularity."
Earlier, the young journalist offered this softball about the Clinton Global Initiative: "You often talked about that this century was going to be the next great American century. Can this millennial generation deliver that great American century with this--these terrible unemployment numbers?"
The only question that could plausibly be interpreted as tough came when Russert noted "you were able to come back [in 1992] and you never trailed in the poll after July. Can Mitt Romney do that?"
Russert and Todd, just like Jake Tapper at ABC, just seemed unable to find tough questions for the former President.
A partial transcript of the Daily Rundown segment, which aired at 9:15am EDT on April 2, follows:
CHUCK TODD: And our cable exclusive former president Bill Clinton weighs in on 2012 what Hillary Clinton's plans really are for 2016 and whether the comparisons to him and Mitt Romney's struggles are–work.
BILL CLINTON, Former President of the United States: But I never had to change anything I said in the primary. There was no etch a sketch issue for me.
9:15 AM EDT
CHUCK TODD: Former President Clinton is the only Democrat to be elected President twice since Franklin Roosevelt. And he recently sat down with out own Luke Russert to share his thoughts on the health care debate, whether his wife is really going to retire. NBC Correspondent Luke Russert with me now. So Luke, you got the interview, you sat down, what is he up to?
LUKE RUSSERT: Morning, sir. Well, he was here in Washington, D.C. for the Clinton Global Initiative University, which is an annual conference with college kid where college kids come from all across the country and the world to talk about commitments they're trying to make to further society. It’s interesting, you meet kids who come up with some projects for folks in Africa to try to make some money and you meet kids who are doing stuff about water, all sorts of things you could ever imagine that, creating jobs here in the U.S. Really, sort of structured on young people and trying to get them employed and helping out fellow brothers and sisters.
TODD: Here is Bill Clinton's description.
RUSSERT: You often talked about that this century was going to be the next great American century. Can this millennial generation deliver that great American century with this--these terrible unemployment numbers?
CLINTON: Well, First of all, that's not their fault. I mean, their parents' generation did that. But I think that what they can do is use their skills at social networking, use their access to the internet for crowd financing, for example, for getting substantial amounts of money in small amounts to start their own NGOs and make a living doing good. They can start their own businesses in ways that were not available to their parents and grandparents. And I believe as we come out of this
recession and hiring picks up, they’ll will be well-positioned to get the new jobs. But I also think that they will be more self-reliant and more reliant on their informal networks to actually start a small businesses and expand them. I think you’re going to see a whole new kind of sector of entrepreneurialism spawned as a result of the Internet.
TODD: But first and foremost, we know the President is a political junkie. How closely do you --did you get the sense he is following the Republican race-
RUSSERT: I think he is following it pretty closely. And ironically enough, the only other person that had these high negative ratings in this stage in their campaign was Bill Clinton in spring of 1992. The same kind of negative ratings that Mitt Romney has.
TODD: Well that’s interesting. Here's what he said about that.
RUSSERT: The only person who has high a negative rating at this time in his campaign was you in spring of 1992 and you were able to come back and you never trailed in the poll after July. Can Mitt Romney do that?
CLINTON: I doubt it. I doubt it for two reasons. First of all, I believe President Obama will be reelected because people will perceive that the economy is getting better and that we are generally going in the right direction. Keep in mind the 2010 electorate is not the 2012 electorate. More people will vote in 2012 and a more diverse America will show up at the polls and people had two years of the Tea Party Congress and the polls show they didn't like it very much. So he’s,
Mr. Romney’s got to deal with people's real aversion to putting the Presidency in the White House in the hands of a party they already don't like what they are doing in Congress. I mean, I said, the House and the White House. Excuse me. Secondly, I was subject to a very well organized attack which later the Republican operatives associated with the White House admitted they had started in the primary because they thought i could win the general election. So, there was this relentless personal attack and the American people are incredibly fair and they give you another look. But I never had to change anything I said in the primary. There was Etch-a-Sketch issue for me. I have some sympathy for Governor Romney because he couldn't have been nominated defending the Massachusetts law as a good model for the nation, because of where the Republican primary had gone.
TODD: Interesting. He started to make a case of why Romney is going to get a second look 'cause all of them do. I betcha Romney believes that there’s been a coordinated attack campaign against him-
RUSSERT: Absolutely. That right there on the health care law. Saying it’s too bad he can’t run on his health care law because it's a good idea.
TODD: Well, speaking of health care, I love the history lesson he gave you on health care. Here’s his health care answer.
RUSSERT: What's your initial reaction to what you read from the Court in last week. And do you think the law will be overturned?
CLINTON: I don't know. But it was an unusually politicized discussion, I thought. Actually no one knows yet about whether how well it's going to work because it's just now being implemented. But I don't think it was unconstitutional in any way, shape, or form. Even in the 1790s, there were mandates. George Washington mandated that shipping companies insure their employees. He signed a bill mandating that able bodied citizens have firearms in their homes because they thought the British were coming again John Adams signed a bill that mandate that
individual sea men have hospitalization insurance. I– you know–to me, it's hard to take the constitutional argument seriously. So, I think there is more politics.
RUSSERT: John Adams making sea men get insurance!