Carville Slams Journalists For Not Appreciating Hillary’s ‘Sophisticated’ Comedy

CNN analyst, author, and former Clinton operative James Carville appeared on Monday’s "Good Morning America" and complained that journalists are too tough on Hillary Clinton. Referring to the comment made by the New York Senator and 2008 presidential candidate that she has experience dealing with "evil and bad men," Carville asserted that members of the media should be lauding her strong sense of humor. The Louisiana native also touted Mrs. Clinton’s nascent White House run, saying that it was the best campaign kick off ever.  However, the CNN analyst became most animated when speaking of Hillary’s recent joke:

Diane Sawyer: "I want to turn to Iraq in a moment, but you mentioned sense of humor. So, who did you think she was talking about when she said that about bad men?"

James Carville: "You know– You know, journalists are funny. All you hear is, [Adopts whiney tone] 'Hillary don't have a sense of humor. She’s too cold. She does this and that.' And then, she cracks a joke, which, by the way which was a pretty funny joke. And they say, 'Well, look at this. Look at this.' You know? And I thought it was sophisticated, and the fact that she didn't answer it is an element of good humor. And I know her personally to be a very warm and humorous person and I was delighted to see that come out. Good joke, Senator. Way to go."

After introducing Carville and Republican strategist Kellyanne Conway, GMA host Diane Sawyer began the interview, which aired at 7:10am on January 29, by noting, "There was Hillary Clinton in the heartland at last." Carville joined in, employing a string of superlatives to assert that Hillary’s campaign has simply been the best ever.

Sawyer: "Well, Let's turn to the weekend and what we've learned, Kellyanne. There was Hillary Clinton in the heartland at last. What did you see in terms of strengths and vulnerabilities?"

Kellyanne Conway: "What I saw on the tape were many men sitting on their hands and many women standing in ovation-like applause."

Sawyer: "And how does that track with your polling?"

Conway: "That's reflected in the poll numbers, Diane, because you see a double digit difference in the enthusiasm for a Hillary Clinton presidency with respect to men and women. Many women look at this as a time to make history, have the first female president. And many women question her ability to lead us in a time of war. And frankly, for both genders, they're going to come to realize that this is not the Clinton they miss. This is not the one they feel is warm and accessible. And these are not the Clintons of 15-years ago, the boy from Hope. These are multi-millionaires who live a very different life from the Clinton’s from the past that connected with America."

Sawyer: "What about that, James?"

Carville: "Oh, you know what, I'm going to let the polling and all that-- I think this is the most successful two weeks that any roll out of any presidential campaign has had in history. I've looked at the Iowa press, people were just blown away and impressed by Senator Clinton's seriousness, her knowledge of the issues, and even her sense of humor, if you will. And all of this polling analysis, what happened 15 years ago, to heck with all that. People are looking for real answers. They see her as hardworking and competent, which would sure be a change from what we have in the White House now. So, let's let her get started. She's had two weeks, unbelievable-- I think staff, I've spoken to them, they're very happy with the way things are going right now, as they should be. But they know they're in a very tough field. They starting behind in Iowa and they got a lot of work to do."

Sawyer did question Carville on Hillary’s comment about dealing with "evil and bad men." But Carville twice refused to answer. Instead, he complemented Mrs. Clinton on her terrific sense of humor. Sawyer, on the other hand, gave up trying to get an answer and simply joked about "waiting by the phone for the answer."

Sawyer: "I want to turn to Iraq in a moment, but you mentioned sense of humor. So, who did you think she was talking about when she said that about bad men?"

Carville: "You know– You know, journalists are funny. All you hear is, [Adopts whiney tone] 'Hillary don't have a sense of humor. She’s too cold. She does this and that.' And then, she cracks a joke, which, by the way which was a pretty funny joke. And they say, 'Well, look at this. Look at this.' You know? And I thought it was sophisticated, and the fact that she didn't answer it is an element of good humor. And I know her personally to be a very warm and humorous person and I was delighted to see that come out. Good joke, Senator. Way to go."

Sawyer: "And who did you think she was talking about?"

Carville: "I don't know. I got, I've got– I got– I got my own ideas, but if I see her and I'll ask her and be sure to tell you. Probably had any number of people in mind."

Conway: "She likely didn't want this to be the press line of the weekend. She likely didn't want everyone to remember her time in Iowa for this. And here's a woman who came to Iowa for the first time in three years. She didn't help John Kerry there in ‘04 or the candidates there in '06."

Sawyer: "All right. I'm going to be waiting by the phone, James, when you find out."

Finally, Sawyer got tough on the one issue that really bugs members of the mainstream media: When will the New York Senator fully repent over her vote to authorize the war in Iraq?

Sawyer: "A quick question though, I do want to ask about Iraq, because her Democratic opponents, James, have, have been saying that this is a litmus test on Iraq of talking straight. And I want to put up on the board here what John Edwards has said about his original vote to authorize the war. He said, flat out, it was a mistake to vote for this war in 2002.' Joseph Biden: 'It was a mistake.' Chris Dodd: 'It was a mistake. I wish I could have the vote back.' And yet, Senator Clinton doesn't quite seem to be saying that flat-out sentence. Here's what she said over the weekend."

Hillary Clinton: "I said that we should not go to war unless we have allies. So, he took the authority that I and others gave him and he misused it. And I regret that deeply. And if we had known then, what we know now, there never would have been a vote and I never would have voted to give this President that authority!"

Sawyer: "Should she say flat out it was a mistake? Does she feel that way?"

Carville: "Well, she's said, I've heard her say, we don't do do-overs. And then if she says it was a mistake, then the press will come and say, 'Well, was it a big mistake? Was it a huge mistake? 'I think she was pretty clear in what she said there. I heard her say we don't have do-overs in life and push forward. She also said, and I know this to be a fact, that she's cursed with the responsibility gene, trying to figure a responsible way out of. I think it's odd that this president's going to leave these troops in there past 2009. I think she was dead-on when she said there has to be a solution to this before that. So I think people are going to ask about this. She knows this, It's a very, very fair and legitimate question and I think she is prepared to answer it."

Conway: "But Senator Edwards and Senator Biden and Senator Dodd have said it was their mistake. Hillary Clinton has said this is George W. Bush's mistake. And that is a nagging question that people have had about Hillary. Does she take responsibility for her own actions? She deflected responsibility this weekend on the President and his war without really articulating a way forward. And that's why you have eight other Democrats running against her, including people who have served in the Senate with her."

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