MSNBC anchor Joe Scarborough appeared on the Hugh Hewitt radio show, Wednesday, and agreed with the host that he could go “toe-to-toe” in a 2016 matchup with Hillary Clinton. “Oh yeah,” the Morning Joe host replied and added, “I’m on a television show three hours a day, and I’m usually outnumbered about five to one, which hopefully is a fair fight.” [MP3 audio here.]
Scarborough must have forgotten comments from July 12, 2013 when he blurted, “I love Hillary and I can't imagine anybody coming between her and the presidency this time...” (“I Love Hillary” might not be the best GOP slogan.) The former Republican congressman opined, “I've never seen the media more biased against any single candidate than they were Hillary Clinton in 2007 and 2008.”
A 2016 bid might mean Scarborough would have to change this opinion on Bill Clinton from November 8, 2011:
JOE SCARBOROUGH: People will say why can't this guy run for president in 2012? And of course you can't, because Republicans didn't want there to be another FDR back in the 1940s...Shouldn't a president be able to serve two terms, take some time off, and then run again? Shouldn't Americans have that choice?
On February 6, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol asserted that the anchor would fill the moderate "Jon Huntsman" slot in 2016
Asked bluntly on Wednesday if he was serious about running, the cable host responded, “No, I'm not. I will tell you what I’m obsessed with and I think a little longer than a lot of people and that is getting the Republican Party back in the White House.”
When Hewitt pressed Scarborough on ruling it out, he demurred, “No…I’ve always said I wanted to get back into politics.”
A partial transcript of the February 12 radio interview is below:
HUGH HEWITT: Joe, I honestly have been reading this with great interest and musing to myself that you could go pretty far in that lane as they refer to it. Are you actually thinking about this?
SCARBOROUGH: No, I’m not. I will tell you what I’m obsessed with and I think a little longer than a lot of people and that is getting the Republican Party back in the White House. And I’d love to talk about that and obsess about that because we’ve talked about it before, we can’t afford to lose the White House for eight more years. We can’t afford to lose the Supreme Court for eight more years.
HEWITT: Did you just rule out running for president in 2016?
SCARBOROUGH: No, I’m not going to rule anything out and I’ve always said and I’ve always been very open about the fact that the greatest job I ever had and the greatest honor I ever had was being in the House of Representatives. And it was an absolute thrill and I had to get out because, you know I had young children back in Pensicola. But, you know, I’ve always said I wanted to get back into politics.
HUGH HEWITT: Let’s talk about Hillary for a second.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Exactly.
HEWITT: Does she intimidate you at all as a candidate? Could you go toe to toe with Hillary?
SCARBOROUGH: Oh, yeah (laughing) You know, Erick Erickson was talking about the fact that you know, that when he had to prepare for debate prep at the Oxford Union, it helped him more with debating than anything else. I’m on a television show three hours a day, and I’m usually outnumbered about five to one, which hopefully is a fair fight.